This is a somewhat lengthy comment reply to Kevin's (Saturday, December 27, 2008 @ 11:31:04 AM) comment left on Part 1 of this series.
Before I begin, let me say that it is incumbent upon you to answer concerning Chris [deleted] not because he put it to you but because I have. Chris cut you off in mid conversation labeling you (us) as mean-spirited and in fact labeling me as evil. You don't "owe" him in the mundane sense. I simply want a demonstration of having no problem with clarifying and reiterating in other words (re-phrase your apology so Chris cannot possibly deny it) for the sake of getting together on the right path as much as that's possible. My position is that humanity can and will come together on the right path.
I will attempt to work through the whole of our discussion to make sense for readers as to where we overlap but still have salient distance between us.
I will begin by stating that you are in many ways proof of what I been putting forth concerning the Roman Catholic denomination. Why are you, a so-called layperson (non-cleric, not ordained by the RC church), doing as much or more in proselytizing your church's position vis-a-vis a non-Roman Catholic such as myself? I have been on the Internet for years. I have been on official Roman Catholic sites where I have left comments and questions. I have Roman Catholic clergy visit and read here. However, you are first openly Roman Catholic (although I had to draw that out of you) to do what that clergy should have done long ago? Now, that's a rhetorical question, but you are not precluded from addressing it. Knowing the Roman Catholic mind as I do, I know what I would say were I holding up Roman Catholicism. Of course, again, knowing the Roman Catholic mind and knowing what I know in addition to it, I already know why the RC position is incorrect. So, it's chess but with the moves already known and planned out into the infinite and the RC position has already been checkmated. It's just that spectators can't necessarily see that yet. I don't wish to leave the analogy sitting without also clarifying that I don't consider this a game. If the RC apostolic succession were intact, in anyway that apostolic succession is not intact with me, the RC clergy would have been here and engaged. However, there lack of engagement is caused by their very Roman Catholicism.
Let me say that I'm not looking for ecumenism and neither are you. The Roman Catholic position is that everyone ought to return to holding that the Pope, in this case now, Benedict XVI, is infallible in matters of faith (not always the practical position of the RC's, as RC's were lead to believe that the Popes were infallible, period). I'm not for ecumenism for exactly the same reason from the opposite perspective. I am adamantly opposed to holding that Benedict XVI is infallible in matters of faith. I already read a number of his writings, including before after he became Pope, and know that he is far from infallible in matters of faith. I'm not going to recite all that here. The Internet search engines and the search features on this site allow worthy seekers to find posts dealing with "Benedict XVI" here.
I think he thinks he's good intentioned, but he isn't very bright in the sense Jesus means when Jesus uses the term "light." This is interesting, because Benedict is held up as being particularly intellectual. There's no doubt he's studied the various religions and philosophical schools of thought. Being "learned" in those is far from a guarantee of wisdom or the imparting of same, which in my book are inextricable. That said, everything that comes out from his heart is not evil. He's just loaded though with partial truth. As Jesus made clear though, any falseness is utter darkness relative to God's Holy Light. So, it's all contextual one situation at a time — more than one way to look at it at a time. The absolute is missing from much of Benedict's writings.
You, Kevin, said you agree with the priesthood of all believers. What's a priest in the Roman Catholic church but one who is officially ordained as such within that church. I am not a priest in their eyes. In addition, all who believe and profess the RC dogma and who practice that religion are not priests in the RC church. To say that you hold with the priesthood of all believers makes no sense. It doesn't follow. It's a dead end. It's torturing the words. It's misleading to others. Wherever you learned it is a source of misinformation. I speak of your RC church. If that offends you, so too does truth.
You don't comprehend the telling aspects of the Catholic Inquisition or the selling of indulgences (that were approved of the Popes) and how those indicate a clear break with Jesus. You don't understand that such fruits define your church. You are defending a line that runs to clear breaks. That doesn't stop you from asserting an unbroken apostolic chain of succession. It's nonsensical. There's no unbroken chain. There is the requirement to leap the breaks the dark holes of which are definitely Roman Catholic. I leap right over your whole church from right now to Jesus. I owe nothing to the Roman Catholic Church. That's because the world would have been better had the Church of Rome not fallen to Constantine.
I part at the first sign of breaking from Jesus. I do that right in the Gospels. The only right teachings are the words and deeds of Jesus and the reiteration thereof. Every deviation by any Pope breaks with righteousness. It breaks off the RC church that continued or continues following that breakaway Pope's train of thought and follow-on deeds or lack thereof. This case is self-evidently made, and all arguments against it are futile and a waste of time. Bear in mind that I have gone to the source in spite of the false teachings of Popes and not because of them and not because of later corrections (what few and anemic attempts there have been) by Popes. I have come to Christ in spite of the Roman Catholic Church and not because of it. The Roman Catholic Church has presented a historical obstacle to coming to Christ.
That is not to say that there have not been and are not people within that church who are not closer to Jesus than those on the outside professing Christ. There are and have been many members of that church who are closer to Christ than is their so-called Vicar of Christ on Earth (the Pope).
Now, here you come saying that I don't have a valid succession from Jesus. Why is it that I don't have a "valid succession," because I don't have the stamp of approval from Pope Benedict? He doesn't have my stamp either. He's not calling for the Christian Commons. I am. You decide. Each soul decides.
Benedict doesn't teach that Jesus is a communist (not Marxist). I do. Benedict doesn't teach that war is wrong and that none should engage in it without exception. I do. Benedict has dealt very poorly with the issue of sexual depravity, although he has been forced to confront the issue by outside influences. It is my understanding that those who have not personally repented to the congregation where they ought to have are still not only active clergy but in some cases have been elevated — no doubt for having done a "good" job protecting the faith by downplaying the evident, deep corruption within the hierarchy.
I see that you don't understand the "as above, so below" and vise versa concept. There are occultists and Satanists who use this expression as well. They don't connect with God and Jesus in it though. The chairs, as to right and left, are not merely right versus wrong. All on the left are not always wrong. You don't grasp the teaching of Jacob in this as he switched Joseph's sons. It was a learning experience.
The forgiveness of brothers is the ultimate lesson in the lesson. Jesus came and enhanced the message and understanding for those who would and will grasp it. Right and left in the sense you've used them don't exist in the end in Heaven, and Heaven comes here. All are forgiven, and all are put right — freely choose righteousness not for having been beaten into it but rather to stop beating each other (other first).
The Christian Commons Project isn't something for just some members of the Church. It is the Church. What is the Pope's is mine if he is in Christ and Christ is in him. However, he has and takes more than he needs while others go without. He accommodates the capitalists. He does not emphatically preach against capitalism and private property and possessions within the whole Church body. For that, he is flat wrong — antichrist. There are many antichrists. I do not consider Benedict the worst offender or the Antichrist, as it were, only in his own soul (spiritual universe &mdash microcosmic situation).
I see that you are insisting that I must have intermediaries. I don't need them or want them. Get out of the way.
As for Constantine, he most certainly pronounced on spiritual matters. Have you never read anything he wrote on such? You of course are saying that he was not a spiritual teacher because the church didn't officially state that he was such. That's circular for you but broken for me, as I don't hold with the necessity of formal, official labeling by the Roman Catholic Church before I know that someone is attempting to teach on spiritual matters. You are attempting to teach on spiritual matters here while being a member of the RC church and saying that only ordained clergy may apparently rightly be labeled as doing exactly what you are here working. Sort that out.
Constantine was lauded by the RC church. Have you read Eusebius of Caesarea? I haven't read that any Pope refuted Eusebius concerning Constantine. I haven't read everything every Pope ever wrote though. If you know that the RC church has officially denounced Constantine's spiritual statement/teaching concerning the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, let us know.
Constantine duped his troops into falsely imagining that they were fighting for Jesus. Constantine lied when he said that he, Constantine, saw the Chi-Rho in the sky or dreamed it and was told that by it he would win the battle ("In this sign you shall conquer" or words to that end). The Chi-Rho, for those who are unaware or have forgotten, is a symbol of the first two Greek letters of the word Christ (savior; X and P superimposed on each other). That was a dirty trick. That was an abhorrent thing to do. That was a complete twisting of Jesus to evil means and ends. Where is the Roman Catholic denunciation of it with a full and clear statement as to why?
Constantine was the first Caesar who allowed "Christianity." He had a huge influence over the Roman church. Don't underestimate it. Doing so is a huge disservice to those seeking truth.
The Roman Catholic Church not only doesn't denounce this abomination, they canonized Constantine. He's a Roman Catholic saint for crying out loud.
I see that you made reference to Chris [deleted]'s post, "Dealing with Abusive, Irrational and Divisive People." I hadn't addressed that, neither had I read it. The title speaks for itself. Chris deems you and me to be abusive, irrational, and divisive. If Chris considers hearing the truth to be abusive, that's his problem, Kevin. As for divisiveness, I address that at some length in the other posts in this series that I encourage people to read. Jesus was divisive. He made clear that he came here to bring division. I'm with him. Chris is with Paul to the exclusion of striving to be true to Christ. It's the common error of the Pauline.
Kevin, I'll offset your words with block quotes or expressly state that I'm quoting you and put your words in quotation marks accordingly.
The presentation (tradition of bible interpretation) you uphold Tom would make each of us our own bishop, our own episkopos and that is not only not rational, it's simply not good faith.
This is just an arbitrary statement. There is nothing irrational about not needing a bishop. I have no bishop in the sense you use the term. You will deny entry of souls into the kingdom of God based upon their not having a Roman Catholic bishop? You won't get in yourself doing that.
Secondly, what tradition of bible interpretation? I know of no such tradition, as you use the word. Who else interprets as I do? I've been seeking such people for years and have found none.
The authority of popes do not start with men (as you've concluded) it starts with God. The promise of infallibility on teaching of faith and morals does not guarantee impecciablity of the teacher, of the pope, of the man, it promises an infallibility of instruction to others.
This says, "Do as we say, not as we do." That's antichrist.
you write, "Popes in history made such a mess of things speaks volumes about how the succession they claimed was far from superior and not unbroken" and I respond no doubt their have been anti-popes or what you've termed elsewhere, "apostate Popes" but more importantly I have to ask you to present precise examples of instruction by these Christian teaches where and when have they in administering their office as bishop of the Church taught something in grave error concerning matters of Christian faith?
Well, good for you that you acknowledge apostate popes have existed in history. That's to your credit. As for the teachings being in grave error, I've discussed that above. The teachings on indulgences were a grave error. The burnings at the stake were grave errors. Don't claim that the RC church didn't officially sanction (teach) burning people at the stake and other such killings and torture. The history is loaded with examples. The pope had mundane armies did they not? They engaged in warfare where they took men's lives did they not? Jesus did not come to take men's lives. Check and mate, as it were.
Tom you've claimed there was no established hierarchy (meaning teaching authority) of the Church by Christ but I strongly disagree. The Apostle Peter is mentioned first whenever the apostles are listed as a group. From the Greek Peter is known as "protos" and is understood not only as first but chief apostle. It is to Peter our Lord is described as instructed "Feed my sheep" John 21:17 and to Peter alone out of all the apostles.
You read the scripture wrong. Your church teaches this wrong reading. Jesus founded his forgiving Church on fallible, sinful, souls. When he speaks to Peter, he is definitely not speaking to "Peter alone." Besides, if you were correct, then why did Paul have the effrontery to rebuke the designated leader of the Church? Also, why did Peter take a backseat to James, as is clearly the case? James had the last word in Jerusalem, not Peter.
2. re: John20:20-22 and Matthew 16:19 (no confusion Tom, there is more than more verse to quote which refers to the authority of Christ restricted to certain functionaries) see above regarding the keys and John 21:17, Isa 22-21-24 regarding authority to bind and lose
Well, I won't quibble. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:23 KJVR) does imply keys. As you know, I was trying to be of assistance to readers in finding "keys" verbatim.
It is through the Church man has the holy scriptures, knows of the Messiah, knows of the promise of salvation. It is not enough to say "I know Jesus" and have a "personal relationship" or say "all I need is my bible" without first knowing these are less likely (outside personal revelation from God) if not for the instrument of Christ's annointed ministerial priesthood.
It is through the Church, but that Church is not all things Roman Catholic and only all things Roman Catholic — never has been. The Roman Catholic Church has done more to block Christianity than it has done to bring forth. The RCC does not teach the whole message. It is selective as is convenient to it. It errs.
There is no Holy Spirit within "outside personal revelation from God." When the Roman centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant. The Roman recieved the faith directly before Peter had even caught on to such degree.
I understand that much anti-First Christian literature is written as hate propaganda which meligns the Church (Catholic) as being outside Christian or Not the "New Testament Church" by later separatists, all of it is easily debunked.
It is only easily debunked if one accepts your whole view on Roman Catholicism, which I do not for the clear and plain truths I've already expressed. "hate propaganda" is loaded, and I take it that way from you. There is hate, and then there is hate. I do rightly hate errors. Propaganda is information. There is right propaganda, and there is wrong propaganda. What I've stated here is right information. In addition, there were separatists who had to brave the violent coercion of the extremely violent Roman Catholic Church that could not win by words and deeds of truth. There were also Churches that never joined the RC's. The Thomas Christians in India are a case in point. The Ethiopians are another. The Celtics in the British Isles are another. Your church tried to terrorize to lord it over others. You should see that and convert to pure Christianity that are the words and deeds of Jesus not filtered through Roman Catholic distortions.
The Roman Catholic Church is not as was the first Church that was in Jerusalem. I do understand that much of that Church was orthodox Jewish and continued to observe the Mosaic Law. While Jesus did not teach to do that, per se. He did teach the common purse and goods in common, something Paul neglected. So, the so-called Ebionites (after James) and Paul were each partially correct. Paul was right in encouraging people to transcend the ritualistic law while James and John were right in encouraging people to hold all things common and parse according to real need. I say to do it via the Christian Commons to hold all things common and to parse according to real need, bringing forth abundance from God to carry out the command not to Peter alone but to the whole of humanity as one to feed all. It's better than exhausting and relying upon capitalism.
I profess the creed of our early Christian brothers and believe as bishop St Athanusius of Alexandria, "whosoever wills to be saved must before all else. adhere to the Catholic Faith" (catholic meaning katholikos or according to the whole from the Greek words kata and holos)
Yes, but the universal truth is in what I've related to you here and is not as stated by the succession of popes from the beginning, as none taught the Christian Commons.
Lastly, you've declared that you are a Roman Catholic layperson. Are you a member of any other Roman Catholic organization such as Opus Dei? Are you a Freemason? The answer will help us all to put things into perspective.
Blessings of truth to all,