11/26/18

A WALK IN THE WOODS by EE Healy

http://www.eehealy.com/commentary/A%20WALK%20IN%20THE%20WOODS-2.pdf




A WALK IN THE WOODS

 One day in August Joy and I took the day to walk about the Adirondack Mountains. Well, since they are HUGE it really was only a small and short trail, at that. Along the trail we came across a deer next to a stream feeding on some wild berries.  In my photos I have attached a photo I took for you to see the beauty of this creature. It reminds me of a Scripture from Psalm 42:1‐2, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?" [NIV] Walking about in God's creation is in some way an opportunity to be near God.  When I read the Scriptures it is an opportunity to be near the mind of God. And then, when I open my heart and mind to pray to God it is an opportunity to talk with God. This reminds me of another Scripture from Genesis 3:8,  "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.." [NIV] Think about this when life and the trials, frustrations, and burdens of each day become overbearing.  What a wonderful thought to be able to walk with the Lord God in the cool of the day!  To be in His garden, His creation and unload all the cares of the day!  To ask His advice and seek His counsel as to what the true meaning and purpose is for life and our journey! For me, walking about the Adirondack Mountains opens a door into God's creation, a garden in which the cares of the day fade away as I commune with God. "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God."    Thank you for always being there in the cool of the day.

The Best To You!

Edward E. Healy               

The Abiding Word        [www.TheAbidingWord.com]

"THE EPISTLE TO TITUS" Sound Doctrine For Young Women (2:4-5)


 "THE EPISTLE TO TITUS"

Sound Doctrine For Young Women (2:4-5)

INTRODUCTION

1. Our text continues to describe "things which are proper for sound
   doctrine" - Tit 2:1
   a. Doctrine that is spiritually healthy, wholesome
   b. In this case, exhortations related to godly conduct

2. We have already considered...
   a. Conduct becoming older men and older women - Tit 2:2-4
   b. Examples to inspire older men and women to bear fruit in their old
      age

[We now turn our attention to...]

I. CONDUCT BECOMING YOUNG WOMEN

   A. TO LOVE THEIR HUSBANDS AND CHILDREN...
      1. To love their husbands (philandros), to love their children
         (philoteknos)
      2. To have an affectionate love for both husband and children
      3. This should be natural, but sin can lead one to become unloving
         - Ro 1:31
      4. Note that this is something the older women can train them - Ti
         2:4 (ASV, ESV, NIV)
      -- Where such love is lacking in younger women, it can be
         relearned!

   B. DISCRETE AND CHASTE...
      1. Discreet (sophron)
         a. Also required of older men (where it is translated as
            'temperate') - Tit 2:2
         b. Discreet, sober, temperate, of a sound mind
         c. Self-disciplined in one's freedom, self-restrained in all
            passions and desires - TCWD
      2. Chaste (hagnos)
         a. Pure from carnality, chaste, modest - Thayer
         b. Pure in heart, and in life - Barnes
         c. In body, in affection, words and actions, having their love
            pure and single to their own husbands, keeping their
            marriage bed undefiled - Gill
         d. This conduct would be just as important for single women
            - cf. 1Co 7:34
      -- Young women, married or single, should be discreet and chaste
         in their behavior

   C. HOMEMAKERS...
      1. Homemakers (oikouros)
      2. A keeper at home, one who looks after domestic affairs with
         prudence and care - TCWD
      3. Attentive to their domestic concerns, or to their duties in
         their families - Barnes
      4. A virtuous woman might be engaged in economic affairs outside
         the home, but not to the neglect of her family - cf. Pr 31:
         10-31 (note esp. 16,24,31)
      -- Her duty is first to home and family, though may work outside
         the home if capable

   D. GOOD...
      1. Good (agathos)
      2. Other translations have "kind" (ASV, ESV, NASB, NIV, NRSV)
      3. In respect to operation or influence on others, i.e., useful,
         beneficial, profitable - TCWD
      -- As a young woman carries out her duties, she is to do so with
         goodness and kindness

   E. OBEDIENT TO THEIR HUSBANDS...
      1. Obedient (hupotasso)
      2. To subject oneself, place oneself in submission - TCWD
      3. Wives are to be in submission to their husbands - Ep 5:22; Co
         3:18; 1Pe 3:1,5
      4. Although there is an ontological spiritual equality between men
         and women (Ga 3:28; 1Pe 3:7), there remain physical,
         positional and functional differences. There are designated
         functions for a husband and a wife which man cannot change
         because God has ordained them. Any endeavor to effect change
         will bring frustration, vanity, and emptiness. - TCWD
      -- Submission is a virtue enjoined on all Christians (Ep 5:21;
         1Pe 5:5); wives can demonstrate how it should be done

[Such is the conduct that is becoming of young women.  Many today scoff
at such notions.  But for those willing to obey, they can be used by God
to accomplish great things.  Consider some...]

II. EXAMPLES TO INSPIRE YOUNG WOMEN

   A. HANNAH...
      1. Whose name means "gracious, merciful; that he gives"
         - Hitchcock
      2. Her trials and prayers were rewarded by God giving her a son,
         Samuel - 1Sa 1:1-20
      3. Who was willing to dedicate her son to the Lord - 1Sa 1:
         21-28; 2:18,19
      4. Who offered a prayer of thanksgiving, that is similar to the
         song of Mary - 1 Sa 2:1-10
      5. And was later blessed with three more sons, and two daughters
         - 1 Sa 2:20-21
      -- A woman of faith who dedicated family in service to the Lord

   B. ESTHER...
      1. A beautiful orphan girl, raised by her cousin Mordecai - Est 2:7
      2. Who became wife of Ahasuerus, king of Persia - Es 2:8-17
      3. Who risked her life to save the Jews from extinction - Est 4:13-16
      -- A beautiful and gracious woman, used in God's providence to
         save a nation

   C. MARY...
      1. The young virgin who became the mother of our Lord 
           - Lk 1: 26-38; Mt 1:18-25
      2. Who came to understand who her son's true family was
          - cf. Lk 2:48-51; Mt 12:46-50
      2. Who followed her son to His crucifixion - Jn 19:25
      3. Who was later together with His apostles - Ac 1:13-14
      -- A chaste and discreet woman, who reminds us that all our
         children belong to God

   D. PRISCILLA...
      1. The wife of Aquila - Ac 18:1-3
      2. Who joined her husband in teaching Apollos - Ac 18:26
      3. Fellow workers with Paul, and who risked their own lives - Ro 16:3-4
      4. In whose home churches met - Ro 16:5; 1Co 16:19
      -- A wife who used her home to further the cause of the gospel of
         Christ

   E. MODERN DAY EXAMPLES...
      1. Women who love their husbands and their children, providing
         homes for them
      2. Those who do not let their families become a hindrance, but as
         a way to serve the Lord
      3. Chaste and discreet girls, even teenagers, who take a stand for
         decency and morality
      4. Women who demonstrate the beauty and value of submission and
         service
      -- Who will God use today?  Any young woman who dares to follow
         the Lord!

CONCLUSION

1. Some might think that Paul's words in our text...
   a. Are chauvinist and outdated
   b. Would prevent women from attaining their full potential

2. Yet time and experience has shown it to be sound doctrine...
   a. Doctrine that is spiritually healthy, wholesome for young women
   b. That which is most beneficial in developing truly healthy families

Are the young women willing to heed such sound doctrine, "that the
word of God may not be blasphemed"...?


Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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The Catholic Dogma of Infallibility by Moisés Pinedo

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1521

The Catholic Dogma of Infallibility

by Moisés Pinedo


When the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA...he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable (Vatican I, 1869b, chap. 4, s. 9).
This is the dogma declared by Pope Pius IX, and approved by the Vatican I Council, in regard to the alleged infallible teaching authority of the Roman pontiff.
For more than a century, this dogma has pressed greatly upon the shoulders of Catholics, who have worked feverishly to try to harmonize the nature of the infallible dogma with the declarations, teachings, and revelations of the popes who lived before and after the establishment of such a dogma. The truth is that the faithful Catholic does not have the option of rejecting the doctrine firmly imposed by Vatican I, because the canonical condemnation concerning its rejection is also firm. The canon warns:
So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema [condemned—MP] (Vatican I, 1869b, chap. 4, s. 9, emp. added).
Thus, the curse is set upon those who reject the dogma, and the dogma has the approval of the Vatican I Council; thus, the pope is deemed infallible. However, the definitions, implications, and applications of the dogma are questionable to the point that even within the whole hierarchical and ordinary body of the Catholic Church, consensus does not exist.

IMPLICATIONS OF THE DOGMA

In order to speak of this dogma, we first need to understand certain related subjects. And, since many antagonists of infallibility have been accused of ignorance and manipulation of both the concept and its implications, it is my purpose here to use only those definitions and explanations suggested by the same supporters of the doctrine postulated by Pius IX.
Unlike the commonly publicized idea that only the pope posses infallibility, Catholicism teaches that the Catholic Church, completely represented by its body of bishops, also is infallible. Therefore Vatican II declared:
Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held (Lumen Gentium, 1964, chap. 3, s. 25, emp. added).
It must be noted here that, according to Catholicism, the infallibility of the bishops is subordinated to the infallibility of the bishop of Rome, and it is he who gives the final sentence. Consequently, the thesis of the dogma of infallibility may be summarized in this way:
Infallibility is divine assistance for the Church that protects the Pope of any error in matters of faith and moral.... Infallibility only applies to acts in which the Pope uses his apostolic duty completely; when he defines a dogma in virtue of his supreme authority and in his capacity as pastor of the universal Church. In these cases he speaks ex cathedra (see SCTJM, 1999b, emp. added).
Since the proclamation of the dogma has left many religious people (including Catholics themselves) with a dissatisfied feeling of not being able to conclude rationally by themselves when the pope is fallible and when he is not, Catholicism has found it necessary to set up the following conditions under which infallibility may “work.” According to Catechism of the Catholic Church, three conditions must be filled:
(1) The Pope must speak “as supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful that he confirms [strengthens] his brethren”... (2) The Pope “proclaims the doctrine through a definitive act”... (3) The Pope speaks “in matters of faith and morals” (SCTJM, 1999a, emp. in orig.).
Therefore, with this more “systematized” explanation, Catholicism has “stopped” (or, more accurately, ignored) the endless charges against the popes of both past and modern times. However, is the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility true? Are its “structured” explanations coherent and valid? Should the faithful Christian agree with, or oppose, this doctrine?

REASONS WHY THE DOGMA OF INFALLIBILITY SHOULD BE REJECTED

 

It is Inconsistent with Biblical Truth
The Vatican I Council, in its Pastor Aeternus, declares about the basis of infallibility:
For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter.... This See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Savior to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren (Vatican I, 1869b, chap. 4, s. 6, emp. added).
So then, according to Catholic doctrine, papal infallibility is based on the fact that in Luke 22:32 Jesus promised Peter that his “faith” (i.e., his declarations of divine truths concerning “faith and morals”) would not fail. But a brief analysis of the biblical passage and its context reveals a completely different conclusion. Consider the following.
First, the contextual disposition of Luke 22:32 does not establish the basis for the dogma of infallibility. That is to say, there is no indication in the biblical text that suggests a papal primacy or a type of special “petrine prerogative.” The subject under consideration is the coming temptation of the disciples—and, more specifically, Peter’s impending denial of Jesus.
Second, the expression, “I have prayed for you,” does not impose a special dignity upon Peter; nor does it exclude some prayer in favor of the rest of the disciples. John 17:9-19 clarifies that Jesus had prayed, not only for Peter, but also for His other disciples. The reason why Jesus mentioned (in Luke 22) the prayer in favor of Peter finds its logical explanation in the fact that Peter would be one of the disciples who would confront a major “sifting” at the hand of Satan (Luke 22:31; cf. 22:34,54-62). Jesus, in telling Peter that He had prayed for him, showed him that a speedy recovery after the fall was His desire.
Third, when Jesus spoke of the faith of Peter, He used the Greek term pistis, which means “principally, firm persuasion, conviction based on hearing” (Vine, 1999, p. 374). There is no biblical sign in the text of Luke to suggest that Peter’s faith should be interpreted as his “future declarations of divine truths concerning faith and morals.” Rather, Peter’s faith could be contrasted with the fear of his own physical death—which ultimately would lead him to actually deny his Lord (Luke 22:54-61; cf. Mark 4:35-40). Here, the word “faith” emphasizes Peter’s faith as indicated by his trust in God, not his faith in the sense of “revelations of the truth.”
Fourth, when Jesus told Peter that He had prayed that his faith might not fail, He used the Greek term ekleipo, which can be translated as “leave,” “fail,” or “lack” (Vine, p. 371). A more exact translation would indicate that Peter’s faith would neither dim nor fade. While the faith (trust) that Peter had in Jesus might have failed (since he denied Him, Luke 22:54-61), it did not dim or fade, as evinced by the fact that Peter repented of his failure (Luke 22:62). Those in Catholicism who interpret Peter’s faith as his “infallible testimony of faith and moral dogmas,” fail to realize that Peter’s faith failed him at Annas’ courtyard. Therefore, this faith cannot account for any kind of alleged infallibility given to Peter, much less to Roman bishops.
Fifth, the phrase “when you have turned again” (Luke 22:32) denotes the tragic reality that Peter’s faith was going to fail. The Greek term for “turn” is epistrepho, which expresses the idea of being converted. Peter needed to turn back from his way of denial, repent, and confess Jesus (see Lacueva, 1984, p. 339). In fact, Peter’s personal disloyalty to his Master certainly does not offer any proof for “petrine infallibility”—but quite the opposite.
Finally, Catholicism also affirms that part of the evidence for the dogma of infallibility lies inherently in the text of Matthew 16:18-19, although, a correct exegesis of the text of Matthew shows that such a claim is untenable. [For an explanation of the text in Matthew, see Pinedo, 2005.] The truth is that there is nothing in the whole of the biblical text that would establish the dogma of papal infallibility.

IT IS INCONSISTENT WITH ITSELF

Papal infallibility also should be rejected because it cannot remain consistent with its own dogmatic presentation. By this, I mean that the dogma of infallibility is self-contradictory. A few examples will be enough to document this fact. For example, the following statement may be found in an explanatory article about papal infallibility:
[T]he Vatican I Council does not directly say that the Pope, when addressing matters ex cathedra of faith and moral, is infallible. It restricts itself to say that, in those cases (and only in those), the Pope enjoys the same infallibility which the Church is endowed with. Therefore, the Church’s infallibility is not defined by the one of the Pope, but the last by the first. And it seems to us to have a profound theological sense (Logos, 1996, emp. added).
Perhaps after reading this quotation it will seem to you that declarations with “profound theological sense” are so “profound” that they become incomprehensible. Catholicism states as a defense that Vatican I (the council that established papal infallibility) does not declare directly that the pope is infallible in matters of faith and morals. But if that is the case, the question becomes, why, for more than a century, has Catholicism insisted on imposing a doctrine that was not even declared directly? If it is said that the Catholic Church is infallible, and that this infallibility also is enjoyed by the pope, is it not an equivalent operation of: if A is equal to B, and if B is equal to C, then A is equal to C? And if it is a dogmatic implication, what kind of “theologically profound” defense is this?
I will let Catholicism continue explaining its own dogmas. In an article titled, “¿Puede el Papa Caer en Error o Herejía?” (“Can the Pope Fall Into Error and Heresy?”), the following declaration can be found:
Therefore, the Pope can err when he speaks about politics, medicine, physics, economy, history, etc. In anything except in religious matters. But he can also err in religious matters, if he speaks in table talk, or in a walk with friends, or a private discussion about religion. And also when he speaks as Mr. So-and-so and states his own personal theories, even in a publicly sold book, he can err (see Cristiandad, 2005, emp. added).
It is interesting to note the concept that this particular supporter of Catholicism has about “in anything except.” If the pope “also” can err in religious matters, can it be said that he can err “in anything except” in religious matters? If the Holy Spirit assists the pope as He assisted Peter and the other apostles of the first century, why, since the Holy Spirit never abandoned them, would the Spirit abandon the pope when he is not on his throne, in his council, or using his title of pontiff? Actually there is no biblical analogy for the dogma of infallibility as presented by Catholicism. Jesus not only spoke infallibly when He appealed to His Father’s authority (John 7:16-18), but also in His private conversations (John 4) or in His walk with friends (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit led the disciples to allthe truth, not just part of it (John 16:13). The Bible is inerrant in religious and secular matters; it does not contain wheat and weed. Rather, all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16).
Addressing the unavoidable reality of pontific heresy, a Catholic Web page declares about the pope:
And if he is a heretic, at least he is not going to declare his heresies as part of the doctrine of the profession, that is, things which we are required to believe and observe. It was never permitted by the Holy Spirit (see Apologética, n.d., emp. added).
That is to say, the pope can fall into heresy and even teach it, but in his heresy (since according to Catholicism he does not declare it ex cathedra), he must not be obeyed. This, of course, gives rise to a tedious problem of investigating whether or not the pope is speaking infallibly, and whether or not he must be obeyed. Ironically it also is declared:
Obedience to the Sumo Pontiff should not be limited to when he speaks ex cathedra. Neither should the disciplinary decree of the Pope be rejected with the pretext that they were not promulgated ex cathedra (SCTJM, 1999b, emp. added).
However, if the pope is both infallible and fallible in religious matters, and if Catholics are called to obey him in both areas, does that not represent a danger to the heart of many Catholic doctrines? The truth is that Catholicism cannot teach and defend papal infallibility as it does, and remain consistent.

IT IS INCONSISTENT IN ITS APPLICATION

Catholicism declares:
The possessors of infallibility are: (a) the Pope (the Pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra), (b) the complete Episcopacy (the totality of the bishops is infallible when proposing a teaching of faith and moral as belief for all the faithful, either assembled together in a general council or scattered around the earth) [see Pivarunas, 1996, parenthetical items in orig., emp. added].
Therefore, it can be said that “infallibility” reaches its highest degree in ecumenical councils, where the pope, along with the body of bishops, offer up a seal of approval to dogmas of faith that Catholics must obey. Additionally Catholicism confirms:
Yes, it is truth that certain popes have contradicted other popes, in their private opinions or concerning disciplinary dogmas; but there was never a Pope who would officially contradict what a previous Pope officially taught about faith and moral matters. The same could be said about ecumenical councils, which also teach with infallibility. There was not an ecumenical council that would contradict the teaching of a previous ecumenical council concerning faith and morals (Keating, n.d., emp. added).
The Catholic defense can be summarized as follows: the pope can be a heretic, but he will notofficially teach heresy; and the councils, which allegedly use infallibility, never contradict each other. But is such a concept true? What do the councils, which teach “infallibly,” say? A few examples will be enough to arrive at the conclusion that ecumenical councils, in application of their so-called infallibility, fail completely.
Vatican I Council, in its dogmatic constitution Filius-Dei on the Catholic faith, expressed the following:
The abandonment and rejection of the Christian religion, and the denial of God and his Christ, has plunged the minds of many into the abyss of pantheism, materialism and atheism, and the consequence is that they strive to destroy rational nature itself, to deny any criterion of what is right and just.... And so we, following in the footsteps of our predecessors, in accordance with our supreme apostolic office, have never left off teaching and defending Catholic truth and condemning erroneous doctrines (Vatican I, 1869b, s. 7-10, emp. added).
However, while Vatican I condemns erroneous doctrines such as the denial of Christ, Vatican II declares:
The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth.... Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet”(Nostra Aetate, 1965, s. 3, emp. added).
But since Muslims do not acknowledge Jesus as the prophesied Messiah (that is, the Christ), would that not be a denial of Christ, and thus the heresy condemned by Vatican I? Most assuredly!
Vatican I, in its canonic sentence on written revelation, states:
If anyone does not receive as sacred and canonical the complete books of Sacred Scripture with all their parts, as the holy Council of Trent listed them, or denies that they were divinely inspired: let him be anathema (Vatican I, 1869a, Can. 2, s. 4, emp. added).
However, Vatican II, in speaking about Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions that discard much of canonical Scripture, declared that these religions
[t]ry to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing “ways,” comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men (Nostra Aetate 1965, s. 2, emp. added).
On the permanence of the petrine primacy of the roman pontiffs, Vatican I, in its Pastor Aeternus,condemns.
Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema (Vatican I, 1969b, chap. 2, s. 5, parenthectical item in orig., emp. added).
However, Vatican II beatifies:
The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christianthough they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter [that is to say, they don’t accept the proposed papal hierarchy—MP]. For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ (Lumen Gentium, 1964, chap. 2, s. 15, emp. added).
Now Vatican II has united to Christ the same people who, for not accepting petrine hierarchy, were condemned by Vatican I as anathema. Truth be told, the Vatican I Council, which allegedly taught with infallibility, cannot coexist with the Vatican II Council that allegedly employed the same infallibility.
There are many other contradictions that could be added if space allowed, but the few presented in this article are enough to permit a definitive conclusion: the Catholic dogma of papal infallibility is not consistent with the truth. The Vatican II Council invoked by Pope John XXIII stands in strong opposition to the Vatican I Council invoked by Pope Pius IX (the father of the dogma of papal infallibility). On the other hand, there is only one infallible truth—the Word of God (John 17:17). It is this truth to which we need to come to learn about the salvation of our souls and to keep us away from error and apostasy. In the end, when our Savior comes back in the clouds to reward and punish in a universal judgment, it will not be the words of men’s fallible councils, but the Word of God that will be open, and then, the Lord will give the “canonic” sentence.

REFERENCES

Apologética (no date), Reflexiones en Torno a la Infalibilidad de la Iglesia [On-line], URL: http://apologetica.org/infalibilidad.htm.
Cristiandad (2005), ¿Puede el Papa Caer en Error o Herejía? [On-line], URL: http://es.catholic.net/conocetufe/358/1780/articulo.php?id=3324.
Keating, Kart (no date), La Infalibilidad Papal [On-line], URL: http://apologetica.org/infalibilidad-keating.htm.
Lacueva, Francisco (1984), Nuevo Testamento Interlineal Griego-Español (CLIE, Villadecavalls, Barcelona, España).
Logos (1996), Llamado de Atención Sobre la Infalibilidad [On-line], URL: http://www.sjsocial.org/logos/logos6.htm.
Lumen Gentium (1964), Dogmatic Constitution of the Church [On-line], URL: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/
vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html.
Nostra Aetate (1965), Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions [On-line], URL: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/
vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html.
Pinedo, Moisés (2005), The Pope, the Papacy, and the Bible [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2724.
Pivarunas, Mark A. (1996),La Infalibilidad de la Iglesia Católica [On-line], URL: http://www.cmri.org/font-96prog5.html.
SCTJM (1999a), Ex Cathedra, Tres Condiciones Deben Reunirse Para que una Definición Pontificia Sea Ex Cathedra [On-line], URL: http://www.corazones.org/diccionario/excathedra.htm.
SCTJM (1999b), Infalibilidad [On-line], URL: http://www.corazones.org/diccionario/infalibilidad.htm#Infalibilidad%20Episcopa.
Vatican I (1869a), Canon On Revelation [On-line], URL: http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM#5.
Vatican I (1869b), First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ [On-line], URL: http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM#6.
Vine, W.E. (1999), Diccionario Expositivo de Palabras del Antiguo y Nuevo Testamento Exhaustivo,(Colombia, Editorial Caribe, Inc.).

The Catholic Church Gives Away the Store to Skeptics by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=3733


The Catholic Church Gives Away the Store to Skeptics

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


English is filled with delightful idioms that describe in a colorful way what happens in discussions. For instance, the phrase “give away the store” means that a person makes a concession that so weakens his position that he might as well give up defending his belief. A recent article written by Philip Pullella shows the extent to which some people who call themselves Christians have “given away the store” when it comes to the creation/evolution discussion.
On January 6, 2011, Pullella posted an article titled, “God Was Behind the Big Bang, Universe No Accident: Pope.” In the article, he reported on a speech given by pope Benedict in Vatican City in which Benedict conceded that the Big Bang occurred, but that “God’s mind was behind complex scientific theories such as the Big Bang” (2011). Pullella further commented that the Catholic Church “now accepts evolution as a scientific theory” and “no longer teaches creationism—the belief that God created the world in six days as described in the Bible.”
The problem with Benedict’s position, and that of the Catholic church, is that they have “given away the store” to the evolutionists and atheistic cosmologists, in spite of the fact that real, experimental, verifiable science shows that the Big Bang is a scientific impossibility (see May, et al.) and that evolution is patently false (Sarfati, 1999). Gainsayers of Christ’s teachings can see exactly where such concessions logically lead. One skeptical reader who wrote a comment at the end of the article said, “sure, once you take out all the conflicts with science, you can have a guy who existed and taught stuff and was killed… but then how is that the son of god…?” In their attempt to appeal to the secular world, and make their message more palatable, the Catholic Church has conceded so much that its message does not contain the one thing that can set people free—the truth.
All those involved in defending the truth should keep in the forefront of our minds the reality that the majority of people in this world choose to believe things that are false and they travel down the broad road (Matthew 7:13-14). When we stand up for the truth, the world will hate us, just like it hated Jesus when He was on the Earth (John 15:18). Christians are not called to conform their minds to the false theories of the world, but to transform their minds by accepting and defending the truth (Romans 12:2), regardless of the social and political pressure to fit in. The Big Bang didn’t happen, evolution is not true, and there is much truth left “in store” for those who are willing to stand up against “science falsely so called.”

REFERENCES

Pullella, Philip (2011), “God Was Behind the Big Bang, Universe No Accident: Pope,” http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/06/us-pope-bigbang-idUSTRE7052OC20110106.
Sarfati, Jonathan (1999), Refuting Evolution (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
May, Branyon, et al. (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique,” Reason & Revelationhttp://apologeticspress.org/articles/2635.

The Book of Mormon and the Ancient Evidence by Dewayne Bryant, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=975


The Book of Mormon and the Ancient Evidence

by Dewayne Bryant, Ph.D.


Mormonism began in 1820, when Joseph Smith, Jr. purportedly received a vision of two heavenly beings claiming that all churches had become corrupted and that their creeds were abominations. Smith’s divinely ordained duty was to restore the one true church. He claimed three years later an angel, named Moroni, paid him a visit, showing him the location of gold plates containing the true, eternal gospel. Written in “reformed Egyptian” hieroglyphs, this golden book contained the Book of Mormon, which Smith translated with a pair of magic spectacles. Seven years later in 1830, the Mormon church became a recognized entity for the first time.
The Mormons are a growing group which many people have labeled a “Christian denomination.” This is the longstanding position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), and continues to be promoted today (Hickenbotham, 1995, p. 5). Unfortunately, Mormonism bears the hallmarks of a manmade religion, one of which is the reinvention and reinterpretation of an existing religion. Mormonism takes Christianity and reinterprets it. Mormonism’s divergences from true Christianity include: Jesus being Lucifer’s spiritual brother, the denial of the Trinity, and the belief that the faithful will one day become gods. The God of Mormonism is not the one true god of the Universe, but merely one god among many.
Smith once called the Book of Mormon “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (Smith, 1902, 4:461). In the introduction of the Book of Mormon, Smith states that it is “the record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas,” which also contains “the fullness of the everlasting gospel.” Any religion centered on a scriptural foundation stands or falls on the accuracy of its sacred text. While the Bible has a wealth of evidence supporting its historical, chronological, and geographical accuracy, the Book of Mormon has been heavily criticized for its inaccuracies. Is the Book of Mormon divine revelation, or is it simply the invention of a gifted storyteller?
One of the problems that plagues the Mormon scriptures is the anachronistic portrayal of various animals in the New World. The most problematic is the portrayal of horses in the Americas in the Book of Mormon, where they appear frequently prior to the age of exploration (1 Nephi 18:25, et al.). Anthropologists are in near-universal agreement that horses had become extinct in the Americas until European explorers reintroduced them to the continent. Scientists have found evidence of horses in the Americas prior to and after the period of time covered by the Book of Mormon, but not during. In addition to a lack of fossil evidence, Bruce MacFaden says, "Their extinction is…suggested by the fact that no horses are known to have been depicted in pre-Columbian art…. Horses were reintroduced into the New World by the Spanish explorers during the sixteenth century" (MacFaden, 1992, p. 3). Janey Dohner notes that the horse was reintroduced to North America by Columbus on his second voyage, while Hernando de Soto reintroduced them to South America in 1539 (Dohner, 2001, p. 313).
Mormon author Diane Wirth dismisses this criticism and points to what she considers evidence of the presence of horses, although her best examples consist of a handful of poorly executed relief carvings and petroglyphs (Wirth, 1986, pp. 52-55). Wirth defends her point by drawing a parallel between the lack of evidence, particularly bone evidence, of horses in the Americas with the lack of evidence of lions in Palestine. She notes: “Today there are no so-called archaeological remains of lions in the land of Israel. Apparently not a bone has been left. Therefore, a lack of skeletal remains of an animal in a particular area does not necessarily mean that the animal was never there” (p. 56). Wirth is correct. If one were to rely purely on skeletal evidence, the existence of lions in Palestine would be nearly impossible to prove. But archaeologists have also discovered numerous reliefs depicting kings hunting lions, lion-shaped artifacts, and numerous references to lions in ancient texts. There is a wealth of evidence attesting to the existence of lions in ancient Israel. There is absolutely no parallel for the existence of horses in America prior to European exploration. This is not to say that the Book of Mormon is wrong because of a lack of evidence--which would be an argument from silence. Rather, it is simply to note that there is an inexplicable lack of evidence where it would be reasonably expected.
The lack of evidence of horses has prompted a shift in tactics on the part of Mormon apologists, who claim that the settlers in the New World would have called some other animal a “horse,” most likely the tapir. Tapirs have toes rather than hoofs and are pig-like in appearance, including a short, thick neck and stubby tail. They are also smaller than horses. It is highly unlikely that one could have been mistaken for the other--and if the Book of Mormon was inspired, such mistakes would not have been made.
Steel was also unknown in the New World prior to the arrival of European explorers, yet the Book of Mormon mentions the use of both iron and steel (2 Nephi 5:15; Ether 7:9). A particularly noteworthy reference concerns a military leader named Laban, who is described as having a steel sword with a gold hilt (1 Nephi 4:9). While New World peoples did have metallurgy, it lagged behind the technological developments in the ancient Near East. Studying evidence from South America, Purdue University archaeologist Kevin J. Vaughn notes: “Even though ancient Andean people smelted some metals, such as copper, they never smelted iron like they did in the Old World.... Metals were used for a variety of tools in the Old World, such as weapons, while in the Americas, metals were used as prestige goods for the wealthy elite” (Purdue University, 2008). People in the New World did make use of copper and precious metals like gold and silver, but scientists believe ironworking did not emerge until about A.D. 800.
Moroni supposedly showed Smith the location of gold plates, upon which were written the text of the Book of Mormon. Smith claimed it was written in “Reformed Egyptian.” The only problem here is that this language does not exist. “Reformed Egyptian” is not a language found in the ancient world. Ancient Egyptian had numerous dialects (Archaic, Old, Middle, Late, Demotic, and Coptic), but a “reformed” dialect was not one of them. Smith may have chosen Egyptian as his text because he was unaware that French scholar Jean Francois Champollion had recently deciphered the language (the first translation of the Rosetta Stone was not published until 1822). Until that time, hieroglyphs were mysterious and unknown. Although it is speculative to say, Smith may have thought that the language was unreadable and would remain so, and therefore believed his grand story would never be proven false.
Modern Egyptology has discredited Mormon scriptures such as the Book of Abraham, which depicts the patriarch’s journey to Egypt. His travels include nearly being sacrificed by an evil priest and later being honored by the pharaoh. The book was published with three facsimiles taken from an ancient papyrus, which was lost. Far from being inspired scripture, the Book of Abraham was shown to be a fraud years later when the papyrus was rediscovered. The book is based on a funerary papyrus depicting several scenes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. In Facsimiles Nos. 1 and 3, Smith misidentifies virtually everything depicted in these scenes, demonstrating his attempts were nothing more than uneducated guesswork. He had virtually no familiarity with Hebrew or Egyptian names, and seemed to have made up names that sounded sufficiently biblical to be believable (although many of his spellings are impossible in biblical Hebrew, which exposes them as inventions as well). He guessed at the names of the pagan deities, getting every one of them incorrect. For instance, in Facsimile 1 he misidentified the deities on the canopic jars (which held the internal organs of the deceased) in the scene (from left to right) as Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, and Korash. The gods should have been identified as Qebesenuef, Duamutef, Hapi, and Imseti. It is not likely that he even knew that the objects depicted were canopic jars. He likely thought of them as idols, since he misidentified the scene as sacrificial rather than funerary in nature.
Why do so many Mormons maintain belief in these scriptures when they are so obviously false? As Charles Larson notes in his book …By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri, “[M]any Mormons are relatively uninformed of any controversy concerning the validity of the Book of Abraham; or if they become aware controversy exists, will tend to fall back on the trust they have in their system, and avoid further investigation” (Larsen, 1985, p. 161). The real problem is that the Mormon faith stresses belief even in the face of contradictory evidence. Some have advised their fellow Mormons to simply fall back on their faith. This is a key part of the Mormon belief system: believe in the Mormon scriptures and you will know them to be true–the sheep will recognize the voice of the shepherd. [NOTE: Of course, such an anti-logic stance contradicts the nature of God; see Miller, 2011.]
In addition to linguistic and historical evidence, the sciences have not been kind to Mormon beliefs. From the field of archaeology, nothing in the Book of Mormon has ever been discovered, though Smith painted a picture of vast civilizations with major urban centers and populations ranging in the millions (the Jaredites are a people group who lost two million soldiers in one war). At one point, some members of the LDS church claimed that the Smithsonian Institute had used the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide for locating archaeological sites. The Smithsonian adamantly denied this was the case in 1986. The National Geographic Society did the same in 1982. Similar claims issued by the LDS church prompted Mormon anthropologist Dee Green to say, “The first myth we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists,” even conceding that 20 years of research “left us empty-handed” (Green, 1969, pp. 77-78).
Another area of concern is the origin story of the Native American Indians, who are claimed to be descendants of the Lamanites. According to Mormon doctrine, these Jewish migrants supposedly traveled to the Americas in ancient times. These travelers “are the principal ancestors of the American Indians,” according to the introduction to the Book of Mormon. In an essay titled, “Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics,” anthropologist Thomas Murphy challenges this idea, stating:
So far, DNA research lends no support to the traditional Mormon beliefs about the origins of Native Americans. Instead, genetic data have confirmed that migrations from Asia are the primary source of American Indian origins. This research has substantiated already-existing archaeological, cultural, linguistic, and biological evidence (Murphy, 2002, p. 48).
Murphy was nearly excommunicated in 2003 by the president of the Lynwood LDS Stake for his work [NOTE: a stake is the rough equivalent of a diocese in the Roman Catholic Church.] Only popular support for Murphy prevented Latimer from following through with the excommunication (Kennedy, 2003). Latimer postponed the disciplinary hearing indefinitely, in part, for fear of negative publicity.
Murphy is not alone. Two Mormon biologists, D. Jeffrey Meldrum and Trent D. Stephens of Idaho State University, agree with Murphy’s conclusions. In the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, both men agreed in the article “Who are the Children of Lehi?” that
the data accumulated to date indicate that 99.6 percent of Native American genetic markers studied so far exhibit Siberian connections…. There has been little if any evidence seriously considered by the mainstream, scientific community that would indicate a Middle East origin, or any other source of origin, for the majority of contemporary Native Americans (Meldrum and Stephens, 2003, p. 41).
In an issue of Dialogue, the oldest independent journal for Mormon studies (that is, not owned or operated by the LDS Church), Yale anthropologist Michael D. Coe, who specializes in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica studies, summarizes some of the most troubling issues:
There is an inherent improbability in specific items that are mentioned in the Book of Mormon as having been brought to the New World by Jaredites and/or Nephites. Among these are the horse...the chariot, wheat, barley, and metallurgy (true metallurgy based upon smelting and casting being no earlier in Mesoamerica than about 800 A.D.). The picture of this hemisphere between 2,000 B.C. and A.D. 421 presented in the book has little to do with the early Indian cultures as we know them, in spite of much wishful thinking.
There is also little doubt in the minds of non-Mormon scholars that Joseph Smith had no ability whatsoever to read “Reformed Egyptian” or any other kind of hieroglyphs. The papyri translated as the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price are, in the opinion of qualified Egyptologists, a series of fragments of the Egyptian “Book of the Dead,” something which Smith could not have known since Champollion’s decipherment of the Egyptian script had not yet been published (Coe, 1973, p. 42).
These are just a few problems besetting the Mormon church. If the Book of Mormon is the “most correct” book ever written, why does it contain so many mistakes? Why so many contradictions with history, archaeology, and ancient languages? Scientists, historians, archaeologists, and linguists have exposed the Mormon scriptures as the invention of a marvelously fertile imagination. So marvelous, in fact, that it has taken a century and a half to prove it conclusively false. Convincing though it was to Smith’s contemporaries, this grand old story has proven to be no match for scientific investigation. [For additional analysis of the Book of Mormon, see Miller, 2009.]

REFERENCES

Coe, Michael D. (1973), “Mormons and Archaeology: An Outside View,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 8[2]:40-48, Summer.
Dohner, Janet Vorwald (2001), The Encyclopedia of Historic and Endangered Livestock and Poultry Breeds (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).
Green, Dee F. (1969), “Book of Mormon Archaeology: The Myths and the Alternatives,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 8[2]:77-78, Summer.
Hickenbotham, Michael W. (1995), Answering Challenging Mormon Questions (Bountiful, UT: Horizons).
Kennedy, John W. (2003), “Mormon Scholar Under Fire,” Christianity Today, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/march/14.24.html.
Larsen, Charles M. (1985), …By his Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri (Grand Rapids, MI: Institute for Religious Research).
MacFaden, Bruce J. (1992), Fossil Horses: Systematics, Paleobiology, and Evolution of the Family Equidae (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Meldrum, D. Jeffrey and Trent D. Stephens (2003), “Who are the Children of Lehi?” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 12[1]:38-51.
Miller, Dave (2009), "Is The Book of Mormon From God? Parts I and II," Reason & Revelation, 29[9]:66-71,73-79, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=617.
Miller, Dave (2011), "Is Christianity Logical? (Part I)," Reason & Revelation, 31[6]:50-59, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=977.
Murphy, Thomas W. (2002), “Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics” in American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon, ed. Dan Vogel and Brent Lee Metcalfe (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books), pp. 47-77.
Purdue University (2008), “Archaeologist ‘Strikes Gold’ with Finds of Ancient Nasca Iron Ore Mine in Peru,” February 3, http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2008/01/080129125405.htm.
Smith, Joseph, Jr. (1902), History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B.H. Roberts (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), second edition.
Wirth, Diane E. (1986), A Challenge to the Critics: Scholarly Evidences of the Book of Mormon(Bountiful, UT: Horizons).

The Bible's Teaching on Baptism: Contradictory or Complementary? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=806


The Bible's Teaching on Baptism: Contradictory or Complementary?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


According to numerous skeptics, the Bible is inconsistent regarding whether or not water baptism is necessary (e.g., Drange, 1996; Morgan, 2003; cf. Wells, 2001). In Dennis McKinsey’s book, Biblical Errancy (2000), he lists several verses that teach the need for one to be baptized in order to be saved (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21; etc.), but then he lists four verses (John 4:2; 1 Corinthians 1:14,16,17) which allegedly teach that baptism “is not a necessity” (p. 61). According to these men, Jesus and Paul were confused regarding the purpose of baptism.
There is no doubt that Jesus and His apostles taught the essentiality of being immersed in water for salvation. After Jesus commissioned His apostles to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” He stated that “he who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16; cf. Matthew 28:19). The Jews who had murdered Christ, and to whom Peter spoke on the Day of Pentecost when he ushered in the Christian age, were told: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Before becoming a Christian, Saul of Tarsus was commanded to “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). The biblical solution to the problem of soul-damning sin is that the person who has heard the Gospel, who has believed its message, who has repented of past sins, and who has confessed Christ as Lord must then—in order to receive remission (forgiveness) of sins—be baptized. [The English word “baptize” is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo, meaning to immerse, dip, plunge beneath, or submerge (Thayer, 1958, p. 94).] According to Peter, “baptism,” corresponding to Noah’s salvation through water, “now saves us…(not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). Although baptism is no less, nor more, important than any other of God’s commands regarding what to do to be saved, the New Testament clearly teaches that water immersion is the point at which a person is saved by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If it is the case then that baptism is essential for salvation, then why did the apostle John write: “Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee” (John 4:1-3, emp. added)? And why did the apostle Paul write to the church at Corinth: “I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name…. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:14-17, emp. added)? Do these statements indicate that baptism is notnecessary for a person to be saved as skeptics allege? No, they do not.
First, John did not indicate that Jesus thought baptism was unnecessary; he merely stated the fact that Jesus did not personally do the baptizing; rather, His disciples did (John 4:2). The phrase in 4:1 regarding Jesus “baptizing” more disciples than John is simply a figure of speech where a person is represented as doing something when, in fact, he merely supplies the means for doing it. For example, Joseph indicated on one occasion that his brothers sold him into Egypt (Genesis 45:4-5; cf. Acts 7:9), when actually they sold him to the Ishmaelites (who then sold him into Egypt). This is a well-known principle in law—a person who acts through another to break the law (e.g., paying someone to commit murder) is deemed by authorities to be guilty of breaking the law himself. Similarly, Jesus did not personally baptize anyone. But, His teaching and influence caused it to be done. Jesus, the subject, is mentioned, but it is the circumstance of His influence that is intended. His teaching was responsible for people being baptized. Thus, this passage actually implies that Jesus commanded that His listeners be baptized. It in no way contradicts teachings found elsewhere in the Bible.
Second, Paul’s statements in his letter to the church at Corinth must be taken in their proper context in order to understand their true meaning. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, Paul was dealing with the division that was plaguing the Corinthian Christians. He had heard of the controversy in Corinth, and begged them to stand united, and resolve their differences.
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect (1 Corinthians 1:10-17).
Later, Paul added:
For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:3-7).
When a person reads 1 Corinthians 1:14-17 in view of the problem of division in Corinth that Paul was addressing in chapter one and throughout this letter, he or she has a better understanding of Paul’s statements regarding baptism. He was not indicating that baptism was unnecessary, but that people should not glory in the one who baptizes them. Some of the Corinthians were putting more emphasis on who baptized them, than on the one body of Christ to which a person is added when he or she is baptized (cf. Acts 2:41,47; Ephesians 4:4). Paul was thankful that he did not personally baptize any more Corinthians than he did, lest they boast in his name, rather than in the name of Christ (1:15). Likely, this is the same reason why “Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples.” As Albert Barnes surmised: “[I]f he [Jesus—EL] had baptized, it might have made unhappy divisions among his followers: those might have considered themselves most worthy or honoured who had been baptized by him” (1956, p. 213, emp. in orig.). Paul understood that the fewer people he personally baptized, the less likely they were to rejoice in his name. [In 1 Corinthians 1:13, Paul implied that the only way to be saved is to be baptized into the name of Christ, saying, “Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”] Paul’s desire was for converts to tie themselves to the Savior, and not to himself. He knew that “there is salvation in no one else” but Jesus; “for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Paul concerned himself with preaching, and, like Jesus, left others to do the baptizing.
When Paul stated: “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel,” he meant that preaching was his main work, and that others could immerse the converts. He did not mean by this statement that baptism is unimportant, but that the baptizer is inconsequential. Consider this: If Paul did not baptize, but preached, and, if others baptized those who heard Paul’s teachings, what can we infer about the content of Paul’s teachings? The truth is, at some point, he must have instructed the unsaved to be baptized (which is exactly what occurred in Corinth—read Acts 18:1-11; 1 Corinthians 6:11). Similar to how we logically infer from the Ethiopian eunuch’s baptism (Acts 8:36-39), that when Philip “preached Jesus to him” (8:35), he informed the eunuch of the essentiality of baptism, we can truthfully affirm that Paul taught that baptism is essential for salvation. The allegation that Paul and Jesus ever considered baptism non-essential, simply is unfounded.
REFERENCES
Barnes, Albert (1956), Notes on the Old and New Testaments: Luke and John (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Drange, Theodore M. (1996), “The Argument from the Bible,” [On-line], URL: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/bible.html.
McKinsey, C. Dennis (2000), Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).
Morgan, Donald (2003), “Biblical Inconsistencies,” [On-line], URL: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/inconsistencies.shtml.
Thayer, J.H. (1958 reprint), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark).
Wells, Steve (2001), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, [On-line], URL: http://www.Skepticsannotatedbible.com.