May 14, 2018
Irenaeus of Lyons
The primary thing Tom Nash did not do in his response to my article, was to explain anything. He completely relied on the mindset of Catholics to interpret excerpts from Irenaeus as they have been conditioned to do. In contrast I have provided context and explanations which I think are preferred by reasonable people.
Let’s start with a quote from Irenaeus that Mr. Nash considered to stand on its own in support of Catholic real presence:
He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receive the word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life—flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?”
To properly expound on this quote we need to take in context. However, not a lot of context is required in order to understand the point Irenaeus is trying to make. Just going back to the beginning of the paragraph (5.2.2) where the quote was taken helps a great deal. It starts with this sentence:
“But vain in every respect are they who despise the entire dispensation of God, and disallow the salvation of the flesh, and treat with contempt its regeneration, maintaining that it is not capable of incorruption.”
The heretics to whom he was referring were those who believed that the material world was evil including the flesh and blood of man. They saw the world as imperfect, flawed, and evil, not because of the fall of Adam and Eve, but because they believed it was created that way. They could not reconcile a perfect God creating an imperfect world. Their view of Jesus was that He was a mere man who became divine as a result of His spiritual virtue. They believed He became the manifestation of Christ at the moment of His baptism.
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April 6, 2018
An article recently appeared on the Catholic.com website that responds to my article, “Early Church Evidence Refutes Real Presence.” The article was written by Catholic apologist, Tom Nash, who posted it in the website’s online magazine section. Here is a link to the article: The Early Church Believed in the Eucharist
My article, “Early Church Evidence Refutes Real Presence” is a contextual approach to the early church writings. The article was written in 2009. I am currently working on a new revision to the article that will provide more background on the writers, an even more comprehensive look at what they believed about the eucharist, and a couple additional works that lend well to the topic, but carry with them a level uncertainty as to their dates, which of course will be fully disclosed.
It is my opinion that Mr. Nash did an inadequate job of refuting the conclusions of my article since he failed on every point to incorporate any context. Essentially, Mr. Nash relied on isolated quotes to suggest to his readers that what these quotes say sounds very Catholic. On that point I agree. It’s the reason why Catholic Answers lists strings of them without contextual support. But to me context is everything, and I am certain that every other fair-minded individual out there would agree.
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October 27, 2017
Unlike any other book of the New Testament, the book of Acts is a historical work, and the so-called council of Jerusalem is a historical event. All too often historical events get interpreted through the lens of one’s current ideology. In the case of the Jerusalem council, the long-held interpretation that the apostles and elders came together to decide whether Gentiles need circumcision, was interpreted through the lens of post-Nicene church leaders who themselves asserted similar authority and needed a Scriptural example for doing it.
Unlike Christians in the past who were denied Scriptural examination, we have the privilege of not only examining Scripture, but to do it in any language or translation we like. So when Christians today propagate the same interpretations held by those who formed them for selfish gain, it astonishes me. It astonishes me because Luke, the author of the book of Acts, took valuable time and effort to lay the foundation of what transpired in Jerusalem nearly two millennia ago; context that is largely ignored.
A new page on the Onefold Blog details the event in context. Beginning with Paul’s conversion to the faith, the article walks the reader through the context laid out by Luke and adds historical insight. It follows Paul and Peter along different paths and demonstrates that they, and the other apostles and elders, had been of the same understanding regarding Gentiles for nearly twenty years prior to the meeting in Jerusalem. It examines the underlying issue in the Jerusalem church that grew like a cancer and eventually culminated in the largest controversy of the apostolic church.
To read the article, click here, or navigate through the menu above.
September 29, 2015
I was recently made aware of a website called, Called to Communion,” in particular to an article written by a gentleman named, Tim Troutman. The article is titled, “The Church Fathers on Transubstantiation.” Mr. Troutman’s objective was to prove that the early church fathers affirm a change in substance of the elements of the Eucharist into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus, though admitting that it is not expressly stated in any patristic source.
In his introduction he points to a type of evidence which he states is a “simple identification of the consecrated species with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.” He goes on to explain, “Because unconsecrated bread is not called the Body, and consecrated is called the Body, this directly implies a belief that a supernatural change has taken place at the point of consecration.” It seems much could be implied from approaching the early church works from this viewpoint. I would say it implies that they referred to it as the Lord’s body and blood simply because the Lord Himself did, and for no other reason than that. In fact, we will see from the first quote used by Mr. Troutman, that this is exactly what we find. But Mr. Troutman’s first claim is the most important; the claim that the early church fathers affirmed a change in the elements. Read the rest of this entry »
October 8, 2014
Catholic apologist, Karl Keating, authored an article titled, “Catholicism and Fundamentalism — The Eucharist,” which can be read here: http://catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0003.html. The subject of the article was John chapter six, the bread of life discourse.
Mr. Keating has a fair amount of respect among Catholics who visit my blog, which is why I want to address his article here. He is the champion of using early church writings out of context, avoiding context within Scripture, and using references of which he seems to have little familiarity to support his arguments. It was his plethora of out-of-context quotes published on his website, Catholic Answers, that inspired me to write a lengthy contextual article on the early church view of the eucharist. Here I just want to respond to some of his arguments on the bread of life discourse. I want to pick up where he commented on why Jesus didn’t go after His departing disciples. Read the rest of this entry »
July 17, 2013
This will be the first installment of a series of articles where I will give my answer to questions asked by John Martignoni in his newsletters. But before we get to the question on assurance of salvation, I would like to briefly share my encounter with John Martignoni.
In January 2009, John Martignoni responded to an article I wrote where he asked me a barrage of questions in response to my criticism of his assertion that oral tradition is responsible for the canon of Scripture. I was happy to answer all his questions sincerely and honestly. Since in his newslettesrs John tends to ask a lot of questions to his Protestant opponents and then berates them for not answering them, I wondered how he was going to respond to someone that addressed each and every one. But much to my surprise, I never heard back from him. I suspect the reason was that he was too nervous about being called out on the false information he presented to his some 30,000 newsletter subscribers.
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December 28, 2010
Preeminent – the word garners attention whenever it is used, suggesting to the reader or hearer that something or someone is held in the highest regard. And when the word is used by a respected early church father with regard to the church, its meaning demands attention. And when the word is used in connection to a specific church, the church in Rome, attention it will get. Such is the case regarding a certain passage from the works of a beloved second century bishop named, Irenaeus.
Any Roman Catholic that has heard of Irenaeus will tell you that in his works against heresies, he explicitly referred to the church in Rome as being preeminent. “For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church [the church in Rome], on account of its pre- eminent authority.” For Roman Catholics, this statement is proof positive that the second century church regarded the church in Rome as preeminent to all the others. The problem for Roman Catholics, however, is that the “proof” falls apart when the quote is reunited with its context. Read the rest of this entry »