This is a correspondence from a friend Johnrob. He’s inquiries are numbered, while my answer is marked “Answer”.
From correct A to slightly wrong B
1. As pointed out, a Catholic understanding of the true teaching can be mistaken. Even my personal understanding of it. Therefore, just like anyone, i might understand “at least most of them.” But not understanding everything does not make me abhor their teaching. Hence, as quoted, somehow God’s Word changes as it transfers through the tongues of Men. However, I believe that however it changes, it’s part of God’s Divine Plan.
The idea is that: Catholics are secured for they can always get the correct “version” by reading the written teachings from the “official release.” I personally find this calming because I also realized that not all priests have deep understanding of all Church teachings. Catholics don’t believe that priests cannot err in their understanding. I view this as the failure on the priest’s part rather than on the faithful.
Answer: As you have said, “Catholic understanding of the true teaching can be mistaken including your personal understanding of it.” And that you believve that “however it changes, it’s part of God’s Divine Plan.” Your last statement is again a departure from the Biblical point of view. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow,
In Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33 (recorded in the 3 synoptic gospels) “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” As you see, God’s word is suppose not to be changing and definitely authoritative changes as you say is NOT a part of “God’s Divine Plan” in contradiction to what was already exposed in these passages. And please note that it is Jesus who have said these things.
As you have said Catholics are secured for they can always get the correct “version” by reading the written teachings from the “official release”. Really? Correct version or just a uniform version? How come that many of these official releases directly contradicts Biblical teachings. Is this what you call “security”??? You should NOT find this calming, but ALARMING. Hebrews 13:9 “Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.”
Galatians 1:8 “Though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gosepl unto you, than that which we already have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Please do note that this passage quoted “we”, Paul and his associates, or an “angel” preach any “other” gospel than what was already preached, let him be “accursed”. Paul’s teachings and those that has been preached can be found in the Bible. Would Paul say this without a reason? It is because “false doctrines” which is based on geneologies and myths (strange teachings, teachings without basis) is now proliferating among the Christians as early as the time of Paul (please read the book of Galatians) to have a clearer view of the context).
Brother Johnrob, please note that I am not speaking of these things “based on my own opinion”, but of what the Bible is saying. And if you still see that tradition and the Bible is of the same authority, then I hope that you will change your stand. That stand is completely dangerous for it gives birth to extra Biblical doctrines, doctrines that are not of God, but of men.
Furthermore, I will no longer give further discussion on the authority of the Bible since obviously, you will never believe that the Bible is the sole doctrinal authority and I won’t believe either, that tradition can be a source of doctrinal authority. Things has already been presented, now, you and I would have to decide what to believe. I have decided to believe that the Bible is the sole authority. I found this calming and secures my faith, and never will tradition can do this. As what was Jesus said above, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will remain.”
What is yours?
Sorry to end this discussion. I just want to make sure that you and I will not be repeating all over again. Go on with our correspondence and review it. See if what truths has been presented well concerning the authoritative “Doctrinal Source”
2. While non-Catholics argue that Catholics quote non-Biblical sources, most do not understand that these quotes are used to either:
A. Show to others what the Catholic Church really teaches.
B. Piggy back on the ideas of others regarding the Gospel of Christ.
I was speechless when I discovered that Encyclicals (pastoral letters from the Pope circulated) do quote Biblical passages.
Answer: Yeah you are right in saying these two things. I do not have any comment on letter A. since this is what obviously Catholics has been doing.
In letter B, as I said, we can never based our doctrinal teachings on the written works of others. It should be in the Bible. We also tackle written works from the Bible. But we don’t get official doctrinal stands from their written works, but go back to what the Bible says to authenticate their writings.
Now let’s go to Encyclicals. Yes, I noticed that too. I have scanned some of it. Unfortunately, when I checked the Biblical sources of these Encyclicals, many of them were twisted truths from the Bible and does not come from Biblical point of view. It is like a screw which is too big for a hole, yet someone forced it to fit.
Just some insights as an example. The Doctrine of Purgatory. I tried reading even the Deuterocanonical books which has been the source of this doctrine. To my surprise, it ONLY made mentioned about “praying of the dead”, but there’s no purgatory in it. And the only passage that mentioned it, in the entire Bible (if you include Deuterocanonical books). A HUGE doctrine from ONE vague source.
3. Non-Catholics should understand that Catholics do not derive their certainty of understanding the Gospel through the Bible alone but also through the practice of the known truths (Church prayers and Sacraments). This is recorded in the Bible as the traditions passed orally. Even some of the newly converted pagans during the first Council of Jerusalem (The Acts) received a oral instructions instead of by letter. But of course Catholics do believe and honor the Bible. The last time i checked, Catholics do stand up to greet and revere upon hearing the Gospel according to either Matthew, Mark, Luke or John (Gospel Reading of the Mass).
Answer: As was mentioned in number 1, this is a dangerous stand. Let me just ask you a personal question, would you believe what you just heard from someone who claims to know the truth? Of course not. This is why we are having this discussion. You only believe in “what has been taught to you” without consulting the original source of teachings. What if someone taught you not to eat this nor to eat that in your early childhood? Would you just accept it as it is without consulting the original source? What if someone taught you in your childhoond that you can attain salvation by just being a good man without having faith in God? Would you believe that? What if someone taught you in your childhood that you can see your future using Tarrot cards? (which also against the Catholic doctrines, yet many Catholics believe in this).
Here’s the thing, I am pointing out that you go back to the original source of teachings, even with the traditions and oral teachings that has been taught to you so that you can authenticate it based on a written evidence, the Bible. The authenticity of these teachings can be measured with the truths from the Bible which fortunately, the Bible is available to all of us.
4. On point 2B. When humans learn, we learn best together and learn from each other. One understanding however mistaken may trigger better and more correct understanding on another. Hence, we share. For non-Catholics, this is best exemplified by sharing and testimony.
Catholics do the same, but also they get to have the written part from the Elders of the Church (Catholics call them “Church Fathers and Doctors”). Furthermore, Encyclicals and Documents from the General Councils also give them deeper understanding in the entire message of the Word of God and may be beyond (but not contradictory) to the message written in the Bible. Hence, as time passes, the understanding of the Gospel deepens not necessary to always go to the basics. One can think of this as a process of going from “1+1” to “integral of f(x)” to “finding the tensor product.”
Answer: From what you are saying, treatment of giving testimonies and basing doctrinal teachings is totally different. Giving testimonies is encouragement,an exhortation of the doings of God. But it does not mean it is a doctrinal stand.
In the second paragraph, you are obviously talking about making an authoritative doctrinal truth to which non-Catholic testimonies can never be a basis. So again you are explaining here that for you there is nothing wrong in doing this.
Just let me give you an insight what was wrong with this stand. What if, someone will say to you that he has seen the blessed virgin Mary, that there was an apparition. And the apparition is telling you a different message to what the Bible is saying, like “Pray to my name”? Would you believe that? I guess, you will believe it if someone wrote an Encyclical about it. So I might guess, that perhaps many of the Catholics are waiting for the Encyclical of Judiel of Agoo when he claims that the blessed virgin Mary appeared to him. Unfortunately, the last time I saw him on television, he is now wearing a dress just like virgin Mary, and he turned out to be a homosexual. Do you see the point here??? Thousands and thousands of people believed in it including celebrities like Nova Villa.
Have you been encouraged with this kinds of incidents? Perhaps at the moment. I hope you are seeing the point here. Encouraging through testimonies is totally different from Doctrinal Stand.
Encyclicals “might” be good, in some ways. But for it to be the basis of doctrinal teaching is very dangerous. And this might have caused the Catholics depart from sound doctrine. Again, many of these encyclicals have contradicted with the Bible. How come that you can say that understanding of the Bible deepens??? It did not deepens brother, it lead you to a heretical belief.
Anything beyond or let us say overstatement/over interpretation nor understatement/under-interpretation of God’s word is heresy. This is very clear. Or else, EVERYTHING can be a good Doctrine.
Godly teachings, not philosophical?
5. I don’t exactly get what we mean by “godly teachings.” Hence, i have no comparison to make when it is compared to “philosophy.”
Q: Does this mean that the Bible never used philosophical ideas at all? What about we are sinned and therefore we are meant to die, and therefore need to be saved. Isn’t this a philosophical argument?
Also, I believe that all the arguments stated as a form of answer to my questions are hinged on your use of philosophical ideas. Therefore, i cannot see how “godly teachings” cannot be philosophical in nature. It is worth to note however that i have come to believe that philosophy is but only a part of that understanding the Gospel; the major part is Faith. As St. Augustine says it: “I believe to understand, and understand to believe more.” The Church teaches that Faith and Reason go hand in hand. I believe there is nothing wrong with this.
Answer: When I have said “godly teachings” I am referring to “Biblical teachings” (sorry about the terminologies, I should have used Biblical teachings instead of the latter).
Since it is vague to you. Let me again go to the example of a Catholic Teaching (based on one of the Catholic Defenders that I have talked with)
Premise One: Jesus is God.
Premise Two: Mary mother of Jesus
Therefore: Mary mother of God.
Consistent Biblical Teaching
A. Jesus is God.
B. Mary is the human mother of Jesus.
Please do note the difference. There should be no conclusive parts that gives birth to another doctrine.
Problem with the statement “Mary mother of God”
1.Concludes that Mary “pre-exists before God”.
2.Concludes that Mary is “divine, of God”
These are complete oppossite to the doctrine of “One Triune God”. But please note that Catholics would never admit these conclusive problems of the statement and would claim that non-Catholics have gravely misrepresented Catholic teachings, and perhaps your stand would probably the same.
Now let me go with the Consistent Biblical Teachings. These would imply:
1.Jesus is of God, pre-exist with God.
2.Jesus is also human, because his biological mother is human.
Despite of the denial of the Catholic of the nature of their belief concerning Mary divine mother of Jesus, the statement is very conclusive and have many extra Biblical implications which resulted the over emphasis of Mary (this is why you do have now Mariology).
To answer what you have said that my arguments were answered in my own philosophical ideas, you are wrong. Please do notice that all these explanation in based on the Bible.
Let us say that the Bible also have used philosophy, especially Paul being an educated apostle, and a former Pharisee, please do note that their philosophical way is consistently Biblical and not twisted. Their teachings is consistent to what Jesus have taught the apostles, and is consistent with the Old Testament. Unlike the Catholics who “inconsistenly” (based on what you said in point 1) interpreted and represented God’s word. And made up things from their experience, and to the tradition that it believed even without consulting its origin.
I do hope that you have seen a great point of difference to what I am saying philosophical teachings. Biblical philosophy was used consistently, while other philisophies in the Catholic stand is inconsistent with the Bible.
6. The use of philosophy can help us discern those points that are rooted in false premises. Also, philosophy help us discard conclusions based on wrong flow of logic (fallacy). Finally, human are but naturally philosophers. I remember when Israel accused God for “taking them from Egypt” only to starve in the desert. This is a valid philosophy but Israel failed to see that this is rooted in false premise: saving is only physical. Even so, it cleared out that God’s plan is also philosophically sound. This point is the one reason why the gentiles (mostly Greeks) were easily converted during the Apostolic times.
Answer. You are right with these statement except for one. I will not argue with most this statement because partially this is correct. But then again, please do note my comments above so that you will see a big difference between the Biblical philosophies from the Catholic philosophies. Hope this has been clarified.
What you missed is when you again concluded that “God’s” is also philosophically sound. Sorry. This is highly debatable since the Bible directly says about God’s intentions and not in the manner of philosophy. Please read Ephesians 1 about God’s plan. It is direct, and not based on philosophy.
7. Going back to the conclusion: “Catholic doctrinal message are vague and not clear even to their own people.” The issue is not the source of the message but on the interpreter of the message. Should I also conclude that the message in the Bible is vague just because “different Bible-only-doctrine defenders and Bible-only pastors have different point of views”? The accusation that the message is “not clear even to their own” can be also argued against non-Catholics. This is truly an issue in all matters of information dissemination. This is the reason why we exchange ideas, so that we clear our understanding.
Thinking that our teachers have the finality in their class teachings is already a proven mistake. Recent educational studies have shown that teachers should be a guide for the students learning. This means that students have the primary duty of educating her/himself asking the right questions to the right person. Hence, every faithful has to also explore their understanding of the Gospel to practice it in life better.
Answer: I would this agree with your statement: “the issue is not the source of the message but on the interpreter of the message”. Brother, I believe if we only have the same source of doctrinal authority, I am sure that we are not explaining to each other these things. Doctrinal source primarily affects the interpretation of the Bible. And of course the interpretation also matters which will I discuss below.
I must admit that this point is hard to explain especially that everybody (I mean all religious group) claims to be correct and authentic. However, foundational doctrine of Christian belief is clear. Just for information, I don’t know if you have heard of what we call “Evangelical Christians”? Evangelical Christians are composed of different religious groups whose basic doctrinal foundations are basically the same, and if there are some sort of differences, these goes with the minor doctrines. Evangelical Christians are composed of mainly Protestant groups that believes:
Believes that there is only one True God.
Believes that we are saved by Grace through Faith.
Believes that the Bible is the only source of doctrinal authority
Believes that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man
Believes in the existence of the Holy Trinity.
These 5 foundational Biblical doctrinal stands are the same with the Evangelical Christians. Hence you can identify them with their statement of faith. Some groups that belongs to this are: the Baptists (not all but most), Methodists, Assembly of God, Jesus Is Lord. Etc. there are many more. They only differs from each other when it comes to minor doctrines while some only differs from their church managements.
These differences obviously separated the non Catholics from each other, but not in fellowship with each other, only in church membership and locations.
Other religious groups that does not have these doctrines or in some ways different and contradicts these 5 basic Christian Biblical doctrines were considered cultic movements. And this stand has already proven by facts. Some cultic movements based their doctrine in “another” written work, while some twisted the Biblical truths by the use of philosophy, and some by the use of “Allegorical interpretation”.
The Bible is made clear?
8. Based on #7 above, the answer is not all of it. Although some passages are obvious, not every part of it is clear. This is best exemplified by the recent reading in the Mass. The reading was about an Ethiopian official who needed instructions in reading a passage in the OT. While this is made clear in the NT, things are not totally recorded in the Bible as John 16:12 and 21:25 would attest.
Even if we read the history of the translations of the Bible, the way the message is written is not clear.
Answer: I think I made it clear in my last statement “that those things that were made clear in the Bible are already “enough” that we will have faith in one God.” I do hope that you have noticed that. Please review my answer with regard to this point. I already have said that not everything in the Bible has been made clear, but there are those that were made clear and is already enough to have one belief just like the Evangelical Christians who belong to different churches yet, one in its teachings.
9. As for the Salvation that was quoted below, Eph 2:8 is understood to be specifically addressed against Judaizers who boast of their works (viz. Circumcision, works of law). I believe the totality of the message of the Bible is that (a) by grace we are saved” but this grace has to be received by faith, and (b) through this faith, we work (living out that faith). The Church teaches that we are not passive in the reception of that grace; we can loose that gift if we don’t work tirelessly as St. Paul teaches that we do with “trembling” till the end. Faith –> Hope –> Love.
Q: Are you sure there is no passage somewhere in the Bible that says otherwise? Read James 2:14 for example.
Hmmm… good questions here. Ok… let us go back to the Ephesians 2:8-10. First of all, it is not just addressed to Judaizers. Eph. 1:1 says: “…To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.” I don’t know if your version of Bible used the word “saints”, some versions uses “people of God”. Please do note that “people of God” is the same or is almost the same (if you will not agree with it) as the saints. This also means that these were addressed to the believers of Christ in Ephesus. I don’t know where did you get your “Judaizer” basis, maybe in one of the commentaries or again from your Encyclicals.
Now here, you say you believe in the “totality of the message of the Bible” as you clearly underlined it. Yet you have a “but”. Here again, I would say a clear message being made to be complicated.
In NIV version: Ephesians 2:8-10
v.8 For by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a the gift of God.
v.9 -not by works, so that no one can boast.
v.10. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepred in advance for us to do.
(Please, feel free to use a “Catholic” authorized Bible if you like. It doesn’t matter).
Paul’s statement is clear and complete. For by grace we have been saved, through faith. The problem is, you stopped there. It further says, this is not from yourselves it is a gift of God.
This means salvation is completely by God’s doing and is not ours. The only thing that we did is to received the grace which is through faith. John 3:16 (I know you are familiar with this verse) For God so loved the world and that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” Please note that the grace being referred in Ephesians 2:8 is Jesus Christ (hope you agree, or else, what would this grace be that gives salvation?).
Believing to Jesuus Christ is having faitth (I do hope that you also agree for it is very clear). The faith that we are talking here is our acceptance of Jesus Christ, our surrendering of life to Jesus Christ, our minds, our hearts were surrendered to him. With repentance, with turning away from sins. This is completely different from what you are pointing out to be the “working faith”.
Furthermore, having said that you have to work this out for your salvation, it directly contradicts Paul’s statement that it is not by works. What is it? A gift of God. Can you call a gift to be a gift if you are paying for it? Hmmm…. I can’t call that a gift, but an opportunity to gain something to which salvation can never be associated with this. Salvation is gift of God. It is not by works that we have received it. It was given by God first. Salvation is the initiative of God, not of man.
In v.9 it says that it is not by works, so that no one can boast. A very clear reason why salvation was not made by works. So that no one can boast. A very simple example: If for example I am rich and you are poor, and a calamity came in a place where we both live. You only have helped 1 family in comparison to 15 families that I have helped. Let me asked you then, who has the greater chance of going to heaven? You who helped 1 family because you are poor, or me who helped 15 families because I am rich?
But guess what, did Paul really disregarded good work in our Christian lives? The answer is no. In verse 10, we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Which means that it is our responsibility to do good works because we are followers of Christ.
This means that work is just a resulting fruit of our salvation. God saved us first, we accept the salvation and committed ourselves to follow Christ. As a result we do good works. Please do note that there are lots of people who do good works that were not Christians. And this is the plan of God for every human beings, to do good works, not evil.
To give you more clarification here’s a good illustration:
If I will give a gift to you, you will never be the owner of that gift unless you claim it and have it. Unless you take the gift that I prepared for you, that gift will never be yours when it comes to ownership.
What if you took the gift, but you never used it, does it have any benefit to you? Absolutely nothing. Unless, you use the gift, the gift will give you no benefit.
This is what salvation looks like. God gave salvation to all human beings. All we have to do is to accept it and wear it, wear the new life that we have in Christ Jesus. Millions of people around the world knew that gift, unfortunately they did not claim it (they did not believe in Christ Jesus, the grace that was given by God the Father). This is why even if it is free, only few were able to get it. Many people did not believe that “we are saved by grace through faith”, instead they tried out other ways to win the given gift.
There are also some people who claimed that gift, but never used the gift. They still live like those who did not claim the gift. Thus, they never benefited from that gift.
This is a challenge to you who reads this important message. Are you one of those millions of people around the world who knew the gift but never claimed it? Are you one of those who claimed the gift but never used it?
Or, are you one of those very few, who claimed the gift, and used that gift of grace, wearing new life in Christ Jesus?
Again, such gift is free, waiting only for you to claim it. Claim it now, have faith in Jesus Christ.
I hope with this very extensive explanation of the passage and that this have enlightened you.
Going to your question about James 2:14
Let me ask you a question, have you read the whole book and have seen the whole context? If you haven’t please do. So that you will be clarified that James is referring to the “working faith” and not the “saving faith”. James emphasis is that now that we are followers of God and who claims to have faith in God, then this should result to our actions. Have you seen people who have been claiming to be “Christians” yet when you look at their lives you see evilness, some were adulterers, sexual immorals, some were lovers of money etc??? This is exactly that context.
Yes, James questioned that such faith without deeds cannot save him. This is because literally speaking, it is questionable if we claim to have faith yet cannot be seen through works.
Furthemore, did James say, “your deeds can save you”? Nope. Of course not. He just pointed out that faith without action is a dead faith. And this passage does not imply that good works can save.
10. For Catholics, salvation is not merely plain acceptance of (faith in) Christ but living it out (work). As already explained in my email somewhere “work” can only be “work because of the living faith” if the person is in a state of grace, otherwise such “work,” one cannot boast in the end.
Answer: I think I already have answered these all above. Please review it again.
11. Is it worth noting that the Church teaches that everyone should read their Bible. However, Catholics should be careful in interpreting certain passages by themselves. They have to be understood the way the authors intended them to be and in the context of how it was understood by the intended audience. The Church does this through the scholars.
Answer: Yes it is worth noting that the Church teaches that everyone should read their Bible. And I do agree with you to be careful in interpretation. Unfortunately, as I have already said, Catholic doctrine was a mixture of “partially” Bible, tradition, and human philosophies instead of Biblical philosophies which made many of its doctrines to be in contradictions with many passages in the Bible.
Ok, just to give you an idea about interpretation. There are two main schools of interpretation. One is call “Allegorical” while the other is “Exegetical”.
What’s the difference between the two???
Allegorical Interpretation is – “Giving” meaning to the passages of the Bible.
Exegetical Interpretation is – Extracting, or getting the “original” intended meaning of the author of the passages in the Bible.
I have read some works of Catholic writers who uses “Allegorical Interpretation”. I believe I have lost one copy of my document written by St. Francis of Assissi that interprets the passsage in the book of Matthew about the good Samaritan. Anyway, I just want to point out that it is almost totally different from Exegetical point of view.
Today, what most Bible interpreters do is Exegesis, since this is more conservative in approach, clearer and sound.
Talking about Exegesis, there are underlying rules, these are the two main rules:
1.All passages in the Bible has “only one” intended meaning. This means that in each passages, there should be only one interpretations. Different Bible Study lessons then only differs with their “application” of the passage in their lives but not in the interpretation of the passage (hope this is clear enough)
2.There are “certain” (not all, but some) passages in the Bible that are simply vague and beyond interpretation. In this case, we should not add nor give an interpretation out of it, just leave it as it is. Time will come that God will just reveal its meaning. This means that we should not add, assume or subtract something from these passages. For it will not only lead to false teachings and false doctrinal stands, worst, a cultic movement.
I do hope that this note has given you a clearer idea why reading the Bible should not be a big problem. Furthermore, the Bible itself encourages us to meditate on it day and night.
Praying for the dead
12. Praying for the dead “for the salvation of soul”? I don’t think this is a right conclusion for the praying for the dead hinged on the idea that dead persons are totally dead. Catholics believe that God is god of the living. Those who passed away are but only in a better (or worse) conditions — heaven (or hell). However, Catholics believe that there is nothing a dead person can do to save him/her from the fires of hell. The prayers that Catholics do is not “work” on the part of those who pray but rather a service for the one who died. Catholics believe that death cannot separate us from each other, and from the Lord.
Answer: This is another strange answer from you, a different answer from what I commonly get from other Catholic defenders. You did not even mentioned of purgatory. The usual answer I get is this: Catholics pray because the soul of their love ones are trapped in the purgatory hence, waiting for the venial sins to be cleaned. Well, something like this at least.
Your final statement is partially correct. Yes, death cannot separate us from Christ. The more Biblical statement is that, no one can separate us from the love of Christ. But I doubt your adds on where even during the wedding it says in the vow, “Til death do us part.” this is just a simple acceptance that we as human beings are being separated from each other by death.
Furthermore, Luke 16:19-31 the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man affirms that once we die, we are separated from each other. In verse 26 it says that there exist a great chasm between those who are in hell and in heaven that no one can cross. Not even the good man Lazarus. And in the end the Rich Man continue to plead Abraham because he has five brothers. But Abraham replied that the living already have Moses and the Prophets, that the living has to listen to them.
What I am just telling you that death can indeed separate human beings to each other. Hmmmm… but if you do mean “love” for each other, perhaps that’s another issue.
13. If one offers something as a “service” to the Lord, then let him do so. If one thinks that by praying for others (living and/or dead), he is doing that for the greater good of God, then Catholics believe that it is a merited work that awaits rewards in Heaven. Catholics believe that each person is given a special vocation as part of the work of God.
Answer: Here I don’t see a clear statement here, “for the greater good of God”??? When can man do such greater good of God??? It doesn’t make sense.. You might have mistyped some few words here.
Just a question though, what and how do you pray for the dead??? For what purpose of service? As far as I know, being a minister, we minister to the living not to the dead. We conduct funeral service for the benefit of the living and not for the benefit of the dead. As you have said, dead are dead. Those who are still living is more important. Death is just a beginning of another journey. We pray for the family of the dead, and not for the dead to go to heaven.
Here,I am just letting you see what we do. Not pointing out to what you are doing, since I cannot understand the sense of your statement (maybe for typographical errors). Sorry.
14. The answers are very much in parallel with the Church’s teaching (faith and works) because work signifies the working of the faith. However, it is right that this is not necessarily so. That is why, the same Church teaches that we should give these people the benefit of the doubt, assuming that they work for their faith, and not for boasting. Catholics don’t boast their work but hope that these may merit them for rewards in Heaven. For when we judge them only according to what they show, we may be judged in the same way.
Answer: I think I have extensively answered this comment above when I discussed about “saving faith” and “working faith”. If you still stick that “works” is a basic fundamental need for salvation, then I believe you have misinterpreted or neglected some of the main points of the passage in Ephesians 2:8-10. It is very simple to understand and does not need any additional explanation in it. It clearly says that salvation is not by works, lest no one can boast, that it is not from us, but a gift of God. What’s hard about that???
I assume that you don’t know the difference between faith and works. Here’s a big difference: We can do good works without faith, but with faith, we are and will always do good works. Hoping that you see a big difference. Hence, I have seen lots of atheists who are significantly good and rich with good works.
I do agree with you that in judging others, we will be judge in the same way. Don’t you know that this is Biblical too? Just checking you. Well, the thing is, no one is judging, and as you have said, we are exposing truths and beliefs. The only thing I doubt is that after all these extensive discussions and Bible expositions, that you will believe that we are saved by grace through faith, and NOT by works, and that you will accept that the Bible is the sole doctrinal authority not tradition, nor human philosophy, and much more with extra biblical sources.
15. So there, my answers are the same as yours. I believe the Bible’s message and you and I have the same interpretations of it. The Church is old already to have pondered on the passages that you have cited (and more) as well as explained everything from them. These passages can now be found in the Encyclicals (Laborem exercens, and many others). Take note as well that these Encyclicals happen to quote a lot from the Bible. But of course, it is up to you to scroll down to the very bottom of the link.
Answer: Hmmm…??? I just don’t understand in what points that we agreed that we have the same interpretations of the Bible. So far, for all the things that we have discussed, there are only few similarities, and we have more major differences in especially in terms of the source of Biblical Authority, Salvation, etc.
Unless that we will have the same source of doctrinal authority, our beliefs and Bible interpretations will most probably be different from each other in many doctrinal issues.
I do appologize if I lack time for studying much of the Encyclicals. But I do suggest that if you ask more things, you copy them and point out its Biblical source. And then we will try to see if it is really in accordance to the Bible and that if it was interpreted using a sound interpretation or again was twisted by human philosophies and assumptions.
In the end, I do hope that you won’t be repeating yourself all over again. You can avoid this by not asking again questions similar to what you already have asked and stated. I think I have answered you extensively. I already gave much more time for this on my “rest day” to give you a satisfying answer. And I believe, I have also given you a big over view to what the Evangelical Christians believe. If you have questions however, I do hope that it is only for clarifications on my statements that seems to be vague. Just like you, I don’t want to be repeating myself. 🙂
Hope you do undeerstand.
If you have questions on different topics, then feel free to send it to me, and hopefully I can give you something like this again.
Just a question though, are you searching for the Biblical truths or just asking me on what we believe in comparison to yours? I do hope that I am clear in saying that, as far as yours and my Biblical beliefs is concerned, we have major differences. And I think I have presented it well.