Part Three of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (Chapters 54-72)
+ + + + +
+ + + 54. Evangelic Popery + + +
Given this, we see how the two verses speaking of the Sword of the Spirit and the Word of God, Ephesians 6:17 & Hebrews 4:12, are clearly not any real evidence on behalf of the Protestant side of things. Far from it. Like the verse we looked at earlier, 1 Corinthians 4:6, they instead turn out to be a noose around the neck of spiritual rebels, destroying he who pretends to use them in favor of the false and heretical religions of Evangelicism or Charismaticism. Religions unavoidably false because purposely defiant toward the Pillar & Foundation of the Truth, Jesus’ Infallible Catholic Church & Saving Ecclesial Body. Religions that are also plainly heretical because they cannot even agree amongst themselves (despite most of them pretending to be on the same side and thus according one another the name of ‘christian’) on what is essential to believe or do so as to save one’s own soul --- all the while they each claim to rely upon, or at least not contradict, their bibles, and even though none of them has the audacity to blatantly say that they cannot teach error!
Yet whilst Evangelics never have the audacity (leastwise, not openly at first and not that I have ever been aware of) to say they cannot teach or believe error --- i.e., that they’re infallible --- they each of them talk like they could never be wrong about what their bibles teach is important or what they believe is imperative. They are, as it were, a motley collection of imaginary ‘popes’, each ruling supremely over the little ‘church’ of his own self, every single one of them acting like it’s impossible to make a deadly mistake about religion or how to save his soul, as if there were no Devil capable of deceiving them, and as if the Holy Spirit vouches personally for the correctness of their so-called ‘essential’ beliefs, the majority of them convinced that He also guarantees them admission into Heaven before they die regardless of what they may do or say up until that moment.
Dear reader, can you detect the absurdity in their stance? Can you perceive the snobbery of their pretensions? The very people who condemn the Roman Catholic Church because She dares to say that Her Pope is, when speaking to the Church as a whole and invoking the authority of his divinely-instituted office, protected from the lies of the Devil in teaching about Faith (what to believe) and Morals (what to do), are the same people who, each and every one of them, pretend to be always incapable of believing a grave lie of the Devil or of carrying out his hellish work upon the earth. Not even a Pope claims this for himself! Although first in God-given leadership amidst an untold number of fellow Catholics, not even he claims for himself this incredible immunity. Even a wise Pope, humbled by the task of being a good Catholic --- not to mention the duty of being a good Pope --- acknowledges that he is, in his personal capacity as a merely fallible and peccable man, capable of being deceived by the Devil and able to be tempted by the same into sin. In fact, as stated above, the only totally unique gift from Heaven that any real Pope claims for himself is the protection of the Spirit of Truth when teaching the Church as a whole regarding matters of Faith & Morals. Nor can we automatically equate this unique gift to the writing of Sacred Scripture. For, while a Pope could conceivably be inspired when it comes to speaking on behalf of God to His Household on earth, a Pope does not normally claim that the Holy Spirit inspires every single word he might speak officially in a particular pronouncement to the Church at large.
No, all the Holy Spirit guarantees is that He will not allow the Papacy to infallibly teach error to the Roman Catholic Body of the Pope’s Master, his Lord Jesus Christ. That’s it. Which, when you think about it, would be an absolutely absurd rational contradiction --- to infallibly teach error --- which is one big reason why the Triune God cannot allow the Pope to do so!
Meanwhile, everything else is rather practical and mundane. How well a Pope says what he says, how well he teaches what he officially teaches, how well he governs what he must govern, or how well he does what he has to do, is, ultimately, pretty much up to him. That is to say, the success or failure of anything else accomplished in a Papacy rests, at least in large part, upon a Pope’s natural abilities, upon his spiritual training, and --- especially --- upon his humble willingness to seek the Commands of Heaven and cooperate with the Grace of God in carrying out the duties of his pre-eminent vicarage both trustily and competently.
+ + + 55. “Whether by Word, or Our Epistle” + + +
Moreover, everything a Pope infallibly teaches rests upon the Word of God and not upon the thoughts or biases of men. God’s Word, Jesus Christ, having entrusted the Saving Truth to His Body, the Church, deposited this Truth in one of two secure vaults that She possesses --- either, one, Sacred Scripture (the Bible as given to us by the Catholic Church), or, two, Sacred Tradition (i.e., Sacred Teaching transmitted by the Catholic Church apart from the Bible, meaning that it has come from God via at least one of the original apostles by word of mouth and eventually written down). And, as we discovered in Chapter 37, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are not mutually antagonistic or exclusive of one another. The two are from God, which is why the Church calls them ‘Sacred’, and why neither of them, comprehended rightly, can contradict the other or contradict itself. The two of them together, rightly comprehended, report the Mind of God adequately, correctly and harmoniously.
Bringing us to another point. Because conservative Evangelics are fond of touting their self-purported ‘reliance’ on Sacred Scripture. You will even find some of their individual congregations named occasionally in memory of the Bereans, those good-willed Jews who “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true…”, being of a “more noble character” than their bad-willed brothers in Thessalonica. (Acts 17:11 NIV) This is what most Evangelics like to think about themselves. We shall see how accurate their assessment is by how eagerly they respond to the Apostle Paul’s Roman Catholic Message as recorded in this book. Will they examine their bibles “every day” as did the “more noble” Bereans to see if these things are “true”? And could the task be made any easier for them when most of the legwork is already done, verses laid out plainly and linked together logically so as to make an absolutely rock-solid case for Catholicity?
But as found in Chapter 12 --- and further explained in Chapters 35 to 37 --- the Bible is not God’s only way of speaking to us. There is Sacred Scripture and there is Sacred Tradition. This is made crystal clear by the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonian Catholics, where he says, “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or letter.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15 NIV.) The NIV translators footnote the term “teachings” in this verse with the admission that it is also rightly rendered as “traditions”, something the KJV scholars demonstrate, too, by having translated the verse centuries ago as follows:
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15 KJV)
Now the Apostle Paul could have exhorted his original readers, some of whom included converts who were not so stubbornly bad-willed as their less “noble” and more “jealous” (Acts 17:11a, 5a NIV) Jewish relations in Thessalonica, to simply stand firm and hold to the traditions passed on by letter alone. He could have exhorted them to rely on scripture by itself. Yet he did not. He instead very starkly bids them to stand firm upon and hold fast to the traditions that he and his fellow workers had taught them --- that is to say, that they had preached to them! --- by either word or letter.
I therefore ask you, dear reader, does this leave any wiggle room for rejecting the idea of tradition? Does it not make inescapably manifest how not only Sacred Tradition, but Sacred Scripture as well, necessarily involves the transmission of traditions over time and across space from one member of God’s Church to another member of God’s Church? And whether it be by the word that is spoken or by the word that is written, is it not evident that, in either case, traditions --- accordingly, teachings passed along from one person to another --- are being transmitted in the process?
+ + + 56. One Last Talk in
For instance, discoursing to the clergy of the Ephesian Catholics for what was apparently the last time in his life, the Apostle Paul announced, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35 NIV)
We repeat, zeroing in on the key clause:
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35e NIV)
What is the significance of this sentence?
They are the words of Jesus Christ and you will not find them reported anywhere else in Sacred Scripture. They can be read only in chapter twenty of the Acts of the Apostles. I invite you, my dear reader, to look through your bible. Examine the Gospels. Pore through a scriptural concordance or do a document search of the same on your computer. You will not find this statement from Jesus Christ in any other book of the Bible, not even in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
But are you puzzled, still not grasping the significance of its presence in the Acts of the Apostles from the lips of the Apostle Paul?
Understand, then, that the vast majority of Jesus’ words are recorded in the Four Gospels. Which ought not to surprise you. Even biblically illiterate people have a vague notion that most of what Jesus said is to be discovered in the first quadruplet of books in the New Testament. The few exceptions to this are Luke’s introduction to the Acts of the Apostles, where he reports Jesus’ words to His disciples before He ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:4-8); the accounts of the Apostle Paul’s conversion, where Luke either himself imparts what Jesus said to Paul on the road to Damascus and to Ananias in Damascus who baptized him, or records Paul telling someone else what Jesus said to him on that road (Acts 9:3-6, 10-16, 22:6-10, 26:13-18); the Voice to Peter in the vision regarding God’s intent to convert Gentiles into the Church, which was very likely the Voice of his Master, Jesus (Acts 10:10-16); Peter’s remembrance of Jesus’ instruction concerning baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16, referring to Acts 1:5); Jesus’ appearances to Paul during the night, when the latter needed to be encouraged (Acts 18:9-10, 23:11); Paul repeating Jesus’ words for priestly consecration of the Holy Eucharist at a Catholic Mass, what Evangelics usually call ‘communion’ (1 Corinthians 11:23-25); Paul’s plea to God for removal of a terrible diabolic torment and the exhortation of Jesus to endure it despite the absence of relief (2 Corinthians 12:7-10); and Jesus’ remarks both at the beginning and near the end of the Apostle John’s Revelation. (Revelation 1-3, 22) With the possible exception of a handful of prophetically anticipated utterances of Jesus in the Old Testament (e.g., Psalm 22:1a NIV, where King David foretells Jesus’ fifth statement upon the Cross --- to wit, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”), there are no other words of Jesus Christ quoted in Sacred Scripture of which I am aware.
Understand, also, that the Apostle Paul was not Jesus’
disciple until shortly after Jesus left the earth and ascended into
Heaven. Consequently, where did Paul find out about Jesus’ statement that
“It is more blessed to give than to receive”? (Acts 20:35e NIV)
Because Paul very explicitly says to the Catholic clergy of Ephesus, “In
everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the
weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is
more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35 NIV) Yet Paul
could not himself personally remember these words of the Lord Jesus
since he himself was not there as a personal eyewitness to everything that
Jesus said and did while He was still upon the earth with His disciples! Nor
could most of the men to whom he spoke, who were not likely to have been
residents of far away
Which is as much as to say that Paul must have been taught this saying as a Sacred Tradition passed along from the Twelve Apostles via his fellow Catholics prior to it becoming a part of Sacred Scripture in the Acts of the Apostles… and that it must have been a well-known tradition or else Paul could not have mentioned it incidentally, in support of caring for the weak, to the Ephesian clergy as if it was common knowledge amongst them!
Sacred Tradition was alive and well from the very beginning of Christianity.
How can we know this?
It should be pretty plain. Nonetheless, be it not plain enough,
dear reader, then consider that the Apostle Paul died in the AD 60s, martyred at
the hands of a deranged Emperor Nero. Any Evangelic scholar I have studied
admits that this is so. Moreover, Paul’s speech to the Ephesian Catholics
in Acts 20 occurred just a few years before his martyrdom --- something clear
from reading the history of his missionary labors as reported in the last half
of the Acts of the Apostles --- the clergy in Ephesus bitterly sad over the
Holy Spirit having repeatedly warned Paul that he was headed for “prison
and hardships” (Acts 20:22-24 NIV) and that they would apparently not see
his face again on the earth. (Acts 20:36-38) Shortly thereafter “a
prophet named Agabus came down from Judea” to
the local church in
+ + + 57. Too Many Books, Not Enough Room + + +
Yet why should this surprise us? Do you not remember the words of the Apostle John near the end of his Gospel? Namely:
“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.” (John 20:30 NIV)
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25 NIV)
And do you not recollect the summing up of the wise man at the close of King Solomon’s reflections upon the vanity of the world?
“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12b NIV)
If, then, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book…” (John 20:30 NIV) and “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written…” (John 21:25 NIV) --- and given that “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body” (Ecclesiastes 12:12b NIV) --- is it any surprise that there are tons of things Jesus said and did while on the earth that are not recorded in the Bible? In fact, what amount of books in this world could ever record all that you or I have said and done, my dear reader? Wherefore I tell you, that not even the sayings and doings of His Twelve Apostles could ever be all written here on earth. Moreover, since Jesus made these Twelve the foundation of His New Covenant Church (see Chapter 7), vouchsafing by the Spirit of Truth to teach them all things, remind them of everything He had said and to guide them into all truth (John 14:26b-e, 16:12-13a), then the Twelve Apostles functioned not only as a conduit of necessary teachings given by the Lord Jesus Christ while He was still on this earth but, according to His Divine Will & through the Holy Spirit, they themselves became a source of necessary teachings for the Church to follow as well!
The conclusion is stark.
Jesus & His Apostles said and did far more things than are recorded in the books of the Bible, and far more things than could ever be recorded in any amount of books anywhere. Furthermore, even if earliest Christians had tried their hardest to record everything Jesus & His Apostles said and did, there would have been no end to the amount of books that would have had to have been written, and future disciples would be wearied beyond endurance trying to study them all!
My dear reader, do you comprehend? The issue is not, as an Evangelic would like to have it, that there can be no such thing as Sacred Tradition --- i.e., teaching that God transmits apart from Sacred Scripture. The biblical evidence is undeniable that there both can be and are in fact traditions from God via His Apostles that have been imparted orally or else passed along by some other medium than the Bible. The question to ask, then, is this:
Has God made Sacred Tradition a necessary part of the Saving Truth? That is to say, are there things men must know in order to save their souls that cannot be found stated explicitly in the Bible?
And before you react scathingly, recall from Chapters 35 to 37 how we have demolished the idea of the Bible alone being God’s Word and ‘only source’ for all that men must know or do to receive Salvation. What’s more, even were you to continue claiming, however illogically in spite of the evidence, that you rely on the Bible as a ‘sole voice’ or ‘final authority’ in religion free from the infallible guidance of Jesus’ Body, the Roman Catholic Church, His Pillar & Foundation of the Truth, where in Sacred Scripture does it say God doesn’t use Sacred Tradition to teach men how to save their souls --- indeed, that He opposes the use of tradition in His Religion because it is never right and always useless? Yet if the Bible doesn’t say this, then how can anyone categorically reject Sacred Tradition when his purported ‘authority’ for doing so, the Bible, doesn’t denounce it?
The best a clever Protestant can dredge up is a few verses where Jesus chides the Pharisees for practicing ‘traditions of men’ in opposition to the Commandments of God, and another couple of verses where Paul disparages such Godless ‘traditions of men’ as well, including those of his former peers, the Pharisaical Jews. We looked at one of these examples back in Chapter 12, finding that the Greek word the Holy Spirit-inspired writer of the Gospel uses to represent Jesus’ Aramaic word for ‘tradition’ when chastising the Pharisees for their revolting behaviour in Mark 7:8 (‘paradosin’) is also the exact same word in Greek (‘paradoseis’), grammatically declined to fit the context properly, that the Holy Spirit-inspired writer, Paul, employs in his letter when exhorting the Thessalonian Catholics to remain steadfast in the ‘traditions’ that he gave them! (2 Thessalonians 2:15) Ergo, not all traditions are bad. Traditions from God are good. Traditions from men are either good or bad. And those that are good further and uphold God’s Religion while those that are bad contradict or obstruct His Religion.
+ + + 58. Infallibility + + +
But how are we to recognize Sacred Tradition as sacred? Put another way, how can we distinguish the teachings that are from God from the teachings that are not? And we rejoinder --- by the same way we know what books belong in the Bible. Accordingly, by listening to the one who talks with God’s Authority, expressing His Mind free of any error. Making the question that we should ask become this:
Who speaks for God?
My dear reader, can your ‘church’ speak for Him? Can you or your religion pontificate officially for the Creator of All That Exists with nary an error to be found in any of your pronouncements? Are you infallible, is it impossible for you to misinterpret your bible, are you incapable of making a mistake about religion, can you never be deceived and misled in these matters?
Then why should anyone believe you and your Evangelicism, why should anyone follow your religion and your opinion about what the Bible says, as if this can surely save his soul? Just who are you to tell someone what God wants and expects from us? You read your bible. Fine… now prove to me that you understand it correctly. Prove to me that your interpretation of it is to be believed over and against the differing interpretation of another Evangelic. Which of you is right, if either?
Yet you are nonchalant, claiming you and your peers in Evangelicism are united on the ‘essentials’. Then why can’t Evangelics agree about how to save a man’s soul? As we noted in Chapter 38, isn’t this essential? And why did your spiritual predecessors as recently as fifty years ago have a much more stringent idea about what damns a man’s soul? Why have the great majority of Evangelics lately changed their opinion about the threat of Hell? Has the meaning of Sacred Scripture in the 20th century suddenly altered? Did the All-Knowing Mind of God and His Perfect Intent in giving the inspired and inerrant biblical text unexpectedly shift? Or is Protestant interpretation of the Bible much like the U.S. Supreme Court, wherein the majority of its justices can make our nation’s Constitution mean whatever they want it to mean?
You are lost, dear reader, lost on the Broad Path to Destruction. (Matthew 7:13-14) Provided you are not Catholic, your soul certainly wanders upon the highways and byways of this earthly existence, headed for damnation. For if you do not have a sincere desire to perceive what our Creator designed us for and commands us to believe and do --- regardless of your prejudices and presuppositions to start with --- then your eyes are very much blinded by the duplicity of the Devil. You feign sight when in reality the eyes of your rational soul are inconstant, loath to perceive anything but illusion, and the darkness of wrong beliefs and wrong actions belches forth from your body like putridity from a cesspool. As Jesus observed:
“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23 KJV)
How great, indeed. For there is only
How, then, can men know what traditions are from God, and what
traditions are from men? And how can we know which manmade traditions are good
and which of them are bad? We can know by looking unto God’s
Dear reader, you know none of your so-called ‘churches’ can supply this infallible certainty. None of them claim outright to speak infallibly, although each of them, and each of you, claims inferentially, by pretending never to interpret your bibles wrongly about that which is supposedly ‘essential’ to interpret rightly, to be infallible! Yet if infallible in actual practice, then why don’t you just come straight out and say so? He who is infallible has no reason to be shy about it… after all, his declaration of infallibility couldn’t possibly be wrong.
The same goes for the schismatic churches of self-styled Eastern ‘Orthodoxy’. It is nothing of the sort, of course, being heretical and now rife with diabolic lies. Nevertheless, at least its members don’t fall for the trap of relying on ‘scripture alone’. Instead, they stumble right into the gaping maw of ‘tradition alone’. That is to say, they think all their beliefs correct because (say they) all these beliefs come from the apostles of the first century. Ergo, they, too, are inferentially claiming to be--- whether or not it’s openly asserted --- in actual practice infallible.
Yet not everyone can be ‘infallible’ when everyone contradicts each other, can they? So who is it? Which of them is really speaking for God as His Infallible Voice on earth --- and how are we to know? Protestants distrust Easterners and vehemently despise Catholics. Likewise, Easterners disdain Protestants and nearly outdo them in detesting Catholics. Meanwhile, real Catholics spurn both Protestants and Easterners as heretics and rebels against the One True Religion of God.
But which of them is infallible?
Significantly, of these three the Roman Catholic Church is the sole
open claimant to infallibility. Only She dares say
bluntly that She is infallible. That in itself ought to be a huge red flag. But
you and I, my dear reader, also know how only Catholicism can be
substantiated from the written testimony of earliest Christians. For, whilst
Eastern Schismatics can lay claim to many teachings that are similar to, if not
actually identical with, the infallible dogmas of the Catholic Church, not even
Easterners dare to espouse the infallible dogma of an Infallible Papacy. Only
Roman Catholics do this. And you know, dear reader --- having looked at ancient
Christian testimony back in Chapters 16 to 33 regarding the existence, nature,
purpose and behaviour of the Bishop of
+ + + 59. Surgery for the Soul + + +
But the only reason I have to go into this, hammering it home again and again, dear reader, is because the mind of he who is befogged by the Devil is like a person with cataracts over his eyes. To make him see clearly, one must apply the cure of a delicate and skillful surgery. Notwithstanding, before such surgery can be performed, one must convince the person with cataracts that he needs the surgery. Because, astonishingly enough, the typical Evangelic Protestant is like a person with cataracts who doesn’t think he sees poorly! He is so blinded, and so used to being blind, that he has little or no conception of what clear-sightedness is. He thinks objects are supposed to look fuzzy. He thinks it’s supposed to be hard to make anything out, to read easily, and so forth and so on. Or he thinks people are supposed to wander about the familiar haunts of their household navigating solely by memory and touch. He can’t believe anyone would maliciously move the furniture out of place or put a dangerous knife or poison in a position where things had seemed so safe. And he thinks that outside of his comfortable home is a marvelous parkland --- even though he can perceive nothing of it through his windows but a hazy gloaming --- that, when it is time for him to leave the house, will become for him a paradise of enjoyment. He has no idea a precipice awaits him at the bottom of his porch stairway, that at the base of this dizzying cliff is a pool of roiling magma. He is blithely unaware that he is perched upon the lip of a menacing volcano.
Hence, trying to tell an Evangelic about the rock hard infallibility of the Roman Catholic Faith is like, at first, trying to tell the hypothetical person above with cataracts that he doesn’t see well. And then, secondly --- presuming one can, at a bare minimum, convince the Evangelic to consider the possibility that he is terribly blind when it comes to religion --- it’s like trying to show the hypothetical person what he must do to be able to see everything clearly when, in fact, the person is quite content to stumble around in a fog or is horrified at the thought of corrective surgery!
Nevertheless, my dear reader, I point you to your bible. Sacred Scripture is the surgical scalpel I wish to use upon your spiritual eyes. This deadly sharp edge of the Sword of the Spirit (the other edge of which is Sacred Tradition, the two of them together being how Jesus Christ, Who is the Incarnate Word of God, speaks to us through His Body, the Catholic Church, of which the Head & Mouth is the Papacy) is a Sword of Truth having the finesse, despite its equally fantastic ability to kill and destroy, to perform the most exquisite of operations in saving a life, in the saving of a soul. For not only does the Apostle Paul uphold the notion of Sacred Tradition in Acts 20:35 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15, but he also sustains it in two other passages. We examine them both.
+ + + 60. The Fraud of ‘Scripture Alone’ + + +
“I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.” (1 Corinthians 11:2 NIV)
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6 NIV)
In each verse the NIV scholars acknowledge in a footnote how the words “teachings” and “teaching” are equivalent to, and therefore just as rightly rendered as, the words “traditions” and “tradition”. Meaning that the Apostle Paul’s very evident support of Sacred Tradition in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 was no fluke. For in the first example just above Paul praises the Corinthian Catholics “…for holding to the traditions, just as I passed them on to you.” (1 Corinthians 11:2b NIV, using footnote translation from the NIV scholars.) And in the second example he commands the Thessalonian Catholics “…to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the tradition you received from us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6b-c NIV, using footnote translation from the NIV scholars.)
And I inquire once more, dear reader… does Paul tell either the Corinthians or the Thessalonians to rely on his letters alone? Does the apostle here direct the Corinthians and the Thessalonians to live according to the Bible exclusively? And are we to imagine that what Paul thought so very important to impart to both Corinthian and Thessalonian Christians about “tradition” --- as well as to remind them in his letters not to forget it or to disobey it --- is something that he inexplicably thought of little importance to impart to all the other local churches that he started and fostered, and that he never once exhorted them, if only in person, not to forget it or to disobey it? In other words, are we to suppose that Paul by mouth simply imparted his own unimportant personal thinking and not the perpetual teachings --- i.e., traditions! --- of his Master, Jesus Christ, that are so very necessary to the salvation of any man’s soul?
Yet we know it is not simply his own unimportant personal thinking,
or else the Holy Spirit would not have inspired him to commend it in
writing as part of inerrant Sacred Scripture! Too, his letters to the
Corinthian & Thessalonian Christians being a part of this inerrant Bible of
the Roman Catholic Church, then we know that all the other local churches read
these letters eventually. Moreover, that it would have been useless for these
local churches across the rest of the world to read these passages upholding
adherence to Sacred Tradition if they had no idea what these traditions were!
And why would the Holy Spirit inspire useless passages in the Bible?
Hence, it is an inescapably logical conclusion that the Apostle Paul, and the
other Apostles, did indeed convey the perpetual teachings --- traditions --- of
their Master, Jesus Christ, at the behest of the Holy Spirit,
“What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus… And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 1:13, 2:2 NIV)
We repeat, pounding home the gist of Paul’s Holy Spirit-inspired words:
“What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus… And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 1:13, 2:2 NIV)
And again I inquire, my dear reader… does Paul tell Timothy to rely on his letters alone in order to know “sound teaching”? Does the apostle here direct Timothy to live according to the Bible exclusively in order for “reliable men” to “be qualified to teach others”? Or are we not to take Paul, the Holy Spirit and the Bible at face value, realizing it is what Timothy “heard” Paul say “in the presence of many witnesses” that he is to uphold, teaching others to believe and do likewise via yet other men who will teach the same?
Let us also remember that Paul wrote 2 Timothy last of all his
letters --- no later than the autumn of AD 67 according to the majority
of Evangelic scholars --- when practically the whole New Testament had been
completed, and that Peter referred to Paul’s letters as generally known
by Catholics everywhere and a recognized part of Sacred Scripture already. (2
Peter 3:15-16) Most Evangelic scholarship agreeing as well that Peter’s
second letter could have been written no sooner than the mid-AD 60s, we
then have nigh-well incontrovertible proof for an Evangelic mind that
the apostle who, in their opinion was greatest of all due to the sheer weight
of his New Testament letters, was upholding, by means of and alongside the written
transmission of Sacred Scripture, the oral transmission of Sacred
Tradition --- a Sacred Tradition that necessarily includes the perpetual
teaching of how to interpret Sacred Scripture properly, especially those parts
that are “hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16c NIV) like the Apostle
Peter noted regarding both Paul’s letters and the rest of the
Bible’s contents --- despite nearly the entire Bible having
been composed and spread to Christians all over the world for them to read at
the time Paul wrote this! [The New
Open Bible, NKJV (New King James Version), printed by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Now why on earth, wonders the Evangelic, would Paul in the Bible tout Sacred Tradition alongside Sacred Scripture? And the answer --- because Sacred Scripture alone, all by itself, is not enough to guarantee a man both accurate and adequate knowledge of everything he must believe and everything he must do in order to save his immortal soul. As we observed near the beginning of Chapter 51, the Bible “…is not… a systematic instruction book upon religion.” We repeat for the sake of blinded minds to finally see straight: the Bible is not a systematic instruction book upon religion! It cannot be for the simple reason that God never designed it to be. Had He designed it to be such, then the Holy Spirit would have inspired the men who composed its contents to write in a manner befitting the composition of textbooks or other formally arranged instructional materials, and He would have guided the leaders of His Church to organize the contents of Sacred Scripture to the same effect. Yet He did not. The Triune Catholic God instead had men in His Church write and arrange the Bible according to a very different plan. (Review Chapter 51 for a brief synopsis of this plan.) While parts of Sacred Scripture contain outright instruction --- especially the wisdom books --- none of these instructions are composed or organized in a wholly systematic way. Hence, with the Bible often broaching difficult topics and frequently saying things that are hard for most men to sufficiently and correctly comprehend, how is a man to have a thorough grasp of Sacred Scripture without distorting it and misinterpreting it, damning himself to Hell forever as a result?
Like the Ethiopian eunuch said to Phillip when the latter asked him if he understood what he was reading in the Bible, “How can I… unless someone explains it to me?” (Acts 8:31a NIV) We looked at this in Chapter 42, revealing to us why the Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Catholics of Rome, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15 NIV, quoting Isaiah 52:7.) The marvelous thing here is that Paul quotes from the Prophet Isaiah, the very prophet the good-willed Ethiopian was perusing. In fact, from the very chapter (Isaiah 52:7) literally right before, and in perfect continuity with, the passage that the Ethiopian was reading (Isaiah 53:7-8), as Acts 8:32-33 informs us. Confused as to its correct meaning and interpretation, this good-willed man from Ethiopia very much needed someone who was “sent” to “preach” to him Jesus’ Roman Catholic Teachings & Commandments, thereby making it possible for him to “hear” and “believe in” this wonderful Roman Catholic “good news!” Wherefore I say to you that it is hearing the good news of Jesus’ Roman Catholic Faith preached that allows a man to both call upon and believe in the real Jesus Christ as his true Lord & Saviour.
Again, this is exactly what Evangelics do in their heretical version of things. For how many people have you known, in distant lands untouched by the knowledge of Evangelic Protestantism, to convert to Evangelicism by simply reading a bible that is totally unadorned by Evangelic remarks or instructions? Rather, an Evangelic Protestant missionary must first go to the far away place, either in person or indirectly by means of books, pamphlets, the Internet, television or other broadcast media, in order to preach his heretical gospel to the inhabitants, explaining to them why it is they need (according to him) to convert to Evangelicism so as to ‘save’ their souls. Only then can the poison of Evangelic heresy spread rapidly across wide areas. For only then is the tradition of Evangelic Protestantism transmitted --- that is to say, the various teachings passed from person to person about how an Evangelic convert is to misinterpret the Bible so as to seemingly ‘uphold’ the beliefs of his new false religion.
Bringing us to another point. A point that is acutely embarrassing for these heretics when confronted by the facts. Because most Evangelics are unable to live up to the reputation they so undeservedly have regarding accuracy and knowledge about the Bible. For, when you get right down to it, most Evangelics don’t even know what their bibles actually say. I state this for a fact because I myself was an Evangelic the first thirty-three years of my life, having known hundreds upon hundreds of them personally, if not thousands, and having read my Evangelic bible at least two times through --- parts of it many times more --- from cover to cover before I began converting to Catholicism. And I can tell you, based upon my eyewitness experience over broad swaths of the United States, how all that most Evangelic adherents have, religiously speaking, is a tradition, period, to which they cling --- and not any firsthand biblical knowledge to supposedly ‘back up’ their Evangelic beliefs --- about the very little they are expected to believe and do so as to warrant ‘salvation’ after death.
Do not, then, dear reader, dare to hypocritically impugn Roman Catholics for holding to traditions. Au contraire, tremble on behalf of yourself. For those traditions of yours that are purely Evangelic are nothing but traditions of men… and nearly all of them bad traditions, at that. Whereas traditions of real Roman Catholics are most certainly good and many of them sacred, the latter having come from God via His Prophets, His Son & His Son’s Apostles as necessary for the salvation of souls.
+ + + 61. Are You Ready to Listen? + + +
But do you still dare to deny that Sacred Tradition is necessary for Salvation? Then consider the Apostle Paul’s Holy Spirit-inspired words elsewhere in the Bible to his protégé, Bishop Timothy:
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16 NIV)
This is one of numerous verses I quoted in Chapters 8 & 9 regarding the exclusiveness of Salvation. And, clearly, Paul affirms the absolute necessity of correct doctrine --- as well as of good morality --- to save a person’s soul. And what does the Apostle Paul tell Timothy about the means of imparting this soul-saving doctrine to the flock under his care?
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16 NIV)
There you are. Once more the need to hear what is taught, to hear this teaching rightly explained. Again our minds return to the entirely sensible question voiced by the perplexed but good-willed Ethiopian to Phillip when asked by the latter if he understood what he was reading from the Bible, “How can I… unless someone explains it to me?” (Acts 8:31a NIV) Again and again the Bible crushes devilish unbelief against Sacred Tradition, it being the perpetual teachings --- i.e., traditions! --- of the Almighty God’s One & Only Roman Catholic Church that preserves untarnished, against the Devil’s lying attacks, the true and actual meaning of Sacred Scripture so that men might save their souls by the hearing of its Good Catholic News.
But let us examine the word “doctrine” from 1 Timothy 4:16 NIV as quoted just above, a term identical for this verse in the KJV that Strong’s Concordance, a classic Evangelic Protestant reference work, employs. In the original Greek of Paul’s letter, grammatically declined to fit the sentence properly, this was ‘didaskalia’. It is a noun meaning, literally, ‘instruction’, ‘doctrine’, ‘learning’ or ‘teaching’. [Greek Dictionary of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, entry number 1319 on page 28, as keyed to the entry for ‘doctrine’ in 1 Timothy 4:16 on page 366 of the Main Concordance.] Next let us examine the word “teach” in 2 Timothy 2:2 NIV, which we looked at closely a few pages back (again, a term identical for this verse in the KJV that Strong’s Concordance uses). To wit, where Paul says, “What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus… And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 1:13, 2:2 NIV) In the original Greek of Paul’s letter, grammatically declined to fit the sentence properly, this was ‘didasko’. It is a verb meaning, literally, ‘to teach’. [Greek Dictionary of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, entry number 1321 on page 28, as keyed to the entry for ‘teach’ in 2 Timothy 2:2 on page 1345 of the Main Concordance.]
Now compare these Greek words --- ‘didaskalia’ and ‘didasko’. Even a cursory glance ought to be enough for the alert reader to notice how the two are related. Which is not surprising since one of the literal meanings of the first, ‘didaskalia’, is ‘teaching’, and the only literal meaning of the second, ‘didasko’, is ‘to teach’. Yet if any skepticism remains, then the testimony of Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament should suffice. Viz., view entry number 1319 for ‘didaskalia’ and you will see it refer to entry number 1320, ‘didaskalos’, meaning ‘instructor’ or ‘teacher’, as its origin. Then, investigating entry number 1320 carefully, you will find it in turn referring to entry number 1321, ‘didasko’ --- the very word we’ve been comparing ‘didaskalia’ to --- as the term from which it originates. Wherefore I say to you that the two words are irrefutably linked by grammar, definition and etymology.
The Apostle Paul is plainly talking about a teaching of doctrine that incorporates both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. As Paul inarguably said to the Catholics in Thessalonica, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15 KJV) In either case, whether it be Sacred Tradition or Sacred Scripture that we are speaking of, traditions are being taught and passed along in the Catholic Church, either in person or indirectly via some other means. And as Paul also inarguably said to the Christians of Thessalonica, “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.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6 KJV) Consequently, it is the teaching --- tradition --- that is “received” that is crucial. Crucial, because only then is the entirety of the words of God delivered unto the Church for a man’s salvation to be had, preserved from the lies of Hell. Crucial, because only then is the fullness of the Saving Truth to be comprehended… a comprehension incomplete and hence insufficient unless the Saving Truth is fully obtained through the traditions of God’s Church, a wholeness lacking in every other version of so-called ‘christianity’ aside from the Roman Catholic Religion. And crucial, because as Paul said to Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16 NIV)
Dear reader, this clinches the necessity of Sacred Tradition for Salvation beyond any reasonable doubt. And, really, there hasn’t been much room left for reasonable doubt since at least the end of Chapter 57. Instead, the man who claims to rely on the Bible, and who has read carefully until this point, can see how the Creator must have made Sacred Tradition necessary for a man to know to save his soul. For what did the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tell Timothy?
To “[w]atch your life and doctrine closely…” (1 Timothy 4:16a NIV)
“[B]ecause if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16b NIV)
And what is this “doctrine” that Paul mentions?
It is ‘teaching’, as a decent dictionary of ancient Greek or any good English dictionary attests.
And what had the Apostle Paul told Timothy elsewhere, according to the NIV?
“What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus… And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 1:13, 2:2 NIV)
It’s right there in your own bible, my dear reader. Paul makes utterly clear that what he has taught is to be passed on by other qualified teachers as an unalterable teaching across the years and generations to come, which is all that a tradition is, as we’ve remarked before. This is the significance of Paul’s Greek words for both “doctrine” in 1 Timothy 4:16 and “teach” in 2 Timothy 2:2 being practically identical, whether looked at grammatically, definitionally, or etymologically. Going further, it is what Timothy heard taught that he was to teach to his hearers, entrusting these teachings to yet other “reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2:2b NIV) What’s more, that by persevering in all of these teachings --- i.e., traditions, whether intra-biblically or extra-biblically transmitted --- he will “save” both himself and his hearers! (1 Timothy 4:16b NIV)
The question is, are you ready to listen to this Saving Truth? Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to hear everything the Catholic Church tells you to do in order to save your immortal soul?
Dear reader, you had better be ready soon. Because your bible all by itself won’t help you. And don’t think that your being securely alive on the earth thus far is a divine confirmation of your religious falsehood. How profane to imagine so! Rather, your heretical ignorance and wicked instability will damn you to Hell forever in the end if you do not change from the path you are on. As we have already read near the end of Chapter 42 and as the first Pope of the Catholic Church warned in Sacred Scripture, “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15-16 NIV)
Leading us inexorably to the following conclusion:
Sacred Tradition is most certainly and absolutely necessary for Eternal Life. Indeed, that, whereas one could imagine, as a Catholic, living sadly bereft of a decent copy of, or proper access to, the text of Sacred Scripture while still managing at a bare minimum to be a good Catholic, i.e., living by the infallible dogmas of the Holy Roman Church, and so saving one’s soul after death upon the earth, one cannot imagine, as a Catholic, living bereft of every tradition that is transmitted extra-biblically, particularly by means of word of mouth, while still managing to be truly Catholic at all, so critical are divinely-originated traditions (as well as traditions imposed as aids unto Salvation by the Roman Catholic Church) to fully knowing and adequately understanding the Precious Dogmas of the Catholic Faith --- including a correct comprehension of the Bible --- and thus being on the One & Only Narrow Way to Heaven.
+ + + 62. A Sham Further Exposed + + +
Realize, too, we have been quoting from Paul’s very last letters before he died gloriously martyred for the True Religion, as any Evangelic scholar with whom I’m familiar admits. So the typical Evangelic argument that the text of the New Testament was not yet composed --- and that the local churches of the first century thus relied on Paul’s oral teaching in lieu of an adequately completed biblical canon, in contrast to self-styled ‘christians’ today who must rely on Sacred Scripture alone --- falls almost totally flat. Because what did the local churches near the end of Paul’s life after AD 67 lack, biblically speaking? Merely the writings of the Apostles John & (possibly) Jude, that’s it.
Although, of course, this makes the Evangelic stance of ‘scripture alone’ all the more ridiculous. For what did Christians do in the first few decades after Jesus’ ascended into Heaven, but before most of the New Testament was written and publicized? How in the world did these first Christians get the Saving Truth necessary for their souls to enter into Heaven without a completed Bible in their hands and with hardly any New Testament at their disposal? Was it not through the personal testimony of the apostles, passed along from Christian to Christian as extra-biblical teaching (tradition!) under the watchful eyes of leaders (bishops!) appointed by these same apostles to govern the various local churches? And if extra-biblical tradition allied with the authority of apostolic testimony under the governance of local bishops was good enough for them to save their souls at this early stage prior to the canon of the Bible being completed, then why isn’t extra-biblical tradition allied with the authority of apostolic testimony under the governance of local bishops (who are the direct successors of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles, inheriting their God-given mission to, amongst other things, guard the transmission of apostolic testimony), and especially under the governance of the man who is the rightful Bishop of Rome, good enough for Catholics to save their souls since that time after the canon of the Bible is done?
Moreover, if Sacred Scripture is such a wonderful way, all by itself, for men to know how to save their souls, then why have Protestants had such a rough time of it, not being able to agree with each other about what their bibles say or mean, splintering doctrinally, morally and liturgically at a constant pace for the last four-and-a-half centuries? Not to mention how many men have been illiterate and large books painstaking to produce and expensive to buy during the first fifteen hundred years since Jesus & His Apostles walked the earth. How are they supposed to have saved their souls when copies of the Bible were often too costly, too few and not possible for the unlettered to read? And anyhow, what’s so very important to Evangelics about having a bible when most of them nowadays will admit to very little being actually ‘essential’ and hence truly necessary to know for ‘saving’ their souls? Their ‘essential’ teachings can be summed up thusly: believe Jesus is the Son of God, believe He died for your sins on the Cross, admit that you’re a sinner, ask Him to forgive you, and do it because your bible says so.
Voilá! You’re on your way to ‘heaven’, say they.
So what on earth is left for their bibles to accomplish? The Bible for an Evangelic is almost like a computer instruction manual. That is to say, it is undoubtedly true and assuredly helpful --- but also quite complicated, rather confusing, time consuming and in no way necessary for a person to be able to plug the machine in, turn it on and do the minimum he wants it to accomplish.
Can you perceive, dear reader, the foolishness at play here? Can you see how the Devil has appeared like “an angel of light”, many of the servants he sends “masquerading as apostles of Christ” become leaders of the false religion of Evangelicism in this apostate world? (2 Corinthians 11:14b, 13c NIV) Can you not recognize how utterly imperative it is for there to be a Church that is God’s Household, His Pillar & Foundation of the Truth (1 Timothy 3:14-15), She alone by God’s Power able to tell us with infallible certainty which traditions are sacred and which are not, how they are to be understood and how they are not, what belongs in one’s bible and what does not, and what scriptures mean and what they do not, thereby surely guiding us into the things needful for our salvation while avoiding everlasting hellfire?
+ + + 63. Protestant Tradition + + +
Yet mayhap you continue to oppose the idea of tradition, contumaciously --- and despite all logic and evidence to the contrary --- persisting in calling any religious tradition at all unnecessary and even evil. Then tremble, my dear reader, as I have warned you before. Tremble at your hypocrisy. For as to the second contention, that any religious tradition at all is evil, the tradition of your own Evangelicism belies it. For how do Evangelics represent Jesus in their art? He is always portrayed by them with long hair flowing down to, and sometimes past, his shoulders. I know of no exceptions. So now, dear Evangelic Protestant reader, you who claim to believe nothing apart from what you can find stated plainly in your bible, please answer me a very simple question:
Where in your bibles does it say that Jesus had long hair?
Rhetorically speaking, I await your response. In reality, though, I know very well what your candid response must be. Because nowhere does the Bible in its contents give us an explicit description of Jesus’ physical appearance, aside from certain details of His brutal physical torture and the scars resulting therefrom. Leading us to ask another simple question:
Where then do Evangelics, and Protestants in general, get their idea that Jesus had long hair?
And of course we know the answer to this query. An answer exposing the hypocrisy underlying all of Protestantism:
They get it from tradition.
That’s right. Protestants --- even Evangelics themselves, even the most conservative and rabidly anti-Catholic of them --- get the idea that Jesus had long hair from it being passed down as a teaching --- a tradition! --- from one generation of Evangelics and Protestants to the next. More’s the rub, and if the reader follows the thread of reasoning back to its logical start, then we must conclude that Evangelics, who came from older ‘mainline’ Protestants in the late 1800s, got the long-haired Jesus tradition from earlier Protestants, who themselves arose out of the Catholic Church during their mass rebellion in the 1500s and thus got the long-haired Jesus tradition from… Roman Catholics.
After all, Evangelics claim only to believe what they can find stated in their bibles --- yet they can’t find it anywhere stated explicitly in Sacred Scripture that Jesus had long hair. So from where else could they have gotten the tradition about Jesus wearing long hair?
+ + + 64. Long Hair, Dead Bodies & Alcoholic Drink + + +
A tradition, by the way, that Roman Catholics have always held. Not that it is a dogma, in the sense that it is necessary to believe Jesus has long hair in order to enter into the Catholic Church and thence into Heaven by means of a good death in the state of grace, but that it is a pious belief coming across the centuries from earliest eyewitnesses, attesting to the fact that, yes, Jesus Christ did indeed wear His hair long while upon the earth as a man. A pious belief, incidentally, that also correlates perfectly with the physical evidence of Jesus’ apparent burial cloth. To wit, the very renowned and much disputed Shroud of Turin.
Now, it is beyond the scope of this book to discuss the controversy
Which is why I tell you, dear reader, that the Shroud of Turin appears to back up the pious belief about Jesus’ long hair. For not only does the Shroud correlate perfectly with the account of Jesus’ Suffering & Death as found in the Bible, bearing mysteriously and inexplicably the image of a crucified man upon its fabric, but this mysterious and inexplicable image shows long hair flowing down past his shoulders upon his back. Not that this is why Catholics piously believe Jesus had long hair. Their ancient belief comes from the extra-biblical testimony of His earliest disciples, those who listened to His Voice and beheld His Face. The Shroud merely corroborates this testimony as a silent material witness.
Nevertheless, the extra-biblical testimony of Jesus’ earliest disciples, by being extra-biblical, does not thereby in any way contradict the biblical testimony. Far from it. For whilst Sacred Scripture does not explicitly say Jesus had long hair, it also does not say explicitly He did not. As a matter of fact, the biblical evidence suggests otherwise… albeit only tantalizingly and indirectly, if not uniformly. For have you not read where Jesus, about to die on the Cross, is offered wine and refuses it?
“They brought Jesus to the place called
“They came to a place called
Some ancient commentators say Jesus refused the wine because, mingled with “myrrh” (Mark 15:23a NIV) and perhaps other bitter substances under the title of “gall” (Matthew 27:34a NIV), it had an intoxicating or anesthetic effect. I know not whether this is true; it sounds plausible to me. I do know, though, that there is another plausible-sounding explanation as well. It is this --- that He refused the wine because He was a Nazirite and had not yet fulfilled His Nazirite vow. We read of such vows in the Bible’s Old Testament:
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of separation to the Lord as a Nazirite, he must abstain from wine or other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or from other fermented drink. He must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins. As long as he is a Nazirite, he must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins. During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. He must be holy until the period of his separation to the Lord is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long.”’” (Numbers 6:1-5 NIV)
So we see how being a Nazirite means a “vow of separation to the Lord” and that the one separated must “abstain from wine”. (Numbers 6:2c, 3a NIV) Obviously, Jesus abstained from the wine the soldiers offered Him just prior to crucifying Him. We see, too, how being a Nazirite means “…he must let the hair of his head grow long.” (Numbers 6:5c NIV) And, just as obviously, both Protestants since the 1500s and Catholics since the first century have passed along the tradition of Jesus having long hair. As a result, this piously believed tradition (a belief only pious amongst Catholics since Protestants, by opposing the Commandments of God, indeed make impious whatever they do, regardless of the fact that a few of their beliefs and practices, taken by themselves, might be true or right) correlates with what Sacred Scripture would seem to suggest. A possibility paralleled by at least a handful of other unique men. E.g., Samson as shown in Judges 13:2-14, Samuel as shown in 1 Samuel 1:9-11, and John the Baptist as shown in Luke 1:11-17, each of whom was apparently a Nazirite from birth until death. Nor was the Nazirite vow a rare thing. Vows made only for a temporary period, or even partially without invoking all four criteria (no grape-derived foods, nothing that can cause drunkenness, stay away from corpses, and grow your hair long), were quite common during devout eras of the Old Covenant. Reason itself based on the scriptural facts leads one to conclude this, or else there was no need for the Nazirite rule of life to be officially established or to make the vows wide open to however brief or long a span of time a person might freely choose to undertake them.
+ + + 65. Re Wine & Nazirites + + +
On the other hand, and as a knowledgeable student of the Bible might already have surmised, the Apostle John appears to shoot down the Nazirite proposal. For he says, reporting on what happened afterward as Jesus neared death upon the Cross, “Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:28-30 NIV) God through Moses having commanded that a Nazirite “must not drink vinegar made from wine” (Numbers 6:3b NIV), John’s inerrant testimony looks like an insurmountable obstacle to the Nazirite opinion.
Notwithstanding, a solution exists. For we read further in
Moses’ testimony how the Nazirite’s vow is only for a certain
“period” of time. (Numbers 6:5a NIV) When this “period of his
separation to the Lord is over…” (Numbers 6:5b NIV), the Nazirite
may “fulfill the vow” by offering sacrifice through a priest at the
Jesus, then, could “fulfill the vow” of being a Nazirite in offering Himself as Sacrifice, through Himself as Priest, and in Himself as Temple, upon the Cross. That He is a Sacrifice is seen by His title of “the Lamb of God” as given by John the Baptist (John 1:29, 35-36 NIV) and “the Lamb” as given by the Apostle John. (Revelation 5:6, 8 NIV. See the rest of Revelation for several more examples of Jesus called “the Lamb”.) These titles advert to the lambs sacrificed under the Old Covenant; for instance, the Passover lamb mentioned in Exodus 12:1-28 & Numbers 9:1-14, or the daily sacrificial lambs spoken of in Exodus 29:38-41 & Numbers 28:2-8. Recall too that the Apostle Paul said Jesus is the “one sacrifice for sins”. (Hebrews 10:12a NIV. See Hebrews 10:1-18 for the entire context.) Withal, that he described Jesus as being a “high priest” Who “went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.” (Hebrews 9:11 NIV) This uncreated Tabernacle, or Temple, is the God of Heaven Above incarnate upon earth in His Son’s Body, as John 2:18-21 & Revelation 21 reveal --- specifically, and speaking of the New Jerusalem, which is Jesus’ Bride come down from Heaven, His Glorified Ecclesial Body & Church Triumphant, “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Revelation 21:22b NIV) --- Paul adding that Jesus as Eternal High Priest “…entered heaven itself… to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:24b, 26d NIV)
Jesus near death “knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled” (John 19:28a-b NIV) --- the latter clause a prophetic reference to the sufferings of Jesus foretold in the Old Testament, particularly in Psalm 69:21, and, as well, as seen from the perspective of the Nazirite proposal, referring to the fulfillment of a Nazirite vow --- “received the drink” (John 19:30a NIV) of the vinegar both in order to accomplish the prophecy of King David in Psalm 69 and because, having fulfilled His vow, “the Nazirite may drink wine.” (Numbers 6:20c NIV)
Nonetheless, the skeptic might cite these words of Jesus to the Jews:
“Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? And to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, ‘We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.’ For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, ‘He hath a devil.’ The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, ‘Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified of all her children. (Luke 7:31b-35 KJV)
Jesus’ own testimony, reporting the slander current among the Jews of Palestine about Him, would seem to undercut the idea He was a Nazirite. For they considered Him a “winebibber,” and this is just an old-fashioned way (coined by an early Protestant rebel, incidentally, to help translate Luke 7:33 and Matthew 11:19 into English [Webster’s New World Dictionary, 2nd College Edition as published in 1972 at New York, entry with etymology for ‘winebibber’ on page 1630]) of saying ‘someone who drinks too much wine’.
Howbeit, their slander was just that --- slander. For Jesus could not have drank too much wine since to do so is to become drunk and drunkenness is forbidden by God. (See Leviticus 10:8-11 where it is strictly forbidden for priests in the service of God, 1 Samuel 1:12-16 where it is spoken of as wickedness, Proverbs 23:26-35 where it is described as a fool’s misery, and 1 Timothy 3:1-7 & Titus 1:5-9 which again forbid excessive drinking by priests or bishops, amongst several other references.) Jesus Christ being the Heavenly High Priest & Divine Bishop Who is perfect in every way, how could He indulge drunkenness while on the earth amongst men?
Still, the contrast between their characterization of John the Baptist as a teetotaler and Jesus as an imbiber is certainly circumstantial evidence against the Nazirite opinion. Evidence that would seem to be buttressed by Jesus’ drinking wine with His Twelve Apostles at the Passover Feast of the Last Supper. (Matthew 26:27-29, Mark 14:23-25, Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25) Yet drinking wine having been a necessary part of the Passover ritual, as Evangelic scholars will admit and as Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22 & 1 Corinthians 11 demonstrate --- a ritual that God ordained to last forever (Exodus 12:24) in Heaven and on earth as the Roman Catholic Mass of All Ages --- then the Nazirite’s vow could not have prevented a Nazirite from drinking wine at the Passover Feast without causing him to disobey God’s Command for all adherents of the Old Covenant to celebrate the Passover rightly. Ergo, such a vow was not meant to preclude wine when wine is religiously necessary.
So did Jesus drink wine or other alcohols aside from religious ceremonies?
Unless a Catholic exegete can adequately explain Jesus’ words in Luke 7:33 and Matthew 11:19 to mean other than what they seem to mean at a simple glance, then it would look like He had to have drank wine or other alcohols upon occasion. Enough times, leastwise, for those Jews who were bad-willed to think they could get away with accusing Him of drunkenness. In addition, there is the difficulty of explaining his contact with the daughter of Jairus reported by Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26, Mark 5:21-24, 35-43, & Luke 8:40-42, 49-56. Given that she was dead, which Matthew 9:18, Mark 5:35, Luke 8:49 & 53 all relate Jairus’ people taking as a plain fact, Jesus would seem to have violated the Nazirite prohibition against being in the presence of a corpse when He went into her room to raise her from the dead. Although, to be fair, one might then quote Jesus’ own words against this conclusion. To wit, where He proclaimed to the mourners gathered in Jairus’ house, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” (Mark 5:39b-c NIV)
+ + + 66. Separated Out + + +
Lastly, and in favor of the Nazirite position concerning Jesus, we might consider what the Holy Spirit inspired one of Jesus’ apostles to say about Him when telling of how Joseph, Jesus’ foster father, returned Him as a child and His mother, Mary, from Egypt to Palestine after the evil King Herod, who wanted Him dead, had died.
“So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the
The catch is, no biblical prophecy explicitly says this --- that “He will be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:23c NIV) So where did Matthew get this statement from? Some ancient Christian commentators interpret the Apostle Matthew to be representing what all of the biblical prophecies in sum total say about Jesus boiled down into a single brief statement (hence the term “prophets” being in the plural), while at least one ancient commentator insists Matthew got it from a prophetic writing not found in Sacred Scripture (somewhat like the Apostle Jude quoting a prophecy from the non-canonical Book of Enoch in Jude 1:14-15). Whichever is the correct explanation, the Catholic Church’s promise of biblical inerrancy guarantees the accuracy of Matthew’s assertion, provided a man understands it rightly. And here’s the interesting part:
Because the word “Nazarene” in the phrase “He will be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23c NIV) comes from Hebrew. And the Hebrew term translated via Greek as “Nazarene” --- here outwardly meaning someone who lives in Nazareth, which is where Jesus grew up in the area of Palestine known as Galilee --- ultimately comes from either one or both of two Hebrew root words, i.e., Hebrew words that other Hebrew words build upon. They are ‘natsar’ and ‘nazar’. ‘Natsar’ means ‘to guard’, ‘to protect’, ‘to maintain’, ‘to obey’ or ‘to conceal’. This Hebrew term generates the word ‘netser’, meaning ‘greenness’, ‘a shoot’ or ‘a branch’. [Hebrew Dictionary of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, entry numbers 5341 & 5342 on page 105.] Whereas ‘nazar’ means ‘to hold aloof’, ‘to abstain’, ‘to set apart’, ‘to devote’, ‘to consecrate’ or ‘to separate’. It generates the word ‘nezer’, meaning ‘set apart’, ‘dedication’, ‘a chaplet’, ‘a consecration’, ‘a crown’, ‘separation’. [Hebrew Dictionary of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, entry numbers 5144 & 5145 on page 102.]
The gist of our discourse?
Just as Jesus’ town of birth, Bethlehem, was no so-called ‘accident’ or ‘a random chance’ in God’s scheme of things (the name ‘Bethlehem’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘Beyth Lechem’, meaning ‘house of bread’, and it obviously alludes to Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life, Who in John 6:35 & 6:48 plainly said this about Himself), so the name of the city where Jesus grew up is no ‘accident’ or ‘a random chance’, either. Because the God Who also said about Himself through King Solomon, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33 NIV), is the same God Who oversees even the smallest of outcomes in human history, and Who thus knows and determines the names of persons, places or things ahead of time.
Consequently, the Almighty Creator chose
Is Sacred Scripture coming full circle in your mind, my dear reader? Do “the rod of his mouth” and “the breath of his lips” not remind you of “[o]ut of his mouth comes a sharp sword” (Revelation 19:5, compare Ephesians 6:17 & Hebrews 4:12) and “the spirit of his mouth”? (Psalm 33:6, 9 & 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 NIV) Yet we continue.
Because the city whose name signified, too, that it ‘held aloof’, ‘set apart’, ‘devoted’, ‘consecrated’ and ‘separated’ something --- a Someone Who, the Bible informs us, ‘abstained’ when He went into the desert “fasting forty days and forty nights” (Matthew 4:2 NIV), Who “ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry” (Luke 4:2b-c NIV) --- thereby signified as well how it possessed Someone ‘set apart’ by ‘a dedication’, ‘a consecration’, ‘a separation’, ‘a chaplet’ and ‘a crown’. Indeed, that He Who is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15c, Revelation 19:16b NIV) is He Who wears “on his head… many crowns.” (Revelation 19:12b NIV) In turn recalling a description in the Bible of “…a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head… She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter…” and “…that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan… was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring --- those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” (Revelation 12:1b-d, 5a, 9b, 17 NIV)
In other words, this is Jesus’ Immaculate Mother the
divinely-inspired Apostle John is talking about, the Heavenly Queen to Whom and
through Whom good Catholics pray the Rosary --- that celestial chaplet
belonging to Her and to Her Son! --- with the highest of honors permissible on
behalf of that greatest of creatures that God has ever made. And, by way of Her
--- and often by means of the Marian Chaplet or Psalter of the
Rosary and its fifteen mysteries or parts into which it is divided, so
reminiscent of the Old Testament Psalter and its fifteen ‘gradual
psalms’, or ‘song of ascents’ as a Protestant bible might put
it, found from chapters 120 to 134 of the Book of Psalms in Sacred Scripture
[see, for instance, the New Open Bible
printed at Nashville, Tennessee, in 1990 by Thomas Nelson Publishers on
pages 699 to 702 the subheading ‘A Song of Ascents’ affixed to each
chapter as listed in sequence above] and also derived from the fact that the
Catholic Church’s members chant 150 psalms from the Davidic Psalter of
the Book of Psalms, repeating the Holy Spirit-inspired words of King David and
his cohorts, just as they pray 150 Hail Marys (10 for
each of the 15 mysteries or parts) from the Marian Psalter of the Gospel of
Luke (Luke 1:28, 42), repeating the Holy Spirit-inspired words of the Angel
Gabriel and the saintly Elizabeth, who was Zechariah’s wife and the
cousin of Mary --- giving an even greater and more pleasing worshipful honor to
“the fruit” of Her Blessed Womb, that One Who is God Incarnate
Himself, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. (Luke 1:42c KJV) Both of Who lived for many
years, along with Joseph the holiest of men to take care of them, consecrated
and set apart in the smallest and humblest of homes in
But how does this apply to the Nazirite opinion as regards Jesus? The very same Hebrew roots lie concealed within the Hebrew word for ‘Nazirite’ as lie hid within the Hebrew words for ‘Nazareth’ and ‘Nazarene’! That is to say, ‘natsar’ and ‘nazar’. Wherefore I say to you, dear reader, that, whether or not the Nazirite proposal is correct in explaining Jesus’ long hair (and there are difficulties inherent to this position, not least of which is a lack of early Christian writers opining it), the significance of the term ‘Nazirite’ is certainly not lost in the meaning of the name of the city that He grew up in. God deliberately designed it this way, having planned long ago that His Son for most of His Life should be guarded and maintained out of the trodden way, His Divinity hidden from the eyes of an ignorant and rebellious people, so that He near the end of His Life might be separated out for and dedicated to the absolutely singular and regal purpose of saving His Chosen People --- i.e., members of His Roman Catholic Body, they solely being those whose “circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit” (Romans 2:29b NIV), who “worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23b NIV) --- from the crushing debt of an unbearable burden of sin.
+ + + 67. Lingual Traditions, Too + + +
That’s why I’ve gone into some detail on this matter, to draw this point out into the open and to give you an example of prudent scriptural exegesis upon a disputable matter while staying safely within the bounds set by the Roman Catholic Church. What’s more, to make you realize how religious tradition is not automatically ‘evil’, as Evangelic bias would have it. For even if the Nazirite vow does not give us the reason Jesus wore His hair long, the fact that Protestants have accepted this tradition from the Catholic Church of a long-haired Jesus Christ, without question and without any explicit biblical testimony to back it up, is a smoldering gun of proof all by itself, fired at point-blank range, of their hideous hypocrisy in daring to condemn Roman Catholics for holding to religious traditions. Viz., how can they call it ‘evil’ to hold to a religious tradition when they themselves do the same thing and think nothing of it? I mean, Jesus is a religious figure, is He not? Therefore, to believe that He had long hair --- and its not being dogmatically defined (as Catholics would put it) or ‘essential’ (as an Evangelic would have it) is not pertinent at this juncture in our argument --- is necessarily a religious belief. So how in the world could this belief, or any belief based upon a religious tradition, be considered evil just because it comes from a tradition, when they themselves hold to the very same belief based upon a religious tradition? Is not their hypocrisy laid bare? Nay, is it not yet more proof of their most heinous unbiblicalness in denying Jesus’ One & Only Roman Catholic Pillar of Truth, damning their souls in the process?
Nevertheless, the problem goes deeper. Because an Evangelic not only dares to condemn Catholics for holding to religious traditions, maligning all such things as ‘evil’ irregardless of their individual merits as judged by Jesus’ Infallible Roman Catholic Pillar of Truth, but he dares to accuse all religious traditions of being ‘unnecessary’, too! We commented briefly on this slur some ten pages back. We now address it in detail.
The typical Evangelic imagines himself beyond reproach in this instance, as well, thinking his five (more or less) purportedly ‘essential’ beliefs firmly grounded in the Bible. Accordingly, believe Jesus is the Son of God, believe He died for your sins on the Cross, admit you’re a sinner, ask Him to forgive you and… do it because your bible says so. That accomplished, think most Evangelic Protestants nowadays, and you enter Heaven no matter what. Tradition has nothing to do with it.
Of course, we’ve already very sensibly pointed out that Protestants really can’t claim to have derived anything from the Bible without also invoking, whether they realize it or not, a tradition about how the Bible is to be rightly interpreted concerning that particular subject. This alone ought to be enough to give the Evangelic pause. But, as the saintly Irenaeus announced, “If anyone does not agree to these truths, he despises the companions of the Lord... and stands self-condemned, resisting and opposing his own salvation, as is the case with all heretics... It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition... Wherefore they must be opposed at all points, if perchance, by cutting off their retreat, we may succeed in turning them back to the truth…” (Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book 3, 1:1,2)
We surveyed what Irenaeus had to say in Chapters 26 & 27, including what we have quoted just above. And his words are perfectly apropos to the topic at hand, 1800 years after he wrote them. Because the Evangelic Protestant certainly does “consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition…” That he does not consent to Sacred Tradition, or any traditions of a religious nature (at least admittedly), should be obvious. And, however shocking the realization for an Evangelic, that he does not consent to Sacred Scripture should now be just as obvious, dear reader. This book is intended to be thus far and until its conclusion naught but an almost constant refutation of Protestant heresy by way of the text of the Bible whilst always founded in the Precious Dogmas of the Catholic Church. For what have we seen? Repeatedly, how Evangelics do not, after all, ground their beliefs firmly in the Bible --- and despite all their protests to the contrary! “Wherefore,” says Irenaeus, “they must be opposed at all points, if perchance, by cutting off their retreat, we may succeed in turning them back to the truth…”
This, then, my dear Evangelic Protestant reader, is where we oppose you at the penultimate point in this lengthy but imperative digression, since Chapter 34, on the proper role of Sacred Scripture. Because you who may still claim that traditions in religion are always ‘unnecessary’ --- if not ‘evil’, Evangelic hypocrisy on that count having been exposed --- are about to find yourself mired in metaphorical quicksand, struggling for breath.
Upon what do you, as an Evangelic, feign to base your religion upon?
Now, how is it you pretend to know what your bibles say?
You read them.
Mind you, we are not presently dwelling upon the point already made that nobody can just ‘know’ what his bible says simply by reading it, that he must as well interpret what he reads. I.e., that he must discern in his mind what the words he’s reading actually mean to say. No, it’s an entirely excellent point, but it’s also beside the point for the moment.
Consequently, I ask you another question. A very easy question. For you tell me you know what your bible says by reading it. And I query:
How do you know how to read?
Dear reader, mull it over very carefully. This is one of those things most people never think about, having never once entertained the thought that it might be worth their time to reflect upon in some detail. Nevertheless, I bid you to take the time now. Ponder it seriously. Ask yourself:
Would you have learned to read had no one ever taught you?
In fact, let’s take a step back. Let’s think about what happens before a man learns to read. Let’s imagine that you are a babe. Let’s imagine, too, that you are brought up by adults who stay constantly silent.
Could you learn to talk their language if they never spoke it in your hearing?
You know the answer, dear reader. It’s as obvious as the
world’s tallest skyscraper would be set alone amid the
There is simply no ordinary earthly way you could ever learn to associate certain phonetic sounds with certain mental ideas when the people who have already connected those ideas and sounds in their daily life never allow the sounds to be repeated in your presence and hence associated in your mind with the ideas they represent.
End of sentence.
Now, my dear reader, take the next step. Let’s say you’ve learned to talk their language. And let’s say you’re ready to learn how to read it. But let’s say, too, that these adults never allow you to be told --- not even accidentally exposed to the everyday signs and texts common to civilized life --- what the visual symbols of their alphabet, syllabary or vocabulary, and the resulting words spelled or sentences formed therefrom, signify.
Would you ever be able to fully master their written language short of them passing along the information needed --- if only as indirectly acquired by everyday contemporary exposure to the inscriptions of their civilization --- to comprehend its symbols and consequent words?
Again, you know the answer to this. It is inarguable. Apart from infused knowledge that is usually beyond the scope of ordinary human existence, there is no way at all you could ever learn to fully read and write their written language short of them, or someone who already knows their language, passing along the information needed --- if only as indirectly acquired by everyday contemporary exposure to the inscriptions of their civilization.
Furthermore, and lest you be tempted to try to wiggle out of the vise closing in upon your rapidly crumbling stance, don’t suppose the decipherment of Mayan glyphs in the past half century to buttress an argument otherwise, as if researchers somehow just ‘figured them out’ by the application of sheer brainpower on their part, totally autonomous from any outside assistance or from the record and memory of yesteryear’s knowledge. In reality, the decipherment of Mayan glyphs upholds our thesis decisively. To wit, aside from a few intuitively obvious numerical or astronomical glyphs, or etc., that, like bits and pieces of an enormous puzzle, were independently recognizable in and of themselves without necessarily being able to place them in correct relation to the rest of the picture as an entirety, no researcher prior to the 1960s could claim to understand the written Mayan language in any meaningful fashion as a whole. What’s more, this situation had prevailed for hundreds of years and could never have been rectified had not a Russian scholar by 1952 examined an old glossary from the sixteenth century equating Mayan glyphs to the Latin alphabet (made by a Spanish bishop to aid in the conversion of Central American Indians to the One True Faith of Roman Catholicism, incidentally) and correctly surmised that the glyphs were syllabic, not alphabetic. Once that link was established, the old glossary became a goldmine in unraveling the meaning of Mayan glyphs left-and-right.
And how, I ask you, might this glossary have been comprehendible if not that someone had taught this Russian scholar, or those who assisted him, to be able to read the Latin alphabet and also the Latin language?
This in turn is similar to the decipherment of Egyptian glyphs, i.e., the ancient Egyptian language as written down in hieroglyphs. Prior to the 19th century, no one could make heads-or-tails out of these puzzling symbols nor would anyone have ever been able to had not so-called ‘fate’ intervened. The knowledge of their meanings was lost to the mists of centuries past, having died with the people who once used them as part of their daily lives. Then, in 1799, a Frenchman discovered the Rosetta Stone. This monument of granite bore a text in triple parallel, giving the same content in the ancient languages of Greek, Egyptian demotic and Egyptian hieroglyphic. Whereby researchers were next able to, by their knowledge of ancient Greek, to very thoroughly decipher the meaning of most Egyptian hieroglyphs.
And again I ask you… how could this millennia-old monument have been understandable had not someone have taught the researchers to read the old Greek alphabet and its equally old Greek tongue?
The conclusion is unavoidable, dear reader:
Learning to talk and learning to read are traditions.
Nay! More than this. Because the Bible was also written in ancient languages that people in general no longer speak. Therefore, to be able to translate these writings into languages that people nowadays do speak requires that, at the very least, a few persons learn how to read and write these ancient tongues. Yet how are they to achieve this unless someone has purposely gone out of his way to remember how to do so, having had the special lessons for knowing how to do so passed along to him by another someone before that earlier someone dies, and so forth and so on all the way back centuries and centuries ago in a line of overlapping generations to when those ancient tongues were common parlance?
Leading us to an even more sobering realization:
That learning to translate the defunct languages of ancient times is --- and inescapably so because intrinsically so --- a tradition!
+ + + 68. Double Duplicity + + +
My dear reader, do you see the intellectual quicksand that you stand upon? Provided you are a typical Evangelic, you have erected your entire spiritual life on a hatred of, or, leastwise, a disdain for, religious tradition. All the while one of your principal religious dogmas --- that it is ‘scripture alone’ from which you must glean your religious dogmas ---- not only cannot be found in the scripture that your dogma of ‘scripture alone’ insists must underlie all religious dogmas in order for them to be true and necessary; and not only is itself a manmade religious tradition dating merely from the AD 1500s when the Jesus & His Apostles you claim to emulate have long since ceased to reside physically upon the earth, and the Bible you claim to follow has long since been infallibly vouched for in its present form by the Catholic Church you oppose; but does itself deign to pontificate about a bible that you can neither claim to actually read in the contemporary vernacular nor claim to actually translate from the ancient languages unless you have both humbly and trustingly received the tradition from someone more knowledgeable than yourself of how to read and translate these languages as passed along from generation to generation across the countless centuries since the various languages involved originated!
Nor may you seek refuge in the protest that this tradition of reading and translating is not a ‘religious’ tradition since its use is not exclusive to religion. The rejoinder is immaterial. It’s like saying the symbol of the Cross is not a ‘religious’ symbol just because lots of other people aside from those calling themselves ‘christian’ like to wear crosses around their necks. Or, more apt yet, it’s like saying belief in the existence of the Creator is not a ‘religious’ belief merely because lots of people who believe in His Existence don’t profess allegiance of any sort to an officially organized religion.
“Oh,” but you say, “the Cross and God started out religiously.” Whereas, you infer, reading and translating began ‘non-religiously’. This you claim, of course, acting as if the world can be neatly and sensibly divided up into that which is ‘religious’ and that which is ‘not religious’. When, in fact, the wise Catholic knows that everything initially made by God is religious. I.e., that God created everything in our world to serve ultimately a religious purpose, the purpose of enabling men --- who were made in His Image and made to rule the earth --- to love and serve Him above all other things. A love and service that is inescapably religious because, as the First of God’s Ten Commandments makes clear, a man shall not have any false gods and false religions in place of the One True God and His One True Religion that He both is and which He has very deliberately designed for men to follow, respectively. (See Exodus 20:2-4 & Deuteronomy 5:6-8.) And nothing that God made perfect in the beginning of this world can fail to achieve this goal in the hands of men who are resolved to believe and obey Him in every way possible by practicing the Catholic Religion which He ordains us to worship within precisely so that we might be able to love Him more than anything else by far, serving Him with perpetually ready hearts.
But getting back to reading and translating starting out
‘non-religiously’. The charge is absurd. Because unless you are
thoroughly blinded, buying into all of the lies which modern scholars and
universities push on people today under the guise of supposed ‘fact’,
then, dear Evangelic, you know very well God began language before anyone else
(recall that He spoke creation into existence before anything aside from
Himself existed), having thus necessarily taught both men and angels how to
speak with Him, if only by supernatural infusion of the knowledge to be able to
do so, at the beginning of the world. For did not God speak with Adam
& Eve in the
No, it is indisputable that reading and translating are traditions. What is handed on in their transmission from generation to generation is a belief in the veracity of what you have been told about the meanings of phonetic sounds and visual symbols. That is to say, you trust what you have been told --- that it is true --- for no other reason at first than that you think the person teaching it to you is honest and knowledgeable. Later on you may add to this the reason that you find the person’s teaching is both consistent with itself (it does not contradict internally to a fatal degree) and consistent with the world around it (it does not contradict externally to a fatal degree). Moreover, that it is ineludibly a religious tradition because it undeniably lies at the heart of one of the founts of Christianity --- the ability to read and translate Sacred Scripture --- and hence affecting all of the false and heretical versions of Christianity that exist in the world today, too, such as Evangelicism, that claim to rely upon ‘scripture alone’.
Yet do you persist in denying that reading and translating are a tradition? Do you pretend they are not traditions just because students will often employ textbooks to learn how to read and translate? Then realize that textbooks are not always sufficient, by themselves, to thoroughly inculcate a pupil with the knowledge he needs to learn --- as any student knows from direct experience, having discovered the extreme helpfulness of having a teacher around to teach you. Moreover, that in depending upon a textbook to learn, the student is, by reading the textbook to do so, then also depending upon the tradition of reading in order to be able to read the textbook! Meaning that a person cannot, at the beginning of his education, learn how to speak and read that which he has never, ever, been taught to know previously.
Put differently, one can imagine, to some extent, a person who knows how to read at least one language very well already (let’s say it’s English) then learning how to read and translate another language (let’s say it’s French). Although, as anyone familiar with foreign languages knows, the leap from mere book learning to speaking the new tongue fluently is tenuous at best. Yet for the sake of argument, let us admit that a clever student already well-versed in one language (e.g., English) could conceivably teach himself by means of a textbook how to read and translate --- mind you, I do not say speak --- another language (e.g., French) very well without the help of a teacher.
What of it?
All we have shown is that knowledge already sufficiently acquired can then be parlayed into yet more knowledge sufficiently acquired. What we have not demonstrated, and cannot ever manage to do so, is that in the beginning knowledge not already wholly intrinsic to us can be attained without the absolutely critical and necessary aid of others who are more knowledgeable than ourselves. Namely, that a teacher must teach us. And when it comes to learning how to talk and read in our first language, there is, humanly speaking, no matter how clever you are, simply no substitute ever for learning how to do so apart from the teaching of a teacher. No book can ever get around this, since using a book to learn must presuppose the ability to read the book to be able to learn from it. But how does someone learn to read such a book? At some point, however distant in the past, a teacher must first teach you to speak and read in order for you to be able to make sense out of the visual symbols that you are looking at. It could be your mother to start with, talking to you during your first few years. Next it might be an instructor at a school, showing you how to read in the language you already know how to speak. Once that foundation is established, you may then work from it to learn another language to some extent without the direct and personal help of a teacher.
Meanwhile, the conclusion to be drawn is ineluctable:
That knowledge and study of the Bible rests squarely upon the shoulders of tradition. Tradition in the most fundamental sense of all--- that it is oral and come to by hearing, as opposed to that it is written down and come to by reading. For, as we have remarked previously, knowledge and study of the Bible must rest upon the tradition of how to correctly interpret it and, even more fundamentally, upon the tradition of how to read or translate it to begin with. Consequently, and to the stark contrary of what Evangelics dare to assert, religious traditions are most definitely and indisputably a vital, crucial and necessary part of both the practice of the Catholic Religion and of the heresy to which Evangelic Protestants cling.
My dear Evangelic reader, granted that you are still with me and have read everything carefully thus far unto complete understanding, then you are now disappearing into the metaphorical quicksand about which I warned you some six pages ago, struggling for breath. I offer you relief:
Give up your irrational animosity against religious tradition, especially against that which the Roman Catholic Church calls Sacred Tradition. Stop kicking and stop struggling against it and you will stop sinking into the sand. Abandon the manmade tradition about reliance on your bible alone. It is foolish, it is evil, and it is complete nonsense. Be still instead and learn from the Infallible Mouth of Jesus’ Roman Catholic Body, and, provided you come to believe and profess and obey all that She via Her Popes says, you will find yourself one day miraculously lifted out of the depths of despair. Listen to the Bishops of Holy Rome, the Vicars of Jesus Christ on earth, and you cannot fail to find the Saving Truth. Indeed, you cannot even stand upon the Saving Truth if you do not first recognize and acknowledge that Jesus has made His Truth to come forth infallibly from the mouths of the men who He has permitted to succeed to the Office of the Apostle Peter in leading His Exclusively Saving Church of Roman Catholicism throughout the far-flung world and across the many millennia until this very day.
Notwithstanding, we get a little ahead of ourselves. We must pull back a bit. For we have exposed the double duplicity of Evangelic Protestants abhorring religious tradition while conveniently ignoring their own religious traditions of, one, how to interpret their bibles, and of, even more fundamentally, two, how to read and translate them. Truly, a duplicity made double in that they eschew religious tradition both by pretending it is ‘evil’ and by pretending it is ‘unnecessary’! All the same, there remains the matter of a last verse that a very clever and tenacious Evangelic might still wield against us, which we must therefore deal with decisively. A verse we mentioned in passing at the very start of Chapter 37, out of four verses cited and three of those verses already tackled successfully. Namely, John 10:35.
+ + + 69. Equality Doesn’t Mean Totality + + +
“Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, “I have said you are gods”? (Psalm 82:6) If he called them “gods,” to whom the word of God came --- and the Scripture cannot be broken --- what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, “I am God’s Son”?’” (John 10:34-36 NIV)
While not a familiar passage when it comes to attacking Sacred Tradition, the clever but desperate heretic will jump upon the middle of these three verses with the gusto of a person sensing this is the closest he will ever get to actually ‘proving’ his religious falsehood of ‘scripture alone’. “See!” he exults, oblivious to the paper thin exegetical ice beneath his feet. “Jesus proves that the Word of God is identical to the Bible.” His point being that, if Jesus in the Gospel of John equates “the word of God” with “Scripture”, then how can something other than the Bible be worth listening to? Because solely God (thinks he) can tell us what to do --- correct? But if God chooses to speak through “the Scripture” --- and “Scripture” alone --- then what has Sacred Tradition or the Catholic Church & Her Popes to do with anything?
But therein lies the problem, my dear reader. For does Jesus in this passage anywhere say that God chooses to speak through ‘scripture alone’?
No, He does not.
And does Jesus in this passage anywhere declare that only “Scripture” is equivalent to “the word of God”?
Again --- no, He doesn’t.
In fact, what He does state is neither any more nor any less than what His Body, the Roman Catholic Church, proclaims. Namely, that God is the Author of Sacred Scripture, it being His precious words spoken to men in a unique and special way that He chose to have written down. Hence the adjective, Sacred, in the title, Sacred Scripture. And hence why, in a sense, Sacred Scripture excels Sacred Tradition like an eagle excels a starling. Both fly high and far, but the eagle flies higher and farther. Notwithstanding, both depend on their wings --- the Voice of God --- speaking through them in order to achieve any height or distance at all. Yet a man must first know and recognize something of Sacred Tradition --- indeed, something of religious tradition in general, period, from the Catholic Faith --- before he can even begin to truly benefit from the heavenly wealth that resides within Sacred Scripture. Every real Catholic knows this, every real Catholic believes it, and every real Catholic professes it. So what’s your difficulty with Catholicism?
Dear reader, you know what the problem is. Left to his own devices, the heretic can pretend that the Bible says what it does not really say. He accomplishes this by combining manmade Protestant traditions concerning what the Creator tells us is religiously true, together with ignorance about, misinterpretation of and mendacity toward the Bible. That is to say, all Evangelics subscribe to a very small and very limited creed regarding what they claim God tells them is critical to believe. Meanwhile, most Evangelics are quite clueless about the content of their bibles. The Bible might as well be written in ancient Sanskrit, for all they know about it. Hence, their manmade creed is their sole guiding principle. Some, however, study their bibles. Yet they mangle what they read, not comprehending it properly because their false creed gets in the way. And a few, a very few, both know the text of their bibles and --- at least in places, here and there --- understand it rightly despite the falsehood of their creed… they just won’t admit it.
Because to admit their error is to admit their rebellion. Yet to admit their rebellion is to beg a further question:
“Why, then, won’t you submit to the truth?”
And the answer:
“Because I want to follow my way more than I want to follow God’s Way.”
In other words, the Evangelic Protestant hates the Saving Truth! This is why most of them are complacently ignorant. They’ve no desire to find out what their bibles actually say. They prefer to stick with their manmade Protestant traditions. And it is why some of them misinterpret complacently. They don’t care to hear what God through Sacred Scripture actually intends to say. They’d rather stay with a creed that arises from earth than to exchange it for the Roman Catholic Creed that was sent from Heaven. What’s more, it’s why a few of them are brazenly complacent liars. They don’t want the agony of a smitten conscience, something unavoidable were they to come clean and openly acknowledge what they very well know the Sovereign Will of the Almighty Creator to be, and what they very well know --- even given the testimony of their own bibles --- that they dare to contradict.
Each of these kinds of Evangelics, whether more or less ignorant and whether more or less confused, is the heir of those who did not remember Sacred Tradition wholly and who did not interpret Sacred Scripture rightly. They are those who refuse the words of God Almighty through the Apostle John elsewhere in the Bible, in his first letter of the New Testament where he instructs the Catholics under his care to keep the purity of the Faith and so stay safely within the Roman Catholic Body of Jesus Christ under the infallible leadership of His Popes, the legitimate Bishops of Rome.
“See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us --- even eternal life.” (1 John 2:24-25 NIV)
The King James Version of the Bible translates the same passage better.
“Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” (1 John 2:24-25 KJV)
Dear reader, what does the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John in your bibles drive home inarguably? That it is what John’s readers of his letter had “heard from the beginning” that they are to keep without forgetting or besmirching! What’s more, that by doing so they shall remain securely within the Sacred Heart of that Saviour upon Whose Bosom the Beloved Disciple, John the Apostle, so intimately rested his head. Viz., that wonderful apostle who wrote these words, too, and about whom it was related:
“When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.’ Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, ‘Lord, who is it?’” (John 13:21-25 KJV)
“This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, ‘Follow me.’ Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, ‘Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?’ Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what shall this man do?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.’ Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, ‘He shall not die’; but, ‘If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?’ This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.” (John 21:19-24 KJV)
My dear reader, if you would become beloved by the real Jesus --- and not the imaginary and false character to which you cling, going by the identical name --- then you, too, must heed the words of this real Jesus as exhorted us by the Apostle John, thereby also learning to figuratively lay your head upon His Divine Breast. For John did not say, “See that what you have read from the beginning remains in you.” No, what he very clearly wrote, and what your own bible very clearly and undeniably states, is, “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you.” (John 2:24a NIV) “Heard” versus “read”! Which is it, my dear Evangelic? Which does your bible actually report, what did God Almighty through John the Apostle actually record? And if He via John had meant to uphold the supremacy of the Bible, that is to say, the manmade notion of Sacred Scripture alone being our guide in religious matters of crucial beliefs and crucial commandments--- without any reference to a God-Given Authority on earth higher than one’s own self being our Infallible Teacher & Judge, including how to interpret correctly the intent of the Creator’s Mind as reported by the text of an inerrant Bible --- then God via John should have declared, “See that what you have read from the beginning remains in you.”
But He did not. And John’s divinely-inspired exhortation persists till this day, even as translated in an Evangelic bible, reminding us that it is what we have “heard”, out of the mouths of those belonging to Jesus’ Catholic Body and who are duly reporting what that Body’s Infallible Head has always proclaimed “from the beginning” --- a “beginning” that Protestants cannot access, by the way, having themselves only begun in the 16th century long after the real “beginning” with Jesus & His Apostles in the 1st century, and having jettisoned most of the dogmas that they deposited in His Body, the Catholic Church, as well as the authority they placed in this Church’s hands both to infallibly teach and to infallibly judge in matters of Faith & Morals via the official acts of the legitimately reigning Roman Pontiff --- words of religious doctrine within which a man must “abide” (KJV) and “remain” (NIV) in order to be a part of Him. Meanwhile, the threat implied for failing to do so is just as clear. Because if by doing so he will “continue” (KJV) and “remain” (NIV) in Jesus the Son and in His Father, thus receiving what He “promised… even eternal life” (1 John 2:25b KJV, NIV), then what in the world can the failure to do so result in, except that a man also then fails to receive His Promise of Eternal Life?
To wit, that he goes to the fiery torment of an Everlasting Hell!
Do you see?
And don’t suppose, falling back upon an old canard that we have already dispensed with in Chapters 56 & 60 --- and especially in Chapter 62 --- that the Apostle John can’t possibly mean by the term “heard” in 1 John 2:24 that he only expected his readers of the generation contemporary with him to rely on the oral instruction of Sacred Tradition, as opposed to readers after this generation then relying solely on the written text of the Bible. This is a ridiculous supposition because, as even a typical Evangelic study bible admits, John wrote his letter when “[a]dvanced in years” near the end of the first century, and most likely around the mid-AD 90s or in AD 90 at the very earliest. [The New Open Bible, NKJV, printed by Thomas Nelson Publishers in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1990, from the introductory note on page 1492 for 1 John. See the rest of the introductory note for 1 John on page 1491, as well as the introductions for the Gospel of John and 2 & 3 John on pages 1232, 1500 &1504, respectively.] Meaning John’s first letter was almost the very last thing in the Bible that was ever composed. Put even more bluntly, the original readers of John’s letter had practically the entire New Testament already available to them, 2 & 3 John and the Revelation being (from a scholarly Evangelic point of view) the only possible exceptions. A scholarly point of view that is incorrect, incidentally, ancient Catholic testimony (e.g., Baronius) being quite plain how John the Apostle wrote 1 John after the Revelation. Consequently, only 2 & 3 John remained unavailable out of the entire corpus of Sacred Scripture.
The Holy Spirit through John could not have meant to say, by the word “heard”, that only John’s contemporaneous readers at the end of the first century were to rely on the oral instruction of Sacred Tradition, but that every reader thereafter is to rely on the written text of the Bible alone. God could not have intended to say this because John’s contemporary readers already had nearly the full collection of books from Sacred Scripture in their hands! As a result, God would have been contradicting Himself were what Evangelic Protestants insist about ‘scripture alone’ to be true and yet He had John tell his original readers to keep pure all that they had “heard from the beginning.” (1 John 2:24b KJV) Because a learned Evangelic must from the facts acknowledge how 2 & 3 John add hardly a thing, doctrinally speaking, to the testimony of the Bible --- truly, nothing at all from their perspective. And, however much it grates to admit it, he must as well acknowledge how the Revelation --- from his perspective as a Protestant--- reveals nothing of critical significance to the reception of ‘salvation’ as taught by the religiously false ‘gospel’ of his Evangelicism.
Furthermore, let us realize how the phrase “from the beginning” cannot therefore signify merely those who heard John or the rest of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles when the latter made their first disciples. Not that it doesn’t mean what the Catholic Church tells us it means --- accordingly, that the man who would save his soul must hold to exactly what the Body of Christ has taught from the beginning, starting with Jesus & His Apostles, neither more nor less --- but, rather, that it cannot mean solely this. It cannot because every Apostle other than John had been dead for at least 25 years, and John had overseen the local churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey, where ancient writers uniformly report John went after leaving Palestine) for at least 25 years, too. Ergo, and at a bare minimum, an entire generation of Christians throughout the proselytized world had been either born or converted during that period of 25+ years --- a numerous and widespread generation of Roman Catholics that could not themselves, each and every one of them, have been taught and personally instructed by a living Apostle present in the flesh amongst them. Which in turn means that this next generation of Christians must have been taught by those who, prior to the later generation, had been themselves personally instructed by a living Apostle present in their midst --- and that this is what the phrase “from the beginning” also signifies, that each of them, whether earlier or later, held to all the doctrines they had been personally taught by their teachers (usually priests and, in the case of children, parents) from the very start of their conversion or from earliest youth. Driving home all the more, then, the following imperative conclusion:
That real Christians (read: Roman Catholics) of any generation are to be taught by hearing, their formation as catechumens (i.e., students of the Church’s Dogma) an essential function of those responsible for teaching them while present in the flesh amongst them. And that, whereas Sacred Scripture is, by its very nature, written down, this must also then invoke the application of Sacred Tradition --- and other religious traditions which are good and useful --- to supply that which the Bible does not by itself provide, including a correct understanding of the text of Sacred Scripture. Religious traditions that, in their original form, leastwise, were transmitted orally. But that, after the contents of oral transmission have been recorded in a written form that is extra-biblical, and when there is no oral testimony available (for instance, because no one around you is truly Catholic), such extra-biblically recorded testimony of religious traditions--- in tandem with the Holy Spirit operating upon the heart of a good-willed man --- can be nonetheless able to teach the man who is wholeheartedly in love with God’s Saving Truth how to be truly and thoroughly Catholic, and which we may still describe by the term ‘oral’ since of old its origin was from the mouth, and not by letter.
Bringing us back to square one, dear reader. For how is it John 10:35 is supposed to be subtle but tremendous proof for the lie of ‘scripture alone’ and the heresy of Evangelicism when all of this is true? Indeed, how is the equating of “the word of God” with “the Scripture” (John 10:35b-c NIV) supposed to overturn everything we have established --- from your own translation of the Bible, no less! --- regarding Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition from Chapters 35 to 66 of this book? How is the equality of “the word of God” with “the Scripture” in John 10:35 supposed to mean that “the word of God” is in totality nothing else, nothing less and nothing more than “Scripture” when, in fact, the evidence of Sacred Scripture as found strewn throughout your own bibles elsewhere testifies reasonably, repeatedly and overwhelmingly to the contrary? Give me an answer, my dear reader:
Is the Bible inerrant or is it not? Does the Bible contradict itself, or does it not? Yet if not, then how can the passage from John 10 mean what a clever Evangelic so badly wants it to mean? How can he read into its actual words what God could never have intended it to mean, when, as we have seen, not only God’s Pillar & Foundation of the Truth, the One Holy Roman Catholic & Apostolic Church, infallibly assures us that He did not mean it so, but that even careful consideration and assiduous study of a Protestant bible as a harmonious whole inescapably demands of a rational man to conclude that God could not have meant it like Evangelicism would have it so?
+ + + 70. Veiled Gospel, Blinded Minds + + +
The Apostle Paul’s tragic observation comes to mind at this juncture in our discourse.
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NIV)
My dear reader, this means you. Whether Evangelic Protestant or something else other than One, Holy, Roman, Catholic & Apostolic, the “god of this age has blinded” your mind. Wherefore I tell you that you are presently a part of that mass of “unbelievers” headed down the Broad Religious Path toward Eternal Destruction (Matthew 7:13), heedless of their fate because God’s Roman Catholic “gospel is veiled” --- hidden “to those who are perishing.”
Yet you need not remain so. Give up your manmade tradition and your religious lie of ‘scripture alone’, relinquish your animosity toward religious tradition and especially against the Church’s Sacred Tradition, come to your senses, and understand the Bible rightly. Doing so, you will see how other verses used by Evangelics against the Catholic Church to try to uphold their heretical view of Sacred Scripture are ploys of the Devil, too, to ensnare their souls. For instance, the following passages:
“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6 NIV)
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19 NIV)
Obviously, the Evangelic in his blindness --- blindness to God’s Infallible Catholic Church, and blindness toward what his own bible says elsewhere, refuting his religious lies --- thinks these verses support his ‘scripture alone’ heresy by supposedly ‘denouncing’ Sacred Tradition as being words that the Church “adds” to Sacred Scripture. This is hellish ordure, since Evangelics themselves “add” to the Bible by imagining, out of thin air and with no real biblical evidence, that their bibles forbid any religious traditions! When, in stark contrast, it is as the Church has always said, that Sacred Tradition is not an addition to Sacred Scripture but exists alongside in tandem with it. We repeat, Tradition is not some alternative form of Scripture --- just not written down, at least originally --- thereby ‘adding’ to what shouldn’t be added to. Rather, Tradition stands independent of Scripture as a separate entity whilst simultaneously in conjunction with it, the two sharing in common the fact that they both come from God.
In other words, both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are God speaking to men under the watchfulness of the Church, She being His appointed Teacher & Judge in the persons of Her Popes to guarantee on earth their proper transmission, comprehension, profession and application. Therefore, the prohibition in Proverbs against adding to God’s “words” necessarily includes Sacred Tradition along with Sacred Scripture. Both are God’s “words”; ergo, both must be protected from perversion. Something which Protestants care not a wit for, they having done the very thing that God in Proverbs warns about by adding to Sacred Tradition their own made up tradition of it being ‘scripture alone’ upon which they are to rely!
Likewise, in considering the prohibition in Revelation against adding to or subtracting from God’s “words” as found in the Apostle John’s “prophecy” at the end of the Bible --- a prohibition that a real Catholic readily agrees is applicable in general to all of Sacred Scripture, by virtue of the perfection and inalterableness of God’s divinely-inspired words --- we again find the Protestant himself to have violated this prohibition by doing the very thing he pretends to reproach the Catholic Church with. To wit, by his scholars very poorly and very dishonestly translating the text of the Bible (even cutting out whole swaths of God’s inspired words from Sacred Scripture --- such as the so-called ‘apocryphal’ books, what Catholics correctly term ‘deuterocanonical’ --- and thereby wantonly disregarding what both the Catholic Church’s infallible judgment and Her ancient tradition tells us belongs in the canon of the Bible), and by himself either ignoring or misinterpreting the text that remains!
+ + + 71. Getting Back on Target + + +
Yet why should any of this surprise us? Have we not witnessed the bad will of most Evangelic Protestants toward God & His Church manifested over and over and over again? Don’t the majority of them never seek God’s One True Religion, do not the majority of them never humble themselves to convert to Roman Catholicism when confronted by Her Holy Gospel?
Even so. Hence, it should not surprise us, either, when Evangelics have the audacity to play dumb, imagining that their bibles can ‘refute’ the earliest Christians of the first few centuries after Christ. That is to say, that they, Evangelics --- who did not really coagulate until a mere 100 years ago, and whose immediate forebears, Protestants in general, did not arise until the sixteenth century --- somehow know better what Jesus actually taught and how to correctly interpret the Bible than did ancient Christians who lived a mere 300 years or less after Jesus, some 1200 to 1450 years closer than did the original Protestant rebels and some 1700 to 1950 years closer than do their spiritual descendants, Evangelic heretics, today!
What absolute nonsense. Did Evangelics live and walk with Jesus Christ? Were they a part of His Apostles? Did they know Him personally, did they hear His words and listen to His teachings, or have explanations tailored by Him to specifically address the needs and deficiencies of their individual comprehensions? Did they know His Apostles personally, or know those disciples who followed immediately after them --- those who did know the Apostles personally? Have Evangelics known personally any of the orthodox generations of disciples that followed the prior orthodox generation during the nearly two millennia since Jesus walked as a man upon this earth?
Then where on earth do they get the nerve to say they know better what Jesus taught, dismissing the voluminous evidence of earliest Christian writers still available to this day for anyone to examine?
How dare they!
Yet Evangelics are in a bit of a “quandary”, as I remarked way back in Chapters 11 & 13. They have committed themselves a priori to the false Evangelic gospel erected upon ‘faith alone’ and ‘scripture alone’ --- even though neither of these things is anywhere taught in their bibles. As a result, they must either remain ignorant of what their bibles actually say (by not reading them, relying on manmade Protestant traditions exclusively), or misinterpret what their bibles actually say (by reading them in conjunction with manmade Protestant traditions to decide upon a mistaken meaning of their words), or lie about what their bibles actually say (by baldfacedly denying what they know to be the case, having read it and understood it accurately in spite of their manmade Protestant traditions). In any case, we have our answer: this is how they dare to say they know better what Jesus taught than all the orthodox generations before them in unbroken sequence for 2000 years of Christianity since Jesus & His Apostles walked upon the earth, teaching their disciples. They dare because they must otherwise eat a hearty helping of humble pie and, what’s more, because they must otherwise abandon the religious lies and worldly immoralities which they hold dear, converting to the Roman Catholic Church.
And their scholars are the same. For just as rank-and-file Evangelics distort the plain testimony of their bibles, pretending they don’t say what they very clearly and unmistakably do say, so Protestant scholars of all stripes do the same to ancient Christian writings. Clement, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Sardica, Optatus, Jerome, Sozomen, Chalcedon and many, many, many others of whom you’ve probably never heard and will never study, dear reader, exist to be read by those whose curiosity or piety drives them to investigate such things. Protestant scholars, at least a few of them, study some of these writings because intrigue about the past gets the best of them. Unfortunately, it’s the same old story. Most Protestant scholars are quite ignorant of what ancient Christians wrote --- and happily so. They rely on Protestant tradition to propagate fantasies about early Christian history. Or, where some of them have actually dared to read what ancient Christians had to say for themselves about what they believed and how they worshipped, the scholars rely on Protestant tradition to either mangle these testimonies into something they can stomach (read: something that doesn’t condemn or fly in the face of what they believe) or dismiss them altogether as ‘deformities of gospel simplicity already afoot so early on’. Worse yet, where a few of them have actually dared to read what ancient Christians had to say for themselves about what they believed and how they worshipped --- and these scholars have understood this testimony for what it actually was intended to say and find it impossible to dismiss as the ‘distortions’ of a minority early on --- they just plain straight-out lie. Viz., they deny that it exists, if only tacitly, or brazenly represent it as saying something else entirely.
What neither side will do, whether rank-and-file Evangelics or ivory tower Protestant academia, is admit the obvious: that both their bibles and earliest Christian testimony condemn their heretical Evangelic Protestant beliefs and practices. And they refuse to admit the obvious because they would then be left with not a leg to stand upon. When did they, Protestants, begin? The 1500s. Yet when did Jesus & His Apostles live? Prior to AD 100. So what happened in between, during the nearly millennium-and-a-half separating Jesus Christ & His Apostles from Martin Luther & His Rebellion? Heretics claim to have gotten their religious ideas from their bibles. Yet who before them held these religious ideas? Nobody as a whole. So how do Protestants know that they figured out religious ideas that nobody as a whole before them held whilst insisting that, somehow, Jesus Christ & His Apostles taught them wholly? Evangelics pretend that their bibles must be interpreted as such to back them up. Nevertheless, if this is so, then why don’t the very earliest Christians, those who knew the Apostles or knew the men who knew the Apostles, then uphold in their writings these peculiar religious ideas and utterly new interpretations of Sacred Scripture? Just how far back are we supposed to go based on a blind trust that Protestants, who did not exist then and therefore have no eyewitness knowledge for what actually happened and what was actually believed by ancient Christians, have somehow, out of thin air, got their religious ideas right?
Is the absurdity of it beginning to strike you, my dear reader? This is the length to which Protestants are driven just to remain standing in place, smug in their contention that they, after hundreds upon hundreds of years, pulled a rabbit out of a hat and got right what untold millions of believers had not had right since the very first century, the Saving Truth that Jesus & His Apostles taught having been mysteriously derailed early on before the horse even got out of the starting gate. And all the while these same Protestants will not dare to say that they possess the gift of teaching infallibly… So where in the world are they getting their ‘certainty’ from?
So blind are they!
Nonetheless, let us not forget what our aim has been. We have spent an enormous amount of time pummeling the false religious teaching and manmade tradition of ‘scripture alone’. And we have done so because this book uses Sacred Scripture to refute those heretics who claim to rely on the Bible, in the hope that a few of them, at a bare minimum, may be brought to their senses, renounce their religious lies and embrace the Saving Truth of Roman Catholicism. Yet to what advantage if such heretics then convert not because they now see where God’s Infallibly Proclaimed Truth resides, but because they fool themselves into thinking that they are clever enough, in and of themselves, to see all of the Saving Truth --- thereby standing in judgment upon the Catholic Church that actually stands in judgment upon them --- and that they have the privilege to decide for themselves whether or not they will listen to and obey Jesus’ Roman Catholic Body? Such converts would be destined to perish, sooner or later in their spiritual pride departing from the infallible teachings of the One True Religion!
Still, the lengthy digression on ‘scripture alone’, however important, is not our main point. Neither is the Papacy our main point, although the Bishop of Rome is the primary vehicle whereby our main point is being made. Our target is simply this:
That there is no Hope of Salvation for anyone with the use of reason outside of fully conscious and externally objective membership in the Catholic Church, which membership necessarily includes, and inescapably presupposes, submission to an infallible Roman Bishop. And those with the use of reason must be baptized into the Catholic Church in order to be saved.
Furthermore, we have been looking closely at the Papacy because, as I said in Chapter 14 regarding the engine that drove my own conversion into Catholicism onward, “If Catholics have it right about their top man, that the legitimate Bishop of Rome holds God-Given Infallible Authority to instruct all true Christians on what is to be believed and how it is to be practiced, then it’s worthwhile investigating their many other dogmas as well. Whereas, if they’re wrong about the Pope, then why waste time poking around at other teachings except to indulge idle curiosity? Yet should they be right, it is therefore vital to one’s eternal fate before God to examine everything they teach.”
So let us take the next step, dear reader. Let us now examine what your bibles themselves have to say about the Successors to the Apostle Peter. Is there really but one man into whose hands God Almighty has committed the keeping of His Church? Is there truly but one ruler, one shepherd on earth, entrusted by Jesus with the ability to teach and judge infallibly so as to keep His Flock from straying from the Narrow Path to become prey for the Devil and his minions? Can Sacred Scripture really uphold this notion, thence also comporting with what earliest Catholics testified, whose writings we looked at in depth from Chapters 16 to 33?
+ + + 72. The ‘Harsh’ Truth + + +
While doing this, bear in mind a warning. Two warnings, in fact.
One, that Protestant bibles are bad translations and not to be trusted or read beyond their usefulness in appraising Catholics about certain heresies, and in potentially converting an Evangelic or other Protestant heretic to the Hope of Salvation found only in the profession and practice of the Faith of Roman Catholicism. As I have said elsewhere in another work:
“Incidentally, my relentless citation of Sacred Scripture is not meant to champion the Bible as a final authority for one’s religious beliefs, nor is my quoting from a Protestant translation meant to encourage people to trust in that translation. While a priceless gift from Heaven, the Bible saturates the text below because conservative Protestants claim to respect its words… Meanwhile, I warn everyone to beware of the many pernicious errors that fill heretical bibles from one end to the other. The only good reason for trolling their pages is to gather bait whereby souls might be fished into the Ark of Salvation, and then only if thoroughly armed against the evil that lies coiled between their covers.” [From paragraph four of “A Note to the Reader” in Catholic Ritual Defended.]
And, two, my words have probably struck many as blunt and harsh. I may even be accused of arrogance or malice. But rather than waste time trying to refute such an accusation, let us entertain the notion. What if they’re right? What then?
My dear reader, think about it. Let’s say I am arrogant and malicious. Let’s say I am too blunt and harsh. What of it? Is the real issue here whether or not I speak sweetly enough for you? Is the most important matter whether or not I actually care for your welfare? Or is not the key question whether or not you desire to know the truth? Indeed, are you willing to humble yourself in order to grasp it, renouncing your errors and so save your soul? If so, then, provided my testimony is factual and intelligent, then what in the world is to keep you from profiting by it? Or are you like a man who refuses gold just because the one who offers it to you is not fair spoken?
I speak forthrightly, and even sternly at times, because the situation of the world today demands it. Men’s hearts are cold toward God and their minds indifferent to the light of His One True Religion. No one is going to be won over by timidity masquerading as politeness. Nor is embarrassment about one’s religious stance going under the guise of a delicate courtesy, as if not wanting to ‘offend’ anybody’s feelings, going to impress anyone. An enemy of my Catholicism is going to detect such discomfort a mile away! No, the real Catholic’s dilemma is precisely that of the Prophet Elijah when he faced down the false prophets of Baal during the days of the wicked Queen Jezebel. (1 Kings 18) A spiritual showdown that at one point, surprisingly enough, even saw Elijah taunting these 450 leaders of a false religion:
“At noon Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.’ So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” (1 Kings 18:27-29 NIV)
Earlier, when confronted by the evil King Ahab, who accused him of
being a “troubler of
“I have not made trouble for
Then, speaking to the syncretistic people of
“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21b-d NIV)
Later, exhausted by his struggles and wanting God to take him from the sorrows of an apostate world, he groaned upon the mountain of the Lord in the middle of the desert:
“I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1 Kings 19:14 NIV)
Whereupon the Lord, the One True God of the One True Religion of the Old Covenant instructed him on what to do next, ending with this reassurance:
“Yet I reserve seven thousand in
Seven thousand. That may sound like a lot until you realize that
millions upon millions of people lived in the land of ancient
Such is the situation today, dear reader. Our forefathers were once Catholic. Then they rebelled, spawning a new and false religion called Protestantism. This manmade religion then splintered into many sub-religions, all of them false and one of them what I call Evangelicism. Many even claim no religion at all nowadays --- although this is nonsense, it being impossible for men to have no religious opinions. That is to say, even the assertion that there is no God --- or that it is not possible to know whether or not there is a God, or that it doesn’t matter what you believe about God --- is unavoidably religious, dogmas upon which men build their lives accordingly.
Such is the plight today. Such is what I, amongst the very few others who remain loyal to God’s One & Only Catholic Faith, confront. It is like trying to tell the stubborn blind man of Chapter 59 about the volcano that lies in wait just outside his house. He will not listen, convinced he knows better, regardless of the fact that he can’t see! Diplomatic language won’t work here; euphemisms and beating around the bush will get you nowhere; endless precautionary qualifications in your speech and constant attempts to anticipate what will and what will not ‘offend’ him are useless, a sheer waste of time. The problem is not you --- that you are too inept at communicating, or too insensitive toward his predicament --- the problem is he! He is too proud; he is too stubborn; he is too blind; he is too sensitive; he is too prone to take offense where none is meant to be given. He is careless, having not a whim in the world to know what really lies outside his perilously perched domicile, indifferent to his ultimate fate. He is content to dream of what lies outside, his airy paradise and garden of pleasure, excoriating any who dare to call his fantasy for what it is:
Truly, this stubborn blind man is exactly what God via the Apostle Paul was talking about, speaking of the men of this world who have rejected both Him & His Religion.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God --- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV)
My dear reader, provided you have no desire to discover what the Creator truly commands, then you are that stubborn blind man. You are “boastful, proud, abusive” toward the Catholic Faith. You are “rash, conceited” in your opinion against the Roman Catholic Church, “slanderous” of Her Name. And there is no way for me to speak that will not offend you. I cannot avoid sounding harsh or arrogant to your ears. As I explained in Chapter 5, “…I must warn you... the answer is controversial. No one likes being told he is wrong, even if only implicitly. No one likes being told he’s going to face the Eternal Wrath of God if he doesn’t change the path he’s on. As a result, I can’t cushion my words sufficiently to stay loyal to the Truth while not antagonizing your ears. No matter how sweetly I might speak, no matter how compassionately I might act, the Gospel of Catholic Rome --- which is the Creator’s One & Only Gospel --- will offend the world. It is a matter of course.”
A bit later I quoted Jesus’ exhortation to His Apostles:
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own... If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:18-19a, 20b NIV)
It is sobering, too, to recall here how Jesus spoke to his fellow Jews on occasion. “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34 NIV) As well, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33 NIV) Similarly, John the Baptist said to his fellow Jews, “…to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’” (Luke 3:7-9 NIV)
Howbeit, despite the hard hearts of many people and despite the harsh language sometimes needed to be used against them, God told the Prophet Ezekiel that he was responsible, in some way, for the eternal fate of those to whom he spoke, that he must warn these souls lost to the darkness of false religion or bad morality:
“The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, speak to
your countrymen and say to them: “When I bring the sword against a land
and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman,
and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the
people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and
the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head.
Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will
be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved
himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the
trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of
them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the
watchman accountable for his blood.” Son of man, I have made you a
watchman for the house of
Dear Evangelic, I do not go out of my way to offend. I merely speak the Truth. A Truth which, I tell you again, is bound to offend. Yet a Truth that is also the only way to save your soul from the Fiery Ruin of Hell. I warn you about the consequences of rejecting this Truth so that I cannot be held accountable for your blood. It is up to you to be humble enough to hear it, believe it, profess it and obey it. But if you would have a consolation, a balm for the wound left by uprooted pride, then content yourself with this: that the Creator of All That Exists, Who lives eternally “in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16 NIV) and made you according to His Divine Image (Genesis 1:27), thinks it worthwhile to fish for your soul from out of the midst of a Vast Sea of Lost Men. No former sin of yours is insurmountable, no unbelief in the past for which you are guilty unpardonable. Provided you begin to believe and obey, and continue believing and obeying, you can be washed clean. (Isaiah 1:16-18) Not having sought, nevertheless you may find; not having asked, notwithstanding you may see! (Romans 10:20, Isaiah 65:1) What offense can there be in that? How can my words, able to lead to the stunning reward of Life Everlasting, be repugnant to any mind able to reason clearly? For my words are not my own. I simply repeat what the Incarnate God has said, Whose teachings His Apostles deposited in the Roman Catholic Church, and which Peter’s Successors, rightful Bishops of Rome, have always upheld infallibly by the Ineffable Power of the Triune God, Father, Son & Holy Ghost. Amen.
But therein lies the question for an unbeliever such as yourself. Are the legitimate Bishops of Rome the infallible leaders of all real Christians? Do they really exercise the Power of God Almighty? And could your bibles possibly support this astonishing conclusion? The typical Evangelic is skeptical.
Let us find out how it is --- and undeniably so --- that Catholics are right.
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Part One of Extra Eccelsiam Nulla Salus (Chapters 1-33)
Part Two of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (Chapters 34-53)
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