Sunday, December 26, 2010

Did the Catholic Church forbid Bible reading

“Did the Catholic Church forbid Bible reading, or to what scope and degree?”

While the accusations of censure of the Bible are sometimes exaggerated, and while Roman Catholicism did print Bibles in the common (“vulgar”) tongue, and among other encouragements, Pius VI. in his letter to Martini, the author of a translation of the Bible into Italian, commended its printing and reading, yet for much of her history she evidences that it did not place a priority upon personal Biblical literacy among the laity, including by requiring permission to do so, or more rarely, an outright ban in some places.

Historical view:

It is indisputable that in Apostolic times the Old Testament was commonly read (John v, 47; Acts viii, 28; xvii, 11; II Tim. iii, 15). Roman Catholics admit that this reading was not restricted in the first centuries, in spite of its abuse by Gnostics and other heretics. On the contrary, the reading of Scripture was urged (Justin Martyr, xliv, ANF, i, 177-178; Jerome, Adv. libros Rufini, i, 9, NPNF, 2d ser., iii, 487); and Pamphilus, the friend of Eusebius, kept copies of Scripture to furnish to those who desired them. Chrysostom attached considerable importance to the reading of Scripture on the part of the laity and denounced the error that it was to be permitted only to monks and priests (De Lazaro concio, iii, MPG, xlviii, 992; Hom. ii in Matt., MPG, lvii, 30, NPNF, 2d ser., x, 13). He insisted upon access being given to the entire Bible, or at least to the New Testament (Hom. ix in Col., MPG, lxii, 361, NPNF, xiii, 301). The women also, who were always at home, were diligently to read the Bible (Hom. xxxv on Gen. xii, MPG, liii, 323). Jerome recommended the reading and studying of Scripture on the part of the women (Epist., cxxviii, 3, MPL, xxii, 1098, NPNF, 2d ser., vi, 259; Epist., lxxix, 9, MPG, xxii, 730-731, NPNF, 2d ser., vi, 167). The translations of the Bible, Augustine considered a blessed means of propagating the Word of God among the nations (De doctr. christ., ii, 5, NPNF, 1st ser., ii, 536); Gregory I recommended the reading of the Bible without placing any limitations on it (Hom. iii in Ezek., MPL, lxxvi, 968).

The Middle Ages:

Owing to lack of culture among the Germanic and Romanic peoples, there was for a long time no thought of restricting access to the Bible there. Translations of Biblical books into German began only in the Carolingian period and were not originally intended for the laity. Nevertheless the people were anxious to have the divine service and the Scripture lessons read in the vernacular. John VIII in 880 permitted, after the reading of the Latin gospel, a translation into Slavonic; but Gregory VII, in a letter to Duke Vratislav of Bohemia in 1080 characterized the custom as unwise, bold, and forbidden (Epist., vii, 11; P. Jaff�, BRG, ii, 392 sqq.). This was a formal prohibition, not of Bible reading in general, but of divine service in the vernacular.

With the appearance, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, of the Albigenses and Waldenses, who appealed to the Bible in all their disputes with the Church, the hierarchy was furnished with a reason for shutting up the Word of God. (Philip Schaff, Bible reading by the laity, restrictions on. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. II: Basilica – Chambers)

“There was far more extensive and continuous use of Scriptures in the public service of the early Church than there is among us.” (Addis and Arnold, Catholic Dictionary, The Catholic Publication Society, 1887, page 509)
Our present convenient compendiums -- the Missal, Breviary, and so on were formed only at the end of a long evolution. In the first period (lasting perhaps till about the fourth century) there were no books except the Bible, from which lesons were read and Psalms were sung. Nothing was written, because nothing was fixed. [Catholic Encyclopedia, 15 Volume Special Edition under the auspices of the Knights of Columbus Catholic Truth Committee, The Encyclopedia Press Inc., New York, 1913, Volume 9, page 296]

Through most of the fourth century, the controversy with the Arians had turned upon Scripture, and appeals to past authority were few. [Catholic Encyclopedia, 15 Volume Special Edition under the auspices of the Knights of Columbus Catholic Truth Committee, The Encyclopedia Press Inc., New York, 1913, Volume 6, page 2]
Books of the sacred scriptures cannot be published unless the Apostolic See or the conference of bishops has approved them. For the publication of their translations into the vernacular, it is also required that they be approved by the same authority and provided with necessary and sufficient annotations (Canon 825 §1).

The Catholic dictionary states that, “In early times the Bible was read freely by the lay people...New dangers came in during the Middle Ages...To meet those evils, the Council of Toulouse (1229) and Terragona, (1234) [local councils], forbade the laity to read the vernacular translations of the Bible. Toulouse was in response to the Albigensian heresy, and it is understood that when the Albigensian problem disappeared, so did the force of their order, which never affected more than southern France.

Council of Toulouse, 1229, Canon 14: "We prohibit the permission of the books of the Old and New Testament to laymen, except perhaps they might desire to have the Psalter, or some Breviary for the divine service, or the Hours of the blessed Virgin Mary, for devotion; expressly forbidding their having the other parts of the Bible translated into the vulgar tongue" (Pierre Allix, Ecclesiastical History of Ancient Churches of the Albigenses, published in Oxford at the Clarendon Press in 1821, reprinted in USA in 1989 by Church History Research & Archives, P.O. Box 38, Dayton Ohio, 45449, p. 213).

Pius IV required bishops to refuse lay persons leave to read even Catholic versions of Scripture unless their confessors or parish priests judged that such reading was likely to prove beneficial.” (Catholic Dictionary, Addis and Arnold, 1887, page 82).

The Bull Unigenitus, published at Rome, September 8, 1713, as part of its censure of the propositions of Jansenism*, condemned the following:

79. It is useful and necessary at all times, in all places, and for every kind of person, to study and to know the spirit, the piety, and the mysteries of Sacred Scripture.

80. The reading of Sacred Scripture is for all.

81. The sacred obscurity of the Word of God is no reason for the laity to dispense themselves from reading it.
82. The Lord's Day ought to be sanctified by Christians with readings of pious works and above all of the Holy Scriptures. It is harmful for a Christian to wish to withdraw from this reading.

83. It is an illusion to persuade oneself that knowledge of the mysteries of religion should not be communicated to women by the reading of Sacred Scriptures. Not from the simplicity of women, but from the proud knowledge of men has arisen the abuse of the Scriptures and have heresies been born.

84. To snatch away from the hands of Christians the New Testament, or to hold it closed against them by taking away from them the means of understanding it, is to close for them the mouth of Christ.

85. To forbid Christians to read Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is to forbid the use of light to the sons of light, and to cause them to suffer a kind of excommunication.
INNOCENT XIII 1721-1724 BENEDICT XIII 1724-1730 CLEMENT XII 1730-174)

The Council of Trent did allow reading of Scripture, but apparently only after a license in writing was obtained from the proper ecclesiastical authority:

Session XXV: Rule IV of the Ten Rules Concerning Prohibited Books Drawn Up by The Fathers Chosen by the Council of Trent and Approved by Pope Pius:

Since it is clear from experience that if the Sacred Books are permitted everywhere and without discrimination in the vernacular, there will by reason of the boldness of men arise therefrom more harm than good, the matter is in this respect left to the judgment of the bishop or inquisitor, who may with the advice of the pastor or confessor permit the reading of the Sacred Books translated into the vernacular by Catholic authors to those who they know will derive from such reading no harm but rather an increase of faith and piety, which permission they must have in writing. Those, however, who presume to read or possess them without such permission may not receive absolution from their sins till they have handed over to the ordinary. Bookdealers who sell or in any way supply Bibles written in the vernacular to anyone who has not this permission, shall lose the price of the books, which is to be applied by the bishop to pious purposes, and in keeping with the nature of the crime they shall be subject to other penalties which are left to the judgment of the same bishop. Regulars who have not the permission of their superiors may not read or purchase them. H. J. Schroeder, Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent: Original Text with English Translation (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1955), p. 274-75.

Between 1567 and 1773, not a single edition of an Italian-language Bible was printed anywhere in the Italian peninsula." “When English Roman Catholics created their first English biblical translation in exile at Douai and Reims, it was not for ordinary folk to read, but for priests to use as a polemical weapon.—the explicit purpose which the 1582 title-page and preface of the Reims New Testament proclaimed. Only the Jansenists of early seventeenth-century France came to have a more positive and generous attitude to promoting Bible-reading among Catholics" (Oxford University professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation: A History, 2003, p. 406; p. 585.)
Douai-Rheims New Testament [verbose] Introduction, excerpts:

Which translation we do not for all that publish, upon erroneous opinion of necessity, that the Holy Scriptures should always be in our mother tongue, or that they ought, or were ordained by God, to be read impartially by all,..but upon special consideration of the present time, state, and condition of our country, unto which diverse things are either necessary or profitable and medicinable now that otherwise, in the peace of the Church, were neither much requisite, nor perchance wholly tolerable.

More excerpts:

In our own country, notwithstanding the Latin tongue was ever (to use Venerable Bede's words) common to all the provinces of the same for meditation or study of Scriptures, and no vulgar translation commonly used or employed by the multitude, yet they were extant in English even before the troubles that Wycliffe and his followers raised in our Church,..

Which causeth the Holy Church not to forbid utterly any Catholic translation, though she allow not the publishing or reading of any absolutely and without exception or limitation, knowing by her Divine and most sincere wisdom, how, where, when, and to whom these her Master's and Spouse's gifts are to be bestowed to the most good of the faithful,

Providentissimus deus on the study of Holy Scripture Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII , November 18, 1893, states,
6. It is in this that the watchful care of the Church shines forth conspicuously. By admirable laws and regulations, she has always shown herself solicitous that "the celestial treasure of the Sacred Books, so bountifully bestowed upon man by the Holy Spirit, should not lie neglected."25 She has prescribed that a considerable portion of them shall be read and piously reflected upon by all her ministers in the daily office of the sacred psalmody. She has ordered that in Cathedral Churches, in monasteries, and in other convents in which study can conveniently be pursued, they shall be expounded and interpreted by capable men; and she has strictly commanded that her children shall be fed with the saving words of the Gospel at least on Sundays and solemn feasts.26 Moreover, it is owing to the wisdom and exertions of the Church that there has always been continued from century to century that cultivation of Holy Scripture which has been so remarkable and has borne such ample fruit.

23. In order that all these endeavors and exertions may really prove advantageous to the cause of the Bible, let scholars keep steadfastly to the principles which We have in this Letter laid down. Let them loyally hold that God, the Creator and Ruler of all things, is also the Author of the Scriptures -- and that therefore nothing can be proved either by physical science or archaeology which can really contradict the Scriptures. If, then, apparent contradiction be met with, every effort should be made to remove it.

However, while this encyclical was partly motivated by the rise of the historical-critical method of analyzing Scripture, which impugns its authority, yet liberal scholarship reigns in Roman Catholicism, in which historical accounts are relegated to being fables and folk tales, such is seen in the NAB, along with other problems and gender inclusive language.

Protestant translations of the Bible were not the only books to be banned. The Index of Prohibited Books was first published in 1544, and the Inquisition in Rome prepared the first Roman Index, issued by Paul IV in 1559. It contained more than a thousand interdictions divided into three classes: authors, all of whose works were to be prohibited;

“The defense against Protestantism always remained a major pre-occupation of Roman censors. Protection of the political and juridical rights and privileges of the church, the pope, and the hierarchy also find a notable echo in the Index. Thus, writings favoring Gallicanism and those advocating the right of civil authorities to intervene in ecclesiastical affairs appear prominently, alongside polemical works dealing with the political intervention of the Holy See, such as during its conflict with the Republic of Venice in 1606–1607, or the oath of loyalty in England during the pontificate of Paul V (1605–1621).”
INTER PRAECIPUAS (On Biblical Societies) of Pope Gregory XVI declared:

1. Among the special schemes with which non-Catholics plot against the adherents of Catholic truth to turn their minds away from the faith, the biblical societies are prominent. They were first established in England and have spread far and wide so that We now see them as an army on the march, conspiring to publish in great numbers copies of the books of divine Scripture. These are translated into all kinds of vernacular languages for dissemination without discrimination among both Christians and infidels. Then the biblical societies invite everyone to read them unguided.

In the many translations from the biblical societies, serious errors are easily inserted by the great number of translators, either through ignorance or deception. These errors, because of the very number and variety of translations, are long hidden and hence lead the faithful astray...

3. For this end the same biblical societies never cease to slander the Church and this Chair of Peter as if We have tried to keep the knowledge of sacred Scripture from the faithful. However, We have documents clearly detailing the singular zeal which the Supreme Pontiffs and bishops in recent times have used to instruct the Catholic people more thoroughly in the word of God, both as it exists in writing and in tradition.

5. ..the school of Jansenius. Borrowing the tactics of the Lutherans and Calvinists, they rebuked the Apostolic See on the grounds that because the reading of the Scriptures for all the faithful, at all times and places, was useful and necessary, it therefore could not be forbidden anyone by any authority...

11. Therefore, taking counsel with a number of Cardinals, and weighing the whole matter seriously and in good time, We have decided to send this letter to all of you. We again condemn all the above-mentioned biblical societies of which our predecessors disapproved. We specifically condemn the new one called Christian League founded last year in New York and other societies of the same kind, if they have already joined with it or do so in the future. Therefore let it be known to all that anyone who joins one of these societies, or aids it, or favors it in any way will be guilty of a grievous crime. Besides We confirm and renew by Our apostolic authority the prescriptions listed and published long ago concerning the publication, dissemination, reading, and possession of vernacular translations of sacred Scriptures.

Pope Benedict XV wrote in his encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus of 1920: "A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, with the veneration due the divine Word, make a spiritual reading from the Sacred Scriptures. A plenary indulgence is granted if this reading is continued for at least one half an hour."

Since Vatican a marked difference in the Roman Catholic attitude toward general Bible reading became evident.
At mid-century the Scripture were read in Latin at Mass. There were few selections from the Old Testament, and a rather small number of New Testament passages dominated..Since Vatican 2..the Old Testament is very prominent and almost the entire New represented...At mid-century study of Bible texts was not an integral part of the priary or secondary school curriculum. At best, the Bible was conveyed through summaries of the texts...Now the texts of the Bible form the primary resource for Catholic religious education at all levels. (The Catholic Study Bible, Oxford University Press, 1990, p. RG16)

"A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who with the veneration due to the divine word make a spiritual reading from Sacred Scripture. A plenary indulgence is granted, if this reading is continued for at least one half an hour." (Enchiridion of Indulgences. Authorized English edition. 1969. Catholic Book Publishers. New York. Page 68. # 50)
*a distinct movement within the Catholic Church from the 16th to 18th centuries. It opposed Pelagianism (and semi-Pelagianism), and what is saw as the "relaxed morality" of Jesuitism and its frequent communion, and it followers identified themselves as rigorous followers of Augustinism, and it thus shared some tenets of Calvinism (though its pious Catholic founder, Jansen, rejected the doctrine of assurance). Its key conflict with Roman Catholic soteriology is that it denies the role of free will in the acceptance and use of grace.

The Bull condemns 101 propositions which are taken verbatim from the last (and enlarged edition of Pasquier Quesnel's book entitled Abrégé de la morale de l'Evangile ("Morality of the Gospel, Abridged") , first published 1671. The work was approved by the French bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne, and the last edition of 1693 was highly recommended by the new bishop of Châlons, Gaston-Louis de Noailles.

Pope Clement XI condemned it in a brief, July 13, 1708 ,but Noailles, who had become Archbishop of Paris and cardinal, was not prepared to withdraw his approbation of it. This resulted in the Pope issuing the Bull Unigenitus, and later the Bull "Pastoralis officii" on 28 Aug., 1718, excommunicating all that refused to accept the Bull "Unigenitus," as Noailles, who did withdraw his approval of Morality of the Gospel, worked to prevent unconditional acceptance of the Bull "Unigenitus," but relented shortly before his death.

The 101 propositions were overall “Declared and condemned as false, captious, evil-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and her practice, insulting not only to the Church but also the secular powers seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of heresy, and smacking of heresy itself, and, besides, favoring heretics and heresies, and also schisms, erroneous, close to heresy, many times condemned, and finally heretical, clearly renewing many heresies respectively and most especially those which are contained in the infamous propositions of Jansen, and indeed accepted in that sense in which these have been condemned.”

Among the condemned propositions were that: grace works with omnipotence and is irresistible; without grace man can only commit sin; Christ died for the elect only; every love that is not supernatural is evil; without supernatural love there can be no hope in God, no obedience to His law, no good work, no prayer, no merit, no religion; the prayer of the sinner and his other good acts performed out of fear of punishment are only new sins, etc.

Luther and the Canon: did he have help?

The canon was settled for centuries before Luther excluded the books he did not like?

It is a common misconception that Luther was basically acting alone and in a summary manner in rejecting the apocrypha, and did not include James and Hebrews in his Bible, but from what i have learned in reality the rejecting and questioning of a few books by Luther, whose views were part inn a process of development, was based upon the judgment of scholars of Rome and scholarly principles. Luther and the Reformers treated the Apocrypha as did many in the centuries preceding them, which was that these books are not to be held as equal to the Scriptures, but are useful and good to read.

Substantial dissent existed through the centuries and right into Trent, even among some of the best scholars over the apocryphal books. (Hubert Jedin Papal Legate At The Council Of Trent: St Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1947; pp. 278, 281-282). Among them was Cardinal Seripando. The Roman Catholic historian (and expert on Trent) Hubert Jedin explained “he was aligned with the leaders of a minority that was outstanding for its theological scholarship” at the Council of Trent.” Jedin writes that his position was “Tobias, Judith, the Book of Wisdom, the books of Esdras, Ecclesiasticus, the books of the Maccabees, and Baruch are only "canonici et ecclesiastici" and make up the canon morum in contrast to the canon fidei. These, Seripando says in the words of St. Jerome, are suited for the edification of the people, but they are not authentic, that is, not sufficient to prove a dogma. Seripando emphasized that in spite of the Florentine canon the question of a twofold canon was still open and was treated as such by learned men in the Church. Without doubt he was thinking of Cardinal Cajetan, who in his commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews accepted St. Jerome's view which had had supporters throughout the Middle Ages.” (Hubert Jedin, Papal Legate At The Council Of Trent (St Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1947), pp. 270-271).

Despite decrees by early councils such as Hippo, Carthage and Florence, the decision of Trent in 1546 was the first “infallible” and final definition of the Roman Catholic canon, (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. II, Bible, III (Canon), p. 390; The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent : Rockford: Tan, 1978), Fourth Session, Footnote #4, p. 17) after a vote of 24 yea, 15 nay, with 16 abstaining (44%, 27%, 29%). This definition, coming over 1400 hundreds years after the last book was written, was issued in reaction to Martin Luther and the Reformation. And in so doing, it arguably chose to follow a weaker tradition in pronouncing the apocryphal books to be inspired, while the canon of Trent is not exactly the same as that of Carthage and other councils.

As for James and Hebrews,

“Luther's translation of the Bible contained all of its books. Luther also translated and included the Apocrypha, saying, "These books are not held equal to the Scriptures, but are useful and good to read." He expressed his thoughts on the canon in prefaces placed at the beginning of particular Biblical books. In these prefaces, he either questioned or doubted the canonicity of Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation (his Catholic contemporaries, Erasmus and Cardinal Cajetan, likewise questioned the canonicity of certain New Testament books). Of his opinion, he allows for the possibility of his readers to disagree with his conclusions. Of the four books, it is possible Luther's opinion fluctuated on two (Hebrews and Revelation). Luther was of the opinion that the writers of James and Jude were not apostles, therefore these books were not canonical. Still, he used them and preached from them.” Five More Luther Myths

Luther's questioned Hebrews by pointing out that throughout Church history it has had a “reputation” of uncertain canonicity. Erasmus had a critical attitude to the same four New Testament books Luther did. Cardinal Cajetan questioned the canonical status of Hebrews, James, II Peter, II and III John, and Jude (among others).

“The Epistle of James is classed by Eusebius (in Bk. III. chap. 25) among the antilegomena (disputed books). The ancient testimonies for its authenticity are very few: It was used by no one, except Hermas, down to the end of the second century. Iren`us seems to have known the epistle (his works exhibit some apparent reminiscences of it), but he nowhere directly cites it. The Muratorian Fragment omits it, but the Syriac Peshito contains it, and Clement of Alexandria shows a few faint reminiscences of it in his extant works, and according to Eusebius VI. 14, wrote commentaries upon "Jude and the other catholic epistles." (see Bk. III. chap. 25, note 1).” Source: Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers Series II, Vol. 1

“Most writing from before 200 do not mention the Epistle of James. One significant text does quote James: The Shepherd of Hermas, written before 140 M66. The theologian and biblical scholar, Origen, quotes James extensively between 230 and 250. He mentions that James was Jesus' brother, but does not make it clear if the letter is scripture M138. Hippolytus and Tertullian, from early in the third century, do not mention or quote James. Cyprian of Carthage, in the middle of the third century, also makes no mention. The "Muratorian Canon," from around 200, lists and comments on New Testament books, but fails to mention James, Hebrews, and 1 and 2 Peter. Yet by 340 Eusebius of Caesarea, an early Christian historian, acknowledges that James is both canonical and orthodox, and widely read. However, he categorizes it, along with the other catholic epistles, as "disputed texts" M203. Two Greek New Testaments from that time each include James, along with the other catholic epistles M207. In 367 Athanasius lists the 27 New Testament books we presently use as the definitive canon M212. But the battle for James was not won. Bishops in 428 and 466 rejected all the catholic epistles M215. Early bibles from Lebanon, Egypt, Armenia, India and China do not include James before the sixth century M219. A ninth century manuscript from Mount Sinai leaves out the catholic epistles and the Syriac Church, headquartered in Kerala, India, continues to use a lectionary without them still today M220. — James and Canon: The Early Evidence

On the eve of the Reformation, it was not only Luther who had problems with the extent of the New Testament canon. Doubts were being expressed even by some of the loyal sons of the Church. One particular was Cardinal Seripando. The Roman Catholic historian (and expert on Trent) Hubert Jedin explained “he was aligned with the leaders of a minority that was outstanding for its theological scholarship” at the Council of Trent. Luther's opponent at Augsburg, Cardinal Cajetan, following Jerome, expressed doubts concerning the canonicity of Hebrews, James, 2 and 3 John, and Jude. Of the latter three he states, "They are of less authority than those which are certainly Holy Scripture."63 Erasmus likewise expressed doubts concerning Revelation as well as the apostolicity of James, Hebrews and 2 Peter. It was only as the Protestant Reformation progressed, and Luther's willingness to excise books from the canon threatened Rome that, at Trent, the Roman Catholic Church hardened its consensus stand on the extent of the New Testament canon into a conciliar pronouncement.64

And it is should be stated that, as helpful as they are, ecclesiastical decrees themselves are not what established writings as Scripture (much less can ecclesiastics declare they are assuredly infallible, when speaking in accordance with their infallibly defined formula), but as with true men of God, writings which were wholly inspired of Him became progressively established as such due to their unique enduring qualities, with further revelation being complementary what was manifest prior as from God, and the moral effects and other supernatural Divine attestation which often accompanied it, and which results from trusting and obeying it. (1Cor. 2:15) More on the criteria and processes of acceptance of canonical books can be seen here.

However, it is possible to affirm Scripture as wholly inspired of God and yet deny its truth (which i do when i think or act contrary to its faith), but Roman Catholic liberal scholarship also impugns upon the integrity of the Word of God by its adherence to the discredited JEDP theory, and Catholics themselves have complained that it relegates numerous historical accounts in the Bible to being fables or folk tales, among other denials. (St. Joseph’s medium size, NAB, Catholic publishing co., copyright 1970, 92)

posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010 7:42:11 PM
by daniel1212
( ("Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out," Acts 3:19))

the canon of Trent is not exactly the same as that of Carthage and other councils.

“The claim that Hippo & Carthage approved the same canonical list as Trent is wrong. Hippo (393) and Carthage (397) received the Septuagint version of 1 Esdras as canonical Scripture, which Innocent I approved. However, the Vulgate version of the canon that Trent approved was the first Esdras that Jerome designated for the OT Book of Ezra, not the 1 Esdras of the Septuagint that Hippo and Carthage ( along with Innocent I) received as canonical. Thus Trent rejected as canonical the version of 1 Esdras that Hippo & Carthage accepted as canonical. Trent rejected the apocryphal Septuagint version of 1 Esdras (as received by Hippo and Carthage) as canonical and called it 3 Esdras.” More

As for 382, first, the Council of Rome was not an ecumenical council but a local one, as was Carthage and Florence, as judged by Rome, thus their decrees were not infallible binding pronouncements for the universal church. The Catholic Encyclopedia states also, "only the decisions of ecumenical councils and the ex cathedra teaching of the pope have been treated as strictly definitive in the canonical sense, and the function of the magisterium ordinarium has been concerned with the effective promulgation and maintenance of what has been formally defined by the magisterium solemne or may be legitimately deduced from its definitions."

Second, the claim about the Council of Rome (382) approving an infallble canon of Scripture depends upon the Decretum Gelasianum, which is disputed (among RC's themselves), based upon evidence that is was pseudepigraphical, being a sixth century compilation put together in northern Italy or southern France at the beginning of the 6th cent. More:

Unity = Authenticity?

Does not the unity of the Roman Catholic church show that the infallible magisterium prevents such confusion as is seen outside of her?

Your premise is that Rome provides certainty and eliminates confusion resulting from doing as the noble Bereans did (Acts 17:11), even though fallible human reasoning (FHR) and private interpretation (PI ) must be used in regards to here. Consider,

1. Not all Roman Catholic teachings is infallible and thus can require assent of faith, for as non-infallible teachings of the Ordinary and General magisteriums may contain error, even if not salvific, then you can disagree with them to a certain degree.

2. The status of all Roman Catholic teaching is not clear, for while some are, many are not, and you cannot be certain how many there are, as there is no infallible list of all infallible teaching.

3. Infallible teaching as well as non-infallible teachings require some interpretation (as does deciding which ones do and to what extent) , a reality which has been abundantly evidenced.

4. As very little of the Bible has been infallibly defined, the Roman Catholic Bible interpreter has the liberty to adopt any interpretation of a passage that is not excluded with certainty by other passages of Scripture, or by the judgment of the magisterium, or the Church Fathers, or by the analogy of faith — all of which is subject to interpretation That is a great deal of liberty.

5. Roman Catholics widely disagree with each other and the church, including official teaching and which is implicitly allowed, and even more so on certain core moral and doctrinal issues that evangelicals. And her official unity is not necessarily any greater than that of any one single Protestant denomination, while unity itself is not the goal of the Godly.

As for unity, unity by itself is not the goal of the Godly, but unity that is of the Spirit is.

The type and means of unity determines its virtue. The greatest unity is typically found among groups in which unity is based upon unwarranted implicit trust in a self-proclaimed authority, which effectively presumes doctrinal supremacy over the Scriptures. And by inculcating seeing themselves as an exclusive, supreme particular organization. And the more this is inculcated and required, the greater that type of unity.

Thus the Watchtower society and Rome manifest greater doctrinal and cohesive unity than that of individual Protestant groups (whose identity directly in Christ, versus as part of an institution, allows them to move around more), although as regards doctrinal unity among individual Catholics, evidence shows that Rome fails to manifest more unity in key truths and moral values than evangelicals as a whole. But it demonstrates a greater quantitative unity based upon its doctrinal position that it is the one true church, even if, unlike the Watchtower Society, its members may somewhat disagree among things that are not are infallibly defined, while disagreement as regards the latter is greatly tolerated.

However, what we see in the New Testament church is not a unity based upon unwarranted implicit trust in an formulaic assuredly infallible magisterium, but which was the result of souls being persuaded by "manifestation of the truth" (2Cor. 4:2), in which the authority of the apostles and their message was established as being from God by conformity to men and writings which had previously been established as being from God, and by Scriptural Divine attestation.
Rome critically fails in both, as its primary claim and certain of its key teachings fail of Scriptural warrant, and are contrary to it. And it overall fails to manifest that it is the church of the living God. And instead such teachings and her primary claim to be the one true church are effectively are based upon her own self-proclaimed supremacy over the Scriptures.

Complete comprehensive unity has ever a goal of the church, though unity of heart and mind in surrender to Christ to do His will as revealed was realized at certain times, and is today among some took a strong degree and yet can be.

And in the days to come it is only as the church has this heart and is in conformity to the Scriptures, including its preaching the Gospel which results in manifestly supernaturally transformed lives and other acts of grace, will it be manifest as being the church of the living God, and withstand the onslaught of those who are gathered together against the Lord and His anointed. (Acts 4:26; cf. Ps. 2:2; 83:3-5) Whose quantitative unity manifests that unity in error is inferior to division because of truth, (1Cor. l1:19) and the unity that results from it. To God be the glory.

The mistake of such can easily be that of creating a model of the perfect church - in which communal living is that primary distinctive, focusing on Acts 2:45-47; 4:32.34-37, and by which they consciously see and contrast themselves as superior to all others - and which model they promote and focus on becoming, more so it seems than focusing on Christ and exalting him, (which i think Rose Creek village tends to do), and preaching the gospel which saves sinners wherever they may be.
And or they follow a Christ-like figure or body which fosters or requires implicit obedience and squash its quashes sincere questioning of its teachings.

But what i think most attempts to replicate the year the church leave out is that the first church was led by apostles whose leadership was manifested by unselfish devotion to Christ, and prayer in the word, (Acts 6:3) with holiness and preaching which conformed to and complemented that which was written, and whose Divine authority was established by powerful supernatural attestation from God.

And that it was not all about holding all things common and living and eating their meals as a body, or simply about prayer and teaching, but about the contrite and reverential hearts of the converted, and positive as well as "negative" miracles done by men whose hearts were the same.
"And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles."
"And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."

" And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."

"And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them." (Acts 2:43; 4:31,33; 5:12,13)

However, the inclusion of the latter does not promote what is typically seen today among those who believe in supernatural gifts, with its emphasis on health and wealth and leaders who live in mansions or five-star hotels.

Historical basis for Rome's claim to authority, Pt. 2

If Protestants agree with the R. Catholic church on somethings, why don't they recognize her supreme authority in others things, instead of relying upon their own finite discernment?

The Divine inspiration of Scripture is affirmed by both of us, and which is affirmed to be assuredly infallible, but which appeals to human understanding for assurance, (1Jn. 5:13) and affirms being like a noble Berean to determine how know that he/she is listening to this nebulous "Living Voice of the Holy Ghost." and to which God provides other attestation which complements, not contradicts it.

But this means we affirm the core essentials we both concur on, as being truths revealed by the Holy Ghost to the Church, being well substantiated by the Scriptures, while contending against those who deny them, which is typically the result of effectively exalting the authority of mortal men and or an office above the Scriptures. And thus we also contend against those teaching of Rome that also commit the error of the Pharisees. Mk. 7:6-13)

While God Himself reasons with men in seeking to convince them (Is. 1:18; Acts 17:2) this does allow for disagreement, and thus the appeal to an AIM, implicit trust in which results in unity. But this is not how unity was achieved in the Bible, nor is unity by itself a goal of the Godly, as division is actually necessary because of truth, and is better than unity in error.

Instead, unity is the result of God affirming His truth to those who hear and obey it, and thus the most essential unity is that of the "unity of the Spirit," (Eph. 4:3) resulting from faith in the truth which the established and infallible Scriptures teach. And Rome's AIM is not one of them, but is a substitute.

In addition, your charge that we endlessly criticize what is "revealed" until we satisfy our intellect can just a easily be leveled at RC apologists, beginning its rejection of the supremacy of only objective source which is assuredly infallible. It also ignore the rich history of evangelical literature, from Matthew Henry's complete commentary to the thousands of hymns penned by Fanny Crosby, to which i know of nothing comparable in scope and depth.

As regards differences, it should also be understand that evangelicals typically experienced a dramatic transformation due to faith in the the gospel of grace preached from the Scriptures, after having been in churches where it was not really preached nor the Bible was emphasized. Due to that and their resultant Scripture and relationship-centered faith they are alarmed at doctrines which lack Scriptural warrant and militate against it (such as praying to departed saints) and which much depend upon tradition and the infallible magisterium.

If you believe the gospel what don't you believe the historical claims of the Roman Catholic church?

...your premise is that since Rome gave us the Bible and its gospel, then we are bound to believe her interpretation of history However, this assertion is fallacious on different levels, but the short version is that Rome's basis for her formulaic (scope and content-based) assuredly infallible magisterium (AIM), -by which she declares her interpretation of history, tradition and Scripture to be infallible - is herself, while the only assuredly infallible objective authority are the Scriptures, which reproves her. We are no more bound to implicitly accept whatever Rome declare must be, than the Lord and disciples had to accept binding teachings of the Jewish magisterium, but should be like the noble Berean and examine it in the light of the assuredly infallible word. And my next to last post to you dealt with the interpretative necessity both Roman Catholics and Protestants must deal with.


1. Historical lineage does not make one an authentic Jew, spiritually speaking, as certain Jews presumed it did, (Mt. 3:9; Jn. 8:39,44; and their office required it), or a true Christian or church. Rather it is manifest Scriptural faith and its fruits which does. (Rm. 2:28,29; Heb. 6:9; 1Thes. 1:4) As God could have raised up from stones children to Abraham, so he can build His church using stones which realize their destitute helpless condition, unable to escape Hell or merit heaven by their work, but have essential Abrahamic faith in the Lord Jesus to save them by His blood and righteousness. (Acts 8:36-39; 1Pet. 2:5,6)

2. Even if Rome could lay claim to being the same church of the 4th century, with her infallible doctrines actually having unanimous consent of the fathers as she alleges they do, this would not make her an assuredly infallible interpreter of Scripture. For unlike the church at Rome, the law was explicitly stated to have been committed to the Jews, (Rm. 3:2; 9:4) and yet they were manifestly not assuredly infallible in faith and morals. (Mk. 7:6-13; Rm. 10:2,3)

3. The reproof of Jesus of the Jewish magisterium while it yet sat in Moses seat, (Mt. 23:2) by Scripture, and His own statements as to the basis for His authority (see 5729) not only disallows the premise that historical lineage and stewardship of Scripture and the faith confers an AIM (assuredly infallible magisterium), but it evidences Scripture being the supreme transcendent assuredly infallible objective authority, which Scripture affirms it is. (2Tim. 3:16)

4. The Holy Spirit commends lovers of truth who examined the teaching of the very apostles by the Scriptures to ascertain their veracity, (Acts 17:11) and to which Jesus and the apostles and preachers abundantly appealed to, (Mt. 22; Lk. 24:27,44; Acts 17:2; 18:28; 28:23, etc.) as well as miracles and their testimony. (2Cor. 6:1-10; 12:1-12; Rm. 15:19, etc.)

5. The authenticity of Rome's AIM is based upon her own declaration that she is assuredly infallible, whenever she speaks in accordance with her infallibly declared (content and scope-based) formula.

6. While the teaching magisterium was crucial in the O.T. and now still is (and those who hold to SS affirm it is), the faith was not preserved due to an AIM, and writings were correctly recognized as being Scripture without one. As regards the former, God raised up prophets who reproved the magisterium as needed, and a remnant of faithful was preserved, while the authenticity of a prophet was not necessarily established by formal succession, but by conformity to that which was written, and Divine attestation, with speaking falsely in the name of the Lord being a capital offense. (Dt. 18:20; Jer. 20:1-6; 28:1-17)

As concerns Scripture, the Divinely inspired writings were essentially progressively recognized as such due to their qualities and effects, and attestation by men who had the same because of faith in them. Making official lists is valid, but such are not responsible for the authority for Scriptural writings, nor for their enduring popularity.

7. Even if formal historical linkage via an unbroken succession of magistrates were an essential basis for the magisterial office, unlike under the Old Testament, then Rome has fallen short, as its line includes immoral, impenitent Popes (including before they were enthroned) who would not qualify as Christians and church members, let alone bishops, and thus spiritually such did not belong to any church, but would be excluded or cast out of a valid N.T. church. (1Cor. 5:11-13)

Historical basis for Rome's claim to authority, Pt. 1

I continue to be amazed at the attempts by RCAs to both suppose that a historical linkage would establish a church as a or the one true one - as if God could not raise up sons of Abraham from stones (Mt. 3:9) - rather than demonstrable Scriptural faith. And then the church it attempts to link itself to did not even have Peter as its pastor, who is not even mentioned at all, while its teachings are contrary to the present Roman church, chapter by chapter.

As for the 3 proof texts, Rom 1:8: "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world,"
that is not surprising, due to its strategic location (all roads lead to..) with perhaps 800,000 people, nor is its propagation unique, for

1Thes. 1:8: “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing

As for Rm. 15:14 and being "full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another,"

That they were full of goodness is true, thank God, yet the election of Thessalonians was affirmed by Paul, who said “work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope,” (1Thes. 1:3) and that “your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth,” (2Thes. 1:3) and they and the church in Philadelphia had tested, enduring faith. (Rev. 3:10)

As for all knowledge, Paul also affirmed even the problematic Corinthians, who were said to “abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us," (2Cor. 8:7) “That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge.” “So that ye come behind in no gift.” (1Cor. 1:5,7a)

As for being able also to admonish one another, the text does not say admonish other churches, while the Thessalonians and Colossians were called to do admonish the brethren, (1Thes. 5:14; Col. 3:16)

And if we are to make Rome the ruling church due to such words, then Titus must have been the first pope, as he was charged, “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” (Titus 2:15)

As for Rom 16:16: “Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.” What the text does not says is “the churches of Christ submit to you,” and if “salute” (KJV) means submit then they were to do so to a women, (Rm. 16:6) while what it (aspazomai) means is “welcome” or “greet,” and its use here does not show a recognition of preeminence.

While this does not minimize the virtues of this church, “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called saints,” (Rm. 1:7) likely meeting in various assemblies, (Rm. 16:5) it does not lend itself to the idea of a centralized command and control from Rome, under a supreme Caesarian-papacy, reigning fro a papal palace, with its autocratic assuredly infallible magisterium. And what Paul after presenting the gospel which Rome contradicts with its gospel of works-merit, and preeminence based upon ecclesiastical papal progeny, the manifestly God-ordained (contra Rome) apostle warns to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them, “ who, among other things, “by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17,18) And which indicts Rome, as while “the simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going,” (Proverbs 14:15) by searching the Scriptures with heart to know and obey truth (Acts 17:11) the Biblically perverse practices and presumptions of an impenitent Rome are made manifest, as well as any we have.
First, the idea that the promise is a succession of churches with their base in the same geographical location as this church is absurd according to the Book of Romans itself as well as other texts! This is not the Old Covenant but the new, and it is not physical or formal lineage that establishes one as a true man of God nor a body as the one true church (OTC), but Abrahamic-type faith in the apostolic gospel of grace. And which is not one that makes works meritorious for salvation, as per Rome, but is a righteousness imputed by faith.

The error of Rome corresponds to that of the Pharisees, who presumed that physical lineage and formal rituals established authenticity. (Jn. 8:39) However both the Baptist and the Lord Jesus reproved this as presumption, as does the apostle Paul:

"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? {8} Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: {9} And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. " (Matthew 3:7-9; cf. Jn. 8:44; Rm. 2;28.29)

The church exists and endures by faith, and its conformity must be with that which is written most essentially that being the gospel of grace, with its attestation from God, is the basis for the claim to authenticity, by a person of God or a church. And if God can raise up from stones sons of Abraham, He can do the like to build his Church of the born again.

Thus if you want to lay claim to being of the Biblical church of Roman, especially by using Scripture, claiming some sort of physical or ecclesiastical lineage will not do it, and instead your church must demonstrate it conforms to the Scriptures (and Paul directs the Romans there: Rm. 1:2; 3:4,10; 4:3,17,23; 8:36; 9:13,17,33; 10:11,15; 11:2,8,26; 12:19; 14:11; 15:3,4,9,15,21, 16:26,27; etc.),

But instead what Rome's infallible claim to be the infallible OTC is effectively based upon is her own claim to be assuredly infallible. Argue against that if you want.

2. You quote me Rm. 16:20 as if never read it, and if what i stated is irrelevant, while by “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” we see that besides geography having nothing to do with what constitutes the OTC, there is nothing in the commendations or promises afforded Rome that would make her the head of all other churches, and the fact that none of them are told to look to Rome as such is one reason why your most resort to your extrapolation extreme ecclesiastical eisegesis.

I showed similar commendations before (see here), as invoking the book of Romans seems to be lasted papal polemic for purchase, but the promise of Rm. 16:20 is not unique to the Roman believers, rather Paul is simply telling them as believers the promise which is given to all true believers, that ultimately by obedient faith, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” (Romans 8:37) and thus, “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:13a) And, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. " (James 4:7)

And this is an Old Testament promise given to all believers. Thus it is applies to Protestants as well, whom Rome considers saved.

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 4:2-3)

In the end, your attempted exegesis by wresting and stretching Scripture is simply a negative testimony for Rome, which would make any Berean type souls turn away from her.
Rom 16:20 must include the Roman Church, for it is that Church which it was written to [and uniquely promises that the devil will be crushed under their feet.]

Of course it includes the Roman church [but you make them the unique recipients of it]. The issue is that it is a promise to all who continue in the faith, else the other texts would be a lie.

This unique statement is found only once in the NT. No other local church receives such a particular and explicit promise as this.

As we shall see, both the particular aspect as well as the hermeneutic is a problem.

I have already showed you that the historical argument in invalid, while argument here rests upon Rome in particular being given this promise. However, the word for "your" (G2257) as in "your feet" is the exact same word as "our" right below it, as in "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." And the "you" at the end is different.

This word is used 4 other times in the N.T. all translated rightly as "ours" in the Roman Catholic DRB as well as the KJV (which two Bible are almost always in concurrence).

In contrast, the word translated "you" (G5216) occurs 360 times in the KJV as "you" or "your" (incld. Rm. 1:8).

Moreover, the word for "shall" is not in the Greek in 16:20, and "bruse" just measn "broken," "bruise, etc. (AndG1161 theG3588 GodG2316 of peaceG1515 shall bruiseG4937 SatanG4567) Thus the DRB renders this a prayer, "And the God of peace crush Satan under your feet speedily."

I do not know what the liberal (as critical Catholics complain) NAB says, but that is irrelevant.

Perhaps a reason can be found to use "shall" and "your" rather than "our," but this would still not be a promise only to these believers.

Furthermore, i am sure this has not been infallibly defined, but is a product of your FHR (Fallible Human Reasoning), and as such, would serve to justify Rome's interpretation of 1Pt. 1:20, although she misinterprets that herself.

But if you want to use your hermeneutic to exalt one church as head due to a possible statement of questionable uniqueness, there is another one the Lord showed me which we can only imagine how you might react to if it was in the letter to the Romans.

Turning to the letter to the Ephesians, cp. 3, we see that.

19 "ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

21: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The "ye" in v. 19 is not there, but it is in v. 22, and thus this could be construed to mean this unique pertained to the Ephesian church, which was built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, a weighty phrase indeed. However, as with Rm. 16:20, it is not unique, but pertains to all who believe on the Lord Jesus unto His coming.

May we all do so, by and in His grace, and to His glory

The issue is how the church that was the subject of Paul's address in Rome is construed to be the predecessor to one under what was to be a Perpetuated Petrine Papacy. It is hardly conceivable that this church was begun by Peter, and even less that Peter was in Rome, as Paul would have not needed to address it, and is unlikely to have built on another man's foundation, much less neglect to even mention Peter anywhere in it, esp. amidst the multitude of his salutations in cp. 16.

And of course, in no other epistles is there any reminder to remember or pray for Peter, or obey him, as would be expected if he were reigning over the church as its supreme head after the manner which Rome has him.

I do see Peter being the leader among brethren of the apostles and initially of the early church, and exercising a general pastoral office, but as one living no better than they (the tannner's house was near the sea for a reason), and not being looked to as a supreme CEO or demi-god that his supposed successors became. Nor do i do see formal provision made for papal predecessors, or even for any of the original apostles save for Judas (unlike James), which was necessary to maintain the 12 foundational apostles, (Eph. 2:20; Rv. 21:14) though some, including Luther, may somewhat functionally operate as such, or as prophets.

And being married (Mt. 8:14; 1Cor. 9:5) and evidently poor, (Acts 3:6) is more fitting for a evangelical preacher:)

In addition, Romans is hardly the most fitting book to use as a foundation for a religion that infallibly taught that saved believers are accounted to have "truly merited eternal life" by those very works which have been done in God. And that eternal life is both a gift as well as reward to their good works and merits.” (Trent, Chapter XVI; The Sixth Session Decree on justification, 1547)

And that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God merits the attainment of eternal life itself. (Trent, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 32)

If Rome had a predecessor it spiritually would be the church of the Galatians.

However, the fundamental error of Michael and Rome here is that of presuming that historical linkage, real or contrived, constitutes the basis for legitimacy and authority, which is does not, although up thru the 12 apostles this was a necessary attribute.

But while Jews thought this gave them legitimacy as Jews, both the Baptist and the Lord set them straight. (Mt. 3:9; Jn. 8:44) An God can yet raised up stones to build His church.

What Paul taught the Romans was that it is not historical linkage back to Abraham that constitutes legitimacy, but Abrahamic type faith in the gospel of grace, (Rm. 2:28,29) as it by such that the church has its members and endures, while those who were born after the flesh persecutes them who are born after the Spirit. (Gal. 4:29) And which is Rome's legacy, despite claims of her self-proclaimed infallible magisterium.

By what authority

By what authority can Protestants judge, since the R. Catholic church has historical apostolic succession and claims to be infallible?

The issue is upon what basis the authenticity of this church is established, and by what objective standard does it judge by.

If you choose to assuredly establish this church by Scripture, appealing to our human reasoning, then you are appealing to Scripture as the supreme objective authority, which is contrary to the premise of Rome, which teaches such assurance cannot be realized except by faith in the assuredly infallible magisterium, which claim disallows any debate we can provide that the claim of Rome fails Scriptural warrant.

If you choose history and an unbroken succession of popes, then you have popes who could never have remained even as church members, let alone be ordained and remain as popes, but you fall into the presumption of the Jews, who supposed historical pedigree established them.

However, as it is written, "God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham," and the authenticity of a true Jew and a true church is based upon Abrahamic type faith in the Biblical "gospel of the grace of God," (Acts 20:24b)

Which it does not teach that believers merit graces needed for the attainment of eternal life, (Catechism of the Catholic church, Part 3, Life in Christ, Merit, 2010) that they have truly merited eternal life by those very works which have been done in God. (Trent, Chapter XVI; The Sixth Session Decree on justification, 1547)

It is by Scriptural faith that the church exists and has its members, (1Cor. 12:13) and by this faith it overcomes, (1Jn. 5:5) and its claim to be a true church, like that of a true man of God, is not by self-proclamation, but as said before, by Scriptural qualities; holiness and doctrine that conforms to the only objective source which is affirmed to be assuredly infallible, with the supernatural attestation, primarily transformed lives, that shows it is the church of the living God, versus its institutionalized counterpart which teaches for doctrines the mere traditions of men.

It is therefore the Scriptures, which material source you appealed to, that authorize the church, and which enables it to judge righteousness judgment.

In seeking to convert Protestants, RC's argue that they since they are fallble, then they need an infallible authority on doctrine, but which argumentation effectively appeals to their fallible human reasoning (FHR) to convince them to believe in the Assuredly Infallible Magisterium (AIM) which is protected from the fallible nature of FHR when they speak according to their Infallibly Declared Formula (IDF) If they do say so themselves.

And yet apart from infallible teachings, like in evangelical churches (who actually show more unity in core values and doctrine) Catholics can disagree to varying degrees with non-infallible teachings, though who knows all of which ones are infallible.

"By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?" (Mk. 11:28)

The Jewish hierarchy challenged Jesus authority and He responded by asking them where John the Baptist got his baptism from. This was a problem because unlike the Levites, prophets did not become so by physical lineage, though a son of one might become one, nor was it necessarily by formal succession, though one might be anointed by one. With John the Baptist neither seems to have been the case, but the call and message of a prophet required some evident attestation that they and it were of God. In fact presuming to speak to the name of the Lord was a capital offense it became evident to they did not. But the problem for the powers that be was that they reproved those who sat in Moses seat, and the latter sometimes killed the former in response (occupational hazard). In the case of the Baptist, the hierarchy feared the people who rightly regarded John as prophet, (Mk. 11:28-33) but King Herod (who actually reverenced John) later removed John's head as a consequence of him reproving Herod for his illicit marriage.

Jesus also referenced his own works as being a “greater witness than that of John” as well as the then-existing Scriptures, (Jn. 5:36,39) in substantiating His claims and teachings. And he likewise reproved the Jews for presuming that physical lineage validated their claim to be sons of Abraham, (Jn. 8:39,44) a presumption which Paul also corrected. (Rm. 2:28,29) While under the Old Testament the magisterial teaching office was perpetuated through the Levitical priesthood, which was based upon physical lineage as well as formal ordination, this did not render them assuredly infallible interpreters of the Scriptures, and presumption to teach doctrines which were contrary to Scripture was reproved by the Lord and using Scripture. (Mk. 7:6-13) And it is self-evident in the New Testament that the Law, the Psalms and writings of the prophets (Lk. 24:27,44) had come to be accepted as Scripture without an infallible magisterium, although certainly that teaching office was important to that process.

As concerns Roman Catholicism, the claim is made his that her historicity, in which she claims she uniquely is the same church as that of the first century onward (including the fourth century when the canon of Scripture was largely settled from), confers upon her a unique interpretive authority, and even being more so, an assuredly infallible magisterium. And which office in turn infallibly interprets both history Scripture to mean that she is that one true church.*

However, as pointed out before, if her historical argument was accepted as a basis for her authenticity, the logic behind this claim would require us to submit to the Jewish magisterium in interpretation of Scripture, as they alone are explicitly declared to to be the stewards of Scripture, a least those which then existed. But by whose interpretation there would be no New Testament.

But as the church exists by faith, and overcomes the gates of Hell by it, and faith comes by hearing their word of God, and the Scriptures are the only source which are assuredly wholly inspired of God, then for those who accept Scripture it should be held as the supreme judge of faith and morals. And as God could essentially raise up from stones children to Abraham, so he can raised up a church using stones like Peter, who profess the essential truth by which the faith journey begins.

Yet the church does not exist estranged from history, for faith without works is dead, and the testimony and teaching of extra-Biblical believers works to influence understanding of faith, and of the Object of it. However, if they have any valid testimony and teaching then it is a result of having believed the word of God, which again Scripture is, and which itself was essentially established as being such by its qualities and the attestation given it by God, including effects which result from believing it. But as influential as such men are, they were not assuredly infallible, and all must be subject to warrant and conformity with that which is written (we know which writings of Biblical men were inspired by their inclusion therein). That said, the more one's testimony is effectual like that of Scripture then the more power he will have with men, and with God.

Other issues related to this is the uncertainty as to how many of all the writings of Rome are infallible, its inability to fully understanding every truth found in the Deposit of Faith, and the degree of disagreement which Catholics and clergy are allowed to have and do have concerning those which are not, as well as the need to interpret both fallible and infallible teachings. Within Catholic scholarship there are two very diverse camps even as concerns interpretation of Scripture, while her laity evidence greater disagreement in basic moral issues in certain doctrines than her Evangelical counterparts.

How this relates to the doctrinal unity SS type evangelicals most universally have regards core essentials, and the unity of the Spirit as a result, and the degree they may disagree in secondary matters, is a further consideration, but this is long enough already.

It is true that Moses was infallible in writing the Pentateuch (i doubt most RC scholars believe that he did) as were the apostles in adding to the Scriptures.

But the authority of apostles who added new doctrines to that which was written was not based on the premise that they would be assuredly infallible whenever they defined faith and morals to the universal church, much less taught that the church would be because it declared it was. Rather, "by manifestation of truth" (2Cor. 4:2) they persuaded men, "reasoning out of the Scriptures" (Acts 17:2; 28:23) with a holiness, faith and teaching that conformed to and complemented that which was prior established as from God, (2Cor. 6:1-10; Acts 17:11) and which was accompanied by manifest supernatural attestation, (Rm. 15:18,9; 2Cor. 12:12) which is how it all began. God supernaturally worked in Abraham's life, and he and his holy faith became established as of God, and so forth.

The problem with Rome is that she essentially adds to the Scriptures by making her nebulous oral tradition equal to the Scriptures, and effectively presumes supremacy over them, while certain "infallible" teachings - including her claim to assured infallibility - lack Scriptural and Divine attestation. And she does not simply claim to be able to teach infallibly, but claims a formulaic assured infallibility, by which she renders her declaration of infallibility to be infallible, as well as her claim for Scriptural basis. Thus according to her interpretation only her interpretation can be correct in any conflict.

If the ground opened up and swallowed any who opposed her then that might allow such a claim, but this is not the case, and the implicit trust in her is not warrant, and any unity resulting from that is inferior in quality, if not quantity, to that is the result of Berean type hearts and its method or ascertaining truth.

It may be argued that this renders fallible human reasoning infallible, yet this is not was 2Pt. 1:20,21 censures as regards interpretation, and texts such as 1Jn. 5:13 sanction it in obtaining assurance, but it rests upon Scripture being assuredly infallible, which objective source is alone affirmed to be, while any degree of surety claimed by an advocate SS is contingent upon demonstrable Scriptural warrant, using principles of doctrinal exegesis it manifests.

Your is an old but invalid contention. It has prior been established here that not only did RCC not infallibly define all of what constituted sacred Scripture until over 1400 after the last book was penned, but that it was not exactly the same canon (2Esdras issue)

In addition, it is not councicular decrees that established the writings in the Bible as being Scriptures, as helpful as such decrees can be, but like a true man of God, it was and is due to its unique enduring qualities and the Divine attestation given it. The best a council can do is ratify the best seller list of those whose lives conform to what was established as from God, and His attestation. The God of Abraham was manifest prior to Moses speaking in His name, and as argued above, the Lord made it quite evident those who added doctrines were from Him. (Praying to the departed was not one of these teachings).

As a man and writings became progressively established as Divine they became the standard by which newer revelations, or those purporting to be such, were examined and substantiated by. (Is. 8:20; Mt. 22:29-45; Lk. 24:27,44; Jn. 5:39,42; Acts 17:2,11; 18:28; 28:23; Heb. 1, etc.) And by which Jesus reproved those who presumed to teach doctrines which were not. (Mk. 7:7-13)

While it was thru the church that the fullness of what constituted Scripture was realized, most writings therein were already established as such by Jesus time, without an infallible magisterium.

As for the Church, not the Scriptures, being the pinnacle and foundation of the truth, (1 Timothy 3:15) it is telling that sola eccelsia - that the church alone is the supreme authority on faith and morals, as it decides the extent of Divine revelation and its infallible meaning - is extrapolated out of a verse that simply says the church "[the] support (stulos) and hedraiōma (from hedraioō, stayed, ground, stable, settled, which only occurs here) [of] the truth."

This is hardly warrants the idea that the Roman Catholic church is the assuredly infallible source and judge of truth, rather than saying that the church, defined as only consisting of born again believers - and thus is manifested as the "church of the living God - supports the truth, and is of the truth, is grounded on it, or is the steward of it, all of which are Scriptural, but both the writers as well as the stewards of Holy Writ are to be subject to it, versus claiming a formulaic infallibility that renders all they proclaim as infallible, including its claim to be Scriptural, because it spoke on faith and morals to the whole church. When the church did so in the Bible, (Acts 15) we know that is was as it is contained therein, and which manifests that this teaching was wholly Scriptural. Rome itself may and has taught infallible truth, as does Protestantism, but it is the basis for an assured status that is the issue.

If you appeal to Scripture in seeking to establish sola ecclesia then that infers that the Scriptures are the superior authority. And what the Bible does not say is that all the church will teaches on faith and morals will be infallible; rather it teaches that the only objective source which is wholly inspired of God and thus is assuredly infallible, is the Scriptures. (2Tim 3:16)

The kingdom of God, or the authenticity of a church, is not in word, that of men declaring they are, but in power, in attributes and Divine attestation which conforms to that which as established as from God by the same.(1Cor. 4:20) Of which i come short, especially in heart. Insofar as our eye be single, setting our affection on things above, not on things on the heart, which can be lawful things but which edify not, which our whole bodies be full of light. (Mt. 6:22)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Praying to departed saints

Why is praying the saints in Heaven wrong? The Bible tells to pray for each other, and Jesus Himself prayed to Lazarus when he was dead

The issue is not only what prayer means, but its object, and the spiritual relation that exists between God and man in the spiritual realm, and the separation of realms which God manifests. Thus communication between created heavenly beings and earthlings always were personal encounters, while relations between people on earth is not to be by telepathy.

Lazarus is not analogous to PTDS (prayer to departed saints), as not only was this a command but it was to one on earth, while the case with PTDS is that they are in heaven and able to hear and respond to potentially billions of prayers simultaneously, an attribute of Deity never shown to have been given to man, and are purportedly making intercession to God. Lazarus likely had not yet ascended (that's another study) and was being address by the Lord, not for help but to obey, and if another had addressed Lazarus he would have been talking to the wall.

The foundational issue regarding PTDS is that of Scriptural warrant and conflation.

The Bible teaches abundantly on prayer, and in order to warrant PTDS one must find an approved example or teaching of it, and some insufficiency in Christ as regards immediate access or ability or compassion, etc. Yet the Bible provides just the opposite and clearly so. The advocate of PTDS is thus left seeking to extrapolate this out of analogy between earthly communications, supposing a complete correspondence to that between earth and heaven, and or a "God can do anything" hermeneutic, but which is a strained and problematic exegesis which cannot overcome the weight of evidence against it, and such attempts are typical of cults when faced with the same.

To substantiate that PTDS is Scriptural, one needs to, from the Bible (and in order of importance)

1. provide just one example, among the multitude of prayers in the Bible, where anyone besides heathen prayed to anyone else in heaven but the Lord.

2. provide one place where exhortations, commands or instruction on prayer directed believers to pray to the departed. ("i.e. "Our mother, who art in heaven...")..

3. show where believers cannot have direct access to Christ in heaven, or where any insufficiency exists in Christ that would require or advantage another intercessor in heaven between Christ and man, besides the Holy Spirit.

4. show where departed souls in heaven are taking prayer requests addressed to them.

5. show where the departed are given the Divine attribute of omniscience, so they can hear and process an infinite amount of prayer.

6. provide where making supplication to beings in heaven besides God is otherwise sanctioned, and where all aspects of how relations between created beings in heavenly and those on earth have a one to one correspondence with earthly relations. Or where directly praying telepathically to each other on earth is promoted.

5. provide where any communication between earthlings on earth and heavenly beings besides God took place apart from a personal visitation.

6. show where anyone else is called "Queen of heaven" other than Jer 44:17 ("But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven," who was a heavenly object of devotion and prayer.

7. Show where another basic necessary practice has zero examples and is contrary to what is stated on the issue, as who we are to pray to in heaven is.

Example, descriptions, instructions. See Bible prayers here

Gen. 15:2; 17:18; 18:23; 18:23-32; 24:12-14; 32:9-12; Ex. 25:22; 32:11-13;

33:12-19; Num. 6:23-26; 10:35-36; 11:11-16; 12:13-14; 14:13-19; 27:15-18; Dt. 3:23-25; 9:25; 9:26-29; 21:7-9; 26:5-10; Josh. 7:7-9;

Jdg 6:13; 6:15; 6:15-17; 6:36-37; 6:39; 13:8; 16:8; 1Sam.1:10-11; 2:1-10; 2Sam. 7:18-29; 24:17; 1Ki. 3:5-61; 17:20-21; 18:25-26;

18:27-37; 19:4; 2 Ki. 6:17-18; 19:15-19; 1Chr.4:10; 29:9-19; 14:11; 2Chr. 6:40; 14:11; 20:6-12; 30:18-19; Ezra 8:3; 9:5-15; Neh. 1:4,5;

1:4-11; 4:4-5; 9:5-38; Job 22:27; Ps. 4:1; 5:3; 6:9; 17:1; 35:13;

39:12; 42:8; 54:2; 55:1; 61:1; 64:1; 65:2; 66:19,20; 69:13; 72:15;

80:4; 84:8; 86:1,6; 86:6; 88:2,13; 90:1; 102:1,17; 109:4,7; 141:2,5;

142:1; 143:1; Prov. 15:8,29; 28:8; Is. 37:4; 38:2,3,5; 56:7; Jer. 7:16; 11:14; 26:19; Lam. 3:8,44; Ezek. 9:8; Dan. 9:3-19; Jonah 2:1-9;

Hab. 1:12-17; 3:2-18; Mat. 6:9-13; 11:25-27; 17:21; 21:22; 26:39; Lk. 1:9,13; 6:12; 18:10-13; 19:46; 23:30; 23:34; 23:46; Jn.11:41-42;

17:1-22; 17:1-26; Acts 1:14,24-25; 3:1; 6:4; 9:6; 10:2,31; 12:5;

16:13,16; Rm. 10:1; 12:12; 1Cor. 1:2; 7:5; 2Cor. 1:1; 9:14; 12:8;

Eph. 1:16-22; 3:13-21; 6:18; Phil. 1:4,9-11,19; 4:6; Col 1:9-13ff; 4:2; 1Thes. 3:10-13; 5:23,24; 2Thes. 1:10-12; 2:16-17; 1Tim. 4:2;

2Tim. 4:16; Heb. 2:18; 4:15,16; 7:25; 10:19-22; 13:20-21; James 5:16,17; 1Pt. 4:7; Rev. 6:16-16; 22:202

Despite the lack of precedent and the evidence against in both precepts on prayer and the paracletous nature of Christ, if one yet insists on extrapolating praying to saints out of earthly relations, using a hermeneutic that there is no explicit command not to*, and "with God all things are possible," then they are not advised to debate Mormons or lesbians. Examples of the latter:

*There is no express command against consensual cannibalism (whoever dies first we will have for dinner) either, among other things. And while its basic prohibition is justly derived from Gn. 9:3,5,6 which establishes the source of man's food, yet in keeping with the foundational law of love, in dire circumstance of necessity it might be allowed (and with the Andes survivors).

But praying to the departed lacks both and example of such or evidence they could hear prayers, nor Biblically is their necessity or insufficiency in access to Christ and the Father by the Spirit. Praying to the departed thus testifies that one lacks the Spirit or the faith and communion with God in Christ that marks Biblical prayer (not that mine is not lacking). Perhaps the largest prayer meeting on earth will be to mountains. (Lk. 23:20; Lk. 6:16)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Re "Was Jesus death contrary to God's command against child sacrfice?

There is a vast difference between someone being compelled to die, and for a pagan deity, and one being willing to place himself in the hand of others who can kill him of their own will, in order to to save others.

There is nothing of the latter in the examples of sacrifice which God condemns; rather He condemns all sacrifice to false gods, and the innocent being compelled to die is murder. Thus today, as one poster said, "If you want to argue with those who offer human sacrifices to pagan gods [of pleasure, possessions and politics], look up 'abortion providers' in the Yellow Pages."

Ted Kennedy's hands were red because of the babies whose blood he shed, and if he died unrepentant, he is in Hell-fire no matter how nice his (Catholic) funeral and eulogies, and the same is true for all who reject the crucified and risen Lord Jesus, or who trust their works will merit them eternal life (which the LDS do, among others).

And if you do either, you will mourn having spurned your day of grace, and for having rejected "so great salvation" (Heb. 2:3) as so great a cost, by the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:13)

While Jesus was foreordained to die, this not mean human will is not excised to fulfill the plan of God, and was no "victim" in the sense that he had no power over His death, rather He plainly stated, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. {17} Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. {18} No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. " (John 10:16-18)

Moreover, as this link explains

Is there any place in the Hebrew Scriptures or Jewish tradition ... But at times the death of another human being atoned for the sins of the people. Three such biblical passages are Numbers 25:1-8; Exodus 32; and Second Samuel 21:1-14. In the first, the death of two people by the hand in Phinehas stops a plague against the people; in the second, the death of a large number of Israelites does the same thing; in the third, the impaling of the sons of King Saul again atones for the sins of the people. Make no mistake: it is the death of people that stops the plague or averts God's wrath. Rabbi Jacob Milgrom comments:

Phinehas's deed in slaying one Israelite leader suffices to ransom (kipper) Israel; God requires no additional victims. Kipper functions to avert the retribution, to nip it in the bud, to terminate it before it is fully exhausted.

Jacob Milgrom, The JPS Torah Commentary: Numbers (Philadelphia; New York: The Jewish Publication Society, 1990), p. 477.

Milgrom mentions two other texts where the death of human beings functions to secure atonement:

The first, Exodus 32:26-29, deals with the apostasy of the golden calf where the Levites are called upon to slay the people, even their close relatives, indiscriminately -- to assuage the wrath of God. The second text, 2 Samuel 21:1-14. . .[shows that] the impalement of Saul's sons provided the needed ransom-expiation for ending the drought.

Ibid., p. 478

Likewise, in cases of accidental manslaughter, the killer would flee to a "city of refuge," but could not leave until the death of the high priest (Numbers 35:25-32). The high priest's death atoned for the manslaughterer's sin so that he himself could go free. This interpretation is held not only by Christians but is also found in the Talmud (Makkoth 11b):

If after the slayer has been sentenced as an accidental homicide the high priest dies, he need not go into exile. But is it not the exile that expiates? It is not exile that expiates, but the death of the high priest.

Translation as given in Jacob Milgrom, Numbers (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1990), p. 294. See likewise in Gordon J. Wenham, Numbers: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1981), p. 238 n. 2

Milgrom comments: "As the High Priest atones for Israel's sins through his cultic service in his lifetime...,so he atones for homicide through his death."

Milgrom, ibid.

Perhaps the most controversial passage that refers to atonement not just by the death of any human being, but through the sufferings and death of the Messiah, in Isaiah 52:13-53:12. In Talmudic times, this passage was understood to refer to the coming Messiah. In medieval times, especially under the influence of Rashi, the prevailing interpretation applied the passage to the people of Israel, though the messianic interpretation was still held by various sages. The relevant point here is that no one can object that the Isaiah passage is non-Messianic because God forbids human sacrifice. Though He surely forbids pagan sacrifice of human beings, there are examples where only the death of a guilty human being or the death of the priest can effect full atonement. Furthermore, the "servant" of Isaiah 53 voluntarily gives us his life; his death is not forced on him. In a later time, Jesus affirmed that his impending death was voluntary. Even though he seemed to go to death by the force of circumstance, he voluntarily placed himself in those circumstances, so that he could say: " lay down my life --only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord" (John 10:17-18). And, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:12-13).


In Jewish thought, the death of a martyr can be redemptive and atoning.

That martyrdom somehow counteracts the menace of sin and, therefore, has a redemptive quality is decidedly an early rabbinic theme, though not necessarily a central one...."Expiation for the coming world" underlines the significance of the notion for the martyrs themselves. But, the rabbinic conception is not limited to penance for sin...

Aharon Agus, The Binding of Isaac and Messiah: Law, Martyrdom and Deliverance in Early Rabbinic Religiosity (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988), pp. 40-41.

Though it includes that conception. When we speak of martyrs, we are speaking of human beings whose death has atoning value. © Copyright 2010 Jews for Jesus All Rights Reserved

And, Does God endorse human sacrifice?

Deuteronomy 12:31 "Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods."

God forbids human sacrifice, but the critics have a handful of instances where they think God had people violate this one:

Genesis 22:2 "And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."

Since God's intent never was that Abraham complete the sacrifice, this is hardly contradictory. For more on this subject, see Glenn Miller's essay here

Exodus 22:29 "For thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors; the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me."

This is not referring to sacrifice, but to service. No one sacrificed fruits and liquors on an altar.

Leviticus 27: 28-9 Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the LORD of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the LORD. None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.

Is this human sacrifice? No, it is judicial execution. Those among men who are "devoted" (charam) are those who worship false gods (Exodus 22:19 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed (charam.) or deceive others into doing so (Deut. 13:15).

Judges 11:30-39 "And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord...

See our reply to this issue here.

2 Samuel 21:8-14 "But the king [David] took the two sons of Rizpah . . . and the five sons of Michal . . . and he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest . . . And after that God was intreated for the land."

Do not leave out verses 10-14a, which tell us that God was intreated AFTER Saul's bones were reclaimed and buried. It had NOTHING to do with the sons of Rizpah, etc., or any human sacrifice.

Ezekiel 20:26 I let them become defiled through their gifts--the sacrifice of every firstborn --that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the LORD.

This is not a case of endorsing human sacrifice, but a case of God giving rebellious peoples what they want and deserve by giving them freedom.

Hebrews 10:10-12 " . . . we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ . . . But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God."

1 Corinthians 5:7 " . . . For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us."

God offering the essence of Himself is human sacrifice? Human sacrifice always involved victims who were either a) deceived; b) unwilling. Jesus was neither. For more on this subject, see Glenn Miller's essay here.

Your assumption that what God condemned in Deut 12:30-31 is the same as the death of Jesus ignores critical distinctions.

1. According to your hermeneutic, what God condemns the pagans for doing must be forbidden to Israel, yet God also condemned pagans offering up prayers and sacrifice to false gods. However, God commanded Israel to do the same, but this did sanctioning the pagan version.

2. Again, Jesus was not child sacrifice, (Deut 12:30-31) but he willingly offered himself.
3. If the suffering servant of Is. 53 is Israel as you suppose, then it would show that God is not opposed to the innocent becoming an atonement for sin.

4. The suffering servant is not Israel, who was not righteous or an atonement for the world, but a third party, thus “for the transgression of my people was he stricken. " (Isaiah 53:8)

Another point you are missing is that God shows atonement being made by the death of a human, and thus your remaining objection is that such were guilty. However, the scapegoat and atonement of Lv. 16 were animals without defect, and all the guilt of Israel was symbolically transferred to the scapegoat. And which atonement was a perpetual commandment, to be made once a year.

All of which corresponds to Is. 53, in which the “the arm of the LORD” which is not Israel, grows up and is punished for “our transgressions,” pouring out His soul to death, His soul for sin, by whose knowledge many shall be justified. While since about 1,00 after Christ Rabbi's attribute Is. 53 to Israel, there are exceptions

  • The children of the world are members one of another. When the Holy One desires to give healing to the world, he smites one just man amongst them, and for his sake heals all the rest. From where do we learn this? From the saying [Isaiah 53:5], “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. (Zohar, Numbers, Pinchus

  • The Messiah, in order to atone for them both [Adam and David], will make his soul a trespass offering [Isaiah 53:10] as it is written next to this parashah “Behold my servant” [Isaiah 52:13]. (Midrash
    Aseret Memrot)

  • Messiah Son of David who loves Jerusalem... Elijah takes him by the head... and says “You must bear the sufferings and wounds by which the Almighty chastises you for Israel’s sins” and so it is
    written, He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. (Midrash Konen; 11th century)

    More here:

    You can contrive the Hebrew in your attempt to deny this, but the fact is that God commanded atonement, and human death can atone, and that Is. 53 speaks of this, and Christ voluntary consented to be the scapegoat atonement, and your attempt to disallow that by invoking the
    prohibition on pagan sacrifices is invalid.