Friday, May 27, 2016

"Ten Areas of Deadly Deception Among Catholics" Part I

One would think that anti-Catholic "Christian" groups would tire of the same old arguments. They repeat the same old nonsense so many times that they've convinced themselves they are right. They're not. Not only does an anti-Catholic polemic by EOMin not argue against the Catholic Faith (they argue their own false ideas of Catholicism), but they do not even argue properly with Scripture. That is the thing about the Catholic Faith, Scripture is studied and believed as a whole, not in snippets. The fact that these Christians feel they must constantly call out fellow Christians means that Satan is getting a stronghold in the body of Christ. It is sad and insane, but it goes on and on with the same tired arguments. Below are the unnamed author's 10 "Deadly Deceptions" (italics used in case the color cannot be seen) and my answers (while I will cite other sources, this is my writing):

He starts his article with "If you are acquainted with the teachings of the Roman Catholicism..." but makes it quite clear he is very little acquainted with the teachings of the Catholic Church. 

On with the "deadly deceptions" which are the "most dangerous false doctrines believed by millions of Catholics":

[1] Roman Catholics are dangerously taught that they were born again at infant baptism.
First of all, fundamentalist, Calvinist, evangelical, whatever-label, Christians use words differently than Catholics.  This is the first "fundamental" difference between Catholics and other Christians.

The expression "born again" is no exception. The unnamed author says, "The truth is, one gets Biblically born again only when he turns away from his sins and places his faith in the Lord Jesus to the point of dedication and commitment." Ironically, he gives no Biblical references for his claim.

When asked by Nicodemus about what He meant by being born again, Jesus said,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.  What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."  (John 3:6-8, NAB)
Jesus says that we must have two births. This is what the Church teaches.  We are born of our mothers (born of flesh), then we are born into His Church (born of water and Spirit).  Peter said,
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, NAB)
It is quite easy to see that the early Church believed that baptism was how you received the Holy Spirit--the Spiritual birth.  This is what Jesus taught and what His apostles taught, that baptism was being "born again". Jesus said:

"As the Father has sent Me, so I send you."
And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, 
"Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."  (John 20:21b-22, NAB)
And He sent them out with a command:
"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20, NAB)
Baptism and spiritual rebirth are one and the same. It was obviously important enough for Christ to command His disciples to baptize everyone they made disciples of Christ.  But, Christ also felt it important to include children as His followers:
Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. (Matthew 19:14, NAB)
If the kingdom of heaven belongs to children, we need to include them in our Church family.  Paul, the hero of the Protestant, is the one who said that baptism replaced circumcision. Who was circumcised? 8 day old babies and converts to Judaism. Paul said:
"In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ. You were buried with Him in baptism, through faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead."  (Colossians 2: 11,12, NAB)
Peter said:
"For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:39)
 And, the Church baptized whole families:
 "After [Lydia] and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation." (Acts 16:15)
"...then [the jailor] and all his family were baptized at once. (Act 16:33)
(I baptized the household of Stephanos also...) (I Corinthians 1:16)
Admittedly, none of these passages specifically says that they baptized babies, but these passages certainly don't say that they only baptized "Bible believing adults" either. These passages say that they baptized whole families; that would mean children of all ages as well as adults.

However, not only is infant baptized implied in the Acts of the Apostles, but the evidence that the early church practiced infant baptism is overtly evident in the writings of the early church.

Baptize first the children, and if they can speak for themselves let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them” (Hippolytus, The Apostolic Tradition 21:16 [A.D. 215]).
 “Every soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin. . . . In the Church, baptism is given for the remission of sins, and, according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants. If there were nothing in infants which required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous” (Origen, Homilies on Leviticus 8:3 [A.D. 248]).
“The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of the divine sacraments, knew there are in everyone innate strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit” (Origen, Commentaries on Romans 5:9 [A.D. 248]).
“As to what pertains to the case of infants: You [Fidus] said that they ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, that the old law of circumcision must be taken into consideration, and that you did not think that one should be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day after his birth. In our council it seemed to us far otherwise. No one agreed to the course which you thought should be taken. Rather, we all judge that the mercy and grace of God ought to be denied to no man born” (Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 64:2 [A.D. 253]).
“If, in the case of the worst sinners and those who formerly sinned much against God, when afterwards they believe, the remission of their sins is granted and no one is held back from baptism and grace, how much more, then, should an infant not be held back, who, having but recently been born, has done no sin, except that, born of the flesh according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of that old death from his first being born. For this very reason does he [an infant] approach more easily to receive the remission of sins: because the sins forgiven him are not his own but those of another” (ibid., 64:5).
Do you have an infant child? Allow sin no opportunity; rather, let the infant be sanctified from childhood. From his most tender age let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Do you fear the seal [of baptism] because of the weakness of nature? Oh, what a pusillanimous mother and of how little faith!” (Gregory of Nazianz, Oration on Holy Baptism 40:7 [A.D. 388]).
“‘Well enough,’ some will say, ‘for those who ask for baptism, but what do you have to say about those who are still children, and aware neither of loss nor of grace? Shall we baptize them too?’ Certainly [I respond], if there is any pressing danger. Better that they be sanctified unaware, than that they depart unsealed and uninitiated” (ibid., 40:28)
“You see how many are the benefits of baptism, and some think its heavenly grace consists only in the remission of sins, but we have enumerated ten honors [it bestows]! For this reason we baptize even infants, though they are not defiled by [personal] sins, so that there may be given to them holiness, righteousness, adoption, inheritance, brotherhood with Christ, and that they may be his [Christ’s] members” (John Chrysostom, Baptismal Catecheses in Augustine, Against Julian 1:6:21 [A.D. 388]).
“What the universal Church holds, not as instituted [invented] by councils but as something always held, is most correctly believed to have been handed down by apostolic authority. Since others respond for children, so that the celebration of the sacrament may be complete for them, it is certainly availing to them for their consecration, because they themselves are not able to respond” (Augustine, On Baptism, Against the Donatists 4:24:31 [A.D. 400]).
The custom of Mother Church in baptizing infants is certainly not to be scorned, nor is it to be regarded in any way as superfluous, nor is it to be believed that its tradition is anything except apostolic” (Augustine, The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 10:23:39 [A.D. 408]).
“Cyprian was not issuing a new decree but was keeping to the most solid belief of the Church in order to correct some who thought that infants ought not be baptized before the eighth day after their birth. . . . He agreed with certain of his fellow bishops that a child is able to be duly baptized as soon as he is born” (Augustine, Letters 166:8:23 [A.D. 412]).
By this grace baptized infants too are ingrafted into his [Christ’s] body, infants who certainly are not yet able to imitate anyone. Christ, in whom all are made alive . . . gives also the most hidden grace of his Spirit to believers, grace which he secretly infuses even into infants. . . . It is an excellent thing that the Punic [North African] Christians call baptism salvation and the sacrament of Christ’s Body nothing else than life. Whence does this derive, except from an ancient and, as I suppose, apostolic tradition, by which the churches of Christ hold inherently that without baptism and participation at the table of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and life eternal? This is the witness of Scripture, too. . . . If anyone wonders why children born of the baptized should themselves be baptized, let him attend briefly to this. . . . The sacrament of baptism is most assuredly the sacrament of regeneration” (Augustine, Forgiveness and the Just Deserts of Sin, and the Baptism of Infants 1:9:10; 1:24:34; 2:27:43 [A.D. 412]).
And what does one do with this passage of the Bible when one doesn't believe that baptism has anything to do with salvation?  When only faith saves one? I posit that these do not have faith at all.
 "...while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water.  This prefigured baptism, which saves you now.  It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,..." (I Peter 3:21)

It baffles me how many times I can see so-called Bible believing Christians ignore what is written in the Bible. When Scripture disagrees with their predetermined paradigm, they simply ignore it or skim over passages that don't support their conclusions.  When someone actually does address this passage in Peter's letter they try to explain it away. They say that Peter didn't actually mean saved; he didn't actually mean baptism saves you, despite the fact that Peter clearly states that "baptism saves you now."  Obviously, it is important; Christ was baptized. Noah and his family were actually saved by/through the flood.

The Church teaches what Christ and the Apostles preached and has done so for almost two thousand years.  The Catholic (universal) Church has bestowed baptism on anyone who became a follower of Christ and baptized infants in anticipation of that child growing up in the Faith and becoming a follower on their own (this is called Confirmation).

 [2] Roman Catholics dangerously think they receive Christ when they partake of the communion wafer.
This is another of the statements that is hard for me to understand coming from someone claiming to be a Christian.  Christ made clear reference to the Eucharist and His Body. The machinations that Protestants go through to deny the direct words of Jesus strike me as very odd indeed.

Let us start with John chapter six, where Christ's teaching on this matter are the most clear, and the passage that Protestants try to explain away the most. Just how many times does Jesus tell us that we must eat His flesh?
34p So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 35* Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.q 36But I told you that although you have seen [me], you do not believe.r 37Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, 38because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.s 39And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it [on] the last day.t 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him [on] the last day.”u

47Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;z 50this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.a

53Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 54Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. 55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.b 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” 
Just how many times can the Catholic Church, a Catholic author, or an individual Catholic explain that we, Catholic Christians, believe Jesus' words? That is the only answer we should have to give, whenever "partak[ing] of the communion wafer" is seen as something like a sin.  We believe what Jesus said. He said if we participate in the eating of His flesh we have life; if we don't it means death. It really is as simple as that.

The Sacrament of the Eucharist is no deception. It is the Catholic Church following Christ to His life in us and He promised us in John chapter six and many other chapters of the Gospels.

I would also like to address a couple of false statements under this "deception" made by the anonymous author of this diatribe:
"This false and deadly concept is the result of the bogus idea that the communion elements (bread and wine) have been transubstantiated by the priest into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ."
First of all, this is not a "bogus idea". It was the belief of all Christians until the 16th century when certain men in the Church decided they knew better than Christ or the 1500 years of Christian writers, philosophers, theologians, and teachers.  Second, the priest does not transubstantiate the bread and wine. He calls on the Holy Spirit to do so, and then stands in Jesus Christ's stead and says exactly what Christ did, "This is My Body...This is My Blood." We take Jesus Christ at His Word.

"No one receives Christ in his mouth, then swallows him to be digested."
Every time I've heard this idiocy from a Protestant, it has made me laugh. Of course, we do not "digest" Christ. Just the opposite happens. When we consumed the consecrated Host, we become part of the mystical Body of Christ. He abides in us and we abide in Him (John 6:40).  It is a holy union with Life Itself.

   “This saying is hard, and who can hear it?” (Jn. 6:61).

Coming up: 


3) Roman Catholics wrongly think their church system was founded by Jesus on Peter the first pope.
4) Catholics think Mary is their life, sweetness and hope and proclaim her as such when they recite the rosary, which they say is the epitome of the whole gospel.
5) Catholics think if they die wearing the brown scapular they will not suffer the fires of hell.
6) Catholics think the sacraments are a means of them receiving grace needed for salvation.
7) Catholics confess their sins to a priest instead of to God.
8) Catholics who read and believe the Fatima Visions are dangerously thinking that Mary is our refuge and the way that will lead them to God. 

9) Many Catholics are just hoping to enter Purgatory and there get purged of their sins to afterwards go to Heaven.
10) Catholics have been lethally misinformed about how to show their love for the Lord Jesus.

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