Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The False Church System Deception

This video has some good messages, but while I have made the decision to post it, I wish the youtuber had avoided a "Latin" name and use of the Chi Rho for their avatar on youtube. We can hope they just have more studies to do.

One thing he points out is the churches use of STAGES. I wrote a post long ago on this blog, how the use of "altars" in churches was wrong, but if you think about it, having a STAGE is wrong as well, because it turns "church" into a performance, with elevated men or clergy at the front getting all the attention. He refers to the "show" being common to everything from the Catholic church to the small baptist church and he is correct.

One time I told my husband, "What is the use of attending these lecture halls, once a week, where we sit and listen to some guy wrest scripture for an hour or more and teach things more and more I don't agree with? I thought about that more, "Why are churches run like lecture halls and theater shows where a passive audience just sits there eating it up?"Some could claim to me, "Well the Quakers did things quite a bit different"... However there, false teachings entered in and transcendentalism but outside of that one exception I can't think of one church that calls itself Christian that "deviates" from the formula discussed in this video.

He questions, this "platform" and says no one questions it. I liked the phrase "the conman's tactic of social compliance."  He is right about the question, "Where do you go to church?"being a nonsense question because those who are saved ARE the church. His bit of information about William Tyndale translating ekklesia as "congregation"is telling. I always hated that phrase too, that "the church is a hospital for sinners". It has been used to shame me many times for not attending church. He shows us that in scripture, the gospel and epistle writers refer to the church as those sanctified in Jesus Christ.

I said to my husband in the conversation mentioned above, "Why isn't church more interactive?" So I found it interesting when this youtuber, quotes 1 Cor. 14:26 as the biblical way to do church.

How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Do any of you know of a church run that way? I sure don't. If anyone speaks out in church besides the pastor, they are often removed. He makes a good point that the church system has departed from these verses. The house churches in the book of Acts are mentioned as well, where believers gathered. He compares the order of the Protestant church services to the Roman Catholic Mass, I saw too many "ceremonies" even at baptist churches. He is correct about the clergy/laity divide which I have referred to on this blog and is referred to by Jesus Christ as the error of the Nicolaitans.

I am glad later in the video, he does bring up that some may wonder how is this feasible, understanding that many of us know no people in real life who have voiced the same concerns.

Watch this video and tell me what you think....


Anonymous said...

Before I believed on Jesus Christ I went to a stone temple pilots concert. That light show is reminiscent of that lol.......James

Bible Believer said...

I went to concerts too and yes, the light shows are exactly what they use. It's a stage show and entertainment. Watching "church" on a stage with "altars" was all steered wrong anyhow.

Debra said...

I think believers are looking for true shepherds in the wrong places. The Lord provides.

Jeremiah 3:14-15King James Version (KJV)

14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:

15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain

Debra said...

There is a difference between reading God's word and applying it. It's very rare when you hear a preacher teach on Godliness and Holiness. It's more about how many insta-carts of happiness one can achieve. They offer a Jesus that is not our Jesus of the Bible. They use His name in public but it is not Jesus who suffered and died for our sins. I think of those scalpers selling tickets and those tickets are not even authentic. Come watch the show and you too can be filled with riches and happiness to gorge on. The audience leans forward at the edge of their seat hoping to find treasure in whatever morsel comes out of the mouth of wolves. Rather our treasure is in Jesus alone, very simple.

Titus 2:11-15
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Solomon Rodriguez said...

The home fellowship I attend is according to the book of ACTS, all are encouraged to excercise their gifts

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...


The last church I attended had started the lights show. And they had rock music for the congregation to "jump to". It was like the higher one jumped, the more blessings. It reminded me of the time before I gave my life to Christ when we went to clubs and reacted to each song that the DJ played by jumping and screaming.

I knew I was being taken back from whence I had come... I left. And now I truly know that the WORD of God is for our life, preservation, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding (Psalm 19, 119). All our duty is as believers to fear God and keep his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Much as I know that my knowledge of the WORD of God came from this particular church that is now turned out, my understanding came from the fact that I chose to live by the WORD of God for life (Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4). And I found out that the WORD of God has been tried, tested (Psalm 12:6) and found to be true (John 17:17).

All these preachers try to do is to set us up for their sermons and they pick snippets of scripture from here and there and build up their own false doctrine and act like they have been living by it for their prosperity. And we support this mess by giving and tithing endlessly while our neighbors are in need.

No more!

Anonymous said...

Clergy/leadership verses the laity: is the staple of the church system.

When we don't applaud, shout out, give the leaders a pat on the back, compliment them incessantly with words of praise, or seek them out for advice and so called "words of wisdom" in spiritual and life issues; they become angry and distraught and frankly, become very hateful and vengeful towards you.

When the believer reads and understands the Holy Scriptures for oneself, allowing God, the Holy Spirit, to instruct and minister to our souls, Jesus becomes the First Teacher, the Head, the Cornerstone, the Author and Finisher of our faith in Him alone for salvation.

This makes men and women who desire to lord it (rule, control, manipulate) over you become your worst enemies because they desire the seat which is only reserved for our LORD Jesus, the Christ.

I came out of the apostate holiness and godliness church movement and believe me, there is absolutely nothing holy and godly about these people; their sins are legion all the while pointing out the sins of everyone else in their congregation. I am in awe of the double mindedness and the double standards lived out amongst these people. It is no surprise Jesus called out these individuals/groups as "You brood of vipers."

And the vipers amongst God's people are still alive and well within the church system. Ephesians 6.

Debra said...

Yes we experienced the same church one up manship among church's. When confronting the music pastor with the Las Vegas thumping music he said we have to play like that or the people won't come. The conversation led to a large mortgage they had to pay and the focus was not on the people like it should be. I'm thinking you don't care whether you lead these sheep on a path of destruction because of salaries and a large mortgage? If the sheep open their mouths for garbage then that is what they will get to feed on. They are willing participants. God's word says teachers will have a greater judgement placed on them for being teachers. (James 3:1) So if the sheep decide not to partake of heresy, deception and staged productions there would be no audience to thrill or gain money from. What we see is a great falling away or falling into a pit of lies. Imposters are deceivers and the deceived no longer test all things. The watchmen have fallen asleep and no longer sound their trumpets. What we hear are false representations of those trumpets to further deceive believers. I am thankful for this blog that does none of the above.

William Sculley said...

Welcome to the Protestant world: described by historical Christians as "four bare walls, a concert and a lecture". The reason there is no life to be found in it is because they have divorced themselves from the Leitourgia (common work and worship) of the Church.

We must remember that repetition is not vain in itself. Prayer becomes vain when a person does not mean what he says, whether he is praying the words of the King in the Psalms, or praying his own words like the Pharisee in the temple.

If a man can truly mean the phrase "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner", then he has truly found the source of life, for he has placed himself in the right place in relation to Christ.

The purpose of the service is not education, but worship. In the early Church, the homily or sermon was only 10-15 minutes long, while the community prayer and service of the Eucharist (evcharistos in the Greek) were the focus of the second half of the service, while the first half focused on the Psalms and writings of the Prophets, and then later the writings of the Apostles. Spiritual education is not the purpose of the service. Spiritual education is something done apart from the service between a person and their spiritual mentor.

Off-topic: I have been discharged from the hospital and might be going into remission. My doctor finally got the pharmacy straightened out regarding my Remicade prescription so I should be starting back on the biologic within the next week. I'm feeling much better now than I have in more than three years.

Christsfreeservnt said...

I ditto most of what Debra said. Thanks, Debra, for sharing those insightful words of wisdom. Sue

Anonymous said...

Church is a deception. Protestantism is just a less powerful deception than Catholicism. -Dai

Solomon Rodriguez said...

William Sculley,

Praise Jehovah for your healing. yes the early Church did things much different than today's Churches.

William Sculley said...

"Church is a deception. Protestantism is just a less powerful deception than Catholicism. -Dai"

Church is something that Christ and the Apostles established. We can see the appointment of elders being an important function of the Apostles in Acts, and rules for the appointment of bishops and elders and deacons appear in Scripture as well. Structure is not fundamentally sinful, because if it was, then God was commanding sin in the Old Testament.

Part of the reason we buck structure is the same reason I bucked the authority of my parents when I was a teenager: pride. It takes humility to submit oneself to the authority of others, and it takes humility to allow oneself to be truly in the command of God. Pride says that we can perfectly interpret Scripture apart from the Body of Christ. It took pride to take what was the work of the WHOLE church and place that authority into the single person of the Pope in 1054 AD. It took pride to take that same authority and place it into the individual in the fifteenth century. What was the job of the whole Church was placed into the individual. It is not our job to interpret Scripture privately, because Scripture wasn't given by private interpretation. The Apostles and prophets didn't write Scripture from a position of being detached from the Body of God's People, but from within that Body. The Prophets were a part of the Qahal Israel (The Church of Israel). The Apostles were part of the Ekklessia ek Christos (Church of Christ). They were writing as part of the organism that God placed on earth. We cannot just divorce ourselves from that body.

"Praise Jehovah for your healing. yes the early Church did things much different than today's Churches."

I thank all the people on this forum who have been praying for me. I may not hold the same theology, but I am not like some who believe discourse is unprofitable. Discourse with those who hold different beliefs is the only way by which we can truly evangelize. I believe the people here, for the most part, to be sincere in their faith and desire to find Christ. And while I cannot say for certain that someone is saved apart from the Apostolic teachings handed down since the beginning, I do believe it is possible because I will not say where God does not work. It isn't my job to tell God He can't save someone or listen to their prayers. In heaven, we will all worship with the same Faith as the Church I am in, but on earth, it is our job to work toward unity in that Faith, and to pray for the health and well-being of all people. Love our neighbor, for in doing so, we love God. For that reason, I am glad for the prayers of those with whom I debate and discuss. I actually enjoy the discussions. And if anyone here is in the Gainesville Florida area, I'm glad to meet up for a coffee and interesting discussion, so long as we both respect each other.

One thing I can say is that even though the people here are Iconoclasts, I've never been called an idolater by Bible Believer, though that might be because I was very specific in how I personally use Icons. That is very refreshing to me because BB is literally the only iconoclast who has NOT called me that.

Bible Believer said...

I think people are looking for true shepherds too in the wrong place.I more then know the difficulties of being out there on your own, being a "scattered sheep", it is not easy.I tried to go back to the church system with the last IFB even, but it was too far gone.Thanks for that verse. Debra.

Yes "another jesus" is being taught. The cold antichrist of the religious right. The "god" of mammon and the "best life" now and wicked politicians like Trump.

Matthew 6:21
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Solomon I am glad you have a home fellowship, I hope more can find true ones.

Wow they had people jumping to music in your church, The Lord is My Shepherd, yeah its almost like a work-out. I have visited churches like rock concerts, it is too much. This is stage show entertainment to lure people and their money in. Yes they pick and choose scriptures.Someone new to the Christian faith can sometimes start reading themselves and find out what does not match with one of these wolves,but sadly most followers remain stunted under them.

Yes clergy and leadership vs the laity and Jesus preached directly AGAINST THIS. I have noticed the degree of narcissistic personalities seems very high among the clery.There's few introverts, so even the sort of personalities one is more likely to get in the church system is toxic. The best "SalesMen" and "Moneymakers" are the ones who get hired. They do want attention, my first IFB pastor seemed like sincere man even on shy side but oh the second one, he was the I'll pretend to listen to you type who wanted so much attention for himself. How much of this costs grace and comfort among Christians where the well-being of one man is held above all others and their needs and leading by the Lord are silenced? Yes scripture teaches us to avoid those who wish to lord over us and the whole church system is designed a whole other way. When you are sitting in those pews,so much of the Holy Spirit is squelched, as most churches are set up too for you to be a PASSIVE recipient of their preaching.

I am glad you came out of the holiness movement, well it seems they desire the appearance of godliness which probably led to a ton of hypocrisy.I too have tired of those pointing out my endless "sins" like that spiritual abuser, who was out to "fix me"while ignoring endless sins of her own. Alot ofthe clergy get stuck in this we must appear "holy"fish bowl syndrome that for them sets up a lot of worse spiritual falls beyond being the leader of false religion. If someone comes at me now telling me how holy they are and deficient I am, I know to run now. They are vipers and they do horrendous damage to people.

Bible Believer said...

Yes they want the loud music, to sell the church.The theatre show has to be entertaining I guess though most church music is only pale and weak imitations of popular music.Someone once told me even IFB piano hymns were once set to drinking music in pubs. I am not a legalist about music like some church of christ people but yeah that gave me a weird thought. The rock it out churches though are playing hard music, for excitement and to sell themselves to the young. I see churches here having fund raising all the time and it's always for the buildings. One nice Lutheran church, I like a lot of the people there, and have gone there for charity before, is doing a giant million something campaign for new buildings, etc....seems like there is a lot of poor, out there.I guess they do help the poor at least in their case,but some told me about difficulties raising funds and I said a lot of people are broke now. A lot of church people are under a lot of pressure to "give"and while this church does a better job of some helping of the poor, I have seen that elsewhere too. The poor are leaving church as I have written because they can't afford it.If you can't pay the rent are you going to want to give to the pastor's million dollar fundraising for building projects? This is one place the churches have gone wrong.

Yes most just passively take in what they are taught. No one questions the system. With the Lutherans and other liturgicals they are part of a giant system, most have indoctrinated not to question, I felt this as a Catholic, it was bigger then you and very few want to take on the job,and remember when I was Catholic they focused on teaching me church teachings not scripture. I had to read that for myself.

People in evangelicalchurches there is some nod to bible reading but obviously they aren't interested in reading what scripture says, and there is this idea of letting others [clergy] do the reading and thinking for you. they are willing participants and I believe a giant dose of just spiritual laziness. Ive met many too who know things are wrong but who don't want to rock the boat or "be alone"like I am, and there is some cowardice there,and status seeking and people pleasing running that show. Thanks regarding the blog.

William, sure a concert and a lecture, you are right,but adding rituals doesn't make things "better". I was Catholic a long time and remember being told there was so much "richness"to the liturgy, stained glass and more,but what did it all mean? It was the things of this world meant to entice. There's a reason the lord it over clergy wear their special outfits and work in churches decked out in gold and fancy furnishings and art.

There are people uttering sincere prayers even in false churches, but they need their eyes opened to see the system they are encased in. With the Lutherans always asking me to join their church, because they are nice people and "like me"and I have conceded Luther was right about a few things, though I believe he did not go far enough, the pivotal point is around sacraments and the fact I do not believe in them. We do not need to add to Jesus Christ's work on the cross. They know I am ex-IFB the ones I am more friendly with. Remember I got saved reading a CATHOLIC bible, so I am glad you have the scripture to read even some that is not the best or proper translation but sadly the whole service is based on false sacraments and the altars scripture warns against. [and I wrote about in the altars article I liked to here]

Spiritual education is important too of course while worship is another important factor.

I am glad you are going into remission,praise God for that. I hope you can get your needed medicine.

Bible Believer said...

I agree Dai, church is a deception, Protestant is just less a powerful deception. This system is so big, and overweening, that trying to get people to see outside of it is difficult.I struggled MYSELF with the hold it all had on me in going back to the second IFB. I am not here to put people down just trying to get them to see what has happened and what scripture warns of. Even the Baptists and IFB follow spiritual formulas as the other churches, they got the raised stand and giant seats for the clergy too in front. They do a "communion" though with Chic-lets and grapejuice. It is ritualized far less and no one points to the "bread" being the actual body of Christ or a watered down version like the Lutherans but it is still done as a "ritual". Communion even in IFB used to bug me, until I figured out how and why.

Bible Believer said...

I don't think structure is necessarily bad William but remember these were elders and bishops worshipping in people's houses, they weren't seeking special offices, there was no Pope or Patriarchs appointed. The false church steered into something else entirely.

I do believe while some authority is important in life,as men and women of God we are no longer under "tutors" and governors", there is a reason I chose the book of Galatians to name this blog and particulary Galatians 4.

Galatians 4King James Version (KJV)

4 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

[not posting the entire chapter for length but verse 31 says we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free]

If anything I think blind obedience to false authority is this world's biggest problem, especially in the days where oppression via the powerful has grown so immense.

I agree humility has it's place but remember our first obedience is to come to God and His Word. I struggle being out there on my own as many scattered sheep do but this is the point things come down to for me, those claiming appointed authority are not follow God's Word which is right there for the reading.The thing that woke me up and got me out of Roman Catholicism was having the UU past, and seeing the Pope and others preach the sameness of all religions and things against the first commandment.These were not leaders worthy of following.

The false teachers will gaslight us and tell us we cannot understand the plain reading of scripture.

This is a devious way they can make you not trust your own mind and to place trust in them instead of scripture.

The only "individual"who should be leading the whole work of the church is Jesus Christ or that said the Holy Spirit on this earth. It is not to be the role of any one man.

Rexamine these things, the system has stayed in power telling you that you cannot understand scripture on your own. I was Catholic and once was told this.

I am not afraid to talk to anyone. LOL. My old IFBs used to rebuke me for hanging out with pagans and atheists but they forgot my former life. I hope you can think about somethings I am telling you. I do think there are sincere people who seek God out there. I have written in churches there are even some saved people will need one day led out. I was in an IFB for years while being saved. I talk to the local Lutherans about my beliefs. With people I do try to take them as individuals first. I think they find me interesting though challenging LOL. I am glad you enjoy the discussions here. :) All the best for your health too and prayers.

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

I believe that we can only be shepherded by the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-18) who is also the Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).

And we can only do this if we submit ourselves to keep God's commandments (James 4:7). His precepts are for our life, preservation, wisdom, knowledge and understanding (Psalm 19 & 119). And it is by which we are sanctified (John 17:17).

This is truth that can NEVER!!! be taught from the pulpit. It is only taught to those who literally take God's WORD as their source of life (Deuteronomy 8:3, Job 23:12, Matthew 4:4).

That is the ONLY way we can prove our love for Jesus! (John 14:15-31).

William Sculley said...

RE: Bible Believer

While you say you don't see structure as a problem, you have problems with literally anything that has structure. Where there is structure, there will ALWAYS be parts of that structure that fit your definition of "special position".

The Scripture describes the Church as a body, specifically using the human body as an allegory for the Church, with Christ as the Head, and each of us the parts of the Body. Well, would you say that there are key parts of the human body? Would you say that there is a certain hierarchy and order of authority between the cells of the human body? If your answer is yes, then congratulations, you have the biology knowledge of the average high school course.

The human body has a hierarchy. The Head, specifically the brain, sends signals to the various parts of the body to make it do things. So if Christ is the Brain of the Church, it's not too big of a leap to imagine that there are persons in the body that act as the nerves, those through which the brain communicates to the Body.

Yes, the early Church did meet "from house to house", but they did not meet without leadership across large groups. Timothy, for instance, was not simply the pastor of a small house church, but literally of every house church which met in the metropolis of Ephesus. Clement, named in the letter to Phillipi, was not just a house church leader, but the Bishop over all the Christians in the city of Rome, and probably the outlying districts for a while, since the Church was quite young there in his time.

When we try to apply the situation we have today to the times back then, we run into one major difficulty: there were thousands upon thousands of Christians, and only a handful of partial copies of any Scripture. It was literally impossible for Christians to practice what we can do today, and without the work of those many years of Christians in the intervening time, we wouldn't be where we are today, because the Canon of Scripture wasn't settled in the time of the Apostles. The Apostles used, based on what we can see by directly comparing the texts, the Greek Septuagint. Most western Christians today use the 5th century AD textual canon formed by the Jews called the Masoretes. There is also the canon of Josephus and Pliny, both of which include the book of Baruch and also a larger version of Esther which actually mentions God, unlike the Masoretic version, which only hints at God, with no direct mention.

But without a 100% certain canon in the time of the Apostles, we are left with the following question: by what authority do you say that the books within your Bible are truly the books in Scripture. Protestants, which for the sake of consistent discussion, includes any Christian which holds to a combination of any of the Five Solas, do not have any solid foundation to answer that question. They can make some historical arguments, even going so far as to reference the works of Jerome and his formation of the Latin Vulgate, which closely resembles the Masoretic Old Testament in the books it uses. However, this requires them to say that a Roman Catholic Saint has the authority to declare what books are Scripture, since Scripture does not self-identify as Scripture (meaning that there is no Table of Contents that came prepackaged with Scripture). For the Protestant, there is nothing with that authority. For those who do not hold that Scripture is part of a greater whole, there is no authority upon which to base the Canon.

William Sculley said...

This is not a problem for structured liturgical Churches, because Tradition (defined as the entirety of all that the Apostles taught, including both Scripture and the proper interpretation of Scripture) is fully preserved by the Spirit in the vessel into which Christ and the Apostles deposited it: the Church.

A great example of the Structure of the Church being a semi-centralized universal structure is the Council of Jerusalem portrayed in Acts, when the Apostles and other leaders of the Church from across the empire gathered together in Jerusalem to discuss whether Gentiles needed to be circumcised or follow the food laws. In this, dozens of leaders from all corners of the Church gathered together. If the Church was not centralized, then the declaration of this gathering would have no effect or authority, but it is obvious that the authority was there.

Since Scripture does not say that authority left the Church, we must have some reason for the Church to Apostatize, and we must show how that could happen if Christ is the Head of the Church, for where the Body goes, there also goes the Head. Paul even says that a man seeking the Bishopric is seeking something which is worth attaining. It is obvious from that statement that the seeking of the position of Bishop is not evil. Seeking authority is not evil. Misusing authority is evil, but authority is simply a tool. And we must remember that, at least in Orthodox Churches, the Bishop actually has LESS freedom than the laypeople, for a lay person can teach doctrines which are not true without being held accountable, but a Bishop can only teach that which the Church has always taught from the very beginning.

A person should not be left to his own devices to interpret Scripture. What kind of God would just say "you figure it out on your own. I may give little hints, but I won't really guide you completely". For the Orthodox, the whole Truth has been preserved. We don't need to go be intellectual geniuses to find it. Even a person who is genuinely mentally retarded can become a true Theologian. It doesn't take brains. It takes humility and submission.

Anonymous said...

True authority does not have to "share" with people exactly "who" they are within the church complex. This is not true humility, but in fact, the pride of life of those who love their authoritarian positions as well as loving their "lord it over positions." Jesus, Himself, specifically said, "It shall not be so amongst you."

The greatest servants within the structured church as most of us have witnessed, are NOT the leadership. Many of us have come out of such abusive church systems disguised as the "true church" who boasts of worshiping a jesus of their own understanding. Church life, in these apostate churches, revolves around the leadership, their pastors, their families, and their lives....we are to bow down and pay them good salaries, worship their wisdom/teaching/leading, bring them meals when they are sick or "strapped for cash" or in mourning, worship their successes/their accomplishments/listen to their boasting and bragging, and be their cheerleaders in every area of this life, confide in them with our issues/problems of living; only to have the pastor conveniently bring up from his staged pulpit what was supposed to be held in confidence and prayer.....we are to continuously keep feeding them our hard earned income for them to build new church buildings, gymnasiums, coffee bars, libraries, new screens/sound systems/instruments/, etc., all the while most within the congregations do not have a high standard of living....as opposed to the wealthy pastor and his leadership network (churches love to place wealthy people on their boards so the pastor has a steady supply of mammon and "yes" men at his disposal.........

all the while the lower laity are neglected, abandoned and abused by their pseudo loving leadership. If the Apostle Paul boasted in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, why is it that our human authority who claims to know and love Jesus, never ever mentions His Name or practice the humility Jesus exemplified in our Holy Scriptures? Why is it that every single time I meet an "industrialized church leader," they casually bring up in conversation, their church title so as to prove how "spiritual" they are.....and I usually leave the conversation, sick to my stomach for I believe they know not the Jesus of our Bibles.

And when I share health concerns, or other issues, is it the lower laity dogs that speak up and say with compassion, empathy, and sometimes tears in their eyes, "Oh, I will pray for you in the Name of Jesus Christ." And these are the "dones and unchurched followers and believers of Jesus Christ," that actually care and love the brethren. What a sad, sad state the churches of authority are in these last days.

Anonymous said...

And also, we have literally, God, the Holy Spirit, living inside of us to guide and teach us truth, always, always, always, pointing to the teachings and the Way of Jesus Christ.

If we became stranded on a desert island with a Bible, could we still not learn the Word of God, apart from the leadership network?

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

Psalms 19, 23 and 119. In summary, the precepts of God are for life, preservation, wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, departing from evil is understanding (Job 28:28).

Jesus promised the Spirit of Truth that would guide us into ALL truth (John 16:13). And truth is the WORD of God (John 17:17), for it has been tried and tested (Psalm 12:6).

The church leaders can't teach you this because they have to follow church rules and regulations including the terms and conditions that apply for the respective denomination.

But once you take the WORD of God literally as your daily sustenance (Deuteronomy 8:3, Job 23:12, Matthew 4:4), you will understand why Jesus said he who the son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:32 & 36 ). Remember, he is the Good Shepherd.

William Sculley said...

I don't see that in my church's parishes. The reason I came to Orthodoxy is because Father Stavros, the elder at my first parish, took me in like his own child. Not every church has the same dynamics, but thus far, the experience of love and compassion has extended beyond what I ever expected. In the parishes I've been part of, I have seen the elders of the Church take money out of their own pockets, out of their own need, to help the poor and needy. The elder at the church near to me goes out of his way to come visit me and even stayed for several hours while I was in the Critical Care Unit.

I have been in churches before where the clergy couldn't care less, but it isn't a necessity of structure.

But divorced from the connection to the Apostles in the Church, it would be difficult to guarantee that we would come to the whole Truth, because the promise of the Spirit to lead into all Truth was made to the Church as a whole, not to individuals. The reason is that we cannot guarantee that the spirit guiding us is the Holy Spirit. Divorced from the Apostolic Faith in the Church, how would you test the interpretation given by a spirit to see that it is from the Spirit of God? The demons can use the Scriptures, too, and they've lived long enough to be much more able to defend their interpretations than you or I are. God doesn't guarantee that they won't attempt to plant heresy in our hearts. In fact, God pretty much guaranteed that they WOULD make such attempts.

That is the purpose of the Church, and it is the purpose for which God preserved His Church. God does not want us floundering about in the dark with no way to test the spirits. Scripture is a great tool, but like any tool, it can be used for evil purposes. The Church, on the other hand, is a Body which is Headed by Christ. It is as reliable as its Head.

William Sculley said...

Re "The Lord is My Shepherd"

You say take the Scripture literally. So let's see you take the following statement of Christ literally:

"Unless you eat my Body and drink My blood, you have no life in you"

We Orthodox Christians do take that statement literally, though we do not believe it to be a physical literal, since it is quite obvious that it isn't. Actually, it's an official Canon of the Orthodox Church that if the parts of the Eucharist were to transform into physical flesh and blood, nobody will receive Communion and the entire parish community will refrain from receiving Communion for at least three months, replacing the Eucharist service with the canon of repentance and a period of fasting during that time to pray for forgiveness of sin. It is believed that such a physical transformation is a sign that the Church has been unfaithful in some aspect and therefore must repent of whatever sin prompted such an action from either God, or else some demonic influence.

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

Well, one can start with reading and with a purpose to understand the WORD of God. For example, God gives the Israelites commandments (Exodus 20), but the reason for the commandments is explained in Deuteronomy 12. How did I get this? By reading the WORD of God (lamp unto my feet, light unto my path - Psalm 119) and trusting the Spirit of Truth! No one can understand and know this from the pulpit.

Psalm 4 encourages us not to sin and to commune with our own heart and be still upon our beds. You can't do this if you are waiting on the church leader.

So if your soul longs for God, he will answer and satisfy (Psalm 42, John 4).

My entire hope is in God, my savior and nothing else. For He is the Rock (Deuteronomy 32:3)! - upon which he builds us (his church - Matthew 16:18).

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

Mr Sculley,

To understand John 6:54 you have quoted above, one must relate this with the rest of the WORD of God. Whenever something may not make sense or sound logical, it is best to meditate upon it in light of the WHOLE bible. One cannot interpret scripture in bits and pieces.

So here is what I understand about John 6:54 - we are to literally take Jesus' WORDS, his example his deeds as our sustenance. How do we do it? The answer is in the portions of scripture I had already quoted before. And for the benefit of others, I will reiterate:

Deuteronomy 8:3 "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger... that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."

Job 23:12 "...I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food."

Matthew 4:4 "...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God".

John 1:14 "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us..."

All the above are important in understanding John 6:54 "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

So it ceases to be about a cannibalistic situation or a ritual for that matter. It is a choice by which those who need to be saved cannot operate in mind, body, spirit and soul without the WORD of God. He has the WORD of LIFE! There is no alternative. (John 6:68).

Next time you say the prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11) remember that in the times of Samuel's beginnings this "daily bread" was precious (1 Samuel 3:1). But now we can ask and our God will provide.

Just so you know it is a curse to put trust in mortal man (Jeremiah 17:5). The canon law is a man made law that is added onto the WORD of God yet God warns us explicitly NOT to add or remove from his law (Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:19).

Hint: Scripture interprets scripture.

William Sculley said...

That last sentence you made, LIMS, is a tradition of men. Scripture never claimed to be self-interpreting.

However, Orthodoxy is fine with logical inconsistencies. It isn't logical to believe that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man, because it somehow means that Jesus is 200%. Simply saying that it isn't cannibalism is all we need. We believe the Eucharist to be the Body and Blood of Christ.

Here's a problem you have: you have no Scripture from using Scripture alone. You can't establish a canon without Tradition.

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

"Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." (Mark 7:13)

William Sculley said...

I can play the Scripture without context game, too.

Hold fast to the TRADITIONS which ye have been taught, whether by word, or by our epistle
II Thessalonians 2:15

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the TRADITION which he received of us.
II Thessalonians 3:6

Tradition is commanded by the Apostles. Funny.

Well, that would be because tradition is inescapable. Every person in the world has a tradition which he uses above the Scripture.

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

Unfortunately,I am not playing scripture. I read to understand. And the underlying fact regarding our faith in Christ is to be obedient to HIS teachings and commandments and NOT the teachings of men.

The traditions that Paul was talking about in 2 Thessalonians 2 and 3 are defined in 1 Thessalonians. And this includes cease worshipping idols, abounding in love for one another, behave in a holy, just, and unblameable manner, pleasing God by keeping his commandments,and abstaining from fornication.

You will not find Paul preaching to the Thessalonians on the Eucharist as a tradition to be kept.

The Eucharist is derived from a treatise, the Didache, and Ignatius of Antioch is the one who came up with Eucharist being "the flesh of our savior Jesus Christ". And this is the tradition the Orthodox and Catholic churches are following. The two churches use scripture to justify their rituals.

That is why in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Paul encourages the believers to prove all things.

William Sculley said...

Re: The Lord is my Shepherd

You will find Paul preaching to the Corinthians that the Eucharist is a Tradition to be kept. He gives a full explanation of what the Eucharist is to be considered. Ignatius and the Didache only gave us formulas that exhibit the characteristics of the Eucharistic description given by Paul when he wrote the following, rebuking the Corinthians for unworthily partaking of the Eucharist because they would some take much and others receive none. Notice that Paul does not tell them they should NEVER take the Eucharist, but that they are not truly receiving the Eucharist, but are rather, because of their lack of equitable treatment of their brethren, receiving from the table of demons:

20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, 21 for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Paul at the end says that we ought to receive of the Eucharist, the Communion, or the Lord's Supper (all three terms are interchangeable), when we have examined ourselves and confessed all sin that we know of.

William Sculley said...

Ignatius and the Didache do not generate the practice of the Eucharist. The first Eucharist was held in the Upper Room, before Jesus went to the Garden to pray. Jesus said "as OFT as you do this, do it in remembrance of me." In Greek, that is essentially saying "you will do this, you will do it often, and you will remember me when you do it".

This is not justification. It's reality. It is justification to say "oh, the Apostles did this, but we aren't required to do this because we live in a different dispensation."

The burden of proof is on those who came up with the new tradition of no longer receiving the Eucharist.

It should be noted, that when you say "I will never practice the Eucharist", if you translate the word "Evcharistos", you're literally saying "I will never practice giving thanks".

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

Mr. Sculley,

Please note that Paul doesn't use the word Eucharist but talks of the LORD's Supper. Reason is that the Eucharist in the Catholic and Orthodox religions is taken as a "sacrifice".

These two are different regardless of how much you would want them to be one and the same according to your Orthodox religion.

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

I was raised Catholic and I know the "story" of how Jesus instituted the Eucharist. Once again, you will notice Jesus didn't use the word Eucharist.

You say "receive" the Eucharist while Paul says eat and drink at the Lord's supper. That means that the two are different. I.e. the former is a ritual considered to be a "sacrifice" that is given out by a priest who has done "cleansing rituals" at the "altar" and hands it out while the latter is a simple meal to be shared in memory of Jesus who shed his blood for our sins.

Hebrews 13:15 encourages us to give the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

You might want to go slow on the Didache treatise. For it declares therein that Jesus was the servant of God and NOT the Son of God. These are the damnable heresies that creep in unawares (2 Peter 2). I'm sure that's a formula you don't want to be a part of.

William Sculley said...

Jesus is both servant and Son, as even Scripture portrays Him. This does not make Him lesser than the Father, because it was His willful choice to "humble Himself, even unto the death of the Cross. As to Jesus not using the word Evcharistos, how about doing a word study on the word. Any time you see the phrase "give thanks" or "thanksgiving", that is the Greek word there. Just because Christ Himself doesn't use a word does not mean it is not Scriptural or holy. Christ didn't say "Trinity" or "piano" or "guitar". These things also show in Christian life. He didn't say "computer", and yet you seem to be fine with using computers. What we call the Eucharist is instituted by Christ. It isn't on us to prove any more. We know for a fact that it was practiced by the Apostles and by those who knew the Apostles. You even gave the proof yourself by mentioning the Didache and Ignatius, both of which were from before the death of John, since Ignatius was martyred alongside Timothy, and both were martyred before John. The Didache is from the eighties AD. John died in the late nineties AD. So why did not John condemn this practice which was there.

It isn't condemned because it is what they were practicing. Remember that for the next three hundred years, nobody would be able to say "the Bible tells me so", because there isn't going to be a Canon of the New Testament. And the Old Testament Canon they had then I guarantee you won't accept because they had thirteen books more than yours does. The Protestants weren't using an older canon, because the Hebrew Canon of Josephus's and Pliny's time had Baruch and Tobit in it. The canon of the Protestant world is the fifth century AD Masoretic text, formed by Pharisees that rejected Christ and said in their letters that they wanted to get their Scriptures to be less obvious about Jesus being the Christ. That was why they removed those books. That's why the Christians refused to accept that canon, until Martin Luther changed everything

As to Eucharist and the sacrifices of the Old Testament, there are parallels because the Eucharist is the fulfillment of the sacrificial covenant. We give the Bread and Wine and receive the Body and Blood. The reason we RECEIVE the Eucharist is because you do not do works for salvation. Eucharist is not a work of man, but a gift from heaven, as there is no way in which we could make the bread and wine such that the particles could save us. That is something which only God can do. So when we receive the Eucharist, we are allowing God to do the work of sanctification. That is what Eucharist is for. We offer something which is, honestly, of little to no real value, but is given from the heart. In return, we receive Christ Himself.

William Sculley said...

And the Sacrificial covenant was a both and. The Israelites offered the sacrifice of the goat, ram, sheep, or pigeon, and they would receive, in return, the forgiveness of God, or the blessing of God in the sacrifice of thanksgiving in Leviticus. There are many types of sacrifices. The Eucharist is the sacrifice of a bloodless offering, because blood is no longer necessary as the blood of Christ is enough.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for clarifying the truth, The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want. I appreciate your short concise and Scriptural answer, for many have been deceived by the eucharitic man-made deception. People who support this 'work' are convincing for their faith is based on works and earning their way into Heaven, which delineates the "Work" of Jesus Christ as the One and Only true Sacrifice for the remission of our sins.

I work with people of the catholic religion, often preaching to me how I will not go to heaven without the institution of the "sacraments" in my life. I find it equally disturbing that when I visit with them concerning the Words/Teachings of Jesus, the Christ, they want nothing to do with the conversation then for the "you don't understand because you are not a catholic" accusation is thrown my way, thus ending the conversation.

After my conversion to believing and following Jesus as my LORD and Savior, the church that I attended for a number of years, taught and preached ESS, Eternal Subordination/Submission of the Son doctrines. This false doctrine was also used and abused to support complementarianism within the church, with Jesus basically having no power in the life of an individual believer, let alone a woman. And only the leadership/hierarchy within that church, was considered "more spiritual" and "heard from god" more than the rest of us, thus there was so much meddling and interfering in the lives of the laity, that it is no wonder divorce, broken families, dysfunction families, broken relationships, many attempted suicides by the adults/youth (one adult member actually did commit suicide, adulteries, rapes, a high rate of fornication amongst the children (especially in the pastor and leadership's households), pornography, lying and twisting the Scriptures to support extra-Biblical revelations (taking trips to the third heaven and dream interpretation were quite popular within this cult), all done with a bitter hatred for God's Holy Word and His children.

Christianity here in the west is more concerned about fleecing God's sheep out of their money, than they are concerned with the spiritual nature of each individual's mind, body, and soul. Unchurched believers care more about taking care of one another than the card carrying members of "the c'hurch."

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

If it is a "bloodless" sacrifice, then why the strong Orthodox and Catholic belief that the bread by some mystery becomes the flesh and the wine becomes the blood through rituals and words said of the two?

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...


The priesthood of the Levites became null and void at the time the veil was torn in the temple when Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:51). Since you have read Leviticus, I am sure you understand that the high priest (a direct descendant of Aaron) at the time was the only one who had access behind the veil after going through a series of cleansing rituals.

Jesus is now the great high priest (Hebrews 4) after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 6 & 7). And in there you will see why there is no need for earthly priests and sacrifices anymore. Christ died once and for all (1 Peter 3:18). It is not necessary, therefore, to replicate Jesus' sacrifice for our sins through rituals.

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

You are welcome anonymous.

Our sole duty as believers is to fear God and keep his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). We can only do this if we read his WORD for our life, preservation, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding (Psalm 19 & 119).

The truth is God's WORD by which we are sanctified (John 17:17). It has been tried and tested (Psalm 12).

Preachers these days speak to the flesh and emotions. But our God speaks to our intellect. PS the devil knows that he gets us to sin when he targets our flesh (Romans 7:25).

I encourage you, and everyone reading this blog, to always check with scripture like the Bereans did (Acts 17:11). For the WORD of God is the one thing that will NOT pass away (Matthew 24:35).

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

Please don't try to defend the treatise. It is for your own good. The fact that you can't quote relevant scripture is enough to know that this is the other gospel that Paul warns the Galatians of (Galatians 1:8-9).

Ignatius came up with the WORD "Catholic". Legend has it that St. Peter left directions that he be appointed to the episcopal see of Antioch. His letters, however, have nothing to do with the gospel of Christ. And that is why they weren't included in the WORD of God.

God himself preserves his WORD (Psalm 12:7). The apostle Paul declared that all scripture is inspired of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

So when you look at Ignatius' letters, they do not meet the above criteria and that is why they were ignored.

I will reiterate: the WORD of God is for life, preservation, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding (Deuteronomy 8:3, Psalm 19 & 119, Matthew 4:4). And it has been tried, tested (Psalm 12:6) and found to be true (John 17:17).

You will NOT find this truth being preached from any pulpit except in God's WORD!

William Sculley said...

The Sacrifice is bloodless. The gift is what Christ and Paul say it is. We don't pretend to understand how God makes it the Body and the Blood. We simply take Christ at His words. It's Protestants and Roman Catholics who are so obsessed with explaining how it works or exactly what Christ meant. For the Orthodox, God said it, that settles it. If it were a metaphor with an expected meaning, Scripture would have included the explanation directly with the statement.

God preserved His Word: Jesus Christ. Scripture wasn't completed until 50 years after Christ and wasn't compiled until 330 years later by St. Athanasius in his Paschal letter of 367 AD.

Ignatius doesn't contain YOUR gospel. They contain the original gospel. Your gospel didn't appear in the world until the modern era.

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

Just so you know and understand; whenever the WORD of God is declared, there is no timeline set to it that we mere mortals can comprehend. This is in reference to God preserving HIS WORD. When you quote how long the years were before the gospel appeared or the specific year the gospels were compiled, it isn't because you've studied history well. It is because you are yet to understand God and who HE truly is in HIS WORD, through HIS WORD!

Let me break it down for you:

God's timeline isn't set against our timeline. "For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is passed, and as a watch in thy sight." (Psalm 90:4). This is also referenced in 2 Peter 3:8.

Moses prophesied to the children of Israel when his time had come to die that there would be a prophet who will be raised from their midst (Deuteronomy 18:15). Moses didn't provide a timeline, but he met with this prophet in Matthew 17. His name is Jesus Christ. How do we know? Acts 3:22. (Note: Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets that is why Moses and Elijah appeared beside him [Matthew 5:17]).

So, just like Galatians 4:4, I will let you know, that in the fullness of time, God does what HE does.

Reflect on what Jesus tells us: "watch and pray for you know not when the time is" (Mark 13:33).

William Sculley said...

RE Lord is my Shepherd

You didn't actually respond to what I said. Even though God does not experience time as we do, does not mean that you can rationalize away the fact that Scripture didn't exist. The Gospel was in effect the moment that Jesus preached it, not the moment it was written. Before it was written, it was transmitted in a purely ORAL manner, and had as much effect as it did when written.

What's more, the Gospel of Christ is MORE than the written words. The original meaning of the written Scriptures is much more important than the words themselves. For instance, Arius, a preacher in Alexandria in the fourth century, began preaching that "there was a time when the Son of God was not." Using Scripture alone, Arius logically defended his interpretation of Scripture. Does the fact that his argument was logical and Scripturally based make his interpretation valid? Of course not, because it is not the Apostolic Faith.

Christ prophesied that the gates of hell would never prevail against the Church, not because the Church chose to remain on the rock of the Faith, but because God affixed the Church upon the Faith and would keep it there. It is not man that preserves the Church upon the Faith, but God Himself. It is not Scripture that preserves the Church.

Look at all the churches that claim to be "Sola Scriptura" churches. Look even here at this very blog. There are MANY assumptions that they all make that are extra-scriptural. Those traditions are in charge of how they interpret Scripture. Because they influence how you interpret Scripture, they are above Scripture. There isn't anyone who reads Scripture without bringing traditions to the table. It isn't about whether you put tradition above or equal to Scripture. It's about WHICH Tradition or tradition we accept. Do we accept that Tradition which was delivered to the Church by the Apostles as declared by II Thessalonians 2? Or it is a tradition introduced by man?

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

Thank you Mr. Sculley.

The tradition delivered to the Thessalonians by Paul that he speaks of in 2 Thessalonians 2 is defined in detail in the book of 1 Thessalonians. And this tradition had everything to do with keeping God's commandments and NOTHING to do with the Eucharist and the rituals entailed therein.

William Sculley said...

So the Thessalonians didn't need or hear anything other than what was in the two letters sent to them. Nothing from Romans, Galatians, or Ephesians was something that the people in Thessaloniki needed.

How do you think they heard the rest of what is in Scripture? What about BEFORE the first letter? You really think Paul just showed up with some letters and said "hey, just read this an do what it says"?

The Tradition delivered to the Thessalonians was EVERYTHING they needed to be saved and to live the Christian life. Not just the two letters. Paul spent FIVE YEARS in the city! Do you really think that in YEARS of leadership, everything he delivered to them could be written down in a single letter that takes no more than fifteen minutes to read??? That makes no sense! Paul preached everything that the people of Thessaloniki needed, everything that EVERYONE needed. The ENTIRE gospel was delivered to the Church there, and it was the same Tradition by which they lived BEFORE ANY LETTERS WERE DELIVERED.

You wouldn't survive in the early Church under the Apostles. You'd be too busy asking Peter where it is written that Jesus said that if you want to obtain eternal life, you should love your neighbor. The 90% of the early Christians couldn't read. And 90% of those who could read had no access to any Scripture which they could read. You are extremely LUCKY to have Scripture. But in having one part of Tradition, you forgot the proper interpretation, because nowhere in Scripture is the following answered:

"which books belong in the Canon?"
"Who wrote these four gospels and why don't the others belong?"
"How do I really know Paul wrote these letters when they even say that people were making forgeries?"
"Who wrote the book of Hebrews?"
"When James says we are justified by works, how does that gel with Paul saying we are saved by grace through faith?"

Those are all answered by your TRADITION. I choose to use the Liturgical, Apostolic Tradition which has been preserved by God through the Church which is the "Pillar and Ground of the Truth" (I Timothy 3:15). You can choose to use a tradition which was invented in the 15th century with Sola Scriptura. But there is a reason that not a single one of the Christian authors in the first fifteen centuries said we should use Scripture as the highest authority. For one, the first three centuries of Christians couldn't even agree on what was in the New Testament, though they did agree, with the exception of Jerome, on the Old Testament. For another, most of the people couldn't use Scripture AT ALL. I may as well tell you that if you want to use the internet, you need to be able to build a computer transistor by transistor. That is Sola Scriptura in the early Church. It's an exclusionary doctrine that makes Christianity only available to the elite.

William Sculley said...

So when I say the Tradition included the Eucharist, I say that because it included what was written to the Corinthians, as well. It included the first Eucharist, as well. It included the Crucifixion. It included the Resurrection. It included the Lord's Prayer. We know this because we can trace that Tradition through history. You act as if it was an evil thing that came from Ignatius. But that begs the question: since we know there were Apostles alive at the time, why would they not name Ignatius? Especially John who literally wrote to the church wherein Ignatius served for a time? He didn't mince words talking about the former Deacon Nicholas (ordained in the book of Acts). John literally said that God hated Nicholas and all who followed him. Ignatius served in Ephesus at the time that John was writing Revelation on the Isle of Patmos. If the Eucharist was a sin, certainly Paul would have rebuked Ignatius just as he did Nicholas.

You act as if ritual is evil. Have you ever READ the Pentateuch? That has the most ritualistic books in the world! They make the Orthodox look downright footloose and fancy-free. If ritual is evil, then God is commanding the Israelites to be evil. Either that, or you're wrong.

Ritual isn't evil. It's something we all do. Just because our rituals are different from yours doesn't make it wrong. Ritual is part of relationship. My girlfriend and I have specific practices that we do every time we meet. It's part of who we are and what makes our relationship special to us. We have rituals in how we treat people, things we call MANNERS and COMMON COURTESY. Tell me the difference between "yes, sir" and "Lord have mercy". Does the phrase lose meaning simply because it is said all the time? No, of course not! When a child says "yes, sir" or "please" and "thank you", almost universally people will comment on how well behaved and courteous that child is. That's no different from addressing God in the same manner.

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

Mr. Sculley,

It is very important that we read the bible in its totality while asking God for understanding.

When God told the Israelites not to bow down to any other (Exodus 20:3-5) nor declare another name before him (Exodus 23:13), he meant what he said.

In the church today (most especially the "traditional"), there is worship of everything else but God, and there are other names mentioned before God than his own.

If we carry on rituals because we live in a world of rituals, then when shall we learn to live according to the precepts of God and not any other?

Have we as individuals purposed to fear God and keep his commandments? (Ecclesiastes 12:13) Or are we so fixated on doing the "right rituals" at the right time?

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:15-17). You could read the whole chapter for context.

You will NOT find Paul encouraging the Ephesians, Corinthians, Thessalonians, Colossians, Romans, Hebrews, etc or even to Timothy to follow rituals in a specific manner or elaborating on how to take the Eucharist and to bow (the Catholics use genuflect, like there's a difference) at what time, and for how long. He doesn't tell them to live according to set rituals but according to righteousness as ordained of God.

The issues he repeats consistently throughout his letters are our take home. Couple that with Peter, James, John, Jude, and Revelation. They all have righteous living/obeying God's commandments as the way we should live.

Every time you find in these letters a reference to the Old Testament, that means that we need to understand Genesis to Malachi, in order for us to appreciate the New Testament.

Case in point is Balaam's error. If you don't know this story, read the book of Numbers (22, 21, 38). Peter refers to him in 2 Peter 2 and Jude 11. Balaam could not curse the children of Israel, but he caused them to sin by encouraging them to go after the ways of the Moabites.

Question to you, whose ways are you so faithfully following after that you have been blinded to the truth that is found in God's WORD/Commandments? (John 17:17).

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

Mr. Sculley,

Believers in the LORD Jesus have to understand this. The WORD of God is for us to know that we need to obey his commandments. Why? Because he is God (Isaiah 45) and in obeying his commandments there is life (Deuteronomy 30, Psalm 19, Psalm 119). It is the constantly repeated theme throughout.

Fast forward into the new testament and let us look at what is under contention. The two letters to the Thessalonians.

Paul wrote to different sets or cohorts of people for a specific purpose. To preach the Gospel of Christ especially to the Gentiles and to encourage them to live the righteous life. When he wrote to the Hebrews, he let them understand that the Levitical law was now null and void, Jesus is our sacrifice and, therefore no need of the regular rituals at the altar (Hebrews 6 and 7). This is information that the Romans could not comprehend given their background. And to the Romans, he encouraged them to cease walking after their flesh (Romans 7 & 8) which the Hebrews may not have appreciated. The Romans were known for their entertainment and lavish living that the Hebrews didn't have.

The one constant in all these is living according to God's commandments.

So back to the Thessalonians, Paul wrote to them tailoring the Gospel of Christ to their way of life (1 Thessalonians) and in 2 Thessalonians, he is reminding them of what he wrote in the first letter.

We are in a time where we have all these letters preserved for our edification. Each one of us comes from a background representative of each of these sets of people that Paul writes to. But the one thing that stands true in all these letters is keeping God's commandments. So when Paul says there is neither Jew nor Gentile (Galatians 3), I get it. We who have believed on the name above all names are called to live by one standard. The precepts of the most high God.

This is what we must strive for (Luke 13:24) for it is the reason Christ came that we may be free of the bondage this world sets us in through rituals that have no spiritual mileage (Galatians 5).

Until you see that WORD of God for what it is (truth - John 17:17, and life - Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4), you will continue using it to explain your religious rituals.

William Sculley said...

Nobody ever said the Scripture wasn't true. I certainly didn't. I simply said that the message sent to the city of Thessaloniki is not only what was written to them. They never received the letters to Rome, Corinth, or Ephesus, or any of the other letters, as far as we can tell.

What you haven't done is show that RITUAL is evil. Because if ritual is evil, then God commanded the Jews to do evil. You can't simple rationalize that reality away. Rituals are commanded in Scripture. Sin did not change, because if sin changed, then so did God Himself. Sin is anything that causes us to miss the mark of perfection that is God. The only way that ritual, therefore, can be a sin, is if God changed. However, God is described as "The same yesterday, today, and forever".

Ritual is the reality of EVERY relationship. Whether it is boss/employee, husband/wife, brother/brother, friend/friend, or anything else. We ALL have rituals. Does my saying "I love you" to my girlfriend every night make it lose meaning? If that's ALL I do, then sure. But it is not all I do. You treat liturgical churches like the liturgy is ALL they do, which is remarkably ignorant.

What makes something true isn't the question of whether it is logically self-consistent. The question is whether it is the "Faith, which was delivered ONCE for ALL the saints."

If you can't trace your interpretation of Scripture all the way in every generation, then it wasn't delivered for all the Saints.

Secondly, the simple having of all the books does not mean you have all of the message of the Apostles. Your ONLY evidence that your interpretation is the proper interpretation is that it is, for the most part, internally logically consistent.

William Sculley said...

As to reading the Bible in totality. I guess it was impossible for people to be Christians if they couldn't read like 90% of the first century Roman Empire. Good to know that God didn't care about the little people. If you can't be a Christian without Scripture, then there are BILLIONS of people that God simply did not want in His Kingdom, including that poor man on the cross next to Christ. I didn't see a Bible in the Crucifixion.

You can be saved without a Bible. In point of fact, a person can be a medically diagnosed mental retard and still be a great theologian in the real Church. If your church requires understanding of the Scripture, you are adding a requirement that most Christians before Gutenberg would never even be capable of meeting.

Whether you like it or not, if everything Christ taught were written down, not even every book that existed at the time would have enough paper to present His teachings. Do you really think that a book you hold in your hand has everything that every book in the world was unable to hold?

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13

William Sculley said...

That's why I'm Orthodox. It wasn't man that led me here. I found orthodoxy by looking for what hasn't changed since Christ established it. If the founders of your church or belief aren't firmly in the time before the New Testament was written, keep looking.

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)

The sons of Aaron didn't understand the specifics of God's commandments regarding fire in the temple and they died (Leviticus 10:1-2). They were performing a ritual.

Fast forward:

"...the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God... and had feared other gods... walked in the statutes of the heathen... And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and built them high places... set them up images and groves... burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathens... and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger: For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing." (2 Kings 17:7-12).

Ezekiel 8 also details that which the LORD our God doesn't like including facing the East while worshiping. Then again you need to ask yourself why the traditional churches face the East and why one of the excuses is that they "want to gaze upon the beautiful face of Jesus Christ".

Jesus himself said that we don't have to say long repetitive prayers and the only prayer we can say is the LORD's prayer and we don't need to be seen to do so. (Matthew 6).

The very thing that God is against and discourages us to do in HIS WORD is that which is evil.

The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want... said...

Don't forget that it is Jesus who is building HIS church (Matthew 16:18).