An Excerpt from “Refuting Romanism: A Logical and Scriptural Treatise” (HRDIII)

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[Refuting Romanism: A Logical & Scriptural Treatise is a short book I intend to publish through Nook publishers. I aim to show that the Catechism of the Catholic Church (or CCC) is self-contradictory, contradicts the Scriptures, and therefore cannot be the Word of God.]

Transubstantiation, Christology & Anthropology

The CCC’s contradictions also find articulation in its doctrine of transubstantiation, a doctrine which stands in contradiction to the CCC’s anthropology. For according to the CCC,1 death came into the world through sin. “Man’s sins,” it says elsewhere, “following on original sin, are punishable by death.”2 In paragraph 1008, the CCC states further that “death is a consequence of sin.” Finally, the CCC explains that

Death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage…when “the single course of our earthly life” is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once.”3

These statements make it clear that death is a punishment for sins and is irrepeatable. Hence, we are told elsewhere that “in his plan of salvation, God ordained that his Son should not only ‘die for our sins’ but should also ‘taste death,’ experience the condition of death, the separation of his soul from his body, between the time he expired on the cross and the time he was raised from the dead.”4 Christ, in other words, was sacrificed for our sins, dying upon the tree of Calvary and tasting death in our place. For the CCC teaches, “by sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God ‘made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’”5

Yet if “death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage,”6 and “when ‘the single course of our earthly life’ is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives,”7 how can it be “that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood8? If Christ “by his death…has conquered death,”9 then how can Christ be said to offer himself through the sacramental ministry of Rome’s priests?10 For the sacrifice of Christ was of his flesh and blood through crucifixion for our sins, his death for ours, and death, according to the CCC, occurs only once, after which a man’s earthly pilgrimage is over. How is Christ’s earthly pilgrimage over if he is literally present in the transubstantiated bread and wine? And how is the Eucharist a literal sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ when we know that Christ died once and, thereby, conquered death?

If Christ is true man and true God, then he cannot be said to be sacrificed in the Roman mass. For the sacrifice of Christ is the death of Christ for sinners, and “death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage…when ‘the single course of our earthly life’ is completed.”11 Therefore, either (a.)Christ is truly sacrificed in the mass (and his earthly pilgrimages have not yet ended) or (b.)death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage (and Christ is not, because he cannot be, sacrificed in the mass). One cannot hold to both propositions as true simultaneously. To summarize our arguments, therefore, we give the following syllogisms.

a.

1. All death is punishment from God.
2. Christ died for our sins.
3. Therefore, Christ was punished by God.

b.

1. All men end their earthly pilgrimage at death.
2. Christ died for our sins.
3. Therefore, Christ ended his earthly pilgrimage at the cross.

c.

1. If Christ has ended his earthly pilgrimage, then transubstantiation is false.
2. Christ has ended his earthly pilgrimage.
3. Therefore, transubstantiation is false.
 

And now consider the concluding syllogism:

1.No self-contradictory system of propositions is the Word of God.
2.The Traditions of Rome, by affirming that man’s pilgrimage ends with his death, and yet simultaneously affirming that Jesus Christ’s body and blood are sacrificed in the mass, constitute a self-contradictory system of propositions.
3.Therefore, the Traditions of Rome are not the Word of God.

Soli Deo Gloria

-h.

1 400.
2 602.
3 1013.
4 624.
5 602.
6 1013. (emphasis added)
7 ibid. (emphasis added)
8 1376.
9 1019. (emphasis added)
10 See 1367.
11 1013. (emphasis added)

The Faithful Israelite’s Sabbath: Christ Foreshadowed in the Law

rest-area-sign“Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed.” (Exodus 23:12)

When God first revealed that the Sabbath day was to be a holy day of rest, he explained that this was so “for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day” (Exo 20:11). Yet in this passage of the law (Exo 23:10-12), God gives a different reason why the Sabbath is to be a holy day of rest, viz. “that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed.” Those who labor for the faithful Israelite are to be given the Sabbath that they may rest and be refreshed. God’s Sabbath, then, was for the Israelite’s reflection on the power and goodness and provision of God, as exhibited in his act of creating the universe; and God’s Sabbath was for those labored and were heavy laden. The first articulation of the command (i.e. Exo 20:8-11) shows us that the faithful Israelite’s duty was first and foremost to love and worship the Creator of all things, Yahweh, by setting apart the one day in seven for rest and reflection. The second articulation given in Exodus 23:12 shows us that the faithful Israelite’s duty was secondly to love and serve his neighbor by allowing his servant-neighbors to enter into his rest.

The faithful Israelite, therefore, was to love God and love his neighbor this way, by ceasing from his own labors and by letting his servants enter into his rest before God. What is evident from the commandment is that if one did not observe the Sabbath, then one’s servant neighbors would not be able to enter into one’s rest. Thus, it is the law-keeping of the faithful Israelite which provides the rest and refreshment of the servant-neighbor. It is, in other words, the faithful obedience of the true Israelite which brings the laboring and striving of his servant neighbor to an end.

God paints for us a beautiful, overwhelmingly powerful picture, pointing us not to ourselves but to Christ. For Christ is the true Israelite/Son of Abraham (Matt 1:1) who labored in his redemptive work for six days (i.e. during the passion week, see here), rested on the seventh day (Luke 23:54), and who, therefore, having fulfilled the law declares:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30)

This rest is given further explication in the book of Hebrews, where we are told that “we who have believed [the Gospel] enter that rest” (Heb 4:3a), and that “whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his” (Heb 4:10).

Thus, when Moses tells the Israelites that the purpose of the Sabbath is intended, in a secondary sense of course, for the servant-neighbors of the faithful Israelite to rest and be refreshed, he is typologically representing the work of Christ Jesus, who is the True and Faithful Israelite. Christ’s work of redemption is finished. And now, therefore, we who believe enter that rest. What rest? The rest that he himself has purchased for us with his precious blood. Rest from striving to be justified by works of the Law. Rest from trying to be at peace with God through our own righteousnesses/filthy rags. Because Christ labored and completed the work set before him, we can rest from our labors as well. We “were buried…with him by baptism into death” (Rom 6:4) and, therefore, “have died to the law through the body of Christ” (Rom 7:4). We “been crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20a), and “released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:6).

We reflect on God’s salvific work, therefore, and love and serve our neighbors out of a heart filled with gratitude and love for God. Our Faithful Son of Abraham, Jesus the Perfect Israelite, has fulfilled the Law for us, his servant-neighbors, and now gives us rest. Let the Romanist take note of this: Christians rest in the Sabbath rest which Christ has rightly earned for us. There is nothing for us to do in order to be made right with God, to be at peace with God, to reflect not only on his creative work, but also on his redemptive work for sinners.

Amen.

-h.

The Foundational Contradiction of Rome: x = ~x

Crazy Confused PriestA Glaring Problem for the Supposed Infallibility of Rome

For some strange reason, a Roman Catholic apologist (for Romanism) invited me to his blog to read his confused interpretation of Romans 4. The blog was not only unnecessary (seeing as his private interpretation is not infallible and, therefore, not binding upon me as a Christian), it was also very confused. Of course, the confusion was attributed to me. I was then informed of several other equally disorientingly long – and no doubt equally as confused – blog posts that I would have to read to clear up my confusion. This kind of thing, if you have tried to deal squarely with what Rome teaches and how she is in error, is not abnormal. Most Roman Catholic apologists do this once they have been cornered into having to answer the claims of Scripture.

For the sake of clarity, then, let us look at one of the more foundational beliefs of the Roman Catholic religion, viz. Whether or not God demands perfect obedience to his Law. In an attempt to establish their own righteousness, Rome teaches that a distinction is to be made between absolute perfection, on the one hand, and relative perfection, on the other hand. This teaching is meant to alleviate the responsibility man has to fulfill the law perfectly. The distinction, however, does not eliminate the contradiction that Rome teaches when she says that God commands x and yet accepts ~x as being equal to x. For if God says do x and you will live; then it follows necessarily that my performance of x is necessary to my reception of life. And it follows, therefore, that there must be an identity between what God commands, what I perform, and what God accepts as fulfilling what he has commanded.

If God commands x, and I perform ~x, then I have not done x and, therefore, will not receive life. At least, this is what the laws of logic necessitate. For if we all agree on anything it is this: God will judge men on whether or not they have fulfilled the law. If God’s requirements take into consideration differences between persons, as Rome holds, then it still follows that God demands absolute perfection to that which he has deemed within the capacity of the creature. That is to say: Absolute perfection is nothing more than the fact that God demands x, promises life upon the performance of x, and accepts only the performance of x when he judges men. God is not irrational. He does not say that x and ~x are identical.

Consider the matter in this way: If God requires imperfect obedience as the basis of man’s acceptance with God, then he is drawing an absolute distinction between imperfect obedience and no obedience at all. So either one imperfectly obeys or he does not. There is no getting around the fact that God requires absolute perfection of obedience to at least some portion of the whole law or some portion of some portion of the whole law. In order for God to accept x (i.e. my imperfect obedience) it must be equivalent to x (i.e. the imperfect obedience required of man by God).

Thus, God only accepts my imperfect obedience if it is identical to the imperfect obedience he requires of me. In other words, God requires perfect obedience to the standard of imperfect obedience set for each putatively Christian believer in the system of Romanism. So even if the Romanist says “God accepts imperfect obedience to his law,” he is still admitting that there is a standard which God identifies as having been fulfilled by the sinner or not. And, therefore, even in the Roman Catholic religion there is an absolute standard to which God holds men accountable for either (a.)having perfectly fulfilled or (b.)having not fulfilled at all. Consider the following syllogism:

Sinners are promised life on their imperfect performance of x.

John, however, does not perform x at all.

Therefore, John will not receive life.

See the problem? Unless John perfectly obeys the laws that constitute the absolute standard of morality differentiating imperfect obedience from complete non-obedience, he cannot be saved, according to Rome.

The watering down of what God requires in his law, ironically, only further establishes the inescapable conclusion that God always demands perfect obedience from all who would be justified by works.

-h.

Some Good Reading

My friend and I have been writing for an apologetic endeavor we hope to publish in the not too distant future, so I’ve been trying to read as much as I can on a variety of topics that I think will assist my efforts. I’ve found these helpful and challenging. Just thought I’d share.

pjihpI. Christology

1. Putting Jesus in His PlaceThe Case for the Deity of Christ, by Robert Bowman & J. Ed Komoszewski. This book can be of use to the non-technical or the technical reader. It is a very well written defense of the Deity of Christ that uncovered some proofs that I had not previously considered. Good stuff!

2. “Symmetries of Equivalence: Logos and Theos in John 1:1-2,” in Kerux, by James T. Dennison, Jr.. Dennison explores some subtle structural aspects of John 1:1-2 and demonstrates that the verses aim to give emphasis to the Jesus’ essential equality to the Father.

II. Biblical Epistemology

1. “The Knowledge of God in Romans 1:18-23,” in JETS 43/4 (December 2000), 695–707, by Richard Alan Young. This essay attempts to flesh out the meaning of general revelation according to Romans 1. While I don’t agree with the author’s conclusion, I find his work illuminating in a number of ways.

thomwatson2.The Scriptures, by Thomas Watson. Watson is just brilliant. His defense of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is very helpful.

3. “The Gospel of the Memra: Jewish Binitarianism and the Prologue to John,” in The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 94, No. 3 (Jul., 2001), pp. 243-284, by Daniel Boyarin. This essay examines John’s prologue and its relation to Jewish Binitarianism. Interesting, if nothing more ;)

4.“Language from a Christian Perspective Reconsidered,” in Journal of Christianity and Foreign Languages, 12 (2011): 10–28, by Richard Robison. Another interesting piece.

III. Metaphysics

1. All or Nothing? Nature in Chinese Thought and the Apophatic Occident,” in Comparative Philosophy Volume 5, No. 2 (2014): 4-24, by William Franke. This essay is helpful in demonstrating the natural end of materialism once it is unfettered from Christian suppositions, viz. mystical monism/pantheism.

til next time.

-h.