Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

Sermon: Did early faithful Christians celebrate Christmas?

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

CHOG Book Cover 2015 BOTH

COGwriter

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

1:14:52

Did early faithful Christians celebrate Christmas?

Christians, according to Jude, are supposed to “contend earnestly for” (NKJV) or “fight for” (NJB) the original faith. Did early Christians celebrate Christmas? Were later professors of Christ condemned for idolatrous practices such as wreaths and pagan gift giving on an idol’s birthday in December? When did December 25th get adopted? According to ‘The Catholic Encyclopedia’, why was December 25th adopted? Do the Gospels allow for Jesus to have been born in late December? Where did the ‘twelve days of Christmas’, come from ? What about ‘Christmas carols’? Did early Christians observe any holy days? If so, what were they? Does the Bible encourage or condemn using practices others used to worship the true God? Is Jesus the reason for the season or was there another reason?

Here is a link to the sermon: Did early faithful Christians celebrate Christmas?

Some items of possibly related interest follow:

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? another sermon is James Ossuary, Fake News, and Jesus’ Birth.
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. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
Luke’s census: Any historical evidence? Some critics say that Luke’s account of the census involving Joseph and Mary did not happen. They say that there should be historical evidence. Could Quirinius have been a leader of Syria at the time of Jesus’ birth? Were therer multiple censuses during the time of Caesar Augustus? Was there a registration census? How did Augustus come to be declared the “father of his country”? What did Tertullian and Josephus write? Is there historical evidence that people had to travel for a census in the Roman Empire? Could Mary have been recorded in records kept in Rome? Was the census in the Winter? Can you rely on the Bible and Luke’s account? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more in this video.
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.
Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here are links to seven related sermons: Proof Jesus is the Messiah, Prophecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and death, Jesus’ prophesied divinity, 200+ OT prophecies Jesus filled; Plus prophecies He made, Why Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?, Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus, and Facts and Atheists’ Delusions About Jesus.
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.
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
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? Here is a version in the Spanish language: ¿Por qué Jesús tiene dos genealogías diferentes las cuales aparecen en Mateo 1 y Lucas 3?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
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. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there. 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? an CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia? Here is a written link to a version of that first 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.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
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.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
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.
CCOG Animations channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube sermonette videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them there.
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 Paul invent the virgin birth?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

Dr. James Tabor, once part of the old Worldwide Church of God, had an article published titled Did Paul Invent the Virgin Birth? Here is some of what he had published:

Paul never explicitly refers to Jesus’ virgin birth nor does he ever name either Mary or Joseph. What he does affirm is that Jesus pre-existed before his human birth and subsequently gave up his divine glory through his birth as a human being. He writes that Jesus “though existing in the form of God” emptied himself and took on human form, “being made in the likeness of humankind” (Philippians 2:6-7). He says further “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). He has to be referring here, metaphorically, to the “riches” of Jesus’ pre-existence with God, since all our sources have Jesus born of a poor peasant family. Paul also writes “In the fullness of time God sent forth his Son, made of a woman . . .” (Galatians 4:4). The implication of these texts is that Jesus’ mother was merely the human receptacle for bringing Jesus into the world. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-d-tabor/did-paul-invent-the-virgin-birth_b_2355278.html

While Dr. Tabor does mention the accounts in Matthew and Luke in his article, he also suggests that Roman mythology may have played a role in the “virgin birth” doctrine.

The Bible, and early writings, clearly support the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin (Mary). And the first suggestion of it precedes the Apostle Paul by centuries.

Was the Virgin Birth Prophesied?

Was Jesus’ birth from a virgin prophesied?

It was if you believe what was written by the prophet Isaiah:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14, NKJV throughout).

According to Matthew’s writings, Jesus fulfilled that prophecy:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS (Matthew 1:18-25).

Luke also records some of how it would occur:

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her (Luke 1:26-38).

Did Any Early Church Leaders Specifically Teach a Virgin Birth?

One most prominent of the church leaders in the second century taught the virgin birth.

Melito of Sardis wrote c. 180 A.D.:

65. And indeed there were many other things proclaimed by numerous prophets concerning the mystery of the passover, which is Christ, to whom be the glory forever. Amen.

66. When this one came from heaven to earth for the sake of the one who suffers, and had clothed himself with that very one through the womb of a virgin, and having come forth as man, he accepted the sufferings of the sufferer through his body which was capable of suffering. And he destroyed those human sufferings by his spirit which was incapable of dying. He killed death which had put man to death…

70. This is the one who became human in a virgin, who was hanged on the tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from among the dead, and who raised mankind up out of the grave below to the heights of heaven…

104. This is the one who made the heavens and the earth, and who in the beginning created man, who was proclaimed through the law and prophets, who became human via the virgin, who was hanged upon a tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from the dead, and who ascended to the heights of heaven, who sits at the right hand of the Father, who has authority to judge and to save everything, through whom the Father created everything from the beginning of the world to the end of the age.

105. This is the alpha and the omega. This is the beginning and the end–an indescribable beginning and an incomprehensible end. This is the Christ. This is the king. This is Jesus. This is the general. This is the Lord. This is the one who rose up from the dead. This is the one who sits at the right hand of the Father. He bears the Father and is borne by the Father, to whom be the glory and the power forever. Amen (Melito of Sardis. On the Passover. Translation from Kerux: The Journal of Northwest Theological Seminary, Vol.4,1;May 1989).

Melito also wrote:

This is He who took a bodily form in the Virgin, and was hanged upon the tree, and was buried within the earth (Melito. Translation by Roberts and Donaldson. Fragment V. Online version copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/melito.html 11/18/06).

Virgin Birth Was A Difference Between Some True and Some False Christians in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries

Although he had his own problems, Origen noted that there were two groups that he considered to be “Ebionites” in the early third century, one who believed in the virgin birth (and that would be those who this paper suggests were also known as the Nazarenes) and those who did not:

Let it be admitted, moreover, that there are some who accept Jesus, and who boast on that account of being Christians, and yet would regulate their lives, like the Jewish multitude, in accordance with the Jewish law,—and these are the twofold sect of Ebionites, who either acknowledge with us that Jesus was born of a virgin, or deny this, and maintain that He was begotten like other human beings…(Origen. Contra Celsus, Book V, Chapter 61).

The true Christians in Africa were not those who associated with Origen (please see what happened in Alexandria), nor those that denied the virgin birth. The true Christians were those who professed Jesus and had some practices similar to those practices of Jews (see also Revelation 2:9;3:9)–and they also believed in the virgin birth.

Anyway, while the writings of the Apostle Paul do support the idea of the virgin birth, the teaching preceded the Apostle Paul and was believed by true and some simply professing Christians.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here are links to seven related sermons: Proof Jesus is the Messiah, Prophecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and death, Jesus’ prophesied divinity, 200+ OT prophecies Jesus filled; Plus prophecies He made, Why Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?, Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus, and Facts and Atheists’ Delusions About Jesus. Plus the links to two sermonettes: Luke’s census: Any historical evidence? and Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but … These videos cover nearly all of the book, plus have some information not in the book.
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.
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?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Melito of Sardis Who was this 2nd Century Church Leader? What Old Testament did he list? What did he teach that most who call themselves Christian later change?
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well. Here is a related sermon, also titled Melito’s Homily on the Passover.
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.

Catholic and Orthodox saint Chrysostom on Christmas and biblical Holy Days

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

John Chrysostom on Ceiling in Constantinople

John Chrysostom (Istanbul, Turkey. May 2008)

COGwriter

The 4th century bishop John Chrysostom is a ‘saint and doctor’ of the the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Certain Protestants also consider him to be of great importance. He is considered to be so important, he is one of four persons depicted in holding up a large black chair in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Vatican City.


Satan’s Throne’ (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

(Some have called the above, Satan’s throne–see Might Satan’s throne be the ‘Cathedra Petri’?)

The improperly named Protestant publication Christianity Today went so far as to claim John Chrysostom was the “Early church’s greatest preacher.”

In the late fourth century he made various comments about paganism, Christmas, lies, and biblical Holy Days. Since many of them were in the Fall and Winter of the year, this seemed to be an appropriate time to report about some of them.

John Chrysostom wrote the following in the fourth century:

And what, pray you, is that Minerva of theirs, and Apollo, and Juno? They are different kinds of demons among them. (Chrysostom J. The homilies of S. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople: on the Acts of the Apostles, Volume 1, Homily IV. John Henry Parker, 1851. Original from Harvard University. Digitized, Apr 12, 2008, p. 66)

So, on the surface it appears that John Chrysostom condemned pagan gods, yet he ended up endorsing a holiday originally for the sun god Mithra.

How?

It was John Chrysostom who got the Orthodox in Constantinople to observe Christmas on December 25:

We may take it as certain that the feast of Christ’s Nativity was kept in Rome on 25 December…It was introduced by St. John Chrysostum into Constantinople and definitively adopted in 395 (Thurston. H. Transcribed by Rick McCarty. Christian Calendar. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

John Chrysostom admitted Christmas was not part of his church’s tradition in a sermon:

St. Chrysostom in a Christmas sermon, delivered at Antioch in the year 386, says, ” it is not ten years since this day [Christmas Day on December 25] was clearly known to us, but it has been familiar from the beginning to those who dwell in the West.” “The Romans who have celebrated it for a long time, and from ancient tradition, and have transmitted the knowledge of it to us.” (Addis WE, Arnold T. A Catholic Dictionary: Containing Some Account of the Doctrine, Discipline, Rites, Ceremonies, Councils, and Religious Orders of the Catholic Church. Benziger Brothers, 1893. Original from Columbia University, Digitized Sep 15, 2009, p. 178)

His claim that Rome or the West knew it from the beginning is blatantly false. The knowledge of December 25th does not come from any ancient actual Christian tradition.

As pretty much everyone who has looked into the history of Christmas knows, December 25th was selected because it was the birthday of the sun-god Mithras–it was not an original practice of true Christians in Rome or any part of the West. John Chrysostom should have known that and taught against it.

Why?

Notice also that the The Catholic Encyclopedia freely admits that Christmas on December 25 was not celebrated by the early church and that it was Mithra whose birthday was observed anciently on Devember 25th:

Mithraism A pagan religion consisting mainly of the cult of the ancient Indo-Iranian Sun-god Mithra…Sunday was kept holy in honour of Mithra, and the sixteenth of each month was sacred to him as mediator. The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun, unconquered by the rigours of the season (Arendzen. J.P. Transcribed by John Looby. Mithraism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church (Martindale C. Transcribed by Susanti A. Suastika. Christmas. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

(For more information on this, please see the article What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?)

Anyway, mainstream Christianity will continue to try to overlook the fact that it adopted pagan practices, condemned biblical ones, and still prefers traditions of men over the Bible.

Another Roman Catholic supporter wrote this about the Council of Nicea a few decades later:

Three hundred Fathers or even more gathered together in the land of Bithynia and ordained this by law; yet you disdain their decrees. You must choose one of two courses: either you charge them with ignorance for their want of exact knowledge on this matter, or you charge them with cowardice because they were not ignorant, but played the hypocrite and betrayed the truth. When you do not abide by what they decreed, this is exactly the choice you must make. But all the events of the Council make it clear that they showed great wisdom and courage at that time. The article of faith they set forth at the Council show how wise they were…At that time the whole synodal gathering, welded together from these champions, along with their definition of what Christians must believe, also passed a decree that they celebrate the paschal feast in harmony together. They refused to betray their faith in those most difficult times [of persecution]; would they sink to pretense and deceit on the question of the Easter observance? (5) Look what you do when you condemn Fathers so great, so courageous, so wise (John Chrysostom. Homily III Against the Jews, III:3,4-5. Preached at Antioch, Syria in September, 386 AD).

So, it is an article of faith that Roman Catholic bishops had the authority to change the scriptural date of Passover and make it an Easter celebration, even though Constantine said part of why he wanted it changed is to have nothing in common with those he called the detestable Jewish crowd?

But this was simply not the faith of the true second century Christians in Asia Minor as Polycrates testified. The last words of his response to Roman bishop Victor about changing the date of Passover to Easter Sunday was:

I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘ We ought to obey God rather than man.’ (Polycrates. Letter to Victor. As quoted by Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 24) .

So, those who held to the original faith and traditions from the Bible would not accept the change of Passover, but John Chrysostom did.

Notice also the following:

ALL SAINTS. As early as the fourth century, the Greeks kept on the first Sunday after Pentecost the feast of all martyrs and saints, and we still possess a sermon of St. Chrysostom de-livered on that day. In the West, the feast was introduced by Pope Boniface the Fourth after he had dedicated, as the Church of the Blessed Virgin and the Martyrs, the Pantheon, which had been made over to him by the Emperor Phocas. The feast of the dedication was kept on the thirteenth of May. About 731 Gregory III. consecrated a chapel in St. Peter’s Church in honour of all the saints, from which time All Saints’ Day has been kept in Rome, as now, on the first of November. From about the middle of the ninth century, the feast came into general observance throughout the West. (Addis W, Arnold T. Catholic Dictionary, 6th ed. The Catholic Publication Society Co, 1887. Nihil Obstat. EDUARDUS S. KEOGH, CONG. ORAT., Censor Deputatu Imprimatur. HENRICUS EDUARDUS, CARD. ARCHIEP. WESTMONAST. Die 18 Dec., 1883. Imprimatur. John Card. McCloskey, Archbishop of New York. Feb. 14, 1884. Copyright, Lawrence Kehoe, 1884/1887. p20).

All Saints’ Day

In the fourth century, neighbouring dioceses began to interchange feasts, to transfer relics, to divide them, and to join in a common feast; as is shown by the invitation of St. Basil of Caesarea (397) to the bishops of the province of Pontus. Frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all. The first trace of this we find in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost. We also find mention of a common day in a sermon of St. Ephrem the Syrian (373), and in the 74th homily of St. John Chrysostom (407). (Mershman, Francis. “All Saints’ Day.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 11 Aug. 2013 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01315a.htm>)

So, John Chrysostom is credited for observing another holiday that did not come from the Bible (see also All Saints’ Day, the Day of the Dead, and All Souls’ Day).

A few decades after Christmas was adopted by Rome, the Roman Catholic saint John Chrysostom preached the following in 387 A.D.:

The festivals of the pitiful and miserable Jews are soon to march upon us one after the other and in quick succession: the feast of Trumpets, the feast of Tabernacles, the fasts. There are many in our ranks who say they think as we do. Yet some of these are going to watch the festivals and others will join the Jews in keeping their feasts and observing their fasts. I wish to drive this perverse custom from the Church right now…If the Jewish ceremonies are venerable and great, ours are lies…Does God hate their festivals and do you share in them? He did not say this or that festival, but all of them together. (John Chrysostom. Homily I Against the Jews I:5;VI:5;VII:2. Preached at Antioch, Syria in the Fall of 387 AD. Medieval Sourcebook: Saint John Chrysostom (c.347-407) : Eight Homilies Against the Jews. Fordham University. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/chrysostom-jews6.html 12/10/05).

The wicked and unclean fast of the Jews is now at our doors. Thought it is a fast, do not wonder that I have called it unclean…But now that the devil summons your wives to the feast of the Trumpets and they turn a ready ear to this call, you do not restrain them. You let them entangle themselves in accusations of ungodliness, you let them be dragged off into licentious ways. (John Chrysostom. Homily II Against the Jews I:1; III:4. Preached at Antioch, Syria on Sunday, September 5, 387 A.D.).

So also the Law fixed the feast of Tabernacles (John Chrysostom. Homily IV Against the Jews IV:3. Catholic Christians of Antioch Turning to Sabbath and The New Moon Day and Other Holy Days. 387 A.D.).

John Chrysostom preached against the Fall holy days, because some who professed Christ were observing them.

Yet, John Chrysostom wrote in favor about another “festival of the Jews”:

When, it says, the day of Pentecost was fully come: that is, when at the Pentecost, while about it, in short. For it was essential that the present events likewise should take place during the feast, that those who had witnessed the crucifixion of Christ, might also behold these…And, it says, there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men. The fact of their dwelling there was a sign of piety: that being of so many nations they should have left country, and home, and relations, and be abiding therefor it was Pentecost. (Chrysostom J. The homilies of S. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople: on the Acts of the Apostles, Volume 1, Homily IV. John Henry Parker, 1851. Original from Harvard University. Digitized, Apr 12, 2008, pp. 53, 55, 56).

So, he admitted that after the resurrection, the faithful needed to be present at what was then considered to be a “Jewish feast.” If God was opposed to all of them, why would the apostles have kept it? The obvious reason is that they were following Jesus’ example and had no reason to believe that they were somehow done away. (For more on Pentecost and what John Chrysostom and others wrote about it, please see the article Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2?

Furthermore, notice that the New Testament calls one of the so-called “Jewish” holy days “great.” Notice the following from both a Protestant and a Catholic translation:

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out (John 7:37, NKJV)

And in the last, the great day of the festivity JESUS stood, and cried (John 7:37, Rheims New Testament).

So who is right?

Those who follow Jesus’ practices or those who condemn them?

Recall that John Chrysostom, in this case, somewhat correctly stated,

If the Jewish ceremonies are venerable and great, ours are lies.

So which days should be observed? Which have a “great day” according to the Bible? Which days are lies?

John Chrysostom supported days with pagan ties such as Christmas and Easter. His logic for Christmas on December 25th is clearly wrong and based upon lies and misinformation that he spread. So, it should be obvious that God’s days are not lies, but his (and those of churches who adopted those days that he promoted) were clearly lies.

Sadly, John Chrysostom was not the last one to put forth ‘fake news’ about holidays (watch Fake News, Jesus, and His Birth).

John Chrysostom was not faithful to the scriptures and no one should follow his false traditions above the word of God.

What about you? Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite This late fourth/early fifth century Bishop of Constantinople is considered to be a ‘saint’ and ‘doctor’ by the Church of Rome, Church of England, and the Eastern Orthodox, but he did not teach Christ’s love.
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.
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?
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they? A related sermon is titled Tradition and Scripture.
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?
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.
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should you keep the Fall Holy Days?
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。.
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.

Christmas, Seventh-day Adventists, and Mithraism

Monday, December 17th, 2018

James and Ellen White
James and Ellen White

COGwriter

While no real member in the Continuing Church of God celebrates Christmas, many Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs) now do.

While in the CCOG, we have cited Jeremiah 10 and other scriptures as proof that Christmas trees are not appropriate for Christians, in the late 1800s Ellen White had a different view:

God would be well pleased if on Christmas, each church would have a Christmas tree on which shall be hung offerings, great and small, for these houses of worship (Ellen White, Review and Herald, Dec. 11, 1879 per http://www.ellenwhite.org/criticg.htm 1/11/07).

Do Adventists know that Christmas is of non-Christian origin?

Well certainly many of their leaders do.

For example, the late SDA scholar Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi wrote:

The Celebration of Christmas in Some Adventist Churches

The religious celebration of Christmas in Adventist churches is a recent development. I grew up in Rome, Italy, where we never had a Christmas tree in our home or church. My father worked regularly on Christmas day. Our family regarded Christmas as a Catholic festival, similar to the weekly Sunday, Easter Sunday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on March 25, the Feast of Mary’s Assumption of August 15, All Saints Day on November 1, etc.

When I first came to the USA in 1960 as a seminary student at Andrews University, Christmas was primarily the Winter break. I do not recall much Christmas decorations and celebrations in the churches I visited during the four years I spent at the seminary from 1960 to 1964.

Gradually things have changed during the past 50 years. This is evident by the profusely illuminated and decorated front-end area of many Adventist churches at Christmas time. Some churches seem to compete with the rich decorations usually found in Greek Orthodox churches.

Frankly, I am not inspired by the elaborate Christmas decorations and celebration, because as a church historian I am aware of their pagan origin. Jesus was born in a humble manger. There were no fanciful decorations to celebrate His birth. It would be more in keeping with the setting of His birth, to keep the decorations simple, designed to help people catch the real spirit of Christ’s humble birth.

It was the celebration of the birth of the Sun-god in ancient Rome that was accompanied by a profusion of lights and torches and the decoration of trees. To facilitate the acceptance of the Christian faith by the pagan masses, the Church of Rome found it expedient to make not only the Day of the Sun the weekly celebration of Christ’s resurrection, but also the Birth Day of the Invincible Sun-God on December 25, the annual celebration of Christ’s birth…

The term “Christmas” is not found in the Bible. It derives from “Christ + Mass,” that is, from the Mass Catholics celebrate in honor of Christ’s birth on the night of December 24. Surprisingly, there is no mention in the New Testament of any the celebration of the anniversary of the birth of Christ. The Gospels’ accounts of Jesus’ birth are very brief, consisting only of few verses. (Bacchiocchi S. Day and Meaning of Christmas. ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 161, December 2006).

While Dr. Bacchiocchi appeared to be against it, Ellen White and many of her followers appear to have decided that this compromise with sun-worshipers is acceptable.

Here is one comment from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

It is true that the believers in Mithras also observed Sunday as well as Christmas.(Herbermann, Charles, and Georg Grupp. Constantine the Great. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 1 Sept. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04295c.htm>)

An article announcing Dr. Bacchiocchi’s death also had this regarding his position on Christmas:

The adoption of the 25th of December for the celebration of Christmas is perhaps the most explicit example of sun worship’s influence on the Christian liturgical calendar,” Bacchiocchi wrote. “It is a known fact that the pagan feast of the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti – the birthday of the Invincible Sun, was held on that date.” (Expert on Bible, Sabbath dies at 70 Samuele Bacchiocchi best known for explaining shift toward Sunday worship. World Net Daily. Posted: December 21, 2008 12:49 pm Eastern. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=84204)

And since Mithras day was Sunday and his birthday was December 25th, why would any SDA find Christmas acceptable? (Those interested in learning more about Mithratic teachings and their adoption among those who profess Christ should read the article Do You Practice Mithraism?)

Here is some of what the last newsletter from Dr. Bacchiocchi stated about Christmas:

THE CELEBRATION OF CHRIST’S BIRTH

The celebration of Christ’s birth poses two problems: the date and the manner of the celebration. Regarding the date of Christ’s birth, we shall shortly see that the adoption of the date of December 25th by the Western Church to commemorate Christ’s birth was influenced by the pagan celebration of the return of the sun after the winter solstice.

Several scholarly studies suggests that the Feast of Tabernacles in September/October provides a much more accurate Biblical timing and typology for celebrating Christ’s birth than the pagan dating of December 25th. The latter date is not only removed from the actual time of Christ’s birth, but also is derived from the pagan celebration of the return of the sun after the winter solstice…

The good news of the date of Christ’s birth, is not a festival, with its gifts, parties, fun, feasting, yule log, and lighted Christmas tree–for these are but vestiges of a pagan culture that knows nothing of the true God. The good news of Christ’s birth centers around a person–God’s unspeakable gift, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.

The Celebration of Christ’s Birth in Some Adventist Churches

Several fellow believers asked me to comment specifically on the celebration of Christ’s Birth in some Adventist churches. It is not uncommon for our larger Adventist churches to have a Christmas eve religious service. Somebody asked me the question: “Could you explain to me why some Adventist churches have special Christmas’ eve services while others do not?”

Frankly, I do not understand why some Adventist churches today are adopting the popular practice of an evening church service on December 24. Perhaps they may not be aware that they are imitating the Catholic “Christ—Mass” celebrated at midnight of December 24. They may also ignore the pagan origin of the date of Christ’s birth, which will discussed later. Most likely, for these churches it may be just a matter of cultural conformity, namely, the desire to imitate the impressive Christmas eve services held in Catholic and Protestant churches.

The religious celebration of Christmas in Adventist churches is a recent development…Gradually things have changed during the past 50 years. This is evident by the profusely illuminated and decorated front-end area of many Adventist churches at Christmas time. Some churches seem to compete with the rich decorations usually found in Greek Orthodox churches.

Personally I am not inspired by the elaborate Christmas decorations and celebration, because as a church historian I am aware of their pagan origin…

It was the celebration of the birth of the Sun-god in ancient Rome that was accompanied by a profusion of lights and torches and the decoration of trees. To facilitate the acceptance of the Christian faith by the pagan masses, the Church of Rome found it expedient to make not only the Day of the Sun the weekly celebration of Christ’s resurrection, but also the Birth Day of the Invincible Sun-God on December 25, the annual celebration of Christ’s birth…

THE DATE OF CHRIST’S BIRTH

Surprisingly, there is no mention in the New Testament of any the celebration of the anniversary of Christ’s birth. The Gospels’ accounts of Jesus’ birth are very brief, consisting only of few verses found only in Matthew 1:16-24 and Luke 2:1-20). By contrast, the accounts of what is known as “The Passion Week,” are lengthier, taking several chapters…

The Early Christians commemorated annually Christ’s death and resurrection at Passover, but we have no clear indications of an annual celebration of Christ’s birth. A major controversy erupted in the latter part of the second century over the Passover date, but the date of Christ’s birth did not become an issue until sometimes in the fourth century. At that time the dispute centered primarily over two dates for Christ’s birth: December 25 promoted by the Church of Rome and January 6, known as the Epiphany, observed by the Eastern churches. “Both these days,” as Oscar Cullmann points out, “were pagan festivals whose meaning provided a starting point for the specifically Christian conception of Christmas.”

Most Likely Christ Was Born toward the End of September or the Beginning of October

It is a recognized fact that the adoption of the date of December 25th by the Western Church to commemorate Christ’s birth was influenced by the pagan celebration of the return of the sun after the winter solstice. More will be said later about the factors which influenced the adoption of this date. At this juncture it is important to note that the date of December 25 is totally devoid of Biblical meaning and is grossly inaccurate as far as the actual time of Christ’s birth.

If, as it is generally agreed, Christ’s ministry began when He was about thirty years of age (Luke 3:23) and lasted three and one-half years until His death at Passover (March/April), then by backtracking we arrive at the months of September/October, rather than to December 25.2 Indirect support for a September/October dating of Christ’s birth is provided also by the fact that from November to February shepherds did not watch their flocks at night in the fields. They brought them into a protective corral called a “sheepfold.” Hence, December 25 is a most unlikely date for the birth of Christ.3

The most likely date of Christ’s birth is in the latter part of September or the beginning of October. This date corresponds to the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, known also as the Feast of Booths. This feast was the last and most important pilgrimage of the year for the Jews. The overcrowded conditions at the time of Christ’s birth (“there was no place for them in the inn”—Luke 2:7) could be related not only to the census taken by the Romans at that time, but also to the many pilgrims that overrun the area especially during the Feast of Tabernacles.

Bethlehem is only four miles from Jerusalem. “The Romans,” notes Barney Kasdan, “were known to take their censuses according to the prevailing custom of the occupied territories. Hence, in the case of Israel, they would opt to have the people report to their provinces at a time that would be convenient for them. There is no apparent logic to calling the census in the middle of winter. The more logical time of taxation would be after the harvest, in the fall,”4 when people had in their hands the revenue of their harvest.

Support for the belief that Christ was born at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, which occurs in late September or early October, is provided by the Messianic themes of the Feast of Tabernacles…

Ideal Time for the Birth of Jesus

The Feast of Tabernacles was the ideal time for the birth of Jesus because it was called “the season of our joy.” The emphasis on the joyfulness of the feast is found in the instructions given in Deuteronomy 16:13-14: “You shall keep the feast of booths seven days, when you make your ingathering from your threshing floor and your wine press. You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your manservant and your maidservant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns.”

A final interesting sideline supporting the possibility that Christ was born at the very time of the Feast of Tabernacles, is the reference to the wise men that came from the East to visit Christ (Matt 2:1). The land of the East is most likely Babylon, where many Jews still lived at the time of Christ’s birth. Only a remnant of the Jews returned from the Babylonian exile to Palestine during the Persian period. The wise men, most likely, were rabbis known in Hebrew as chakamin, which means wise men.

We are told that the wise men made their journey from the East to Bethlehem because they had seen “the star in the East” (Matt 2:1). Watching the stars was associated especially with the Feast of Tabernacles. In fact, the roof of the booth was built with leafy branches carefully spaced so that they would screen out the sunlight without blocking the visibility of the stars. The people watched for the stars at night during the feast because of the prophecy “a star shall come out of Jacob” (Num 24:17). It is possible that it was during the Feast of Tabernacles, the special season of star watching, that the wise men saw the Messianic star and “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matt 2:10).

In the light of the foregoing considerations, most likely Christ’s birth coincided with the Feast of Tabernacles. Being the feast of thanksgiving for God’s willingness to protect His people with the tabernacle of His presence during the wilderness sojourning, it could serve fittingly to celebrate Christ’s willingness to become a human being and pitch His tent among us in order to become our Savior.

The implications of this conclusion are self-evident. The Feast of Tabernacles in late September/October provides Christians today with much more accurate Biblical timing and typology for celebrating Christ’s birth, than the pagan dating of December 25th. The latter date not only is removed from the actual time of Christ’s birth, but is also derived from the pagan celebration of the return of the sun after the winter solstice. Why celebrate the birth of Jesus at the wrong time of December 25th,—a date derived from pagan sun-worship—when the Bible provides us with a more appropriate timing and typology for commemorating such an important event?…

The Pagan Origin of Date of Christmas

The adoption of the 25th of December for the celebration of Christmas is perhaps the most explicit example of Sun-worship’s influence on the Christian liturgical calendar. It is a known fact that the pagan feast of the dies natalis Solis Invicti—the birthday of the Invincible Sun, was held on that date…

Rome and the Origin of Sunday, Easter Sunday and Christmas

Let us note that the Church of Rome pioneered not only the observance of Sunday and Easter-Sunday, but also the new date of December 25 for the celebration of Christ’s birth. In fact the first explicit indication that on the 25th of December Christians celebrated Christ’s birthday, is found in a Roman document known as Chronograph of 354 (a calendar attributed to Fuzious Dionysius Philocalus), where it says: “VIII Kal. Jan. natus Christus in Betleem Judaeae—On the eighth calends of January [i.e., December 25th] Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea.”

(Bacchiocchi S. (ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 218 “The Meaning, Celebration, and Date of Christmas”. November 2008)

The idea of a December 25th Christmas is pagan, the SDAs originally did not observe it, we in the Continuing Church of God do not observe it, and it should not be observed by true Christians.

Some items of related interest may include:

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?
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.
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?
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?
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
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 Feast of the Immaculate conception and other non-biblical observances in December

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

COGWriter

December has several non-bibilcal observances.

For example, December 6th is observed by some to honor saint Nicholas.

For another example, 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 it before, from a translation posted by Zenit (a pro-Vatican news agency):

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.December 8, 2014 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’ is 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 one to whom Christians entrust their salvation. Salvation comes through Jesus Christ, and only Jesus Christ, according to the Bible (Acts 4:12), not Mary.

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 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?)–and it runs through sunset December 10th in 2018.

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?
Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? Historical and biblical answers to this question about the world’s New Year’s day. A video of related interest is also available: God’s or Satan’s New Year?
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 What roles did women play in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles? Did Jesus and the Apostle Paul violate Jewish traditions regarding their dealings with women? Do women have any biblical limitations on their role in the Church? Were there female prophets? Do women have any special responsibilities in terms of how they dress? What does the New Testament really teach about women? Here is a related sermon titled: New Testament Women.
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 type of hymns did original Christians sing? Should modern Christians follow their example?

Friday, November 30th, 2018


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 sung 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, etc.

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

BIBLE HYMNAL FRONT COVER - SWAHILI

Early Christians mainly sung hymns that were from the Psalms. We in the Continuing Church of God also mainly do so today.

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.
What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? Were early church services mainly scriptural, emotional, or sacramental? Who follows the basic original liturgy today? A related video is also available: What were early Christian church services like?
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.

COGaIC interview related to Marcion

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

Some may wonder why relatively little is reported here about David Hulme’s COGaIC. Basically, since it had a split years ago, there has not been much to report about that group as they have had less impact, and written less about church history.

However there is something related to church history to cover. Many years back, David Hulme of COGaIC interviewed John Garr about church history. Here is how that interview began:

Reexamining the roots of Christianity has become a major endeavor among New Testament scholars. In an attempt to better understand and relate to Judaism in the wake of the Holocaust/Shoah, their studies have yielded some surprising admissions and necessary corrections to the way Jesus of Nazareth, Paul of Tarsus and the early Church are regarded. A general conclusion is that first-century Christianity was far more Jewish or Hebraic in its beliefs and practices than has been accepted for almost 2,000 years.

One scholar who has pondered the implications of these rediscovered roots is John Garr, president of Restoration Foundation, which specializes in making known the Hebrew heritage of what came to be called Christianity. Vision publisher David Hulme interviewed him…

DH You have written: “In the middle of the second century, the Hebrew foundations of Christian faith were attacked by the first great heresy that challenged the church.” You also note that “some of the ideas of this heresy so permeated the church’s corporate psyche that it has not yet fully recovered its spiritual and scriptural equilibrium.” What was the heresy and what has been its specific effect?

JG The heresy was called Marcionism after Marcion, a very wealthy man who was strongly influenced by Hellenic culture, the ideas of Plato, and much of Gnosticism. Marcion wanted to separate Christianity from any connection with Judaism and the law. He said that the Old Testament was a record of a failed religion that should be destroyed, and actually had been destroyed by Jesus Himself. He even went so far as to rewrite Matthew 5:17, where Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Think not that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets: I have not come to destroy them but to fulfill them.” Marcion turned it around and said that Jesus’ actual words were “Think not that I have come to fulfill the Law or the Prophets: I have not come to fulfill them but to destroy them.” Further, he took some of Paul’s epistles and some sections of the book of Luke and edited them to eliminate any connection with Judaism or the Old Testament. As a result of his actions, church leaders finally branded him a heretic and excommunicated him.

With this background one would think Marcion would have faded into history, but the residue of his influence has continued to permeate the Christian church even to the present time. It is probably best characterized as antinomianism—the position of being against the law—which is very much a part of many denominations. Many antinomians would say that they are preaching the gospel of the grace of God, and that grace and law are violently opposed to each other and cannot exist in one another’s presence. So the idea that the law has been completely abrogated, that the Old Testament is no more of any effect, that Jesus came to destroy the law, and that believers today are only under the grace of God, is fundamentally neo-Marcionism…Von Harnack’s thinking in this regard was really a pure form of neo-Marcionism. He went so far as to say that if the church had had the courage to do so, it would have recognized that Marcion was right, that Judaism had been abolished and the law destroyed. He was very adamant about that view.

The above interview did not go into much more detail about Marcion and his heresies, but there is an article at the COGwriter.com website that does: Marcion: The First Protestant?

Irenaeus in the second century noted that the faithful Polycarp opposed Marcion:

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time — a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles — that, namely, which is handed down by the Church. There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.” And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, “Dost thou know me?” “I do know thee, the first-born of Satan.”(Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Polycarp, and other true early Christian writers, kept all the ten commandments that were first mentioned in the Old Testament (an article of related interest may be The Ten Commandments and the Early Church). This is how Polycarp (and others) differed from many of the early heretics like Marcion.

Another to specifically oppose Marcion was Theophilus of Antioch (late 2nd century). The Syriatic version of Eusebius’ Church History notes:

BUT as to Theophilus, concerning whom we have said that he was Bishop of Antioch, there are three treatises by him against Antolycus, and another which is inscribed “Against the heresy of Hermogenes,” in which he uses testimonies from the Revelation of John; and there are other books by him which are suitable for teaching. But those, who pertained to heretical doctrine, even at that time like tares were corrupting the pure seed of the doctrine of the Apostles; but the Pastors which were in the churches in every country, were driving them like beasts of the wilderness away from the flock of Christ; at one time by teaching and exhortation to the Brethren, but at another time openly before their faces they contended with them in discussion, and put them to shame; and again, also, by writing treatises they diligently refuted and exposed their opinions. But Theophilus, together with others, contended against them; and he is celebrated for one treatise, which was ably composed by him against Marcion, which, together with the others that I have already mentioned, is still preserved. And after him Maximinus received the Bishoprick of the Church of Antioch, who was the seventh after the Apostles.

But Philip, respecting whom we have learned from the words of Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth,2 that he was Bishop of the church of the city of Gortyna, he also composed with accuracy a treatise against Marcion (Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, Syriac version, Book 4 (Extract), Chapter 24. Spicilegium Syriacum (1855). This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2003. Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font/Polytonic Greek).

This is of interest because it shows that both Philip and Theophilus also wrote against the heretic Marcion (though the document, while apparently available to Eusebius, is currently unavailable).

Notice what the Protestant historian Kenneth Latourette stated:

Marcion insisted that the Church had obscured the Gospel by seeking to combine it with Judaism (Latourette KS. A History of Christianity, Volume 1: to A.D. 1500. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1975, p. 126).

In other words, the original true Church of God truly did combine faith in Christ with practices that Marcion considered to be too Jewish. And Marcion was denounced by leaders from Asia Minor for rejecting the true faith.

Most know very little about early church history or where their doctrines came from–and what many think they know is clouded by misinformation and misconceptions.

But those willing to be called and led by God can find the truth in the Bible and the scattered records of early church history (e.g. the free booklet Continuing History of the Church of God).

COGaIC used to post more related to its understandings of early Church History in a blog called “First Followers.” However, after 2011, this reduced to only one or two posts per year there, and since the departure of Peter Nathan from COGaIC, that blog seems to have been removed.

Those interested in early Christianity may wish to read the following documented articles to learn more:

Marcion: The First Protestant? Considered to have been an organized heretic, he taught against the Old Testament, the law, and the Sabbath. Some have considered him to be the first Protestant reformer. But was he? Here is a link to a related sermon: Marcion: The first Protestant reformer?
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? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
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.
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?
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. [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
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.
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?
Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter Polycarp was the successor of the Apostle John and a major leader in Asia Minor. Do you know much about what he taught? A YouTube video or related interesy may be: Polycarp of Smyrna: Why Christians should know more about him.
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?
Church of God, an International Community (COG aic) This is the group led by David Hulme. It seems to minimize parts of biblical prophecy.

The Original Christian Church building and Emperor Constantine’s church building

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018


Hagia Sion (left) and Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Wall (right)
Mosaic (4th century) in Church of Santa Pudenziana, Rome

COGwriter

Do you know about the two early church buildings that were in Jerusalem in the fourth century?

The late fourth century historian Epiphanius recorded that in Jerusalem in Judea a Christian building was mentioned existing no later than 135 A.D.–and that it was built in the first century.

Epiphanius wrote the following (a portion of which I have bolded for clarity):

{Hadrian} found the temple of God trodden down and the whole city devastated save for a few houses and the church of God, which was small…it had been built, that is, in that portion of Zion which escaped destruction, together with blocks of houses in the neighborhood of Zion and the seven synagogues which alone remained standing in Zion, like solitary huts, one of which remained until the time of Maximona the bishop and Constantine the king. (The Epiphanius of Salamis, Weights and Measures, chapter 14. (1935), pp.11-83. English translation transcribed by Roger Pearse. www.tertullian.org viewed 01/03/13)

That building may been the first Christian building. It looked more like a rectangular synagogue than the type of rounded buildings that people in the world today consider to be a church.

The “church of God” structure Epiphanius mentioned in the fourth century is believed to have been the building which has sometimes been called the ‘Cenacle.’ It was located on a Jerusalem western hill that is often called Mt. Zion/Sion (there is some controversy associated with the actual biblical Mount Zion).

In the fourth century, the sun-god worshiping Emperor Constantine had a rounded building built next to it, which is known as the Hagia Sion. Notice something from a Catholic scholar about the two buildings:

In 333 the Bordeaux pilgrim found there a basilica erected “by order of Constantine”. By then the holy place had passed from the hands of the Judaeo-Christians, who had held it until then, to those Gentile Christians. (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine. Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini, 1 Februari 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 26 Februari 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, p. 61)

The “holy place” mentioned above had been the general location of the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill, which could have been the original worship building that Christians built. This is the place that has been called Sion and the Cenacle. The Greco-Romans eventually added a shrine and a variety of relics (Ibid, pp. 27-28,69). The basilica was a different building.

Although they did not have cameras back then, a representation of both buildings still exists. A mosaic of Jerusalem at the time was constructed and placed in a church in Rome known as Santa Pudenziana. My wife and I visited it in June 2013 and she photographed the mosaic of Jerusalem in its main apse.

I was able to see the remains of these buildings in Jerusalem in October 2013, but they look different than they did in the fourth century. But Constantinine’s building still is rounded like the buildings of the sun-god he worshiped. Despite also professing Christianity, Constantine was buried in a sun-god related grave.

A part of the wall of the COG building still remains above ground, and various foundation stones below ground (it was on the front cover of the first Bible News Prophecy magazine).

The original COG building may have future interest. The Church of Rome wants this building and has often taken steps to try to acquire it (see, for example, Jews claim that they have been improperly blocked from visiting the ‘tomb of David’ since the Pope’s visit to Mt. Zion).

Though some feel otherwise, since Christians are ‘the temple of God’ in the New Testament, there is not a biblical requirement that a Jewish temple must be rebuilt before the millennium begins (see Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?).

But might there be a physical building before then?

The Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill, was a Christian building constructed shortly after 70 A.D. and was composed, to a great degree, of stones/bricks from the previous Jewish temple.

It is possible that it will play a role in end time prophecy (see Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications?) as there is a chance the man of sin (the Beast of Revelation 13 and King of the North of Daniel 11) may sit in it (Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?).

Perhaps the Church of Rome will end up, for a time, with the building it wants.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill Could this building, often referred to as the Cenacle, possibly have been the oldest actual Christian church building?
Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications? After a 20 year negotiation, the Church of Rome has negotiated the right to have Catholic mass in the building known as the Cenacle. It is in the area where the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill once stood. This is believed to be the location of the earliest Christian church building. How does the Bible define the ‘temple of God’ in the New Testament? Could this be the area where the ‘man of sin’ will sit in the “temple of God’ that Bible prophecy discusses in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4? This is a YouTube video.
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
Nascent Sanhedrin structure and high priest: The plan is to start animal sacrifices this would fulfill prophecy! The reconstituted Sanhedrin wants the reimplementation of animal sacrifices. A related video is titled Sanhedrin pushing animal sacrifices.
The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here are links to two related videos in English: Red Heifers and the Fate of the World and The Red Heifer and the End of the World.
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?
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?
Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future What does the Bible say about Jerusalem and its future? Is Jerusalem going to be divided and eliminated? Is Jesus returning to the area of Jerusalem? There is also a related YouTube video you can watch titled Jerusalem To be divided and eliminated.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: 主编: 谁是’大罪人’?Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
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? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
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.
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 CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia? Here is a written link to a version of that first sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?

What is a Dalmatic?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018


Roman Catholic clergyman wearing a Dalmatic (Eric Stoltz)

COGwriter

The pro-Vatican news agency Zenit reported the following a while back from priest Edward McNamara, who is a professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, about a garment called a dalmatic:

The proper vestment for a deacon at Mass is an alb (with an amice if required), cincture, stole worn in the diaconal manner, and dalmatic. The stole and dalmatic should be of the corresponding liturgical color.

This vestment is a knee-length, sleeved garment. It was originally developed in Dalmatia, modern-day Croatia, and was imported into Rome during the second century.

At first the dalmatic, which was originally longer, reaching the heels, and more ample than today, was not well received, being seen as somewhat effeminate. Later, however, it became popular among Roman senators and imperial officials as a substitute for the toga and was even used as the proper garb for the consecration of the emperor.

From this it became a habit proper to the pope and to bishops. Finally it was introduced as a vestment for the deacons of Rome by Pope Sylvester I in the fourth century and gradually became their proper vestment. For a time, especially during the ninth to 14th centuries, bishops and even priests would sometimes wear the dalmatic under the chasuble. September 23, 2014 http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/when-to-wear-a-dalmatic

So, what does this report tell us?

Consistent with other historical reports, this admits that the vestments of Catholic deacons were not an original Christian practice (see also Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was there Dress?).

Specifically, Catholic priest and scholar Edward McNamara is admitting:

  1. The dalmatic was not from the Bible.
  2. The dalmatic was not an original garment that deacons wore.
  3. The source of the dalmatic came from worldly society.
  4. People had concerns about the dalmatic because it was considered to be effeminate.
  5. The dalmatic became associated with imperial politicians, including emperors.
  6. Because of its ties to politics, it was adopted by pontiffs and bishops.
  7. During the time of Emperor Constantine, it was adopted for use by deacons.

Despite this, the Church of Rome acts like a dalmatic is important and perhaps sacred.

But it is not.

Sylvester I was bishop of Rome from 314 to 335 A.D., which was during the reign of the sun-god worshiping Emperor Constantine. The Bishops of Rome did not take the title Pontifex Maximus, which Constantine held, until several decades after his death. But because of how the pagan priests dressed, it was during the reigns of Sylvester and Constantine that the Church of Rome adopted the vestments that they now wear.

Although Edward McNamara is referring to the dalmatic as part of the proper vestment for deacons during Catholic mass, this most certainly does not come from the Bible nor the practices of the early followers of Christ.

Notice what was written by a former Roman Catholic priest named Peter de Rosa:

Rome…successors will be not the servants but the masters of the world. They will dress in purple like Nero and call themselves Pontifex Maximus…

By the time Stephen III became pope, the church was thoroughly converted to the Roman Empire. From the Donation, it is plain that the Bishop of Rome looked like Constantine, lived like him, dressed liked him, inhabited his palaces, ruled over his lands, had exactly the same imperial outlook. The pope, too, wanted to lord it over church and state. (De Rosa, Peter. Vicars of Christ. Poolberg Press, Dublin, 2000, pp. 34,45).

Pontifex Maximus was a title, literally meaning bridge-builder (but figuratively meaning the link between God and man) that Roman Emperors, including Constantine, used for themselves. Emperor Constantine had been a follower of Mithras, and apparently influenced many of the Greco-Roman clergy to dress like the clergy of Mithraism. Why else would Bishop Sylvester do this as it was not from the Bible? This was an obvious change from the practices of the original Christian leaders (see also Do You Practice Mithraism?).

Much of the Greco-Roman clergy wears distinctive robes, but notice that Jesus even denounced religious leaders of His day for doing so:

38 In his teaching he said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted respectfully in the market squares, 39 to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; 40 these are the men who devour the property of widows and for show offer long prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’ (Mark 12:38, NJB)

6 ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes and love to be greeted respectfully in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets, 47 who devour the property of widows, and for show offer long prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’ (Luke 20:46-47)

So, twice in Catholic translations of the Bible, dressing in distinctive robes is condemned. Also, it appears that the practice of priests trying to get money from widows related to ‘purgatory‘ would also seem to be being specifically condemned by Jesus.

Furthermore, the New Testament has a warning about appearing effeminate. The following is from a Catholic translation of the Bible:

9 Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, 10 Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God.

11 And such some of you were; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Douay-Rheims)

Furthermore, the Bible (using another Catholic translation) warns:

15 Do not love the world or the things of the world.If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever. (1 John 2:15-17, NABRE)

Yet, Bishop Sylvester was enticed and chose pretentious garments, not from the Father, but from the world. Every time one sees a Roman Catholic, Anglican/Episcopal, or Eastern Orthodox clergyman dressed in their typical ecclesiastical vestments, realize that they are outwardly displaying compromise that earlier leaders made with Emperor Constantine and his pagan religion in the fourth century.

None of the commonly used external vestments by the clergies of those religions came from the Bible nor the original apostles.

It should also be noted that Catholic mass was NOT like original church services, and the differences are more than the garments (see What was the Liturgy of the Early Church?).

The Greco-Roman faiths are NOT the continuation of the original Christian religion.

Some items of possibly related interest may including the following:

Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was there 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?
What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? Were early church services mainly scriptural, emotional, or sacramental? Who follows the basic original liturgy today? A related video is also available: What were early Christian church services like?
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?
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.
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!
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.
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?
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?
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? This documented article answers those questions.
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that 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? A related sermon is also available Christianity: Two groups.
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? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?

Myths and Peter and Paul

Saturday, November 17th, 2018


Vatican City (photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

On November 18th, various Catholics of Rome celebrate 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 the Apostle 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 with a comment or so after each:

  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! Here is a link to a sermon: Claims of Apostolic Succession. Here is a related articlein the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that 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? A related sermon is also available Christianity: 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? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
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?