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Mary’s ‘immaculate conception’ and other non-biblical holidays observed in December

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

COGWriter

December 8th is observed by Roman, as opposed to Eastern Orthodox, Catholics as the ‘Feast of the Immaculate Conception.’ It is an official holiday for certain countries in Europe and Latin America.

Here is some of what Pope Francis said about before, from a translation posted by Zenit (a pro-Vatican news agency):

December 8, 2014

Dear brothers and sisters,

The message of today’s feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary can be summed up in these words: everything is a grace, everything is a free gift from God and his love for us. The Angel Gabriel calls Mary “full of grace” (Lk.1,28): in Her there is no room for sin, because God has always chosen Her as the mother of Jesus and has preserved Her from original sin. http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/on-the-feast-of-the-immaculate-conception

Despite the pontiff’s claim, the Bible shows that other than Jesus (Hebrews 4:15), “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23)-that includes Mary.

Here is some of what The Catholic Encyclopedia says about this Catholic feast:

The feast of the Immaculate Conception

The older feast of the Conception of Mary (Conception of St. Anne), which originated in the monasteries of Palestine at least as early as the seventh century, and the modern feast of the Immaculate Conception are not identical in their object.

Originally the Church celebrated only the Feast of the Conception of Mary, as she kept the Feast of St. John’s conception, not discussing the sinlessness. This feast in the course of centuries became the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, as dogmatical argumentation brought about precise and correct ideas, and as the thesis of the theological schools regarding the preservation of Mary from all stain of original sin gained strength. Even after the dogma had been universally accepted in the Latin Church, and had gained authoritative support through diocesan decrees and papal decisions, the old term remained, and before 1854 the term “Immaculata Conceptio” is nowhere found in the liturgical books, except in the invitatorium of the Votive Office of the Conception…

Today the Conception of St. Anne is in the Greek Church one of the minor feasts of the year. The lesson in Matins contains allusions to the apocryphal “Proto-evangelium” of St. James, which dates from the second half of the second century (see SAINT ANNE). To the Greek Orthodox of our days, however, the feast means very little; they continue to call it “Conception of St. Anne”, indicating unintentionally, perhaps, the active conception which was certainly not immaculate. In the Menaea of 9 December this feast holds only the second place, the first canon being sung in commemoration of the dedication of the Church of the Resurrection at Constantinople. The Russian hagiographer Muraview and several other Orthodox authors even loudly declaimed against the dogma after its promulgation, although their own preachers formerly taught the Immaculate Conception in their writings long before the definition of 1854…

In the Western Church the feast appeared (8 December), when in the Orient its development had come to a standstill. The timid beginnings of the new feast in some Anglo-Saxon monasteries in the eleventh century, partly smothered by the Norman conquest, were followed by its reception in some chapters and dioceses by the Anglo-Norman clergy…

The “Martyrology of Tallaght” compiled about 790 and the “Feilire” of St. Aengus (800) register the Conception of Mary on 3 May. (Holweck, F. (1910). Immaculate Conception. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved December 8, 2012 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm)

From the above we see that:

  • The ‘Feast of the Immaculate Conception’ NOT an original Christian observance.
  • The first version of it developed around the seventh century in the Greek/Orient (Eastern Orthodox) church.
  • Greek/Orient (Eastern Orthodox) church does not consider it to be of much importance.
  • A falsely named and false book (the so-called Proto-evangelium of James) was claimed centuries later to support this (having read the so-called Proto-evangelium of James, let me state that any ‘support’ even from it is weaker than weak).
  • The Russian Orthodox denounced the idea of the ‘immaculate conception of Mary.’
  • The Western Church of Rome did not start to observe a version of it until the 11th century.
  • Until 1854 the term Immaculate Conception was not officially used.
  • The date itself seems to have been changed.

Thus, the ‘Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary’ was not an original Christian observance.

Basically, Catholic dogma, defined in 1854 teaches that Mary was conceived without ‘original sin’ and that she allegedly lived a completely sinless life. Since Catholic scholars realize that this was not the original position of their early theologians (which they normally call “early Church fathers,” but are called “older Fathers” below), The Catholic Encyclopedia declares:

Proof from Tradition

In regard to the sinlessness of Mary the older Fathers are very cautious: some of them even seem to have been in error on this matter… these stray private opinions merely serve to show that theology is a progressive science. (Holweck, F. (1910). Immaculate Conception. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved December 8, 2012 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm)

Notice that the so-called “Proof from Tradition” disproves the belief in Mary’s claimed sinlessness. And instead of this being a biblical or early tradition, it developed over time.

Here is some of what I wrote about this subject in the past (note: DRB is an abbreviation for Douay-Rheims Bible, which is a Catholic-approved version):

In the 19th century, there was a female apparition in France, known as the Lady of Lourdes. One of the statements she reportedly stated in 1858 was, “I am the Immaculate Conception!”

Now this is an unusual and biblically contradictory idea as the Bible teaches that all have sinned (Roman 3:23) except Jesus (Hebrews 4:15), as He is the only one who had a biblically immaculate conception, but not the Marian kind.

For non-Catholics, let me explain that what became an extra-biblical Catholic doctrine was that Mary was conceived unlike all other humans and free of what many refer to as “original sin.” Specifically this “dogma” has been explained in Dr. Ludwig Ott’s 20th century book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma as:

“Mary’s freedom of original sin was an unmerited gift of God, and an exception from the law that was vouchsafed to her only.”

His book also teaches:

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not explicitly revealed in scripture… Neither the Greek nor the Latin Fathers explicitly (explicite) teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

So where did it come from?

Let’s have a look at some comparative religion. Before the birth of Christ, the Iranian goddess Aredvi Sura Anāhitā, known as the Persian Diana, was called “the virgin, ““the immaculate. “ Kore-Persephoneia was also the “immaculate Maiden“ and “Virgin of the World“ who gave birth to a son for Zeus, and she is believed to be same goddess Diana. Hence, it appears that at least some of the idea was part of paganism associated with “Diana“ goddess worship.

Jumping forward to the 12th century, a British monk Eadmer began to promote the idea of an Immaculate Conception of Mary. When he did so, “St. Bernard of Clairvaux… (about 1140), warned the faithful that this was an unfounded innovation…” So was the Catholic saint Bernard wrong in condemning Monk Eadmer’s heresy here? Of course not! Others, at least as late as the 17th century supported Bernard’s position on this.

Yet, after claiming to see an apparition in Rue du Bac, Paris in 1830, the Catholic saint Catherine Labouré claimed Mary “was conceived without sin.” The extra-biblical teaching of the so-called “Immaculate Conception” did not become a type of Catholic dogma until December 8, 1854. It, thus, was not part of early apostolic tradition…

In a letter to her confessor dated June 12, 1930, Lúcia {of Fatima fame} claimed that she was told the following on the night of May 29th-30th, 1930:

There are five kinds of offenses and blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary: (1) blasphemies against her Immaculate Conception; (2) against her perpetual virginity; (3) against her divine maternity, refusing to accept her at the same time as the Mother of humankind; (4) by those who try to publicly implant in the hearts of children an indifference, contempt, or even hate for this Immaculate Mother; and (5) for those who insult her sacred images.

Priest Andrew Apostoli, in his Fatima for Today book, wrote:

Those who commit such blasphemies against our Lady are in grave danger of losing their souls, for these sins seriously offend God himself.

I was shocked to read the above.

Now if all five of those statements are blasphemies, then many early Catholic and Eastern Orthodox saints are guilty of blasphemy by that definition. History records that recognized Catholic and/or Eastern Orthodox saints such as Melito, Irenaeus, Theophilus of Antioch, Origen, Basil, Cyprian of Carthage, John Chrysostom, Ambrose, Hilary, Gregory of Tours, Bernard of Clairvoux, Bonaventure, “Albert the Great,” and Thomas Aquinas all took one or more positions that the “messenger” apparently considered to be blasphemous.

Since Priest Apostoli says that salvation may be lost for taking positions against those messages, does not this mean that he is challenging the validity of the sainthood of all Catholic-approved saints who took such supposedly “blasphemous” positions?

He surely does not intend to, but that is what some of the “blasphemy messages” really mean…

Teaching Against the Immaculate Conception

It needs to be understood that the idea of an Immaculate Conception for Mary was not an early tradition of the church nor is it taught in scripture.

The Catholic Encyclopedia article of the Immaculate Conception clearly recognizes this:

No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture.

So, the doctrine is simply not provable from the Holy Bible.

One aspects of the belief in Mary’s “Immaculate Conception” is that “she was immune from all sin, personal, or inherited.” Yet, scripture states:

23 For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God. 24 Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption, that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:23-24, DRB)

15 For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin. 16 Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid. (Hebrews 4:15-16, DRB)

All, including Mary, sinned, and need redemption through Christ Jesus (and not Mary) according to the Bible.

Notice that the Catholic Encyclopedia article of the Immaculate Conception also teaches:

* Origen…thought that…for her sins also Christ died (Origen, “In Luc. Hom. Xvii”).
*…St. Basil writes in the fourth century: he sees in the sword, of which Simeon speaks, the doubt which pierced Mary’s soul (Epistle 259).
* St. Chrysostom accuses her of ambition, and of putting herself forward unduly when she sought to speak to Jesus at Capharnaum (Matthew 12:46; Chrysostom, Homily 44 on Matthew).

The book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma also admits that “individual Greek Fathers (Origen, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria) taught that Mary suffered from venial personal faults, such as ambition and vanity, doubt about the message of the Angel, and lack of faith under the Cross…”

Either those Catholic saints (or Orthodox saints in the case of Origen) were not committing blasphemy, they were not really saints, and/or the messages that Lúcia was told did not come from God.

Additionally, as late as the early 5th century, even the Catholic saint Augustine would not teach as dogma that Mary was without sin.

About 1140, the Catholic saint Bernard of Clairvaux warned the faithful not to believe the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary as it was an unfounded innovation.

The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma also teaches that “the leading theologians of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries (Petrus Lombardus, St. Alexander of Hales, St. Bonaventure, St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas…) rejected the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.”

Thus, to teach that it is blasphemy or a serious sin against God to not accept the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (as being different than how other humans were conceived) does not seem to be a biblical or early historical truth—even Catholic saints opposed the view.

Notice also what Jesus taught:

32 And the multitude sat about him; and they say to him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
33 And answering them, he said: Who is my mother and my brethren?
34 And looking round about on them who sat about him, he saith: Behold my mother and my brethren.
35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, he is my brother, and my sister, and mother. (Mark 3:32-35, DRB)

Jesus is showing that all who do God’s will are His mother, brother, or sisters. If Mary was sinless or conceived differently, He would have not included His mother in those statements.

The Eastern Orthodox in their Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895 declared:

XIII. The one holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the seven Ecumenical Councils teaches that the supernatural incarnation of the only-begotten Son and Word of God, of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, is alone pure and immaculate; but the Papal Church scarcely forty years ago again made an innovation by laying down a novel dogma concerning the immaculate conception of the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, which was unknown to the ancient Church (and strongly opposed at different times even by the more distinguished among the Papal theologians).

Thus, the Eastern Orthodox have long taught that the idea of an “Immaculate Conception” of Mary was “unknown by the ancient Church.”386 And they correctly teach that Jesus alone is pure and immaculate, and refer to the Immaculate Conception teaching as a novel “innovation.” An innovation adopted since the 1800s is not an original teaching—true traditionalists cannot accept such late traditions as essential.

Since Pope Benedict XVI considers that those of the Eastern Orthodox are churches in “the proper sense,”387 obviously the Pope does not believe that they are committing sin or blasphemy in denying the modern teaching of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Nor should anyone else based upon what the Bible teaches.

The pro-Vatican news source Zenit.com reported these two items:

Best Wishes for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

ROME, DEC. 7, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Padre Pio said that “The Madonna is the shortcut to get to God.”

There is no doubt that in order to see the face of Jesus, we must turn to His Mother, and it is to Her who we look to heal our diseases, to turn our tears into prayer. http://www.zenit.org/article-36131?l=english

Vatican City,

Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s address before and after the recitation of the Angelus today to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters, …

The Virgin Mary is the “path” that God Himself has prepared to come into the world. Let us entrust to Her the expectation of salvation and peace for all men and women of our time. http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/on-the-lord-s-consolation

This also is in conflict with scripture. It is by Jesus’ stripes we are to be healed (Isaiah 53:5), not Mary. Jesus, not His mother Mary, is the one mediator.’Mary’ is NOT the whom to whom Christians entrust their salvation. Salvation comes through Jesus Christ, not Mary, only Jesus according to the Bible (Acts 4:12).

Here is something I wrote related to the mediator matter on page 249 of my book Fatima Shock!:

Mark Miravalle, a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, wrote:

Let us pray daily for the solemn definition of Our Lady’s spiritual motherhood as co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces, and advocate, which truly reveal the saving actions of motherly intercession which come forth from her Immaculate Heart, and thus to bring the Church and the world a giant step closer to the Fatima-prophesied “Era of Peace.”

Yet, there is nothing in scripture about Mary bringing in an era of peace or being our intercessor—the only intercessor listed in the Bible is Christ (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)—the Bible says He is the “one mediator” (1 Timothy 2:5, DRB). The Bible shows that we are only to call upon the name of the Lord/God/Jesus (2 Timothy 2:22; Romans 10:12-13; Acts 26:20)—never Mary.

Although it is proper for Christians to state that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was blessed (Luke 1:48), it is blasphemous to insist that she was sinless (cf. Romans 3:23) and that one must turn to Mary in order to see Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).

Fatima is a town in Portugal where an immodestly-dressed ‘Lady” allegedly appeared to three children once a month for six months in 1917 (watch also Did the Lady of Fatima Wear a Short Skirt?). Many decided that Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared there. But the ‘Lady’ never claimed to be Mary and absolutely could not have been. Yet, Pope Francis dedicated his pontificate to her. If Pope Francis actually adopts the agenda of the ‘Fatimists’ who believe that peace will only come to the earth if a pope and his bishops will consecrate Russia to the allegedly immaculate heart of Mary, this could well be a major fulfillment of biblical prophecies related to false declarations of peace as found in Ezekiel 13:2-20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

Jesus warned that all but the very elect will be deceived (Matthew 24:24). The Apostle Paul added that and that signs and lying wonders will deceive those that do not have the love of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). Marian apparitions may very well be part of that deception and the more that Pope Francis and others emphasize ‘Mary,’ the easier it will be for people to believe deceptive apparitions.

There is nothing in the Bible, or even in early church writings, that supports the view that December 8th is to be a festival for some type of ‘immaculate conception’ of Mary. Those who are willing to believe what the Bible teaches, as well as truly connect-the-dots related to early church history, will realize that. Sadly, however, multiple millions are not willing to do so.

Speaking of the Bible and festivals, a reader sent me the following:

In fact, the Interfaith Calendar organization lists 14 religious holidays for the month of December. Here are those holidays with a little explanation on each.

Dec. 6: Saint Nicholas Day — Christian

This holiday honors the birth of Saint Nicholas, the saint who serves as a role model for gift-giving and is commonly known as Santa Claus, according to Interfaith Calendar.

… Hanukkah — Judaism

This is the eight-day Jewish festival of lights, which celebrates the Maccabean revolt in Egypt. Eight candles are lit with a menorah to honor the holiday.

Dec. 8: Immaculate Conception — Catholic

In the lead-up to Jesus’ birthday celebration on Christmas, Catholics celebrate the day of Immaculate Conception to honor his mother Mary, who they say was preserved from original sin for her entire life.

Dec. 8: Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) — Buddhist

This holiday celebrates the historical Buddha’s decision and vow to sit under the Bodhi tree until he reached spiritual enlightenment. It’s celebrated through meditation and is embraced similar to how Christians celebrate Christmas to honor Jesus Christ.

Dec. 12: Advent Fast begins — Orthodox Christian

Though Advent began this last weekend, the fasting starts midway through the month with only two weeks until Christmas. The holiday is celebrated by believers lighting Advent candles, hanging wreaths and attending church ceremonies, according to Interfaith Calendar.

Dec. 12: Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe — Catholic

This is a primarily Catholic holiday celebrated by Mexicans and Americans of Mexican descent that honors the reported appearance of the Virgin Mary in Mexico City, according to Interfaith Calendar.

Dec. 16: Posadas Navidenas — Christian

This is a primarily Hispanic Christian holiday that commends Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus, according to Interfaith Calendar.

Dec. 21: Solstice — Wicca/Pagan

Solstice is the point in the year “when the earth is most inclined away from the sun. It is the most southern or northern point depending on the hemisphere,” according to Interfaith Calendar. Pagans and Wicca believers will celebrate that event through Yule, in which believers also honor “the winter-born king, symbolized by the rebirth of the sun,” Interfaith Calendar explained.

Dec. 23: Mawlid el-Nabi — Islam

This is an Islamic holiday that honors the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, who founded Islam. Shia and Sunni believers will celebrate on separate days by reading the prophet’s teachings, according to Interfaith Calendar.

Dec. 25: Christmas — Christian

Christmas is a primarily Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Many will attend church, have family parties and exchange gifts, according to Interfaith Calendar.

Dec. 26: Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathustra) — Zoroastrian

Unlike many of the other holidays in the month, Zoroastrians honor the death of their prophet, Zarathustra, who founded Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions.

Dec. 27: Feast of the Holy Family — Catholic

Catholics use this day to honor Jesus, Mary and Joseph, according to Interfaith Calendar.

Dec. 28: Holy Innocents Day — Christian

Christians solemnly honor the deaths of children killed by King Herod, who was attempting to kill Jesus, according to Interfaith Calendar.

Dec. 31: Watch Night — Christian

For Watch Night, Christians will thank God for the safety they received during the year, according to Interfaith Calendar.

http://national.deseretnews.com/article/6884/These-are-the-14-religious-holidays-believers-celebrate-in-December.html

There have long been festivals in the Winter that do NOT come from the Bible. The ‘feast of the immaculate conception’ is simply one of them.

None of God’s annual holy festivals occur in the month of December, though the Israeli national one of Hanukkah is alluded to in scripture (see also Hanukkah: Jewish Christmas and Hidden Key to Prophecy?).

For more information, please check out the following:

Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
How did December 25th become Christmas? Was Jesus born then? If not, why December 25? Here is the article translated into Mandarin Chinese 12月25日最后是怎么被许多基督的信仰者采纳的.
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations? A related sermon video is available and is titled: Birthdays, Christians, and December 25th.
Catholic Saint Nicholas Day December 6th is observed by some in Nicholas’ honor. Was he fat or jolly as Santa Claus is portrayed?
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. Here is a link to a sermon video: Why Learn About Fatima?
The ‘Lady’ of Guadalupe: Any Future Ramifications? It is claimed that a female apparition appeared near Mexico City on December 12, 1531. How has it affected the world? What might it suggest about the future? A video of related interest is titled: The ‘Lady of Guadalupe’ and Prophecy.
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Assumption of Mary Did Mary die? Was she taken to heaven on August 15th? What is known? What does the Bible show?
Hanukkah: Jewish Christmas and Hidden Key to Prophecy? Originally a Jewish national holiday, has Hanukkah morphed into a Jewish Christmas? Does it hold hidden secrets to prophecy?
Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! provides concerned Christians with enough Catholic-documented facts to effectively counter every false Marian argument. In addition to the print version, there is a Kindle version of Fatima Shock! which you can acquire in seconds.
Women and the New Testament Church Were women important in the New Testament Church? Which women and how were they involved?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

What is the truth about ‘St. Nicholas’?

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016


Russian Iconic Portrayal of Nicholas of Myra

COGwriter

Who was the real Catholic and Orthodox saint called Nicholas?

Here are some answers from a Catholic monsignor priest:

The Real St. Nicholas – Not Fat and Not Very Jolly Either.

(Dec 6) is the Feast of St. Nicholas. The real St. Nicholas was nothing close to the St. Nick (Santa Claus) of the modern age. He was a thin curmudgeonly man with a zeal for the Lord that caused flairs of anger. Compromise was unknown to him. The slow transformation of him into “Jolly ole’ Saint Nicholas is a remarkable recasting of him centuries in the making…

Enjoy this excerpt on the real St. Nicholas of Myra (aka Santa):

He approaches Arius, fist raised menacingly. There are gasps. Would he dare? He would. Fist strikes face. Arius goes down. He will have a shiner. Nick, meanwhile, is set upon by holy men. His robes are torn off. He is thrown into a dungeon…

Saint Nicholas. Paintings show a thin man. He was spare of frame, flinty of eye, pugnacious of spirit. In the Middle Ages, he was known as a brawling saint. He had no particular sense of humor that we know of. He could be vengeful, wrathful, an embittered ex- con….No doubt, Saint Nick was a good man. A noble man. But a hard man.

Nicholas was born in Patara, a small town on the Mediterranean coast, 280 years after the birth of Christ. He became bishop of a small town in Asia Minor called Myra. Beyond that, details of his life are more legend than fact….He became a priest at 19, and bishop in his twenties…Nicholas of Myra might not seem like the kind of person who relates to kids, and few acts attributed to him involve children.

St. Nicholas of Myra morphed into Santa Claus. (Pope C, Msgr. The Real St. Nicholas – Not Fat and Not Very Jolly Either. http://blog.adw.org/2012/12/the-real-st-nicholas-not-fat-and-not-very-jolly-either/ viewed 12/6/12)

So, Nicholas was a violent and hard man according to a senior Catholic priest.

Here are two more articles about him, with a Germanic focus:

Though they have similar outfits, Nikolaus is not to be confused with Santa Claus, who Germans call the Weihnachtsmann, or Father Christmas…

Each year on December 6, Germans remember the death of Nicholas of Myra (now the Anatolia region of modern Turkey), who died on that day in 346. He was a Greek Christian bishop known for miracles and giving gifts secretly, and is now the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. Known as Nicholas the Wonderworker for his miracles, he is also identified with Santa Claus. Beliefs and traditions about Nikolaus were probably combined with German mythology, particularly regarding stories about the bearded pagan god Odin, who also had a beard and a bag to capture naughty children…

Children were often quite frightened of being questioned about their behaviour because they’ve been told that St. Nicholas will hurt them with his rod or even put them in a sack and take them away. http://www.thelocal.de/society/20111206-15915.html

Each year on December 6, Germans remember the death of Nicholas of Myra (now the Anatolia region of modern Turkey), who died on that day in 346. He was a Greek Christian bishop known for miracles… is now the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. Known as Nicholas the Wonderworker for his miracles, he is also identified with Santa Claus. Beliefs and traditions about Nikolaus were probably combined with German mythology, particularly regarding stories about the bearded pagan god Odin, who also had a beard and a bag to capture naughty children. http://www.thelocal.de/society/20121206-15915.html

Notice the following from the St. Nicholas Center:

In 325 Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicaea, which was the first ecumenical council ever held. More than 300 bishops from all over the Christian world came to debate the nature of the Holy Trinity, one of the early church’s most intense theological questions. Arias, from Egypt, taught that the Son Jesus was not equal to God the Father. This was the Arian controversy which shook Christianity’s very foundations. According to one account, when confronted by the unyielding Arias, Nicholas slapped him in the face. For such a breach of decorum, Nicholas was brought before Constantine, who stripped him of his office and had him thrown into prison. During the night, Jesus with his Mother Mary appeared to Nicholas: Jesus bringing the book of the Gospels, and Mary, the bishop’s stole which had been taken from him. In this way Nicholas was reinstated. (Bishop of Myra. St. Nicholas Center. http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/bishop-of-myra/ viewed 12/05/14)

While Jesus is God, since Jesus said, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28), this should help prove that Nicholas was wrong to punch somebody who claimed to believe something like that–plus Christians are not to be violent (Luke 3:14; see also Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? ). Hence this helps demonstrate that Jesus’ mother Mary truly DID NOT appear to him, to get him acquitted of this. Mary, the mother of Jesus, did not appear to Nicholas (see also Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions).

Perhaps I should mention that when my wife and I were in Serbia in October 2016, we were told that Nicholas is the most popular ‘saint’ in that Eastern Orthodox-dominated land.

Here is some of what the Eastern Orthodox have strangely claimed about him:

As a faithful bishop/shepherd, St. Nicholas was revered as a saint even before his death because of his great holiness and tender care of his flock. After the Blessed Mother and St. John the Forerunner (Baptist), Nicholas was the most revered saint in the early church. He is most honored in the East, especially in Russia. Throughout the world many churches are named for him—more than for any other saint. His ministry continues to this day as a powerful intercessor for the protection and advancement of the Church. (Orthodox America and St. Therese Byzantine Catholic Church, St. Petersburg, Florida. http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/wonderworker/)

Of course, according to the Holy Bible, the only intercessor listed in the Bible is Christ (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)–and Jesus is specifically called the “one mediator” (1 Timothy 2:5, Douay-Rheims). Nicholas is not one who should be revered and he is NOT our intercessor.

Christmas itself is not a biblical holiday, but a compromise with pagan festive and religious practices. It was not observed by early Christians, and even the Church of Rome did not observe it on December 25th until some time in the fourth century. And the English word for “Christmas” did not even enter the literature before 1038 A.D. It was not an original day observed by early Christians.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? Historical and biblical answers to this question about the world’s New Year’s day.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. Here is a link to a sermon video: Why Learn About Fatima?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

The Tannebaum Religion

Monday, December 5th, 2016

COGwriter

The Wall Street Journal ran an article before that contained the following:

The Stranger in the House

Christmas trees arrived in England and America only in the mid-19th century…

The Tannenbaum (which simply means “fir tree”) came to be associated, apocryphally or not, with Martin Luther. Because of that, many Catholics in Germany once disdained it. The “aversion of many Catholics went so far,” Mr. Brunner writes, “that at the end of the nineteenth century many simply called Protestantism the ‘Tannenbaum religion.’ ” As late as the 1930s, the Vatican was recommending manger scenes instead of Christmas trees as a more theologically sound sort of decoration. But the church today no longer sees a conflict—Christmas Eve at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square now features both a life-size Nativity and a towering Christmas tree.

It wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century that the tradition began to spread outside Germany. Christmas trees were a novelty in England by 1850, thanks to a royal example set by the German-born Prince Albert…In the mid-19th century, the Christmas tree made inroads in America, too…
.
It has often been suggested that the Christmas tree is a pagan custom co-opted long ago by pragmatic Christian evangelists…Yes, candlelight featured in pre-Christian solstice festivals. And no doubt one can find some misty antecedents involving tree worship. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324894104578115160059099842.html

There are a lot of non-Christian symbols associated with the celebration of what is now called Christmas. Tannenbaum literally means “fir tree” and is the German term for Christmas tree. Although Catholics once derided Protestants for the practice, the times I have been in Vatican City near Christmas, I have seen Tannenbaums there.

Most who have looked into the subject of Christmas trees are familiar with the passages in Jeremiah 10 that clearly seem to condemn pagan tree practices:

2″Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the sky,
though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good.” (Jeremiah 10:2-5, NIV).

While the trees themselves cannot harm us, God says that they cannot do any good.

Even though there is nothing in the Bible to encourage putting a tree in one’s house to honor Jesus or the Father, both Catholics and Protestants believe that they have a legitimate reason.

Even though they condemned the fir trees when once calling Protestantism the “Tannebaum religion,” Catholics claim a prior use. In the 7-8th century, their St. Boniface chopped down an oak dedicated to Thor and a fir tree grew at the same place. After that happened Boniface was said to have stated, “Its leaves remain evergreen in the darkest days: let Christ be your constant light” (Christmas Tree. Wikipedia, 12/22/07). But the truth is that the evergreen tree had long been a pagan religious symbol in northern Europe.

According to the Historic Trinity Lutheran Church of Detroit:

Dr. Martin Luther is credited with originating the use of lighted pine trees in the home for Christmas (http://www.historictrinity.org/advent.html).

Here is one account of the of how Catholics and Protestants got the tree:

Why do we have a decorated Christmas Tree? In the 7th century a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, went to Germany to teach the Word of God. He did many good works there, and spent much time in Thuringia, an area which was to become the cradle of the Christmas Decoration Industry.

Legend has it that he used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The converted people began to revere the Fir tree as God’s Tree, as they had previously revered the Oak. By the 12th century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.

The first decorated tree was at Riga in Latvia, in 1510. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small Christmas Tree with candles, to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night (The Chronological History of the Christmas Tree Copyright © 1998-2007 Maria Hubert von Staufer. http://www.christmasarchives.com/trees.html viewed 12/22/07).

Of course, that once again is one of the problems of Christmas, it substitutes pagan symbols for that of the true God.

And if you are asking yourself, doesn’t the trinity represent God, you may wish to study more into the Bible and the History of Christianity and also read the article Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Another aspect of history is that the early Church condemned winter celebrations like modern Christmas–Christmas was not observed by the early true church. This is documented in the article What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?

Now, getting back to the accusation of Catholics about Protestants being the “Tannenbaum religion,” basically the Protestants condemned the Church of Rome for many practices, including idolatry. The Catholics considered that having a decorated fir tree in one’s house, which of course is not a symbol associated with the birth of Jesus in the Bible, during the Christmas season was a form of idolatry.

However, over time, as the use of trees gained more universal acceptance, those of the Catholic faith decided to no longer decry their use, but instead found a legend in their own history to suggest that they had the idea originally.

All of this may seem to be bizarre, but a lot of the doctrinal history of the Catholics and Protestants is.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? What about the use of the cross, by the early Church?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Hanukkah Originally a Jewish national holiday, has Hanukkah morphed into a Jewish Christmas?
Canadian & Philadelphian Mummers Parades: Another tie to Saturnalia In Canada there is a ’12 days of Christmas’ celebration involving Mummers. In Philadelphia, a parade is held on New Years. Does this come from the Bible or where?
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
How did December 25th become Christmas? Was Jesus born then? If not, why December 25? Here is the article translated into Mandarin Chinese 12月25日最后是怎么被许多基督的信仰者采纳的.
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Sermon: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else?

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016


Diagram intended to explain the ‘trinity’

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce this sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:

1:09:25

Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else?

Did early Christians believe that God was a trinity? Is the trinity explained in the Bible? Does Matthew 28:19-20 and 1 John 5:7-8 prove a trinity? What was decided at the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D.? What did early Christians believe?

Here is a link to the sermon: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else?

Some items of related interest may include:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?.
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Why Does Jesus Have Two Different Genealogies listed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3? Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 seemingly list two different genealogies for Jesus. Why?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
What is the Holy Spirit? This is an article by Rod Reynolds.
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Did the Archangel Michael become Jesus? The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach this, and SDA Ellen White did, but does the Bible allow for this?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Sermon: CCOG, a corporation sole, not a 501(c)(3)

Saturday, November 26th, 2016


COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce this sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:


1:13:50CCOG, a corporation sole, not a 501(c)(3)

Why is the Continuing Church of God organized as a “corporation sole”? What is a corporation sole? Has this form of organization been used by a Church of God in the past? What is a 501(c)(3) registered church? What are the advantages and disadvantages of being 501(c)(3) registered? Why are contributions to the CCOG tax-deductible in the USA? Should churches be engaged in ‘political speech’? Was Jesus engaged in political speech? Why is it better for the Continuing Church of God to not be registered as a 501(c)(3) organization? Has 501(c)(3) registration negatively impacted any COG group?

Here is a link to the sermon: CCOG, a corporation sole, not a 501(c)(3).

Some items of related interest may include:

Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world. Here is a link to a related sermon: CCOG, a corporation sole, not a 501(c)(3).
501(c)(3)? Why the Continuing Church of God chose a better option Churches in the USA do NOT have to register as 501(c)(3). Why would they? Why is what CCOG did better?
Why is the Continuing Church of God a corporation sole? What is a ‘corporation sole’ and why is this a better organizational choice?
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Did the early church hold to Continuing Church of God doctrines or those of the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, & Protestants?

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

CHOG Book Cover 2015

COGwriter

Nine years ago, Christianity Today was promoting an article that stated:

We are now in a period when it is not enough to know only about the Bible. The apologetics of the past is no longer adequate. Today’s questions involve not only how the Bible came to be, but even if there was originally such a thing as orthodoxy. It is a crucial question. Christians need to know a lot more about the second century. Roots matter, especially in the founding of a movement (Bock. D. Roots Matter: The Gnostic Hunger For Secret Knowledge. Christianity Today. Issue 96, Fall 2007, Vol. XXVII, No. 4, Page 42).

And while that is true, sadly Protestant scholars realize that the doctrines and practices of what now passes for mainstream “Christianity” simply have no historical evidence of existing in the second century.

Notice the following admissions from Protestant scholar HOJ Brown:

It is impossible to document what we now call orthodoxy in the first two centuries of Christianity (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 5).

Simply put, many of the doctrines that now are considered to be heresy were held by the early church and many doctrines now considered to be mainstream were condemned as heresy by those associated with the early church.

Here is a listing of many such doctrines, that is also included in the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God:

Baptism of Christians was by immersion and did not include infants.

The complete Bible with the proper Old Testament and New Testament was relied on by the true Church in Asia Minor.

A Binitarian or Semi-Arian view, that acknowledged the Holy Spirit, was held by the apostolic and post-apostolic true Christian leaders.

Birthdays were not celebrated by early Christians.

Born-Again meant being born at the resurrection, not at the time of conversion, which is when a spiritual begettal occurs.

Celibacy for Bishops/Presbyters/Elders was not a requirement.

Church Governance was properly hierarchical.

Christmas was not observed by any professing Christ prior to the third century, or ever by those holding to early teachings; December 25th did not come from the Bible.

Circumcision, though not required, was long practiced by original Nazarene Christians.

Confession of sins were not made to priests and did not require penance.

Deification of Christians (which begins after the first resurrection) was taught by the early leaders of the Church.

Duties of Elders/Pastors were pastoral and theological, not predominantly sacramental–nor did they dress as many now do. Easterper se was not observed by the apostolic church.

The Fall (and Spring) Holy Days were observed by true early Christians.

The Father was considered to be God by all early professing Christians.

The True Gospel included the kingdom of God and obedience to the law of God and was so understood by the faithful.

Heaven was not taught to be the reward of Christians.

Holy Spirit was not referred to as God or as a person by any early true Christians.

Hymns were mainly psalms, not praises to Christ.

Idols were taught against, including adoration of the cross.

Immortality of the soul or humans was not taught. Jesus was considered to be God by the true Christians.

The Kingdom of God was preached.

Leavened Bread was removed from the homes of early Christians when the Jews did the same.

Lent was not observed by the primitive church.

Limbo was not taught by the original church.

Mary was the mother of Jesus, was blessed (Luke 1:28) and called blessed (Luke 1:48), but was not prayed to, etc. by true early Christians.

Military Service was not allowed for true early Christians.

Millenarianism (a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth, often called the millennium) was taught by the early Christians.

Monasticism was unheard of in the early Christian church.

Passover was kept annually on the 14th of Nisan by apostolic and second century Christians in Asia Minor.

Pentecost was kept on Sunday by certain Jews and was observed then by professing Christians.

Purgatory was not taught by the original apostolic church.

The Resurrection of the dead was taught by all early Christians

The Sabbath was observed on Saturday by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church.

Salvation was believed to be offered to the chosen now by the early Church, with others being called later, though not all that taught that (or other doctrines) practiced “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). God’s

Six Thousand Year Plan for humankind to rule itself was believed by early professors of Christ.

Sunday was not observed by the apostolic and original post-apostolic Christians.

The Ten Commandments were observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians–and in the order that the Church of God claims they are in.

Tithes and Offerings were given to support the ministry, the churches, the needy, and evangelical travels and proclamation.

Tradition had some impact on the second century Christians, but was never supposed to supercede the Bible.

The Trinity was not a word used to describe the Godhead by the apostolic or second century Christians, though a certain threeness was acknowledged.

Unclean Meats were eaten by the early allegorists, but not by true Christians.

The Virgin Birth was acknowledged by all true ante-Nicene Christians.

The early true Church simply had many doctrines and practices that do not resemble today’s “mainstream Christianity.” Instead, the faithful held to doctrines that we in the Continuing Church of God still hold to.

Those interested in more information should consider visiting the History of Early Christianity page.

Lest anyone feel that the Roman or Orthodox Catholics or others can tie their beliefs and continuity to the original church better than the we in the Continuing Church of God can, if they are truly interested in learning the truth, they should study the following:

What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance? Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?
Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Continuing Church of God
Both groups claim to represent the original Christian faith. Do you know much about them? Both groups have some interesting similarities, but many major differences. Would you like information on how to deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God Both groups keep the seventh-day Sabbath, but have important differences in doctrines and practices. Here is a link to a related sermon: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The genuine Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White. Did Ellen White make prophetic errors? Did Ellen White make false prophecies? Here is a version in the Spanish language: SDA/COG Diferencias: La bestia de dos cuernos de Apocalipsis y 666. Here is a sermon in the English language: CCOG and SDA differences and similarities.
Seventh-day Adventist President Ted Wilson’s Comments on the Remnant Church Ted N. C. Wilson spoke on the SDAs striving to be the “remnant church”, but what do the related scriptures actually teach?
Some Dissimilarities Between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and the Continuing Church of God The genuine Church of God is not related to the Mormons and this article explains some differences and a couple of similarities. Also, might certain LDS prophecies apply to Mitt Romney?
Differences Between Islam and the Continuing Church of God What are some of the main differences? Are there any similarities? A video of related interest is titled: Islam: Any Christian Concerns or Similarities?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Claims about Clement of Rome

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016


View in Vatican City (photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

November 23rd is the day Catholics have declared as the day for “Saint Clement I.”

There is an individual named Clement in the Bible. He is mentioned one time. Here is the only passage that mentions him:

I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life (Philippians 4:2-3).

The above was written by the Apostle Paul, but historians are divided on where it was written from (Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, and Caesarea have all been speculated).

This shows that Paul knew someone named Clement. Clement, therefore knew Paul, and was with Paul when he wrote this letter. It can probably reasonably implied that Clement probably knew others in Philippi. And based on Paul’s writings, it can be concluded that Paul, at that time, considered that particular Clement to be a Christian. It is probably logical to conclude that Clement met with Paul on multiple occasions and probably, like the others, assisted him to some degree.

What it does not show is that Clement was to be the leader of those in Rome or ordained by Peter. Clement simply was one of many who knew and probably assisted the Apostle Paul. The lack of emphasis/preeminence in Paul’s writings would seem to suggest that Clement could not have been the one to become the “bishop of Rome” and the successor of Peter and Paul in 67 A.D. or perhaps later–there are different lists for Clement. It should also be noted that if Paul did write his Epistle to the Philippians in Rome (as many Roman Catholic scholars maintain), one would think that Clement would be mentioned in other writings from Paul if Clement was to have preeminence–but instead he is not mentioned anywhere else in any New Testament writing.

Whether or not this is the same individual named Clement that many Roman Catholics consider to succeed Peter cannot be determined from the passages in Philippians. Roman Catholic scholars seem divided on this matter, though the general consensus seems to be that the Clement of Rome is not the same one that Paul referred to. Here are some statements from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

Origen identifies Pope Clement with St. Paul’s fellow-labourer, Phil., iv, 3, and 80 do Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome — but this Clement was probably a Philippian. In the middle of the nineteenth century it was the custom to identity the pope with the consul of 95, T. Flavius Clemens, who was martyred by his first cousin, the Emperor Domitian, at the end of his consulship. But the ancients never suggest this, and the pope is said to have lived on till the reign of Trajan (Chapman J. Transcribed by Gerard Haffner. Pope St. Clement I. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus, the Clement mentioned in the Bible is probably not the Clement of Rome. But again, this is not certain.

If Clement was the ruler of all Christendom during the time he was claimed to be, then it seems odd that the Apostle John failed to mention him or his leadership in any of the books that he wrote after the beginning of Clement’s alleged pontificate (1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and the Book of Revelation). Since John encouraged Christians to be faithful, it would seem that he would have somehow suggested that there would be a succession of faithful leaders to follow in Rome. Instead, he focused on the leadership of the church in the region of Asia Minor (Revelation 1-3).

John was the last of the original apostles to die and should have known who the leaders of the true church were around the time of his death (around 100 A.D.). And there is no reason to believe that he would have been at a lower status than Clement who was not ordained directly by Christ, nor was he a pope, and nor probably even a bishop.

Some Significant Roman Catholic Teachings About Clement

Here is some of what is claimed about Clement:

4. CLEMENT I, ST. (88-97)…He was among the first baptized by St. Peter…Clement was the one to introduce the liturgical vestments into the sacred functions and the use of the word Amen. He appointed seven notaries, one for each ecclesiastical area of Rome, to edit and file all information regarding martyred Christians…He can be considered the first pope to have abdicated (Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni, Roma, 1997, p. 2).

It seems impossible that Clement could have appointed seven notaries as the church in Rome then was not large or did not have a major staff. Neither the Bible or any of the earliest historical writings give any hint that Peter baptized Clement—thus that claim appears to have been a later fabrication. Furthermore, if there were seven notaries with Clement, then at minimum one would think that they would have preserve at least who the original “bishops of Rome” were, however they apparently did not (as there are no writings from any of these seven preserved and they allegedly would have been appointed to make writings that were to have been preserved).

The first list was apparently composed by Hegesippus around 155 A.D., and we have no copy of that preserved until Epiphanius claimed to have cited Hegesippus. The actual first known list was actually from Irenaeus around 180 A.D. and it contains no details about the early bishops.

The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches this about Clement:

Now Linus and Cletus had each twelve years attributed to them in the list. If Hippolytus found Cletus doubled by an error (Cletus XII, Anacletus XII), the accession of Clement would appear to be thirty-six years after the death of the Apostles. As this would make it almost impossible for Clement to have been their contemporary, it may have caused Hippolytus to shift him to an earlier position. Further, St. Epiphanius says (loc. cit. ): “Whether he received episcopal ordination from Peter in the life-time of the Apostles, and declined the office, for he says in one of his epistles ‘I retire, I depart, let the people of God be in peace’, (for we have found this set down in certain Memoirs), or whether he was appointed by the Bishop Cletus after he had succeeded the Apostles, we do not clearly know.” The “Memoirs” were certainly those of Hegesippus. It seems unlikely that he is appealed to only for the quotation from the Epistle, c. liv; probably Epiphanius means that Hegesippus stated that Clement had been ordained by Peter and declined to be bishop, but twenty-four years later really exercised the office for nine years. Epiphanius could not reconcile these two facts; Hippolytus seems to have rejected the latter…The Church of Corinth had been led by a few violent spirits into a sedition against its rulers. No appeal seems to have been made to Rome, but a letter was sent in the name of the Church of Rome by St. Clement to restore peace and unity. He begins by explaining that his delay in writing has been caused by the sudden calamities which, one after another, had just been falling upon the Roman Church. The reference is clearly to the persecution of Domitian…There is little intentional dogmatic teaching in the Epistle, for it is almost wholly hortatory. A passage on the Holy Trinity is important. Clement uses the Old Testament affirmation “The Lord liveth”, substituting the Trinity thus: “As God liveth, and the Lord Jesus Christ liveth and the Holy Spirit — the faith and hope of the elect, so surely he that performeth”, etc…The Epistle is in the name of the Church of Rome but the early authorities always ascribe it to Clement. Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, wrote c. 170 to the Romans in Pope Soter’s time: “To-day we kept the holy day, the Lord’s day, and on it we read your letter- and we shall ever have it to give us instruction, even as the former one written through Clement” (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., IV, xxx) (Chapman J. Transcribed by Gerard Haffner. Pope St. Clement I. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus, Catholic scholars admit that some felt that Clement succeeded Peter, while others do not believe that. There is simply no proof of this matter.

Clement could not have come with liturgical vestments as they did not exist that early. The Catholic Encyclopedia admits this, regarding the time of Stephen 1 (254-257):

In his days the vestments worn by the clergy at Mass and other church services did not differ in shape or material from those ordinarily worn by the laity (Mann H. Transcribed by Kenneth M. Caldwell. Pope St. Stephen I. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Hence the statements above regarding Clement’s rules on these matters is also false. Clement is actually both a problem and a key-link for the Roman Church and its claims to supremacy over all of Christendom. He is a problem, specifically, because he is considered the key-link establishing the supremacy of the bishop of Rome. And this key-link is very, very tenuous (he is also a problem as his statement about God and the Lord living suggests that the Holy Spirit is somehow different, and that is not a trinitarian view–please see the article Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings from Before the Beginning).

Furthermore, most scholars believe that there were no bishops of Rome at the time of Clement’s alleged reign. Notice this admission from a Roman Catholic scholar:

Admittedly the Catholic position, that bishops are the successors of the apostles by divine institution, remains far from easy to establish…The first problem has to do with the notion that Christ ordained apostles as bishops…The apostles were missionaries and founders of churches; there is no evidence, nor is it at all likely, that any one of them ever took up permanent residence in a particular church as its bishop…The letter of the Romans to the Corinthians, known as I Clement, which dates to about the year 96, provides good evidence that about 30 years after the death of St. Paul the church of Corinth was being led by a group of presbyters, with no indication of a bishop with authority over the whole local church…Most scholars are of the opinion that the church of Rome would most probably have also been led at that time by a group of presbyters…There exists a broad consensus among scholars, including most Catholic ones, that such churches as Alexandria, Philippi, Corinth and Rome most probably continued to be led for some time by a college of presbyters, and that only in the second century did the threefold structure of become generally the rule, with a bishop, assisted by presbyters, presiding over each local church (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, pp. 13,14,15).

Clement’s Letter?

Essentially, many Roman Catholics believe that a late 1st century letter to the Corinthians shows that Clement felt that he had the authority over all other Christian churches. And thus, this is the earliest proof that in fact, the cathedra went to the bishops of Rome and therefore (according to this line of reasoning) is still there today.

The first problem is that the letter never says any individual sent it. So even if it was from Clement, he apparently did not feel he himself had what Catholics now call the cathedra (the ecclesiastical chair or authority), for it was unsigned. The second problem is that there is no indication that the Corinthians were in any way writing to Clement. And the third is that recent Catholic scholarship admits that “I Clement” does not establish the primacy of the Roman Church:

In the past, Catholic writers have interpreted this intervention as an early exercise of Roman primacy, but now it is generally recognized as the kind of exhortation one church could address another without any claim to authority over it…I Clement certainly does not support the theory that before the apostles died, they appointed one man as bishop in each of the churches they founded. This letter witnesses rather to the fact that in the last decade of the first century, the collegial ministry of a group of presbyters…was still maintained in the Pauline church of Corinth. This was most likely also the case in the church in Rome at this period (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, pp. 91,101).

During the time that Clement was allegedly bishop of Rome, Catholic historians reported that John was taken to Rome from Ephesus, then suddenly exiled to Patmos, by Emperor Domitian (Tertullian. The Prescription Against Heretics. Chapter 36. Translated by Peter Holmes. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight), and, “after the tyrant’s death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus” (Eusebius. Church History. Book III, Chapter 23). About this time, a schism occurred in Corinth and someone apparently decided to contact the Christians in Rome for assistance (possibly because John may have been in Rome then or possibly since one of that congregation happen to have been traveling in that direction). The letter response that was sent said it was delayed:

[b]ecause of the sudden and repeated misfortunes and reverses which have happened to us (The Letter of the Romans to the Corinthians commonly known as First Clement. Verse 1. Holmes MW, ed. As translated in The Apostolic Fathers Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 3rd printing 2004, pp. 28-29).

It is logical to conclude that these misfortunes probably included John’s exile. Although many Catholics suggest the response sent is definitive proof that Rome was the ruling Church, the letter actually refers to its contents only as “our advice”, does not list any author, and does not otherwise prove anything about Roman authority. Regarding this letter one Catholic scholar has written:

Most scholars are of the opinion that the church of Rome would most probably be have also been led at that time by a group of presbyters (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 15).

If this letter from the Corinthians was sent to Rome because John and others were there, it simply shows that some in Corinth were trying to contact the leadership of the Church. Also, it seems logical that those in the Church at Rome may have decided that since John had been exiled, they should simply respond with their opinion.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

“Pope” Clement I (88-97) He is claimed to have turned down the successor role from Peter, and is claimed to be the first Roman leader to abdicate. There was a Clement mentioned in the Bible. While today’s post has about the first half of what is in this article, there is another half here.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Pope Gelasius I claimed ‘vicar of Christ’ and the meaning of ‘anti-Christ’

Monday, November 21st, 2016

COGwriter

On November 21, Catholics of Rome honor their bishop and pontiff Gelasius I.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says the following about him:

Pope Gelasius I (died 19 November 496) was Pope from 1 March 492 to his death in 496…

Despite all the efforts of the otherwise orthodox patriarch, Euphemius of Constantinople, and the threats and wiles by which the Emperor Anastasius tried to obtain recognition from the Apostolic See, Gelasius, though hard-pressed by difficulties at home, would make no peace that compromised in the slightest degree the rights and honor of the Chair of Peter. The constancy with which he combated the pretensions, lay and ecclesiastical, of the New Rome; the resoluteness with which he refused to allow the civil or temporal pre-eminence of a city to determine its ecclesiastical rank; the unfailing courage with which he defended the rights of the “second” and the “third” sees, Alexandria and Antioch, are some of the most striking features of his pontificate. It has been well said that nowhere at this period can be found stronger arguments for the primacy of Peter’s See than in the works and writings of Gelasius…

As a writer Gelasius takes high rank for his period. His style is vigorous and elegant, though occasionally, obscure. Comparatively little of his literary work has come down to us, though he is said to have been the most prolific writer of all the pontiffs of the first five centuries. There are extant forty-two letters and fragments of forty-nine others, besides six treatises, of which three are concerned with the Acacian schism, one with the heresy of the Pelagians, another with the errors of Nestorius and Eutyches, while the sixth is directed against the senator Andromachus and the advocates of the Lupercalia. The best edition is that of Thiel.

The feast of St. Gelasius is kept on 21 Nov., the anniversary of his interment, though many writers give this as the day of his death. (Murphy, J.F.X. (1909). Pope St. Gelasius I. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06406a.htm)

The reason I reported about him is because he is believed to have been the first pontiff to be referred to as the “vicar of Christ” (Park H. The Roman Catholic Church – A Critical Appraisal. Xulon Press, 2008, pp. 37-38).

Vicar comes from a Latin term:

vicar (n.)
early 14c., from Anglo-French vicare, Old French vicaire “deputy, second in command,” also in the ecclesiastical sense (12c.), from Latin vicarius “a substitute, deputy, proxy,” noun use of adjective vicarius “substituted, delegated,” from vicis “change, interchange, succession; a place, position” (see vicarious). The original notion is of “earthly representative of God or Christ;” but also used in sense of “person acting as parish priest in place of a real parson” (early 14c.). (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=vicar viewed 0421/14)

So “Vicar of Christ” means In Substitute of Christ or Instead of Christ.

So what does the expression “anti-Christ” mean?

In English, the word Anti-Christ clearly means one who is opposed or against Christ. And that is consistent with the meaning in the Greek.

But the Greek allows for another definition that seems to be applicable.

The Greek term translated as anti, such as in antichrist in 1 John 2:18, is Strong’s word 473.

NT:473 άντί

anti (an-tee’); a primary particle; opposite, i.e. instead or because of (rarely in addition to):

(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

The Greek word for Christ, Strong’s word 5547, Christos, means Christ or Messiah.

So, the term Antichrist can mean Opposite of Christ or Instead of Christ.

After Emperor Constantine issued his Edict Against Heretics in 331 A.D., it began to become clearer to those associated with the true Church that perhaps a church proclaiming Christianity and tied into the Roman Empire should be identified with antichrist.

Notice what the Catholic Cardinal Newman wrote about it in the 19th century:

Now, one of the first questions which it is natural to ask on entering upon the subject is, whereas the Pope is said to be Antichrist, sometimes from the fourth, sometimes from the seventh century, when was he first detected and denounced, and by whom?

On this point Dr. Todd supplies us with much information, from which it appears that the belief that the Pope was Antichrist was the conclusion gradually formed and matured out of the belief that the Church of Rome was Babylon, by three heretical bodies, between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries, in consequence of their being submitted to persecution for their opinions:

“In the middle of the eleventh century, numerous emigrants from Thrace and the East had established themselves in the north of Italy, and especially in the neighbourhood of Milan; and some, despising a fixed habitation, or unable to obtain one, itinerated throughout various parts of France and Germany. The doctrines of these sects exhibit various shades of extravagance and error, and appear to have had a close affinity with the Oriental Manichees or Paulicians, from whom they are historically descended…they despised all external religion, ridiculed the office and powers of the priesthood, the efficacy of the Sacraments, and especially the use of baptism.”—Pp. 28-30.

These were the Albigenses, the first of the three independent families of heresy above mentioned…It would appear from these that the Albigenses founded their opposition to the Church on a Manichæan principle, viz., that, as there was an evil deity, and he the author of the visible world, so was he author also of the visible Church, which in consequence was “the devil’s basilica and synagogue of Satan,” and, in the language of the Apocalypse, “the mother of fornications.” (Newman JH. The Protestant Idea of Antichrist. [British Critic, Oct. 1840]. Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman. Copyright © 2004 by The National Institute for Newman Studies. http://www.newmanreader.org/works/essays/volume2/antichrist1.html viewed 12/03/07).

What the Cardinal seems to be teaching is that beginning in the fourth-seventh century one or two groups apparently began to feel that the Pontifex Maximus was an antichrist and that one who calls himself Pontifex Maximus may be the final antichrist. The Roman bishops did not refer to themselves by the pagan title of Pontifex Maximus (literally meaning the “greatest bridge-builder” between mortals and the gods) until the late 4th century.

It is likely no coincidence that after bishops of Rome took the title Pontifex Maximus in the late 4th century and “vicar of Christ” in the 5th century that more started to believe that the Bishop of Rome represented the final Antichrist.

Note: I want to make it clear that consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies, I believe that the final Antichrist will pretend to be a Roman Catholic and betray that church. That being said, I do not believe that terms such as reverend (cf. Psalm 111:9, KJV), pontifex maximus (an old pagan title meaning bridge builder), or “vicar of Christ” should be used of leaders who claim to be Christian.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist? This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666 and the identity of “the false prophet.” Plus it shows that several Catholic writers seem to warn about an ecumenical antipope that will support heresy. You can also watch a video titled What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
The Mark of Antichrist What is the mark of Antichrist? What have various ones claimed? Here is a link to a related sermon What is the ‘Mark of Antichrist’?
Mark of the Beast What is the mark of the Beast? Who is the Beast? What have various ones claimed the mark is? What is the ‘Mark of the Beast’?
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis I is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis I be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? This is a YouTube video.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

What type of hymns did early Christians sing?

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

The Hymnal of the Continuing Church of God Consists Mainly of Psalms and Biblical Passages Set to Music

COGwriter

Having attended both Roman Catholic and Protestant church services while growing up, one of the things I noticed that was different about the true Church of God was the type of hymns that were sung.

While Catholics and Protestants tended to sing songs that had religious messages, the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG) mainly sung hymns which were extracted from the Psalms in the Bible. Most of those of us in groups with ties to the old WCG still do.

And while we have been criticized for that (see Praises to Jesus Christ or Biblical Hymns: Which Should Christians Primarily Sing?), the fact is that the practice of the Churches of God appear to be the same as those of the earliest professors of Christ.

The Book of James teaches:

13 Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms (James 5:13).

The Apostle Paul noted:

26 Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm (1 Corinthians 14:26).

The noted historian K.S. Latourette observed:

From a very early date, perhaps from the beginning, Christians employed in their services the psalms found in the Jewish Scriptures, the Christian Old Testament. Since the first Christians were predominantly Greek-speaking, these psalms were in a Greek translation. We hear of at least one form of service in which, after the reading from the Old Testament, the “hymns of David” were sung…Until the end of the fourth century, in the services of the Catholic Church only the Old Testament Psalms and the hymns or canticles from the New Testament were sung…Gradually there were prepared versical paraphrases (Latourette K.S. A History of Christianity, Volume 1: Beginnings to 1500. Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1975, pp. 206,207).

Because of fears of gnostic influence, Christians did not add outside poetic phrases or non-biblical lyrics until well after the second century (Ibid).

On the Roman date of 7 March 203, Tertullian records that while being prepared for martyrdom:

Perpetua sang psalms (Tertullian. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Here is a quote from a fourth century publication known as the Apostolic Constitutions :

Be not careless of yourselves, neither deprive your Saviour of His own members, neither divide His body nor disperse His members, neither prefer the occasions of this life to the word of God; but assemble yourselves together every day, morning and evening, singing psalms and praying in the Lord’s house: in the morning saying the sixty-second Psalm, and in the evening the hundred and fortieth, but principally on the Sabbath-day. And on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent Him to us, and condescended to let Him suffer, and raised Him from the dead (Apostolic Constitutions (Book II, Chapter LIX). Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Isn’t this astounding? Even in the Church that was ruled by Rome, psalms were mainly sang on the Sabbath. This is most likely due to the continuance of the practice that the early (before Rome increased its influence) church had.

It appears likely that the Sunday practice of singing songs of praise to God ultimately led to the practice of shifting the primacy of psalm singing to praises towards Jesus in what we now consider to be the Protestant world (as they got Sunday from the Romans). A 21st century book on early biblical and church practices states:

Modern New Testament scholarship is studying extensively the early church in its relationship to Judaism. It is certainly without question that Judaism is Christianity’s mother religion…

The Book of Psalms, as the temple hymnbook, continued to be used in Jewish congregations as well as Christian congregations (Roberts T. From Sacral Kingship to Sacred Marriage: A Theological Analysis of Literary Borrowing. Vantage Press. New York, 2003, pp.138-139).

Hence evidence does support the idea that psalms were the main types of hymns that the early Christians sang on the Sabbath (as that is when the early Christians, did in fact meet–Sunday worship is not alluded to in any historical literature prior to the 2nd Century–and the first clear mention of Sunday worship was by Justin Martyr: A Saint, Heretic or Apostate?).

The songbook of the Continuing Church of God (as well as the old Worldwide Church of God) is almost exclusively English-translations of the Book of Psalms and other parts of the Bible set to music. The actual hymnal (called The Bible Hymnal) used by the Continuing Church of God consists of all the songs that were part of the 1974 edition of ‘The Bible Hymnal’ used by the old Worldwide Church of God, plus ten other hymns that Herbert Armstrong approved that were written by Ross Jutsum. The songs in this book are essentially the Psalms and other passages in the Bible set to music.

In non-English speaking areas, Church of God congregations basically sing the same hymns translated into other languages such as Spanish, Kiswahili, Dholuo, Ekegusii, French, German, etc.

Notice that the Continuing Church of God also has its Bible Hymnal in Kiswahili:

BIBLE HYMNAL FRONT COVER - SWAHILI

The Bible mentions singing should be done on God’s holy days:

1 Sing aloud to God our strength;
Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob.
2 Raise a song and strike the timbrel,
The pleasant harp with the lute.

3 Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon,
At the full moon, on our solemn feast day. (Psalms 81:1-3)

4 When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. (Psalms 42:4)

The Festival of Tabernacles is a ‘pilgrim feast’ (see also Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims?). So sing psalms during it.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Praises to Jesus Christ or Biblical Hymns: Which Should Christians Primarily Sing? This biblical article on music is in response to an advertisement critical of WCG’s 1974 The Bible Hymnal. It also address early church practices here.
Overview: How Does the Church of God Agree and Disagree with Other Faiths Professing Christ? This overview answers that and explains what the Church of God basically stands for. In the appendices provides information about certain complaints and as well as an overview about many COG-related groups.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The Bible Hymnal via Amazon.   This is the paperback edition of the hymnal used by the Continuing Church of God. It consists of all the songs that were part of the 1974 edition of ‘The Bible Hymnal’ used by the old Worldwide Church of God, plus ten other hymns that Herbert Armstrong approved that were written by Ross Jutsum. The songs in this book are essentially the Psalms and other passages in the Bible set to music. To access it free online, click: The Bible Hymnal. Amazon sells a hard copy of The Bible Hymnal for $8.99.  We also have the Kiswahili version on Amazon: Nakala ya Nyimbo za Biblia.

Peter, Paul, and 7 ‘myths’

Friday, November 18th, 2016


Vatican City (photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

Today, is celebrated by various Catholics of Rome as the feast of the dedication of the Basilicas of Peter and Paul–both of which I have visited. The one known as St. Peter’s Basilica is in Vatican City and is claimed to have the remains of the Apostle Peter.

Part of this is based upon the claim that Peter died in Rome.

What about Peter’s death? Notice what the Rheims New Testament records that Peter wrote just prior to it:

14. Being certain that the laying away of my tabernacle is at hand, according as our Lord
JESUS Christ also signified to me.
15. And I will do my diligence, you to have often after my decease also, that you may keep
a memory of these things.
16. For, not having followed unlearned fables, have we made the power and ‘presence’
of our Lord JESUS Christ known to you: but made beholders of his greatness.
17. For, he receiving from God his father honour and glory, this manner of voice coming
down to him from the magnifical glory, This is my beloved son in whom I have pleased
myself, hear him
.
18. And this voice we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy
mount. (II Peter 1:14-18).

This is problematic as far as Rome is concerned. The reason is that the above passage seems to be teaching that John was still with Peter (John was part of the “we heard”). This is indirectly acknowledged by the ANNOTATIONS from Chapter 1 of I Peter from the Rheims New Testament of 1582 on page 515 as it states:

c By this it is plain, that either John, James, or Peter must be the author of this epistle, for these three only
were present at the Transfiguration. Matt. 17:1

Since the particular above James is believed to have been killed by 39 A.D. in Judea (Acts 12:1), either Peter died near then (which he did not, he died around three or so decades later) or the Apostle John must have still been with Peter. And since there is no evidence that the Apostle John went to Rome in the 60s A.D., the available evidence (including from Roman Catholic sources) suggests that John was in Jerusalem or Asia Minor at that time. Plus, if John was in Jerusalem or Asia Minor then, since Peter seems to be claiming that John was with him, then Peter would have been in Jerusalem or Asia Minor just prior to his death. Hence, to claim that Peter spent much time in Rome or died in Rome seems to be inconsistent with the biblical record.

The place of Peter’s burial is also controversial.

Essentially according to the Quo Vadis legend, Peter was buried in Rome. However, that account was not written until over a century after Peter died.

But there was something else that some have pointed to:

It is not before around 160 CE that we see some kind of interest by Roman Christians in the site by the construction a simple monument that consisted of a niche and a courtyard (the Tropaion Gaii). The monument was probably used for gatherings, but not as a marker as an individual grave, since memory of Peter’s original burying place was lost by the time the Tropaion was erected. The existence of the Tropaion did not result in the development of a Christian burial site, but was integrated into a middle-class non-Christian burial street. Only in the age of Constantine the site was firmly and finally taken over by Christians, thereby obliterating all earlier traces of burial activity apart from the immediate space around the Tropaion. ( Zangenberg, Jürgen; Labahn, Michael. Christians as a religious minority in a multicultural city: modes of interaction and identity formation in early Imperial Rome : studies on the basis of a seminar at the second conference of the European Association for Biblical Studies (EABS) from July 8-12, 2001, in Rome. Volume 243 of Journal for the study of the New Testament Library of New Testament Studies, the Series European studies on Christian origins. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004, p. 132)

Furthermore that site must not have been accepted originally as, according to the Liber Pontificalis (the Book of Popes), it was Roman bishop Cornelius who supposedly moved the body of Peter to its present location (nearly two centuries after Peter died). Here is one written account:

XXII Cornelius (Pope 251-253)…He during his pontificate at the request of a certain matron Lucina, took up the bodies of the apostles, blessed Peter and Paul up out of the catacombs by night; first the body of blessed Paul was received by the blessed Lucina] and laid in her own garden on the Via Ostiensis, near the place where he was beheaded; the body of the blessed Peter was received by the blessed Cornelius, the bishop, and laid near to the place where he was crucified, among the bodies of the holy bishops, in the shrine of Apollo, on the Mons Aureus, in the Batican, by the palace of Nero, on June 29. (Translated by Louise Ropes Loomis. The Book of the Popes (Liber Pontificalis. Originally published by Columbia University Press, NY 1916. 2006 edition by Evolution Publishing, Merchantville (NJ), pp. 25-26).

Hence, one of the earliest Catholic writings attempting to demonstrate that Rome had a series of early bishops/popes states that Peter was NOT originally buried in Rome. There would be no point in moving Peter’s body if people actually had believed that the Tropaion Gaii marked the spot.

Interestingly the conclusion of the one who supposedly identified the body of Peter in Vatican Hill was that he was not convinced it was Peter:

Antonio Ferrua …was the Jesuit archaeologist responsible for uncovering what is believed to be the tomb of St Peter in the grottoes under St Peter’s Basilica in Rome…Ferrua’s discovery came, however, quite by chance. In 1939 Pope Pius XI died and plans were made to bury him beside Pius X in the crypt below the basilica. But when workmen began to dig under St Peter’s they came upon the floor of Constantine’s original basilica, beneath which was a necropolis, a street of Roman tombs dating from the 2nd century AD…Under the supervision of Monsignor Ludwig Kaas, the Administrator of St Peter’s, the Vatican appointed four archaeologists, including Ferrua, to investigate the tombs…Ferrua’s discovery was shrouded in controversy; in 1953, after the death of Monsignor Kaas, it was revealed by a workman that he had discovered some other bones which Kaas had ordered to be removed from the repository and stored at the Vatican. When these were later identified as the remains of an elderly man, it was concluded that these were the bones of the saint. “The relics of St Peter,” announced Pope Paul VI on June 26 1968, “have been identified in a manner which we believe convincing”; the following day, after a ceremony in front of the aedicula, the remains were restored to the repository.

Ferrua was more circumspect. Aware of the scepticism that surrounded even the analysis of the Greek fragment – which others had read as Petros endei or “Peter is not here” – he recently told the Italian Catholic newspaper L’Avvenire that he was “not convinced” that the saint’s bones had been found…A man of deep faith, Ferrua was a rigorous scholar, much admired for his refusal to allow his beliefs to compromise his work (The Rev Antonio Ferrua. Telegraph, London – May 29, 2003 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1431338/The-Rev-Antonio-Ferrua.html viewed 07/20/09).

Thus, the one credited for finding Peter’s body was unconvinced by the evidence he had investigated.

It should be noted that there is also the view that Peter died in Judea and was interred in the Mount of Olives—an ossuary box bearing the inscription “Shimon Bar Jonah” has been found and some believe it may be referring to the Simon Bar-Jonah (Fingegan J. The Archaeology of the New Testament. Princeton: Princeton University Press, reprt 1979, pp. 359-375) that became the Apostle Peter as per Matthew 16:17—and although that is inconclusive, it is probably stronger contemporary “evidence” than Rome seems to have as Peter’s original burial site.

Here is some limited information about it written by F. Paul Peterson in 1960, edited by James Tabor, and somewhat shortened by me:

While visiting a friend in Switzerland, I heard of what seemed to me, one of the greatest discoveries since the time of Christ—that Peter was buried in Jerusalem and not in Rome…

After talking to many priests and investigating various sources of information, I finally was greatly rewarded by learning where I could buy the only known book on the subject, which was also written in Italian. It is called, “Gli Scavi del Dominus Flevit”, printed in 1958 at the Tipografia del PP. Francescani, in Jerusalem. It was written by P. B. Bagatti and J. T. Milik, both Roman Catholic priests…

In Jerusalem I spoke to many Franciscan priests who all read, finally, though reluctantly, that the bones of Simon Bar Jona (St. Peter) were found in Jerusalem, on the Franciscan monastery site called, “Dominus Flevit” (where Jesus was supposed to have wept over Jerusalem), on the Mount of Olives…the names of Christian Biblical characters were found on the ossuaries (bone boxes). The names of Mary and Martha were found on one box and right next to it was one with the name of Lazarus, their brother. Other names of early Christians were found on other boxes. Of greatest interest, however, was that which was found within twelve feet from the place where the remains of Mary, Martha and Lazarus were found—the remains of St. Peter. They were found in an ossuary, on the outside of which was clearly and beautifully written in Aramaic, “Simon Bar Jona”…

Then I asked, “Does Father Bagatti (co-writer of the book in Italian on the subject, and archaeologist) really believe that those are the bones of St. Peter?” “Yes, he does,” was the reply. Then I asked, “But what does the Pope think of all this?” That was a thousand dollar question and he gave me a million dollar answer. “Well,” he confidentially answered in a hushed voice, “Father Bagatti told me personally that three years ago he went to the Pope (Pius XII) in Rome and showed him the evidence and the Pope said to him, ‘Well, we will have to make some changes, but for the time being, keep this thing quiet’.” In awe I asked also in a subdued voice, “So the Pope really believes that those are the bones of St. Peter?” “Yes,” was his answer. “The documentary evidence is there, he could not help but believe.” …

I did not have the opportunity to see priest Bagatti while in Jerusalem. I wrote to him, however, on March 15, 1960, as follows: “I have spoken with a number of Franciscan priests and monks and they have told me about you and the book of which you are a co-writer. I had hoped to see you and to compliment you on such a great discovery, but time would not permit. Having heard so much about you and that you are an archaeologist (with the evidence in hand), I was convinced, with you, concerning the ancient burial ground that the remains found in the ossuary with the name on it, ‘Simon Bar Jona’, written in Aramaic, were those of St. Peter.” It is remarkable that in his reply he did not contradict my statement, which he certainly would have done if he honestly could have done so. “I was very much convinced with you – … that the remains found in the ossuary … were those of St. Peter.” This confirms the talk I had with the Franciscan monk in Bethlehem and the story he told me of Priest Bagatti’s going to the Pope with the evidence concerning the bones of St. Peter in Jerusalem. In his letter one can see that he is careful because of the Pope’s admonition to keep this discovery quiet. (Peterson F. Paul. Saint Peter’s Tomb: The Discovery of Peter’s Tomb in Jerusalem in 1953. http://www.jesusdynasty.com/blog/2007/04/03/has-the-ossuary-of-simon-peter-aka-simeon-son-of-jonah-been-found/ viewed 02/17/11)

The Jerusalem burial of Peter is not currently taught by the Church of Rome. Thus, it appears to me, at least, that scholars (including Catholic ones) tend to understand that it is questionable if Peter was buried in Rome and if his body is actually in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (see also What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History?).

A while back related to Catholic ‘myths,’ Zenit.org, a pro-Vatican news source, reported the following:

Much of the hostility towards the Catholic Church is based on ignorance and prejudice. This is the argument of Christopher Kaczor in his recent book, “The Seven Big Myths About the Catholic Church,” (Ignatius Press).A professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Kaczor started by pointing out that the Church is made up of both saints and sinners and that mistakes in governance can indeed occur…

The first myth examined by the book is the idea that religion and science are in conflict with each other…The second myth is that the Church opposes freedom and happiness by saying no to a number of actions…The idea that the Church hates women is another myth addressed in the book…The issue of homosexuality, and the argument by some that the Church hates homosexuals, is another myth dealt with by Kaczor. http://www.zenit.org/article-35978?l=english

Before going further, I would state that true science and true religion are not in conflict with each other.

Now as far as myths FROM the Roman Catholic Church, there are many (and some are not accepted by its top leadership, though commonly held).

Since Zenit mentioned seven myths about Catholics, let us briefly list seven ‘Roman Catholic’ myths:

  1. The Roman Catholic Church is the original church and became that way when the Apostle Peter was in Rome. The Bible never suggests that, nor is there absolute proof the Apostle Peter was ever even in Rome (and even if he was, he spent the bulk of his time elsewhere). For details, please see the article Peter and Rome.
  2. The Church of Rome has apostolic succession from Peter to Linus to Cletus to Clement to Evaristus. The fact is that Roman Catholic scholars know this is essentially wishful thinking based upon later traditions. For details, please see What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? and Apostolic Succession.
  3. The Church of Rome never changes. This is thoroughly disproved by many documents. A detailed article on many doctrinal changes that the Roman Catholic Church adopted are proven in the article Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?
  4. The Church of Rome gave the world the Bible. No, the Bible as we know it came from Asia Minor. The fact that it took the Church of Rome centuries to finally settle on the books as the Apostle John finalized and his successors verified proves that Rome was not the source of the Bible. For details, please see The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History and The Old Testament Canon.
  5. The Church of Rome is the original “catholic church.” The first time the term “catholic church” is clearly found in theological writings, it was used in a letter to the Church of God in Smyrna and was not a reference to Rome. Yet, even though the Church of Rome teaches that the church in Smyrna was led by a variety of leaders it considers to be saints, the Church of Rome does not hold to the same teachings that the Church of God in Smyrna held to–instead it now strongly condemns some of those beliefs. For details, please see The Smyrna Church Era, Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter, Thraseas, and Papirius of Smyrna.
  6. Christian leaders wore mitres and dressed like the modern Catholic clergy. While the Vatican does not teach this directly, the average member seems to accept the dress of the Catholic clergy as nearly sacred. Yet, no early leader dressed like that and even in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Vatican City, none of the early apostles is portrayed wearing mitres, etc. For additional proof, please see the article Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was their Dress?
  7. The Church of Rome has the creed of the apostles. No, history, as verified by Catholic scholars, disproves this. For details, please see What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed?

The original faithful Church was in Jerusalem and over time the location of its main leaders shifted to Asia Minor and then elsewhere (this can be demonstrated by studying the historical and biblical references in Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome).

Because many who profess Christ, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant, to name three groups, do not understand the truth about Church history (see The History of Early Christianity for an overview), most believe myths about it (as well as what God’s plan is).

It is only the true Church of God that has the type of spiritual succession and continuity to the original faith of the apostles that those associated with the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholic faiths claim to have.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Peter and Rome He was an original apostle and early Christian leader. Where was Peter buried? Where did Peter die?
The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was their Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 2 & 3.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes”?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?