Frequently Asked Questions
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Was Vatican II the Beginning of the Crisis in the Church?
Many date the problems in the Catholic Church to the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, called by Antipope John XXIII-II, and the liturgical changes that flowed from its spirit.
On December 4, 1963, Vatican II issed the decree Sacrosanctum concilium on the liturgy. Even before the close of the Council in 1965, supporting instructions began to be issued to implement this decree and a series of changes in the Mass, Rites of the Sacraments and the liturgy as a whole began to be implemented. As these became more radical, people began to notice them and begin to take action. For this reason, this time period of the changes as they came to be called from 1960 until 1972, when the Novus Ordo Missae (New Rite of the Mass) was fully implemented and the Rites of the Sacraments had all been substantially changed, except for Baptism, came to be identified as the beginning of the Crisis in the Church.
First of all the liturgical changes, which were a disaster, are only a symptom of a far deeper problem.
Much can be said on these liturgical changes, but they are only the tip of the iceberg.
Above we placed a date of 1960, when Antipope John XXIII-II issued the decree Rubricarum Instructum. Although there is nothing objectionable in the decree itself, the principle upon the changes made at the time are dubious at best. The revision of the calendar denigrated the Blessed Virgin Mary, demoting some of her feasts to mere commemorations. It also removed some feasts as useless repetitions, a principle repeated in Vatican II: “The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people's powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation.” (Paragraph 34 of Sacrosanctam concilium) A supporting decree to Rubricarum Instrucutm said historical lessons of the Breviary needed to be corrected to insure of their historical accuracy. Also some feasts were removed as useless repetitions as well. And so the spirit of Modernism was now becoming an official part of the Church.
However the rottenness that led to Vatican II had been working for over a century. It is said that the Devil told St. John Vianney, “If there were three such priests as you, my kingdom would be ruined.” Consider this well. The first conclusion is that there were not three priests as zealous as Saint John Vianney. The rottenness was already happening. Although we can trace the problems to before the Protestant Revolt nearly five centuries ago, it became worse in the 19th century with the heresies of Liberalism and Modernism.
Liberalism begat Modernism as a bastard child.
In his Encyclical, Pascendi, against Modernism in 1907, Pope Saint Pius X warned: “That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man.” 1 He realized that The Enemy had already begun infiltrating the Church.
And we should immediately clarify who The Enemy is. Saint Paul tells us: “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” 2 So our real enemy is the Devil, not our fellow men. However, we should know that some people work willingly with the Devil for the destruction of the Devil's main enemy, the Church of God, the Catholic Church.
Many look at the various people involved, and consider they are The Enemy. They may be working with The Enemy, but they are poor souls in need of our prayers for their conversion.
Joseph Ratzinger, later Benedict XVI wrote: ‟For believers, it was a remarkable phenomenon that their bishops seemed to show a different face in Rome from the one they wore at home. Shepherds who had been considered strict conservatives suddenly appeared to be spokesmen for progressivism.” 3
First Joseph Ratzinger is saying that the bishops had been looking Catholic at home, but when they got to Vatican II, they realized that this was no longer necessary, as the Papacy had been usurped by John XXIII. Basically, while the cat is away the mice will play. In other words, they had already determined to betray our Lord Jesus Christ, but were awaiting the appropriate time. They had already been corrupted by the world, the flesh and the devil, but especially by The Enemy.
We have discussed the infiltration of the Catholic Church. The Enemy works through Secret Societies, such as the Masons, the Illuminati, the Rosicrucians, the Priory of Zion, and even certain elements of Jews. (To call this a Jewish Conspiracy is to limit the operations of The Enemy. This is a trap many have fallen in to with disastrous consequences.) Even the Communists sent in covert operatives to assist The Enemy. Pope Saint Pius X knew these agents were at work and attempted to halt their activity, but was unsuccessful.
But to lay the blame for this crisis at the feet of those men who dedicated their lives to destroying the Catholic Church is a great error.
Actually the main problems were the bishops and priests, who lived a worldly life.
They failed to teach their flocks how to pray fervently, because they themselves were lukewarm. “But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” (Apocalypse 3:16) All Christians must be on fire with the love of God. Most had let their light go out. “No man lighteth a candle, and putteth it in a hidden place, nor under a bushel; but upon a candlestick, that they that come in, may see the light.” (Luke 11:23) Bishops and priests, who are supposed to be the leaders of the light of the world, (Matthew 5:14) let their lamps go out like the foolish virgins. (Matthew 25:1-13)
Vatican II was the culmination of centuries of work, which began in earnest in the fifteenth century with Huss and Wycliffe. Their spiritual children, beginning with Martin Luther, started the Protestant Revolt, separating millions from Jesus Christ's Church. And this continued with heresies, such as Jansenism and Gallicanism in the seventeenth century. The eighteenth century saw the foundation of the first Constitutionally atheistic country in history, the United States and at the same time the French Revolution, both of which declared the rights of man. These two revolts declared that man has a right to practice whatever religion he pleases and that the government can in no way interfere with this right. In other words, everyone now has the right to be wrong and to preach falsehood to any and all who will listen.
Pope Pius IX reminded us of the principle that error has no rights, nor should it ever have rights. At best it may be tolerated to prevent some worse evil. However, we must always remember that error is an evil.
Vatican II declared the doctrine that error has rights in the Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae. “This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.”
Pope Pius IX condemned this in the Syllabus of Errors: “79. Moreover, it is false that the civil liberty of every form of worship, and the full power, given to all, of overtly and publicly manifesting any opinions whatsoever and thoughts, conduce more easily to corrupt the morals and minds of the people, and to propagate the pest of indifferentism. -- Allocution "Nunquam fore," Dec. 15, 1856.” And “77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship. -- Allocution "Nemo vestrum," July 26, 1855.” And further: “78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship. -- Allocution "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852.”
In his book, Les Principe des Theologie Catholique, Joseph Ratzinger states: ‟Let us content ourselves here with stating that the text [of the Vatican II Constitution, Gaudium et spes] plays the role of a counter-Syllabus to the measure that it represents an attempt to officially reconcile the Church with the world as it had become after 1789.” What Ratzinger is saying is that Vatican II changed the errors condemned in the Syllabus of Errors by Pope Pius IX into truth, which is impossible. Can two plus two equal four a century ago and twenty-two today?
Truth cannot change, but this is what Vatican II said. However, the seeds of this were planted long ago, and they have now grown into a large tree. Pope Saint Pius X condemned the errors of Modernism and his predecessor Pope Pius IX also condemned these errors as have other Popes. As we have seen, Pope Saint Pius X knew that these errors were held not only by those outside of the Church, but by those in her very bosom. Unfortunately his efforts to rid the Church of these wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15) was unsuccessful and over the next half of a century they moved forward and were able to call the Council, which is falsely called Vatican II. It is not a successor to the only Vatican Council held in 1869-70, but a convention of heretics much like the Jansenist Synod of Pistoia held several centuries earlier. In fact, some of the errors of the Synod of Pistoia can be found also in Vatican II.
1 Pascendi, Pope Saint Pius X, September 8, 1907, paragraph 2
2 Ephesians 6:12
3 Milestones, page 132
Do you believe that a layman could be elected a Pope, not withstanding discussion of the manner of election?
Yes, a layman can be elected.
Are you of the belief that the Pope, even though not a priest or member of the clergy when elected, must receive Holy Orders after election in order to remain the Pope?
Pope Pius XII addresses this in an address to a Catholic Action group: “If a layman were elected pope, he could accept the election only with the condition of being ready and willing to receive ordination; the capacity to teach and govern, as well as the charism of infallibility, would be granted to him as of the moment of its acceptance, even before his ordination.” If a man refused to be ordained, then some canonists hold that he did not truly accept election, since ordination and consecration are an essential part of the Office of Bishop of Rome.
Are You Roman Catholic?
The Fathers of the First Vatican Council (1869-1870) discussed an official name for the Church founded by Jesus Christ. It was proposed to call the Church the Roman Catholic Church, because the Church is in union with the Bishop of Rome, also called the Pope, as the Fathers of the Church say is required to be in the Church of Jesus Christ.
The Bishops of England objected to this and asked to be heard by the Council. One of their number explained their reasoning. In England at the time, the Anglicans had proposed what is called the Branch Theory. In this theory, the Church had three branches, Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican. The Bishops said to call us anything more than Catholics would give credence to this theory. The Council accepted this objection and decided that we should not be called Roman Catholics, but merely Catholics as we have been for centuries.
Which Missal Should We Use?
The Missal was revised after the Council of Trent and issued in 1570 by Pope Saint Pius V with the Bull, Quo Primum. The calendar was also revised at that time. Throughout the centuries the calendar has been revised. Saint Pius X revised the calendar and breviary in 1911 with the decree Divino Afflatu. Pope Pius XII revised the calendar in 1955 and the Rite of Holy Week in the same year. Anti-pope John XXIII revised the calendar in 1960 with the decree Rubricarum Instructum.
Saint Pius X revised both the Breviary and the calendar in 1911 and imposed the revision in 1913. One of the main revisions concerned the Mass and Office of Sundays. Sundays are classed as semi-doubles, which means that the antiphon at Matins, Lauds and Vespers are introduced before the Psalm with a few words, then recited fully after the Psalm. Feasts of Saints have several classes from Double of the First Class down to Simple. These classes are used to determine which Mass and Office are recited on a Sunday, if the feast of a saint occurs on Sunday. Doubles of whatever kind out rank semi-doubles, which meant often the Sunday Mass and Office were supplanted by the feasts of most saints throughout the year. Saint Pius X provided that Sundays, although only semi-doubles, out rank all but the most important feasts of the year, so that the Sunday Mass and Office are recited and the Gospel and Epistles are read in the Mass for the Faithful. His decree provides: "in the sacred liturgy those most ancient Masses of the Sundays during the year and of the ferias, especially those of Lent, recover their rightful place."
Saint Pius X's decree also provides: "it will be clear to everybody that by what we have here decreed we have taken the first step to the emendation of the Roman breviary and the missal, but for this we shall appoint shortly a special council or commission." And so Pope Saint Pius X envisioned a further revision in the future. We see this in the revision of 1955 under Pope Pius XII. Pope Pius XII simplified the calendar, removing the rank of semi-double, reducing those fests (except Sundays) to simples. He also removed all but three octaves. His revision also envisioned a revision in the near future.
Pius XII states: "Whereas priests today, especially those who have the care of souls, are burdened with various new apostolic duties, so that they can scarcely recite the divine Office with the tranquility of mind which it requires, some local Ordinaries have earnestly petitioned the Holy See that some provision be graciously made to meet this difficulty, and at least that the copious apparatus of the Rubrics be reduced to a simpler form."
When Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King, he wrote: "For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church." By the time of Pope Pius XII, octaves were only observed by the clergy who recite the Divine Office. The faithful did not observe the octaves as they had been observed centuries ago. Unfortunately by this time, even the institution of feasts did not have much effect on the hearts of the people. The institution of the Feast of Saint Joseph the Workman to counteract Communist May Day on May first did not have the desired effect on the hearts of men.
Considering that Pope Pius XII was the last Pope prior to Pope Michael, in holy obedience, those who accept him as Pope are duty bound to accept the calendar revision of 1955.
What Should We Think About the Divine Mercy Devotion?
Some question the Divine Mercy devotion, which comes from Sister Faustina Kowalska, of Poland, who died in 1938. In support of their condemnation of said devotion, they refer to two decisions from the Holy Office shortly after Pope Pius XII died and Angelo Roncalli became the second Anti-pope John XXIII in history. They also report that Pope Pius XII placed Sister Faustina's diary on the Index of Prohibited books.
Let us begin by addressing the two notices from the Holy Office. We will be looking from the presumption that Pope Pius XII was the last Pope in Office prior to the election of Pope Michael. This position is held by the Conclavists and the Sedevacantists.
When a Pope dies, the Roman Curia with a few exceptions resign from office. In fact, members of the Curia are forbidden to go near their actual offices, because they can do no work as part of the Papacy without a living, breathing Pope in office. A story is told of a member of the Curia, who happened to be near his office, during a vacancy of the Papacy. Another member chastised him, reminding him, that he cannot go into his office.
Since, we are presuming that the election of Angelo Roncalli is invalid, then the Roman Curia was never reinstated, and therefore cannot validly render any decisions in regard to devotions or anything else for that matter.
Father Bernard Hughes of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate, Queen (CMRI), argues: "Some may object to the acceptance of this decree of the Holy Office on the grounds that it was issued in 1959, during the time that the notorious modernist John XXIII was 'pope'. But we do not believe this fact obscures the reality of those who worked in the Holy Office in those days before Vatican II, such as Cardinal Ottaviani, were well-trained and entirely orthodox prelates and theologians, who had been appointed by Pope Pius XII." This argument means nothing, because these prelates were objectively incapable of rendering any decisions, therefore these decisions under Catholic Church Law are meaningless.
These people also claim that Pope Pius XII placed Sister Faustina's diary on the Index of Prohibited books. We will presume this is true. First of all, the English translation of Sister Faustina's diary may be a faulty translation, and therefore should be avoided. Placing a book or books on the Index does not necessarily mean they are evil. The Church may do so to allow the hierarchy sufficient time to analyze the question(s) involved. In order to protect the faithful from something that might be spurious, the Church orders such books to not be read by the Faithful. It should be noted that books about Padre Pio were also placed on the Index of Prohibited Books and remain there to this day. Books by Padre Pio are not condemned by this decree, only books about him. Canon 19 requires such restrictions to be interpreted strictly. Saint Teresa of Avila had one of her works sent to the Inquisition for review, and thus was forbidden to be read, until the Inquisition could finish its investigation.
In 1955 a book, Sister Faustina: Apostle of Divine Mercy, appeared in English, begin translated from the French. Both the earlier French and the English editions were received the approval for publication by the Church. In 1957 Father Theodore Zaremba wrote a book, Mercy Is Forever, in defense of the devotion to the Divine Mercy in general and of the devotion proposed by Sister Faustina in particular. This type of work is common for new devotions, where people point out that the devotion is not really new, but has always been in the Catholic Church in some manner.
On page 69 of Mercy Is Forever we read: "In one of his books about the Mercy of God, Father Sopocko reports that an identical chaplet to the Mercy of God can be found in the revelations of St. Gertrude the Great, a mystic and writer who lived between 1256 and 1302. This Benedictine nun spent almost her entire life in the monastery at Henta, near Eialeben, Saxony. During the last twenty years of her stay on earth she was privileged with many visions. A characteristic of her piety was a great devotion to the Sacred Heart, the symbol of that charity which prompted the great evidence of God's Mercy: the Incarnation, the Redemption, the institution of the Sacraments, especially of the Holy Eucharist."
Let us first consider the fact that Saint Gertrude has a great devotion to the Sacred Heart. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who died in 1690, is considered by many as the origin of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. However, this devotion is more ancient than that as we have already seen. Saint John Eudes was born forty-six years before Saint Margaret Mary, and died ten years before she did. The Roman Breviary reports: "His matchless zeal was very conspicuous in promoting the salutary devotion towards the most sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, whose liturgical worship he was the first of all to devise, although not without some divine inspiration. He is therefore held to be the father, the teacher, and the apostle of that worship." On the Feast of the Sacred Heart in the same Breviary we read: "Finally, during recent centuries, and most especially at that period when heretics, in the name of a false piety, strove to discourage Christians from receiving the most Holy Eucharist, the veneration of the most Sacred Heart began to be openly practised, principally through the exertions of St. John Eudes, who is by no means unworthily called the founder of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary."
Some object to the phrase: "Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Thy Most Beloved Son and Our Lord Jesus Christ." in the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Father Zabarella has already reported that Saint Gertrude had the same chaplet, and this must have been no problem, because she has been canonized a saint by the Church. Let us go further. Saint Gertrude a prayer to be recited after the elevation at Mass, which states in part: "I offer thee his most holy Body and Blood, his Humanity and his Divinity, his virtues and his perfections, his Passion and Death, in union with that love with which he once offered himself to thee upon the cross, and now offers himself to thee on the altar." (Prayers of Saint Gertrude and Saint Mechtilde), page 27)
We can conclude that the Divine Mercy devotion has not been condemned by the Catholic Church. It is permitted to perform this devotion in a holy and pious manner. We should also consider that Sister Faustina's Diary is currently on the Index of Prohibited Books, and therefore should not acquire a copy or read from it.
Mercy Is Forever: https://amzn.to/31zvhin
Sister Faustina: Apostle of Divine Mercy: https://amzn.to/2MORPZ9
Prayers of Saint Gertrude and Saint Mechtilde: https://amzn.to/2XjdrAN
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Is The Bible Inerrant?
The Catholic Church teaches that Sacred Scripture is truly the Word of God. Through the Bible, God gradually reveals Himself, communicates His plan of salvation, and calls us to a relationship with Him.
The Church has always taught that we can approach the Scriptures with a rock-solid confidence because they are inspired by God Himself and therefore contain no error. This inerrancy is a great gift because it gives the Bible a credibility on which we can base our lives. God inspired the Scriptures in order to give us a fully trustworthy source about what we are to believe and how we are to act. When read within the Church’s living Tradition and magisterial teaching, the Bible is a sure guide for our lives.
The basis for the Church’s teaching on biblical inerrancy is inspiration. Here we must remember that the Bible is different from any other book. It is unique because it has a unique author: God Himself. As Saint Paul says:
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Divine inspiration literally means “God-breathed.” This is why the Church teaches that the Scriptures have God as their author. God worked through human writers who consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more. So while the human writers made full use of their own powers and abilities, they were at the same time inspired by the Holy Spirit so that the words of Scripture are written exactly the way God Himself intended. Indeed, the Scriptures contain the very words of God expressed in the words of men.
Since the words of Scripture are inspired by God Himself, the Church has always taught that every part of the Bible is without error. Otherwise “error” in the Bible would have to be attributed to God, who is supreme Truth and who can neither deceive nor be deceived.
Since, therefore, all that the inspired authors, or sacred writers, affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures.
The Church teaches that the Bible is inerrant in all that the sacred writers intended to affirm. The Church makes the important distinction between the literal sense of Scripture and a literalistic interpretation. The literal sense is “that which has been expressed directly by the inspired authors.” To arrive at the literal sense, one must interpret the text according to the literary conventions of the time and consider the author’s intention, literary genre, and historical context.
For example, when Christ warns that it is better for you to cut your hand off if it causes you to sin (Mark 9:43), He is using a literary metaphor. However, a literalistic reading would take this teaching of Christ at face value and wrongly encourage cutting off portions of the body that cause one to sin! Similarly, when Psalm 73:20 speaks of God awakening, this is not meant to teach that Yahweh actually sleeps at night and gets up in the morning, but rather this figurative language describes how God, after remaining seemingly unresponsive to a situation, begins to take action like a man awaking from sleep.
Can God Ever Change His Mind?
Christians have long affirmed that God is unchangeable. In recent years, however, advocates of a theory called open theism have argued that God can and does change and that we can cause that change. They find their support for this in passages such as Genesis 18, where Abraham intercedes before the Lord for Sodom and Gomorrah, and God seemingly changes His mind. They claim further support from passages like , Jeremiah 18:7–10 Jonah 3:10, and Genesis 6:6, which speak of God repenting or relenting or being sorry.
The Flood: Was God Sorry for Making Man?
For example, at the time of the global Flood, Genesis 6:5–7 tells us that God was “sorry” that He had made man on the earth:
And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times, It repented him that he had made man on the earth. And being touched inwardly with sorrow of heart, He said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, from man even to beasts, from the creeping thing even to the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them.
The fact that God repented-changed His mind- that He had made mankind does not mean that He thinks His decision to create them was a mistake. Rather, the focus of God’s sorrow is the wickedness of mankind who not only bears His image, but was once without sin in His very good creation (Genesis 1:31; cf. Ecclesiastes 7:29). Though post-Fall, the intent of man’s heart was only evil continually, God’s heart is grieved because of this.
The Fall: Was God Taken By Surprise?
Not only do open theists argue that God changes His mind, but they also argue that He does not have exhaustive foreknowledge of future events. Naturally, for open theists, passages that seem to suggest that God “finds out” something are often cited to defend this point of view. In Genesis 3:11, for instance, it seems that God is unaware of what Adam has done. Does this mean God did not know that Adam would disobey His command (Genesis 2:17) or that He had to come up with a plan of salvation once Adam had disobeyed Him?
The question God asks Adam in Genesis 3:11, however, is not based on His ignorance but is rhetorical in nature:
These are not questions [Genesis 3:9, 11] of a Deity who has been taken by surprise. It is not as if he were ignorant of the events that have occurred. In fact, the interrogative of the second question has a special use here. Sometimes it is employed in Hebrew not of a question, but rather to express the conviction that the contents of the statement are well known to the hearer. Thus the question has a rhetorical aspect: God is saying, “Surely you have eaten of the tree .” And the purpose for such a statement is in order to elicit a confession from the man that he is culpable and in need of forgiveness.
God’s announcement of a Savior in Genesis 3:15 was not just an afterthought in the plan of God. We should consider the fact that God foreknew that the Fall would happen, as the Bible tells us that He chose to redeem humanity through the death of His Son before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3–6, 3:11; 1 Peter 1:18–20; Revelation 13:8).
Interpretive Principles to Consider
These passages that talk about God changing His mind look and read (and are intended to be read) as though God is changing His mind. So if these passages claim that God changes His mind, isn’t it then wrong for Christians to claim that God is unchangeable?
If these passages claim that God changes His mind, isn’t it then wrong for Christians to claim that God is unchangeable?
There are several points to consider. Firstly, when Christians describe God as unchanging, this is to say that He is unchanging in His being and character. What is not meant is that He is static or paralyzed. He is not like the king or queen of the United Kingdom who reigns but does not rule. The God of Scripture is constantly acting. That God is unchangeable should not be misconstrued as meaning that He cannot and does not act.
Secondly, while the above texts talk of God as changing, there are numerous texts in the Old and New Testaments that tell us that God does not change in His being (Psalm 102:25–27; c.f. Hebrews 1:10–12; Malachi 3:6; James. 1:17) and that He does not change His mind (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:17–18). This is not to play different texts against each other but to know that we need some interpretive principles to help us understand the Bible. There are two reasonable interpretive principles that can help us understand these passages:
Difficult passages should be interpreted in light of other clearer passages.
Passages which are found in the historical narrative in Scripture should be interpreted in light of the didactic (instruction/teaching) passages (such as the epistles.).
Jesus established a Church that would have the final authority to speak for him whenever there was a matter of dispute among the people of God. Which would include interpreting the scriptures. (I Timothy 3:15)
Lastly, we also must understand that the Bible uses human ways to speak about God, the technical term for which is anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphic language represents God’s unchanging attributes in the changing circumstances and different moral conditions of His creatures. Passages such as Genesis 6:6 need to be taken into consideration with Numbers 23:19. In doing so, we will understand that from our human viewpoint God seems to change His mind about people, but He is only represented to us that way that we might relate to our omniscient God.
When the Bible uses human language to describe God, particularly in the narrative sections of Scripture, the didactic portions of the Scripture give us the corrective explanation.
Again and again the Bible describes God in human terms. Why? Because they are the only terms we have to communicate with. For example, the Bible speaks of the “arm of God” (Deuteronomy 5:15) with respect to His power while Psalm 50:10 says, “[God] owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” We know, however, that this is metaphorical language. The Bible isn’t trying to tell us that God is a cosmic cowboy who is in the cattle business. That God owns the cattle on a thousand hills is a human way of describing the vast riches that our Creator possesses. This language is perfectly useful to describe God’s activity among us; but when the Bible uses human language to describe God, particularly in the narrative sections of Scripture, the didactic portions of the Scripture give us the corrective explanation. This is not corrective in the sense of error, but in the sense of qualifying the meaning of the text so that we do not fall into serious error.
Does Prayer Change God’s Mind?
Nevertheless, people often ask whether prayer can change God’s mind. To ask this question is really to answer it. How could a prayer change God’s mind? Well, the best football coaches have game plans for their encounters with other teams. If things aren’t working in the first half, they make changes in the changing room at halftime where they move from plan A to plan B. God, however, doesn’t have a plan B. Do we really think that if we say to God, “Well, I know you’re planning to do this, but have you considered this?” that God is going to change His plans based on the wisdom we provide Him? In our prayers, God is not learning things He didn’t already know.
What is it then that would cause God in these texts to change His mind? Is it that when Abraham (Genesis 18:16–33) came to God, he came to Him with information that God lacked apart from what Abraham told Him? Obviously Abraham didn’t teach God something that He didn’t already know. In fact, God knew that Sodom would have fewer than ten righteous people, whereas Abraham did not. God’s mind doesn’t change because it doesn’t need to change. He knows everything, and He knows the end from the beginning. God has no plan B because there are no deficiencies or flaws in His plan A.
Does prayer change things? Yes. Does God use prayer as a secondary means to bring His work to pass? Yes. Does God not only invite us to pray but command us to? Yes. Does the effective prayer of righteous man accomplish much? Yes. But do these things change God’s mind? No. Why? Because God has never had to change His mind from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:11).
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and all my will shall be done:” (Isaiah 46:10)
Could Jesus Have Sinned?
Jesus, who is sinless, had to be tempted. That is quite a mystery. Why did He have to be tempted? In Matthew 4, we read that the devil came to Him and tempted Him. Three of the temptations are mentioned there. And in Hebrews 4:15 we are told that He was tempted in every respect like us but He didn't sin even once. It is amazing that Jesus Christ, the perfect sinless Son of God, was also subject to temptation in every area. The Bible says in Hebrews 6:20 that Jesus is our forerunner. Forerunner means somebody who has run the race in front of us and has shown us the path in which to follow. So, as One who has gone in front of us, He says to us today, "Follow Me."
The Bible says in Hebrews 12:1-2, "And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the race proposed to us: Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God." Again we read, "For think diligently upon him that endured such opposition from sinners against himself; that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds.For you have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin:" (Hebrews 12:3-4) Jesus endured every temptation that can ever come to any human being. He was tempted in every point as we are and He overcame in the power of the Holy Spirit, as a man. If He had faced temptation as God, there would be nothing great about it. In fact, the Bible says that God can't be tempted (James 1:13).
So Jesus had to give up that privilege, when He walked on earth as a man, in order to be tempted, in order to be an example for us. If He overcame temptation in the power of God, and He, as God, tells us - human beings to somehow overcome, when we are not God, it would be like a father driving a car at 80 miles per hour, and telling his little son to run after him on the road, 'Follow me.' Isn't that ridiculous? - A father driving in a car at 80mph and telling his son to run after him? Then how can Jesus say, 'Follow me,' if He encountered temptation as God? In fact, in any case, as I said earlier, God cannot be tempted.
The fact is that Jesus encountered temptation as a man and overcame in the power of the Holy Spirit. And that is the same power He offers us. That is what gives us hope when we face temptation. The devil would like to rob you of that hope, by trying to tell you, 'No, you can't overcome temptation. You will always be defeated.' But you tell him, 'How did Jesus overcome?' He might say, 'Oh, He overcame as God.' Is that what the Bible says? No. He overcame Satan by quoting the word of God to Him. You can overcome Satan in the same way. The Bible asks you to take the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, and you can drive the devil away too, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus prayed, sought for help, and overcame.
Suppose today we have to face some temptation, which Jesus never faced, we could say to Him, 'Well, Lord you don't understand what I am facing.' But we can never say that because He does understand. The Bible says He can sympathise with our struggle, with our weakness (Hebrews 4:15). The one thing that Jesus demonstrated though His life on earth was that with the power of the Holy Spirit, as a man, we can obey every commandment of God. If we don't do it, it is because we are not wholehearted as He was. That is why the Bible says, "He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk, even as he walked." (1 John. 2:6). Is that possible? If it is not possible there would be no such command in scripture.
Jesus Christ's life was a demonstration of how we are to live. Now, we may not be able to say that we are walking like Christ. In fact, I have never met anyone on earth who walks like Jesus Christ, neither would you have. But if we make that our goal and, if we have faith, we should press on to that perfection where we say, 'Lord I want to walk like You.' Then from one degree of glory to another, the Holy Spirit will conform us to Christ's likeness.
Paul said he hadn't attained it himself, but he was pressing on. He said that He pressed toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He wanted to live like Jesus lived. He made that his goal and, little by little, he approached it. But a person, who has no goal, is never going to get anywhere near there. It is like climbing a mountain. If you don't have the top of the mountain as your goal, what is going to happen? You are just going to be at ground level, even after 25 years. But if you keep the top of the mountain as your goal, every year will find you higher and higher and higher and higher, and little more and little more and little more like Christ. This is Christian growth. How did Jesus overcome? When He faced temptation and He felt the pull of it, He resisted it in the power of the Holy Spirit; He died to Himself and He overcame. That is why the Bible says, "Arm yourself with the same thought" (1 Peter 4:1-2).
Now there could be a misunderstanding here because some of us don't understand what is the essence of sin. The essence of all sin is doing your own will. Now, if that is the essence of sin, then what is the essence of holiness? Denying your own will and doing the will of God. That is holiness. We read what Jesus said in John 6:38, "Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, " -not to sin,- "but the will of him -God the Father- that sent me " That is holiness. In the Garden of Gethsemane He said, "Not as I will Father, but as Thou will." Jesus offered up His human will as a perpetual sacrifice. He said, "I never want to do My will." That is what is meant by Jesus never sinned. He never did His own will. Human nature is just the opposite. We see that in a little child; a child wants to do his own will. That stubbornness is sin.
Jesus warned His disciple in the Garden of Gethsemane. He said, "Pray, your flesh is weak. Your spirit may be willing to live a holy life but your flesh is weak." That is why we need the power of the Holy Spirit to deny our will and to do the will for God.
What Did Jesus Mean When He Said Do Not Judge That You be Not Judged?
Time and Time again people love to use the phrase “Judge not that ye be not judged” It has been misused and misinterpreted over the years.
Some of us have wrongly judged another person and have sinned in the process. In our rush to judgment, in our haste to make sure someone else takes the blame, in our zeal to find the guilty party, we have violated the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you may not be judged”. The words are simple and clear. They are plain and unambiguous. Because they are familiar we tend to forget about them. Or worse, we find a way to explain them away.
There are several ways we can approach a text like this. We could spend a lot of time talking about the illustration Jesus used about the speck in your brother’s eye and the log in your own eye. It’s funny and ironic and when Jesus spoke these words, I’m sure his hearers laughed out loud. I’ll return to that illustration shortly but first let’s just focus on verse 1. What exactly did Jesus mean when he said, “Judge not"?
Perhaps it is easier to say what he did not mean. Jesus is not saying we should never pass any sort of judgment. Every day we make hundreds of judgments about things around us. It is not wrong, for instance, to sit on a jury and render a verdict. Nor it is wrong for an admissions committee to decide which students to accept and which to reject. Nor it is wrong for an employer to decide who gets a promotion and who doesn’t. Nor is it wrong for schools to judge certain students worthy of high honor at graduation. Nor is it wrong for a High School to expel students who participate in hazing incidences and to ban them from attending graduation ceremonies. We all have to make decisions every day that involve other people. We pass judgment on appearance, behavior, speech, deportment, attitude, work ethic, productivity, keeping or breaking a promise, guilt or innocence, which person we believe and which person we do not believe. Whatever the words of Jesus mean, they can’t mean that we never pass judgment in any sense at any time.
What, then, did Jesus mean when he said, “Judge not?” The word translated “judge” often means to condemn. It means to come to a negative conclusion about another person and then to condemn them. That is what Jesus is forbidding. Let me be a little more specific about this.
First, we are not to pass final judgment on any person. Final judgment belongs to the Lord. If anyone needs to be condemned, God has that responsibility himself. We should have no part in it.
Second, we are not to judge the motives of others. The Bible says, “man seeth those things that appear outwardly, but the Lord beholdeth the heart. ” (I Samuel 16:7). Often we are quick to come to negative conclusions about others based on why we think they did something. But try as we might, we see only the outside. God alone sees the heart.
We can judge what people do; we cannot judge why they do it.
We can judge what people say; we cannot judge why they say it.
Only God can judge the hidden secrets of the heart. Leave that judgment to him. You don’t even know your own heart, much less the heart of anyone else. “The heart is perverse above all things, and unsearchable, who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Sometimes when little children have been caught disobeying and you ask them why they did it, they will reply tearfully, “I don’t know.” That’s not a cop-out; it’s a profound theological truth. We are so wicked by nature that we don’t know why we do what we do. All of us can remember times when we did or said something foolish, and looking back we can honestly say, “I don’t know why I did something stupid like that.” But if we can’t understand our own heart, how can we ever presume to understand anyone elses?
Only God can see the heart. Who are we to judge Catholics?
When Jesus talks about judging others, he says, "Judge not, that you may not be judged, For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye?" (Matthew 7:1-3)
Jesus then immediately says, "Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Matthew 7:5)
So we see here that Jesus is actually not saying to not judge, but instead he is saying to not be hypocritical. He is criticizing those who point out other people's sins, yet sin themselves.
Jesus then immediately says in the next verse, "Give not that which is holy to dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turning upon you, they tear you." (Matthew 7:6)
In order to decide who are "dogs" or "pigs" a judgment has to be made. This statement is clearly a metaphor, but nevertheless Jesus is instructing us to make a decision about who is not worthy of what is holy.
Jesus also calls this: "By their fruits you will know them." (Matthew 7:16) He makes this statement is the same chapter, just a few verses later.
Here, in Matthew 7:16, Jesus is talking about false prophets, but again a judgment has to be made. Not only is Jesus NOT saying to not judge, he actually is telling us to judge others based on their actions.
Why? Because our actions reveal the truth about us. Someone can say, "I'm not a killer," but if they kill someone, their actions have proven them wrong. Someone can say, "I'm not a thief," but if they steal, then their actions have proven them wrong. Someone can say, "I have repented," but if they continue in that sin, then they have not repented.
So the idea that we are to "not judge" others is an incorrect teaching.
However, there are two types of judging.
There is objective judgment of "Calling it what it is" and there is subjective judgment of looking down on people and viewing them as less than you because of what they do. Objective judgments are non-sinful, and we see Saint Paul doing it in the Bible as well. However, subjective, arrogant, prideful, belittling judgments are obviously sinful, as the bible repeatedly speaks against arrogance, pride, and belittling others.
Paul on Judging Fellow Believers
Sin is sin. If a believer is committing sin, and they claim to be a Christian, Paul says to not fellowship or socialize with such a person.
"But now I have written to you, not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother, be a fornicator, or covetous, or a server of idols, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner: with such a one, not so much as to eat." (1 Corinthians 5:11)
Paul even bluntly states that he judges a man who sins, saying, "I indeed, absent in body, but present in spirit, have already judged, as though I were present, him that hath so done, this thing." (1 Corinthians 5:3)
This is appropriate judging. Paul is not being hypocritical by also sinning, and he is objectively calling it what it is: sin.
This kind of judging is exactly what Jesus talks about in Matthew 18, saying, "But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican." (Matthew 18:15-17)
Both Jesus and Paul say to refuse those who claim to be Christian, but are sinners as seen by their actions. Why? Paul explains, "Don't be deceived! 'Evil companionships corrupt good morals.'" (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Paul further says, speaking about believers who sin, "Them that sin reprove before all: that the rest also may have fear." (1 Timothy 5:20)
These are the words of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul.
Do you believe it is possible for ardent Buddhists or Protestants to be saved?
Does God Appoint Evil Leaders to Lead Nations?
Romans 13:1 States That God Establishes All Governments
The key statement that we want to examine in Romans 13:1 is “no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” There are two words of interest. The first is the word “authority” which in the Greek is exousia. It refers to anyone who has power or can exercise authority. In the context of Romans 13:1-7, it refers to governmental authority. The Greek word that is translated as “established” is tasso. This word appears eight times in the New Testament (Matthew 28:16; Luke 7:8; Acts 13:48; 15:2; 22:10; 28:23; Romans 13:1; 1 Corinthians 16:15). The word means “to appoint, to order, or to arrange”. That is, every governmental leader has been appointed, arranged or established by God.
Earlier in Romans 9:17, we are reminded that God put the Pharaoh of Egypt in his position of authority. We learn from Exodus 7-11 that this Pharaoh was an evil ruler. Romans 9:17 is a quote from Exodus 9:16-17, and it illustrates the principle of Romans 13:1.
In John 19:11 Jesus told Pontius Pilate, who was an evil governor, that his authority came from God the Father. In Daniel 4:17 the evil ruler of the Babylonian empire, King Nebuchadnezzar, reports part of a dream that God gave him.
In 1 Samuel 8 an amazing event is described that illustrates how God establishes or appoints rulers over nations. In 1 Samuel 8:1-7 we are told that the nation of Israel had rejected God as their king. Verse 7 summarizes Israel’s request.
Consequently, God allowed Israel to have their own king. Verses 10-18 record what God told Samuel to communicate to Israel that they would experience with their new king. The entire description is negative.
The message to Israel was simple. They would be allowed to select their ruler, but it was not the ruler God wanted for them. The ruler would be an evil one who would oppress them. Yet, God would establish his throne, but he would not be God’s choice.
Later in Hosea 13:9-11, God rebukes Israel for rejecting Him as their king. God says they had asked the judges for a king. The prophet Samuel was also a judge (1 Samuel 3:20; 7:15). They had asked for a king, and God gave them a king. In verse 11 God reveals that this was not His choice. Yet, God appointed him and established his throne.
King Saul proved to be an evil king. Most of the kings of the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah were evil kings. The people of Israel or the leaders of Israel selected their kings without consulting God. He allowed their choices. Yet, He granted these men the authority to rule as kings.
Israel rejected God as their king in 1 Samuel 8:1-18, yet God granted their choice. God repeatedly supported their horrible choices of subsequent kings.
Government exists and survives because God supports it. Yet when the rulers become too evil, God will judge them and punish them. Zechariah 1:15 tells us that God tolerates some evil from nations; but when they are excessively evil, God punishes them.
Romans 13:4 gives us the purpose of government and rulers. They were appointed by God to suppress evil or keep evil in check. When they fail to do this, it is time for judgment. God has not established human government to Christianize the world. The purpose of government is to suppress evil and maintain some semblance of justice and care for the oppressed (Isaiah 1:16-17). Isaiah 1:16-17 is not a Christian statement. It describes the rebuke of the nation of Israel. Amos 5:15 is another rebuke of the nation for failing to hate evil, love good and establish justice.
Can Those In Heaven See Us Here On Earth?
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
Chapter 11 is the “Hall of Faith” chapter where the great heroes and heroines of faith are mentioned. Then this chapter opens by reminding us that these great men and women of faith are looking down upon those who are running the Christian race today; and it admonishes us to “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and…run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Paul talks about this Christian race in Philippians 3:13-14: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
So Hebrews 12 gives us the picture of a heavenly grandstand with those who have died in faith occupying the grandstand and looking on at the race we Christians run.
We know that there is rejoicing in Heaven over every sinner who puts their trust in Christ. “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7).
If Christians in Heaven can look down and see the salvation of lost loved ones and friends and rejoice over it long after they have gone on, why could they not see other things taking place in our lives?
How much they know about the happenings on earth, we do not know; but that they see and rejoice over the salvation of those on earth and witness our race as Christians is certain.
Where Is Satan Now And What Will Be His End?
He now makes the earth and the air the scene of his tireless activity, according to Ephesians 2:2: “Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit that now worketh on the children of disobedience:” Then I Peter 5:8 exhorts us, “Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.”
Satan is called the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) and the “prince of this world” (John 12:31). Satan is an activist in this present world system. He is head of a vast host of demons (Luke 8:30). At his fall, a third of the stars of Heaven followed him (Rev. 12:4). Satan has power to tempt Christians (Luke 22:31). He is back of all evil and sin. He is not all-powerful; he is limited in his power by God Himself. He is not omnipresent. After he tempted Jesus, he left Him for a season (4:13).
Satan is on the earth and in the air (I Pet.5:8). He is in the heavenlies, or the upper air (Eph. 2:2). He does seem to have some access to God to accuse the brethren (Job 1:6). In the middle of the Great Tribulation, Satan and his angels will be expelled out of the upper air and cast on the earth (Rev. 12:7–10).
Just prior to the thousand-year reign of Christ upon this earth, an angel who has the key to the bottomless pit will come down from Heaven, lay hold on Satan, bind him and cast him into the bottomless pit. He will be shut up and the pit will be sealed for a thousand years. He will then be loosed for a season and will muster forces to go against Jerusalem. Fire will come down from God to devour Satan’s forces of evil. Satan will then be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev. 20:1, 2, 7–10).
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Who Was Cains Wife?
The Bible does not specifically say who Cain’s wife was. The only possible answer is that Cain’s wife was his sister or niece or great-niece, etc. The Bible does not say how old Cain was when he killed Abel (Genesis 4:8), but they both were likely full-grown adults. Adam and Eve surely had given birth to more children than just Cain and Abel at the time Abel was killed. They definitely had many more children later (Genesis 5:4). The fact that Cain was scared for his own life after he killed Abel (Genesis 4:14) indicates that there were likely many other children and perhaps even grandchildren of Adam and Eve living at that time. Cain’s wife (Genesis 4:17) was a daughter or granddaughter of Adam and Eve.
Since Adam and Eve were the first (and only) human beings, their children would have no other choice than to intermarry. God did not forbid inter-family marriage until much later when there were enough people to make intermarriage unnecessary (Leviticus 18:6–18). The reason that incest today often results in genetic abnormalities is that, when two people of similar genetics (i.e., a brother and sister) have children together, there is a high risk of their recessive characteristics becoming dominant. When people from different families have children, it is highly unlikely that both parents will carry the same recessive traits. The human genetic code has become increasingly damaged over the centuries as genetic defects are multiplied, amplified, and passed down from generation to generation. Adam and Eve were perfectly designed by God, and their lack of genetic defects enabled them (and the first few generations of their descendants) to have a greater quality of health than we do now. When sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God, it brought sickness, disease, and a compromised bloodline for all their descendants. Their children had few, if any, genetic mutations; therefore, they could intermarry safely.
Is Judas In Hell?
The overwhelmingly common interpretation over time of such expressions is that Judas has been, is, and ever will be among the damned. St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Alphonsus—the list could go on and on: Judas is clearly in hell.
Notice what Jesus says to His disciples in John 6.
“But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)” “Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”
He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him. —Vss. 64, 70, 71.
It is plain from Jesus’ own words that Judas had not believed in Christ. Jesus knew ahead of time that Judas would betray Him. This betrayal is foretold in the Old Testament.
“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. ”—Psalms 41:9.
Judas’ “own place”, (Acts 1:25), must have been Hell. Jesus said it would have been better for Judas had he never been born (Matthew 26:24).