Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A friend and fellow pilgrim got in a row with a friend on Facebook and asked for my help. You might enjoy the question and the answer.

St. Ignatius of Antioch eaten by lions in 106 AD

My friend wrote: “I have a quick apologetic question.  A Protestant Facebook page was denying the Eucharist and I pasted St Ignatius’ quote about the Eucharist, “Let us stand aloof from such heretics. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again.” (Ignatius of Antioch, The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnæans).   (Picture to right: Ignatius of Antioch eaten my lions in 106 AD).

The antagonist guy responded with this:

“Mike, I have a homework assignment for you.  I want you to find out who “those who hold heterodox opinions” are.  I want you to find out what they believe.  I want you to read this letter from beginning to end and look for the context of what you posted.  Can you confirm in the affirmative that Ignatius had Aristotelian concepts in mind when writing his letter?”

“Any idea what he is referring to and how to respond? If you don’t have time to respond, I understand.”

Mike is a friend so of course I had time to respond:

5283570-3x2-700x467“I am not sure what he is referring to other than that in the 1200’s Aquinas defined Transubstantiation in terms of Aristotelian philosophy of substance and accidents. It is a trick question to get you to admit that St. Ignatius did not know about transubstantiation in Aristotelian terms and therefore did not believe in transubstantiation. 

The truth is — doctrine develops over time. For example Ignatius would not have described the two natures of Christ in terms of the hypostatic union nor the Trinity in the sophisticated words of “generation,” “proceeds” and “spiration” that were later used to more carefully and philosophically define what orthodox Christians had always believed but were later developed further to combat the heretics. 

nt2Even the canon of the New Testament took 400 years to develop and close; neither St. Paul nor Ignatius could have rattle off the 27 books of the NT since that also took time to develop into the canon used by your Protestant interlocutor, though he doesn’t realize that. By trying to trick you he steps in his own trap.

Ignatius believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the two natures of Christ, the Trinity, etc. though he would not have used the sophisticated words later developed to define these things more precisely and deeply.

The little sapling doesn’t look like the big oak tree but they are organically the same thing.  The baby pictures of your challenger may not look like him as a full-grown man but he’s developed over time and is still the same organic person. Theology also develops and takes on new words and explanations but is only a further development of what was already believed by the early Christians. 

Hope that helps. I feel sorry for the deluded Protestants who are so “wise” in their disputations. I used to be one of them and thank God those days are in the past.”

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I was raised Catholic – You too? Maybe Time to Reconsider
by Mike Cousineau

Christian denominations speak to knowing the Truth, and rightly so!  All Christian denominations have, at least, some truth.  For instance, every denomination is in total agreement with, “The purpose of man is to know, love & serve God.” However, with over 35,000 so-called Christian denominations, is it possible that some of them teach in error, even though there is no intent to mislead?

Many people enjoy pondering “deep things.”  Are you, perhaps, one of them?  Take, for instance, this philosophical adage, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”  Haven’t we all thought something to be true, only to find out we were misled?

When someone is nearing the end of life, typically, the family doctor will say, “it’s best you get your house in order.”  What, exactly, does that imply?  Of course, he is confirming there is not much time left.  If final arrangements haven’t yet been addressed, get busy!  Say your last goodbyes, tell your friends and loved ones how much you love them, and if you have not made a last will & testament, don’t put it off any longer.  Finally, the doctor may be implying if you haven’t made peace with God, now would be a good time.

It would be great if all of us were given those final days to get it all squared away.  Unfortunately, experience, otherwise known as real life, has shown, over and over again, that unexpected tragedies frequent every day life all too often.  We could even make a case that far too many die young.

Because tragedy and unexpected suffering will visit all of us, many may “shake their fist at God.”  Going through the stages of grief, they will probably say, “If you really are a loving God, why did you let this happen?”  When this happens, it does not surprise God, nor does it get Him angry or upset.  Believe it or not, He will use this suffering in a way to work it all out in the end.

Nearing the end of life…that’s where we started this, didn’t we!  The Doctor was telling us to get our house in order.  Christians believe God is constantly calling us to get our house in order.  Keep in mind, Jesus would prefer we always have & keep our house in order.  Yet, He understands we struggle in our battle with the very real desires of the flesh.  Because He understands how intense the battle can be, He orchestrated a plan, put it in place & gave it a name.

The name He gave it is The Church.  Scripture specifically says, “The pillar and foundation of truth is The Church.”  However, with so many denominations to choose from, what church is Jesus talking about?  Remember, all denominations believe they speak & teach truth.  Common sense tells us, if there are that many churches, all claiming correct interpretation of truth, they all can’t be right.  Some of them are in error, not intentional mind you, but nonetheless in error.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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