Monday, January 11, 2010

Sola Scriptura...thoughts.

I posted a video challenging sola scriptura before, but I was thinking about it again recently and I had some questions. I was trying to find a christian discussion forum yesterday and I found a really cool one....that was until I saw the rules prohibiting "Catholic talk" and that it could only be mentioned in the 1 on 1 debate section or the End of Times section. How one sided could you get?! And there was one question as to why this was a rule, and the immediate response was "Catholics tend to get aggressive". Umm...I think anyone with an ounce of passion for their faith will defend it...and if the forum is 95% protestant, there is probably a lot of instigation.

I haven't posted there yet...I'm a little hesitant, but I have read through some of their topics. The sola scriptura topic stood out. The author preached this doctrine while simultaneously bashing the "blood thirsty catholics". Mhm. Well immediately I asked myself why anyone can hate the RCC and love the Bible. The Catholics MADE the bible people! And even if you have grievances with the Church, which I sometimes do, it's impossible to completely cut ties with her. How could they trust the Catholics to create the Bible, but then spit on them for their teachings? Their 2,000 year old teachings. I feel like Protestants don't realize that there were OTHER gospels out there at the time of the compilation. How can they affirm that those Gospels had no divine inspiration? Why is the Bible we know today accepted rather than questioned by them?

I feel like...had the Bible been the basis of the Church (i.e created prior to the creation of the church itself) then I could see the point. Maybe the sola scriptura is the true way to understand Christianity. But that's not how it was. The Church created the Bible. And the men who compiled it had reasons and interpretations that were obviously guided by the Holy Spirit. Protestants cannot refute this or else their Bible and their doctrine fail.

Gah I am trying so hard to simply understand how this doctrine remotely makes sense. When they say "The spirit guides us today and our interpretation is God breathed"...then why are there so many Protestant denominations?

Anyone here believe in sola scriptura? How do you reconcile these points?
Blessings to all!


caraboska said...

Everything is subject to verification, my dear. I admit to not having found the time to read the gospels that are not in the New Testament, or for that matter the books that are not in the Protestant version of the Old Testament - which contains only those books found in the Hebrew Bible - but in the circles I've traveled in, it's pretty much standard for theological education to include exposure to these materials, and basically the idea people come away with is that the books we all pretty much agree upon nowadays are internally consistent with each other, independent of any tradition, while the ones we don't agree on or which are not in today's Bible all contain some kind of material that deviates from the thought system in the Bible, for example by mixing in gnosticism, a philosophy that the present New Testament books are at great pains to debunk, as it denies the salvific work of Jesus Christ, instead attributing that salvific power to our own pursuit of knowledge and acquaintance with 'mysteries'. In other words, the problem with gnosticism is that it idolizes the creature instead of worshiping the Creator.

One Catholic writer with whom I've had some contact states - rightly - that Protestantism lays a tremendous personal responsiblity on the individual for the content of their faith - a responsibility that the Catholic Church argues no one is equipped to take. Protestants believe otherwise - and in the circles I have traveled in, they are accustomed to taking that responsibility very seriously. Everything is tested. If it is in agreement with sound teaching - that which leads people to truly have only one God, including not worshiping our own deeds thinking they will get us to heaven (instead relying on what God has done for us in Jesus Christ), much less any human authority that claims to have that power - then it is accepted. If it isn't, it is rejected. That is why Protestants accept the New Testament in its present form. It has nothing to do with tradition.

deltaflute said...

Actually you're wrong, caraboska. The Protestant churches take pains all the time when addressing the Bible. Martin Luther wanted to leave out several books of the Bible including Revelations. More recent Protestant denominations also alter the scriptures. For example: Jehovah's witnesses often insert the word Jehovah in their texts even though the Greek doesn't contain that word. There is not a real consensus accept in more mainline denominations.

The Catholic Church chooses to include a different manuscript called the Septuagint (which also contains the Hebrew Bible) in the Bible, but more recently Protestant Bible include these additional texts at the end of their Bibles in a section designated as Apocrapha.

Also important to note that the Bible is based on oral tradition. If, as a Protestant, you say that the Bible did not come together based on tradition and that Protestants base their beliefs without tradition, you would be ignoring the fact that many of the books of the Bible are stories told for generations before being written down. This also includes the New Testament as well. The letters of Paul were written down well before the Gospels were. Therefore tradition, rightfully, should also be explored when reading the Bible.

And to say that Catholics do not actually take pains to learn the information of the Bible themselves is totally wrong. Many Catholic churches have Bible study groups just as many Protestant churches do. However, if someone is a Bible scholar and has researched the historical, liguistic, and archiological context of passages, I believe in listening to their interpretation of scriptual passages than someone who believes that their interpretation is "inspired from God." It's like saying that a person needs to challenge how a person can sew a dress without knowing how make a dress themselves. One has to learn from a teacher before becoming a teacher themselves. That is all the Catholic church has ever said. We don't want things to be misconstrued. The Bible is often confusing and at times can contradicts itself.

And the Catholic church is more communal in nature. Protestant churches are formed all the time making the Protestant church more fractured. How can one truly learn about Biblical interpretation if people leave simply because they disagree over minute interpretations? The Catholic Church leaves many passages up to several interpretations. We don't see things so black and white.

caraboska said...

Jehovah's Witnesses are not even Christian, much less Protestant. I am not talking about mainline Protestant churches either. In the circles I have traveled in, 'mainline' pretty much = 'liberal approach to Scripture'. That excludes even the more conservative Presbyterian and Baptist churches, much less others, from the 'mainline' camp. Maybe I have led a sheltered life.

I don't know what dates you are assuming for the gospels, but the ones I am accustomed to place all except John before 70 AD, and some even before 60 AD. John is customarily placed at 90-something AD. There was just too little time for tradition even to have formed. Matthew and John were apparently both apostles (the latter apparently having been very young during the time of Jesus' ministry on earth, and having lived to an unusually old age), I recall reading that Mark was a student of one of the 12 apostles (don't recall which at the moment), Luke approached his gospel more as a historian would, so he went and gathered information and drew it up into a coherent account, but wrote at a time when he would reasonably have had access to eyewitnesses.

My point is that even if Paul's letters began to be written before the gospels, the gospels were still written at a time when tradition was still basically a non-issue, because not enough time had elapsed. The writers were either eyewitnesses themselves, or had direct access to those who were.

As far as the Old Testament is concerned, sure, there is an oral tradition among the Jewish people. And they are uncommonly careful. For one thing, they are forbidden to write on the Sabbath, so they cannot take notes on the sermon or anything. So they have to memorize it all. And they have people among them who not only do that, but also have their personal copy of the Hebrew Bible memorized literally down to the letter - so carefully that if you point to any letter in the text, they will be able to tell you what letter is directly underneath it on the other side of the page - without looking!

Unfortunately, the Orthodox among them place the oral tradition on a par with the actual words of Scripture, and it contains interpretations that any Christian would recognize immediately as being inconsistent with the spirit of the Scripture. But I would consider the chain of transmission to be very solid for both the Scriptures and the oral tradition.

So I am not worried about the books of the Hebrew Bible, although I am worried about the presence of extra books in the Septuagint. Actually, very few Protestant translations of the Bible contain those books at all. And probably the only Protestant church that would use such a Bible would be the Episcopal Church (which in some quarters is even more Catholic in faith and practice than the Roman Church itself).

The Roman Catholic Church has always said much more about the authority of its pastors than just that one should listen to those who have taken the time to study in depth. It even gives mere men the 'authority' to forgive sins - in place of Christ! And it says that this absolution is necessary for one to be able to even take communion, much less go to heaven. God forbid - it is He who forgives sins, and none other. And the one who would take his place is an idolater.

The Roman Catholic Church gives mere men the 'right' to perform actions that will supposedly lead to the regeneration and presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of people who by reason of their youth are not able to choose and confess the Christian faith for themselves. Make no mistake: salvation is by grace through faith. One's own, not someone else's. By God's hand, not someone else's - for only God is the Savior. But mere men want to arrogate this 'right' to themselves, so that they may control the minds of their followers.

caraboska said...

Baptism therefore can at most be a symbol of an already existent divine spiritual reality in the person's life. If that reality is not already there, it is not going to become present through baptism. And the logical conclusion of that is that if any spiritual reality does became present through water baptism, that was not there before, then it is not from God. Water baptism thus conceived then becomes a means of spiritual bondage, from which I pray that all reading this may become free if they are not already.

caraboska said...

PS I'm sorry, I'm being a bit of a troll here, but I've had to think very carefully about this lately, because the man I have been spending time with for the past 6 years may be Lutheran, but has turned out to be in practice what I would call crypto-Catholic in certain doctrinal matters, and I've had to think about whether I have fellowship with such a person, whether I could contract a Scripturally valid marriage with him. And unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the answer to that question is no. So it is costing me an awful lot to maintain the views that I maintain. It is probably not without its effect on what I write about these particular matters - at least one of which is discussed above.

~Joseph the Worker said...

Great post. Back when I was a protestant sunday school teacher, someone started asking me questions about where the Bible came from and how we know we have the right books. I answered them in the appropriate Fundamentalist manner, but fortunately they kept eating away at the back of my head and helped tremendously when I came into the fullness of Christ.

R.A.~ said...

The Jews were the ones who created the septuagint caraboska. They just got rid of those books because they weren't originally written in hebrew.

thank you joseph! that's very encouraging. I have a lot to study about the rcc, but this fact alone makes it almost impossible to consider protestantism anymore.

R.A.~ said...

and you're not a troll :P everyone's welcome to state their belief/stance!

deltaflute said...

Wow. Very shocked by Caraboska's response.

First off, Jehovah's witnesses are Christians so are Mormans, Church of Christ, Church of the Nazarene, and Pentacostal. Although these groups are often catagorized as The Second Great Awakening since they bloomed out of the evangelical movement from main stream Protestanism.

Main stream Protestanism is generally referred to as Anglican/Episcopalian, Anabaptist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran among others. They are called main stream because they "main streamed" or directly broke from Catholicism. They also tend to retain more of those traditional Catholic elements.

If you don't believe me, check out wikipedia.

As far as New Testament tradition, the early Christians based their worship services on Jewish tradition and reinacted the last supper after synagoge at their respective homes. The Catholic church and Orthodox church continue to follow many of these Jewish traditions. For example, singing the psalms during our worship service is akin to Jewish Psalmdy. So following a tradition has always been apart of the Christian church.

As for the other two issues that you bring up: confession to a priest and salvation through faith alone or faith vs. works. These are two very contraversial topics. But I will say both ideas are in the Bible. And that is why Catholics have others with more authority interpret these contradictory passages. Because anyone can follows Paul's view of faith alone but only with James's thoughts does it make sense.

Confession: James 5:15-17
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

I would also like to note that public confession of sin in Protestant churches is common. It's often referred to as an altar call. The Catholic Church just uses private confession. The Bible doesn't specify which way is correct.

deltaflute said...


Faith and Works: James 2: 14-26
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "and Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Oh and Baptism is a part of Jewish tradition as well. It's called mikveh or mikvah. It is still practiced today especially for those who convert to Judaism. The idea is to make yourself pure or wash away sin. So John wasn't standing on a river bank Baptizing people for symbolic reasons. It was to wash away their sin.

Everything about Christianity is rooted in Judaism. After all Jesus was Jewish. The Apostles were Jewish and the early followers were Jewish. The word Christianity wasn't even used until later. Early Christians considered themselves to be a faction of Judaism like the Samaritans.

Paul does mention that the law is not important which is why he mentions the fights of circumscion. But to think that Jesus a Jew was not telling people to be Baptized to redeem themselves from sin is absurd. If he felt that way, he would have said so and the Jewish apostles would have noted it.

In order for one to understand why the Bible and tradition go hand and hand you have also study the history surrounding Jesus and the compilation of the books of the Bible. I feel for those who choose to bind themselves to the Bible and quote scripture without any context. Many RCC leaders frown upon this practice that is why tradition is so important.

Much appologies on the long post. I tried to keep it short.

caraboska said...

Off the top of my head:

1. You tell me: is a person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God and 'a god' but not God Almighty a Christian? (That's your answer about Jehovah's Witnesses). Is a person who believes that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three different gods a Christian? (There's your answer about Mormons).

2. There's a LONG stretch between 'confess your sins to *one another*' and 'confess your sins to *the priest* so that you may obtain the absolution without which you will not go to heaven'.

3. Maybe all the writers of the Apocrypha were Jewish. That still doesn't mean these books have a place in Scripture. And the issue of whether the books are in Hebrew or not is, from a Protestant standpoint, far from the only reason why the Apocrypha are not acknowledged. Did you know that the only verse in any book considered to be Scripture that supports the idea of purgatory is to be found in the Apocrypha? The New Testament clearly teaches that it is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment. There is no second chance beyond the grave. There is no point in praying for the dead. Their fate is already decided the moment they die.

caraboska said...


1. James rightly points out that faith without works is dead. It is as Jesus said: 'By their fruits you shall know them.' Our faith, if it is real, by nature produces good works. If we are not producing good works, it means we do not really believe. What I am talking about is the difference between these two equations:

Faith => Salvation + Works

Faith + Works => Salvation

I understand the later to be the Roman Catholic view, and the former to be the Protestant view.

2. Mikveh no more washed away sins than the sacrifices ordained in the Torah took away sins. It was a shadow of things to come. Check out the Book of Hebrews for more info about this.

And the apostles sure did take note of this. They (not to mention even the Old Testament, so I am really speaking of the testimony of the whole Bible here) clearly teach that no human work can save us - only the work done by the hand of God, who is the only Savior.

3. The Roman Church has indeed tried to return to Old Testament times - with its priests and repeated sacrifices and ritual cleansing. Never mind that Jesus is the fulfillment of all priesthood, that His sacrifice is the fulfillment of all sacrifice, providing redemption and, yes, cleanness once for all.

3. The Scripture is its own context. That is why we have to read the whole of Scripture before we come to a conclusion. But once we have done that, we are quite free to reject any conclusion that contradicts the weight of evidence to be found in the Scripture. And I exercise that right quite conscientiously :)

~Joseph the Worker said...

Just on a side note, I don't believe the Catholic Church recognizes Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses as Christians - at least not in the traditional sense, because they reject the concept of the Trinity and they are one of the few whose baptism is not considered valid.

As for everything else, caraboska, you really have a limited view of the concept of salvation as taught by the Catholic Church. We agree that it is by grace alone, and you don't understand the nature of "good works" as taught by the Church. Arguing about it would be pretty fruitless if you don't understand what the Church teaches.

deltaflute said...

1. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons are classified as Christians. Catholics do refer to them as Christians but we do not recognize their style of baptism because it is not of the Trinity. We do accept other denominations. I didn't make the classification or why they fall into that category. I'm just telling you what experts and Catholics call them. Side note: I've been told multiple times that Catholics aren't Christians either. Ignorance is bliss.

2. Catholics believe in confessing our sins to God. A priest acts as a "righteous person" who "prays for us so that we may be healed." We are given a penance which is restitution or prayer for healing. It's not a punishment. Nor does it detract from Jesus's healing power. Moreover the church feels that Jesus gave priests the power to forgive sins because of John 20: 22-23 " And when he (Jesus) had said this, he breathed on them (the disciples) and said to them 'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.' "

3. Did you know that Hanukkah is also only mentioned in the Apocrapha? There is no mention of it in the the Torah, but it is mentioned in the Telmud. Just because something is only mentioned once doesn't mean that it is not real. The idea that Peter was hung upside down isn't from the Bible. It's found in Gnostic texts. Just because the parts of something may not be accurate doesn't mean that certain things are wrong. I don't believe that Jonah was swallowed in a whale, and most Bible scholars agree. I don't believe that Balaam had a talking donkey either. Those things are still in the Bible. They were moral fables. Like I said not all is black and white.

deltaflute said...

1) I don't think that it's that cut n' dry. Your illustration is like the chicken or the egg question. Which comes first the chicken or the egg? Which comes first your faith that shows your saved through your works (because as you said your works show that you have faith) or your faith and works shows that you are saved. No one knows if they are saved. We just know that you have to have both faith and works displayed to be saved. This is something that you agree to, yes? What does it matter if you have faith shown through works or because you have faith you do works? Anyway this is so confusingly absurd. The church has always recognized that when babies die God has has his own plan. He's not bound by faith or works. This is the same for martrys (baptism by blood) and ordinary persons preparing for baptism (baptism by desire). He decides who he wants and doesn't want.

2. Again the whole work and faith thing again. If God did not want animal sacrifices to attone for sin, why do we have the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy? Same question for washing. God clearly taught the Jews his laws and they were careful enough to strictly memorize and later write them down. Jesus ended all those sacrifices by being the ultimate sacrifice. That is what he said he came down for. But sin is still prevalent. See last post about role of priests.

3. "The Roman Catholic Church has indeed tried to return to Old Testament times..." LOL Really? We have ritual sacrifices and cleansings. I guess I missed the unblemished goat's throat being cut during Mass last Sunday. Wow. Where was my head? LOL Very few Jews today even practice ritual sacrifice. Have you actually been to a Catholic Mass? Have you studied a Catholic Mass? There aren't any repeated ritual sacrifices and cleansings. If your referring to Transubstantiation, now that is a different topic of discussion altogether. But it's not a ritual sacrifice. The Catholic Church has been around since Jesus came into being calling disciples. We consider Peter to be our first Pope or authority figure head. So we're not trying to return to Old Testament times. We've been around for all those "Old Testament" things. The early Christian church has always been rooted in Judaism. And guess what? We are the early Christian church. Protestants are rooted in us. You can't find a Protestant line of direct descendance to Jesus without merging with Catholicism. Sorry. Protestant founders didn't happen until the Protestant reformation which started with Martin Luther who was you guessed it...a Roman Catholic priest.

3. He he that's so funny. I think that your saying that you have to understand the whole Bible in order to reject parts of the Bible. Or are you saying you have to understand the whole Bible in order to reject Tradition? Because there is nothing about Tradition that goes against the Bible. Tradition is about understanding the Bible fully and applying it to modern times. You can keep telling me stuff about Tradition all day long and I will tell you where it is written in the Bible or where the Bible is silent. Go ahead try me.

deltaflute said...

Oh, much apologies to R.A. My sarcasm usually remains in my own head, but I'm on the verge of giving birth so my head's a little screwy and I have no patience for people who belittle my beliefs.

I spent my entire life having to defend my religious beliefs. I grew up in the thumping hard Bible Belt. Caraboska just represents everything about ignorant people that gets to me. I don't understand why people make up stories in their heads about what Catholicism is about and what we do without actually studying it. I don't go around saying that Mormons are nuts because they have special undies and don't drink caffinated products. It's just not cool. We have to respect each other.

Respecting a person's beliefs is different than believing them. But for some odd ball reason evangelicals see it as their duty to "save my soul" without knowing that my soul is already saved. I don't go around trying to convert them. I believe in explaining my beliefs when asked and by living my beliefs. I don't believe in attacking people especially without all the facts.

This is why I'm glad that you mentioned that you don't understand why fundamentalists think that Catholics hate the Bible when it was us who decided what books should be included in it.

People are easily dupped and brainwashed when they've never went to learn for themselves or questioned what they were told. That's why I like being Catholic. We're allowed to ask questions and find out the answers. Catholics don't feel this pressure to make people Catholic or to have them prescribe to a set of rules or a life style.

There are so many different types of Catholics see my blog about some of them

Hopefully this discussion will not continue for too long because I'll be giving birth. I'm soooo ready for it.

R.A.~ said...

Ah this discussion is a prime example of how complex the Catholic faith is and how protestants, or any outsiders, can misconstrue it's teachings.

I do firmly believe in respecting the faiths of others. This has been something I have failed to do in the past (my messianic congregation was always on the lookout for the antichrist and promoted intolerance) So lets keep it cool :)

Caraboska, I don't want you to feel attacked or anything, but I can sympathize with the sentiments of feeling belittled. It's sooo hard to practice and even LEARN Catholicism because of the flack we get. On that christian forum alone I'm not even allowed to express my faith for fear of violating the rules. So express your beliefs (I'm all for that!) but try and really study the church's teaching on a subject before you downplay it! :)

Congratulations deltaflute! such an exciting time!! I'll be praying for your safe & *not too painful* delivery :D

caraboska said...

My knowledge about Catholic doctrine concerning salvation, baptism, communion, priesthood, confession and the like is based on having read a very detailed study of these matters where the person looked at official Catholic catechetical publications from as many different time periods as possible to determine what each one said about these subjects. He concluded that there has been no material change in any of these matters, and that many Catholics are not aware of the true content of their catechetical books in these matters, and then set forth the official teaching in the actual words of each publication.

Besides that, I live in a country that is 95% Catholic, number among my friends a certain number of devout Catholics, at least one of whom is presently writing a doctoral dissertation in Catholic theology. I have had the 'works vs. faith' discussion with him in particular. A former pastor of mine here also got a doctorate in Catholic theology before becoming a Protestant. Because the surrounding population is so overwhelmingly Catholic, certain matters do have to be brought up during sermons at the Protestant churches. Most of these churches are very much into ecumenism, however, so you aren't going to hear anyone telling you there God knows what about the Roman Church. In other words, I couldn't avoid Catholic theology where I am, even if I wanted to.

I also point out that I have in no way been brainwashed. I grew up in a family of academics who believe in science rather than God, and am a Christian via a choice I made as (more or less) an adult. I will let you judge by the quality of my English what sort of university I might have attended. You do not even get admitted to such a school, much less graduate, unless you know how to think critically for yourself. And even my unbelieving parents, who try to claim I am 'intellectually defective' because I don't believe in evolution, have to admit that, as well as that it was precisely learning to read and study the Bible among Christians that taught me much of what I know today about thinking critically for myself.

About the possibility of errors in Scripture: All Scripture is God-inspired and profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction and instruction. I think that there would have to be much more evidence within the books mentioned (e.g. Jonah) before we dismiss them as 'just stories'. Even Jesus referred to Jonah's having been in the whale's belly and being miraculously delivered. The one who thinks otherwise, but is willing to say tradition is without error, is placing tradition at an even higher place than Scripture. That is not something I am willing to do.

It actually makes a HUGE difference what side of the equation one places works on. If we say our works contribute materially to our salvation, when it is said that God alone, not another, is the Savior, then we are placing those works in a position which God says is to be occupied solely by Him. In other words, we are committing idolatry. The worst possible kind of sin.

I am also astounded to learn that it is possible for someone to think that they have already been saved, and then at the same time that no one can know if they are saved. The Bible says it is possible to know (in I John 5, if anyone is interested - I'd give the exact verse, but now that I think of it, better the whole chapter to get the context). That is what kept me in those dark days when I had doubts in this area: that it is possible to know, that there will be that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when I set out to seek the means whereby I will know.

caraboska said...

And that is what I shared with the Catholic priest I got into a discussion with about these matters in a train to Minsk, of all places, back in those dark days... He didn't know, and he was worried about it, and I said, 'I don't know either, frankly, but I do know it is possible to know...' God's Word as revealed in the Scriptures had to be enough for me then, and it is enough for me now. May it be enough for all of us, God willing.

Lucy said...

The Catholics MADE the bible people!

I feel like...had the Bible been the basis of the Church (i.e created prior to the creation of the church itself) then I could see the point. Maybe the sola scriptura is the true way to understand Christianity. But that's not how it was. The Church created the Bible.

The bible and Christianity both were in existence before the birth of catholicism. The Christian groups that existed before the very idea of catholicism began were:

-the Ebionites (Jewish converts who insisted in keeping the Jewish laws & whom believed that the messiah was only for the Jews)

-the Marcionites (who believed the god in the OT was not the Christian god & evil)

-the Adoptionists ( who believed that Jesus was a mere man who had been adopted by God and made a god)

- the Arianists (who denied Jesus's divinity)

-the Gnostics (who believed that the god in the OT was not the true god & whom adopted other beliefs)

-the Marcionists (who believed that Jesus's mission was to overthrow the evil god of the OT & whom hated Jews)

-the Montanists (who believed in a simple, celibate life & in speaking in tongues)

-the Donatists & the Novatians (who believed the same as the Montanists but also in adult baptism)

-the Monarchists (who believed that God was only one being)

All these groups died out under catholic rule.

The bible was wrote by Jews, not by any Christian groups.It was much later after the bible was wrote when the catholics collected all the books of the bible & put them together. This is very different to the claim of "making the bible".If you edited and arranged a collection of essays by a group of authors into a book and then claimed you "made" the book you would end up in court with a huge fine.The same applies.

~Joseph the Worker said...

Lucy -

Out of curiosity, which one of those groups do you think St. Paul was a part of?

Lucy said...

Main stream Protestanism is generally referred to as Anglican/Episcopalian, Anabaptist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran among others. They are called main stream because they "main streamed" or directly broke from Catholicism. They also tend to retain more of those traditional Catholic elements.

As an Anabaptist I was most amused at the above comments.It is time to correct a few misunderstandings.

Anabaptism began around the same time as Reformation but there is little to say that Anabaptists emerged from Protestantism.In fact, those early Anabaptists influenced Luther's reforms.

Despite this, Protestantism and Catholicism both prosecuted Anabaptists as heretics.At the time Anabaptists were seem as radical rebels and even now they are anytime but "mainstream".I have encountered many different forms of Christianity (Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican, Methodist,Hutterite, Amish, Mennonite, Elim, Plymouth Brethren), including mainstream Protestants and I assure you deltaflute that Anabaptists are neither mainstream nor Protestant. Too assume that a non-Catholic Christian must be Protestant is too narrow an assumption to make.

I've attended both Protestant and Catholic schools and as an Anabaptist I stuck out like a sore thumb.I hadn't known I was Anabaptist at the time, but almost everything the Protestants & Catholics agreed in I disagreed with.As a kid, I embarrassed a Catholic bishop by knowing the scripture a little too well and found the Catholic priest could not answer my theological questions.As a teenager, I accidental embarrassed a very nice Anglican priest and found that both she & another Anglican priest could not answer my questions.I wanted to know why women weren't covering their hair any more when 1 Cor 11 requests it, why someone in the army would claim to be Christian when Jesus said to accept abuse & love the abuser, why churches would publicly honour donors when Jesus said to be discreet about donations & prayer, why people insisted on having big expensive churches when a plain one would do the same and leave extra money for the poor, why a priest would live the life of luxury when Jesus lived a life of poverty &c..

Lucy said...

Those mainstream churches have happy-clappy youth services, embrace middle class values and people turn up casually dressed to church.Anabaptist churches in contrast have people who drive a horse & buggy or a dull coloured cheap car and who dress plainly with the headcovering and whom worship either in the home as the 1st Christians did or in a plain church that doubles as the school.

Consider this:

Most Protestants will go to court or join the army.Anabaptists do not.

Most Protestants baptize babies and children.Anabaptists baptize adults & often after a 6-12 month teaching period.

Very few Protestants dress plain or indeed modestly.All Anabaptists do.

Many Protestants have a creed.Anabaptists do not.

Many Protestants have fancy churches.Anabaptists do not.

Most Protestants view individuality as a good thing. Anabaptists do not.

Protestants do not give the holy kiss.Anabaptists do.

Protestants do not wash their neighbour's feet during communion. Anabaptists do.

Most Protestants have TVs and radios in the home.Anabaptists do not.

Protestants tend to have small families.Anabaptists have large families.

Protestants live both in the country & the city.Anabaptists keep to the country and small towns.

Protestants can pursue higher education.Anabaptists general do not and if they do it is at a strict Anabaptist college.

Protestants do not shun. Anabaptists shun adulterers, thieves and fornicators that do not repent.

Protestants do not live in a spiritual community.Anabaptists do. If anyone is sick or in need that person is provided for with food, housing and money.

Protestants can work as lawyers, civil servants and policemen. Anabaptists do not.

To clarify, there are more than just 2 branches of Christianity. There are 4:

Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox & Anabaptist.

If you like you put it as Protestant & Anabaptist as cousins and Catholic and Orthodox as siblings.

~Joseph the Worker said...

Thanks for your response to my question about St. Paul. I came from a Protestant group with an Anabaptist history, so unfortunately I am all too familiar with then.

caraboska said...

And then there are the Quakers, who are a varied lot, but none of them practice either baptism or communion in any physical sense in their congregations, nor - traditionally - do they even have clergy. The responsibility for the spiritual care of the congregation is viewed collectively. Other than that, the Quakers - especially the Conservatives - are in many ways similar to the Anabaptists.

Paul had been a Pharisee before accepting Jesus as Messiah. After that, he was too busy traveling on missionary journeys to be able to call any one group or place 'home'. He was an apostle, and his home was in Christ and in the Scriptures.

Lucy said...

Joseph, I believe that Paul was a Montanist/Donatist/Novatian.Jesus lived as a poor man and was an example that life is more than treasures on earth.His disciples would have carried that on after Jesus.The most obvious example is the Christians in Acts 2:42-47.These people share everything.Paul would have been influenced by this.That those today who believe that conservative Christians are Pauline Christian- with the added implication that such people were worshipping Paul rather than Jesus.

But what do you mean unfortunately being rather too familiar with Anabaptists?What's wrong with striving to live as the early Christians did?

~Joseph the Worker said...


The Donatists (named for the Berber Christian Donatus Magnus) were followers of a belief considered a schism by the broader churches of the Catholic tradition, and most particularly within the context of the religious milieu of the provinces of Roman North Africa in Late Antiquity. They lived in the Roman province of Africa and flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries.
Like the Novatianist schism of the previous century,[1] the Donatists were rigorists, holding that the church must be a church of saints, not sinners, and that sacraments, such as baptism, administered by traditores (Christians who surrendered the Scriptures to the authorities who outlawed possession of them) were invalid.[2] Probably in 311, a new bishop of Carthage was consecrated by someone who had allegedly been a traditor; his opponents consecrated a short-lived rival, who was succeeded by Donatus, after whom the schism was named.[2] In 313, a commission appointed by Pope Miltiades found against the Donatists, but they continued to exist, viewing themselves, and not what was known as the Catholic Church, as the true Church, the only one with valid sacraments. Because of their association with the Circumcellions, they brought upon themselves repression by the imperial authorities, but they drew upon African regional sentiment, while the Catholic party had the support of Rome. They were still a force at the time of Saint Augustine of Hippo at the end of the fourth century, and disappeared only after the Arab conquest of the 7th-8th century.[2]
The beliefs of Montanism contrasted with Orthodox Christianity in the following ways:
The belief that the prophecies of the Montanists superseded and fulfilled the doctrines proclaimed by the Apostles.
The encouragement of ecstatic prophesying, contrasting with the more sober and disciplined approach to theology dominant in Orthodox Christianity at the time and since.
The view that Christians who fell from grace could not be redeemed, also in contrast to the orthodox Christian view that contrition could lead to a sinner's restoration to the church.
A stronger emphasis on the avoidance of sin and church discipline than in Orthodox Christianity. They emphasized chastity, including forbidding remarriage.
Some of the Montanists were also "Quartodeciman" ("fourteeners"), preferring to celebrate Easter on the Hebrew calendar date of 14 Nisan, regardless of what day of the week it landed on. Orthodox Christians held that Easter should be commemorated on the Sunday following 14 Nisan. (Trevett 1996:202)


He held that idolatry was an unpardonable sin, and that the Church had no right to restore to communion any who had fallen into it. They might repent and be admitted to a lifelong penance, but their forgiveness must be left to God; it could not be pronounced in this world.

None of those sound like St. Paul to me, especially since they all came around much later than his writings.

deltaflute said...

I just wanted to say that the remarks about Anabaptists are not my own. People can categorize things how they like.

Some people view Orthodox Catholics (like Greek Orthodox Catholics) as being in a different category from the broad term of Catholic because they don't follow Rome and the Pope. But the word Catholic has nothing to do with what you follow. It just means universal.

So I break it down this way
I. Catholic
A. Roman Catholic
B. Eastern Catholic
1. Byzantine
2. Armenian
C. Eastern Orthodox Catholic
1. Russian Orthodox
2. Greek Orthodox

And then Protestants (which just means "in protest of") like this
II. Protestants
A. Baptists
1. Southern Baptists
2. Missionary Baptists
B. Methodists
C. Lutherans
D. Anglican/Episcopalian
E. Presbyterian
F. Anabaptists
1. Mennonites
2. Amish
G. Pentecostal

For a better looking break down

And I didn't get this info from my head. It's broken down this way in many sources including Wikipedia. If you feel that Anabaptists should not be categorized this way, then feel free to address this under the topic of Christianity where it explains it. I didn't come up with this. So stop yelling at me about what Jehovah's witnesses are or Anabaptists are. If you have a problem, then go out and change the text books.

Otherwise I'm out of this discussion. You guys are getting really rediciously over heated about something as trivial as how people categorize things.

Again, stop yelling at me.

Lucy said...

My humble apologies for hurting you deltaflute.It was not my intention.

Joseph I understand your point, but I do not believe that Paul was a heretic.That said I am hesitant to really think of these early Christians as heretical.Things were different then.People didn't have a bible to consult then, even the church elders.They relied on the apostles' letters.The trinity did not exist as it is today.It consisted of just God and Jesus for a while.When Catholicism emerged it became the dominant form of Christian and with it everything else became "heretical".

Have you noticed that the some of those group's teachings have returned?For one the church I grew up in denied the Trinity and was Arianists (I left and fast too.)The Pentecostal crowd sound like the Montanists.

Another important thing to note is that the NT condemns the behaviour of the Ebionites, which proves to me that some of those Christian groups existed in Paul's day, even if they did not have a name at the time.Naturally the 1st Christians were just Christian but later I do believe that many splinter groups appeared.d

R.A.~ said...

wow I didn't even know this was going on still lol

Lucy, I have always been intrigued by anabaptists, but have never had the opportunity to speak with one. You made a comment in response to joseph about how the anabaptists strive to live like the early Christians, but I don't exactly understand. Anabaptists don't really have much in common with the early christians from my pov. The way they appear reminds me of the Duggars on TLC. Like ultra-conservative/ fundamentalist.

The early Christians lived in many sects like you listed, but in my bible it does have a papal list starting with peter and onward. To me that shows that Catholic ideas and traditions were forming and being passed down. The RCC did not have to be there for its ideas to be...and it's the only "early sect" to have stabilized during opposition and survived thousands of years.

And you said they that not a way of saying "this is the one true church/beliefs" because if someone disagrees, they're completely cut off. That's a way to keep everyone believing one thing without leeway.

R.A.~ said...

Just out of curiosity, as I visited your blog earlier, what kind of church do you attend? Do you only consider yourself anabaptist or do you belong to mennonite/hutterite group?

there are many wise teachings in the anabaptist movement, which I was drawn to for a time. (I really thought about attending a mennonite church/school) I picked St. Rose of Lima as my patron saint at confirmation because she tried to make herself as plain and humble as possible, despite her beauty, to glorify God. At that point in my life I was really drawn to dressing in one color skirts/dresses and not wearing makeup, minimal jewelry etc. I still try and adopt a more humble and toned down look for modesty's sake, but I am a far cry from anabaptist standards.

I'm glad you're a reader here, I like your input/opinions!

~Joseph the Worker said...

Well, I do agree with you that heresies were forming by the end of the New Testament, including the Gnostic one that would become very widespread soon. I think we just have massively different opinions about what the early Church really was (I wrote a blog post about this on my blog, btw, I forgot to mention that in my last reply.)

I think sometimes I can get a little too adversarial, mostly because I love the Catholic Church and defend her as the truth from Peter till today. Sorry if I was at all uncharitable.

Lucy said...

Joseph there's no need to apologise! You haven't said anything offensive.

R.A for me Anabaptists live like the early Christians because they eschew the modern and worldly things in the world.I see it not as being backward but as removing objects from my environment that could cause me to stumble.An example of this is the TV. I grew up without one because of this, not because TV is "bad", but because it could have a negative influence.I do feel that the constant competition in worldly gain is unsatisfactory and is a way to making others feel bad when they cannot afford X item.

Lucy said...

Another reason why I believe that Anabaptists live like the early Christians is because they hold fast to the biblical ordinances and this is because they avoid the worldly ways I mentioned above. Most churches suffer erosion and the more they adopt modern ideas and discard the old ways for the new ways, the more they loose the original Christian faith.

An excellent example is headcovering in the Catholic church.Catholic women always covered their heads but now no one does as you know R.A.Its forgotten by most, Catholic and Protestant.I was told that long hair was the covering and when I discovered headcovering it was on an Anabaptist website and it was Anabaptists who gave me books on the matter and my veil.This is what I mean by Anabaptists living like the early Christians.There are however a few plain Catholics on the web who took inspiration from the Anabaptist motto in the world but not of the world and they have returned to headcovering.Of course there are a few other aspects abandoned by many churches, not just the covering.

Lucy said...

I know there is irony in me saying this on the internet in all the places, but the internet is my only access to other Anabaptists. (There are quite a few Anabaptists who do use the internet, some just for email or work purposes but as the Anabaptists have become encouraged into missionary work, they use the internet to maintain contact with their church and family at home.)

Lucy said...

I actually have no church... :( There is one 8 hours away and one starting in a nearby country.In the summer however I intend to visit a Hutterite friend!!


Lucy said...

The Anabaptist shunning is not a view that Anabaptists think that they are they one, only church- even if it looks like that. Shunning is mentioned in the NT.It's to be used when a baptised adult church member disobeys certain laws and does not repent them.The rules concern:

-those who deliberately cause trouble and teach doctrines opposite to biblical doctrines. (Romans 16:17)

-those who love themselves, who love money, who are prideful, who disobey their parents, who are unholy, who hate good, who are conceited, who are cruel, who lie, who blaspheme, who love pleasure rather than God and who act pious but are not. (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

-those who are sexually immoral, those who are greedy, those who slander others, those who are drunkards, those who woship idols and those who swindle others. (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

Lucy said...

Titus 3:10-11 says to warn that person on 2 occasions and if he/she does not repent to have nothing to do with them.1 Corinthians 5:11-13 says not to share food with them.

It sounds harsh and exclusive, but it's in the NT and it's a way of encouraging repentance.The Catholic church does this (excommunication), the J.W's do it, the church I grew up in did it on a lesser scale with a shunned person being denied the communion and the right to speak in the church. It was rare and always hidden with the person being prayed for.

The Anabaptists do not shun a person for changing churches or for adopting modern dress &c.. with the exception of the Old Order Amish (and even then they do think themselves the true church) and the Holdeman Mennonites who have no links with other Anabaptists.

However if a baptised church member disobeys a biblically based church rule, he/she would be spoken to and sometimes avoided, but not shunned.This is down to an Anabaptist principle of obedience and submission.Obedience and submission are very important- they are how Anabaptists hold a church together and then the bible does place emphasis on submission. This is one reason why Anabaptists adhere to the plain dress, it's a unity with the church as the people rather than a building.So if someone breaks this unity it creates a crack in the church (the people) and that person then may be avoided.

Lucy said...

I have forgot to say that this Duggars family are not at all Anabaptist.I believe that conservative Americans are into this family?

~Joseph the Worker said...

I definitely respect your beliefs Lucy, and I think many of the things you are doing are commendable - such as not watching television because of the negative things that can be on it. I spent several years of my life without a TV for the same reason, but I also don't believe that can ever be binding on someone. I also have very different beliefs about the authority of the Church on matters such as Head Coverings (we Catholics believe the Church is the pillar and foundation of the Truth, not the Bible.)

God Bless and thanks for sharing that with us!