Monday, December 17, 2018

Are evangelicals closer to what the New Testament church believed than Roman Catholicism?

Are evangelicals closer to what the New Testament church believed than Roman Catholicism?
Actually, though evangelicals are not to a church denomination but a faith group that makes up a religious movement (which arose in response to liberal declension from Scripture), this group overall actually has the most in common with Scriptural Christian teachings.

While distinctive Catholic teachings are not manifest in the only wholly inspired substantive authoritative record of what the NT church believed (including how they understood the OT and gospels), which is Scripture, especially Acts thru Revelation, most of what evangelicals believe is Scriptural, while yet falling short of the purity, probity, power and passion of the prima NT church, as described in Acts 1–5.
However, like as the term “Christian” became watered-down and corrupted over time, giving rise to the term “born-again” and “evangelical” (which pollsters often treat as synonymous, wrongly so), then likewise “evangelical” which used to be synonymous with fundamentalist, has increasingly become a mixture of traditionalists anfd that of a watered-down superficial idea of faith and with arrested development (though overall it has attested to being the most unified major Christian group overall in core conservative, Scripture beliefs). There is also classic evangelicals, inclusion such holy men as Matthew Henry, and the 20th century evangelical movement.
Principal differences btwn evangelicalism today and Roman Catholicism is,
  • Rather than imagining that act itself of proper baptism makes one good enough to enter Heaven (via cleaning of a sin infants are not guilty of, and infusing them with charity) at that point, and thus henceforth treating them as children of God, evangelicals overall instead stress the importance personal conversion of repentant faith in the Lord Jesus. And which faith is then to be expressed in baptism and following the Lord in obedience.
However, like as most Catholics are nominal (though she treats such as members) and partly trust their own merits and that of the church to save them, too many evangelicals make Christ a means to an end, believing in Him to save them by faith - sometimes regardless of how they live - almost in abstract from all Christ is, versus believing in the Lord Jesus as a person and thus seeking to obey what they know He taught, which is what believing entails.
  • Rather than teaching that one usually must to endure postmortem purifying punishments in RC Purgatory (since the sinful nature remains after baptism, and RCs are taught they must usually atone for sins after death, and actually become good enough in character to be with God), evangelicals instead teach that;
While nothing unclean shall enter God's Holy City, (Rv. 21:27) believers are already washed, sanctified and justified (1Co. 6:11) by effectual faith in the risen Lord Jesus to save them by His sinless shed blood, (Rem. 3;25 — 5:1; Eph. 2:8,9; Titus 3:5) and are already accepted in the Beloved on His account, and made to spiritually sit with Christ in Heaven, (Eph. 1:6; 2:6) and by Him have direct access to God in the holy of holies in prayer. (Heb. 10:19) And who, if they die in faith will go to be with the Lord at death. (Phil 1:23; 2Cor. 5:8 [“we”]; Heb, 12:22,23; 1Cor. 15:51ff'; 1Thess. 4:17)
And with the only suffering after this life being that of the loss of rewards (and the Lord's revelation and disapproval) at the judgment seat of Christ, which one is saved despite the loss of, and which does not occur until the Lord's return and believers resurrection. (1Cor. 3:8ff; 4:5; 2Tim. 4:1,8; Rev.11:18; Mt. 25:31-46; 1Pt. 1:7; 5:4) And which resurrection being the only transformative the believer looks forward to after this life (Rm. 8:23; 2Co. 5:1-4; Phil 3:20,21; 1Jn. 3:2) — not purgatory, which suffering commences at death in order to enable souls to enter Heaven.
However, most evangelicals are wrongly taught that once one has believed on Christ for saslvation, they cannot fall away and be lost, for since one who fundamentally lives contrary to this, such as not providing from his own family as he could, then it is declared that "he has denied the faith." (1 Tim. 5:8) And thus we also have warnings against having an evil hard of unbelief, in departing from the living God." to "draw back into perdition," (Hebrews 3:12; 10:38,39) and "entangled again with the yoke of bondage," thereby making Christ "to become of no effect," "to profit you nothing," being "fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:2,4) For while we can take no credit for faith, and the obedience of faith which God enables and motivates us to do," (Phil. 2:12,13) we can choose to no only sin but harden our hearts at God's correction, which He works so that we will not be "condemned with the rest of the world." (1 Cor. 11:32) Thanks be to God.
In addition, rather than believing in the erroneous Catholic teaching of the words of the Lord at His institution of the Lord supper, with her metaphysical contrivance of her unscriptural priests providing the “true body and blood” of Christ under the appearance of non-existent bread and wine (until it begins to manifestly decay), evangelicals rightly understand these words as being metaphorical.
However, there is some retaining by evangelicals of the Catholic failure to see that discerning the body of Christ (1 Co. 11:17–34) means showing the Lords death by effectually treating the other members as those who were bought by His sinless shed blood, signified by sharing a meal with them, but extending far beyond that (in which I come too short), versus focusing on the elements (Catholics) or the death of Christ somewhat in abstract from how the Lord’s supper is to show His death till He comes.
  • Rather than making what the NT refers to as episkopos (overseer) and presbuteros (senior) into being two pastoral offices, and making pastors into a separate class of (normatively celibate) sacerdotal “hiereus’ “(priests” in English) and even translating that Greek word that is distinctively used for a distinctive sacerdotal class as referring to her own priests, and with their primary unique function being that of offering the Catholic Eucharist as sacrifice for sins, and as being spiritual food for the flock;
Instead, evangelicals overall recognize that episkopos and presbuteros (senior) refer to one office (Titus 1:5-7; Acts 14:23; 20:17) of (normatively married: 1 Tim. 3:1–7) holy believers, and that the Holy Spirit never uses hiereus for NT pastors aside from being part of the whole body of believers. For all believers are called to sacrifice (Rm. 12:1; 15:16; Phil. 2:17; 4:18; Heb. 13:15,16; cf. 9:9) and all constitute the only priesthood (hier√°teuma) in the NT church, that of all believers, (1Pt. 2:5,9; Re 1:6; 5:10; 20:6).
And that the primary function (besides prayer) of NT episkopos/presbuteros is that of preaching/teaching the inspired word of God. By which word (Scriptures) man is to live by, (Mt. 4:4) as Christ lived by the Father, (Jn. 6:57) with doing His will being His “meat.” (Jn. 4:34) by the believing of which one receives spiritual lie, being regenerated, (Acts 10:43-47; 15:7-9; Eph. 1:13) and thus desiring the milk of the word, (1Pt. 2:2) and then handling the “strong meat” (Heb. 5:12-14) of the word of God, which word believers are “nourished” (1Tim. 4:6) and built up, and are to let it dwell in them richly. (Col. 3:16)
However, while required (with rare exceptions) clerical celibacy is not Scriptural, ordaining women pastors is also unscriptural, and yet it is often seen in modern evangelicalism, in contrast to its past.
  • Rather than making Peter into a person that the NT church looked to as the rock upon with the church is built, and the first of a line of (conditionally) infallible popes reigning from Rome, evangelicals see Peter as the street level leader among brethren, not as lord exalted above all, or with his office possessing perpetual ensured infallibility.
For in contrast to Peter, that the LORD Jesus is the Rock (“petra”) or "stone" (“lithos,” and which denotes a large rock in Mk. 16:4) upon which the church is built is one of the most abundantly confirmed doctrines in the Bible (petra: Rm. 9:33; 1Cor. 10:4; 1Pet. 2:8; cf. Lk. 6:48; 1Cor. 3:11; lithos: Mat. 21:42; Mk.12:10-11; Lk. 20:17-18; Act. 4:11; Rm. 9:33; Eph. 2:20; cf. Dt. 32:4, Is. 28:16) including by Peter himself. (1Pt. 2:4-8) Rome's current catechism attempts to have Peter himself as the rock as well, but also affirms: “On the rock of this faith confessed by St Peter, Christ build his Church,” (pt. 1, sec. 2, cp. 2, para. 424) which understanding some of the so-called “church fathers” concur with.)
  • Rather than effectively making a church itself an object of faith, and with her claimed infallibility being essential ot know what is of God, and with dissent from her official teachings necessarily meaning rebellion from God, evangelicals implicitly recognize that the NT church began with common souls correctly discerning what was of God, and in dissent from the historically valid magisterium.
However, while dissent from authority can be Scriptural, and separation from the impenitent recalcitrant aberrant and heretical persons and churches is warranted, separation in the face of differences has too often been the default recourse for evangelicals, while a central magisterium of holy anointed men of faith should be a goal as it is actually Scriptural, though that of Rome and Orthodox priests or cults is not.
There is more that can be said of evangelicalism falling short of the prima NT church, but the more severe contrasting teachings of groups can be seen described in this section, by the grace of God.
But there is still room at the cross for all who will come to God in repentance and faith, and trust in the Divine Son of God sent by the Father, the risen Lord Jesus, to save them on His account, by His sinless shed blood, and thus be baptized and live for Him. Acts 10:36-47
The redeemed have come to God as souls as sinners knowing their desperate need of salvation, and not as souls saved by their works or church affiliation, but as destitute of any means or merit whereby they may escape their just judgment and gain eternal life with God.
And with contrite heart have cast their whole-hearted repentant faith upon the mercy of God in Christ, trusting the risen Divine Lord Jesus to save them on His account, by His sinless shed blood. (Rm. 3:9 - 5:1) and declare this in baptism. And whose faith is thus counted as righteousness, but it is a faith that will characteristically follow Him, and repent when convicted in their heart that they failed to do so.
Thanks be to God.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Did the NT church believe what the Roman Catholic church basically teaches on the Eucharist?

Did the NT church believe what the Roman Catholic church teaches on the Eucharist?
No, and note that language must be precise here for not even Catholicism teaches that the elements of bread and wine turn into the manifestly literal incarnated physical body and blood of Christ as it was present on the cross, even though Catholics claim to take “eat: this is my body, which is broken for you” (1 Corinthians 11:24) plainly literal.
The RCC (and basically EOs) profess,
that at the moment of the Consecration which is when the priest says, "This is my body," "This is the cup of my blood" the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ who is then really present as God and as Man sacrificing himself for us on the altar as he sacrificed himself on the cross (The Mass Explained - Catholic Education Resource Center)
At “consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood,” thus becoming the “true Body of Christ and his true Blood,” (CCC 1376; 1381) having been “substantially changed into the true and proper and lifegiving flesh and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord,” being corporeally present whole and entire in His physical "reality.” (Mysterium Fidei, Encyclical of Pope Paul VI, 1965)
Notice the words “present” and “reality/real,” for unlike how Christ was manifestly present and real in His incarnation described in Scripture, and which manifest physicality is emphasized ( 1 John 1:1; cf. 1 John 5:8) in contrast to a Christ whose appearance did not correspond to what He was as regards incarnation (as within really Docetism and or Gnosticism), in Catholicism the Eucharistic Christ is not what He appears, feels, tastes and would scientifically test to be, for what He appears to be is mere bread and wine. But which itself does not exist, being replace by Christ, until this non-existent bread and wine begins to manifest decay, and then He no longer exist/is present under that appearance either.
The presence of Christ's true body and blood in this sacrament cannot be detected by sense, nor understanding, but by faith alone..." (Summa Theologica; Summa Theologica - Christian Classics Ethereal Library)
"If you took the consecrated host to a laboratory it would be chemically shown to be bread, not human flesh." (Dwight Longenecker, "Explaining Transubstantiation")
"Christ's presence in the Eucharist challenges human understanding, logic, and ultimately reason. His presence cannot be known by the senses, but only through faith." (Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America)
"the Most Holy Eucharist not only looks like something it isn’t (that is, bread and wine), but also tastes, smells, feels, and in all ways appears to be what it isn’t." (The Holy Eucharist BY Bernard Mulcahy, O.P., p. 22)
"the substance of the bread cannot remain after the consecration: " (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologi√¶ Article 2) "On the altar are the body and blood of Christ; the bread and wine no longer exist but have been totally changed into the body and blood of the Saviour... -
"The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist;" (CCC 1377) "...that is, until the Eucharist is digested, physically destroyed, or decays by some natural process." ibid, Mulcahy, p. 32)
In contrast, the only Christ of Scripture has a manifestly physical body, even after being glorified:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life:” 1 John 1:1; cf. 1 John 5:8)
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.” (1 John 5:6)
Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:38-39)
A purely literal reading of the “this is my body/blood” that is broken/shed for us said at the last supper would mean that the apostles were consuming the same literally manifest human flesh and blood of Christ which attested to His incarnation, in contrast to a Docetist-type Christ, whose appearance did not correspond to what He physically was, meaning a metaphysical meaning.
Note that support for the Catholic miscontruance of the Lord’s supper largely relies upon reading the gospels in isolation from the rest of the NT, as well as so-called “church Fathers.” However, the uninspired (versus wholly God-inspired Scripture) words of men whose teaching came after the apostles had died, and which to varying degrees testifies to a progressive accretion of traditions not seen in the only inspired record of what the NT church believed, cannot be determinitive of what that NT church believed.
As pertains to the Lord’s supper, in Catholicism it is presented as "the heart and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1407) “a kind of consummation of the spiritual life, and in a sense the goal of all the sacraments," (Mysterium Fidei, Encyclical of Pope Paul VI, 1965) through which “the work of our redemption is carried out,” (CCC 1364) providing “the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ” (CCC #1405) and only conducted by Catholics priests who offer it “in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead,” (CCC 1414) “cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins.” (CCC 1393) ;
But rather than the NT church understanding the Lord’s supper as being the life-giving central hub and focus of the Christian life, what we see in the the only inspired and substantive record of how the NT church understood it is that it only being actually only taught in one epistle (aside from the mere mention of breaking of bread in Acts and the “fest of charity” in Jude 1:12, which is in 1 Corinthians. In which the Lord’s supper is that of remembering His death by sharing a meal with others who were bought by His sinless shed blood, thus showing union with Christ and each other as being "one bread," analogous to how pagans have fellowship in their dedicatory feasts, (metaphorical or metaphysical? 1Cor. 10)
Therefore in the next chapter the Corinthians are rebuked as not actually coming together to eat the Lord’s supper, for while they did come together for that purpose, yet they were not actually having the Lord’s supper due to how they treated the body of Christ, the church.
When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. (1 Corinthians 11:20-22)
The apostle Paul thus reiterates what the Lord said at the institution of the Lord’s supper, an adding the interpretive conclusion, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:26-27)
Catholics actually invoke this section in support of the Catholic interpretation, but the nature of the elements is not the contextual focus, though in v. 26 the bread is still called bread and the cup represents its content, while the purpose of the Lord’s supper is stated, and with the focus continuing to be that of the corporate body of the church (and which focus continues into the next chapter) .
Which is to do “show the Lord’s death till He comes,” which was by sharing a meal with others who were bought by His sinless shed blood, thus showing affirmation of them and themselves in union with Christ, with the church being as "one bread."
Therefore, by selfishly eating independent of other blood-bought faithful believers, ignoring and shaming them, then then they were not
 actually having the Lord’s supper, but were acting contrary to the very act that they were supposed to be remembering and showing. And thus in essence they were guilty of being contrary to the atoning blood of Christ, by which He purchased the church, (Acts 20:28) and were being chastened for it, some even unto death. For as Paul was very conscious of, to mistreat the church was to mistreat Christ Himself. (Acts 9:4)
This being the offense, not effectually considering/recognizing/discerning the body of Christ by mistreating its members by selfishly eating independent of other blood-bought faithful believers, ignoring and shaming them, then the solution is not some defining of the nature of the bread and wine, but even contrary to requiring fasting before the Lord’s supper, the apostle enjoins:
Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come. (1 Corinthians 11:33-34)
In addition, no where is the Lord’s supper presented as a sacrifice for sins and a means of obtaining spiritual life, nor is the conducting of it a uniquely pastoral function, or their primary unique function, much less that of pseudo RC priests.
Instead the primary work of NT pastors (besides prayer) is preaching. (Act 6:3,4; 2 Tim.4:2) with believing the gospel being the means of obtaining life in oneself, by which one is regenerated, (Acts 10:43-47; 15:7-9; Eph. 1:13; cf. Psalms 19:7) thus desiring the sincere milk (1Pt. 2:2; cf. (1Co. 3:22) and then the “strong meat” (Heb. 5:12-14) of the word of God, and by the preaching of which pastors “feed the flock” (Acts 20:28; 1Pt. 5:2) ) by which they are "nourished." (1 Timothy 4:6 ) Glory be to God.
A more extensive examination of the Catholic verses Scripture understanding of the nature of the elements consumed is here, by the grace of God.
Now what we (and I) a believers need to do is better act in accordance with effectually remembering and thus showing the Lord’s death and resurrection till He comes.