"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Friday, December 28, 2012

Iglesia ni Cristo's Understanding of the Catholic Church and her doctrines

Despite the fact that CATHOLIC TEACHINGS and HISTORY can be found in many OFFICIAL CATHOLIC SITES often or almost always, members of the so-called "Iglesia ni Cristo" (Church of Christ in Tagalog), founded by Felix Manalo in 1914 as a Corporation Sole accuse the Catholic Church of having altered ancient apostolic teachings but a close scrutiny of historical facts and biblical texts concerning Catholic doctrines confirm the TRUTHFULNESS of all her teachings. Their GROSS DISHONESTY and their desire to DECEIVE can be easily seen under the light of honesty on the part of serious truth seekers. Let it be known that members of the INC of Manalo cult were seriously "brain-washed" by their equally misinformed paid ministers so they will never know the TRUTH which has been preached for more than 2 millennia now..

Are you sure the Catholic Church never changes her doctrines? First, during the time of Christ and the Apostles; the earlier Christians did not consider Christ as God. Yes, He never sinned and possess special qualities. He performed miracles GIVEN by God. As for the Trinity, it was invented long after Christ has ascended to heaven and the Apostles died. From baptism by immersion, the Catholic Church changed it to sprinkling of water out of convenience. What used to be just a policy, the “Celibacy Law” became a law. There are many more changes from the original teachings of God.

Correction: Celibacy Law was first made as an OPTION then made into law. By the way, the Popes also erred disproving their infallibility. Some successors to the Pope rebuked the predecessors’ policies and laws. (Source: Monk's Hobbit)

CATHOLIC CHANGED CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES(?)

The so-called invention of new doctrines, which refers to the Church's proclamation of new dogmas, is the most baseless and ridiculous charge of all--for those ``new'' dogmas of the Church were actually old doctrines dating back to the beginning of Christianity. In proclaiming them to be dogmas, the Church merely emphasized their importance to the Faith and affirmed that they are, in truth, part and parcel of divine revelation. The Catholic Church followed the same procedure when, in the fourth century, she proclaimed the New Testament to be divinely revealed. Hence it is obvious that the Catholic Church did not fall into error during the Middle Ages as some people allege, for if she had, she could not have produced those hundreds of medieval saints--saints the calibre of St. Francis, St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St. Clare, St. Anthony, St. John of the Cross, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Elizabeth and St. Vincent Ferrer (who performed an estimated 40,000 miracles).

THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY
Why do Catholics believe that God is three Persons, called the Holy Trinity? How can God be three Persons and still be one God?

Catholics believe there is one God consisting of three distinct and equal divine Persons--Father, Son and Holy Spirit--because on numerous occasions God has described Himself thus. The Old Testament gives intimations that there are more than one Person in God. In Genesis 1:26, God says, ``Let us make man to our image and likeness.'' In Isaias 9:6-7, God the Father revealed the imminent coming into the world of God the Son. In Psalms 2:7, we read, ``The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.'' And in the New Testament, God reveals this doctrine even more clearly. For example, at the baptism of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father was heard: ``This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'' (Matt. 3:16-17). In Matthew 28:19, God the Son commanded the Apostles to baptize ``in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.'' And in 1 Cor. 12:4-6, the Bible refers to God with three names: Spirit, Lord, and God-- corresponding to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Three divine Persons in one Godhead may be incomprehensible to the human mind, but that is to be expected. How can man fully comprehend God's infinite make-up when he cannot fully comprehend his own finite make-up? We have to take God's word for it. Also, we can satisfy ourselves as to the feasibility of God's triune make-up by considering various other triune realities. The triangle, for example, is one distinct form with three distinct and equal sides. And the clover leaf is one leaf with three distinct and equal petals. There are many physical trinities on earth, therefore a Spiritual Trinity, who is God in Heaven, is not against human reason--it is simply above human reason.

THE DEITY OF JESUS
Why do Catholics believe that Jesus Christ was God the Son--the Second Person of the Holy Trinity? Would it not be more reasonable to believe that He was a great and holy man... a religious leader of exceptional talent and dedication... a prophet?

Catholics believe that Jesus was God the Son, incarnate in human flesh, firstly because God's physical manifestation on earth, plus all the circumstances of that manifestation, were prophesied time and again in Divine Revelation, and Jesus fulfilled that prophecy right to the letter; secondly, because He claimed that He was God (John 10:30, 14:9-10 and numerous other passages), and He never deceived anyone; thirdly, because He proved His divinity by His impeccable holiness and the flawless perfection of His doctrine; fourthly, because only God could have performed the miracles He performed miracles such as walking on the sea, feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, and, after His death on the Cross, resurrecting Himself from His own tomb; fifthly, because only God could have, in the brief space of three years, without military conquest, without political power, without writing a single line or traveling more than a few score miles, so profoundly affected the course of human events; sixthly, because only God can instill in the soul of man the grace and the peace and the assurance of eternal salvation that Jesus instills.-Read more at Augustine Club

ON PRIESTLY CELIBACY
Celibacy is Scriptural
Fundamentalists will tell you that celibacy has no basis in the Bible whatsoever, saying that Christians are called to "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). This mandate speaks to humanity in general, however, and overlooks numerous passages in the Bible that support the celibate life. In 1 Corinthians, for example, Paul actually seems to prefer the celibate life: "Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. . . . Those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. . . . The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided" (7:27-34). This is not to say that all men should be celibate, however; Paul explains that celibacy is a calling for some and not for others by saying, "Each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another" (7:7).

Jesus Himself speaks of celibacy in Matthew 19:11-12: "Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom it is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it." Again, the emphasis is on the special nature of celibacy, one for which not all men are suited, but one that nevertheless gives glory to "the kingdom of God."

Perhaps the best evidence for the scriptural support of celibacy is that Jesus Himself practiced it!

Celibacy is historical.

Most people assume that the celibate priesthood is a convention introduced by the Church fairly late in history. On the contrary, there is evidence that even the earliest Church fathers, such as St. Augustine, St. Cyril, and St. Jerome, fully supported the celibate priesthood. The Spanish Council of Elvira (between 295 and 302) and the First Council of Aries (314), a kind of general council of the West, both enacted legislation forbidding all bishops, priests, and deacons to have conjugal relations with their wives on penalty of exclusion from the clergy. Even the wording of these documents suggests that the councils were not introducing a new rule but rather maintaining a previously established tradition. In 385, Pope Siricius issued the first papal decree on the subject, saying that "clerical continence" was a tradition reaching as far back as apostolic times. While later councils and popes would pass similar edicts, the definitive promulgation of the celibate, unmarried priesthood came at the Second Lateran Council in 1139 under Pope Gregory VII. Far from being a law forced upon the medieval priesthood, it was the acceptance of celibacy by priests centuries earlier that eventually led to its universal promulgation in the twelfth century.

Celibacy emphasizes the unique role of the priest.

The priest is a representative of Christ, an alter Christus. In this respect, the priest understands his identity by following the example of Jesus, a man who lived His life in perfect chastity and dedication to God. As Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe of Grado explains, "[A priest's] being and his acting must be like Christ's: undivided" (The Relevance of Priestly Celibacy Today, 1993). As such, the sacramental priesthood is holy, something set apart from the rest of the world. Just as Christ sacrificed His life for His bride, the Church, so too must a priest offer up his life for the good of Christ's people. -Read more at Augustin Club or read at Catholic Answers

BABPTISM BY IMMERSION ONLY?

Physical Difficulties

After Peter’s first sermon, three thousand people were baptized in Jerusalem (Acts 2:41). Archaeologists have demonstrated there was no sufficient water supply for so many to have been immersed. Even if there had been, the natives of Jerusalem would scarcely have let their city’s water supply be polluted by three thousand unwashed bodies plunging into it. These people must have been baptized by pouring or sprinkling.

Even today practical difficulties can render immersion nearly or entirely impossible for some individuals: for example, people with certain medical conditions—the bedridden; quadriplegics; individuals with tracheotomies (an opening into the airway in the throat) or in negative pressure ventilators (iron lungs). Again, those who have recently undergone certain procedures (such as open-heart surgery) cannot be immersed, and may not wish to defer baptism until their recovery (for example, if they are to undergo further procedures).

Other difficulties arise in certain environments. For example, immersion may be nearly or entirely impossible for desert nomads or Eskimos. Or consider those in prison—not in America, where religious freedom gives prisoners the right to be immersed if they desire—but in a more hostile setting, such as a Muslim regime, where baptisms must be done in secret, without adequate water for immersion.

What are we to do in these and similar cases? Shall we deny people the sacrament because immersion is impractical or impossible for them? Ironically, the Fundamentalist, who acknowledges that baptism is commanded but thinks it isn’t essential for salvation, may make it impossible for many people to be baptized at all in obedience to God’s command. The Catholic, who believes baptism confers grace and is normatively necessary for salvation, maintains that God wouldn’t require a form of baptism that, for some people, is impossible.

Baptism in the Early Church

That the early Church permitted pouring instead of immersion is demonstrated by the Didache, a Syrian liturgical manual that was widely circulated among the churches in the first few centuries of Christianity, perhaps the earliest Christian writing outside the New Testament.

The Didache was written around A.D. 70 and, though not inspired, is a strong witness to the sacramental practice of Christians in the apostolic age. In its seventh chapter, the Didache reads, "Concerning baptism, baptize in this manner: Having said all these things beforehand, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living water [that is, in running water, as in a river]. If there is no living water, baptize in other water; and, if you are not able to use cold water, use warm. If you have neither, pour water three times upon the head in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." These instructions were composed either while some of the apostles and disciples were still alive or during the next generation of Christians, and they represent an already established custom.

The testimony of the Didache is seconded by other early Christian writings. Hippolytus of Rome said, "If water is scarce, whether as a constant condition or on occasion, then use whatever water is available" (The Apostolic Tradition, 21 [A.D. 215]). Pope Cornelius I wrote that as Novatian was about to die, "he received baptism in the bed where he lay, by pouring" (Letter to Fabius of Antioch [A.D. 251]; cited in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 6:4311).

Cyprian advised that no one should be "disturbed because the sick are poured upon or sprinkled when they receive the Lord’s grace" (Letter to a Certain Magnus 69:12 [A.D. 255]). Tertullian described baptism by saying that it is done "with so great simplicity, without pomp, without any considerable novelty of preparation, and finally, without cost, a man is baptized in water, and amid the utterance of some few words, is sprinkled, and then rises again, not much (or not at all) the cleaner" (On Baptism, 2 [A.D. 203]). Obviously, Tertullian did not consider baptism by immersion the only valid form, since he says one is only sprinkled and thus comes up from the water "not much (or not at all) the cleaner."

Ancient Christian Mosaics Show Pouring

Then there is the artistic evidence. Much of the earliest Christian artwork depicts baptism—but not baptism by immersion! If the recipient of the sacrament is in a river, he is shown standing in the river while water is poured over his head from a cup or shell. Tile mosaics in ancient churches and paintings in the catacombs depict baptism by pouring. Baptisteries in early cemeteries are clear witnesses to baptisms by infusion. The entire record of the early Church—as shown in the New Testament, in other writings, and in monumental evidence—indicates the mode of baptism was not restricted to immersion.

Other archaeological evidence confirms the same thing. An early Christian baptistery was found in a church in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, yet this baptistery, which dates from the second century, was too small and narrow in which to immerse a person. -Read more at Catholic Answers

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