Category Archives: Theology

Where do you find that in the Bible?

PhotoSpin Christian Religious Icons Objects © 2001 PhotoSpin www.photospin.comThe title of this blog post is a question that we run into from time to time.  When we hear it we know immediately that the interlocutor has been exposed to a concept called Sola Scriptura.  What is Sola Scriptura? It is a teaching found among a number of sects and cults that the “Bible alone” is sufficient for doctrine, and that the Bible alone is authoritative.

Now, one need think about this idea for only a minute to see the fatal flaw in this notion: it is not found in Scripture. If the Bible alone was sufficient, the Bible would have taught that idea; and it doesn’t. Nowhere in the Bible. Simple logic proves that Sola Scriptura is a false doctrine, and if false then not part of Christianity at all.

So where did this idea come from? It was never part of the teachings of the Apostles, or indeed anywhere for at least eleven centuries!  It first appeared in the high Middle Ages as part of the Albigensian heresy. Later we see it in the Waldensian heresy, and in some of the protestant heresies of the 16th century.

Let’s step back and look a little more closely at the Bible.  We know that the Christian Church was born on the Day of Pentecost, AD 29. Twenty-two years later, in AD 51, Saint Paul wrote the oldest book of the New Testament (First Thessalonians). The Gospels themselves weren’t written until after that. The newest book of the NT wasn’t written until after AD 100! For well over two generations the Church had only oral traditions and the books of the Old Testament. In fact, when the writers of the New Testament wrote about “Scripture” they were referring to the Old Testament, because the New was still being written from oral tradition. This tradition was passed on–the word “tradition” actually means “that which is passed on”–by the Church, that is, the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, under the protection of the Holy Spirit. The Church wrote and authorized the New Testament, not the other way round. Christian teaching, then and from then on, is contained in a dual source: tradition and Scripture.

Now it’s true that many of the sects and cults use “tradition” almost as a swear word, pointing out that Jesus condemned the traditions of man taught by the Pharisees.  What they fail to appreciate, though, is that in the New Testament, the same word is used in both a negative and a positive way.  For example, in 2 Th 2.14, Saint Paul says to his converts that God has called them through the gospel. In the next verse he explains what he means by gospel:  “the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by an epistle of ours.”

Asking “where do you find that in the bible” is following the paths of sectarians and cultists, for Christians do not do theology like that.

Yes, scripture is “inspired by God and useful for teaching, refutation, correction, and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3.16), but if scripture is taken out of context it is useless.  Scripture is only interpreted by the Church, as Saint Peter wrote “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (2 Pt 1.20).

A Few More Things about Christianity that Just Aren’t So

Although no comments were posted about the first installment of this series, I’ll plunge on where angels fear to blog and share some more foolish misconceptions that have become attached to Christianity–in error.  Picking up where the last left off, let’s go on in the Scripture vein.

4. Christians believe that the Bible is the only–or supreme–source of theological truth.

This is the position called sola scriptura, a Latin phrase meaning “only by Scripture.”   It is also wrong.  Christian teaching (or doctrine, a word that means, surprisingly enough, teaching) arises from the Church, which existed before the Bible, which wrote the Bible, and is the only body entitled to interpret the Bible.  The Bible is the Church’s book, not something like Eddy’s or Hubbard’s scribblings.  The next time you hear someone from one of the multiple denominations, sects, cults, or franchises purporting to explain Scripture, take it with a large grain of salt.  While you’re at it, remind yourself what Saint Peter said: “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (2 Pt 1.20).

5. Baptism and Communion are just symbols.

I’d start looking around for lightning when I hear that kind of thinking.  Far from being just symbols, Sacraments are real, objective actions of spiritual importance.  Don’t think that Christianity downplays symbols and their importance, however.  Symbols are powerful aspects of the way the human intellect was created to function.  Nevertheless, Sacraments are a combination of two things: spiritual and physical, fused together.  It’s no accident that human beings are the same, spiritual and physical fused together.  We aren’t bodies that have souls, nor are we souls that have bodies–we are bodies-and-souls knit together by the Creator.  The Sacraments are intended by the Almighty to work with us, on us, and in us, because the physical and spiritual work together.

So Baptism isn’t a symbol of rebirth, it is rebirth.  Communion isn’t a symbol or sign of unity, it is the Body of Christ feeding the Body of Christ.  Calling any Sacrament “just a symbol” is sacrilege of a very high order and offensive to God.

6. The “end times” are coming soon….

I’ve seen just about every chart and timeline predicting the Second Coming–and they’re all a load of codswallop.  Jesus himself spoke of his return and said “no man knoweth” – even himself.  For us to play games with Scripture and try to predict is a misuse of Scripture and our time.  There hasn’t been a generation that didn’t think they knew when, and that’s simply not what Christians do with their time, intellect, and energy.  The very concept of “end times” is a non-Christian idea.  Feed the hungry, give to the poor, worship God–but don’t play guessing games by importing pagan ideas into Christianity.

Well, there are the second triplet of wrong ideas about Christianity.  Your comments are welcome.  In the meantime, if you find you’re hanging out with folks who hold these six errors—-well, isn’t it time you came to the Church and learned better?

Things Christians Think about Christianity That Aren’t True

This is the third part of an ongoing series about – well – mistakes that some Christians and some Christian groups make about what Christianity believes or teaches.  In other words, “what isn’t Christianity!”  In the first two installments, we looked at six wrong notions:

1.  Christianity is about keeping the rules.
2. Christians believe in the Bible.
3. There are different “ages” or “dispensations” in the Bible and in “God’s plan of history.”
4. Christians believe that the Bible is the only–or supreme–source of theological truth.
5. Baptism and Communion are just symbols.
6. The “end times” are coming soon….

If you missed any of these, you really ought to go back and read them before continuing, because the temperature here is about to get a little warm.  So without further eloquence:

7. Christianity teaches that good people go to heaven and bad people go to, er, the other place.

Oh my, no!  What Christianity actually teaches is that hell is for those who choose to go there, and they choose that by (a) rejecting God, or (b) dying in a state of unforgiven mortal sin.  What’s “mortal” sin?  Well, the word mortal means deadly, but just think of it as serious, grievous, and intentional.  Heaven, on the other hand, is where Christians go who die in a state of grace, are martyrs, or who lived a life of heroic virtue.  Heaven is also where every soul in Purgatory will finish.  For most of us Christians, that means we get to heaven, at least eventually.

There is no such thing as reincarnation, regardless how tempting it is to think of that bully from the eighth grade coming back as a cockroach.  There is also no such thing as being made god of your own little planet, or coming back to haunt places or people, all silly pagan concepts.

8. Christians become Christians when they say a prayer and ask God to save them.

Short answer: no.  This one is based on some odd misinterpretations of Scripture.  It came in not long ago, compared to the length of time Christianity has been around.  It has its roots in pietistic movements from the 18th century.  The real way Christians become Christians is in Baptism.  When we are baptized, we are joined with Christ in his death and born again in his resurrection.  So why do Christians baptize babies?  Because they need to be Christians!  Don’t they have to understand?  Really–do you understand?  Don’t they have to, well, do something?  Nope.  All the “doing” in Baptism is done by God.  It’s a Grace thing.

9.  Christians don’t smoke, drink, play cards, dance….

Please!  These are odd little proscriptions that were sneaked in by revivalists of the 19th century American frontiers.  Smoking isn’t a sin, drinking (alcohol) isn’t a sin–although getting drunk is a bad idea that was forbidden by St. Paul–you can figure out why, the very idea of losing control of one’s behavior should tell you that.  Playing cards isn’t a sin–of course gambling away your paycheck is.  Dancing isn’t a sin–at least, I’ve never seen anyone dance so badly that it was a sin, even though when I dance it may come close; I’m not the most graceful person in the world.  These activities are things that a frontier society wants to clamp down on, because they interfere with the serious business of taming the land and settling it, but in and of themselves they aren’t sinful, and Christians do all of these things.  God isn’t worried about it.

Now we’ve reached the end of our third set of three mistaken notions about Christianity.  Maybe this time we’ll see some comments.

A Few Ideas about Christianity that are Wrong

Over a nice cup of French Roast yesterday I had the occasion to mention to a priest friend that lately I’ve been pondering a list of wrong things that people believe.  I don’t mean wrong things that are thought by people outside the Church, although there sure are plenty of those.  I mean wrong things thought by people on the fringes of the Church–like the Christmas-and-Easter crowd–and wrong things thought by people who think of themselves as Christians but can’t quite be bothered to set their bums in a pew.  Sadly, I also mean wrong things thought by people who may even be in Church every week but still are clueless.  And so, although I should be re-writing  my novel or writing its sequel, instead I’m setting out to put forth a list of a few of these ideas with short notes about each.

A few years ago another priest friend of mine preached a terrific sermon along similar lines, something like “things you thought that aren’t so.”  Alas, he preached it on a Christmas Eve, thinking (rightly) that he wouldn’t have some of those people in a pew again until spring, and those people hadn’t come to church to be taught truth, they had come to be told cozy stories about cute little baby Jesus and fuzzy lambs, and maybe even hear a little Handel.  Still, he was right to tell them the truth, and I applaud him for it.  I apologize in advance if a couple of the items on his list reappear here in mine…no plagiarism is intended: the inspiration only is his; the words are mine, and the list in no particular order of importance.  This list will come out slowly, in dribbles if you will, over time as time allows.

1.  Christianity is about keeping the rules.

Well, no, not really.  While there are some rules that should be followed, and other rules that simply must be followed, the fact is that rule-following or keeping is not the essence of Christianity, it’s more of a by-product or incidental ancillary.  For example, Christianity is not about not murdering and abstaining from red meat on Fridays, although not murdering keeps your relations with God and other people straight, and not eating red meat on Fridays helps keep your self in control over your physical appetites.  Christianity, far from being about rules, is about relationships: the relationship of the created to the Creator, the relationship of the human to other humans, and the relationship of the created to the Creation.

2. Christians believe in the Bible.

Well, this is a funny one, and it’s possible to be taken not far enough and far too far, and interestingly enough both by the same people.  Simply put, the Bible is reliable to be true, for all the purposes for which it was intended, in the original languages, in the context in which it was written and in the context of the Church.  In other words, no “Bible Roulette” of flipping pages and sticking your finger in at random.  This ain’t no Ouija board–and the Ouija board isn’t either, but that’s a subject for another post, probably in October.

This also means there are no secret codes, hidden cyphers, or closet Masonic symbols tucked away in the Bible.  This is closely related to the next item.

3. There are different “ages” or “dispensations” in the Bible and in “God’s plan of history.”

Some people like to talk and write about dispensations wherein God behaves differently and changes his mind with different plans and standards for various purposes, and they all come together with “the end times.”  Sorry.  There was no “patriarchal” or “grace” dispensations, and there will be no millennium, tribulation, or body-disappearing “rapture,” whether pre-, mid-, or post- the non-existent tribulation.  Seriously, people, this kind of talk was never heard of until the early-mid nineteenth century.  In other words, to believe this, one has to think that the Holy Spirit took a nap from Pentecost for about 1,800 years. No, this isn’t Christianity, it’s just made up silliness.

More things for the list next time.  Until then, read your Bible (a whole Bible, not just an Old & New Testament), go to Church (not some independent operation, the real deal that was founded in AD 29), and pray (not a shopping list, just sit with God and be silent).

Quo Vadis?

A common question amongst Anglicans these days—indeed, it has been for many years now—is “where ought we to go?”  As a matter of fact, I ran an online discussion forum for over a decade where this was the most discussed topic. The landscape has changed quite a bit in the last couple years, however; not only have the options mutated, but conditions within the options have been reshaped.  Even for Anglicans who thought these were settled issues, the question bears re-asking and conditions need re-examination.  There appear to be six basic possibilities, more or less, depending on where in the world one lives.

Anglican Communion

The first possibility is just staying put in the Anglican Communion. That is, of course, the Church of England, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Anglican Church of Australia, and so forth.  These ecclesial assemblies are in undisputed communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury and therefore Anglicans who do not believe in the Virgin Birth, Deity, or the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus belong in these groups. It has been said that one might consider the Anglican Communion the Sadducees of our day—deniers of all spiritual reality.

ACNA

The second possibility for Anglicans, at least in North America, is the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).1 There are four difficulties with this possibility, however. The ACNA requires acceptance of charismaticism as if it were a legitimate part of Christian tradition despite the obvious historical and theological objections. Secondly, the ACNA has a loose understanding of liturgy, leading to the third difficulty that the most objectionable trendy liturgies are officially accepted by this body. The fourth and most profound difficulty is that the ACNA claims to be in communion with Canterbury. By being in (or even just claiming to be in) communion with Canterbury, the very validity of their sacraments are therefore questionable.Anglicans who have no problem with these difficulties would find a ready home in the ACNA.

AM(iA)

The third possibility for Anglicans today, again at least in North America, is the Anglican Mission, originally the Anglican Mission in the Americas. The AM appears to be in the process of separating, whether voluntarily or not, from the Anglican province in Rwanda, the body through whom the AM had claimed connection with Canterbury. If this separation is indeed complete, then one major difficulty with the AM fades, but the AM shares similar difficulties with the ACNA in the AM’s nearly complete abandonment of liturgy and tradition in favor of promulgation of charismaticism as if it were a legitimate part of Christian tradition despite the obvious historical and theological objections. Again, like the ACNA, Anglicans who find these difficulties no barrier would do well to choose the AM.3

The three options above all consider that apostolic order is secondary to following the spirit of the age in that all three of the above have abandoned the apostolic succession. Anglicans for whom this is not a problem should consider only the first three possibilities above. Anglicans who value apostolic succession should consider only the three possibilities that follow.

Catholic Church–Ordinariate

Fourth in the paths for Anglicans is the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI has made a very attractive offer in Anglicanorum Coetibus, and the first two personal ordinariates for former Anglicans are up and running: in the UK the personal ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and in North America the personal ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. The difficulties with the ordinariates is perhaps more subtle than those with the preceding possibilities. Although some cite issues with Marian dogmas, there is support within the first seven Ecumenical Councils for all of them. Remaining difficulties would be the issues with the papal dogmas, especially those of universal jurisdiction and infallibility. Anglicans who have no difficulties with these dogmas certainly should feel the spiritual obligation to connect with the ordinariates. A problem one might encounter here is the relative sparseness of distribution—outside of Texas and the south of England, ordinariate parishes and missions are few and far  between, although numbers are expanding.

Anglican Catholic Church

Fifthly we should consider the older, so-called “continuing churches,”4  the original group of separatist Anglicans. There are two difficulties to weigh here, however. The liturgical issue is narrowly defined, and the only options are for older style English.5 Admittedly, like other difficulties, for some this is a plus, not a minus. The second difficulty is, like the ordinariates, the sparseness on the ground.

Orthodoxy–Western Rite

The sixth possibility facing Anglicans today is the Western Rite of Orthodoxy. This option has recently grown considerably, with two canonical Orthodox jurisdictions offering a Western Rite: the Antiochian6 and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Both these orthodox churches offer a Western Rite vicariate with a structure and liturgy very familiar to Anglicans. The difficulties faced here are identical to those facing the ACC: sparseness and language. The Western Rite in ROCOR face an additional difficulty, however, and that is the Old Calendar—not many Anglicans can get worked up over Calendar questions. We have enough to worry about without it. There seem to be a rapidly growing number of WR parishes and missions all over the US. This may be the most attractive option for many.

One additional difficulty is shared by all the options—and that is the attitude of being embattled in the culture wars. To what degree will bitterness and what my mother used to call “contrariness” fill the ecclesial bodies to which we flee? And how will attitudes afflict our ability to grow and attract others? This final question is one that will need to be answered with specific congregations in mind, in order to make the preceding paths’ evaluation complete.

I hope this short summary may make planning simpler for some.  For all, happy hunting!


1This is the second body to be called by that name. The first body was formed by the St Louis Congress in 1978, later changing their name to the Anglican Catholic Church.

2This point is too complex to be gone into in detail in this venue, but put succinctly, the necessary parts of a sacrament involve matter, form, minister, and intent. Any body claiming communion with any other body that has abandoned apostolic order demonstrates its intent to be party to that abandonment, thereby declaring, whether explicitly or implicitly, that the orders they hold are to a ministry other than apostolic.

3It should be noted, however, that with the AM’s abandonment of liturgy and embrace of charismaticism there doesn’t appear to be any real justification for the AM to remain apart from, and real advantages to joining with, organizations such as the Assemblies of God.

4Pundits have talked about “hundreds” of tiny splinter groups, but the truth is that there are really only five. Of those five, two are talking about intercommunion, and three have already achieved it, so the reality boils down to the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) or one of the two ecclesial bodies in communion with them.

5Of course the advantages in poetic language must be weighed against the corresponding changes, good and bad, in appeal to an unchurched mission field. To what degree is traditional language a barrier to evangelism? Or isn’t it?

6Scholars, please bear with this, for although the usual and customary term in academia is “Antiochene,” the church itself chose to coin the term “Antiochian,” so “Antiochian” it is.

The Judgment of Advent

I thought I’d share a final “Advent-ish” type meditation for these last few hours of Advent.  It is traditional to preach in Advent on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.  This particular meditation is about judgment.

The Advent season collect makes it clear that at the last day, Jesus will come in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead.  He came quietly the first time.  Next time he will come in such a way that no one will miss it.  Next time he is going to judge the living and the dead.  Next time we are going to find out who ends up in heaven and who ends up in hell.

It is a mistake to think of judgment as coming only at the end of the world. Judgment does come then, of course—the General Judgment of all the world, but judgment also comes at the end of our lives—the Particular Judgment, also called the Personal Judgment, when our lives will be weighed in a balance at the moment the soul separates from the body. At that moment we will be judged, and souls that are perfectly pure will be admitted to the Presence of God; souls that are in a state of mortal sin are sent to eternal punishment, and for most of us, it will be determined how much purgation our souls will need before we’re fit for heaven.

Judgment is not limited to the end of time or the end of life, however; judgment is coming this evening when you go to Christmas Eve Eucharist—the “ChristMass.”
The judgment that Jesus will bring at the end of the world will not be substantially different from the one you will experience this evening.

But perhaps you didn’t know that you are facing judgment in the Mass.

Continue reading

Popular Topic

One of my dirty little secrets is that I listen to Christian radio. Sometimes I listen to a local affiliate of the Catholic Radio Network, of course, and sometimes to a local property of the Salem Communications company.  Relax, friends, I don’t listen to what is called “Christian contemporary music.” One must maintain some standards!

Well, the other day I heard a person on one station start talking about “end times prophecies,” and quicker than you could say “anathema sit” I hit the preset for the local conservative talk station instead.  Surprisingly, that station was in the midst of a call-in show, and one of the callers was matter-of-factly relating Iran’s nuclear development with some bizarre gog-magog theory based on misinterpretations of the Revelation to St John the Divine!

Well, I lost no time turning to my local non-NPR classical station, just to run smack into pledge week. I began to feel as if there was a divine message telling me to turn off the radio completely!

Which I did.

Then today, whilst on an errand for fish (note to Wendy’s: Fridays don’t only come in Lent, so you need to bring back your fish sandwich year-round), I was listening to the local Catholic station and heard a succinct description of the Catholic position on the end-times topic.

I was so happy to hear things put so clearly, and I determined that this needed to be set forth in an Anglican blog, so here goes. If you’re a generic protestant Christian, or a cultist (yeah, let’s save that one for another post), or if you’ve been duped by fundies or fringies, have a look at the truth about the Christian teaching concerning pre- and peri-finem events.

  1. Millennium. There is no millennium. There is especially no secular millennium.
  2. Tribulation. There is no tribulation. Actually, that’s not true–there is a tribulation, but it is simply the experience of the Church under persecution, and it has been happening since AD 29, continuously, somewhere.
  3. Rapture. There is no rapture. The silliness of the “Left Behind” books is a load of codswallop. If you want to be sucked up into the sky, you need to be Enoch, Elijah, or the Ever-Virgin Mother of God. Personally, that’s not a club I qualify for.
  4. Second Coming. Ah, here is the kernel of truth in the falsehoods preached by false teachers. There IS a second coming. No one knows when it will be, not even loonies with mystical theories and numerical analyses of the number of letters in the third syllables of the seventh words in each book of the NT.  At the second coming, Christ will come again, in glory, to judge the living and the dead. This is the Final Judgment.

If you’d like the brief summary from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which does get this right):

IN BRIEF

680
Christ the Lord already reigns through the Church, but all the things of this world are not yet subjected to him. The triumph of Christ’s kingdom will not come about without one last assault by the powers of evil.
681
On Judgment Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history.
682
When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace.
.
This is the best time of year for these sorts of ideas, for the Church has traditionally preached on The Four Last Things during Advent.  The Four Last Things, of course, are Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.

Well–I Think

I’ve been thinking for a while about resurrecting this blog, and for the last week or so article theses have been flying at me from, it seems, all directions.

First, a little background.  There is a Sunday morning adult education class at St George’s, the CANA parish in Colorado Springs, entitled “The Kingdom.”  The theme for this class is, “if Jesus isn’t Lord of all, he isn’t Lord at all.”  I was invited to be one of the presenters.  After the rector presented the concept and a couple of brilliant PhD biblical scholars presented Jesus’ Lordship in OT and NT, I got to  race hell-for-leather through twenty centuries of “the Kingdom in History” with weekly subtitles of “Jesus as Lord of Truth,” “Jesus as Lord of Christendom,” and finishing off with “Jesus as Lord of the Church.”  Because of a RL scheduling difficulty for the next presenter, he took yesterday to bring the focus onto “Kingdom and Culture” in the current day.  It was great sitting in the class and spotting the metaphorical lights go on around the room as people realized  why I had spent three weeks with the first millennium, detailing its heresies that had plagued the church.

So the idea that needs desperately to be conveyed to all of today’s Christians but especially to Anglicans is actually a simple one.   To get there, let’s recall a few basics:

  • Catholic means “according to the whole.”
  • Orthodox means “right teaching” and “right worship.”  That’s right, both, not or.
  • The opposite of Catholic is heretic, which means “I choose.”
  • The opposite of Orthodox is heterodox, which means “different teaching” and “different worship.”

Tying these together can be straightforward.  To be Catholic and Orthodox, one accepts the whole Christian faith, all the right teaching and practice.  By inserting one’s own rationales, preferences, and worst of all, preconceptions, one picks and chooses out of the whole faith and thereby substitutes  teaching and worship that is not right, that is different from the truth.

In other words, the concept we use with children to prepare them for confirmation comes into play: objective reality.  Objective reality are just a couple of big words we simply explain as meaning “real thing.”  The sacraments have objective reality = the sacraments are real things.  Likewise, truth has an objective reality = truth is a real thing.   To quote one of my brilliant daughters: “some things are just true, whether you think they are or not.”  The truth is a reality.  Reality doesn’t need my agreement in order for it to exist; likewise, truth doesn’t need anyone’s agreement in order for it to be true.

Those first seven Ecumenical Councils were doing something pretty amazing: under the guidance of the Holy Spirit they were defining Truth.  That’s not to use the word “defining” in its sense of making but to use the word “defining” in its sense of describing.  The Councils didn’t make the Truth; they merely described it.

So for example, refusing to honor the Blessed Virgin with the title “Mother of God,” makes one anathema.  The Council Fathers didn’t make up this rule and apply it willy-nilly, they observed that those who reject that Truth have themselves chosen to follow a different teaching and a different worship, and therefore are following the path to perdition.  Yes, it is that serious.  Every Truth described by the Ecumenical Councils is important–and they all are binding.

Therefore, the words that must spring to the Christian’s lips are “credo” — “I believe.”  How often do we hear people who are otherwise seemingly intelligent or apparently faithful use those three little words “well, I think…” ? Usually they’re preceded by a more or less accurate summation of some aspect of the Truth and used to precede some load of, well, codswallop (keeping it rated PG here.)

Frankly, friend, those unfriendly-seeming words “heresy” and “heterodox” are signposts of warning…when you hear them, turn back onto the true path.  “Heretic” and “heterodox” after all, are not words that mean “quirky Christian” or even “bad Christian” (although we certainly in our society don’t think there is such a concept as “bad”).  No, friend, those words mean “non-Christian,” “pagan,” and they mark the double center line of the highway to hell.

Sola Scriptura?

We’ve all seen this phrase tossed around, and with varying degrees of understanding what it means or how it is to be applied.  Just this morning I could see the shock and amazement on a couple faces when I pointed out, as a side point, that the Church came before Scripture, that the Church is the interpreter of Scripture, and that the individual has no right to private judgment.  I went on to mention that if the Church thinks a passage means one thing, and you think it means a different thing, well, guess who’s right?  Every clergyman – heck, for that matter, I bet every Christian – has heard someone say “I know the Church teaches … but I believe that ….”  Continue reading