Blog Archive

Sunday, November 29, 2015

11 29 15 Alabaster box

11 26 15 Thor goes down

 THOR GOES DOWN- Alabaster box [todays update] [Alabaster box- update]

.Pops update
.2 Jasons
.Church history
.Wizard of Oz n Christmas story
.Cop’s 3 Hail Mary’s
.Catholics- Protestants
.Chicago protests
.Molly Hatchet
.You killed my dad!
. ‘Mary’land
NEW STUFF- I’ll try and mention a couple of things I talked about on the video- and have never written about before
BONIFACE- After the fall of the western empire [Rome] the Church took up the slack during the middle ages and provided a stability that the empire could no longer do.
The eastern part of the empire- Constantinople- lasted till the 15th century- it fell to the Turks at that time.
Russia was converted to orthodoxy in the 10th century- and saw itself [Moscow] as the ‘New Rome’- sort of like the standard bearer that would keep the flame going for Orthodoxy.
Ok- the Roman Church did indeed evangelize the Germanic ‘barbarians’ from the north.
One of the most famous stories took place in the 8th century- a Christian missionary [who later became the bishop of Mainz] by the name of Boniface-
He entered the ‘sacred’ forest where the god of thunder was worshipped [Thor].
They had a sacred Oak tree dedicated to Thor.
As the story goes- Boniface had a type of Elijah confrontation with the false God- and he took an ax- and with one chop- felled the cultic oak [oh yea- God sent a strong wind- that helped].
How true many of these stories are- we never know.
But the northern barbarians were indeed converted to a form of Christianity over time.
They leaned toward the teaching of Arianism [which I taught about over the years] and technically are not considered 'Orthodox’ [in this sense- meaning they did not hold to the true teaching of Christianity about the Deity of Christ].
But they did abandon their ‘gods’ for the Christian God- and the story of Boniface and the Oak- might have helped.

PAST POSTS [verses below]
.[these are old posts- but as you can see- I’ve been talking politics for a while] [1766] ‘LIL’ KIM- LUTHER AND HITCHENS

Okay- we had the passing of some famous folk these last few days. Havel [former Czech President] - a great man indeed.

Then we had ‘lil’ Kim die [not the singer- the leader of North Korea. Though there was an on line rumor it was Lil Kim- yeah the fans cried- until they realized it was the crazed leader of one of the world’s most dangerous countries- you know- the hair trigger Nuke. Well when the fans found out it was him- not the singer- they relaxed]

Actually- the surreal video of the North Korean people crying in the streets- the look of shock and despair on their faces- I mean I haven’t seen the followers of any political leader act this way in a long time- not since the Perry debates.

Then old Hitchen's kicked the bucket- yeah- he was a famous atheist.

I really do not hate atheists- some are nice people- most don’t know the real case for the existence of God. But Hitchen's- well when I reviewed his book- ‘God is not great’ I did get into the many distortions and misrepresentations that he made.

He simply lied- and often. He was mean and arrogant and insulted people often- he has referred to princess Diana as a ‘land mine’ [she had a charity that worked for the abolition of these weapons] he said she was like a land mine ‘she was laid all over the country- and when you stepped on her everything blew up’.

No- many Christians and leaders have come out and done the ‘we respected him for his views’ type thing- not me- I’m not gad he died- but won’t make him sound like he was a ‘good’ man- he was not.

I read a piece form the N.Y. Times- they went into Libya and investigated the reports of the deaths of many civilians caused by NATO and the U.S. during the ‘no fly zone’ debacle.

They found evidence of many civilians that were killed. They presented the report to the new leaders of Libya- they could care less.

In Benghazi- the main city in the eastern half of Libya- they were openly flying the Al-Qaida flag.  We just spent 10 years and many lives fighting in Afghanistan. Why? Because they gave territory to Al-Qaida- they gave them a place to work out of.

We fought the Taliban for 10 years over this. Yet in a few months NATO and the U.S. gave Al-Qaida their own capitol to fly their flag- I mean the terrorists must be thinking ‘if we knew these guys were this stupid- we would have never bombed the towers’.

In Tripoli- the real capitol of Libya- the various militia groups [terrorists] are all claiming they are the security/armed forces of Libya. I heard a doctor- on N.P.R. - not a right wing radio show- he said in his hospital these various militias are all trying to take charge- they walk around with guns- sometimes walk into a room and shoot a patient who they think is not on their side- and the doctors say they have no security at all.

Under Gadhaffi things ran well- like a normal society- now their country is a terrorist haven- run by these guys.

I could go on and say the same for Egypt- and tell the stories of how the military have been killing protestors in the street. All these things are being done under people that the West [we- NATO- France] have enabled by removing their former leaders.

And France this week passed a law making it a crime to deny the genocide that took place in Turkey in the early part of the last century.

Yes- the Ottoman Turks did slaughter many Armenians- Christians- at the time. And getting Turkey to officially admit this has been a problem for years. But France passing a law to make it a crime to deny it- while they just finished committing ‘crimes against humanity’ themselves- by killing all the Libyan civilians- it’s just too much.

Okay- let’s start a brief overview of some church history. Over the next few weeks I want to hit on the 16th century Protestant reformation and try and cover some of the key figures of the movement.

Martin Luther- the German reformer who had the most influence in the movement was born and raised in Germany.

As a boy his parents were peasant farmers and eventually his dad became a miner and became a very successful businessman- he would go on and eventually own 6 foundries.

He sent his son to law school- and young Luther excelled. At the age of 21 he accomplished more than many of his peers. One day on his way home from the university a thunderstorm broke out and Luther was almost struck by a bolt of lightning.

In fear he cried out to Saint Ann [the mother of Mary] and said ‘Saint Ann- if you save me I will become a monk’ [Ann was the patron Saint for miners- thus Luther was familiar with her].

He was spared and off to the monastery he went. Luther eventually became an ordained priest and even though his dad initially was upset that his son became a priest- yet he was proud of his boy later on.

Luther would eventually make a Pilgrimage to Rome- on foot [a few month walk from Germany to Rome!] and what he saw devastated him. Rome- and the Vatican- were in bad shape. Many of the priests lived in open sin- and the city that he saw as his headquarters for the faith- well it was a mess.

Luther made the famous penitent walk/crawl up the stairs of the Lateran church [this church was the most famous church before the construction of St. Peters. The actual stairs of the church are the same stairs that Christ walked up during his trial under Pontius Pilate. Yes- you hear many ‘stories’ while studying church history- things like the relics or left over pieces of the Cross- well these stories are usually fake. But the stairs of the Lateran church are indeed the same stairs that Christ walked on- the early ‘church’ builders dismantled the stairs at Pilate’s court in Jerusalem and installed them at this church building in Rome].

When Luther got to the top of the stairs- it is reported that he questioned the faith- he had a crisis of faith and thought that maybe the whole thing was a sham.

Okay- as we do a few more posts over the coming weeks- I want you guys to see that the main players of the Reformation were sincere Catholic men who had many questions about what they saw as corrupt in their own church. These men did not want to start a breakaway church- they simply wanted to reform the church they loved.

Keep in mind that Luther excelled during his legal studies- he had a keen legal mind- this will be important later on when we see the debates he has with Rome over the doctrine of Justification by faith- the letters of the apostle Paul [Romans- Galatians] use lots of legal language- and his early education will help him in these debates.

Okay- that’s it for today. Maybe do a Google search on Luther and familiarize yourself a little with the history.

The ‘readings’ for this week are 2nd Samuel 6-7 and Psalms 89. See what they have in common.


Let’s start with some church history. In the last post I covered the early years of Martin Luther- probably the most significant figure of the Protestant Reformation.

Luther studied for the priesthood in Erfurt, Germany. He would eventually wind up in Wittenberg- one of the major university cities of the Reformation. Wittenberg was actually a small insignificant town- but the political leader over the region- Frederick the Wise- sought to put it on the map.

He wanted to turn Wittenberg into a German ‘Rome’. He wanted it to become a major Pilgrimage city where Christians would see Wittenberg as a destination- just like they saw Rome.

So Frederick embarked on this plan and he searched thru all the Catholic learning centers of the time and finally recruited 3 top scholars to teach out of the university at Wittenberg- Luther was one of the 3.

Just as a side note- Frederick would succeed at making Wittenberg a major catholic center. He would eventually obtain over 19,000 Relics for the Cathedral church there [Relics were used in the ancient system of buying indulgences and making special pilgrimage trips to important Churches. If the church/city that your making the Pilgrimage to has a lot of Relics- bones or other famous material objects from church history- then the value of the Pilgrimage was high. In theory Frederick collected so many that if you added up all the ‘time off’ from Purgatory- you would get 1 million, 900 thousand years off! Some of the famous relics at Wittenberg were a hair from the beard of Jesus- straw from the manger Jesus was born in- and even a branch from the famous burning bush of Moses! As you can see- there was a lot of commercializing going on- even back then].

When Luther arrived in Wittenberg- he made a name for himself as a top scholar. Many protestants- who revere Luther- usually are not aware that he was a master Linguist [sort of like Rick Perry!]

Yes Luther mastered language- and he showed it in his teaching on the book of Psalms.

In 1515 he began his famous study on the book of Romans and as he went thru the very first chapter- something shook him. He came across the passage that says the Just shall live by faith. This verse first appears in the O.T. book of Habakkuk- and is quoted 3 more times in the N.T.

Luther was very aware of the concept of the righteousness of God- he struggled for many years trying to reconcile his own sinful nature with Gods holiness- but he never really ‘saw’ the biblical concept of righteousness as a free gift that God ‘imputes’ to the sinner.

Yes- for the 1st time in Luther’s life- after his years training for the priesthood- the pilgrimage he made to Rome- the thousands of hours he spent confessing his sins while a monk in Erfurt- he never really understood that the righteousness of God was a free gift given to those who have faith.

It was a giant weight lifted from his shoulders- Luther did not need to try any more to live up to the standards of God- in  a way that would earn for him forgiveness- but he would simply believe- and the righteousness of God would be counted to him as a gift.

Luther would go on to call this an Alien Righteousness- that is it is not found within the person who tries to do all the church works he can- or buying all the indulgences- or any other of the many religious actions he was practicing- but this free gift of being right with God- it came to those who had faith- the Just shall live by Faith- this was indeed good news for the scholar.

As time went on- Germany would get embroiled in the political machinations of the day- Luther’s top political cover was Frederick the Wise- hardly a Protestant Reformer! He spent lots of time trying to make Wittenberg the major Catholic center in Germany.

But at the time there was a political fight raging between Rome and some of the other nation/states. There was a figure head office called the Holy Roman Emperor. This office was really in name only- but it rose up during the first Millennium of Christian history and sought to replace the influence that Rome was losing.

So you had France, Spain and England all vying for the title. Eventually it would go to King Charles of Spain- but the Pope- who played a major role in nominating the person- he did not want any of these top 3 to get the position. Henry the Eighth was the king of England at the time- and these ‘3 kings’ were sort of in competition with Rome- so the Pope tried to get Fredrick the Wise to throw his hat into the ring.

Frederick just happened to be one of the Electors of this position.

His actual title was The Elector of Saxony.

So Fredrick had lots of influence- and as Rome would eventually but heads with the stubborn bull of Wittenberg [Luther] Frederick would become the major protector of Luther.

Okay- I think we’ll stop here for today. The experience that Luther had- the enlightenment that came to him while teaching the book of Romans- this is often called The Tower experience of Luther- it took place in the year 1515.


Let’s pick up where we left off 2 posts back. We were talking about Martin Luther and the events that led up to the Protestant Reformation.

In order to understand the key act that caused the protest- we will have to teach some Catholic history/doctrine.

In the 16th century Pope Julius began the effort to build St. Peters basilica in Rome. He got as far as laying the foundation and died. Pope Leo the 10th would pick up after him.

The church needed to raise money for the project- and the German prince- Albert- would play a major role.

It should be noted that both Catholic and Protestant scholars agree that the Popes of the day were pretty corrupt. They came from what we call the Medici line of Popes.

If you remember last month I wrote a post on the Renaissance- I talked about the Medici family and how they played a major role in supporting the Renaissance that took place in the 13th century in Florence Italy that would spread to the region.

Well this very influential family also played a big role in who would get top positions in the church.

At the time of Luther and prince Albert- if you had the right connections and the money- you could literally buy a position in the church.

Albert already held 2 Bishop seats- and there was an opening for an Archbishops seat in Mainz [Germany] and he wanted that one too.

It should be noted that official Canon law [church law] said you could only hold one seat at a time- Albert was bidding on his 3rd one! And he was too young for all of them.

So even the Pope and the officials held little respect for what the church actually taught at the time.

So Albert opens up negotiations with Leo- and the bidding starts AT 12,000 Duckets [money] Albert counters with 7,000- and they agree on 10,000. How did they justify the numbers? 12- The number of Apostles. 7- The 7 deadly sins. 10- The 10 commandments.

Yes- the church was pretty corrupt at the time.

So Albert works out a plan with Leo- he will borrow the money from the German banks- and pay the banks off by the Pope giving Albert the right to sell Indulgences.

What’s an Indulgence?

Okay- this is where it gets tricky.

The ancient church taught a system called The Treasury of Merit. This was a sort of spiritual bank account that ‘stored up’ the good deeds of others over the years.

You had the good deeds of Jesus at the top- but you also had Mary and Joseph- the 12 Apostles-
. [1486] ARIUS- a priest from Egypt who would challenge the deity of Jesus in the 4th century. Arius taught that Jesus was the Son of God, but not eternally the Son. He said Jesus was a created being whom the father ‘bestowed’ son ship upon. He taught that Jesus was ‘like God’ but not God. The emperor Constantine would call the famous council of Nicaea in 325 a.d. and the council would agree with Athanasius and say that the Son and the Father were of ‘the same substance’ [homoousios] and Arius’s belief would be rejected. The debate would still rage on thru out the century as Constantine would die and the new emperor from the east would hold to ‘Arian’ views. Eventually Orthodoxy would win out and Arianism would be rejected by the majority of believers. I should note that many of the oriental churches would go the way of Arianism till this day; some of these churches are not like the modern cults that we would automatically reject, but they do hold to beliefs that Orthodox Christianity has rejected. As I have written about before, it’s easy to see how various believers have struggled with these issues over the years, some of the ways people express things can be deemed heresy a little too quickly in my view. There are believers who express the deity of Jesus in ways that some Arians express it, and they are not full Arians! The point being, yes- Arian went too far in his belief that Jesus was a created being, Johns gospel refutes this belief strongly [as well as many other portions of scripture] but too say that Jesus was/is the full expression of the father, because he ‘came out from God’ is also in keeping with scripture. Today we should be familiar with the issues and also use much grace when labeling different groups of believers; and we should strive for a unity in the Spirit as much as possible. As believers we accept the full deity of Christ, one who is of the ‘same substance’ of the father- true God from true God. He who has seen the Son has seen the father- Jesus said to Phillip ‘I have been with you a long time, if you see and know me, you have seen and known my father’ Jesus is God come down in the flesh to dwell among men, the true Immanuel, God with us.

[1484] ‘This is why I Paul am in jail for Christ, having taken up the cause of you outsiders, so called. I take it that you are familiar with the part I was given in God’s plan for including everybody… none of our ancestors understood this, only in our time has it been made clear thru God’s Spirit… this is my life work, helping people understand and respond to God’s message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details’ Ephesians 3, message bible. As I said earlier in this study, the ‘mystery’ that God revealed to Paul was the reality that thru Christ all ethnic groups would be on the same footing with God. This specifically related to the religious belief of the day that the ethnic nation of Israel were the only ones with special access to God. For Paul to have been preaching this message in his day would be like us teaching that God’s plan for all people today- Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Iranians, etc., it would be like saying Gods purpose for our day is to accept all of these ethnic groups as one group thru Christ. To be frank about it, I believe many evangelicals today are not fully seeing the reality of the Cross when they exalt the natural heritage of Israel as Gods special people. Though I realize many of these teachings mean well [end time scenarios and stuff] yet in practice they deny the equal footing that all people have in Christ. Paul was preaching the great news that your ethnic/cultural background no longer made any difference- thru Christ we are all Gods special people. This does not mean that we are all accepted whether or not we believe in Christ, a sort of religious syncretism, but it does mean that the offer of Jesus is available to all.
(1332) Been doing some reading on church history/philosophy, it’s interesting to see the role that theology/Christianity played in the universities. Theology is referred to as ‘the queen of the sciences’ and philosophy was her ‘handmaid’. They saw the root of all learning as originating with the study ‘of God’. Many modern universities have dropped the term ‘theology’ and call it ‘the study of religion’. The study of religion is really the study of how man relates to God, his view of God; this would fit under anthropology/sociology, not under theology. Modern learning has lost the importance of the study of God and the role it plays in all the other sciences. The classic work of Homer [8th century BC] called the Iliad, has Achilles debating whether or not he should ‘stay and fight along the city of the Trojans’ and attain the legacy of a warrior; or to go ‘back to my homeland and live a long life’. He chooses to fight and lay his life on the line. The themes of the classics [courage, heroism, etc.] are biblical themes, even if God is not directly mentioned. The point being to try and exclude God from learning is silly, you can’t do it. Around the 17-18th century  you had the philosophy of Existentialism rise up, as an ‘ism’ it really is a misnomer; ‘ism’ is a suffix that you add to the end of a word that makes it a system- ‘humanism’ ‘secularism’ etc. but existentialism is a word that means ‘anti-system’. Nevertheless the person who popularized this belief was a Christian, Soren Kierkegaard. The system he was rebelling against was the dead institutionalism of the Danish church, he felt that Christianity devolved into dead orthodoxy and lost all of its passion for true living and experiencing God. Nietzsche would pick up on this philosophy and apply it to atheism, and in the 20th century men like Albert Camus and John Paul Sartre would also embrace it from an atheistic worldview. They would say things like ‘man is a useless passion’ or write books titled ‘Nausea’ summing up the human condition. Though the 19th century atheistic humanists tried to give value and exalt the state of man, in their rejection of God and Christianity they were taking away the foundation for mans value. If you tell society that they arrived on the scene by some cosmic accident of evolution, and when you die you dissipate into nothingness, then how do you at the same time glory in his natural abilities to reach some point of Utopia? As the late Frances Schaeffer said ‘they were philosophers who had both feet planted firmly in mid air’. The point being when you neglect the reality and role that God and Christianity play in every sphere of life, you are then removing the foundation that these spheres were built on, true science and learning derive their basis from God. The greatest scientific minds of the past were either Christians or Deists, they were too smart to try and reject the reality of an eternal being.

[parts] In Rand’s work- she tells the fictional story of John Galt [who is John Galt? This sign pops up every so often]

Galt is the leader of the ‘productive’ class in society- the thinkers- producers- etc.

These noble ones rebel against what they see as an all encroaching Entitlement society- a ‘world’ that keeps blaming them for the ills of man.

Eventually these productive people have had enough- and they withdraw from the world and start their own world- based on the principles of Objectivism.

‘Every man for himself’ type of thing.

There is one line in the book- where you have this image of Atlas [the man who has the world on his shoulders].

He is bowing and bending and struggling under this Entitlement world.

The ‘have nots’ keep seeing the ‘haves’ as the cause for their problems.

The more pressure put on Atlas- does not seem to appease the Entitlement class.

So- he shrugs- and walks away.

A couple of years ago when we did a short history of Philosophy- I never covered Rand.


She never came up in any of the stuff I was reading at the time.

Rand was a Russian American who came to the states in the early 20th century.

She saw the rise of Communism in her homeland- and she believed that the U.S. was in danger of going down the same road.

She lived to see the presidency of FDR- and his creating of what we call the Entitlement society.

But Rand- like other thinkers of her day- also rejected Faith and Religion [Marx].

She believed that Reason was enough to establish morality- and build an adequate Ethical society.

To be honest- Ayn was wrong about this.

But- because she angered the Left with her capitalist thought- and the Right with her anti God ideas- well she would alienate not just the 47% [Romney’s gaff] but both ‘47’s’.

Thus- Rand never came up on the radar when I was studying philosophy.

I have not read the book- but from what I picked up on line- I can see how Christians would indeed have a hard time with Objectivism.

In scripture- we don’t see ‘statism’ per se- but we do see a sort of collective ideal.

In the books of Acts we see the early believers selling their goods and giving to those in need.

We read many-many portions of the bible that speak about helping the less fortunate.

Yet- the argument is ‘should the state force man to do this’.

The state- govt. - according to scripture- has the right to tax.

Rand’s argument [and others] is ‘fine- but don’t demean me because I am one of the producers- don’t demonize those in society who are holding the system up’.

Rand did not teach that you should never help another- but she rejected the govt. forcing you to do it.

In Ayn’s Utopia- the John Galt’s of the world withdraw- they take their toys and go home.

From a biblical perspective- we are indeed our brother’s keeper.

That does not mean we encourage people to be non productive- to live off the wealth of others.

But we see the goal of our lives as more than seeking happiness- more than pursuing the Dream.

No- we often give things up- material things- in order to pursue a more just society.

In our World- Atlas doesn’t shrug.

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.

[1524] WEEK [OR 2] IN REVIEW- Okay, I haven’t been commenting as much these past few weeks, basically doing a lot of posting of old stuff. But these last few weeks have been important so let’s do a little. First; the Pope made an historic visit to the U.K. - he went first to Scotland, than England. It was the first official visit- where the titular head [Queen Elisabeth] officially greeted the Pope, the first time since the official split in the 16th century! I kinda covered the history of it in the past and don’t want to do it all over again here- suffice it to say that Henry the 8th wanted his divorce, the Pope said no and England split off- the church of England [Anglican church] became the official church of England. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. is part of this communion. Now, the visit was historic for these reasons, the Pope surprised some church historians by making a speech where he invited the Anglican Church back into the Catholic fold-many thought he would not do this. Actually, it just seemed to be the right thing to do, being it’s the first official visit since the historic split [never mind all the theological issues involved]. So I was glad to see the very good reception he got. Europe in general has suffered from a severe case of rationalism/skepticism that has left many of the great church buildings either empty or they have been converted into Mosques! The Pope challenged them to have both faith and reason, a theme that Pope John Paul emphasized a lot during his pontificate. Overall I think the visit went very well, and all Christians should be happy about it. We also had Newt Gingrich write an article [or comment?] on Obama being an ‘anti colonialist Kenyan’ [Yikes!]. Basically Newt read an article from Dinesh Desouza, a fine Catholic writer/intellectual, who espoused the idea that President Obama is the first U.S. president who has a socialist mindset- that when most European nations went the way of socialism in the last few decades, that the only real holdout was the U.S. But in the economic world all the smart money fled the socialist type economies and would find its way into the U.S., leaving the socialist economies to suffer.  So when Obama became president, as a believer in big govt. [a form of socialism] he would eventually bring the U.S. into alignment with the ‘enlightened’ world and that would balance out the scales. In Desouza’s mind [and Gingrich] this is why Obama is so loved in the rest of the world, while his ratings are not so great at home. Okay, it’s an interesting idea, but a little too ‘Beckish’ for me. But it shows you where the country is at right now, that some serious thinkers are making this case. I like Desouza, he is a fine Catholic Christian, he wrote ‘God is great’ in response to Christopher Hitchens [the atheist] ‘God is not great’ but I have read a few articles from Desouza and I thought he was a little ‘lacking’ in the field of theology [like he really didn’t know his stuff as well as he should have].The liberal columnist Eugene Robinson has basically said the same thing. So any way these last few weeks have had some notable events happen and we should be grateful that no bad incidents took place when the Pope was in England. I was happy to see the good response he got, though I’m not Catholic- as a fellow Christian I respect the effort that the Pope made to defend the Christian faith and to challenge a secular society to return to her Christian roots.

-[1511] Jesus said when people hear the ‘word of the kingdom’ and don’t understand it; that the devil comes and takes the word out of their hearts. Right now in our country there is a rise in anger over the Muslim versus Christian traditions; many have made a ‘cause célèbre’ over the mosque being built close to the 911 tragedy. Over the years as I have studied the various faiths and the history of Christianity, I have come to see that many sincere people of various faiths have been a victim of the ‘devil stealing the word of the kingdom’ from their hearts. That is many sincere people have never truly understood or grasped the real kingdom message of Jesus. As the Christian church progressed thru the centuries, many have come to define the faith as a strict orthodox interpretation of the Trinity, the 2 natures of Jesus, and other historic declarations of orthodox Christianity. While I fully agree and hold to these historic creedal truths, what has happened is the other 2 major world religions- Islam and Judaism- have come to define the historic faith by these statements. They have never really understood the main Christian message of God reconciling man thru Christ. They see Christianity thru the lens of ‘that religion is
[parts] (1360) Lets do a little Catholic/Protestant stuff. First, those of you who have read this site for any period of time know that as a Protestant I am ‘pro Catholic’ that is I read and study Catholic scholars, believe in the ECT statement [Evangelicals and Catholics together]  and for the most part am pro Catholic in that sense. I have offended more Protestants because of this stance than Catholics. But sometimes I need to state the differences and be honest about them, true ecumenical unity should never be achieved on the altar of doctrine, we should not sacrifice sincerely held beliefs while seeking unity for Christ’s church. Last night I caught the journey home show with Marcus Grodi as well as Catholic scholar Scott Hahn [EWTN- the Catholic network]. Scott was doing a teaching on the sacraments of the church and shared a common belief in the ‘incarnational’ aspect of matter. Some theologians believe [both Catholic and Protestant] that since God became man in Jesus, that this united/sanctified matter in a way that never occurred before. They will carry this thought into sacramental theology and teach a kind of ‘connection’ with God thru material things; both Baptism and the Eucharist would be major examples. I believe the historic church was well intended when they developed this idea, they were combating the popular Greek/Gnostic belief that matter is inherently evil, not a biblical doctrine. As Scott Hahn made the argument I simply felt that he gave too much weight to the idea that because of the incarnation [God becoming man] that now there is a special ‘sanctity’ to material things when connected with the sacraments. Does the bible teach that there are actual physical things in this world that carry out the truth of the incarnation in a material way? Actually it does, the bible teaches that the bodies of believers have this special aspect because Gods Spirit lives in us. In essence the idea of ‘special matter’ that is often taught by well meaning scholars can be applied to the physical church in the earth, all who believe. I do not totally dismiss sacramental theology, many Protestants who dismiss it out of hand are not aware of the strong beliefs that the reformers held too in these areas. Luther is often misunderstood when it comes to his disagreement with Calvin, many teach and think that he split with Calvin over the doctrine of Predestination, he did not- Luther’s written views on the doctrine were just as strong [if not stronger] on the subject. Calvin never wrote a book dedicated solely to the doctrine, Luther did [bondage of the will]. But they did split on the sacrament of the Eucharist, Luther’s view [consubstantiation] was much closer to the Catholic view than Calvin, and Zwingli [the Swiss reformer] was further away than both Calvin and Luther. Lutheranism would eventually be developed by a protégé of Luther, Philip Melanchthon, and the Lutheran church would bear the image of Melanchthon more than Luther. The point being many good men have held to very strong views on these matters. I believe the biblical doctrine leans more heavily on the ‘material body’ of the believer as being the major material change since the incarnation, I do not hold to the idea that ‘God becoming man’ fundamentally changed the nature of matter when dealing with the sacraments. Matter is not [nor ever was] intrinsically evil, Greek dualism got it wrong from the start- we do not need a strong sacramental theology to refute this, scripture itself will do.

. He had a few theological battles in his day. With Pelagianism and Donatism- these were early Christian movements that broke away from the standard teaching of the church- they derive their names form the Bishops/priests who espoused these ideas.

Pelagius denied the doctrine of original sin- and he taught that men were indeed capable of obeying Gods law- out of their own moral integrity- and thus ‘save themselves’. Augustine rejected this view and taught that men were saved only by the grace of God- that men were indeed sinful and corrupt- and if left to their own designs would end up in hell.

There were various adherents to Pelagius’ view- and his ideas have carried down thru the centuries to varying degrees- sometimes you will hear [read] the term ‘Semi- Pelagian’ this refers to those who have various ideas about man’s ability to save himself through good works.

Some in the Reformed church [the original Protestant belief system that came out from the 16th century Reformation] accuse the Catholic Church of this very thing- yet the Catholic Church has made it clear that they do reject Pelagianism- and they agree with Augustine on the matter.

The Donatists taught that the Sacraments were dependent upon the ‘holiness’ of the Priest who ministers them. That if you were in a Parish where the priests were bad- lived in sin- rejected a holy life- then if you were Baptized by these men- that the Baptism didn’t ‘stick’.

The Donatists formed there own break away church in the 3rd century- and a few very influential men would join the group. A well respected early church father- Tertullian- eventually joined their ranks.

Augustine argued against the Donatists teaching- and taught that Gods grace- and the grace given to believers thru the sacraments were not derived from the holiness of any priest or preacher- but if a believer in good conscience received the sacraments- that that’s what really counted.

Saint Augustine is one of the titans of church history- he is loved by Protestants and Catholics alike. He is famous for his belief in the doctrine of Predestination [that those who are saved were chosen by God before they were born] and for this reason he is loved by the original protestant theologians [Luther, Calvin, etc.]

He also taught a very ‘Catholic’ form of Ecclesiology [church govt.] and is well loved by many Catholics as well.

The Catholic Church refers to him  as the Doctor of Grace- later on in the 13th century we will meet Saint Thomas Aquinas- who the church refers to as the Angelic Doctor.

Both of these men played a major role in the development of western thought and Augustine made an effort to distinguish true Christian thought from the philosophy of Neo Platonism which was very strong in his day.

When reading Augustine [he wrote a lot] you need to be careful to distinguish some of his earlier writings from his later ones.

Early on you still see forms of Platonic thought in Augustine- but as the years rolled by his thinking
. HEBREWS 10-13
There’s more on the video- Kant, John Mill- Moral Theory- Utilitarianism, Kantianism. Dead Sea Scroll-s ‘Lost Books’ of the bible- Septuagint- Jerome- Alexander the Great- Ptolemy- Seleucids- Essenes- Qumran community- Ecclesiology- Local Church  etc.
[parts] (890)SAMUEL 7- The Ark arrives at Abinadab's house in Kirjath Jearim, it will remain there until David retrieves it [it was there for around 100 years in total-1100 BC- 1004 BC]. Samuel calls the people to repentance and makes intercession for them at the same time. This leads to great victory over the enemy. Jesus ‘lives forever to make continual intercession for us’. We need to combine repentance and dependence upon Christ’s mediation in order to gain victory. This chapter also has the famous name ‘Ebenezer’ that makes it into the history of the church. Both songs and churches will use it in their names. Martin Luther King preached at Ebenezer Baptist church. This stone was simply a rock of remembrance for the victory of God. It spoke of Gods help for man. Jesus is the ultimate ‘stone/rock of defense’ for man. Scripture says ‘there is no rock like the Lord’ ‘Jesus is the precious stone, all who believe will be delivered’. The imagery of Jesus/God as a rock of defense is all throughout scripture. We see Samuel as the key leader of Israel and scripture says he judged them at this time. He lived in Ramah and ‘rode a circuit’ between the various cities on a rotating basis. He was the first ‘circuit rider’! The circuit riders were the famous American evangelists during the 19th century. As the Puritan east coast churches were becoming well established in the original colonies, there was a need to reach out to the West [and south] with the gospel. The circuit riders were the evangelists who traveled to various areas preaching the gospel and establishing churches [The great Methodist Frances Asbury became famous for his circuit riding and church planting]. During this time you had the famous ‘camp meetings’ where many believers from all over would gather at these outdoor ‘brush arbors’ and hear the gospel preached and commit their lives to the Lord. Over time the more staid Reformed churches of the east coast would view the ‘camp meeting’ brothers as a little ‘un hinged’. You would also have some of the ‘Spirit led’ groups condemn the old time reformed brothers as ‘unconverted’. There was a tendency to lean towards one side or the other. The various Quaker [shaker] type groups would emphasize the Spirit being premiere in all Christian understanding. While this is of course true, this in no way means believers do not learn thru the normal means of study and reading. Some of the more ‘Spirit minded’ believers would come to view the more ‘head knowledge’ brothers as ‘unconverted’. One of the worst cases was the Ann Hutchison controversy. She was a believer who began teaching under the ‘Spirits guidance’ and would give the impression that the more refined ministers were not of God. She would ultimately pay with her life for her beliefs.  NOTE- The terminology of ‘New lights’ versus ‘Old lights’ was often used to describe the different emphasis between these 2 camps. There was a brother by the name of Davenport who would travel around and accuse all of the old time preachers as being unconverted. While it is possible for a minister to have never truly made a strong commitment to Christ, to paint them all with this broad brush was very unbalanced.

. Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things that that of Abel.
Hebrews 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
Hebrews 12:26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
Hebrews 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
2nd Tim. 4
For we know that if our earthly house of thistabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2nd Cor. 5
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
1st Jn. 2
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John.*