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Archive for September, 2010

By the Authority of a Horse of the Wrong Color

Posted by heyrandy on September 24, 2010

Catholicism and Fundamentalism The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians” Karl Keating, Ignatius Press, 1988, 343 pg.

I was told that the claims of the Roman Catholic Church to be the only legitimate successor to primitive Christianity is like a horse that changes color after it has left the barn. The trail leads to the horse, but the black horse that left the barn is not the white horse we find. So it is with the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever the legitimacy of its claims to be the true successor to the apostles, it does not resemble what we find in the Bible. Keating attempts to prove otherwise.

Keating quotes numerous critics of the Roman church. There are a lot. This is to be expected. Any organization with the size and worldwide presence of the Roman Catholic Church will have an abundance of critics. Some of these critics are former priests, but most of those Keating uses are Protestants who are writing to expose the Church’s deviation from the Bible. Hence the subtitle of the book. Keating has an easy time with some of these critics. It is always easy to overturn arguments that misstated what they are trying to criticize.

Keating real struggle comes in defending his Church’s teachings by using only Scripture. The author’s core principle is that the Church is infallible in its official pronouncement of doctrine and morals. Keating advocates a dual standard of truth: the Bible and an infallible church. It does not work. This is what started the Reformation. The points of contention have not changed.

Keating surveys the major Church teaching and offers a rebuttal to those who raise biblical objections. Keating tries to use scripture to make his case, but his interpretations are often forced. He claims that Peter was ordained the first Pope by Christ when Jesus spoke in Mt. 16 about Peter being a rock and that Christ would build his church upon this rock. Keating acknowledges that the Greek words used of Peter and of the rock upon which Christ would build His church are different in gender and meaning, but he tries to translate the Greek backwards into Aramaic because “the Aramaic original” does not have such a difference. That Aramaic was commonly spoken in New Testament era Palestine is not in dispute. It is the idea of Aramaic originals that is the problem with Keating solution. What Aramaic originals? There is no evidence for them. There has been speculation about them, but there is no evidence for them.

Keating justifies the placing of the Bible on the Index of Forbidden Books by saying it was because heretics were using it. No real Bible was placed on the Index (p. 91), only corrupt versions. Under those criteria the Bible should still be there. Where did the Church get the authority to forbid the Bible? Satan used the Bible against Christ (Mt. 4:6); does this mean that the Old Testament should not have been allowed in synagogues of that day? Keating doesn’t say.

Once the presupposition of an infallible church is granted the boundaries are eliminated. Anything can now be declared Truth.

Keating book is worthwhile because it gives us a summary of Catholic teaching. It is good to get the facts. When writing about something, first understand it. Keating also points out that some of the language used by the anti-Catholics is harsh. He is correct: tone it down. He is also right that many critics who insist on using only the Bible as the basis for Christianity are guilty of not understanding the Book. He notes that there is extensive ignorance of the Bible in both Protestant and Catholic churches. They have an excuse, we don’t. Fix this.

The horse is still the wrong color. Keating does nothing to change this fundamental issue. Until this happens, I will be riding the horse of the Biblical color.

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Galatians 2:8-10

Posted by heyrandy on September 20, 2010

8(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

9And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

10Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. Gal.2:8-10 AV

Paul continues his defense of his understanding of the Gospel and his preaching of it to the Gentiles. Here Paul tells us that although the “pillars” did not add anything to his preaching, they did extend their approval. Paul got it right. The other apostles have certified this. The phrase “the right hand of fellowship” may mean a handshake. The handshake is an ancient practice. It show that one is unarmed and coming in peace. Here it is a sign of approval. I hope one day to shake Paul’s hand. I am assuming that this practice is to be followed in heaven. Once we are done with the handshaking, we can then ask him, “What did you mean by this?” It will be glorious.

Paul uses v.8 to explain the parallel nature of his apostleship with that of Peter’s. The chief difference is in the people to whom each man was to primarily go, Paul the Gentiles, Peter the Jews. It did not mean that these ethnic distinctions were rigid, never-to-be-violated strictures. If he could get an audience with the Jews, Paul would preach to them. The same would hold true with Peter.

This distinction is further specified in v.9. It is a simple matter of division of effort. One is to exercise the gifts one is given in the manner best suited to glorify God. Mission specialization is not uncommon today.

The Jerusalem church put only one requirement on Paul: remember the poor. This Paul says, he was eager to do. A word of encouragement is always proper.

Reread the larger section of Galatians 2:6-10. Catch the flow of Paul’s thinking. It is always easy to pick out single verses to explain things, but the reading of larger pericopes of scripture is not to be forgotten. This “book” is really a letter. It is to be read and understood as a whole. Don’t atomize it to the detriment of the whole.

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Galatians 2:6-7

Posted by heyrandy on September 6, 2010

6But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

7But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter  Galatians 2:6-7 AV

Verse six is interrupted by a parenthesis. If you join the two separated clauses, you find that the first clause is incomplete. Paul breaks off his thought to explain that those who seemed to be “somewhat” (somewhat what?) were of no particular concern to him. Paul went by the divine standard. If God cared about their status, Paul would care. God didn’t care, so Paul did not care. Paul doesn’t bother to name them. He uses the indefinite pronoun “these.”

Paul tells us that the unnamed persons “added nothing to me.” That is, Paul’s gospel was complete. No one needed to supplement Paul. He had it right from the beginning. This is all taking place in Jerusalem. The key people, the big names in the church were there. If there was to be any correction to the gospel Paul was preaching, it would take place here. No correction took place.

Verse seven tells the opposite happened. The verse begins with an adversative: contrariwise. The persons who “seemed to be somewhat” were not opposed to Paul. Once these people understood that the work of the gospel was divided along the lines of Jewish and Gentile, they gave Paul and Barnabas the “right hand of fellowship” v9. Unity is maintained.

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