At some point someone at Lighthouse Trails Research should read the articles to which they link. When/If this is done it is quickly apparent that their alleged research fails – and does so miserably.

Lighthouse Trails Research Project warns believers of the dangers of Spiritual Formation and even lists schools, colleges, authors and churches that offer classes in the same. Spiritual Formation is “A movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer is entering the church. Find spiritual formation being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. In fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual formation movement.” As far as I can tell, if a schools offers a class with “Spiritual Formation” in the title – it is guilty of promoting this dangerous trend.

We can only assume that spiritual formation in and of itself is acceptable, for who could deny this as biblical? The offense appears to be the use of “Contemplative Spirituality” which they define as:

Contemplative Spirituality: A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all). Common terms used for this movement are “spiritual formation,” “the silence,” “the stillness,” “ancient-wisdom,” “spiritual disciplines,” and many others.

And here is where their supposed

Re-search: [ri-surch, ree-surch]  – noun

1. diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications: Recent research in medicine…

becomes a colossal

Fail: [feyl] –verb (used without object)

1. to fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired, or approved: “Their research failed.”

On the page that contains the above definition for Contemplative Spirituality (which we would all oppose if it were really as they describe) are links to two articles; one by Dallas Willard and another by Richard Foster. It takes one only a few minutes to read these two articles to see how the “research” of Lighthouse Trails Research Project “fails.” Compare the accusations in the definition above with these two excerpts…

Dallas Willard:

So let me say to you very formally: Christian spiritual formation is the process through which the embodied/reflective will takes on the character of Christ’s will.

Spiritual formation in Christ would, then, ideally result in a person whose reflective will for good, fully informed and possessed by Christ, has settled into their body in its social context to such an extent that their natural responses were always to think and feel and do as Christ himself would.

Richard Foster:

Nothing is more important in Christian Spiritual Formation than our need to continue ever focused upon Jesus. This is not formation-in-general. This is formation into Christlikeness. Everything hangs on this. Everything. Jesus gives skeleton and sinews and muscle to our formation. In Jesus we find definition and shape and form for our formation. Jesus is our Savior to redeem us, our Bishop to shepherd us, our Teacher to instruct us, our Lord to rule us, our Friend to come alongside us. He is alive. He teaches, rules, guides, instructs, rebukes, comforts. Stay close to him in all things and in all ways.

We need to study the Bible with a view to the transformation of our whole person and of our whole life into Christlikeness. We come to the Bible to receive the life “with God” that is portrayed in the Bible. To do this we must not control what comes out of the Bible. We must be prepared to have our dearest and most fundamental assumptions about ourselves and our associations called into question. We must read humbly and in a constant attitude of repentance. Only in this way can we gain a thorough and practical grasp of the spiritual riches that God has made available to all humanity in his written Word.

…if you read the whole articles from which these quotes were excerpted, you will see how neither is remotely an example of the definition created by Lighthouse Trails. Neither promotes altered states of consciousness, the occult, or either pantheism nor panentheism.

When your examples contradict your premise – that is a research fail.

Unfortunately, many do not read the links, they simply drink the Kool-Aide as if it were safe.

  • Share/Bookmark
This entry was posted on Friday, February 6th, 2009 at 2:21 pm and is filed under Blogging, Christian Living. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
+/- Collapse/Expand All

131 Comments(+Add)

1   nc    
February 6th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Oh, but Neil…

Willard and Foster aren’t talking about the “Christ” of the Bible…

you know that, silly boy.

2   Neil    
February 6th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

nc,

Yeah, I remember getting into a discussion about this on the Rapture Ready bulletin board (before they kicked me off) – some there were convinced that Foster was advocating astral projection when he wrote (paraphrase) – “Imagine you are in space looking down on the earth…”

I’d laugh… except they were serious.

3   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 6th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I like kool aid, especially if it is sugar free.

Neil, you also need to do deeper research, into the definitions of the words used by the spiritual formation ‘types’. RF, as a quaker, has a different use of the word ‘light’ for example than we would.

So, is it a different ‘Christ’? I don’t know. I need to do more research.

4   Neil    
February 6th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Neil, you also need to do deeper research, into the definitions of the words used by the spiritual formation ‘types’. RF, as a quaker, has a different use of the word ‘light’ for example than we would. – PB

Two things PB,

1. I have read several of Fosters books, seen him in conference, and subscribe to his newsletter. I have seen and heard things I disagree with, but nothing that is New Age, cultic, or a different Christ.

But that is tangential to my post becuase,

2. If you read the articles LTRP linked to, neither support their claims, in fact they contradict their claims – therefore, research fail.

5   Brett S    
February 6th, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Neil,

How dare you question the research of Lighthouse Trails Ministry???

Do you not know that ANYTHING associated with “spiritual formation” or “contemplative prayer” is part of an evil plot hatched by apostate Roman Catholicism?
Do you not know that apostate Roman Catholicism is the evil occult enemy of God and of true Christians?
Do you not know that every problem in our Christian nation is linked to the embracing of the apostate Roman Catholic heresy?

We must not let petty things like research techniques, thruthfulness, the bible, or loving neighbor as oneself get in the way of a good story. The Lord’s mortal enemies must be banished from the kingdom by any means necessary.

6   nc    
February 6th, 2009 at 6:05 pm

PB,

While you do that research, make sure you do the legwork to learn about the range of Quaker theological identities throughout that particular “tribe”.

A quick internet search will show you that the Friends have a range of denominational expressions–just like the baptists, lutherans, etc. etc.

7   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 6th, 2009 at 7:45 pm

All I can say of those who claim to be authoritative in their research and yet fail…

Titus 1: 15. To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

8   john b    
February 7th, 2009 at 4:07 am

Pastorboy Says:

Neil, you also need to do deeper research, into the definitions of the words used by the spiritual formation ‘types’. RF, as a quaker, has a different use of the word ‘light’ for example than we would.

Well of course he does. Just as Warren used terms for a “different Jesus”. (Rolling eyes)

9   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 7th, 2009 at 9:15 am

Many teachers can have a paragraph or two culled out and be seen as using Biblical words and thoughts, just as others can have some words separated which seem heretical. The Quaker movement started by George Fox is a very slippery denomination that seems to depend upon the subjective experience, and worse yet many times teaches a form of universalism.

Searching for everyone’s (and they mean everyone) inner light and then receiving messages from that light is mysticism, especially when practiced with such a nebulous view of Christ and His Word. If there is one thing I have learned is to distrust language.

In January 20, 1942 a conference was held at Wannsee just outside Berlin. The meeting was to arrive at the Final Solution for the annihilation of the Jews. Only one transcript of the meeting was recovered. During the meeting many words were used such as evacuation, immigration, removal, and many other general words that in normal parlance would mean something, but if taken in the overall historical context mean something much more sinister.

At one point during a coffee break, Maj. Rudolf Lange of the SS speaks with Dr. Wilhelm Kritzinger a lawyer and philosopher. They quietly discuss these words and Lange says to Kritzinger,

“I have studied law, and it has made me distrustful of language. A gun means what it says.”

And so it is with any language, it can sometimes seem so clear when the hearers receive the words in a certain context when in reality they are being spoken from an entirely different perspective. The Mormon says “Jesus”, the Christian Scientist says “Jesus”, the Jehovah’s Witness says “Jesus”, and so on. They all say “Jesus”, but upon further extrapolation we find that the same word means very different things.

I am for meditation, and contemplation, and listening, and other practices sometimes defined as “mysticism”, however if they are not well within Biblical truths they can and do lead to subjective error which sometimes get processed as Biblical truth, not because they are Biblical, but because they have been “heard” by a certain person. The warning of private interpretation has not only been ignored, it has been embraced as communicating with God.

Much of the Quaker religion is rife with extra-Biblical subjectivity and a universalist view of creation, and that is supremely unfortunate since their insistance upon the deeper life can be a great spiritual benefit under certain circumstances.

10   gordo    
February 7th, 2009 at 10:19 am

“Much of the Quaker religion is rife with extra-Biblical subjectivity and a universalist view of creation…”

I suspect that most of the people setting in the pews of your evangelical fundamentalist churches are universalists. They won’t admit to it, and may not recognize it themselves, but deep in their hearts….

11   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 7th, 2009 at 10:37 am

“I suspect that most of the people setting in the pews of your evangelical fundamentalist churches are universalists.”

See, words can be so slippery. I would not consider a universalist to be a evangelical fundamentalist.

“They won’t admit to it, and may not recognize it themselves, but deep in their hearts….”

And perhaps the “most” you address don’t care one way or the other. Universalism is a form of spiritual laziness as well as dangerous compromise. The two sides of the same coin are these:

One side says Christ only died for the very few chosen by God and all the preaching and missionary work will not alter one person’s eternal destiny, it is already set.

The other side says Christ died for everyone and all will be saved and missionary work is just informing them of this good news because it is already set.

Both sides of the same coin are from the same currency that is used to buy spiritual laziness without guilt or debt.

12   Neil    
February 7th, 2009 at 10:57 am

I am for meditation, and contemplation, and listening, and other practices sometimes defined as “mysticism”, however if they are not well within Biblical truths they can and do lead to subjective error which sometimes get processed as Biblical truth, not because they are Biblical, but because they have been “heard” by a certain person. The warning of private interpretation has not only been ignored, it has been embraced as communicating with God. – Rick

Of course we’d all agree with this. That said, I have yet to read any of Foster that speaks of another Jesus or receiving revelation from a light.

Your comments regarding a paragraph or two culled from their writing and used to show they are biblical is relevant.

My point was that LHTRP failed in their research because the quotes they culled and offered did not support their claims, in fact the quotes appear to contradict their claims. That was my first point.

My second was to show that a face-value reading of the quotes, even the whole articles which I encouraged all to read, show them to be biblical.

Could these guys be using words to mean things other than their primary meaning – of course. But nothing in the quotes, nor the corpus from which they were culled leads me to believe so.

13   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 7th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

We have also addressed this principle as well, namely what does a person’s endorsement of another mean to the understanding of that person? When Willard and Foster cliam to have benefited greatly from George Fox, does that impact on them personally?

If someone quotes favorably from Marcus Borg, it may not mean they totally agree with him, but it does give the impression that they do not consider his heretical views substantial enough to speak negatively of him, only favorably. That inpacts me concerning them and their views.

If a person claims to love gay people, but he quotes Fred Phelps in a favorable light, what am I to surmise from this? At best, total confusion – at best.

14   Neil    
February 7th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Rick, I don’t understand your point.

15   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 7th, 2009 at 1:32 pm

If, for instance, Willard and Foster point to Fox as a great spiritual leader, and if George Fox is a universalist (as well as other things), that has an impact on how I view their theologies as well. So even though the quotes LH provides are less than indicting, their support of Fox gives some perspective to their views.

In short, the “spiritual formation” may be suspect simply based upon my knowledge of their support of George Fox’s teachings. Spiritual formation may be an extension of the “inner light” teaching of the Quackers.

16   nc    
February 7th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Rick,

I guess it depends on what is being quoted.

You can say you love the gay community and then if you quote Fred Phelps in support of lower taxes…I don’t know if it raises questions.

Borg’s articulation of the idea of “faith” in his book The Heart of Christianity is sound and helped me deeply.

It doesn’t necessitate or imply that I support him carte blanche.

Just my nickel…

btw, you’re in Florida, right?

17   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 7th, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Yes, I am in Florida. Borg’s assertion that the body of Jesus may have been eaten by wild dogs and the story of the resurrection was not literal renders him an apostate who cannot be quoted and has no place at the evangelical table.

If I heard you quote him without a caveat I would assume you did not care about his profoundly heretical views. That would impact me concerning you. Your example of Phelps is apples and oranges since what I refer to is quoting someone concerning spiritual issues.

If Phelps was a good plummer I might use him but I surely would not quote him as having a positive spiritual thought. I can find others who could communicate the samew thought without the heretical baggage. Spiritual credibility is something we must be careful about awarding. Others may pick up Borg and leave the faith.

18   nc    
February 7th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Actually, I quoted Borg profusely from my last pulpit. I just never cited him…There was a MacArthur worshipping “god squad” in our congregation that could make even some of the neo-fundamentalists on the church board pretty weary.

You can deploy good things without a lot of distracting stuff by just saying…”As one theologian says…”

19   nc    
February 7th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I still think apostate’s can be right about some things.

A person may hate Barth’s articulation of his doctrine of Scripture…but the man really nails the doctrine of reconciliation, IMVHO.

Also his early sermons on the power of God meeting us are spot on.

20   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 7th, 2009 at 9:02 pm

I will chose Barth 1 million times over Borg.

“I still think apostate’s can be right about some things.”

Like a stopped clock is right twice a day. :)

21   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 7th, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Borg isn’t a theologian, he’s a lost sinner in need of a RISEN Savior.

22   John Hughes    
February 8th, 2009 at 12:49 am

I have read Foster and found him wanting. His visualization techniques regarding Jesus are problematic at best. Any time you create and then interact with a mental construct of Jesus, you have by definition, created a god of your own imagination, i.e, rank idolatry. To be able to summon such an entity upon demand, via centering down techniques (Foster’s own words) is by definition, sorcery. Light house trails has nothing to do with it.

23   John Hughes    
February 8th, 2009 at 12:51 am

He’s a Quaker who teaches techniques culled from medieval Catholic mystics. What’s to question? I like cherry coolaid myself.

24   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
February 8th, 2009 at 1:29 am

Because Quakers and Catholics are evil and apostate… forgot that

25   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 7:25 am

It is a serious discussion since it would seem that many of the same “techniques” are used interchangeable with some non-christian religions and mind control practices. The “Quakers and Catholics are evil and apostate” quip is unproductive since it skirts a legitimate issue, unless the methodology of the ODMs is the only legitimate issue.

I have stated that I espouse meditation, fasting, listening, and other “mystical” practices as long as they remain within Biblical parameters and are not given a core status in receiving spiritual revelation. They must be an enhancement to Scriptural revelation and not any special and personal addition to universal truths.

I might have been an Essene in another life, but some of what is proposed, as John noted, is a dangerous construct not unlike some of the practices of hyper-charismatics. To imagine Jesus is one thing, but to construct Him as a mental marrionette that speaks and does things in your mind which you receive as a spiritual reality is extremely problematic.

I heard with my own ears a preacher who used such techniques say that God told him personally in a vision that he should not worship a book (the Bible), and that “my Spirit is above ink on a page”. I reiterate that it is supremely unfortunate to use these “techniques” without proper and careful Biblical moorings since the church could surely use a large dose of seeking the face of Christ through a personal prayer closet experience.

Although some may well receive some benefit from these techniques, it does not suggest they are safe and benign. Deception is never safe and is most effectively communicated through human conduits who are sincere, passionate, and have an overall evangelical resume that is predominately sound.

There is coming a time, and in many quaters is already here, where every doctrine is acceptable without any serious Biblical examination as long as the results seem beneficial. When something produces seemingly beneficial results but is unbiblical it is called deception.

26   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 8th, 2009 at 10:44 am

Why is using one’s imagination when communing with God wrong?

Any time you create and then interact with a mental construct of Jesus, you have by definition, created a god of your own imagination, i.e, rank idolatry.

Don’t construct ideas of God and Jesus all the time as we read, think and write about God? When reborn by the Spirit of God are not our minds, including our imagination also being made new? I’m thinking of Romans 8 here…

Rom 8:5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man[e] is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind[f] is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

It seems to me that when someone suggests doing something that we are not used to or comfortable with we vilify it. I have never read Foster so I cannot comment on him but Willard never suggests that we should receive something from the contemplative/imaginary that is in contrast to what is revealed in the Bible.

27   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 10:54 am

Gene – what do these imaginary Jesus’s do? All of is imagine Him and heaven etc., but does Jesus just quote Scripture in your imagination? Does your imagination relive the feeding of the five thousand?

Tell me what Jesus is doing/saying in a person’s imaginary scenario, and how does it minister above and beyond the Word? And if a person practices this form of imaginary communication, will the sensational aspect of the imagination eventually become something the person is addicted to? How can just reading the Word compare with a 3-D imaginary show in the mind?

My mind tells me a plethera of unbiblical things, so how does a person insure that this Jesus doesn’t tell them some extra-biblical things at best, and anti-biblical things at worst?

28   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 8th, 2009 at 11:10 am

Good questions Rick, but if we are constantly afraid of being led astray by anything and all we will end up going nowhere spiritually. I still think we can trust the Holy Spirit and should always have the Bible as our gaurd rails…
I’ll think about your questions a bit more.

29   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 11:19 am

“but if we are constantly afraid of being led astray by anything and all we will end up going nowhere spiritually. “

Gene – on the other sdie of that coin, if we never test the spirits we will all be led astray. We should meditate, we should fast, we should listen, and we should seek God’s face/voice in our spirits. But I still cannot see what envisioning a 3-D Jesus does and says that can benefit the believer.

I have been in meetings where the preacher calls out “words of knowledge” about “someone” having a certain illness. I have never been in a meeting where the Holy Spirit reveals to that preacher the name of someone in the room who is presently committing adultery. You know why? Because no one would desire to attend THAT kind of meeting.

There are instances in the book of Acts where men fell into a trance, but it was not a “practice” and they were rare.

http://judahslion.blogspot.com/2007/01/ecstasy-three-times-in-new-testament.html

30   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 8th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Gene and Rick,

The other side of the coin… (Coins are more than one sided and are multidimensional)… is that if we follow the HOly Spirit as He will teach us all things and will remind us of everything I have said to us though the bible, His people and by direct revelation (not new revelation but that He reveals our heart in contrast to God’s) we will both grow spiritually and test the spirits as we grow. It is not an either/or… but a natural growth without fear based in love that God has given us and we respond to. Believe me I have a few friends (being Pentecostal) that are into Benny Hinn and others that I would say are over the deep end… yet even in those God sometimes cuts through the crap and we get the Truth.

Personally when ever I have tried to see a vision I have not had that much luck, yet when I seek God sometimes I see visions or have insights… I do not see these as “of me” but that God has for some reason granted me Grace to go beyond this flesh and see things as they are or might be.

iggy

31   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 8th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

I have been in meetings where the preacher calls out “words of knowledge” about “someone” having a certain illness.

I have done that in my life as a pentecostal/charismaniac :oops:

Iggy kind of said what I kind of meant. I think we sometimes diminish the power of the Holy Spirit and His ability to lead believers when they seek the truth. We seem to be comfortable with methods we know and trust to grow spiritually and that is ok (if we continue to grow) but when someone else’s method is foreign to us we should not immediately jump to the conclusion that it will lead to a false gospel.

Come to think of it we have people already on the lookout for all that is foreign so we can relax, the watchmen will tell us who the heretics are. :roll:

32   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 4:18 pm

There is a difference between someone fasting and praying and in the midst of a deep and powerful time of prayer God gives some charisma that is out of the ordinary – and – someone going to a time of prayer and expecting to see some vision. One is a God given experience of grace, the other is a technique.

33   nc    
February 8th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Maybe people wouldn’t need to imagine a 3-D Jesus if the Christ followers around them were being real, live 3-D “Jesuses”.

Considering the way most Christians act I’ll take the Jesus of my imagination…

34   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
February 8th, 2009 at 4:39 pm

The “Quakers and Catholics are evil and apostate” quip is unproductive since it skirts a legitimate issue, unless the methodology of the ODMs is the only legitimate issue.

Rick – I would say that the quip, itself, was as productive as bringing Quakers and Catholics into the discussion in the first place (which was the point I was trying to make).

Ad homenim is ad homenim, and GBA is GBA, no matter how you color it.

35   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 4:41 pm

If you mean someone kind and generous and loving, there is one who is coming who will exhibit those traits. I know Mormons, etc. who act like Jesus. Jesus is who He revealed Himself to be by the written revelation regardless of who acts chartitable.

People should be a reflection of Christ, but the Scriptures have the final Word.

36   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Both Willard and Foster have openly endorsed Georg Fox (the founder of the Quakers), so where exactly is the ad hominin to which you refer.

I believe Brett introduced the Roman Catholic Church as satirical and I did not see anyone bite (except you), and the Quakers are a legitimate part of the Foster/Willard conversation. This isn’t GBA since both men joyfully teach some of George Fox’s teachings. They would have no problem discussing that perspective.

I believe Foster graduated from George Fox college.

37   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
February 8th, 2009 at 4:59 pm

My point being that I would consider the Friends church and the RCC to be within the bounds of Christendom, and that boiling a discussion down to

He’s a Quaker who teaches techniques culled from medieval Catholic mystics. What’s to question? I like cherry coolaid myself.

basically dismisses something by labeling it “Quaker” and “Catholic”, as if either label automatically conveys falsehood.

38   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 8th, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Any time you create and then interact with a mental construct of Jesus, you have by definition, created a god of your own imagination, i.e, rank idolatry.

Actually, this is a very old battle and one that was “settled” as official doctrine a long time. The bishops at the Second Council of Nicea in 787 ruled that icons were perfectly OK and the people who were trying to destroy and remove them were anathema. They said:

“Anathema to those who do not salute [venerate] the holy and venerable images. Anathema to those who call the sacred images idols.”

Now, my point isn’t necessarily to support the use of icons, but I think we forget that these same debates have been goings for centuries.

I have been in meetings where the preacher calls out “words of knowledge” about “someone” having a certain illness. I have never been in a meeting where the Holy Spirit reveals to that preacher the name of someone in the room who is presently committing adultery. You know why? Because no one would desire to attend THAT kind of meeting.

Boy, I can be cynical, but even I am not that cynical. I guess I have been around too much real to believe that all of these things are fake or contrived. To me, the evidence of the fake only reveals the authenticity of the true.

I think the one thing to remember is that the primary purpose of the Gifts of the Spirit is to edify and encourage the body. I don’t see how publicly revealing sin does either of those. I have known of instances where Gods has revealed a person’s sin to another person, and they confronted the person privately. I don’t see what would be gained from a public confrontation in most instances.

39   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 8th, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Both Willard and Foster have openly endorsed Georg Fox (the founder of the Quakers), so where exactly is the ad hominin to which you refer.

I find it interesting that George Fox is being written off because he was a Quaker. As someone noted there are many streams now… and yes some are more into Universalism… but not all are. In fact I think if one looks at what George Fox taught was mostly about an intimate relationship with Jesus. In that GF taught God speaks to us today… we do not need priests or someone to be between us and God. He taught that the calling to ministry was of the Holy Spirit and not from education. George also called for spiritual discernment and noted that just letting anyone speak in the name of The Light was not enough… in fact he noted that Satan masquerades as an angel of light.

The main point though was that we walk in relationship with Jesus though the Holy Spirit that lives in us. To that much of what we see as “normal” evangelicalism is due a lot to GF’s influence.

iggy

40   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 8th, 2009 at 5:45 pm

I have been in meetings where the preacher calls out “words of knowledge” about “someone” having a certain illness. I have never been in a meeting where the Holy Spirit reveals to that preacher the name of someone in the room who is presently committing adultery. You know why? Because no one would desire to attend THAT kind of meeting

I have been to that and have had that “knowledge” come on me… yet I do not and would not confront the person in public… I would later talk to them… mostly I give a general “Someone here is dealing in an unfaithful marriage” or something rather generic and let the Holy Spirit work in that person… then if they come forward someone or I will pray with them. To confront in public would be too harsh and would not build “trust” in the sense that others will feel that someone with this gift might just be spreading dirty laundry.

The best way is to just talk to the person alone the first time and ask them what is going on in their life. At that point alone I have seen the HS come down and the person will unload or tell me what is going on. They do not always stop their sin, but that now someone knows about it will either deal with it or leave.
Sadly as there is no such thing as real church discipline anymore… most just go down the street to the next church and do not deal with it.
iggy

41   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 6:00 pm

The internal hologram model for communication with the Almighty has no Biblical foundation and when taught as a technique for reaching the Spirit, well it opens wide the door to much mischief. Relying on the Holy Spirit is a nice catch phrase which no one can confront, except if it means an open invitation for everything to speak internally.

The false movements that were spawned from sincere people relying on visions, dreams, and inward lights are legion.

42   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 8th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Relying on the Holy Spirit is a nice catch phrase which no one can confront, except if it means an open invitation for everything to speak internally.

Yet how many more people claim to know Jesus but do not have the Holy Spirit which gives them not only new Life now… but eternal life later. And many are taught no longer speaks in visions, dreams or an inward light leading them toward God and out of fear they never come to know the Living God and experience all that is promised by God.

Yes there are the Joseph Smiths.. who probably never had a real vision… but had a great story to sell and when it could not get published turned it into a religion.

Yes, some follow Satan as he masquerades as an Angel of Light… but then that does not negate that Jesus is the Light to all men…

Yes, Edgar Cayce was deceived and most probably mislead down a road of spiritism… which has mislead many others… yet it does not negate that the Bible states

Acts 2:17. “`In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

Again so sad that so many never come to Life out of fear.
iggy

43   Bo Diaz    
February 8th, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Any time you create and then interact with a mental construct of Jesus, you have by definition, created a god of your own imagination, i.e, rank idolatry.

Isn’t this what everyone does to one extent or another? Or at least everyone who doesn’t completely and utterly understand exactly who and what Jesus was?

44   Brett S    
February 9th, 2009 at 11:24 am

Rick,

I believe Brett introduced the Roman Catholic Church as satirical and I did not see anyone bite (except you), and the Quakers are a legitimate

The satire was for anyone who thinks “research” was a possible motive for the proposed article. Anyone who can’t see that a Roman Catholic mass and a Quaker meeting are 2 radically opposite forms of worship is either blind or can’t think straight. I’ve noticed that most of these “watchmen” are ex-catholics who transfer any perceived/questionable/strange practice by any Christian to further proof of apostate popery, and romanism. I don’t think that truth, research, or the bible really matters to these guys, when the fight to defend the one, holy, protestant?, and apostolic church is at stake.

I don’t understand the urge by professed Christians to set up a “camp” for the sole purpose of chunking stones at others who dare to claim they love Jesus.

St. Paul, pray for us!

45   John Hughes    
February 9th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Bo: #43 – Isn’t this what everyone does to one extent or another? Or at least everyone who doesn’t completely and utterly understand exactly who and what Jesus was?

Not at all. Foster teaches that upon centering down (i.e., reaching an alterted state of consciousness) that they conjur up a Jesus of their own imagination and enteract with said construct. Further at some point this construct will take on a life of its own and become Jesus (Foster’s words) at which point one should worship and take instruction. This is rank idolotry and Spiritism.

46   John Hughes    
February 9th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Chris: basically dismisses something by labeling it “Quaker” and “Catholic”, as if either label automatically conveys falsehood.

No, it does not **automatically** convey falsehood, but as both Quakerism and Catholic doctrine contain much, much error in the Protestant world view why bother to sift through all the erroneous teachings to obtain a kernal of truth when there are more productive and safer ways to obtain Biblical enlightenment?

Hopefully one is a Methodist, Baptist, COC, Bible Churcher, Independent for a reason and not out of convenience. Both Quakerism and Roman Catholicism fall outside Biblical orthodoxy in many key areas. Do they contain **some** truth? Yes. But to be perfectly clear, yes, Rome is apostate.

But Chris I will pray for you!

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known
That any one who fled to your protection, implored your help
Or sought your intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful;
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
But in your clemency hear and answer me. Amen.

47   John Hughes    
February 9th, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Quakers: I do like their oats however; esecially the maple and brown sugar variety! :-)

48   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Me Too! And after you eat them and close your eyes, you can see them glow in your stomach! :lol:

49   Brett S    
February 9th, 2009 at 2:49 pm

why bother to sift through all the erroneous teachings to obtain a kernal of truth when there are more productive and safer ways to obtain Biblical enlightenment?

John Hughes,

Since I am in communion with the bishop of Rome, where would be the preferred source for us apostates to obtain these missing kernals of enlightenment? Lighthouse Trails or Apprising Ministries??

50   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 9th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Since I am in communion with the bishop of Rome, where would be the preferred source for us apostates to obtain these missing kernals of enlightenment?

It might be a foreign concept (I know, having been Catholic myself) but I find the Bible accompanied by prayer to be a pretty good starting point.

51   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 9th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

… and a God-called minister to feed you.

52   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Or an audience with Monsignor Frueh. :)

53   Brett S    
February 9th, 2009 at 3:44 pm

but I find the Bible accompanied by prayer to be a pretty good starting point.

Thanks Paul.
The Bible? I’ve got 5-6 of those lying around the house that I try to read every day; but maybe I’m just not doing it right. Maybe I should purchase one of those special 365 read the bible in a year editions. Maybe then I’ll be victorious and get saved!

Prayer? I am trying that also, but I do want to be careful that my spirit does not get overly formed. I have heard about the dangers of Spiritual Formation !!!

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30

54   Brett S    
February 9th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Paul C,

… and a God-called minister to feed you.

Do you mean someone like this guy?
[He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep."] – John 21:17

55   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 9th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Sorry Brett – couldn’t resist.

But I think John makes a valid point: sifting through the fog there is the off chance you might stumble upon some kernel of importance, but there’s a greater chance of getting lost and diverting off the path.

56   Brett S    
February 9th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

No problem Paul :)

But I think John makes a valid point: sifting through the fog there is the off chance you might stumble upon some kernel of importance

I disagree, I think John’s point was off base. I don’t disparage any Christian for not accepting RC teaching, and a Christian in good conscience is free to disagree with the entirety of Catholic doctrine.

But I will submit that there are more “kernels” of TRUTH in any single paragraph of the Catechism of the CC, than in the research/rumor/gossip chronicled on the entire Lighthouse Trails Research website.
(There may even be more kernels in my bag of Orville Redenbacher’s when I take it out of the microwave.)

57   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 9th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

I have the same problem with Mr. Redenbacher myself – thought I was the only one. Perhaps we can launch a blog and enforce our demands of less wasted kernels per bag.

I have never visited the Lighthouse Trails website so can’t comment specifically. But I think you would be hard-pressed to find more falsity, destruction, politicization, and still-accumulating dirt under the rug than the Catholic church.

John’s point, as I understood it, is that there is a simplicity and beauty to the gospel that is often corrupted when it becomes what it has become – a foggy mass or labyrinth with no clarity of truth. That’s my issue with the RCC – truth is not nearly as important as religion.

58   Brett S    
February 9th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Paul C,

I can’t argue with you in finding problems with the RCC. I don’t understand your clarity issues with the church; but I’m a catholic because I believe the church is true.

I don’t know the past problems you’ve had with the church; but I will take a cue from one of my heroes in apology for any of my fellow catholics. The Times in London invited several authors to write essays on the theme “What’s Wrong with the World?” Chesterton’s contribution took the form of a letter, and was probably the shortest and most accurate reply they received. What’s wrong with the world?

Dear Sirs,
I am.
Sincerely yours,
G. K. Chesterton

59   nc    
February 9th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

To toss out The Friends, out of hand and based on the label “Quaker” is a bit of laziness. It demonstrates you haven’t done the work.

As I earlier mentioned in this thread, one should do the actual work of looking at the various Friends meetings (they act like the various forms of Lutherans, Methodists, etc.)

To dismiss the Friends as a matter of course requires that you do the same with many others.

another point,

George Fox is dead. And how his writings are or are not understood is to be laid at the feet of those various meetings.

In the US we have the Evangelical Friends, the Friends United and the Friends General Conference.

There are 2-3 similar groups in Canada as well, I believe.

Something to think about before any of us get high-minded about these folk.

60   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

I attended a friends school early in life. The writings of George Fox aren’t dead, and the endorsements of Willard and Foster are alive as well.

61   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 9th, 2009 at 5:36 pm

I can’t argue with you in finding problems with the RCC. I don’t understand your clarity issues with the church; but I’m a catholic because I believe the church is true.

Brett, every movement and every church has issues and problems. As they say, during the flood the ark probably stank, but it was better than being outside.

The issue with the RCC is that while it claims to represent Christ (the pope claims the title of Vicar of Christ), it is, in many respects its antithesis. Hardly any church is as ardent in its claim that it is the true church, and yet it virtually rejects truth. Full well it rejects plain biblical truth in favor of man-made rituals and principles.

So, let’s not reduce it to simple humanity and make excuses accordingly. Your Chesterton quote is misplaced in this argument as no one is claiming superiority here.

62   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 9th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Let me state that my initial comment was based on the line you took from John:

why bother to sift through all the erroneous teachings to obtain a kernal of truth when there are more productive and safer ways to obtain Biblical enlightenment?

I thought that statement is very true. I’m not concerned with the Friends/Quakers thing at all.

63   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 5:44 pm

The issue with the RCC is that while it claims to represent Christ (the pope claims the title of Vicar of Christ), it is, in many respects its antithesis. Hardly any church is as ardent in its claim that it is the true church, and yet it virtually rejects truth. Full well it rejects plain biblical truth in favor of man-made rituals and principles.

That same statement could be said about many Protestant churches. I don’t understand why people seem willing to accept the fact that there is both good and bad within Protestantism, and we can accept that there can be true Christians within “dead” traditions. So why can’t that be true for the RCC?

There are certainly Catholics who are steeped in religion, but I do believe there are those who do have a real and living faith. It seems that the institutional trappings of any church, be it Protestant or Catholic, have the ability to smother the work of the Holy Spirit.

64   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 9th, 2009 at 5:58 pm

So why can’t that be true for the RCC?

Phil, do you suggest that Mary veneration, praying to saints, and dozens of all false teachings are just “things to overlook” or “minor points of difference”. When will people be honest enough to speak plainly? False is false.

It seems that the institutional trappings of any church, be it Protestant or Catholic, have the ability to smother the work of the Holy Spirit.

This is a good point, and one I wholeheartedly accept and agree with. I am not attacking Brett personally, but speaking of the RCC.

BTW, I know several Hindus/Muslims/Jews who appear to “have a real and living faith.” That is the not the point.

65   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 9th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

BTW, Phil, I’m not so sure Brett would agree with your reference to “dead” traditions. As Brett said above:

“I’m a catholic because I believe the church is true.”

66   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Phil, do you suggest that Mary veneration, praying to saints, and dozens of all false teachings are just “things to overlook” or “minor points of difference”. When will people be honest enough to speak plainly? False is false.

Well, it depends on what you mean by “overlook”. I don’t pray to Mary, but does that mean that someone who does can’t be a Christian or that I can have no fellowship with them? I’ve had Catholic friends, so I guess I have “overlooked” it to some extent. I guess I trust the Holy Spirit to work within people.

If someone asks my opinion of something I’ll give it. I don’t know what purpose it serves for me to keep a personal list of forbidden Christian practices that I impose on others. To me, if someone confesses Christ is the Risen Lord and knows Him personally, I can comfortably call that person brother or sister. We can work out the other details.

I think one reason I may be sympathetic to Catholics is that in many ways, Pentecostal Christians have more in common with them than we might realize. A lot of people within Protestantism think we’re nuts as well. Catholics actually affirm the miraculous more than many Protestants.

67   Brett S    
February 9th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Paul C,

I’m sorry man! I don’t know what I’m supposed to be arguing with you about. I thought we were just having a friendly chat.

I apologize to others for being off topic, but I would like to address a few “issues” you brought up Paul.

The issue with the RCC is that while it claims to represent Christ (the pope claims the title of Vicar of Christ), it is, in many respects its antithesis.

I don’t fully understand you here; but the RCC doesn’t claim to represent Christ. The RCC teaches that Christ created one church that is the body of Christ, with Christ as its head. Every baptized Christian is in some way united to that one body of Christ, and shares in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. I think you’ll find that consistent with the Holy Bible.

Full well it rejects plain biblical truth in favor of man-made rituals and principles.

I am a moderately intelligent guy that is an avid reader of both the Bible and the catechism. In my studies I have never encountered this “plain biblical truth” that the RCC in rejecting.
Do you have advice that could make me see this plain truth any better?

68   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 6:18 pm

I am not speaking of any Roamn Catholic person and their salvation. And the issues already mentioned are fringe. The issue is justification by faith alone.

The Vatican II incorporates works into the salvation equation, and purgatory itself is based upon the proposition that the atonement of Christ is insufficient without the sufferings of sinners to pay for sins.

I have met wonderfil Catholic people who I have no doubt are saved and love Christ. I have learned some great thoughts from watching Scott Hahn with his insights into the shadows of Christ.

But the teachings of works was the core of the Reformation and Paul is clear that to mix any works with salvation is heresy.

69   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 6:24 pm
Full well it rejects plain biblical truth in favor of man-made rituals and principles.

I am a moderately intelligent guy that is an avid reader of both the Bible and the catechism. In my studies I have never encountered this “plain biblical truth” that the RCC in rejecting.
Do you have advice that could make me see this plain truth any better? Brett

Probably what was in mind was the elevation of church tradition to the same status as biblical revelation.

70   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 6:28 pm

As I said earlier. I subscribe to the Renovare Newsletter. When I used to post at rr-bb I’d return to a thread that I started on Foster after reading each month’s newsletter. Each time I’d post the same thing…

“Just got the [insert month] edition of Renovare, no heresy found.”

No one else ever posted anything.

Neil

71   Brett S    
February 9th, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Hi Neil,

Probably what was in mind was the elevation of church tradition to the same status as biblical revelation.

Sorry I’m not a mind reader, I’ll defer to those wacky Pentacostals on that charism :)

I don’t think catholism elevated sacred Tradition to the level of sacred Scripture. They have both had a unique role from the beginning. Any more than my right arm (which can throw a baseball) is elevated over my right foot (which can kick a soccer ball). Thats how I understand it anyway.

72   John Hughes    
February 9th, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Brett: Since I am in communion with the bishop of Rome, where would be the preferred source for us apostates to obtain these missing kernals of enlightenment? Lighthouse Trails or Apprising Ministries??

First, I would personally not recommend either site and for the record I do not support Apprising Ministries in any shape form or fashion and agree with most here regarding Slice and that site.

2nd I have not questioned anyones’ salvation. Having lived in New Orleans for 14 years which is predominately Roman Catholic and having an interest in theology and apologetics in general I made a thorough study of Roman Catholicism from written documentation to live first hand experiences. There is obviously much good done by the Catholic Church from a temporal point of view and I have many friends who are Roman Catholic and saved. I am speaking solely of official Catholic Church dogma which again, I belive is apostate. I am sorry if that offends you, but I don’t know how else to say it. (As a Southern Baptist I get my share of pot shots too!). I don’t rub it in my friends noses and never even approach the subject unless asked.

To some degree, I think it is true that every one picks and chooses what they believe from the official dogma of their demonimation of choice but I find it hard to say one is in communion with the Bishop of Rome and not “buy in” to official Catholic dogma regarding teachings like veneration of Mary and the saints, transsubtantation, puragory, the papacy, etc. which are just a few of the major problematic teachings.

73   nc    
February 9th, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Rick, I’m not saying Fox’s influence and thought is “dead”, what I’m saying is that the keepers of that tradition are the Friends and the 3 major US meetings have very different uses/interpretations/understandings of Fox…

They need to be considered before one can fairly start broad brushing quakers or asserting Foster speaks for those meetings.

It’s like saying that Lutheran’s need to be avoided because certain Lutheran sects have, in modern times, become abberant in some of their teaching.

74   nc    
February 9th, 2009 at 7:29 pm

I’d add too that they need to be considered before one writes off Fox too.

75   Brett S    
February 9th, 2009 at 7:59 pm

I am sorry if that offends you, but I don’t know how else to say it. – John Hughes

John,

You seem like an honest guy and you honestly have not offended me in the least :)

I am speaking solely of official Catholic Church dogma which again, I belive is apostate.

Fair enough; just so long as you clarified “I believe is apostate”. You will excuse me for not being convinced that your beliefs are more credible than a certain elderly German gentleman who pastors in Rome.
Peace,

76   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Brett – You might be surprised to find I bought and have read several times that German guy’s book “Jesus of Nazareth”.

Have you? If not – EXCOMMUNICATED!!

77   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Brett – Using the ODM measurement of spirituality, if Ravi Zacharius is apostate, where does that leave you?

I know – nonexistent. :)

78   John Hughes    
February 9th, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Brett: You will excuse me for not being convinced that your beliefs are more credible than a certain elderly German gentleman who pastors in Rome.

Baptist’s Rome is Nashville, TN and our pope is Rick Warren.

79   nc    
February 9th, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Ummm…actually…isn’t the Baptist pope Johnny Hunt?

Paige Patterson?

Al Mohler?

;)

80   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 10th, 2009 at 10:56 am

Brett – I thought we were having a cordial conversation as well.

In terms of your personal relationship with the Lord (and that of other Catholics) I will not and cannot comment.

My key issue is that the RCC is apostate and promotes false doctrine that is destructive to the faith of its adherents.

Is there a difference between a Hindu setting up a shrine and praying to Vishnu than a Catholic setting up his shrine to Mary or one of the saints, and praying for protection or something else? Are not both forms of idolatry?

Is there not a danger is believing a completely false teaching such as purgatory?

These are just a couple of areas that are completely anti-biblical (not just untrue).

Do you personally see any concerns with these things?

You will excuse me for not being convinced that your beliefs are more credible than a certain elderly German gentleman who pastors in Rome.

Why do his beliefs hold so much credibility for you? Is it possible the RCC could be way off base?

For those of you apologizing for the plain truth, I fail to see where you’re coming from. Did the Reformation (not so much Luther, but the others who are so little mentioned) happen for no reason?

81   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 10th, 2009 at 10:59 am

For some context, you will notice how sternly Paul took the false teachings of Hymaneus and Philetus who taught the resurrection had already happened. He just didn’t brush it off.

No – he said their words will eat away at the hearers’ faith as a cancer.

In comparison to the RCC, this false doctrine was relatively tame and he didn’t just give it a pass as we are so apt to do today in the age of compromise and tolerance.

82   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 10th, 2009 at 11:19 am

For some context, you will notice how sternly Paul took the false teachings of Hymaneus and Philetus who taught the resurrection had already happened. He just didn’t brush it off.

I think in that instance, that particular teaching was something that dealt with the very core of the Gospel. If the resurrection had already occurred, it means that the whole framework of the Gospel falls apart. It’s a similar argument to that which Paul made in 1 Corinthians 15.

So I don’t know that you can necessarily equate things like the veneration of Mary or a belief in purgatory with denying the resurrection. I’d say that whether one is a Christian is defined by a core belief and relationship with Christ. These other things can be debated on their merits, but many of them are secondary things.

What Luther and the other Reformers had against Rome was that the basic message of salvation was getting lost amidst other things. So whether or not that basic message can come through today in some individual RCC parishes or not seems to be a case by case basis.

83   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 10th, 2009 at 11:28 am

“What Luther and the other Reformers had against Rome was that the basic message of salvation was getting lost amidst other things.”

That is somewhat of a distortion of the core of the Reformation. What Luther contended was that the RCC taught a salvation of works and not of faith. It wasn’t that the RCC was obscuring the message with fringe issues, they were teaching a heretical gospel, hence justification by faith (the just shall live by faith) became the awakening doctrine.

84   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 10th, 2009 at 11:32 am

So I don’t know that you can necessarily equate things like the veneration of Mary or a belief in purgatory with denying the resurrection.

Phil – listen to what you’re saying.

You’re essentially saying that idolatry (a plague that followed Israel throughout its existence and eked its way into the New Testament) is not as great a dragon as not denying the resurrection, but saying it has passed already.

One of the core teachings of Christianity is that Jesus is the sole mediator between man and God – that He is the way, the truth and the life. There is to be no other.

What the RCC has cleverly done is simply cloked pagan religion with a sprinkling of Christ, but the same practices and beliefs of the heathen still come through.

Outside of Luther (I think other people made greater contributions that he did, though their names are more obscured), the reason for the Reformation was that for the first time, people were actually able to have the Bible communicated to them for the first time – and having the ability to see what it says versus what the Universal Church was preaching was as far as East from West. It was the pursuit of truth that many died for their faith, not just minor differences.

85   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 10th, 2009 at 11:36 am

It wasn’t that the RCC was obscuring the message with fringe issues, they were teaching a heretical gospel, hence justification by faith (the just shall live by faith) became the awakening doctrine.

I would not relegate certain doctrines to “fringe issues” as if they have no import. How can you say that idolatry is not as dangerous as justification through works?

Again, Martin Luther was on the forefront and gets a lot of credit (perhaps rightfully so) but there were other movements (many underground as well) whose pursuit of the truth kept the light shining despite the best efforts of the RCC to extinguish it.

We would do well to remember that the same scriptures we’re so cavalier with are actually washed in the blood of men and women who saw them as containing the words of eternal life.

86   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 10th, 2009 at 11:43 am

To be fair, I think a lot people who pray to Mary would say that they are not worshiping her and not really praying to her, but rather asking he to intercede on their behalf. So if that’s the case, I would say it’s unnecessary, since we are perfectly able to approach the Father through Christ on our own. However, I don’t know that I would call it idolatry. There are, however, things that I have seen that do come close to that. I think that singing songs to Mary, for example, does seem idolatrous.

Speaking of idolatry, I have seen many examples of it Protestant churches as well. In my opinion, saluting the flag and pledging ones allegiance to it and the Republic can be something very close to it as well.

87   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 10th, 2009 at 11:47 am

That is somewhat of a distortion of the core of the Reformation. What Luther contended was that the RCC taught a salvation of works and not of faith. It wasn’t that the RCC was obscuring the message with fringe issues, they were teaching a heretical gospel, hence justification by faith (the just shall live by faith) became the awakening doctrine.

Well, yes, that’s basically what I meant. All the works justification and indulgences were clouding, distorting, and actually destroying the core of the message.

Whether or not the actual doctrine of the RCC taught or teaches salvation through works is something that can be debated. There is a lot of ambiguity in the official doctrine at times.

88   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 10th, 2009 at 11:48 am

Yes, Phil, I agree and I am not just obscuring the fact that we can all be guilty of idolatry (worshipping money and other things). That’s not the point I’m making.

I find it absolutely amazing that people would not see someone praying “Hail Mary”, kneeling before a SHRINE (for goodness sake) and everything else as not really idolatry. Praying to Saint Rocco to ask him to protect you and your home? Nothing wrong there, right? Does the RCC encourage this or condemn it?

Again – this is more a symptom of being willing to compromise and come across as tolerant than to be honest. We can be quick to castigate the ODMs for their so-called missing-the-mark but take such a light tone when it comes to even more blatant and dangerous practices.

89   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 10th, 2009 at 11:54 am

“Speaking of idolatry, I have seen many examples of it Protestant churches as well. In my opinion, saluting the flag and pledging ones allegiance to it and the Republic can be something very close to it as well.”

Oh Phil, I will resist the temptation to expound and I will just say I am in full agreement with your prophetic utterance!! Some believers saluted the Nazi flag in Germany at one time, being deceived as well. Our nation is not as bad as the Nazis, they murdered 6 million, we have murdered only 45 million unborn infants (not including approximately 2 to 6 million fertilized eggs by certain contraception methods.)

Protestant idolatry is alive and well.

90   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 10th, 2009 at 11:55 am

We can be quick to castigate the ODMs for their so-called missing-the-mark but take such a light tone when it comes to even more blatant and dangerous practices.

Well, personally, I find someone who’s spreading malicious lies and rumors about other Christians a lot more dangerous than someone who prays to Mary. The person who prays to Mary or another saint is doing something that God can deal with him or her personally with, and isn’t likely affecting other people. The ADM can literally destroy churches and ruin people’s lives.

I’d rather have someone who prays to Mary attending my church than someone like Ingrid.

91   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 10th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I’m sorry Phil – you have just created a false dichotomy. We are not discussing Ingrid.

Brett and I were simply discussing the RCC’s teachings. Your argument: “Well, if I had to choose, praying to Mary is not as bad as …”

You are using your subjective reasoning to excuse idolatry because, in your view, God will not take as hard a line on that line item as “spreading malicious lies and rumors”. If you read the Bible, you will find how the Lord views idolatry, that He is a jealous God and will not share His glory with another.

And again, idolatry is simply ONE example among DOZENS that we could have discussed. The problem is that the root of the RCC’s teachings are largely anti-biblical, false and damaging because people feel safe within its folds when, in reality, they are accepting a false message.

I do agree that self-examination is the most important job we have, but this does not take away from being responsible and having enough integrity to say that something is wrong when it is wrong.

92   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 10th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

“I’d rather have someone who prays to Mary attending my church than someone like Ingrid.”

Agreed, because there is some hope the Mary prayer can change, not so much with Ingrid. I also find a question about idolatry:

“If you pray to a God who hates gays, condemns sinners, only loves the elect, dies for just a few, and relegates His grace and mercy to the back burner, aren’t you practicing idolatry?”

Answer?

93   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 10th, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Oh, and I’ll add that Martin Luther himself didn’t have much of a problem with the veneration of Mary. He actually recommended people still use the “Hail Mary” salutation in their prayers:

Our prayer should include the Mother of God…What the Hail Mary says is that all glory should be given to God, using these words: “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ. Amen!” You see that these words are not concerned with prayer but purely with giving praise and honor…We can use the Hail Mary as a meditation in which we recite what grace God has given her. Second, we should add a wish that everyone may know and respect her…He who has no faith is advised to refrain from saying the Hail Mary. (Personal Prayer Book, 1522).

Luther’s original intent was not to break away from the RCC, but rather to get it back to its roots. His contention was more with corrupt leadership and church institutionalism than with doctrines. That’s not to say he wasn’t concerned with them – he certainly was.

94   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 10th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Phil – as I’ve been saying all along, I think there were others, though more obscure, whom the Lord used to break away from the RCC. Luther seems to be moreso the “poster child” but the movement was rampant before and after him.

95   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 10th, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Good point, Phil. Which is why Luther should not be used as a doctrinal template, only Paul. Even Spurgeon said he could excuse Luther’s Roman grave clothes since he was fresh from the Roman Church’s tomb.

96   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 10th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I do agree that self-examination is the most important job we have, but this does not take away from being responsible and having enough integrity to say that something is wrong when it is wrong.

Again, I don’t see what good it does for me to issue a list of rights and wrongs. My modus operandi as a leader is to explain Scripture clearly and to bring people to a place where they are being led b the Holy Spirit. If someone asked me about something specific like praying to Mary, I would give them my answer without hesitation.

What I will not do is issue a blanket condemnation on an entire group of people. God deals with people, not doctrines.

97   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 10th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Also, in all my years of ministry, the issue of praying to saints and/or venerating Mary has only come up a few times. And when it did it was with people who were so dead set in their ways, that it would have made no difference what I said to them.

Most people I’ve met who have come out of the RCC tradition were nominal at best, and praying to Mary wasn’t something that was hard for them to let go of. So it wasn’t like I had to offer a huge apologetic response. They were simply freed.

98   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 10th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

“God deals with people, not doctrines.”

Maybe the best point in this tread. Paul says the gospel is preached in the palace, we assume by mocking guards that have guarded Paul. The Spirit is not bound, and many Roman Catholic people, I am sure like Brett, love Christ and serve Him in spite of doctrinal issues.

Of course some of these doctrines can and do bind people from seeing Christ, so they are still important.

But the Holy Spirit goes where He desires and can open hearts in spite of systematic hinderances. And let us also acknowledge that the vast majority of Protestant church goers are not even conversant with dcotrinal issues.

99   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 10th, 2009 at 12:22 pm

An additional observation:

For each 1000 sentences spoken in an evangelical church that accurately confronts Roman Catholic doctrine there is less that 1 mini-second of earnest prayer for the same people they contend can not be saved in their present circumstance.

That seems to expose us as self righteous “doctrinaires” as opposed to passionate lovers of people’s souls.

100   Brett S    
February 10th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Hello Paul,

My key issue is that the RCC is apostate and promotes false doctrine that is destructive to the faith of its adherents. – Paul C

Sorry, but my key issue is Jesus Christ the Word of God, and the faith delivered once for all to the saints.

Is there a difference between a Hindu setting up a shrine and praying to Vishnu than a Catholic setting up his shrine to Mary or one of the saints, and praying for protection or something else? Are not both forms of idolatry?

I really don’t know much about Hindus and Vishnus. I personally don’t have a shrine to Mary or the saints, but I’m aware that many catholics do as a form of private devotion. I don’t think its much different that having pictures of your family hanging up on the wall and remembering the love you shared with them and the lessons they taught you. I’m sure some catholics (just like any other human being) can be tempted to some form of idolatry or superstition. If any catholic was worshiping a statue of a saint, or based their faith on some private devotion, I would definitely encourage them to stop that grave error.

Is there not a danger in believing a completely false teaching such as purgatory? These are just a couple of areas that are completely anti-biblical (not just untrue). Do you personally see any concerns with these things?

I can’t say that I completely understand purgatory, but I believe it’s true and not contrary to scripture. Don’t know what other “things” bug you, but I don’t find anything in the catholic faith contradicted by the bible.

Why do his beliefs hold so much credibility for you?

Mostly because he loves Jesus, he’s my pastor, and he is a pretty sharp guy.But objectively speaking I do believe that Jesus Christ created a church, and gave Peter and the apostles a unique authority in that church. The unique role that Peter and the apostle received is not transferred, but a certain authority in succession was given to the pope and the bishops. I think the New Testament displays evidence of this in Paul’s pastoral epistles to the various churches. He wrote specifically to the episkopoi and prebyteroi(elders) and assigned them authority to speak and teach in his name and in the name of Christ. And we can all be eternally be grateful to these faithful men for giving us the Holy Bible.

Is it possible the RCC could be way off base? – Paul C

Sure, I suppose so. But all the evidence I see points in the other direction, and I’m thankful that the Lord has given me the gift of faith.

One of the core teachings of Christianity is that Jesus is the sole mediator between man and God – that He is the way, the truth and the life. – Paul C

Amen, I agree!

101   Brett S    
February 10th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Rick,

The Spirit is not bound, and many Roman Catholic people, I am sure like Brett, love Christ and serve Him in spite of doctrinal issues. – Rick

I do appreciate your concern for the boundness of my soul :)

In the interest of keeping Paul’s request for speaking plainly; I really do not have any “doctrinal issues” with the bible or the catholic church.

102   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 10th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

“In the interest of keeping Paul’s request for speaking plainly; I really do not have any “doctrinal issues” with the bible or the catholic church.”

Good! I’ll see you in church this Sunday then? Oh, not my church…OK, it’s all good. :cool:

103   nc    
February 10th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

The RCC also explicitly would condemn worship of a saint.

I see saints as heroes of the faith. People who have lived the life of Christ in their own unique way, in their own circumstance with faithfulness.

While I don’t personally do it, I do “get” the idea to of asking saints to pray for us…simply because they are, in Christian belief, alive and well with Jesus.

I don’t see it as particularly problematic, etc. or automatically wrong. Maybe stretching something for some people’s tastes, but hardly a hill to die on to me.

104   Neil    
February 10th, 2009 at 1:59 pm

One thing to also keep in mind is the difference between American Catholicism and that of other countries/cultures. The Mariology is much more advanced in some European settings, for example.

105   supralapsarian    http://www.worldnetdaily.com
February 10th, 2009 at 4:06 pm

For each 1000 sentences spoken in an evangelical church that accurately confronts Roman Catholic doctrine there is less that 1 mini-second of earnest prayer for the same people they contend can not be saved in their present circumstance.

That seems to expose us as self righteous “doctrinaires” as opposed to passionate lovers of people’s souls.

Actually, it has the opposite effect on me. By knowing the doctrine that imprisons these souls, It causes me to desire to share the gospel that is by faith alone with these who are trapped in such a works-righteousness system.

My question: can a person raised in an RC church and places their faith in the RCC doctrines alone as taught and written be soundly saved?

If not, do you care enough to pray and to go to them and share the good news?

If so, please show by scripture that these doctrines and their practice bring salvation.

106   Neil    
February 10th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

My question: can a person raised in an RC church and places their faith in the RCC doctrines alone as taught and written be soundly saved?

No one is saved by placing their faith in any church’s doctrines…

107   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 10th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

No one is saved by placing their faith in any church’s doctrines…

Exactly. Jesus doesn’t tell the goats to depart from because of their lack of knowledge of doctrine. He says He simply doesn’t know them…

108   Neil    
February 10th, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Although Pastorboy may have a valid question is it were worded differently.

109   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 11th, 2009 at 11:45 am

Brett – have you seen this report?

For Catholics, heaven moves one step closer

What are your thoughts?

From the article:

According to church teaching, even after sinners are absolved in the confessional and say their Our Fathers or Hail Marys as penance, they still face punishment after death, in Purgatory, before they can enter heaven. In exchange for certain prayers, devotions or pilgrimages in special years, a Catholic can receive an indulgence, which reduces or erases that punishment instantly, with no formal ceremony or sacrament.

There are partial indulgences, which reduce purgatorial time by a certain number of days or years, and plenary indulgences, which eliminate all of it, until another sin is committed. You can get one for yourself, or for someone who is dead.

Utter blasphemy, no?

110   Brett S    
February 11th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Good morning Paul C,

Brett – have you seen this report? What are your thoughts?

Truthfully Paul, I have a hard enough time learning and living out the “actual” teachings of my church as defined by the bible and the [Catechism of the Catholic Church]. I try not to waste too much time with whatever sensationalistic babeling nonsense that the IHT, the NYT, CNN, or Paul C might be claiming my church teaches on any given day :)

Utter blasphemy, no?

I would not technically consider that quote to be “blasphemy” since God’s name or the Holy Trinity was not mentioned. Considering the source of the quote you referenced, I’ll just pass on defining what may by right or wrong with it.

111   John Hughes    
February 11th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

NC: While I don’t personally do it, I do “get” the idea to of asking saints to pray for us…simply because they are, in Christian belief, alive and well with Jesus.

NC: It’s really very simple. First, the saints of old are physically dead. They have passed out the physical realm and into the spiritual. We are forbidden in no uncertain terms to have intercourse with the dead be they saint or sinner. It’s called necromancy and is strictly forbidden with no delineation regarding the abode of the deceased.

Deut 18: 9-11 – When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.

[Physically] dead saints have passed out of our sphere and it is no longer proper to “converse” with them.

Then it brings up other logical fallacies. To believe in prayers to the saints, especially Mary, means that God has granted them the de facto God-like omniscience required to be able to apprehend and comprehend the simultaneous prayers of potentially millions of supplicants.

Then look at the content of some of the various Catholic saint’s prayers:

Prayer to St: Jude:

O glorious Apostle St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through this Heart, I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you. Humbly prostrate before you, I implore you through this Heart to look down upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer and let not my trust be in vain. To you has been assigned the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases. Oh, come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you and will be your faithful client until I can thank you in heaven. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph:

“Gracious St. Joseph, protect me and my family from all evil as you did the Holy Family. Kindly keep us ever united in the love of Christ, ever fervent in the imitation of the virtue of our Blessed Lady, your sinless spouse, and always faithful in devotion to you. Amen”

Prayer to Mary:

O Mary, Most Holy and Immaculate Mother of God, of Jesus, our Victim-High Priest, True Prophet, and Sovereign King, I come to you as the Mediatrix of All Grace, for that is truly what you are. O Fountain of all Grace! O Fairest of Roses! Most Pure Spring! Unsullied Channel of all of God’s Grace! Receive me, Most Holy Mother! Present me and my every need to the Most Holy Trinity! That having been made pure and holy in His Sight through your hands, they may return to me, through you, as graces and blessing. I give and consecrate myself to you, Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, that Jesus, Our One True Mediator, Who is the King of All Nations, may Reign in every heart. Amen.

Of course there are literally thousands of these, but a recurring theme is the usurptation by the saint de jeur of the specific prerogatives of the various members of the Trinity. In this regard, the majority petition **direct** intervention of the saint in earthy matters with **powers** supposedly delegated by God. This is a subtle type of blasphemy IMO. Certainly all extra-Biblical.

At any rate this is all VERY problematic and not the innocent asking a Christian brother to pray for you. Some more research on your part might be warranted just to get a clearer picture of the stakes involved.

112   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 11th, 2009 at 3:47 pm

First, the saints of old are physically dead.

Exactly… they are awaiting the resurrection which occurs at the time of Christ’s return to establish His kingdom.

But BESIDES THAT, the weak excuse of likening prayer to “having a picture of Aunt Mazie on your wall at home” is utterly ridiculous (you wonder if people actually read what they write before hitting ‘Submit’).

It is wrong and is simply idolatry: no different than a Hindu praying to a stone idol and making a personal request for health. “Saint Rocco/Vishnu, please protect my family and ensure we reach our destination safely.” (is there a difference?)

To believe in prayers to the saints, especially Mary, means that God has granted them the de facto God-like omniscience required to be able to apprehend and comprehend the simultaneous prayers of potentially millions of supplicants.

Another excellent point. But, the RCC unfortunately does elevate Mary to god-like status with such false teachings as her entire virgin life or things like the “Ascension.”

At any rate this is all VERY problematic and not the innocent asking a Christian brother to pray for you.

Exactly. This is the deifying of people who are dead, buried and awaiting the resurrection.

And keep in mind, this aspect of idolatry is simply one DOZENS of damaging false teachings that would make Hymaneus and Philetus or Jannes and Jambres blush.

Remember – “As Jannes as Jambres withstood Moses, so too do these men withstand the truth.”

How do they do it? By cleverly and convincingly attempting to mimick the true God and deceiving onlookers.

113   nc    
February 11th, 2009 at 4:14 pm

The only thing you’ve shown me is people asking for more than just prayers on their behalf.

And what you’ve shown me is NOT what I’m talking about.

There’s a real range of behaviors with respect to the saints in the RCC. What I’ve stated is directly from my RCC friends. BTW, my RCC friends would largely be in agreement with you as you have characterized things and with respect to parts of what you quoted.

That all being said…having done the research you encouraged, and way prior to this thread…there are theological perspectives on Mary that, when understood in their light, leave me completely comfortable with the address to Mary you’ve posted above. (I’ll electronically cringe now as I await a response. juuuust kidding.)

You should read Hugo Rahner’s work on Mary as a living metaphor for the Church. Within that particular stream, Mary ain’t so scary, no more.

;)

114   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 11th, 2009 at 4:32 pm

leave me completely comfortable with the address to Mary you’ve posted above.

hmmm… Which leaves me wondering if you read the comments (by John and myself). nc – Mary is dead and awaiting the resurrection. It’s like praying to a stone and expecting a response.

And the fact that you see nothing concerning with a statement like this clearly shows we’re not on the same page:

Receive me, Most Holy Mother! Present me and my every need to the Most Holy Trinity!

And nothing wrong with this?

your sinless spouse

Was Mary indeed sinless?

You guys seem so keen for truth and a correct representation of the gospel, but that’s not it at all is it?

115   John Hughes    
February 11th, 2009 at 4:50 pm

NC: There’s a real range of behaviors with respect to the saints in the RCC

Agreed, but I am not debating the behaviors (or salvation) of individual Roman Catholics, I am debating the official teachings of the institution. These prayers (and hundreds like them) are officially sanctioned by the institution, which, in my opinon is apostate.

Obviously, no one agrees with every tenant of what ever denomnination they belong to, but there has to be some sort of threshold or of level of belief in the teachings and institutions of said denomination or else membership in and/or allegiance to it is a farce.

116   Brett S    
February 11th, 2009 at 4:57 pm

We are forbidden in no uncertain terms to have intercourse with the dead be they saint or sinner. It’s called necromancy – John Hughes

??? intercourse with the dead ??? I may have missed something along the way, but that’s something I’ll definitely agree with you guys on. JUST SAY NO to necromancy!

such false teachings as her entire virgin life or things like the “Ascension.” – Paul C

Exactly, Paul. That’s why I’m not sure what doctrines your talking about. Jesus Christ ascended (active tense) into heaven (The Ascension), because he is God and has the power to do so. Jesus’ mother was assumed (passive tense) into heaven by the power of God (The Assumption). The assumption was solely by God’s grace, and hopefully by that same source of Grace we can all meet there together one day.

I apologize if my sarcastic comments have offended you guys. I’m remembering that sarcasm is not the best way to communicate with people. I’m not trying to re-fight the reformation, because I kinda believe that both sides lost.
Peace,

117   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 11th, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Agreed, but I am not debating the behaviors (or salvation) of individual Roman Catholics, I am debating the official teachings of the institution. These prayers (and hundreds like them) are officially sanctioned by the institution, which, in my opinon is apostate.

Obviously, no one agrees with every tenant of what ever denomnination they belong to, but there has to be some sort of threshold or of level of belief in the teachings and institutions of said denomination or else membership in and/or allegiance to it is a farce.

I understand what you’re saying, but can institutions really be apostate? It seems to me it’s the people who make up institutions that are apostate or not.

I would think that the average member of an RCC parish would not care as much about the proclamations from the top of the hierarchy than they would the things in their local parish. It’s probably not much different than the way Protestants view their local congregations. Proclamations from the top end up not meaning that much.

118   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 11th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Not sure about the necromany comment – I’ll just leave that alone.

Jesus’ mother was assumed (passive tense) into heaven by the power of God (The Assumption).

That is simply untrue and is a manufactured teaching. Mary is, like Paul and the other apostles, awaiting the resurrection which occurs at the return of Jesus (you know, like your Apostle’s Creed – another manufacture as none of the apostle’s created it, but anyways: “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”)

Also, did Mary retain her virginity her entire life (another Catholic teaching if I remember)?

Brett, you are so vested in defending the RCC that when it comes to Mary-worship you are willfully ignoring the fact it is idolatry, anti-biblical and would have been shunned by the apostles.

You dismiss other things as well:
- the danger of indulgences
- the fallacy of purgatory (not referenced once in scripture)
- veneration of the saints (in addition to Mary)

And dozens of other false and damnable teachings.

119   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 11th, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Phil – not sure if you’ve ever travelled to a 3rd World country, but what passes for Catholicism here is not what happens elsewhere. Your comment might hold water for Canada/USA, but not for Mexico and Central America, Africa, South America and certain areas of Europe. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

People adhere to the traditions of the RCC and take the Pope as the Vicar of Christ, venerating him to a large degree.

So your comment is not very accurate.

120   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 11th, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Phil – not sure if you’ve ever travelled to a 3rd World country, but what passes for Catholicism here is not what happens elsewhere. Your comment might hold water for Canada/USA, but not for Mexico and Central America, Africa, South America and certain areas of Europe. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

People adhere to the traditions of the RCC and take the Pope as the Vicar of Christ, venerating him to a large degree.

I suppose that’s true to a large degree. I was pretty much talking about Americans, because I was thinking of people I encounter most often.

121   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 11th, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Yes, my experience with Canadian Catholics (since I live in Toronto) is that, depending on their upbringing/culture, it may or may not have an impact their daily lives and many could care less about the pope.

Not so in the 3rd world (and some areas of Europe) where he still commands adoration, respect and adherence to RCC faith and principles.

In fact, much of what the Pope decrees in not so much for North American consumption, which I understand they are not targeting anymore (due to major drop-offs) but to rather bolster growing regions in Latin America and Africa.

So, the point is: when we take such a doctrinally-light view of the RCC’s teachings with the argument “Well, most people don’t really pay all that much attention to the pope anyways” we are sorely missing the point. That is a weak argument and doesn’t take into account that supporting or endorsing false doctrine in the name of tolerance is not the right stand to make.

122   Brett S    
February 11th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Paul,

I agree with you that the doctrine of the assumption in not clearly defined in the bible. But I think you would also agree that the same bible does not clearly define or give any proof of the burial or final resting place of Mary’s mortal remains. The Lord’s death and burial are thoroughly chronicled in scripture, and in your 3rd world travels I doubt that you found any of those superstitious catholics worshipping at his mother’s grave.

I do admire your commitment to the truth Paul. You obviously have some serious problems with the catholic church, my guess is that top on the list is catholics – some of them bug the hell out of me at times :)
Just in case none of my fellow catholics has every extended the invitation; you are always welcome to come back to confession and celebrate mass at any time.

123   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 11th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

my guess is that top on the list is catholics

Brett – I honestly have no problem at all with Catholics themselves, but what I don’t like (having been a Catholic for 20 yrs before becoming a Christian) is that biblical truth is not nearly as important as retaining traditions. Jesus spoke about this at length in Matthew 15.

Furthermore, the RCC gives people a false sense of salvation (purgatory, Mary/saint veneration and indulgences) that undermines the faith we should have in Christ. In effect, they are blind leaders leading blind followers. Unfortunately, the followers end up in the ditch as well.

you are always welcome to come back to confession and celebrate mass at any time.

Thanks for the offer Brett, but I will decline. No other institution has done a better job of blinding its congregants to the riches that are in Christ. And I say that knowing hundreds of Catholics who rest comfortably in the fact they’re Catholic, but never having received Christ.

124   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 11th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

But I think you would also agree that the same bible does not clearly define or give any proof of the burial or final resting place of Mary’s mortal remains.

True – in fact, after the 2nd chapter of Acts, she is never mentioned again. Of course, history (as oppose to RCC fantasy) does lean toward the fact that she went to Ephesus with John and died there. Where she died is unimportant. She was a wonderful woman, will be a part of Jesus’ kingdom when he returns and resurrects her, but she is not in heaven right now.

125   nc    
February 11th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Leaving aside the comment about what I desire with respect to the Gospel, I’d ask you to just read my comment again. I think you’d see from what situation I’m reading from.

There’s a clear difference of opinion that precedes “saints praying” about “where dead christians are”.

I’m guessing that’s where you and I would have to start…

“to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”?

126   Brett S    
February 11th, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Paul,

In effect, they are blind leaders leading blind followers. Unfortunately, the followers end up in the ditch as well.

I am sorry you see things that way. I actually received and was introduced to Christ 8 years ago by a small group of catholic Christians who gave me my 1st bible. His grace caused many scales to fall from my eyes so I could truly see for the 1st time. I can’t say I’ve never been in the proverbial ditch since then; but thats usually been the result of sin.

Thanks for the offer Brett, but I will decline

You are a free man, but just know that the offer is never revoked.

127   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 11th, 2009 at 6:55 pm

You are a free man, but just know that the offer is never revoked.

Thank you – sincerely. Also know that the offer stands for you as well (hey, you can view services on my website).

I don’t doubt your love for the Lord (or those who shared with you), but I would strongly suggest that you go beyond the doctrines held and taught by the RCC.

I can’t say I’ve never been in the proverbial ditch since then; but thats usually been the result of sin.

Actually, in the context of when these words were spoken by Jesus the ditch was religion. Brett, I would simply explore and challenge yourself to seriously look at things like purgatory, indulgences, Mary/saint veneration, and other areas to gain an understanding of the Biblical view towards these things.

In my view, the RCC has built another house which is not on the foundation of Christ, the apostles and prophets.

128   John Hughes    
February 12th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Actually, I think it would have been “nice” of God to have assumed Mary. He did it for Elijah and Enoch. Why not Mary? But the Bible does not say He did so to dogmatically proclaim so based on a papal decree in the mid-20th century is presumption of an assumption if you ask me.

129   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 12th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

John, how do you rationalize the above comment when you take into consideration 2 things?

1. John 3:13 “No man has ascended up to heaven…”

2. Hebrews 11: mentions Enoch. Then it says that these ALL died in faith, not having received the promise (eternal life) as they are waiting for us

Also, in Rev 1:5, Jesus is the “firstborn from the dead”. I know Enoch did not see death as a normal man would, but was taken out of existence.

130   John Hughes    
February 12th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Paul C. I am not a proponent of soul sleep. I believe the soul/spirit of the saved goes immediately to be with Christ up death.

I would take John 3:13 in the context of no man has ascended to heaven under his own power for the purpose of obtaining salvation. Elijah and Enoch were translated without death by a sovereign act of God (i.e, not under their own volition as I believe is the implacation of the passage in John.

I haven’t studied the Hebrews passage in light of this conversation so I’ll have to get back with you on that.

It is evident that saved souls are conscious in heaven because moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus at His transfiguration.

131   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
February 12th, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Just curious John, but thanks for answering.

I guess my issue would be Jesus’ comments that He is the “firstborn from the dead” (Rev 1:5).

Also, why is David “both dead and buried” (Acts 2) but Moses and Elijah are alive and well? Especially when you consider that both Moses and Enoch are mentioned in Hebrews 11 (and Elijah indirectly) as NOT receiving the promise – yet. Or consider what the angel told Daniel:

Daniel 12: But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”

There’s a lot more (ie: John 6 alone – 3 references to the resurrection at the “last day”) as well.