Dagdag na patunay sa Purgatoryo

Dagdag na patunay sa Purgatoryo

By: Bro. Cenon Bibe Jr.

 Dagdag na patunay sa Purgatoryo

SA KATATAPOS po nating post ay ipinaliwanag natin kung ano ang PURGATORYO at ipinakita natin ang mga BATAYAN nito sa LUMANG TIPAN at sa BAGONG TIPAN.

Sinabi po natin na diyan sa PURGATORYO NILILINIS o PINATATAWAD ang mga KASALANAN sa KABILANG BUHAY.

Kahit po kasi INILIGTAS na tayo ng PANGINOON sa pamamagitan ng PAGBUBUHOS NIYA ng DUGO sa KRUS ay may mga pagkakataon na NARURUMIHAN uli ang ating KALULUWA dahil sa mga KASALANAN na ating NAGAGAWA.

Ngayon, sa ating pagpanaw sa mundong ito ay may mga kasalanan po na DALA-DALA pa rin natin. Iyan po ang mga HINDI natin NAIHINGI ng TAWAD dito.

At kahit po MALIIT na KASALANAN lang iyan ay magiging DAHILAN IYAN para HINDI TAYO MAKAPASOK AGAD sa LANGIT.

Kahit po kasi ang MALIIT na MALING GAWA ay KASALANAN.

Sabi nga po sa 1 John 5:17, “Ang LAHAT ng MALING GAWA ay KASALANAN.”

At dahil KASALANAN ang KAHIT MALIIT na MALING GAWA, magiging HADLANG po iyan sa PAGPASOK natin sa LANGIT.

Saan po makikita na HADLANG ang MALIIT na MALING GAWA o MALIIT na KASALANAN sa PAGPASOK sa LANGIT?

Sa Revelation 21:27 po ay mababasa natin, “WALANG MARUMI na MAKAPAPASOK” sa LANGIT.

So para po MAKAPASOK tayo sa LANGIT ay KAILANGANG MALINIS o MAPATAWAD ang MALIIT na KASALANAN na iyan.

Ang PAGLILINIS o PAGPAPATAWAD ng KASALANAN sa KABILANG BUHAY ay doon ginagawa sa PURGATORYO.

Ang Panginoong Hesus po ang mismong NAGSABI may PAGPAPATAWAD PA ng KASALANAN sa KABILANG BUHAY.

Sa Matthew 12:32 ay sinasabi niya, “Sino man ang magsalita laban sa Anak ng Tao ay mapapatawad, pero sino man ang magsalita laban sa Espiritu Santo ay HINDI PATATAWARIN, DITO sa PANAHONG ITO o sa DARATING NA PANAHON.”

Ang tinutukoy po riyan na “PANAHON ITO” ay ang BUHAY dito sa LUPA at ang “DARATING NA PANAHON” ay ang sa KABILANG BUHAY.

Meron pong nangangatwiran na ang ibig sabihin daw ni Hesus diyan ay “noong panahon nila” at sa “panahon sa hinaharap o sa future.”

MALI po ang PAKAHULUGAN nilang iyan.

Parang pinalalabas nila na kung may kasalanan na hindi napatawad nung UNANG SIGLO ay mapapatawad na iyon pagdating sa IKALAWANG SIGLO o pagdating ng PANAHON NATIN.

Ganoon? May EXPIRATION DATE po ba ang KASALANAN?

WALA po.

Kaya MALINAW po na ang tinutukoy na DARATING na PANAHON ay ang sa KABILANG BUHAY.

Dahil diyan ay PINATUTUNAYAN ni KRISTO na MAYROONG PURGATORYO o LINISAN ng KASALANAN.

Sa Mt 5:25-26 po ay ipinapakita uli ng PANGINOON ang IMAHEN ng PURGATORYO.

Sinasabi riyan ni Hesus, “Makipagkasundo ka agad sa umaakusa sa iyo habang papunta kayo sa hukuman, o ang nag-aakusa sa iyo ay ibibigay ka sa huwes, ang huwes ay ibibigay ka sa bantay, at ikaw ay itatapon sa KULUNGAN.”

“Tunay na sinasabi ko sa iyo, HINDI KA MAKAKALABAS DOON HANGGA’T HINDI MO NABABAYARAN ang KAHULI-HULIHANG MAMERA.”

“UTANG” po bang PERA ang tinutukoy ni Hesus diyan? O kasalanan po ba si lipunan ang tinutumbok ng talata?

HINDI po. Kung titingnan po natin ang mga kasamang talata ng Mt 5:25-26 ay makikita po natin na ang tinutukoy diyan ay KASALANAN sa KAPWA o KASALANAN sa DIYOS.

Sa Mt 5:22 pa nga po ay tinukoy ang KASALANAN na sa IMPIYERNO ang LAGPAK ng TAO?

Ngayon, SAAN po ba NAGBABAYAD ng KALIIT-LIITANG KASALANAN kapag HUMARAP na tayo sa HUWES o sa DIYOS na HUHUSGA sa ATIN?

HINDI po sa LANGIT dahil WALA pong MARUMI na PAPASOK DOON. (Rev 21:27)

HINDI rin po sa IMPIYERNO dahil WALA na pong KAPATAWARAN ang mga NAROON.

So, SAAN iyang sinasabi ni Hesus na “KULUNGAN” kung saan PAGBABAYARAN NATIN ang LAHAT “hanggang sa KAHULI-HULIHANG MAMERA” o KASALANAN?

Sa PURGATORYO po.

So, MALINAW at MARAMI po ang mga PATUNAY mula sa BIBLIYA na MAY PURGATORYO. Ang walang batayan ay ang mga pagtutol dito.

Salamat po.

Nasa Bible ba ang purgatoryo?

Nasa Bible ba ang purgatoryo?

By: Bro. Cenon Bibe Jr.

 Nasa Bible ba ang purgatoryo?

BIGYANG daan po natin ang text ng isang sumubaybay noon sa column natin sa Tumbok.

Sabi niya:
“Malapit na naman ang Undas at paboritong pag-usapan na naman ng ibang sekta ang purgatoryo. San ba sinabi sa Bible na may purgatoryo?”

Salamat po.

Ang paniniwala po nating mga Katoliko sa Purgatoryo ay NAKABATAY sa sinasabi ng BIBLIYA na may mga kasalanan na NAPAPATAWAD sa KABILANG BUHAY.

Sa 2 Maccabees 12:43-44 at 46 ay sinasabi, “Nagpakulekta siya [si Judas Macabeo] sa kanyang mga sundalo na umabot sa 2,000 drachma. Ipinadala nila ito sa Herusalem bilang alay sa ikapapatawad ng kanilang kasalanan.”

“Sa ginawa niyang ito, gumawa siya ng isang NAPAKAGALING at KAHANGA-HANGANG BAGAY hangga’t ang nasa isip niya ay ang pagkabuhay na muli ng mga patay.”

“Dahil kung hindi niya inaasahan ang pagkabuhay muli ng mga nagupo, walang saysay at kalokohan na lang ang pananalangin para sa mga namatay.”

“Kaya nga gumawa siya ng pag-aalay para sa mga patay nang sila ay MAPALAYA SA KASALANAN.”

PURIHIN ang DIYOS!

Ang pag-aalay raw po para sa IKAPAPATAWAD ng KASALANAN ng NAMATAY ay “isang NAPAKAGALING at KAHANGA-HANGANG BAGAY.”

At iyan daw po ay kaugnay sa “INAASAHAN [na] PAGKABUHAY MULI” o RESURRECTION.

So, ang PANINIWALA po sa PANANALANGIN sa PAGPAPATAWAD ng KASALANAN sa KABILANG BUHAY ay BAHAGI ng PANINIWALA ng mga UMAASA sa PAGKABUHAY na MULI.

Ang tanong po ay SAAN BA NAGAGANAP ang PAGPAPATAWAD sa KASALANAN doon sa KABILANG BUHAY?

Iyan po ay nagaganap sa PURGATORYO.

Ang PURGATORYO po kasi ay galing sa LATIN na PURGARE na ang kahulugan ay GAWING MALINIS o GAWING DALISAY.

So, ang PURGATORYO po ay kung saan NILILINIS o DINADALISAY ang KALULUWA ng isang TAO.

Bakit po kailangang LINISIN o DALISAYIN ang isang KALULUWA sa KABILANG BUHAY?

Dahil po ayon sa BIBLIYA, partikular sa Revelation 21:27, “WALANG MARUMI na MAKAPAPASOK doon [LANGIT].”

So, MALIWANAG po na MAY PURGATORYO sa BIBLIYA at ang BATAYAN nito ay parehong nasa LUMANG TIPAN (2 Mac 12:43-44, 46) at sa BAGONG TIPAN (Rev 21:27).

Pero tiyak pong kukuwestiyunin ng mga HINDI KATOLIKO ang paggamit natin sa aklat ng MACABEO.

Sasabihin nila “hindi kasama sa Bibliya ang Maccabees.”

Sa SALIN po na gamit NILA ay malamang na walang Maccabees, pero sa ORIHINAL na BIBLIYA na batay sa mga kasulatan na GINAMIT ni HESUS, ng mga APOSTOL at ng mga UNANG KRISTIYANO ay KASAMA po ang MACCABEES

Ang KASULATAN po na GINAMIT nina KRISTO ay ang SEPTUAGINT o ang GREEK VERSION ng LUMANG TIPAN.

Sa SEPTUAGINT po ay KASAMA ang MACCABEES at TIYAK na BINASA rin ng PANGINOONG HESUS at ng mga APOSTOL.

Kaya nga po mismong ang PANGINOONG HESUS ay NANGARAL na MAY KAPATAWARAN PA ng KASALANAN sa KABILANG BUHAY.

Ipinakita Niya iyan sa Matthew 12:32.

Sabi riyan ng Panginoon, “Sino man na magsalita laban sa Anak ng Tao ay mapapatawad.”

“Pero sino man ang magsalita laban sa Espiritu Santo ay hindi mapapatawad sa panahon na ito o kahit pa sa DARATING NA PANAHON.”

Ang “darating na panahon” na tinutukoy rito ay ang “KABILANG BUHAY.”

So, si KRISTO po mismo ay NAGPAHAYAG na MAY KAPATAWARAN pa ng KASALANAN sa KABILANG BUHAY.

At muli po, ang TAWAG natin kung saan PINATATAWAD ang mga KASALANAN ay PURGATORYO.

Sa PURGATORYO po kasi NILILINIS ang KASALANAN ng TAONG sumakabilang buhay na.

So, MALINAW po ang BATAYAN ng PURGATORYO sa KABILANG BUHAY.

At MALINAW rin po na ang PANINIWALA sa PURGATORYO ay MAHALAGA sa mga TAONG UMAASA pa ng PAGKABUHAY na MULI. (2Mac 12:43-44, 46)

Kaya po ang iba na ‘DI NANINIWALA sa PURGATORYO ay maaaring HINDI na UMASA sa PAGKABUHAY na MULI.

Muntik ng Maligaw ng Landas, Salamat sa CFD

Muntin ng Maligaw ng Landas, Salamat sa CFD

Karanasan ni: harlem jude

A new comment on the post “OPEN LETTER TO AN IGLESIA NI CRISTO MEMBER By: Esteban Raymundo” is waiting for your approval
http://catholicfaithdefender.wordpress.com/2008/04/04/open-letter-to-an-iglesia-ni-cristo-member-by-esteban-raymundo/

Author : harlem jude (IP: 121.54.34.89 , 121.54.34.89)
E-mail : harlemjudeferolino@yahoo.com
URL    :
Whois  : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/121.54.34.89
Comment:
if i didn’t know what my religion is ay mapapa-convert na kami ng INC… (–,) i’m reading some of our CATHOLIC FAITH DEFENDERS’ writings all over the philippines… and that strengthen my faith..

the INC’s and other non-catholics are forcing me to
leave the church and come with them with their doctrines..
but i am a full-blooded roman catholic..
they’re saying they too are a full-blooded catholic
but had left the church because they had opened their eyes
and found the true religion…

then i told them, i don’t want to be converted.
i’m on the true religion…
and i don’t throw stones to your faith,
i’m only defending my faith against your
wrong accusations…

those who don’t know much of
their faith are easily be fooled. (–,)

ARE ALL IMAGES, IDOLS?

ARE ALL IMAGES, IDOLS?

 


Defense: Catholic Truth

Page 38-41

By: Bro. Socrates Fernandez

 


Nihil Obstat:

Msgr. Adelito Abella

Imprimatur:

Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, D.D.

Archdiocese of Cebu

 

1 323892636l ARE ALL IMAGES, IDOLS?

OBJECTION #1: It is clear in the bible which says, “Therefore, do not become corrupted; do not make an idol or a god carved in form of a man or of a woman” (Deut. 4:16). “You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, Yahweh, your God, I am a jealous God…” (Exodus 20:5). “I am Yahweh, that is my name, I will not give my glory to another or my praise to graven images” (Isa. 42:8).

Here, it is very clear that God prohibits the carving of images in the form of man or woman; what God allows to be carved are those images of cherubim or images of man (Ex. 25:18-19), but God never recommended those images to be worshipped.

ANSWER: Is the text used from Deut. 4:16 that God prohibits the making of any images of man or woman, a prohibition without any condition? Or the prohibition means that the images shall not be thought of as God? Because if you will say that the making of images, be it man or woman, is really prohibited without any condition, then, God is the first one who violated the law when He commanded Moses to make images of angels or cherubim.

1 532893986l ARE ALL IMAGES, IDOLS?

If these angels are represented by the images allowed by Yahweh, these are images of men but with wings. Since the angels, upon appearing before Lot, were in form of men who are masculine (Gen. 19:1,5-8). Also, inside the temple or the House of God, these are images of cherubim and images of men: “He took me into the sanctuary…adorned with carved cherubs and palm tress and cherubs alternating, each cherub had two faces-the face of a man facing the palm tree on one side…” (Ezek. 41:1, 18-19). It is clear then that if all images represent false god, then God is the first one who erred when He commanded Moses to carve the images of angels (Ex. 25:18-19) and the image of a fiery serpent (Num. 21:8). But as we already know, God cannot commit any fault, therefore, it is our misinterpretation which led us to err in saying that all images represent false god. The Scripture teaches us what are false gods: “For we know an idol (false god) is without existence…” (1 Cor. 8:4). The Glory and praise of God can never be given to these idols which represent things which are non-existent. Therefore, it is very clear that the images of the angels and the saints are not idols because they are representing true beings.

 

OBJECTION #2: God also prohibits anyone to worship or to knell down in front of the images, even to procession the images, like Catholics are doing, because it is written: “Some pour out gold from their purses and with silver weight on the scales, they hire a goldsmith to make an image before which they bow and worship. They cry out to it, but it does not answer. It does not answer. It delivers no one from distress and disaster” (Isa. 46:6-7).

ANSWER: We have proven in the first answer that not all images are idols. This text quoted from Isaiah 46:6-7, wherein gold is made into an image, is worshipped and recognized as God can never be used to strike down the practice of Catholic sense there is no Catholic doctrine which teaches that images are being thought of as God. The passage from Exodus 20:5, which prohibits believer to bow down before images and served them is when this images are considered god. Proof to this is when the people of God in a procession of the ark, bearing the Ten Commandments, carried engraved stone tablets. Above the ark, two images of cherubim are placed (2 Samuel 6:2-5).

 

OBJECTION #3: He who casts his eyes on an idol or image is also worshipping idols for the Bible says, “But he who looks to the idols, does detestable things” (Ezequiel 18:12).

ANSWER: What is prohibited in Ezequiel 18:12 clearly cites the look of one’s eyes on the idols and here the idols mention in the scripture. “Bel bow down, Nebo stoops and their carriages weighed down with heavy images their idols borne by beasts of burden…” (Isa. 46:1).

But in the image of cherubim or that of a fiery serpent Yahweh had told Moses he is there to have a conversation with His people, there is no prohibition with that (Ex. 25:22). Anyone who looks at the graven fiery serpent, which represents the presence of God, will be cured from the poisonous bite of the snakes (Num. 21:8). “Moses pleaded for the people and Yahweh said to him, Moses a fiery serpent and a set on a standard; whoever has been bitten and then looks at it shall live.”

 

OBJECTION #4: One is also prohibited to kneel down before the image. “What was the answer of God? I kept for myself seven thousand who did not worship Baal” (Romans 11:4).

ANSWER: It is clear that the image prohibited by God to be worshipped is that of Baal who is a false god. However, Joshua, the man of God, while he prays, prostrates himself in front of the ark where the image is placed. The bible says, “Then, Joshua and all the leaders of Israel don their garments, put ashes on their heads remained prostate before the ark of Yahweh until evening” (Josh 7:6).

 

OBJECTION #5: It is unlawful to pray to images (1 Kings 18:26).

1 347752415l ARE ALL IMAGES, IDOLS?

ANSWER: No Catholic who is normal prays to images. The Catholic doctrine says, “We are not praying to the crucifix or to the images or to the relics of the saints” (New Baltimore Catechism no. 3 page 132)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OBJECTION #6: It is unlawful to dance before images. “When he drew to the camp and saw the calf and dancing, his anger burst forth and he threw the slabs from his hands and shattered them against the base of the mountain” (Ex. 32:19).

ANSWER: Dancing before image is an act of idolatry. However, the man of God, King David, because of his abundant joy, danced before the ark of the Lord.

 

OBJECTION #7: It is unlawful to kiss an image. “Yet I will spare seven thousand in Israel who have not knelt before Baal whose lips have not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).

ANSWER: It is the same men who kissed by men before Baal, the false god. Therefore, it is unlawful before the true God (1 Kings 19:18).

 

OBJECTION #8: All these prohibitions stated in the Bible regarding images are really violated by the Catholics. Here, the Catholics says that the worship the tree. The Catholic Church in its liturgy during Good Friday sings this line: “Ecce Lignum crucis, in quo salus mundi pepindit. Venite Adoremus”. (Behold the wooden cross, upon which the one crucified is the salvation of the world. Come, let us adore Him). After this song, the priest carefully places the cross above the cotton foam, bows his head three times before the cross and on the third time, the priest kissed it, while two of his lay assistants will sing the following: “Crucem tuam, adoremus Domine” (Lord, we worship your cross).

ANSWER: Our act of worshipping the cross during Good Friday does not mean that it is the wooden cross that we pay homage to, but the one crucified on the cross, whom we worship. It is figure of speech called metonymy which is an act of addressing, possessing or owning as if one the owner. Like when we mention the “crown or throne” which represents the king.

1 301213268l ARE ALL IMAGES, IDOLS?

Just like what Jacob did. “By faith Jacob, before he dead, blessed both children of Joseph and worshipped as he learned on his staff” (Heb. 11:21). This simply means that the one he worships is the one represented by the staff who is Christ. “Extol the Lord, our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is He, and mighty!” (Psalm 98:5, Catholic version). The one to be worshipped in this passage is the footstool but actually footstool here represents the Lord himself.

PROF. RAMON GITAMONDOC, CFD National President EXCHANGES ON SACRED IMAGES part 1

STO.%2BNINO%2BDE%2BCEBU%2B1 PROF. RAMON GITAMONDOC, CFD National President EXCHANGES ON SACRED IMAGES part 1

The Image of the Holy Child, Sto. Nino de Cebu

Dear Benjie,

First of all I would like to thank you for reading my first response and for sending me your counter-response. I hope that through this exchange I could clarify to you the catholic position on the proper use of images in worship. I have posted your reply in bold black while my comments are in blue.

Thank you for your email and the opportunity to exchange some important thoughts about God how we are to truly worship and obey Him. I don’t mind relatively long answers and I understand they can be elicited by even the shortest questions. In fact I appreciate your long answers and your taking the time to compose them. I have read through your response quite a few times to make sure that I understand what you are trying to say. Please allow me to respond to your points and I hope this will be the start of a healthy and beneficial exchange of thoughts.

I appreciate you for making the above comments.

Let me pose a thought about how the Bible is very clear when it comes to images. Going back to Deut 4:15, God warned the Israelites not to even make any visible representation of Him since they saw no form. “So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth.” (Deu 4:15-18)

The Catholic Church is in complete agreement with your statement. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) paragraph 2129 we can read: The divine injunction included in the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man. Deuteronomy explains: “Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure…” (Deut 4:15-16). It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel. “He is the all,” but at the same time “he is greater than all his works” (Sir 43:27-28). He is “the author of beauty” (Wis 13:3).

I think the key to understanding the prohibition in Deut 4:15-18 and the Church’s teaching in CCC 2129 is the phrase “Since you saw no form…” If we read Deut 4:15-18 carefully what God proscribes is the making of man-made representations of Him as if the divinity can be found in those visible forms or as if God existed in those visible forms. For example, God appeared to Moses at Mount Sinai in the form of a burning bush (Exo 3:3) but we are not to think that God is really the form of a burning bush. The Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove during the baptism of our Lord (Mat 3:16) but we are not to think that the Holy Spirit is really the form of a dove. When God appeared to the prophet Daniel in a vision in the form of man (Dan 7:13) we are not to think that God in his divinity is in the form of man (as the Mormons think that God has a body). This teaching is repeated by St Paul in the New Testament: “Since therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination” (Acts 17:29). Thus Deut 4:15-18 is a proscription against idolatry that is the worship of images as God or the belief that images carved by men are the form of God thereby attaching virtue or divinity to the image.

The book of the prophet Isaiah portrays vividly idol worship: “With a part of their wood he warms himself, or makes a fire for baking bread; but with another part he makes a god which he adores, an idol which he worships… Of what remains he makes a god, his idol, and prostrate before it in worship, he implores it, “Rescue me, for you are my god” (Isa 44:15-17). Thus it is clear that the pagan thinks that the image which he carves is the form of his god and has inherent power in them and because of this they worship such idols. This is totally different from the Catholic teaching and practice. As I have mentioned in my first response that the Catholic Church teaches that images are not the form of the divinity, nor do they have inherent virtue or power in them that for which they are to be honored but that the honor which is given them is referred to the originals which they represent.

God is talking about the mere making of a (man-made) representation of Him, the infinite and invisible God. Likewise with Exo 20:4. I think you and I cannot even begin to talk about how the images are used – whether for worship, decoration, veneration, reminder, iconolatry, etc. God’s command is clear. We are not to make any representation of Him — whatever the intentions of our hearts might be.

After making clear that icons are not representations of the divinity (i.e., that God exist in these forms made by man) the Catholic Church recognizes the use of sacred images in economy of God’s revelation to man.

CCC par 2130 Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically toward salvation by the incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenant and the cherubim. (Num 21:4-9; Wis 16:5-14; Jn 3:14-15; Exo 25:18-22; 1 Kings 6:23-28; 7:23-26)

God cannot command in one part of the Scriptures what He forbids in another part for God cannot contradict Himself. If Exodus 20:4 is an absolute prohibition on the use of images in worship then God would contradict himself because in Exo 25:18-22 He commanded Moses to make a graven image of a cherubim. God would have contradicted Himself for in Eze 41:18-19 He ordained that His temple be adorned with sacred images. Only the Catholic position would harmonize these seeming contradictions. In Exo 20:3-5 God was proscribing against idolatry (that is the worship of images as gods) while in Exo 25:18-22, Eze 41:18-19 He ordains the proper use of images in worship (iconolatry). This distinction is very important in understanding the Catholic position.

You ask, “Could not God also use sacred images, signs and symbols to uplift the mind and heart of men to divine realities?” I do not deny the feeling you get when you look upon painted and carved images. They may very well cause you to look towards the reality of Heaven represented by them. But God is as much concerned about the means, as He is with the end, especially when it comes to approaching Him. He has laid down clear commands and guidelines. I would urge you to study the example of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10. “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.’” So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.” (Lev 10:1-3)

I totally agree with you that obedience to God’s will is of paramount importance. I believe that when Moses carved the graven image of the Cherubim and placed it on the Ark of Covenant He was obeying the will of God. I believe that when Joshua prostrated himself before the Ark of Covenant on top of which was the image of two the cherubims of glory he was doing the will of God (Joshua 7:6). I believe that when Solomon and people of Israel made God’s temple and adorned it with sacred images they were doing the will of God (Eze 41:18-19, 2 Chron 7:15-16).

They wanted to worship God in a way that was not prescribed by Him. As a result, fire from the Lord consumed them and God told Moses that those who come near Him must treat Him as holy and honor Him. They could very well have thought along the same line of thinking and felt uplifted with their new method of worship. This line of thinking got them killed right then and there. We see here that however we intend to worship the true and living God, God has laid down His clear commands, spoken to His prophets, written down for us in Scripture.

Yet God in the Old Testament prescribes that His temple be adorned with sacred images. Catholic use of images in worship is not a new method of worshipping God but is in consonance with the practice of the people of God in the Old Testament. God also commands us in Scriptures to honor sacred images. We have examples of this in the Old Testament: “When they came to the threshing floor of Nodan, Uzzah reached out his hand to the ark of God and steadied it, for the oxen were making it tip. But the LORD was angry with Uzzah; God struck him on that spot, and he died there before God” (2 Sam 6:6-7). The Lord has commanded elsewhere that only the priest can touch the Ark of Covenant for it is holy but Uzzah disregarded God’s prohibition and was punished. In the book of Psalms God was not pleased when the enemies of Israel destroyed the sacred symbols inside His temple: “Turn your steps toward the utter ruins, toward the sanctuary devastated by the enemy. Your foes roared triumphantly in your shrine; they set up their own tokens of victory. They hacked away like foresters gathering boughs, swinging their axes in a thicket of trees. They smashed all your engraved work, pounded it with hammer and pick. They set your sanctuary on fire; the abode of your name they razed and profaned. They said in their hearts, “Destroy them all! Burn all the shrines of God in the land!” (Psalms 74:3-8).

These are Old Testament examples. I would like pose a question to you regarding the New Testament. If images were indeed that beneficial, would not one gospel writer even mention it, even in passing? If it were so essential so as to make iconolatry a command given by the Roman church, why don’t we see it even mentioned by one gospel writer in the entire New Testament?

Thank you for your question. First, I would like to point out that in the Catholic Church there is what we call a hierarchy of truths. Some truths are more central or fundamental to the Christian faith than others. For example doctrines regarding the Trinity, Incarnation, and Redemption are more fundamental than the doctrines about images, saints, angels, and Mary. Even if the doctrine on the use of images in worship is not central to the Catholic Faith, we believe that it is a truth revealed by God nevertheless. As Catholics we are not free to pick and chose on what we like to believe. We are bound to accept all that God has taught us in Scriptures and the Church’s teachings.

In response to your question I would invoke a key principle in Biblical interpretation: That whatever God has explicitly commanded in the Old Testament which He has not revoked in the New Testament then that command is still valid. We see God explicitly commanding Moses and the Israelites to use sacred images to adorn God’s temple. This explicit command was not abrogated neither by Jesus nor the apostles in the New Testament. Therefore, the command is still valid. However, I would beg to disagree when you said that this was not mentioned by one gospel writer in the New Testament. Let me quote St Paul in his letter to the Hebrews: “Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies, in which were the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant entirely covered with gold. In it were the gold jar containing the manna, the staff of Aaron that had sprouted, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. Now is not the time to speak of these in detail. With these arrangements for worship, the priests, in performing their service” (Heb 9:3-6). Jesus mentions the bronze serpent in the desert as pointing to His death on the cross: “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life (John 3:14-15). In the New Testament we find that laws pertaining to unclean foods, Sabbaths, circumcision, etc was already abrogated for they have already found fulfillment in Jesus but nowhere can we find that the use of images in worship has been revoked. On the other hand, when Jesus appeared in human form He ushered a new era of sacred images… that of the image of Christ, his mother, and of the saints. When Jesus became man he was seen in human form and thus made it lawful to represent him in human form. The early Christian martyrs who hid and worshipped in the catacombs during the roman persecution attested to this holy practice of representing Jesus through their carvings in the walls of the catacombs.

If I may take your indulgence, I would like to offer a solution as to why the New Testament mentions very little (nothing in fact according to your observation) on the subject of sacred images. As I have mentioned initially that there is a hierarchy of truths within the Christian faith. During the time of Jesus the temple which the Israelites have rebuilt was still standing and this temple with all probability was adorned with sacred images as is its predecessor. It was something taken for granted as permitted by God and not so to speak a “big issue” for them. The apostles in their written account on the life, words and deeds of our Lord focused on the more pressing issues of the day ie., The messiahship of Jesus, his divinity, incarnation and the redemption. When the early Christians started to separate themselves from Judaism, the use of sacred images was not a common practice among them for a very prudent reason. They were subjected to roman persecution and possessing images of our Lord would naturally invite apprehension by the hateful authorities. But despite this situation the pious faith of the early Christians prompted them to carve images and symbols which represented Jesus in his humanity and this is attested by archaeological evidence found in the catacombs. When the persecution ended, the Christians were free to practice their religion in public and this ushered a new era of sculpture and painting of sacred images of Jesus, Mary and the other saints and martyrs. This practice was uncontested for the next 500 years until the time of the Iconoclast heresy led by Emperor Leo the Isaurian who burned Churches and caused precious images of Christ and the saints to be melted and the metal reformed in his own effigy. The bishops of the Catholic Church convened in the Second Council in Nicaea in 787 AD in order to suppress the Iconoclast heresy. For the next hundred years, sacred images again flourished to adorn Christian shrines and churches. The next wave of opposition against the use of sacred images came from the Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII, et al). In countries where the monarch were protestants we can witness pillage of churches which still can be observed nowadays with some headless statues of saints for example in some Anglican churches in England.

As to God’s commands to Moses to make cherubim and to David in the construction of the temple, can we make them a justification to make images? As you said, God does not contradict Himself. He has commanded in Deut 4:15 and Exo 20:4. What then is the difference?

I think I have answered this question in the preceding paragraph but I shall repeat it here. In Exo 20:3-5 and Deut 4:15 God was proscribing against idolatry (that is the worship of images as gods) while in Exo 25:18-22, Eze 41:18-19 He ordains the proper use of images in worship. Again, this distinction is very important in understanding the Catholic position.

The difference, I would posit, in the command to Moses and to David is that — they were God’s commands — out of His infinite wisdom, power and sovereignty.

But for what purpose did God command them to carve graven images of Cherubim and other sacred images which adorn God’s temple? If God is infinite wisdom then He must have a wise purpose for all His actions. If God is infinite power then He can also use sacred symbols to manifest that power as He did when He commanded Moses to make a graven image of a serpent so that all who look upon the bronze serpent will be healed from the snake’s venom (Num 21:4-9). If God is sovereign then why do we question Him when he permits and ordains in Scriptures the right use of images in worship?

For example, to help you see where I’m coming from, in Gen 22, God commanded Abraham to kill Isaac and offer him as a burnt offering. Can you use God’s command to Abraham to kill Isaac as a justification to do likewise today?

God commanded Abraham to kill Isaac in order to test him and to illicit his strong faith and to serve as model in faith and obedience to God’s will. Otherwise how would we know of Abraham’s faith if not by his actions and obedience to God’s command. Abraham knew that despite God’s command God will be able to fulfill His promise to make Him the father of a great nation. So with regards to God’s command to Abraham, He has a purpose. God knew already that Abraham will obey Him. But He gave the test in order for Abraham to perform a meritorious act and to make Abraham’s faith known to us. Thus, we see that God does not act capriciously just to show his sovereignty. With regards to His command to adorn His temple with sacred images He also has a purpose and that is to uplift the minds and hearts of His people to divine realities through their senses. What sacred music does to the ears (and I know a lot of non-catholic fellowship have wonderful choirs) sacred carvings and paintings does to the eyes. But among the five senses the eyes is more important than the ears in giving insight and knowledge. Thus in Catholic worship all our physical and spiritual faculties are engaged towards God.

In Jeremiah 8:10, God said that He will give the wives of the Israelites to others. Will this make God inconsistent because God also commanded “Thou shall not commit adultery?”

We should not understand Jeremiah 8:10 as God positively willing to give the wives of the Israelites to others for then He would be inconsistent about His prohibition of adultery. Rather, Jeremiah 8:10 should be understood as God permitting the Israelites to be defeated by their enemies and their wives be taken by their invaders as a punishment for their sinful ways. Both catholic and protestant theologians distinquish between God’s positive will and His permissive will. God positively wills good to happen but he permissively allow evil to happen for if not it would make God the author of evil. Jeremiah 8:10 employs the language of prophecy about the impending punishment of Israel because of their constant violation of God’s commandments.

Throughout the Bible, there are specific commands and declarations of God to specific people or groups of people that we cannot carelessly copy today.

You are right about that. On the other hand there are commands from God in the Old Testament which we cannot carelessly neglect today. I think this includes the right use of images in worship since this is part of God’s revelation to man which was consummated in the incarnation of the only begotten Son of God.

Who are we to presume that we can do as God did?

Catholics are not presuming to do as God did. The Catholic Church has always warned us against the sin of presumption that we could do better than God. What Catholics believe is that God forbids idolatry but permits and ordains iconolatry. We are simply trying to obey God’s commands and trusting in His divine wisdom that through Scriptures and the guidance of the Church sacred images can be used to uplift the mind and hearts of men for the greater glory of God.

Another (probably weak, bear with me) example I can think of is when you forbid your 2-year old child to even light a matchstick because you cannot even begin to imagine what can happen. Will you be inconsistent if you forbid lighting a match stick with your child, but you yourself can light that same matchstick? Can the child say “My dad did it, why can’t I do it?” Your 2-year old cannot possibly fathom your reason for doing things. Your understanding is far greater than your child’s. In the same way, we cannot possibly begin to understand God’s reason for doing things because His understanding is infinitely beyond ours. But what we do have is His clear command — we are not to make any visible representations of Him.

In your example, I agree that the 2-year old child should respect the wisdom of his father even if for the moment he might protest because he does not comprehend the father’s good intentions to keep him from harm’s way. It is a good thing that you mentioned about the Dad. I presume that you are a Dad and I too am a Dad (I have 3 lovely daughters as of this writing). This is what I learned about being a Dad. Even though our children is not expected to understand fully our prohibition (they most of the time insist) yet we have the obligation to at least give them a good explanation for such prohibition. Some Dads (I hope there are few) would not like their children to question their authority and yet they fail to explain to their children in a language they can understand the reasons for such prohibition. If Dads do this, then they appear to be acting capriciously towards their children. Their children might obey them but it would be out of fear and not out of love and respect. To continue with your example suppose that the child now comes of age and he learns the proper use of the match stick I think that the wise Dad would gladly allow his child to light the match stick.

Let me clarify my point (please bear with me also). God (Our Father) has forbidden his people (us) from making any visible representations of Him (Deut 4:1-18) to protect them (us) from idolatrous practices as the heathens do who place their hopes in idols. On the other hand He has commanded his people (us) to adorn His temple with sacred images not in order that we worship them as gods (thus making an idol out of them) but in order to lift our minds and hearts to Him. Children needed to be taught the right way. But we are already adults in the faith and we understand fully the difference between idolatry and iconolatry. St. Paul encouraged his fellow Christians to a grow and mature in the faith: “Therefore, let us leave behind the basic teaching about Christ and advance to maturity, without laying the foundation all over again: repentance from dead works and faith in God” (Hebrews 6:1).

My comment on how the Lord Jesus could not at any time have looked like the image of the Sto Nino was refering to how people adorn the image, not on the physical features, since we do not have any record of that. Jesus was born in a manger. He did not have the royal adornments that we see put on the Sto Nino. He lived the ordinary life of a carpenter’s son when he was a child, not in a palace.

I’m glad that your clarified your point. Actually Catholics also portrays Jesus in the way you prescribed. Just take a look at the “Belen” during Christmas time. We will see there the image of the child Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes as the Bible describes: “While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:6-7). But there are also other Biblical passages that portray the child Jesus as King: “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, From David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever” (Isaiah 9:5-6). “She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne” (Revelations 12:5). This is what the image of the Sto Nino tries to portray: the child Jesus as king holding a scepter (symbol of kingly dominion) and raising his hands in a sign of peace (Prince of Peace).

The image of Lapu-lapu in Mactan does remind me of Lapu-lapu, even though I have not examined its facial features. But after last year’s Kadaugan sa Mactan, I read criticisms in Sunstar because the actors and Lapu-lapu himself wore modern rubber shoes and shades. Lapu-lapu and his comrades could not have looked like them, they said. They said it took away the solemnity of the event. If you have to represent somebody, do it right. Be faithful to the one you are representing. You are not free to innovate and decorate.

I can agree with Sunstar critics. Rubber shoes and shades cannot be associated with Lapu-lapu. I too hope that the performers could have done better in depicting Lapu-lapu instead of making his character a laughing stock. I agree with you that if we are to represent somebody we should do it right and be faithful to the one we are representing. Your admonition especially applies when the person we are trying to represent is Jesus. This is why I am personally against people who would try to depict Jesus as a hippie beside a large motorbike, Jesus wearing a basketball uniform, or Jesus laughing loudly. Jesus never did appear as a hippie, he never was a basketball player, and with his humility and meekness I would seriously doubt if Jesus ever laughed boisterously. But these kind of images have never been part of the Catholic tradition of sacred icons. In Scriptures Jesus is portrayed as a child in a manger, as a son of a carpenter (so most probably this was his trade during those hidden years in Nazareth), as baptized in the river Jordan, as sharing the last supper together with his disciples, as nailed on the cross, as risen from the dead, and even as King of kings and Lord of lords. Thus I do not have any objections to these works of art which shows Jesus as such and these are the kind of images which adorn our Catholic churches.

I still maintain that the Lord Jesus could not at any time have looked like the Sto Nino. But then again, we are commanded to not even make any image representing God. So no matter how accurately you try to dress up the Sto Nino, no matter how much an image reminds you of God, no matter how much emotion and upliftment of spirit is elicited, doing so is disobedience and a violation of God’s clear commands in Scriptures.

I respect you and your convictions. What I have tried to do in this exchange is to present to you the Catholic position as it is in the hope that you will have a clearer idea on what Catholics believe and practice. I hope you learned something about the Catholic faith from a Catholic who knows his Catholic religion. I met other acquaintances of protestant persuasion who thinks that we Catholics worship images (In our correspondence, I am inclined to believe that you don’t hold this view). This is far from the truth and a caricature of the real Catholic doctrine of the right use of images in worship. In putting emphasis of the First commandment, they forgot the other commandment in which God admonish: “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” If it is a sin to bear false witness against one person, how much more grievous are the sins of those who ascribe to us Catholics doctrines and practices which we condemn and abhor. If I have not convinced you of the truth of the Catholic position I still have one appeal and request to make. If you ever met a non-catholic who would say that Catholics are idolaters, image-worshippers please tell him that such is not actually the case. Just like our separated brethren, the Catholic Church condemns idolatry as a grievous sin against the first commandment but the Catholic Church stands by iconolatry which is the proper use of images in worship.

I would like to end here for now. I would still like to respond to your comment about equating truth with Scripture and the Roman Catholic stand in a separate email.

If you feel commenting to my reply kindly do so. But if you feel we have exhausted the subject matter then I would welcome your separate email on Scripture and Roman Catholic stand.

Thank you once again for sharing your own thoughts and may God be honored in these exchanges.

It has been most rewarding to have this dialogue with you. In our days a lot of people would disdain from controversies and I think this does no service to the truth. I hope we can discuss our disagreements in a brotherly manner urged by our common love for the Truth. Thanks for reading thru my reply.

Truly yours,

Ramon

Retrieve from: http://thesplendorofthechurch.blogspot.com/2011/01/prof-ramon-gitamondoc-cfd-national.html

PROF. RAMON GITAMONDOC, CFD National President EXCHANGES ON SACRED IMAGES part 2

Link: http://thesplendorofthechurch.blogspot.com/2011/01/prof-ramon-gitamondoc-cfd-national_16.html

moz screenshot PROF. RAMON GITAMONDOC, CFD National President EXCHANGES ON SACRED IMAGES part 2Black%2BNazarene PROF. RAMON GITAMONDOC, CFD National President EXCHANGES ON SACRED IMAGES part 2

The Image of Christ the Nazarene

Dear Benjie,

First of all let me again thank you for reading through my response. My new responses are in red and marked R4 and my previous statements which you quoted are in blue and marked R3. Your statements are in bold black.

Thank you Ramon for taking the time and effort to continue this dialog. Thank you also for taking extra effort in making sure our letters are orderly by putting in labels and colors. I must admit I was a little surprised that you intended to rest your case with your last reply. I will respect that if you choose to do so anytime. Maybe we can agree when it’s time to do a “final exchange” regarding a certain topic, where you and I will send our final summarizing thoughts in one page or less.

R4. I really appreciate your suggestion on a “final exchange.” I believe that we have covered already many issues related to sacred images. This would be my final response after which I am going to prepare my final summary in one page or less as you suggested.

R3. There is no contradiction if we do not isolate the phrase “prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man” from the qualifying phrase in Deut 4:15 “since you saw no form.” … What I did was to explain this qualifying phrase in the context of Deut. 4 and other Scriptural passages that speaks about idolatry. It is a fundamental rule in biblical interpretation to understand the meaning of a given passage in the light of other related passages and to see it in its historical context and not to isolate a verse or phrase as though it stands by itself. If this rule is not followed it will usually lead to a truncated version of the truth.

I appreciate your explanation and the thinking process that you went through and that you also hold to the rule that context is very important in proper biblical interpretation. I was trying to point out that the conclusion that God’s intention was for the Israelites not to make any images “as if divinity can be found in those visible forms or as if God existed in those forms” is not warranted in the context. Understanding the context is very important, but we must be very careful not to add any thought that is foreign to the passage or the context of the passage. Even how much I try to analyze “saw no form” in its context and history and in the light of other passages, it just cannot equate with as “if the divinity can be found in those visible forms or as if God existed in those visible forms”. The context of Deut 4, even when expounding “saw no form” does not support your qualifying statement of “as if divinity can be found in those visible forms or as if God existed in those visible forms.”

R4. In my previous post I have explained to you that “the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man” has a qualifying phrase “since you saw no form.” I have expounded on this qualifying phrase by citing Scriptural passages condemning idolatry like Isa 44:15-17, Acts 17:29, Wisdom 13:2, 10, 17, Exodus 20:3-5 and even Deut 4:15-16 which clearly illustrates the nature of idolatry i.e., that pagans thought that God existed in some visible form and that their idols has the inherent power to save them. So far, I have not come across any negation on your part that those who practice idolatry worship idols “as if the divinity can be found in those visible forms or as if God existed in those forms.” You have not offered an alternative explanation why the qualifying phrase “since you saw no form” is included in the prohibition of man-made representations of God. Again, it is my contention that this qualifying phrase can only be understood properly against the back drop of idolatry and in the light of God’s transcendence.

R3. Again I would like to assert that in understanding the intent of the prohibition in Deut 4:15-18 we have to consider other available data from Scriptures. In my previous post I have cited at least two passages to clarify my point (Isa 44:15-17, Acts 17:29). The qualifying definition I used actually underlies every other Scriptural passage that deals with idolatry.

I have read this paragraph and the succeeding 3 supporting paragraphs which I did not quote anymore. I think I am beginning to see something of where you are coming from. Please correct me if I’m wrong and pardon the complexity of the next phrase, but I think that you are thinking that I’m thinking about idolatry. I am not (yet) thinking about idolatry in this exchange with you. That is God’s first commandment in Exo 20:3. I am thinking about the second commandment in Exo 20:4 as expounded by Moses in Deut 4:15 and repeated in Deut 4:23, which forbids the making of any representation of God, regardless of motive or intention or purpose. There is a difference. The first commandment is a commandment against idolatry. The second commandment which is expounded by Moses in Deut 4 is a commandment against the making of any image of God. Although I must point out that idolatry is not far behind once the second commandment is violated as Deut 4:19 warns us “lest you be driven to worship them”. And like I mentioned, if for example, I see you bowing down before an image, or kneeling down before an image, I would be tempted to suspect that the image is becoming more than just a reminder, just as Deut 4:19 warns. The Bible is clear — faith comes by hearing (Rom 10:17), as you have indicated in our other exchange, not from looking at images to warm the heart.

R4. The attempt to delineate between what you think is the first and second commandment is well appreciated but I think that this distinction cannot be supported within the context of Deut 4:15-24 or in any other passage in the Bible. The entire quote from Deut 4:15-24 and Exodus 20:3-5 when viewed in its entirety are proscription against idolatry (worship of images as gods) and polytheism (worship of many gods) and it is within the context of these corrupt practices that the prohibition of making any man-made representation of God is given. Exodus 20:4-5 is simply an expansion on Exodus 20:3. Your assertion that Deut 4:15, 23 is outside the context of idolatry seems to be so only when it is cut out from the intervening verses 16-22 which clearly speaks about idolatry. I do agree that your explanation involves a certain amount of complexity which I think is due to your attempt at avoiding a straight forward reading of the verses. I am glad that you wrote “bowing down before and image” and “kneeling down before an image” which is fairly accurate description of catholic doctrine and practice. To pray before an image is different from to pray to an image. It is not that you can’t see the distinction but (as I notice in the course of these exchanges) it is that you don’t want to make the distinction. In the book of Joshua we read: “Joshua, together with the elders of Israel, rent his garments and lay prostrate before the Ark of the Lord until evening” (Joshua 7:6). In the second book of Samuel we read: “And David danced before the Lord with all his might… So David and all the house of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet” (2 Samuel 6:14-15). Notice the use of the word “before” and not “to”. That faith comes by hearing (Rom 10:17) is well taken but it does not say by hearing alone. The preacher who is sent (Rom 10:15) could use both oral (audible words) and visual (visible signs and symbols) instructions to lead a person to faith as we very well know in children’s catechism classes.

R3. I’m glad that you candidly admit that God prescribes the making of a cherubim (Exo 25:18) and that he also prescribes sacred images to adorn His temple (Eze 41:18). I too am glad that we have this common ground. This is precisely the whole point of my argument. That God forbids idolatry (the worship of images as god) but permits iconolatry (the proper use of images in worship).

That is also what I am trying to show you — that God’s instructions for the making of the cherubim and other temple adornments cannot be taken as a sanction for iconolatry. And that is what I plan to continue doing by presenting to you the context surrounding those instructions, examples from Israel’s history and practice, and examples from the New Testament practices. Actually, it’s not that I need to admit, since the Bible clearly states the making of cherubim and temple adornments. But hold on for a moment, Ramon. I said that God in the Bible prescribed the making of the cherubim and the temple adornments, but I did not mention anything about “sacred”, not sacred in the context of iconolatry which is an unsupported conclusion. God prescribing the making of cherubim and temple adornments do not equate to God prescribing iconolatry. I think that’s only speculation (I apologize for using the term). There is no support for it. There is also no evidence in the Bible that the people of God actually practiced iconolatry in the Old and New Testaments. On the other hand, they were forbidden explicitly to even make images of God. Again, I do not say this in the context of idolatry, but in the context of God’s plain prohibition on the making of images of Him, regardless of motive, intent or purpose.

R4. God’s instruction for the making of the cherubim and other temple adornments proves several points: 1) that God did not absolutely forbid the making of images, 2) that images can be used to adorn God’s temple, 3) that although these images do not represent God as He is yet they could point towards Him, 4) that God employs the salutary use of images in His dealings with men, 5) that the people of God use images in their dealings with God. You may not want to call this practice as iconolatry but a rose called by any other name is still a rose. God’s prohibitions against making a visible representation of Him are all in the context of teaching us God’s transcendence on the positive side and a proscription against idolatry on the negative side. Your qualification of “regardless of motive, intent or purpose” is not supported by any Scriptural passages and is based on a false premise that Deut 4:15 is a command which stands by itself with no qualifications whatsoever. God judges not our external actions but the intent of the heart (1 Kings 8:39).

R3. The temple is a place of worship therefore its adornment should necessarily be in the context of worship.

I don’t think this is necessarily true. Take for example decorative plants. Are they put in there to be used for worship? Can an adornment not be put in simply because it makes the place look nice? If electric fans are put in to cool the place, are they to be used for worship? Would you rather have your officiating priest sit on a nice chair with handcrafted carvings, than on a plain Monobloc chair? And would the handcrafted chair then be said to be used for Roman Catholic worship? Furthermore, do you mean to say that the plain kapilya or the broken down old church building is a much lesser place of worship than a super-adorned Roman Catholic church?

R4. If those adornments were placed at a far corner inside the temple then maybe you would have a reason for denying that those adornments were used in the context of worship. The book of Ezekiel mentions “thus they were figured on every side throughout the whole temple” (Eze 41:18-19). I am really amazed on how you can reason that the carved images inside God’s temple were merely for “architectural design” and “because it makes the place look nice” but not for “lifting the mind and hearts of people to God.” It is much like saying that the purpose of putting an excellent choir is simply to hear “nice music” or to say that the purpose of installing a very good sound system has nothing to do with lifting the mind and hearts of the people but that they are simply part of the “electrical design.” Electric fans and nice chairs do not necessarily lift our minds to God. We can look at them all day and not be reminded about God. This is altogether different with the images of angels, Mary and the saints thus your analogy fails. But even these things when placed inside the temple have their intended purpose i.e., the electric fan to cool the place so that those who worship will not be distracted by intense heat and thus be able to focus more on God. Regarding your comparison between the “kapilya” and “basilica” there is no saying about a greater and lesser place of worship but that these places of worship are to be adorned as the means may provide. Going back to the sacred images inside God’s temple if these were not intended to lift the mind and hearts of the people to divine realities then they would only serve as mere distractions except of course if the people worshipping inside are all blind.

R3. We do not place the image of the President or Rizal in our Churches for they do not necessarily direct us towards God.

I think that there does not have to be a religious reason to not putting images of politicians in our church buildings. It may be enough to use good sense and sound reason to not put these images.

R4. Honestly, I think that they will only serve as a distraction to worshippers inside the temple for our mind responds to things we see. If we look at pornographic pictures our minds will become impure. If we look at the images of Jesus, Mary, angels, saints and pictures portraying significant events in salvation history our minds will be lifted up to heavenly realities.

R3. It is altogether different with the images of angels, the saints, Mary, and Jesus. I think St Paul sheds light to your question: “Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. Now is not the time to speak of these in detail. With these arrangements for worship, the priests, in performing their service” (Heb 9:5).

I want to thank you and I appreciate your trying to reply to my question when I asked you for evidence that the temple adornments were used for worship purposes. I want to address your reference to Heb 9:5 by quoting the whole passage. I ask you to read with me. From this, I will try to draw an analogy and then try to explain the passage.

Now (even) the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was constructed, the outer one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of offering; this is called the Holy Place. Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies, in which were the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant entirely covered with gold. In it were the gold jar containing the manna, the staff of Aaron that had sprouted, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. Now is not the time to speak of these in detail. With these arrangements for worship, the priests, in performing their service, go into the outer tabernacle repeatedly, but the high priest alone goes into the inner one once a year, not without blood that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people. (Heb 9:3-7 NAB)

Let me give you the Roman Catholic equivalent as best as I can imagine it. As I remember it, there’s the table, there’s the place where the priest stores the host and wine, there’s the lectern or sermon stand, there might even be a nice arch. There can also be a lampstand. “With these arrangements for worship”, the Roman Catholic priest performs the Roman Catholic worship service. The context tells us that the priest needs his “props”. He needs his materials and equipment in the performance of his duty. The props are not indicative of how the rest of the people were to worship God. They are simply for the priest’s use in the performance of his duties. And no, the passage still does not support your claim that the people of God used the temple adornments for worship. The people could not even enter into the place to see them.

R4. I’m glad that you quoted the passage in full. St Paul mentions that the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. This earthly sanctuary as the Apostle describes contained visible objects which points to invisible realities. The lampstand symbolizes God’s eternal light, the table symbolizes the heavenly altar, and the bread of offering symbolizes God’s people. The Cherubim of Glory symbolizes God’s presence among His people. Thus these things are not mere “props” as you would like to believe but they have a religious and spiritual meaning. The earthly Temple with all its beauty and grandeur is a visible figure of the heavenly temple. The heavenly temple is where the angels and the saints abide (Hebrews 12:23) that is why God’s earthly temple are adorned with the images of angels and holy persons (Ezekiel 41:18-19) in order to point us to that reality which they signify. In contrast to the Catholic places of worship Catholic convert David Currie writes: “In an Evangelical church, it is usually the pulpit, the preacher, or the choir that is the predominant feature in front of the church. That arrangement makes it much harder to direct worship to God alone. All those people can get in the way.” (Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic, p 148)

R3. Granting without admitting that the command to use the adornments for worship is not explicit but at the very least it is implicit in the command to adorn the temple being a place for worship.

Saying something is implicit is quite prone to personal interpretation and can be very subjective, but never conclusively supportive. Following this kind of reasoning, the kitchen is a place for cooking, so does it follow that all your kitchen adornments are to be used for cooking?

R4. The Bible is not always explicit in a lot of things and I am not talking here about some minor doctrine. For example, where can you read the word Trinity in the Bible? Where can you find in the Bible that it is explicitly stated that in One God there are three divine persons? Using your own principle does it mean that using the Bible alone one can never be conclusively supportive regarding the Trinity? Don’t get me wrong here. There is some truth in your statement that saying something is implicit is quite prone to personal interpretation and can be very subjective but I disagree when you say that one can never be conclusively supportive. The fact that a teaching is implicitly taught does not mean that we just have to discard it or just subscribe to all sorts of interpretation. As you say, it may be enough to use good sense and right reason. Regarding the kitchen as a place for cooking, good sense and right reason would tell us that kitchen adornments are not to be used for cooking. They are there to remind us that the place is a place for cooking. We don’t usually place our family picture in the kitchen nor do we place a portrait of the Last Supper in our bedroom. Likewise in God’s temple sacred images are there to remind us that we are in a place of worship and to direct our attention to God.

R3. Let me borrow from your reply on our dialogue on Scriptures where you wrote: “Masturbation is addressed by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matt 5:28.” We both know that masturbation is never mentioned in the verse you quote and I think it is not mentioned explicitly anywhere in the Bible. Yet I can agree with you (although other people may not) that Mat 5:28 implicitly bear on the issue of masturbation.

In this case, I was not thinking of an implicit reference. My thinking on Matt 5:28 and why I referred to it was the thought process that usually goes with the act of masturbation. It is the thought process that is mentioned explicitly in Scripture and this is what I’m referring to. As to the purely physical act itself, I do not have a ready reference for you.

R4. Granting your explanation is correct but the fact the you have to explain that what you were referring to was the thought process and not to the purely physical act itself when quoting Mat 5:28 to me shows that the verse does not speak explicitly about masturbation with all its implications.

R3. I think the same principle applies here as to the adornments inside the temple. As I have explained in the previous paragraph that the temple was intended to be a house of worship and its’ adornments should be in the context of worship (Heb 9:5).

Your usage of “should” can be very subjective and cannot be used to conclusively support a claim. It means that is what you think it ought to be, but may not necessarily be so. Heb 9:5 tells us that the priest uses materials and equipment in the performance of his duties. It does not say that the adornments were used by the people of God for worship. Furthermore, those adornments could not be seen by the people for they could not enter the inner courts, only the priests could. And into the Most Holy Place referenced in Heb 9:5, only the High Priest could enter, and only once a year at that.

R5. In discussions like this and even in the courts of law one does not have to prove beyond all doubts but only beyond reasonable doubt in order to arrive at a conclusion or a verdict. With the possible explanations forwarded as to the purpose of the sacred images which adorned God’s temple I find the alternative arguments like “we should not presume to know God’s purpose” or “for architectural design” and “to make the place look nice” as inadequate and lacking Scriptural support. The only explanation which is consistent with the purpose of the temple being a place of worship is that the adornments should be in the context of worship i.e., as visual aids to lift the mind and hearts of the people to God. A good architect or interior designer naturally takes into consideration the purpose of the building which he is designing and to implement adornments in line with that purpose. Can we suppose that God who is the supreme architect and designer would miss this fundamental rule in design? The fact that only the High Priest could enter the most only place and only once a year does not negate what I was trying to prove: that the People of God in the Old Testament in their religious worship used visible objects to signify invisible reality.

R3. In the New Testament when Jesus saw that the temple was profaned, he rose in holy indignation: “He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of scripture, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (John 2:15-17). Jesus in this instance never reprimanded the Jews for the sacred images which filled the temple but on the contrary has stamped it with his own divine authority.

R3. I appreciate the reference and explanation, but I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. This still does not show that the adornments were used for worship. Using your line of reasoning, I might say that yes, Jesus never reprimanded the Jews for their sacred images because there was no need to. They may not have been using them for worship at all. But then I would be adding my foreign reaction to your foreign thought. I must caution you again since we both agree that context is important, that we must be careful not to add any thought that is foreign to the text or context. Your last sentence is (alarmingly) quite foreign to the text and context.

R4. Jesus on many occasions reprimanded the Jews for man-made practices they invented that nullified the word of God (Mat 15:1-8). But never did Jesus reprimand the Jews on their practice of adorning the temple with sacred images. On the contrary Jesus endorsed the Temple, with all the sacred images which adorn it, as a place of worship, a house of prayer, and his Father’s house. Jesus teaches us in this instance to give due honor and reverence to those things which are dedicated for a holy purpose. Such is the case for the Temple and all the sacred images inside it. These form part of our worship to God.

(Benjie previously) We must be very careful not to add to, or take away from, what God has instructed in the Bible. They are the words of the Almighty King and Sovereign Lord. We are warned by the apostle John in 2 John 1:9 that whoever goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. (2Jn 1:9). The book of Deuteronomy also warns us: “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. (Deu 12:32)

R3. I think it is those who deny the proprietary use of images in worship who are questioning God’s wisdom. It was divine wisdom that guided Solomon to adorn God’s temple with sacred images (Eze 41:18-19). It was divine wisdom that guided Joshua to prostrate himself before the Ark of Covenant (Joshua 7:6). It was divine wisdom which guided King David to dance before the Ark of Covenant (2 Sam 6:13-14). It is divine wisdom that gives men the artistic talent to paint and to carve and this can be used for the service of God (Exodus 35:30-35). And I think it is the same divine wisdom which is guiding the Catholic Church in instructing her children on the proper use of images in worship for the greater glory of God.

If I appear to question God’s wisdom by denying the proprietary use of images in worship, and you show me proof from Scripture that this is so, then I would readily accept correction. I would question this so called divine wisdom from the Roman Catholic church by the many publicly available references to its errors and blunders which I would as much as possible not want to go into for this would be like opening Pandora’s Box in our exchange. You still have not given my any proof that the people of God in the Old and New Testaments actually used images for worship. Until then, this wisdom that you refer to cannot be divine or inspired by God.

Regarding your references, there is no indication that the people of God in Eze 41 actually used the images for worship. On the other hand, I have shown you proof of the contrary — that they could not have been used for worship. I believe the reason Joshua and David treated the Ark special was because God said that His presence would dwell there. This is not a case of iconolatry, but God’s presence was really and actually there. Exo 35:30 mention artistry, but does not say they were used for iconolatry.

R4. Take note that on top of the Ark of Covenant are the graven image of two cherubims (Exodus 25:18-22). In Joshua 7:6, Joshua prostrate himself before the Ark of Covenant. In 2 Sam 6:13-14, David danced before the Ark of Covenant. In each of this instances Joshua and David were worshipping God. Basing on your principle I will be inclined to think that you would suspect Joshua and David of worshipping the Ark itself and not God. But you and I know that such is not the case. They were worshipping God in front of or at the occasion of the images of the two cherubims. You might not want to use the term iconolatry to describe this but again a rose called by any other name is still a rose. In Exodus 35:30-35, the artistic talent to paint and to carve was not given to men for artistry’s sake but that art can be used for God’s purpose and that is to lift the minds and hearts of His people to Him. What would be a better and more fitting place to accomplish this purpose than the Temple itself which is a place of worship?

R3. As I quoted above the use of these sacred images within the Temple were in the context of worship and that is iconolatry. Let me again quote St. Paul: “Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. Now is not the time to speak of these in detail. With these arrangements for worship, the priests, in performing their service” (Heb 9:5).

Heb 9:5 talks about the duties of the priest in the performance of his worship ritual. It speaks of the materials and equipment the priest uses. Taking these materials for the priest’s worship duty, and extending it to say the adornments were used by the rest of the people for worship would be going too far. The people of God could not even enter this holy place. It does not speak of iconolatry and cannot be used to support it. Iconolatry is still not mentioned by one New Testament writer as it is not mentioned in the Old Testament.

R4. The fact that God’s people, be it the High priest alone within the Most holy place (Hebrews 9:5) or the High priest together with the entire congregation within the Temple (2 Chronicles 7:14-16) or David together with the people in a religious procession (2 Samuel 6:1-17), used visible objects to signify invisible realities which ultimately point to God is iconolatry at its best.

R3. I think that this event in Israel’s history is instructive. Notwithstanding His explicit command in Exodus 20:4 “You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth” God commanded Moses to make a graven image of a bronze serpent and used it to manifest His power. Later, when the people started to misuse it God had the bronze serpent destroyed. Here we see on one hand God sanctioning the proper use of images since those who are bitten by the venomous snakes has to look upon the image of the bronze serpent in order to be healed (Numbers 21:8-9) and on the other hand condemning its improper use (2 Kings 18:4).

I see here an explicit command from God in Exo 20, and (I have to say) your interpretation or speculation (for there is no indication they were used for worship) that through the one incident of the bronze serpent, God is already universally sanctioning the proper use of images in worship. I would like to ask you if God actually told the people to worship Him this way, by looking at the bronze serpent. God was quite clear in His purpose for the making of the bronze serpent, and that is to heal those who looked upon it. We read of only this purpose. If you say that God’s purpose was for the people to use it for worship (iconolatry), then that would be going too far and you would be guilty of putting words into God’s mouth which He never said.

R4. This one incident of the bronze serpent together with the other passages which I cited makes a very strong case for the proper use of images to signify God’s presence and healing power and for our instruction. The bronze serpent was used by God to remind his people on the precept of His law. The bronze serpent did not only manifest God’s healing power but also points to the incarnation and redemption: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:14-15). Because of God’s healing power which was manifested through the bronze serpent God’s people were led to acknowledge and worship Him.

R3. God commanded Moses to make a graven image of Cherubims (Exo 25:18-22) and He commanded Solomon to adorn the temple with sacred images (Eze 41:18-19) and St. Paul said these were used in the context of worship (Heb 9:5).

If you read Paul’s letter, he was comparing OT and NT practices. He mentioned the priest’s use of the various temple materials in the performance of his duty as required by God. He did not say that the people of God should use them for worshipping God who said that His true worshippers will worship Him in spirit and truth, not through the use of images. There is still no sanction for iconolatry in the New Testament. No mention at all if it is really so essential in worship.

R4. If we read carefully Paul’s letter we will realized that the sacred worship of the people of God in the Old Testament were full of visible signs and symbols which signify invisible spiritual realities and thus helping the worshippers lift their minds and hearts to God. Just open your Bible and read through the books of Exodus and Leviticus for you to appreciate the proprietary use of visible signs and symbols in their worship to God. God himself prescribed all these things from the Temple adornments to very minute details of priestly vestments so that His people may render the worship that is due to Him.

R3. The Psalmist prayed to God for retribution to those who desecrated God’s temple by smashing the sacred images therein (Psalms 74:3-8).

We must again be careful to read the text carefully and understand the context, which is the whole Psalm. David prayed for retribution against God’s enemies primarily. He mentions that some of the things they did were break down the adornments and destroy the sanctuary. I have no issues with their importance since David mentions them in his psalm and more importantly, it was God Himself who had them designed in. But going back to our issue, does that importance mean the sanctioning of its use in worship? That conclusion is not found in the text or in the context. To me, smashing the sanctuary and its adornments was indicative of how bad David’s enemies were. Just like when one our kids makes “sumbong” and enumerates so many things that their sibling did to them.

R4. David prayed for retribution against God’s enemies primarily and for their desecration of God’s temple in particular. I can imagine a similar incident to what occurred in Israel’s history during the Iconoclast heresy. Emperor Leo the Isaurian under the guise of opposing the legitimate use of sacred images caused churches to be pillaged and desecrated. These men destroyed everything sacred they could lay there hands on. They smashed the images of Christ, Mary, the angels, and the saints which adorn the churches. We can still see remnants of this barbaric act in some headless statues which stands until today. Given the chance, I think people misguided by their private interpretation of the Bible, would not hesitate to do the same. The main point I want to raise in the above quote from Psalms 74:3-8 is that we should reverence God’s temple and all other objects which reminds us of Him. This is precisely the Catholic teaching: that the honor which is given them (sacred images) is referred to the originals which they represent. How would you regard a friend who while pledging his love and loyalty would trample on your picture? How would Jesus regard those people who while professing to acknowledge Him as their Lord and Savior would trample upon the crucifix and other sacred images representing Him, Mary, angels and the saints? Satanism as a movement is thriving in our world today. Ex-members of this satanic cult testified that part of the satanic ritual is that the members trample upon sacred images of Jesus while uttering blasphemous words against our Savior.

R3. This legitimate practice which prevailed among the Jews was never condemned by Jesus but on the other hand he has approved it with his own divine authority (John 2:15-17). Considering the weight of authority behind this practice I can’t seem to understand how anyone would prefer otherwise.

I see is no legitimate practice mentioned in the Psalm that you referenced. I even read the Catholic NAB version and there is no mention of any practice. It’s just a factual reference to the things that were in the temple which God designed in. Are you not just assuming that just because there were adornments there, the people of God were using them for worship, and then calling it a legitimate practice? Saying that Jesus approved of it is reading in too much in the text of John 2:15-17 when Jesus drove out the traders and money-changers. You will be going too far. Please read again, carefully. It’s just not there. Both your assumptions are absent from John 2:15-17, the practice by the people of God and the approval by Jesus Christ of that practice.

R4. The legitimate practice I was referring to was the making of sacred images and adorning of the God’s temple with sacred images. The Jews, unlike most Protestants, did not have any misgivings on adorning God’s temple with sacred images. They visited and prayed inside the Temple with all those sacred images surrounding them. By the way, I happen to attend a protestant worship service, and I noticed the bare walls and ceiling in their place of worship. This I think is a very poor reflection of the Temple which God himself prescribed to be adorned with sacred images. That the images inside the Temple were for the purpose of lifting the minds and hearts of the people is a safe conclusion considering the purpose of the Temple being a place of worship and notwithstanding the inadequate explanations which you offered to the contrary.

(Benjie previously) At this point, I would like ask – why not focus on these two commands that are clearly and explicitly spelled out in the Old Testament and say that they have not been abrogated? Why focus on trying to find Scriptural support for iconolatry of which there is no clear reference? Which is more important – the clear command, or the (sorry, I have to call it) presumed command?

R3. I do not deny that the command forbidding Idolatry remains in force (Deut 4:16-19, Exo 20:3-5, etc) that is why the Catholic Church forbid the worship of images as gods or in place of God and She teaches us that we should not think that images in themselves have any power or divinity. However, the command to adorn God’s temple with sacred images (Exo 25:18-22, Eze 41:18-19, etc) was never abrogated therefore it also remains valid for us. As Catholics, we are taught not to pick and chose on the truths that God has revealed in Sacred Scriptures.

The command in Exo 20:4 and recalled by Moses in Deut 4 do not necessarily fall under the context of idolatry which is the first command in Exo 20:3. Idolatry is a much wider context that just the creation of images. Little “gods” do not necessarily have to be little images, but anything and everything that we put above God. “You shall have no other god before Me”. So when you remove the limiting mindset of idolatry and take the Exo 20:4 as it is and as expounded by Moses in Deut 4, you will see that it is the creation of images of God that is absolutely forbidden, regardless of whether it is used for idolatry or not. And again, God’s instruction to adorn the temple cannot support iconolatry since there is not clear reference. It is one of your “should”s. It is a presumption. There is really no command to be carried on today. There were simply construction instructions. There is no direct supporting reference for iconolatry.

R4. Since you admit that idolatry is a much wider context then how can you say that Exodus 20:4 and Deut 4:23 do not fall under this broader context. Why suddenly narrow down what you just mentioned as “a much wider context”? I think your attempt at delineating what you think is the first and second commandment is a conclusion which in not derived from a straight forward reading of the text but based on some preconceived interpretation. Again Catholic icons are not images of God as He is. They are representations of Jesus in his humanity, Mary, angels and saints. I hope that you will do better than attacking a caricature of Catholic teaching which I think exists only in your mind.

R3. In saying thus, I am not denying what you said about Jesus’ coming to the world to save us. We Catholics wholeheartedly believe this. What I meant is that where in the Old Testament the Israelites were forbidden to make any man-made representation of God since “they saw no form” when the Son of God became man He appeared to us in visible form and thus made it lawful for us to represent him (not his divinity but in his humanity) in human form and together with this those who were closely associated with him in the work of redemption like the Blessed Virgin, the apostles, the angels and the saints.

I see that we have here the explicit second command in the Ten Commandments as recalled in Deut 4, and your claim of the lifting of the command by the coming of the Son of God as a man. To see if your claim is valid, let me ask a few questions. Do you see any reference by Christ or any of the gospel writers regarding the lifting of the second commandment? Do you see any reference in book of Acts or any of the letters of Paul, Peter and John, James on the use of any image of Christ? Do you see any Scripture reference that the use of images of Christ was practiced by the early churches? If the answers to these questions are in the negative, and you further cannot show any other biblical support for your claim, then it will remain speculation and unsupportable presumption to support the Roman Catholic teaching on iconolatry. There just is no reference in Scripture. If it was so important, don’t you think its use then would be mentioned just a little in one of the letters to the early churches? (Heb 9:5 as I have shown you does not count in favor of iconolatry).

R4. I did not claim any lifting of the command in Exodus 20:3-5 and Deut 4:15-23. Catholics do not claim that Catholic icons are representations of God as He is. Catholic icons are representations of Jesus (who became man), Mary, angels, and saints and we do not worship these images nor believe that these images have inherent power in them (that would be superstition). They serve to remind us of important persons in salvation history and during worship to aid us in lifting our minds and hearts to God. I think its time that you confront this plain teaching and do away with what you think is “catholic teaching.” Even the image of Jesus is not a representation of Jesus in his divinity but as I was always careful to qualify it is a representation of Jesus in his humanity. I hope that you would not go to the extent of denying the true humanity of Christ as some sects have done. Actually they only went with their premise all the way: That since God is entirely transcendent it is a contradiction for Him to become truly human and therefore the historical Jesus is nothing more than a three-dimensional projection of a man. Of course their bizarre teaching also included the prohibition of representing Jesus as a man for He never became a man in the first place! I know that a lot of protestant denominations haven’t gone that far but in so doing they are also involved in another inconsistency: They profess that Jesus was truly human but prohibit any representation of Jesus in the form of a man!

Regarding the use of images as aids to devotion practiced by the early Church, we have archaeological witness on our side. Albert J. Nevins, M.M. writes: “The early Church used statues and images as aids to devotion and as expressions of faith. One need only to visit the catacombs in Rome to see statues and frescoes representing not only Christ but also scenes from Scripture. When the Church emerged from the catacombs, it continued to decorate its houses of worship with statues, mosaics, frescoes, and oil paintings, all designed to increase a spirit of prayerfulness” (Answering a Fundamentalist, p 106). If the use of sacred images in worship is a later invention by the Catholic Church why don’t we have adverse reactions from the early Christian communities during its introduction? The first adverse reaction against the use of sacred images came with the iconoclast heresy in the 8th century. This opposition was revived by the “reformers” in the 16th century. We have records of the writings of the early Church fathers, most of them renowned for their sanctity and orthodoxy but there is hardly any record of any opposition to the use of sacred images in their writings.

R3. I also agree that we should worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24). But contrary to your interpretation, I think the passage simply does not exclude the use of sacred images in worship.

Respectfully again Ramon, if we go back to our original contention, it is the use of images in worship which you are trying to prove from a Scriptural perspective. I think you need to show passages that include the use of images, not passages that do not exclude its use.

R4. I hope you remember that it was you who quoted from John 4:24 as a denial of using visual aids in worship. I was only responding that while I agree that we should worship God in spirit and in truth (which we can read in John 4:24) I do not agree with your interpretation that it excludes the use of visual aids in worship (which is not found in the letters of John 4:24).

R3. Had God created us like the angels who are pure spirits then we would have no need of visible signs and symbols.

I will disagree on this, as evidenced by God’s command to the Israelites in Deut 4. God, in His infinite wisdom, forbade the making of any image of God. Don’t you think God would have sanctioned this a long time ago if indeed we needed visible signs and symbols of God? Are you saying that God was wrong in forbidding the making of images of Him, when according to you, the people actually needed a visible sign or symbol? At this point I find it appropriate to refer you to the incident recorded in Exodus 32. Moses had gone up the mountain to meet with God where he was to receive the 10 Commandments. The people started getting restless. Moses was not with them and to compound that, the visible sign and symbol of pillar by night and cloud by day were not with them anymore. The Israelites then asked Aaron to make for them a symbol and representation of God. They wanted something visible. You will see that the result toward the end of the chapter is not a good one. God killed those who did not repent of this grievous sin. God would have killed them all had Moses not interceded. This is how serious this command of God is.

R4. I am really amazed with your persistence but I hope you will be able to distinguish between making a man-made representation of God as He is (which God forbade) and the use of visible signs and symbols which signify invisible spiritual realities to lift our mind and hearts to God (which God permits). In fact, the letters of the Bible which you hold dear are visible representations of the word of God. God by his power could easily infuse to us spiritual knowledge without the aid of visible signs and symbols as He does at times. He could have healed his people without visibly manifesting his power through the bronze serpent. He could have made his presence felt among his people in a mystical way without the manifesting it through the image of the Cherubims. He could have prescribed that his temple be devoid of sacred images as most protestant churches stands today. But God who made us ordinarily works in ways which is consistent with our human nature. He communicates his truth to us through visible signs and symbols i.e., through a burning bush to manifest His holiness (Exodus 3:2-6), the staff of Aaron as a sign of his power (Exodus 4:1-5); pillar of fire to assure his people of his presence (Exodus 13:21); the Tent of the Tabernacle a symbol of His dwelling (Exodus 25:8); the image of the two Cherubims as a sign of His majesty (Exodus 25:18-22); and the bronze serpent as a sign of salvation (Numbers 21:8-9). This list can go on and on but as St Paul wrote in his letter to the Hebrews: “Now is not the time to speak of these in detail” (Hebrews 9:5). The incident you cited is about the Golden Calf which is worshipped by the unfaithful in place of the one true God (Exodus 32:7-8). This is idolatry plain and simple.

R3. To worship God in spirit and in truth is to engage our whole being body and soul towards God in accordance to His will.

I appreciate the interpretation, and I would like to add more thoughts. Going back a few verses to catch the context, we see the Lord Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman. Samaritans were outcasts to the Jews for they were a mixed people. They worshiped in a way that was not prescribed by God in the Old Testament. Their ways of worship, although they tried to worship God, was continually referred in the OT as “evil in the sight of the Lord”. The Lord Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that the hour has come when the people of God will neither worship on that mountain nor in Jerusalem (where the temple was). Jesus is saying that place is not important anymore. Paul also tells Timothy in 1 Tim 2:8 that “in every place the men should pray”. God tells us in Malachi 1:11 tells us that “in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering.” God is spirit and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth. God does not say that because He is spirit and we are physical beings, we need visible signs and symbols. On the contrary, what God is commanding is the opposite of what you are saying. This means that the temple in Jerusalem, including its adornments, was not important anymore in the worship of the true and living God. (This includes your reference to the Heb 9:5 mention of the Old Testament way of worship which Christ already made obsolete by His coming, consistent with what the writer of Hebrews was saying. This is another proof that Heb 9:5 is not talking about iconolatry.) The Lord Jesus also tells the Samaritan woman that the true worshiper will worship God in truth — according to the truths as revealed in His word. The Samaritans did not worship according to His word, but according to what they thought was the proper way to worship.

R4. I disagree when you say that place in not important anymore. Jesus could not possibly contradict His declaration about the Temple as a house of prayer for all peoples (Mark 11:17, Mat 21:13, Lk 19:46), the house of God (Mt 12:4, Lk 6:4), his Fathers’ house (John 2:16-17). Jesus was talking about the Spirit which is given by God that reveals truth and enables one to worship (cf. John 3:5, 7:38-39, 14:16-17, Romans 8:26). Jesus was teaching the Samaritan woman a deeper reality about the Spirit whom Jesus is going to give to those who will believe. Some theologians refer to the Holy Spirit as the soul of the Church. Where there is unity, there must be a principle or bond of unity. The members of our human body constitute one same reality only because we have a human soul which unites all the members of our body and causes them to be one same physical whole. The Church, likewise, considered in its totality and as having diverse states, constitutes only one and the same whole, the “Mystical Body of Christ.” We, therefore, should hold that there must exist some principle of unity, some bond which makes all the members something that is one. Now we find that it is the Holy Spirit, personally, who is the bond of unity. So when Jesus said, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24), He was referring to the members of His Church who will constitute not only Jews or Samaritans but people from all places. His Church shall a light to the nations (Acts 13:47) and possess unity in faith, worship, and governance (Ephesians 4:4-5), and as you quoted 1 Tim 2:8 and Malachi 1:11 “in every place.” These last two passages seem like connoting the word universal or catholic to me. I think to imply that John 4:24 includes doing away with Temple adornments is foreign to the text. In your comments on John 4:24 you said: “God does not say that because He is spirit and we are physical beings, we need visible signs and symbols.” But neither did Jesus say that since God is spirit we don’t need visible signs and symbols. I think it is not within good sense and right reason to impose in a given passage what we want it to say and if its’ not there we conclude that the verse is denying what is not said therein. Actually what you are trying to tell me, is for John 4:24 not to disprove iconolatry the verse should say: “because He is spirit and we are physical beings, we need visible signs and symbols.” Since the verse does not say so then bingo you have a verse that finally refutes iconolatry! I honestly think that you can do better than use this kind of reasoning.

R3. The Israelites adorn their temples with sacred images (Eze 41:18-19) and according to St Paul: “They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship..” (Romans 9:4).

Yes, to the Israelites belong the worship of God. This is quite true and I don’t know what you’re trying to say here. If you’re trying to sway this verse toward iconolatry, I think that is going very very far. Concatenating the two thoughts and saying that the Israelites adorned the temple of God and used those adornments for worship is not a warranted conclusion. They are two completely different thoughts and must not be manipulated to support our personal interpretations.

R4. What I was trying drive at here is that since it is said that to the Israelites belong the worship of God and considering that the Temple which is their place of worship is adorned with sacred images and that they used sacred signs and symbols in their religious rites and ceremonies that these practices are perfectly legitimate before God.

(Benjie previously) Your theory is interesting. But it makes a very glaring assumption and claim – that the Bible is not complete, that the omniscient and omnipotent God somehow left out the importance of iconolatry in light of the more pressing issues of that day. Will this theory hold? Can this theory be supported in Scripture? I’d like to pose the question back to you. Do you truly believe in your heart that the omniscient and omnipotent God, whose ways are higher than our ways, who knows our inmost beings and darkest secrets and weaknesses, would leave out something as important as the true worship of Him?

R3. What I am saying is that the Bible is not always explicit in all issues pertaining to faith (what we ought to believe) and morals (what we ought to do), that the sacred writers did not always put the same emphasis on different issues concerning the Christian faith.

I think I will rest my case here since you did not answer my question.

R3. Not one of the sacred writers intended to write a compendium of the truths of the Christian faith. There were truths which they deem better to convey orally. St John says: “Although I have much to write to you, I do not intend to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and to speak face to face so that our joy may be complete” (2 John 1:12). “I have much to write to you, but I do not wish to write with pen and ink. Instead, I hope to see you soon, when we can talk face to face” (3 John 1:13). Regarding the issue on the proper use of images in worship, I think God has not left this out as proven by the passages I quoted (Exo 25:18-22, Eze 41:18-19, etc).

It is already agreed that the Bible did not contain all of their writings, but everything that is necessary for salvation is recorded (John 20:31). Paul also tells Timothy in 2 Tim 3:16-17 that the Bible contains everything that is necessary to make the man of God complete and fully equipped, lacking in NOTHING. There may have been things during the apostle’s time that they wanted to deliver orally, which is not surprising as you and I know there are really things that are best delivered orally. But it does not mean that Scripture is lacking. God’s word is God Himself speaking. It transcends all the wisdom of man. God is the best communicator, the perfect communicator, the most complete communicator, for He is God after all. I would like to ask where your thoughts are going regarding these truths that were conveyed orally? Is it safe to assume that you want to say that the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy is the recipient of these orally conveyed truths? Have you ever played the game where one phrase is passed on and the resulting phrase is sometimes so far from the original already, to everyone’s delight? This will at least show you the absolute unreliability of orally passed messages. That is why only Scripture is what we can consider the source of the inspired word of God. I believe we will be covering this in our other exchange, of which you have already sent you response.

R4. I hope to respond to this in our discussion on Scriptures. But a word on the unreliability of orally handed down message. Using this principle you would be forced to admit the unreliability of Scriptures since the word of God before it was transmitted in writing came from oral tradition. You would begin to doubt the unreliability of the Biblical Canon since this was finally settled almost 400 years after the birth of Christianity.

R3. I posed the question to you in order to illicit from you a convincing answer since you denied that it was intended to uplift the minds and hearts of the people inside the place of worship. In your current response you said that the temple ornaments served only architectural purposes to the temple. To me this is not convincing enough. Architectural designs are ultimately for the benefit of people not buildings.

There is no indication that their purpose was more than architectural, no reference, no mention. You even said this was explicit when now you are offering your own interpretation. With due respect, I think it is you who needs to show that they were intended for worship, for my contention is that this thought is absent from Scripture and even explicitly forbidden, which I have already shown your though commands and OT and NT practice. I have no doubt that architectural designs do benefit people. As I have indicated, I think you would rather have your officiating priest sit on a chair with handcrafted designs, than on plain Monobloc chair. What we are talking about here is whether these designs were used for worshipping God.

R4. I have explained to you the indications that it was more than merely “architectural” but it seems to me that you simply don’t want to consider it as a possible explanation since you have already made up your mind that it could not be more than “architectural.” The fact that the passages I quoted did not say explicitly as you want it said like “the purpose of the Temple adornments was not simply for architectural reasons” or “the purpose of the Temple adornments was to lift the minds and hearts of the people” does not mean that we are facing a blank wall, that we just stop thinking. The word “explicit” and “implicit” are somewhat relative terms depending on one’s point of view. What might be “explicit” to one person may be only “implicit” to another. What might be initially implicit (unclear) could be made explicit (clear) after considering additional information. Granting that I said it was explicit since to me it is very clear considering the evidence in favor of iconolatry. I only said it is contained implicitly since I was adapting to your line of thinking since you say that there is no explicit command.

R3. Let me back track a little bit on my explanation on the purpose of sacred images inside God’s temple. Prophet Ezequiel mentions that sacred images “were figured on every side throughout the whole temple” (Eze 41:19). Thus, inside the House of God wherever the people face they will see these images. If these images where not intended to lift the minds and hearts of the people then they will serve more as a distraction during worship which to my mind is contrary to God’s wisdom.

I think I understand your reasoning. By itself, your reasoning sounds quite valid. The problem is that there are times when our reasoning can be wrong, even how right it may sound. So this reasoning must be subjected to testing from Scripture. I see no explicit command them in worship, but an explicit command to NOT use images in worship. And did you not note my comments that the people of God could not possibly see those adornments for they were only limited to the outer courts? Did you also note my comments on the total absence of any image of God in God’s instructions for the design of the temple, consistent with His command in Exo 20:4 and Deut 4:15?

R4. I would really be happy had you pointed out to me where we can read the “explicit command to NOT use images in worship.” Honestly if there is such a verse then I would reconsider my position on sacred images. Your statement that the people of God could not possibly see those adornments for they were only limited to the outer courts is not true. Let me describe to you in more detail the Temple of Jerusalem during Jesus’ time. If one entered the southern gate one came onto the Court of the Gentiles. This great square received its name from the fact that Gentiles were also allowed to enter it. This is the place where Jesus drove out the merchants (Mat 21:12-13; Mk 11:15-17; Lk 19:45-46). Gentiles could enter the court of the Gentiles but a railing had been erected beyond which only Jews were allowed to pass. Approaching the sanctuary one had to pass three inner courts (inside the building): the Court of the Women, the Court of Israel, and the Courts of the Priests. Each of these courts was five steps higher than the preceding court so that one really had the impression of going up the mountain of God. The Court of the Women owed its name to the fact that women were allowed to enter it but not go beyond it. The Court of the Women also contained thirteen alms boxes in which obligatory and voluntary contributions for the Temple were deposited (Mk 12:41-44; Lk 21:1-4). In this court too the prophetess Anna worshipped God day and night (Lk 2:36-38). When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple for the ceremony of purification (Lk 2:22-24), Mary would have stayed behind in the Court of the Women while Joseph proceeded into the Court of Israel, which only men could enter. The priest would have taken Joseph’s offering of turtle doves up to the altar in the Courts of the Priests and performed the rite (Lev 12:1-8). Christ was referring to this place in Mat 5:23-24. The Court of Israel is the place where Jewish men went to pray, facing the sanctuary (Lk 18:10-13). The most sacred part of the Temple was undoubtedly the sanctuary. The first room was called the Holy Place, and normally only priests could enter it. It was inside this room that Zechariah saw a vision (Lk 1:11). Beyond the Holy Place was a smaller room called the Holy of Holies. This room should have contained the Ark of the Covenant, but, as the Ark was not found after the exile, it was empty. St. Paul in Hebrews 9:3-7 must have been referring to the original Temple. Thus we see that the Jews, both men and women, can enter into the Temple building to pray and worship. Regarding your comment on the total absence of any image of God I would not be surprised but there were images of Cherubims, faces of a man, etc. which reminded the people that they are in a place of worship and thus focus their mind and hearts to God.

R3. I don’t pretend to read the mind of God. But we should use our God-given intellect to discern God’s will using the available data in Scriptures. That God’s purpose of adorning the temple with images was to uplift the minds and hearts of His people is a theological certainty because it could not have been otherwise for if not then they will serve nothing more than just a mere distraction to the people which is evidently against God’s wisdom. Are we to limit God’s purpose in ordaining sacred images inside his temple to merely “architectural reasons”?

I agree wholeheartedly that we should use our God-given intellect to discern God’s will using available data in Scripture. This is consistent with God’s command in Deuteronomy: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deut 29:29). Thus I find it inconsistent of you to follow this noble thought with your own interpretation that does not use available data in Scripture to arrive at a “theological certainty”. I think the issue in not limiting God’s purpose, but in adding a perceived purpose which is foreign to the rest of Scripture, such as your adding “ordaining sacred images”.

R4. You acknowledged that God himself prescribed the construction of the Temple and God’s prescription included adorning His Temple with sacred images. If that is not “ordaining sacred images” then what is it? I hope you would not say that in prescribing that His Temple be adorned with sacred images God was prohibiting the use of sacred images. People can contradict themselves, but God can’t.

(Benjie previously) Picture with me the temple in which God said He would dwell. Now, if God dwelt in the temple, what would He think if a worshiper came in whose attention was on the images instead of God Himself who was in the temple? What purpose would the images serve when the true and living God was Himself there in the temple?

R3. I fully agree with the above observation. If the attention of the worshipper will stop at the image then it has not served its’ purpose. Sacred images are not the end in themselves but a means to an end i.e., to lift the minds and hearts of the people to divine realities and ultimately to God. That sacred images accomplish this purpose is clearly evident in Scriptures: “So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim” (1 Samuel 4:4). “Then David and all the people who were with him set out for Baala of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which bears the name of the LORD of hosts enthroned above the cherubim” (2 Samuel 6:2). “There I will meet you and there, from above the propitiatory, between the two cherubim on the ark of the commandments, I will tell you all the commands that I wish you to give the Israelites” (Exodus 25:22). Their eyes beheld the image of the Cherubim but their minds were directed to the Lord.

I think you are forgetting one thing in your examples. The cherubim is special case. In the case of the cherubim on top of the ark, God said it is there that His holy presence would dwell. So the people rightly treated it with extreme reverence, not because of the icons (which I think you have wrongly presumed), but because God’s presence was actually there. I would then want to ask again, what purpose would images serve when the true and living God was Himself there in the temple?

R4. No, I did not say that the people regarded it with extreme reverence because of the icons. The people treated it with extreme reverence (thanks for saying that) not because of what they saw but because of what it represents i.e., God’s moral presence. This is what the Israelites realized in the course of their history regarding the bronze serpent, “For when the dire venom of beasts came upon them and they were dying from the bite of crooked serpents, your anger endured not to the end. But as a warning, for a short time they were terrorized, though they had a sign of salvation, to remind them of the precept of your law. For he who turned toward it was saved, not by what he saw, but by you, the savior of all” (Wisdom 16:6-7). Consistent with this is the Catholic teaching: the honor which is given them (sacred images) is referred to the originals which they represent. My point is that although the image of the Cherubims were not representation of God as He is yet it was used by God to remind the people of Him. Thus sacred images inside God’s temple can be used to lift the minds and hearts of people to God. To the question: What purpose would images serve when the true and living God was Himself there in the temple? I might as well add: You said that God’s presence was actually there (between the two Cherubims) and in the temple. What’s the use of the image of the Cherubims and the Temple, since God is everywhere anyway (Jer 23:23-24)?

R3. Today we know that images do not possess inherent power, virtue or divinity in them. I think that regarding the proper use of images in worship we have come to the level of maturity which God intended for His people. Images are not the form of the Divinity but visible signs which points to God’s presence among His people.

To this I would say that when men so presume to be so mature as to add to God’s word their own reasoning that is contrary to Scripture, and to even put their reasoning above God’s words, then in reality, men have degenerated and not matured. With all due respect, up to this point, you have not shown me one valid reference to iconolatry in the Old and New Testaments.

R4. I think that I have presented enough Scriptural evidence on the practice of iconolatry among God’s people. I have pointed out to you some fallacies and inconsistencies in your handling of Scriptures. I may not have explained each biblical passage I quoted with the clarity and rigor which would have been needed but I think taking them all together makes a very strong case for iconolatry.

As what I have pointed out above, God’s prohibition in Deut 4:15 is a prohibition that stands by itself. It is a prohibition on the making of any representation of God. The danger in trying to assume a purpose is that we will be prone to error, in this case, to protect the people from idolatrous practices. For then, we can also say that images are okay as long as they are not used for idolatrous purposes. For then, we would not be true to God’s commands. An example is when God commanded in Exo 20:15 that “you shall not steal”. If we try to presume God’s purpose and say that His purpose is to prevent greed, for example, then that would make stealing okay if you are already starving. Will that make it right?

R3. The prohibition in Deut 4:15 should be understood in the light of other similar Scriptural passages in order for us to gain additional insight as to its meaning within a broader context. I think it is very dangerous to suppose that a single verse stands by itself for it usually leads to a truncated version of the truth.

For example, in John 8:40 Jesus says: “But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.” Taken at face value this would seem to support the belief that Jesus is a man and not God. On another occasion Jesus was asked by a rich young man: “What must I do to enter into eternal life?” Jesus replied: “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Mat 19:17). Taken at face value it seems that the only requirement that Jesus required for salvation was to keep the commandments.

Let me deal with your example on the commandment “You shall not steal.” This apparently simple commandment can lead to a host of other issues: right of private property, power of expropriation by the state, theft, business fraud, unjust wages, hoarding of goods, excessive profits, tax evasion, forgery of checks and invoices, excessive expenses and waste, vandalism, willfully damaging private or public property, promises and contracts, games of chance, enslavement of human beings, respect for the integrity of creation, preferential love for the poor, etc. I think that the essence of the seventh commandment enjoins the practice of justice and charity in the administration of earthly goods and the fruit of man’s labor. Stealing is the unjust taking or keeping the goods of one’s neighbor and wronging him in any way with respect to his goods. I underscore the word unjust as a qualifying definition. Thus, the state may justly expropriate private property if it is for the common good.

Let me cite a parallel example: The fifth commandment “You shall not kill” does not stand by itself. Scriptures specifies the prohibition contained in the fifth commandment “Do not slay the innocent and the righteous” (Exodus 23:7). In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord recalls the commandment, “You shall not kill” (Mat 5:21) and adds to it the proscription of anger, hatred and vengeance. Furthermore, someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to punish malefactors by penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, and in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty. For analogous reasons those holding authority have the right to repel by armed force aggressors against the community in their charge (CCC par 2266).

Points taken and much appreciated. But I quote the entire length of section of your response since your intro was talking about not taking a single verse in isolation. Although I did not really take a single verse but several verses in Deut 4 and also Exo 20:4 and (lack of) examples in the Old and New Testaments. I was expecting you to offer several more references regarding the subject, but it did not come. Maybe you were distracted by the analogies in stealing and killing and forgot to get back to the original topic? Mind you, if I am guilty of taking a single verse in isolation and out of context, I would readily take a correction.

R4. I was responding to your statement that “God’s prohibition in Deut 4:15 is a prohibition that stands by itself.” I was trying to show you that some things which on the surface appear to be simple can actually involve a lot of intricacies. No single Scriptural passage stands by itself. Every passage has to be understood in its harmony with adjacent passages and in its harmony with the entire Biblical revelation (and for Catholics, in its harmony with the Living Faith Tradition of God’s people and the Official teachings of the Church magisterium). Although you thought that I was distracted by the analogies in stealing and killing, I think the analogies I mentioned were necessary to help you understand what I was trying to say.

(Benjie previously) Any image of God will be an aberration, a horrible twisted misrepresentation of true and living God. Would you allow somebody to paint a portrait of you only to find out later on that the image he painted was that of a goat? (I apologize for the example.) God simply cannot be represented by anything made by the hand of men.

R3. The image of the Sto. Nino is not a representation of God as He is. It is a representation of Jesus in his incarnate form as a man who at one time became a child (Isa 9:6, Luke 1:35, Rev 12:5). Let me repeat that the images of Jesus, Mary, angels and saints are not representation of God as He is (in His divinity) and they do not have inherent virtue, power, or divinity.

You really cannot separate the Lord Jesus Christ in His incarnate form as opposed to his being God. He is both God and man at the same time. He is fully God as if He was not man and fully man as if He was not God. Jesus Christ in His incarnate form is still GOD. Let me ask you. Do you have any record of the physical details of the Lord Jesus? Do you have even a description of how his face might have looked like? Are you not curious as to why God in His infinite wisdom did not leave us a record in Scripture of Christ’s facial features? If so, are not the images of Christ today immoral aberrations and only based on men’s imaginations? Personally, I find a striking resemblance to the Old Testament where God did not show them any form when today, we have no record of Christ’s face?

R4. Since you agree that Jesus became man I think it would be inconsistent on your part to object representing him in the form of a man. A number of protestant Christian churches sponsor Easter plays in which various members of their congregation dress up in costume as Jesus and the saints (give living images) to the audience in an attempt to get the audience to focus on the lives of these spiritual giants. Is there anything wrong with that? Of course not! What about all those religious movies about Jesus of Nazareth wherein actors portray the role of Jesus and New Testament personalities? I think it is perfectly alright, and I know a lot of protestant will agree with me, as long as these portrayals are faithful to the gospel account concerning his life and teachings. Most Christian denominations have crosses in their sanctuaries or images of crosses in the stained glass windows of their churches. Is there anything wrong with that? Certainly not! In order to teach their children, many Christian denominations use religious instructional books and children’s Bible that have pictures of Jesus in them. Aren’t pictures of Jesus two-dimensional images? Is this breaking God’s commandment? Not at all! But the protestant might say: But we don’t worship those images! We Catholics would reply: And neither do we! I know a lot of protestant who after having been told that Catholics do not worship images still go on believing that we do or wishing that they would find some uninstructed Catholic who do. Truly, it is difficult to overcome prejudice against the Catholic religion. Cardinal Sheehan was right in saying: “A lot of people hate the Catholic Church not for what it is but for what they think it is.”

In the light of God’s clear commands in Deut 4:15 and Exo 20:4, is this still your position?

R3. In the light of God’s revelation in Scriptures I still maintain the above position.

In our case Ramon, I can only plead with you to let Scripture be your judge and ruler. As someone who is genuinely concerned for your eternal welfare, I have tried to show you to the best of my ability that your claims are not really supported in Scripture and that they are even a violation of Scripture.

R4. Considering the time and effort that we devote to continue this dialogue, I would naturally have chosen to spend my time in some other worthwhile endeavor had I not have a genuine concern for your eternal welfare as well. As St Augustine said: “One soul is enough diocese for a bishop.” I am thankful of your concern for my eternal welfare. I am really glad that our paths have crossed.

R3. In this exchanges, I think I have clarified what a catholic believes and thinks when he prays before (not to) a sacred image. I hope that you will trust me on this one.

I appreciate your responses very much and your efforts in presenting explanations and Scriptures. I also appreciate your handling of this exchange and your presentation of the Roman Catholic beliefs. I don’t know if you will agree, but we might have gone off too far on the side though and spent too much time on iconolatry in general, when our original contention was the image of Christ and the Sto Nino. For your supporting verses in Exodus and Ezekiel for iconolatry only mention adornments, not images of Christ.

R4. That’s not surprising since the time of Exodus and Ezekiel predated the coming of Christ but as the Catholic Church teaches the sacred images ordained by God in the Old Testament points to the incarnation.

R3. You are right that you cannot judge the intentions of my heart and the hearts of millions of Catholics spread throughout the world.

There is a biblical reference for this: For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1Co 2:11)

Thank you once again Ramon for presenting the Roman Catholic position and your taking much time and effort into presenting them in this exchange.

R4. With the above comments, I would gladly rest my case and I will be preparing my final closing statements in one page or less (as you suggested). I will be sending it to you once it is finished. Thank you for reading through. I think you have been very cordial and gentlemanly in this dialogue. I wish I had presented my side as cordially and gentlemanly as you did.

Truly yours,

Ramon

GERRY SOLIMAN JUST DOESN’T GET IT CORRECTLY!!!

GERRY SOLIMAN JUST DOESN’T GET IT CORRECTLY!!!

By Atty. Marwill Llasos


MR. GERRY SOLIMAN of Solutions Finder Apologetics responded to my appeal. As I expected, he would not face the issue head on. Here is how he defended himself. (http://solutions-finder.blogspot.com/2011/01/response-to-appeal-of-atty-llasos.html).

Picture+001 GERRY SOLIMAN JUST DOESN’T GET IT CORRECTLY!!!

Gerry Soliman


This is how Mr. Soliman wiggles away from the issue:

“He insists that they didn’t contradict because Fr. Abe was referring to the woman in Revelations 12:1 while Atty. Llasos was referring to birth pains in Revelations 12:2, but my article which I pointed out their contradiction was about the literal or symbolical identification of the woman clothed with the sun.”

I am astonished that Mr. Soliman does not exactly understand the issue I raised. Let us dissect Mr. Soliman’s understanding of the issue, or the lack of it.

Mr. Soliman states the issue that Fr. Abraham P. Arganiosa, CRS and I did not contradict each other because Fr. Abe was referring to the woman in Revelations 12 while I was referring to birth pains in Revelations 12:2. This is inaccurate.

I wonder if Mr. Soliman has read and understood what I had written in my article. I request my readers to read it again so as not to be deceived by the Mr. Soliman’s way of inaccurately putting the issue. Here’s my article: (http://bromarwilnllasos.blogspot.com/2011/01/blog-post_24.html).

Let me state it the issue again: The issue is: Did Fr. Abraham Arganiosa and I contradict each other based on our statements that Mr. Soliman quoted in his blog?

My challenge was specific and categorical. I was referring to the exact statements that Gerry Soliman quoted from Fr. Abe and I which he said contradicted each other. The specific statements Gerry Soliman quoted from us were discussing two (2) different issues. Fr. Abe’s statement was concerned about the identity of the woman in Revelation 12:1. My statement was concerned about the interpretation of “birth pains” in Revelation 12:2.”

Here is the exact statement of Fr. Abe:

 GERRY SOLIMAN JUST DOESN’T GET IT CORRECTLY!!!

“I DIDN’T SAY THAT ‘THE WOMAN CLOTHE WITH THE SUN’ SOMETIMES REFERS TO MARY. IT REFERS TO MARY LITERALLY ALWAYS AND AT ALL TIMES BECAUSE SHE IS THE MOTHER OF THE KING OF ALL NATIONS.” (emphasis added)

And here is mine:

“To answer Mr. Soliman, verse 2 of Revelation 12 does not in any way affect the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Because, just like Mr. Soliman, we don’t interpret it literally. I hold Mr. Soliman’s word that he does not interpret Revelation 12:2 literally. And so do we.” (emphasis added)

Friends, lest it be forgotten, it was Gerry Soliman who quoted those statements from us. And my specific challenge is for him to point out that those statements he exactly quoted from us contradict each other. The problem with Mr. Soliman is that he is so reckless with his quotations in his pathetic effort to pounce upon us “contradiction.” Gerry, you brought this upon yourself. Better be careful next time.

Next, Mr. Soliman pointed out that our contradiction was about the literal or symbolical identification of the woman clothed with the sun. Yes, that may have been your point, but look at the statements that you quoted from us! I already explained that those statements that you said contradicted each other were discussing two different things. Father Abe’s quoted statement was about the identity of the woman while mine was about the interpretation of “birth pains” in Revelations 12:2.

As Mr. Soliman said, his point is that Fr. Abe’s and my contradiction was about the literal or symbolical identification of the woman clothed with the sun. But please check the exact quotes he said contradicted each other. Mr. Soliman’s article is rather brief, and I reproduce it below so that the reader can see it for themselves:

“Mary as the Woman Clothed with the Sun of Revelations 12: Symbolical or Literal?

Let the infallible Church of Rome tell you. According to Atty. Marwil Llasos, a Roman Catholic apologist specializing on Mariology:

To answer Mr. Soliman, verse 2 of Revelation 12 does not in any way affect the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Because, just like Mr. Soliman, we don’t interpret it literally.

*

I hold Mr. Soliman’s word that he does not interpret Revelation 12:2 literally. And so do we.

*

According to Fr. Abraham Arganiosa, another Roman Catholic apologist and comrade of Atty. Llasos:

*

I DIDN’T SAY THAT ‘THE WOMAN CLOTHE WITH THE SUN’ SOMETIMES REFERS TO MARY. IT REFERS TO MARY LITERALLY ALWAYS AND AT ALL TIMES BECAUSE SHE IS THE MOTHER OF THE KING OF ALL NATIONS.

*

Well if your head is aching already, so is mine. Here is the real score on the Roman Catholic Church on the woman of Revelations 12: They didn’t have any official and infallible interpretation of it during the first 300 years of Christianity. In fact, none of the church fathers during that time ever interpreted the woman as Mary. Some of the church fathers referred the woman as Israel, the people of God but never on Mary. Mary as woman clothed with the sun is not an apostolic teaching.” [http://solutions-finder.blogspot.com/2010/11/woman-clothed-with-sun-of-revelations.html].

Mr. Soliman’s concern in that article is the literal or symbolic interpretation of the woman. But look at the quotations you chose! They aren’t discussing the same issue. And Gerry Soliman knows that as in fact he now admits he does.

But he continues to skirt the issue and would like to leave it just like that. Pushed against the wall, he now offers this afterthought:

“Here is my response: You cannot disassociate the woman clothed with the sun in the identification of the birth pains.”

Gerry Soliman is now jumping now to another issue. Convenient escape, is it not?

He says that we can’t identify the woman using 12:1 alone or 12:2 alone. Did I ever say that? He is refuting a point that was never raised. And he proffered the important rule when it comes to understanding Scripture: “context, context, and more context.” Again, who opposes it?

In all things, context is very important. That’s why Gerry Soliman must have taken the context where Fr. Abe’s quoted statement was taken out. He was responding the query on the identity of the woman of Revelation 12. Likewise, if Gerry Soliman was ever concerned with context, he should have treated the statement he quoted from me based on the exact context on which appeared. And here we have Mr. Soliman pontificating on “context, context, and more context.”

Oh, and Gerry Soliman charged that I made a “lame excuse” that I was “just” referring to birth pains. Boy, here we go again! When will Gerry ever learn? Repeat: I was pointing out to the “exact quotation” that Mr. Soliman yanked from my article. And that quoted statement was precisely talking to nothing but birth pain! Lame excuse?

And here comes Gerry Soliman’s turn to turn the tables.

“Any objective reader would have to consider the context of the issue. When Fr. Abe and I briefly had a discussion about birth pains in Atty. Llasos’ blog, the identity of the woman was obviously discussed as well. As a matter of fact, the article written by Atty. Llasos in his response to me discussed first who is the woman before discussing birth pains. So if he is just discussing birth pains, I wonder if he avoided discussing who or what had these birth pains?”

Oh yes, you had that discussion about the birth pains and as you said the identity of the woman was also discussed. Where in my articles did I deny that? Again, raising an issue out of a non-issue. My article, which was prompted by your article, pointed to a specific issue. If you still don’t get it, I will re-state it for the nth time. I was concerned with the “exact quotations” that you cited in your article of November 2, 2010 which I reproduced above.

Gerry doesn’t want to face the music. Here is his lame excuse:

“Let’s recall what I said which Atty. Llasos based his statement “we don’t interpret it literally“:

Your question is not just a matter of who or what is the woman in Revelations 12, but also whether this could be understood literally or not. I think you favor more the literal understanding which points you to the blessed Mary (correct me if I am wrong). On the otherhand, I don’t interpret it literally thus, I can’t give you a name.

Since I believe this chapter is symbolical, I identify the woman as the people of God.

I was talking there about the woman and stating that the chapter is symbolical. It is understood that we considered the surrounding verses of the birth pains in Revelations 12. Fr. Abe also made an identification of who is woman before proceeding to birth pains. So when Atty. Llasos quoted from me, I don’t interpret it literally, he connected it to discussing birth pains:

To answer Mr. Soliman, verse 2 of Revelation 12 does not in any way affect the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Because, just like Mr. Soliman, we don’t interpret it literally. In his comment in my blog article, Mr. Soliman said, “I don’t interpret it literally …” to which I replied that “there are points of agreement already between his position and ours.”

Thus, the association of the woman clothed with the sun can’t be avoided.”

Gerry Soliman can say a lot of things. He can connect the “woman” to “birth pains” all he wants. He can’t rant about the unavoidable association of the woman with the birth pains all he wants. But, so what? It was not the point of my article. Everything here that Mr. Soliman says to divert the issue is inconsequential. The point that I have been making all along is that the exact statement that he quoted from me and Fr. Abe were discussing two different issues. As Mr. Soliman himself concedes, Fr. Abe also made an identification of who is woman before proceeding to birth pains. So when Atty. Llasos quoted from me, I don’t interpret it literally, he connected it to discussing birth pains.” Precisely, Mr. Soliman. Now your getting there.

“Fr. Abe also made an identification of who is woman before proceeding to birth pains.” Yes, he was making an identification of the woman before he proceeded to birth pains. And where did Mr. Soliman get the statement of Fr. Abe that you quoted? From his identification of the woman.

“So when Atty. Llasos quoted from me, I don’t interpret it literally, he connected it to discussing birth pains.” And where did he get the statement he quoted from me? From my discussion of birth pains.

Let’s not gild the lily anymore. The point has been sufficiently belabored already. And Mr. Soliman has all but conceded the point when he gave me this unsolicited advice: “Atty. Llasos, you need to look at the bigger picture. That sums up what I have to say.”

Gerry, I appreciate your advice. Don’t worry much about me. I can assure you that I do look at the bigger picture. But I look at the details, too. While looking at the vast expanse of the firmament, we should not lose sight of the nitty-gritty details.

It is regrettable indeed that Mr. Soliman would not face the issue I squarely raised. As an escape, he pointed to another contradiction of me and Fr. Abe:

“Therefore, both of Atty. Llasos and Fr. Abe contradicted each other. To repeat:

Fr. Abe: IT REFERS TO MARY LITERALLY ALWAYS AND AT ALL TIMES

Yes, there is the word birth pain or birth pang in both texts but the pain of the Woman Clothed with the Sun is due to the Birth of the Messiah

Atty. Llasos: we don’t interpret it literally

The pain the woman is suffering here is not indicating she was suffering pain in birth, but the suffering at seeing her Son’s agonizing pain and suffering on Calvary.”

By now, we know Gerry Soliman very, very well. And if he has not yet learned his lesson, we will teach him another one. In the subsequent articles, both Fr. Abe and I would (again) expose Mr. Soliman’s faulty reading comprehension and intellectual dishonesty.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities” (Lk. 16:10, NLT).

[Note: Gerry Soliman raised other points. I reserve my right to respond to them in future articles so as not to convolute the present one. I humbly beg the indulgence of my readers. Thank you.]

Atty. Llasos, you need to look at the bigger picture. That sums up what I have to say.

Before we end, I would like to respond to Atty. Llasos’ comment on my assertion of contradition against Mr. Carlos Palad on the canon of Scripture. It’s not going to be long. Please refer to the definition of terms below which were taken from Merriam Webster online:

Definite – free of all ambiguity, uncertainty, or obscurity

Final – not to be altered or undone

Open – containing none of its endpoints

Remain – to continue unchanged

Settle – to establish or secure permanently

I am expecting that he (and probably Fr. Abe) will write bad things about me personally (as they always do) and even ridicule what I have written here in his (or their) subsequent articles. Nevertheless, I take full responsibility of what I have written so far.

Mga Doktrinal Nga Ataki Ni Smith Ug Ang Tubag

Mga Doktrinal Nga Ataki Ni Smith Ug Ang Tubag

ni Padre Joseph Giaime, S.D.B.

 Mga Doktrinal Nga Ataki Ni Smith Ug Ang Tubag

si Mr. Oswald Smith Nagsulat og Gamay’ng Basahon nga Giulohan og “Ang Katoliko nga Bibliya maoy Tubag.” Giatake sa maong Baptist nga Pastor ang mga Doktrina nga Gitudlo sa Katoliko, ug buot niyang ipasabot nga ang maong mga Doktrina Nahasupak sa Gitudlo sa mga pulong sa Dios. Mao nga ania ang iyang mga Atake ug ang mga Tubag.

1. Nag-ingon ba si Jesus nga Tukoron Niya ang Iyang Iglesia Ibabaw ni Pedro? Akong Kutloon Ang Bibliya nga Katoliko, Ikaw mao si Pedro, ug ibabaw niining maong Bato Akong pagatukoron ang Akong iglesia.”
(Mat.16:18 ).Apan wala Siya Mag-ingon nga Iyang Tukoron ang Iyang iglesia ibabaw ni Pedro.Ang Griego nga Pulong sa Pedro mao ang petros Nagkahulogan og gamay’ng bato.Apan Gipatukod ni Kristo ang Iyang iglesia ibabaw sa Rock,kun Dakong Bato.Ang Pulong sa Griego sa Dakong Bato mao ang Petra. sanglit ang iyang iglesia gipatukod man sa Dakong Bato, ug si Kristo mao man ang Dakong Bato. busa diha kang Kristo ipatukod niya
ang iyang iglesia, dili sa gamay’ng bato nga mao si Pedro.

Tubag:

dili mahitabo nga nawala’y kahulogan ang pag-ingon ni Jesus kang Pedro, “Ikaw Pedro (Bato)
ug sa ibabaw niining maong Bato, pagatukoron ko ang akong Iglesia,” kay kon wala’y labot si Pedro, moingon lang unta si Kristo.” Ako si Kristo ang Bato ug ibabaw niining maong Bato tukoron ko ang Akong Iglesia.” Ang Ngalan ni Pedro kaniadto Simon giilisdan ni Jesus og Kephas, usa ka Pulong nga Enibreyo nga Nagkahulogan og Dakong Bato o Batong Pangpang. ug sanglit ang tukma sa Griego sa Pulong Kephas mao man ang Petra, ug ang Petra Ngalan man sa Babaye, mao nga gipabilin lang ang Ngalan nga Pedro. bisan pa ang Pedro Nagkahulogan og “gamay’ng bato.” basaha sa Katoliko nga Bibliya nga si Simon Giingnan ni Jesus,” ang imong Ngalan mao na si Kephas,”(Jn.1:42). Bisan pa gani sa mga katawhan nga nagsulti og Griego si Simon gitawag og Kephas, basaha sa (1Kor.1:12, 15:5, Gal.1:18 ). unsa may katarungan ni Kristo sa Pag-ilis niya sa Ngalan nga Simon ngadto sa pagka- Kephas? matin-aw, tungod sa misyon nga gisangon niya ni Pedro nga mao ang Pagka-Sukaranan sa iyang iglesia sunod niya. ug gani sa Bag-ong hubad, bisan sa Maayong Balita Biblia mao na kini: “Ikaw si Pedro, ang Bato” ug sa New American Bible catholic translation, I for my Part declare to You, You are Rock, and upon this Rock I Build My Church. . .(Mat.16:18). ang atong Ginoo mismo misaad niini aron dili magmahuyang o mapukan ang pagtoo ni Pedro, “Apan Ako mag-ampo alang kanimo aron dili magmahuyang ang Imong Pagtoo. ug sa Malig-on kana, Panglig-ona ang imong mga kaigsoonan,”(Luk.22:32). mao gani nga ang iglesia mao ang Haligi ug Patukoranan sa Kamatuoran,”(1tim.3:15). dili tungod sa kaigsoonan nga lig-onon pa, kondili tungod ni Pedro nga Maoy Gisugo ni Kristo Paglig-on sa mga Kaigsoonan.

2. si Mr. Oswald Smith mipadayon pag-ataki,” ngani si Pedro gitawag ni Kristo, og Satanas,” (Mat.16:23) mahimo ba ni Kristo nga ang Patukoranan sa iyang iglesia mao si Satanas?.”
Akong Tubag. ikaw ra usab ang Misumpaki sa imong katarungan sanglit mipadayon ka man sa pag-ingon nga ang iglesia gipatukod sa patukoranan nga mao ang mga Apostoles, si Kristo ang Pangulong Bato sa Pamag-ang(Efeso2:20). kon si Pedro Satanas, nganong nahimo man siya nga usa sa patukoranan komo Apostol? ang pagtawag kang pedro og Satanas, dili kay siya gayud mismo, kondili ang yawa, kay si Jesus miingon man, ” Simon, Simon, Ania si Satanas buot moalig-ig kaninyo sama sa Trigo, apan ako mag-ampo alang kanimo. . . ( Lukas 22:31-32). mipadayon sa pagpahimug-at si Mr.Smith, “Ang Patukoranan sa iglesia dili gayod si Pedro kondili si Kristo.” gikutlo nimo ang (1Pedro2:5-8; 1kor.3:11 ug efeso2:20). Ang Iglesia Katolika nagtudlo niana, isip bahin sa iyang lintunganay’ng Doktrina nga si Kristo gayud mao ang labaw sa tibuok iglesia isip ULO O PANGULO, apan taliwala sa mga Apostoles siya mao ang mitudlo kang Pedro nga Ulo o’ Pangulo katulo gayud balika ni Jesus pag-ingon kang Pedro,” pasibsiba ang akong mga Nati ug mga Karnero ( juan21:15-17).

kining katungdanan sa pagpasib-sib sa tanang mga sakop sa iglesia naghupot og katungdanan sa pagka-Pangulo ni Pedro. siya ang unang midumala sa konsilyo sa jerusalem, bisan pa ang Obispo sa maong dapit mao si santiago(buhat 15:1-12). siya mao ang unang midawat sa Hentil nga nakabig(buhat10:1-11). siya ang mihatag og wali sa adlaw nga gipakanaog ang Espiritu Santo sa Adlaw sa pentecostes.(buhat2:1-11). siya ang mipakanaog silot ni Ananias ug Safira(buhat5:1-5). maoy kabubut-on sa Dios nga ang iyang iglesia adunay Pangulo kay mikayab si Kristo balik sa Langit iyang gibilin si Pedro, ug sa pagkamatay ni Pedro dunay mopuli kaniya kay ang inyong mga bunga magpadayon. . . “(Jn.15:16). kining simbahan nga dunay walay bugto nga kutay sa mga sumusunod ni San Pedro mao ang Iglesia Katolika Apostolika Romana. busa mao kini ang Matuod nga Iglesia ug wala nay Lain.

Mga Tinagsip Saysay sa Giwali sa Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo)

 Mga Tinagsip Saysay sa Giwali sa Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo)


Ni: Atty. Dr. Marcelo M. Bacalso

Wali:

Asa mabasa sa Biblia nga pistahan ang mga larawan?
Dili ba pagsimba man kana sa mga dios-dios ang gihimo sa mga katoliko?
Supak kana sa mabasa sa 1 Cor 10:14 diin si Pablo Apostol nag-ingon:
“Mga hinigugma likayi ninyo ang pagsimba og mga larawan.”

Tubag:

Diin man ikaw makat-on nga mga larawan ang gipistahan sa mga katoliko? Nahibalo baya kami nga kamong mga sakop ni Manalo nahibalo nga ang gilarawanan maoy gipistahan, dili ang larawan, apan inyo lang gyud tuyoon ang Paghiwi sa tinuod. Nasayod kami nga kamong sakop ni Manalo nasayod nga ang mga Katoliko wala mag-isip nga mga dios ang mga larawan ug busa kini dili matawag og dios-dios. Apan, unsa man gyud kining taras? Unya kanang 1 Corinto 10:14 nga imong gibasa inyong gihiwi ang hubad, kay ang mabasa nga hustong hubad mao kini: “Mga hinigugma, likayi ninyo ang pagsimba sa mga dios-dios.” Apan, ang “dios-dios” inyong gihubad og “larawan.”
Naunsa man mo?

Wali:

Oy! larawan ang definition sa dios-dios sumala sa mabasa sa Salmo 115:4-8.

Tubag:

Naa na makita nga kamong sakop ni Manalo wala makasabot sa kahulugan sa pulong definition. Ug makita usab nga bisan sa yanong lohika dili kamo makaapas. Dili ba ang mabasa nianang Salmo 115:4-8, mao man kini: “Ang ilang mga dios-dios(sa ato pa ang mga diosdios sa Israel) mga salapi ug mga bulawan, ang mga binuhat sa kamot sa tawo? Dili ba kamo makasabot nga dili man kana definition sa pulong diosdios, kondili description man kana sa gipakadios sa Israel?

Ang Pag-ingon The Idols of Israel are silver and gold images. Nagpasabut ba nga All silver and gold images are the idols of Israel? Wala! tungod kay mahimo nga adunay mga silver and gold images ang Israel apan kini dili ilang diosdios tungod kay wala nila isipa nga dios. Ang mga Katoliko adunay mga larawan, apan dili diosdios nila tungod kay wala nila isipa kini nga dios.

Wali:

Wala magsugo ang Dios magdagkotdagkot og kandila. Gisupak sa Katoliko ang Biblia.

Tubag:

Unya, gisugo ba sa Dios nga pistahan ninyo si Manalo sa iyang Birthday? Mabasa ba kana sa Biblia? Mabasa ba sa Biblia nga anha ninyo bunyagi ang inyong kinabig dinha sa inyong mga Swimming pool? Dili ug dakong dili ang Tubag. Apan, ngano inyo mang gihimo? Ang tinuod mao nga mahimo ang daghang paagi sa atong pagpaila sa atong pagtahud ngadto sa atong Dios ug sa iyang mga Santos.

Pananglitan:

Ang Sugo nga nag-ingon “Higugmaon mo ang Dios labaw sa tanan. Mahimo nga imong ipaila ang imong gugma pinaagi paggahin og mga oras kada adlaw o gabii nga mahimong nimong tulomanon nus-a ikaw mangadye og moyukbo o moluhod. Mahimo nga modagkot ka og kandila aron sa pagpaila sa kainit sa imong pagtahod. Mahimong dili ka modagkot og kandila, kondili mohapa ka sama sa gihimo sa mga Propeta. Wala kinahanglana nga mabasa gayud sa Biblia kining pamaagi sa pagpadayag sa pagtahud. Sa laktud, ang mga Rituales ug Sirimonyas atong mahimo sa tuyo nga mapadayag nato ang atong pagtahod. Apan ang Iglesia ni Cristo, ang tinuod nga iya ni Cristo dili ang kang Manalo, adunay gahum sa pagpasagop og mga pamaagi sa pagpadayag sa pagtahud (Mat 16:19) Question Kana Kun Iglesia ni Cristo ba ang Iglesia Katolika o ang Iglesia ni Cristo ni Manalo ba hinoon.

Wali:

Sa Roma 16:16 mabasa: “Nangumosta kaninyo ang mga Iglesia ni Cristo mao ang iya ni Cristo.

Tubag:

Unsay iya….. nganong moingon ka niana? Si Felix Manalo ug 18 ka kauban maoy nagtukod nianang pundoka. Si Felix Manalo mibiya sa Iglesia Catolika ug nagmetodista, Magwawali gayud siya diha sa Metodista. Unya, mibalhin ngadto sa laing relihiyon, ang Presbyterian ug mibalhin ngadto sa laing relihiyon, ang Christian mission(Church of Christ). Napastor gayud siya nianang pundoka. Unya, mibiya na usab ug mibalhin ngadto sa Sabadista, lain na usab. Nagpastor gani sa Sabadista. Unya gipalagpot sa mga Sabadista tungod kay badlongon man. Unya, kinoyogan sa 18 ka barkada niya iyang gitukod ang pundok nga gisiprahan niya og “Iglesia ni Cristo.” Pagka-klaro nga dili kang Cristo kining pundoka, kondili iya ni Felix Manalo ug sa 18 niya ka barkada. (Mabasa sa Philippine Panorama, Agosto 29, 1982 ug Articulos de Incorporacion sa Iglesia ni Cristo” nga napublikar sa University of Manila Journal of East Asiatic Studies, Volume IV, no.3, July 1955)

Wali:

Kaming mga “Iglesia ni Cristo” dili maghuboghubog, wala kami piyesta, wala kami kalagkalag. Busa gilibak kami, gilutos kami tungud sa ngalan ni Cristo. Dili kami magtukol kay mabasa sa Mateo 5:10: “Bulahan ang ginalutos.”

Tubag:

Kanang imong gipasiatab mao usab ang gihimo sa mga Sabadista, mga Baptist, Saksi ni Jehova, Iglesia sa Dios ug ubang pang pundok nga labihang daghana. Unya, Iglesia ni Cristo” usab sila? Dili ba daghang na kaayo kamo nga nagkalainlaing klase? Kataw-anan, dili ba?
Mahitungod sa imong giingon nga gilutos kamo: kana dili tinuod. Ang nagpanghitabo mao nga ang mga bakak ni Felix Manalo nga naglimin ug giwali sa iyang pundok nga tinukod niya ug sa 18 niya ka barkada kinahanglan ipahayag aron kapanalipdan ang katawhan nga wala pa masayud.

Wali:

Mabasa sa Juan 15:20 kining pasidaan ni Cristo: “Kun ako ilang gilutos, kamo usab lutoson.” Mao nga karon kami mga Iglesia ni Cristo gilutos.

Tubag:

Imo mang gibali ang tinuod. Misalida si Felix Manalo ug ang 18 niya ka barkada sa tuig 1914. Ang Iglesia Catolika daan nang gilusak sa daghang Kaatbang: Luterano, Baptist, Sabadista, Saksi ni Jehova, Reformed church ug ubang pang ginatus ka nagkalainlaing pundok. Si Manalo miapas na lang kanila sa pagpanlusak sa Iglesia Catolika. Manlolotos kini ug ang Pundok, dili kay gilutos.

Larawang Ipabuhat

Larawang Ipabuhat

Ni: Bro. Allan Olano Salada

Catholic faith defender



private 1 7fa8b99fcde84f449a67b7fc1d542b87e7ecb0a4f81ed50e3f17ec9f9a2ef227l Larawang Ipabuhat

PANGUTANA:

Unsa man ang gidili sa Dios sumala sa nahisulat diha sa Bibliya
mahitungod sa Larawan?nganong daghan mang mga larawan
sulod sa simbahang katoliko,daw maglibog na man lang kita kon
kinsa’y atong ampoan?”

( nangutana: Mrs. Helen Maluenda )

private 1 69c23812d7b65e57ed457e46664805930e64f62c663fb88ecc72a4569523abael Larawang Ipabuhat

TUBAG:

Ang gidili sa Dios mao ang paghimo’g larawan sa mga diyos-diyos ug ang pagpaka-dios o pag-isip nga Dios sa usa ka larawan. wala idili ang paghimo’g larawan kon kini dili isipon nga Dios, kay ang pagsimba o ang pag-isip sa larawan nga usa ka Dios, sala nga daku ug ginganlan kining salaa og “idolatriya” ( worshipping of idols ). ang mga diyos- diyos mao ang nagrepresentar sa mga butang nga dili tinood (1cor.8:4)

private 1 a2437f5cae1d280ca70a28c8804870f9ab49e80b2d1633c4deb4363a54b87f18l Larawang Ipabuhat

kini ang gidili sa Dios. mga diyos- diyos sila si Camus, Milcom, Astaroth
(babayeng diyosa ), Moloc ( 1 hari 11:5-7, 33). sila si Baal ug si Nebo maoy ilang mga diyos- diyos kun bakak nga bathala ( isaiah 46:1) ; kini ang gidumtan sa Dios nga mga larawan, kun mga diyos- diyos.(deut.16:22).

private 1 a5dfb031f1a1091e02e147beb2e73d05d7443cfc4a79d7ea5072ca882deeff5cl Larawang Ipabuhat

apan ang Dios nagpabuhat usab og mga larawan nga sagrado, sama sa anghel kun kerubin nga ibutang masigkakilid sa altar aron sa pagpaila
sa pagka-anaa sa Dios ug timaan sa pagka-balaan niini (ex.25:18-22).
mga linilok nga larawan nga gihimong dayan-dayan sa Templo
(Ez.41:17-19). si Josias gisugo sa Dios sa paglumpag sa tanang mga diyos-

private 1 827fdb85c32111a5c21efa9e352b57eff95d701d62c61c58362e59e0e9fbb5c5l Larawang Ipabuhat


diyos, apan ang monyumento sa tawong Balaan sa juda wala
niya ipaguba sanglit dili man kini diyos- diyos (2hari23:15-19).may larawan usab nga linilok sa bitin nga tumbaga nga gipahimo sa Dios,
ug maluwas ang tanag hipaakan sa bitin kon motan-aw sa maong larawan(Num.21:8).Gipaputol- putol sa Dios ang maong larawan sa dihang gisinayop kini pag-ila sa mga tawo (2hari18:4). si josue nag-ampo nga naghapa atubangan sa maong arka kun altar nga adunay larawan sa kerubin (josue7:6). maingon nga si moises nagpatindog og larawan sa

SHJ IHM lg pic Larawang Ipabuhat

kamingawan, si Jesus usab pagapatindogon usab og larawan sa samang paagi. busa buhatan usab si Jesus og larawan ( jn.3:14 ). si Jesus wala magsalikway ug wala magpasipala sa larawan ni cesar sa iyang pag-ingon: “ihatag ni cesar ang iya ni cesar ug ihatag sa Dios ang iya sa Dios!” ( mat.22:19-22 ). ug sa bag-ong tugon gihisgutan usab ni san pablo ang larawan sa kerubin kun anghel ( heb.9:5-11). ug ang arka sa

private 1 d7763d97fc15d6a83cb26e9685b343c84caee6be8c447bc9cc4c95d98125a6afl Larawang Ipabuhat

kasabotan nga adunay larawan sa kerubin giprosisyon usab ug nanayaw pa gani sila pahinungod sa Dios nga matuod ( 2sam.6:13-19 ; 1cron.15:28-29). busa ang mga tawo nga nag-atubang sa larawan sa ilang pag-ampo wala magasimba sa larawan kundili sa gilarawanan o gisimbolohan niini, kay si ezequias nga naga-ampo ug nagasimba sa Dios nga nag-atubang sa larawan sa kerubin ug gidungog ang iyang pag-ampo

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( 2hari19:15-19 ). busa wala magdili ang Dios kanato sa pag-atubang sa larawan nga sagrado diha sa atong pag-ampo kay dili man kini sila mga diyos- diyos ug wala nato sila isipa nga mga dios! kay usa raman ka Dios ang among gituohan. ang mga Anghel ug mga santos nagahulagway sa

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presensya sa Dios kinsa naghimo kanila nga mga santos kun balaan, busa ayaw katingala nganong daghan mang mga larawan sa mga anghel ug mga santos sulod sa templo kun simbahan, ug duna ba kitay mabasa sa Biblia nga ang templo sa Dios gisudlan sa daghang mga larawan sa mga santos ug mga anghel? anaa kana mabasa sa ezequiel 41:17-19!.. ug nagpadayag kini sa kabalaan sa maong dapit. ayaw lang pag-ampo sa larawan, kay wala kini gitudlo sa sta. iglesya, sangpit lang sa panabang sa gilarawanan niini! tungod kay wala man kamoy larawan ug nag-atubang man lang kamo sa bongbong sa inyong pag-ampo, ayaw
sangpita ang bongbong kay dili na makadungog! wala man kami nagsaway kaninyo nga nag-atubang sa bongbong sa inyong pag-ampo kay wala man kamo’y mga larawan, kamo rama’y misaway kanamo ug nagbutang-butang kanamo nga among gipaka-Dios ang mga larawan! hunong na intawon kamo sa inyong paghukom ug pagbutang- butang, kay wala gayud intawon kami nagpaka-Dios sa mga larawan wala kana gitudlo sa simbahan inyo lang kanang buot-buot ug butang-butang

goodsheperd Larawang Ipabuhat


kanamo busa inyo lang kanang panudlo ug subaya ang unsa’y saktong gitudlo sa simbahang katoliko ug dili sa mga pipila ka mga tawo nga nanudlo nga dili maoy gituohan nga hiniusa sa simbahang katoliko nga makita ang iyang gipanudlo sa among opisyal nga mga basahon mahitungod sa mga doktrina niini!.. busa ayaw liboga ang imong kaugalingon! tuhoi lang nga may usa ka Dios, usa ka Simbahan nga iyang gitukod nga mao ang santa iglesya katolika, ug usa ka bunyag ug usa ka pagtuo!(eph.4:4-6)

11355.zoom.a Larawang Ipabuhat

usa ra gayud ang matuod nga Relihiyon nga iyang gitukod ( mat.16:18 ), kay wala siya magtukod og daghang mga Relihiyon nga nagkasumpaki ang mga pagtulon-an, kay ang Dios, Dios sa kahusay ug kalinaw og dili Dios sa kasamok og pagkabahin-bahin ( 1cor.14:33 ) ug ang mga naghimo sa pagkabahin- bahin dili iya sa Dios kundili sa mga sekta nga tinukod lamang og ordinaryong tawo nga dili si kristo ug kini sila namahawa gikan sa tinuod nga simbahan nga iya ni kristo ug maoy hinungdan sa pagkabahin-bahin (1 jn.2:18-19; jude1:18-19 ). kanang mga panyo nga gigamit nato pagpahid sa larawan ug relikyas kun mga butang nga may kadugtongan sa mga santos ug sa Ginoo, ang panudlo ana sa simbahan ug gitoohan sa mga tawo nga nasayud niining gitudlo mahitungod niana bisan wala kana absolutamente gisugo sa simbahan mao nga dili kay ang mismo nga bato ug kahoy ang may gahom nga naghatag kanato sa bendisyon ug kaayohan niana o ang bato ug kahoy mismo didto gipunting ang atong pagtrapo niana kundili sa maong gilarawanan! ug nag-agda kini kanato sa pagtahod kanilang girepresentasyonan niini. kun may maghatag man niini og milagro kana gikan sa Dios mismo nga nagmilagro niana ginamet ang mga butang og kini gibansay ug nahitabo na kaniadto. pananglit ang Dios naghatag og milagro pinaagi ni apostol pablo ang unang pari ( roma15:16 ) pinaagi sa panyo ug tapis lang gigamit sa Dios kining mga butanga isip instrumento nga makita sa kaayohan sa mga tawo ug gibugaw ang mga yawa..( buhat 19:11-12 ) sabton ba nato nga nasayop ang Dios ug si apostol pablo kay gamilagro sila ginamit ang maong mga butang? ug sama ni father suarez nga ang Dios naghimo’g milagro pinaagi kaniya sa pagbanhaw sa maong patay nga lawas didto sa america? ug dili sila mismo ang gahimo sa milagro kundili ang Dios nagbuhat niini pinaagi kanila? kay wala man sila’y gahom hasta ang butang sa paghimo niini kundi ang Dios? laen pa, may babaye nga gitalinug-an sulod na sa daghang mga katuigan apan tungod sa iyang dakung pagtoo mihikap lang siya sa bisti ni kristo
(Mateo 9:20-22). bisan gani ang anino o shadow lang ni apostol pedro ug

fritz1 Larawang Ipabuhat

sa ubang mga apostoles ang Dios naghimo’g milagro sa pag-ayo sa masakiton.(buhat 5:11-15).kadtong bitin nga tumbaga nga gihimong instrumento sa Dios sa paghimo’g milagro sa mga katawhan sa israel niadtong napaakan sa mala nga bitin og ang motan-aw niini dili mamatay kundi maayo kadto gumikan sa Dios og dili sa larawan sa bitin mismo.(kaalam16:5-7 ; salmo 72:12) ug ang mga sagrado nga mga butang makabalaan kini niadtong migamit niini sa balaanong paagi. (kaalam6:10 ;mat.7:6) may larawan gani nga gigamit sa Dios alang ni david nga nagluwas sa iyang kinabuhi ug kadto dili larawan sa mga diyos- diyos kay ang Dios dili man mahitabo nga makasala! ( 1samuel 19:15-17 ) ug duna gani larawan sa anghel kun balaan nga gigamit sa Dios nga dili diyos- diyos nga may kalainan sila kay naghimo ang Dios og milagro sa iyang larawan nga dili diyos-diyos atubangan og uban sa larawan nga si dagon ang diyos- diyos sa mga paganong larawan diha sa ( 1sam.5:4-9 ) diin ang larawan sa anghel nga sama sa dagway sa tawo nakalumpag sa larawan ni dagon ug maoy hinungdan nga nakapasakit sa mga filistihanon nga mga pagano ug ilang giuli sa mga israelita ang larawan sa anghel kay gisilotan sila sa wala’y pagtahud niini.. so may kalainan sa duha ka klase sa maong larawan sa diyos- diyos nga si dagon ug ang larawan nga dili diyos- diyos nga iya sa Dios nga girepresentahan sa tinuod nga pagkamao nga gilalarawanan! ug sumala pa diha sa (galatia 3:1) sa bibliya nga hubad sa atong mga kaigsoonang mga protestante nga ginganlan og tyndale version gisulat didto picture of Jesus Christ died on the Cross. ug sa amplified version of the Bible sa (Gen.1:26) giingon and God said let us
(father,son and holy spirit) make mankind in our own IMAGE after our likeness! busa ang tawo larawan usab sa larawan sa Dios nga gihulagway, busa kun ang tanang larawan gidili absolutamente wagtanga ang imong kaugalingon ug patya kay ikaw gihimo sa Dios sama sa iyang larawan og mismo ang Dios nakasala kay naghimo man siya’g larawan, pero dili kana mahitabo kay ang Dios dili makasala og ang ato lang pagsabot sa biblia maoy wala nagkatakdo og nasusi pag-ayo ang matuod nga panudlo! busa dili tanan larawan diyos- diyos!

Mary,+Mother+of+God Larawang Ipabuhat
Procession sa Dios nga anaa sa Bibliya:


victory procession – 2cor.2:14 ; col.2:15 (Good news bible)

Procession of God -salmo 68:24-25 (New international Version Bible )

funeral procession – luc.7:11-12 (Good news)

procession sa Altar dala ang sanga – salmo 118:27 (Bibliya sa kristohanong katilingban)

marching procession uban sa larawan sa anghel sa arka – 2sam.6:13-15  (Tyndale version)

Festal procession – psalm118:27 new international version.

CFD OFFICERS 2010 (Bacolod Chapter)

CFD OFFICERS 2010

CFD DIOCESAN-LEVEL OFFICERS:
President: Bro. Eddie S. Macainan
Vice President and Apostolic Affairs: Bro. Rey V. Entila
Vice President on Internal Affairs: Bro. Felix S. Alayon Jr.
Executive Secretary: Sis. Ligaya Pomarin
Assistant Executive Secretary: Sis. Helen Piela
Treasurer: Bro. Rogelio L. Gaylan
Auditor: Bro. Edgar S. Yniego
Information Officer: Bro. Judy L. Bayoneta
Spiritual Adviser/Director: Rev. Fr. Romeo D. Tumunong Jr.
Members: Bro. Reynaldo Descutido
Bro. Danilo Gaylan
Bro. Regino Tabiano
Bro. Benjie Pelobello
Bro. Vincent Dominic S. Samulde
Bro. Julius Espinosa
Bro. Christian Paul Gaylan
Bro. Garry L. Gaylan
Bro. Eddie L. Gaylan
Bro. Serafin Soquiño
Bro. Joel Nemenzo
Bro. Narciso C. Rivera
Sis. Erlinda Uy
Bro. Jules P. Bonilla
Bro. Henry Espallardo
Bro. Allan De Guzman
Bro. Winston of the Hospitaller’s

CFD-VILLAMONTE CHAPTER OFFICERS:

Election held last February 6, 2010.

Past President’s: Bro. Lawney A. Arroyo & Bro. Rudy Quimba
President-elect: Bro. Arnaldo Quiachon
Vice President: Bro. Rey V. Entila
Secretary: Sis. Erlinda Uy
Treasurer: Bro. Rudy Quimba
PIO: Bro. Vincent Dominic S. Samulde
Members:
Bro. Arturo V. Cañada
Sis. Daisy Quebra
Sis. Nilda Bayona
Sis. Ana Fe Descutido
Bro. Juanito Jacela
Bro. Reynaldo Descutido
Bro. Rogelio S. Mabaquiao

Deceased:

Bro. Carlos “Caloy” Jocson
Bro. Jerry C. Centeno Sr.
Bro. Arnaldo Cuenca
Sis. Antonette Centeno

Nganong Bunyagan Ang Bata?

Nganong Bunyagan Ang Bata?

By:  Atty. Cesar P. Kilaton, Jr.

 Nganong Bunyagan Ang Bata?

Maoy balansayon sa Iglesia Katolika nga ang kabataan kinahanglan nga bunyagan sa labing madaling panahon gikan sa ilang pagkahimugso. Gani, ang mga doktrina sa ubang mga prostestante nunot man usab sa maong balansayon nga bunyagan ang mga bata. Apan, pipila ka pundok sa tinuhoan nga nanghinaway sa pagbunyag sa kabataan sa katarongan nga ang kabataan walay pagtuo. “Ang motuo ug magpabunyag maluwas; apan ang dili motuo pagahukman sa silot” (Mar.16:16)

Unsay Bunyag?

Ang pulong “Bunyag” nagagikan sa pinulongang Griego nga “Baptizern” ug sa Latin nga “Baptizare” nga pulos nagkahulogan ug paghugas kon paglinis pinaagi sa pagbubo(Aspersion) kun pagtunlod sa tubig (Immersion) (cf. Conway, The Question Box, p.239)

Usa kini ka Sacramento nga naglangkob sa tanang binunyagan ngadto sa usa ka lawas ni kristo (1 Cor.6:15) nga mao ang Iglesya (Efe.1:22-23) diin siya mao ang ulo niini (Efeso.5:23) Ang tanan nga nabunyagan ngadto kang kristo, nagsul-ob ni kristo (Gal.3:27) sa laing pagkasulti, ang dili mabunyagan dili mamahimong sakop kun kabahin sa lawas ni kristo nga mao ang Iglesya, diin pinaagi sa bunyag anaa ang paghugas sa mga sala (Buh.22:16) ug ang pagdawat sa gasa sa Espiritu Santo(Buh.2:38) Gani, ang tawo nga dili matawo pag-usab diha sa tubig ug sa Espiritu Santo, dili makasulod sa gingharian sa Dios (Jn.3:5) ug dili mahimong manunod sa Dios kay ang Espiritu gayod man ang magmatuod nga kita mga anak sa Dios (Roma.8:16-17). Ang Tanang Tawo Makasasala Sanglit ang bunyag mao man ang paghugas sa mga sala dili ingon sa paglugod sa buling gikan sa lawas, kondili ingon nga pangamuyo diha sa atubangan sa Dios (1 Pedro.3:21), ang wala pa kabunyagi, ulipon gihapon sa sala kay ang tanang tawo nakasala(Rom.5:12) ug walay tawo nga dili makasala(1 Hari.8:46). Gani, ang anak gipanamkon sa inahan sa sala ug ang bata natawo sa kasal-anan(Sal.51:5) kay siya malapason na gikan pa sa tagoangkan (isa.48:8). Busa gikinahanglan gayod nga ang bata bunyagan, kasagaran sulod sa duha ka semana gikan sa iyang pagkamihugso(Conway, facts of the faith, p.147), Sanglit ang bunyag mao ang dagaydayan sa masantosong grasya. Busa usa kini ka panginahanglan nga dili kahulipan alang sa kaluwasan sa kalag. Tungod kay ang adlaw sa tawo tinagalan (Job.14:5) ug siya walay gahom pagbuot sa adlaw sa kamatayon(Eccl.8:8), dili piho usab ang adlaw sa kamatayon sa bata. Mahimong dili siya makaabot sa hingkod nga panuigon diin giingon nga aduna na siya’y kabuot. Kon ang bata wala pay bunyag, dili usab piho nga ang iyang kalag maluwas tungod kay siya nakapanunod man sa sala nga misulod sa kalibotan pinaagi sa usa ka tawo (Roma.5:12) nga mao ang tanang unang Amahan(Isa. 43:27). Ang kalag sa bata mahimong walay katakos nga makakita sa Dios kun makig-uban sa Dios. Ang Langit maoy usa ka gasa sa Dios diin ang tawo walay katungod pagpaningil aron siya makasulod niini. Ang Langit ug ang yuta dili managsama kay ang Langit pinuy-anan man sa Dios ug ang yuta alang man sa tawo, nan, ang tawo dili makasulod sa langit kondili pinaagi sa Dios(Cf. Conway, Facts of the Faith, pp. 142-143). Pagtuo uban sa Bunyag Maoy gisakyan sa mga nagsaway sa Iglesya nga ang mga bata dili pa angay nga bunyagan tungod kay sila wala pay pagtuo ug ang bunyag ubanan sa pagtuo. Busa kawang lamang ang pagbunyag kanila. Hinumdoman nga si Kristo mao ang Manluluwas (Luc.2:11) ug iyang tinguha nga ang tanan maluwas sa way pagpinig kay ang Dios walay pinalabi (Roma.2:11) Busa, iyang gisugo ang iyang mga tinun-an sa pag-pamunyag sa tanang katawhan ug, dayag na lang, lakip ang kalalakin-an, kababayen-an, katigulangan ug kabataan. Ang usa ka banay naglangkob sa mga sakop niini, gikan sa mga tigulang hangtod sa mga bata, mga lalaki kun mga babaye. Gani, si San Pablo nagbunyag kang Lydia lakip na ang tanang sakop sa iyang Banay (Buhat. 16:15) ingon man sa banay ni Estefanas (1 Cor.1:16), lakip na niini ang mga bata. kon ang pagtuo sa mga magsasaway nga ang mga bata dili sakop sa Banay, nan, ang mga bata dili angayan sa pagbunyag. Apan, si Kristo sa iyang kaugalingon nanalangin sa gagmayng mga bata. “Paduola kanako ang gagmayng kabataan, ug ayaw ninyo sila pagpugngi, kay ang gingharian sa Dios ila sa sama kanila. Sa pagkatinuod, magaingon ako kaninyo, nga bisan kinsa nga dili modawat sa gingharian sa Dios sama sa usa ka bata, dili siya makasulod niini” (Mar.10:14-15). Ang Kabataan Adunay Pagtuo Ang bata, bisan pa kon bag-o pang natawo, mohilak gayud kon gutomon bisan pag hadlokon nga anaay abat. Ingon man siya mopahiyom ug mokatawa kon siya malipayon ug motutok pagtan-aw sa iyang mga ginikanan ingon sa pagdayeg. Usahay siya dili moduol ug mohilak pag-ayo kon kugoson sa laing tawo. kinaiya kini niya. Ang Ginoo nagpahimug-at pagpasabot mahitungod sa mga bata nga sila makadawat sa gingharian sa Dios, ug ang mga hingkod ug hamtong kinahanglan modawat sa gingharian sa Dios ingon sa dinawatan sa mga bata
(Cf. Mar.10:14-15). Bisan gani ang mga masuso makadayeg sa Dios. “Sangko sa kalangitan ang pagdayeg sa imong himaya sa mga masuso ug kabataan” (Sal. 8:1-2). Ang pagdayeg nagagikan sa pagtuo ug walay bisan kinsa nga modayeg kon wala motuo sa gidayeg. kon ang mga masuso ug gagmayng kabataan adunay hingpit nga pagdayeg sa Dios(Mat.21:16). dili malalis nga sila adunay pagtuo. si Kristo gayod ang nagmatuod niini: “Ug mahitungod niining gagmayng mga bata nga nagtuo kanako, maayo pa sa usa ka tawo nga hiktan ug dako nga galingang bato ang iyang liog ug itambog siya sa kahiladman sa dagat kay sa makaangin siya sa usa kanila sa pagpakasala(Mat.18:6) kon ang baroganan nga ang bunyag kinahanglan ubanan sa pagtuo,nan, ang kabataan kinahanglan nga bunyagan kay sila adunay hingpit nga pagdayeg ug pagtuo sa Dios.

Biblia Ba Lamang Ang Angay Tuhoan?

Biblia Ba Lamang Ang Angay Tuhoan?

Bro. Agapito B. Cabuguas
CFD, Cebu
 Biblia Ba Lamang Ang Angay Tuhoan?
Pagsupak:

Ang Biblia mga pulong sa Dios ug usa kini ka bilihong gasa alang kanato nga maoy motultol sa hustong pagtulon-an. Hingpit kini nga giya alang sa kaluwasan, yano, ug sayon sabton. Si San Pablo nag-ingon: “…dili kamo magbaton og mga hunahuna nga kapin sa mga butang nga nahisulat na…” (1 Kor. 4:6). Busa Biblia lamang gayud maoy tuhoan ug wa nay lain. Ang wala mahisulat sa Biblia kinahanglan isalikway. Apan kamong mga katoliko nagbaton kamog mga pagtulon-an nga wala sa Biblia. Dili ba kini pagsupak man sa kabubut-on sa Dios nga gitudlo sa mga Apostoles?

TUBAG:

Kon ang mga dili-Katoliko nagatuo nga ang Biblia mga pulong sa Dios, way usa ka mabuot nga katoliko nga magtinguha pagsupak niana. Ang tanan nagtuo ug nagdawat usab nga kini linamdagan nga mga pulong sa Dios. Apan ang dili angay dawaton mao ang pag-ingon nga ang Biblia ug biblia lamang maoy tuohan ug wala mahisulat sa Biblia dili angay tuhoan. Ang mga Katoliko dili makadawat niana. Pulos kamatuoran ang anaa sa Biblia ug ang tanang pulong sa Dios tinuod. Apan dili ang tanang tinuod nahisulat sa Bibllia. Duna pay daghang butang nga tinuod ug may kalabutan sa kaluwasan apan wa mahisulat sa Biblia nga kinahanglan usab tuhoan. Si Apostol Juan nagmatuod niini ug siya nag-ingon: “Ug may uban pa usab nga daghang butang nga gibuhat ni Jesus, nga kon isulat ang tagsatagsa, sa akong hunahuna, ang kalibutan dili igo nga kasudlan sa tanang basahon nga kinahanglan unta sulaton”. (Jn. 21:25) Kining daghang mga butang nga giingon ni San Juan nga kinahanglan unta sulaton apan wa ikasulat nga mga pagtulon-an usab kini nga gipanudlo sa katawhan sa Ginoo nga mao ang iyang Iglesia nga iyang tinukod. Si Apostol Judas sa iyang sinulat naghisgut sa mga pagtulon-an nga gikahatud kun gikatudlo na ngadto sa mga balaan. (Judas 3). Nagpasabut nga gitudlo kini pinaagig binaba. Samtang si Apostol Pablo naghisgut usab og pagtulon-an nga gitudlo pinaagig mga pulong kun tradisyon. Siya nag-ingon:”Busa mga igsoon, magmalig-on kamo, ug hupti ninyo ang mga pagtulon-an(Tradisyon) nga gitudlo kaninyo, bisan kun pinaagi sa pulong, kun bisan pinaagi sa among sulat” (2 Tes. 2:15). Sa ato pa dili kay ang nahisulat sa Biblia ra maoy tuhoan. Kinahanglan motuo ug modawat usab kita sa mga pagtulon-an nga gitudlo sa mga Apostoles nga wala ikasulat apan anaa gi preserbar sa simbahan ug gipanalipdan sa Espiritu Santo batok sa tanang kahiwian ug kasaypanan. Mao kini ang Apostolikanhong tradisyon. Ug kanang pag-ingon nga ang Biblia yano ug sayon rang sabton, dili usab kana tinuod. Ang Biblia mismo supak niana. Sa tanang mga sinulat ni Apostol Pablo, si San Pedro nag-ingon: “nga ang uban kanila mga malisud nga sabton, nga gituis sa mga burong ug mga mahuyang ingon sa gibuhat usab nila sa ubang kasulatan ngadto sa ilang kaugalingong pagkalaglag”. (2 Pedro. 3:16). Nagpasabut nga duna usay mga bahin sa kasulatan nga malisud sabton ug dili lang sa mga sinulat ni San Pablo. Ug ang magbabasa niini kinahanglan magpatalinghug sa sinugo sa Ginoo nga magtutudlo nga mao ang Santa Iglesia diin ang Espiritu Santo anaa magauban niini dili sa tagsatagsa ka magbabasa. Sama sa nahitabo sa usa ka makinaadmanon nga taga Etiopia nga nagabasa sa kasulatan, wa siya makasabut sa iyang gibasa kon wa pa siya tudloi ni San Felipe kinsa diha ang Espiritu Santo sa ngalan sa Iglesia. (Buhat. 8:27-35). Busa ang moingon nga ang Biblia sayon sabton ug nga ang Biblia lamang gayud maoy tuhoan ug wa nay lain, kini sila wa magsulti sa tinuod. Ila hinuong gitudlo ang usa ka pagtulon-an nga dili lang kay wa mahisulat sa Biblia kon dili nahisupak pa gayud sa Biblia. Wa mag-ingon nga ang Biblia nga sayon rang sabton ug Biblia ra gayud maoy tuhoan. Sa tinuoray alang sa mga dili-katoliko, dili usab matuod nga Biblia ra ang ilang tuhoan. Duna pa silay laing gituhoan gawas sa Biblia nga mao ang ilang NASABUT pinaagi sa kaugalingong paghukom sa ilang nabasa. Mituo sila sa ilang nasabut nga gikan lamang sa ilang kaugalingon pangapkap ug pangagpas nga mahimong nasayop tungod kay kini dili gikan sa mga magtutudlo nga sinugo sa Ginoo nga dili masayop. Sa laing bahin wa silay kasigurohan nga ilang nasabut ug gituhoan dawaton sa uban nga mahimong dunay lahing pagsabut ug pangagpas kay sa ila. Hinungdan sa pagkabahinbahin ug pagka walay panaghiusa sa pagtuo nga karon tataw kaayong makita sa ubang katawhan sa kalibutan sama kanila. Giingon nga duna nay mokapin sa 2000 ka mga nagkalinlaing pundok sa tinuhoan nga dili-katoliko nga natukod gumikan sa wa magsamang interpretasyon kun pagsabut sa Biblia. Dili maoy paagi sa Ginoo ang pagsulat og usa ka basahon aron mao lamay motultol sa tawo sa matuod nga dalan sa kaluwasan. Si Kristo wa magtinguha sa iyang mga Apostoles nga ang libro ra maoy tuhoan aron kini mao na lamay iapod-apod sa katawhan pagsangyaw sa tanan niyang mga pagtulon-an. Ang paagi ni Kristo mao ang pagtukod og usa ka Iglesia nga maoy iyang gihatagag katungod pagpanudlo sa tanang mga nasud sa kalibutan. Ug kining maong Iglesia magapadayon kini sa tanang panahon sa way pagkabugto kun paghunong kay gipasaligan kini ni Kristo nga ubanan sa kanunay sa Iyang pag-ingon:”Ako magauban kaninyo sa tanang mga adlaw hangtud sa katapusan sa Kalibutan.” (Mat. 28:19-20). Busa hawa kini sa kahiwian ug kasaypanan ang maong Iglesia sa iyang pagpanudlo. Ang nasulat sa mga Apostoles, (dili tanan nakasulat kay pipila lamang ang nagsulat) tipik lamang sa gitudlo ni Kristo nga gisugo kanila ug sa ilang mga sumosunod pagwali sa tibuok kalibutan. Ug ang maong mga sinulat mahimong masayop nato sa pagsabut nga kinaugalingon busa gikinahanglan nato ang mga tinugyanang magtutudlo aron mahalikay kita paghisalaag ngadto sa kasaypanan. Kon ang eskwelahan nagkinahanglag magtutudlo nga maoy mo-esplikar sa libro mahitungod sa mga misteryo sa kinaiyahan, unsa pa kaha ang pagkagikinahanglan sa magtutudlo nga maoy mo-esplikar sa libro mahitungod sa kahulogan nga balaang pulong sa Dios nga mao ang Biblia! Ang Simbahang Katoliko lamang sa iyang kaugalingon maoy nangako pag-angkon sa pagkamatuod nga magtutudlo nga dili masayop alang sa mga butang tinuhoanon, dili ang tagsatagsa nga magbabasa sa Biblia. Sa pagkatinuod ang Iglesia Katolika nag-awhag sa tanan pagbasa sa Biblia. Kini maayo ug mapuslanon kaayo. Apan ang matag magbabasa kinahanglan motuo ug modawat sa itudlo sa Santa Iglesia ug dili sa iyang kinaugalingong paghubad ug pagsabut. Ang Biblia mismo nagsulti nga way kinaugalingong pagsabut nga tugotan. Si Apostol Pedro nag-ingon: “Sa hingbaloan kini una sa tanan, nga walay bisan unsa nga tagna sa sulat nga magagikan sa kaugalingon nga pagsaysay” (2 Pedro. 1:20). Busa kinahanglan magpatalinghug kita sa mga sinugo nga magtutudlo. Si Kristo nag-ingon: “Ang magapatalinghug kaninyo, magapatalinghug kanako ang magasalikway kaninyo magasalikway kanako…
“(Luke. 10:16).Ug ang dili magpatalinghug sa iyang sinugo nga mao ang Iglesia, “Isipon mo siya nga Hentil…” (Mat. 18:17). Ang unang mga Kristohanon sa way pay nasulat nga bisan usa ka tudling sa Bag-ong Tugon duna nay hingpit nga giya sa angay tuhoan nga mga pagtulon-an. Wala silay libro nga maoy gisaligang mogiya kanila mahitungod sa mga pagtulon-an ni Kristo. Ang gisaligan nila mao ang Iglesia kun Simbahan ug “nagpadayon sila sa mga pagtulon-an sa mga Apostolese” (Buhat. 2:42). Busa nagpasabut kini nga ang opisyal nga mga pagtulon-an nga gitudlo sa mga Apostoles ug mga sumosunod niini anaa sa Simbahan ug diha nang daan bisan sa wa pay bisag usa ka libro sa Bag-ong Tugon nga nasugdan pagsulat. Ug ang maong opisyal nga mga pagtulon-an giampingan ug gi preserbar kini sa Simbahan ug gidawatdawat pagpanudlo sa mga tinugyanan niini nga mao ang mga obispo ug kaparian. Ang mga Apostoles ug unang mga Kristyanos kanunayng manudlog mga piniyalan nga mga pari aron mao usab ang manudlo ug modumala sa ubang mga tinun-an sa matag dapit nga ilang adtoan. Si San Pablo nagsulti sa iyang sulat kang San Tito sa pag-ingon: “Tungod niining hinungdan gibilin ko ikaw sa Creta aron ipahimutang mo ang mga butang nga nakulang ug sa pagtudlo og mga pari sa tagsatagsa ka lungsod ingon sa gisugo ko kanimo” (Tito. 1:5). Busa tin-aw nga adunay mga pari nga itudlo sa matag lungsod ug sa ingon nga paagi adunay mapadayonon nga ling-on sa mga magtutudlo nga tinugyanan ug pinili alang sa maong gimbuhaton. Ug sumala sa laing pahayag ni San Pablo sa iyang sulat kang San Timoteo siya nagkanayon: “Ug ang mga butang nga hingdunggan mo kanako sa atubangan sa daghang mga saksi itugyan mo sa mga tawo nga matinumanon nga makahimo usab pagpanudlo sa uba” (2 Tim. 2:2). Ang mga magtutudlo tinudlo ug tinugyanan gayud. Sa ato pa, bisan kon wala pa ang Biblia ang Santa Iglesia mapadayon gihapon pagsangyaw sa mga pagtulon-an sa atong Ginoong JesuKristo. Kini nasulayan sa mga katuigan nga wala pa masulat ang Bag-ong Tugon sa Biblia ug usab sa lain pang daghang katuigan nga wa pa maimbento ang kahimanan pag-imprentag Libro sugod sa mga tuig 1450 ug malisud pa kaayo alang sa katawhan pagbaton og kopya sa Biblia. Ang Iglesia Katolika mibarog ug nanudlo nga mapadayanon diin ang mga kamatuoran diha magagikan kaniya ubos sa giya sa Espiritu Santo ug sa kanunayng pag-uban ni Kristo. Busa si San Pablo nagkanayon nga:
“Ang Iglesia sa Dios nga buhi haligi ug patukuranan sa Kamatuoran”
(1 Tim. 3:15).

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

Written by: Bro. Rey V. Entila
CFD – diocese of Bacolod (written: June 2005)

BOUGUEREAU William Madonna The Infant Jesus and St John the Baptist Cornell LS d2h 2a Mary’s Perpetual Virginity
Perpetual Virginity. Perpetual, from the Latin “perpetuus”, meaning continuous, and Virginity, from the Latin “virgo” which means maiden, virgin. The Blessed Virgin Mary was a perpetual virgin before, during, and after the birth of Jesus. Her virginity is both physical and moral.

The virginity of Mary includes “mental virginity”, which is a constant virginal disposition, “sensual virginity”, which is freedom from sexual desires, and lastly, “physical virginity”, which is physical integrity. The doctrine of the Church refers primarily to her bodily integrity.

1. Virginity before the birth
Mary conceived by the Holy Ghost without the cooperation of man.

2. Virginity During the Birth of Jesus
Mary bore her Son without any violation of her virginal integrity.

3. Virginity After the Birth of Jesus
Also after the birth of Jesus Mary remained ever a virgin.

I. The Teaching of the Church

Mary’s Virginity

“From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit without human seed”. The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own” (CCC 496).

Mary – “ever-virgin”

“The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.” And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin” (CCC 499).

“Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, ‘brothers of Jesus’, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls ‘the other Mary’. They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression” (CCC 500).

“Mary ‘remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin’ (St. Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is ‘the handmaid of the Lord’” (Lk 1:38 (CCC510).

Council of Constantinople II

“If anyone will not confess that the Word of God … came down from the heavens and was made flesh of holy and glorious Mary, mother of God and ever-virgin, and was born from her, let him be anathema” (Anathemas Against the “Three Chapters” 2 [A.D. 553]).

II. Old Testament Prophecies

Seven hundred years before the birth of the Messiah, the prophet Isaiah prophesied to the distressed people of Israel, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isa.7:14) Although the Jews interpreted this verse for the birth of their ideal king in the person of King Hezekiah, and the young unmarried woman (Heb. almah), the New Testament Church applied this prophecy perfectly to Jesus Christ who is perfect king and Messiah who was miraculously born of a pure virgin without the seed of a man. The virgin shall give birth to “a son” and not “sons”.

Since the time of the early Church Fathers, the words of the Prophet Ezekiel were applied to Mary giving birth to only one child. – “And he said to me, ‘This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut”(Ezek. 44:2).

Jesus is predicted as both only child and firstborn. “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born” (Zec 12:10).

III. New Testament Fulfillment

a. Synoptics

The synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) explicitly tell us that the conception and birth of Jesus happened through the supernatural intervention of God in human affairs. Mary was a virgin engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together as husband and wife, the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she will conceive a child, not in the human and natural way, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s why, “Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” (Lk 1:34).

In the incident of the finding of Jesus in the temple, there was no mention that there were other younger brothers and sisters of Jesus by Mary and Joseph. Jesus could have been reprimanded for not going home in order to care for his brothers and sisters, being a responsible eldest son. But nowhere does the Bible mention this (Lk.2:41-51).

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him” (Mk.6:3) This is the verse most often used by the Fundamentalists to “prove” that Mary is not a perpetual virgin. First, Jesus is called “the son”, not a son or one of the sons of Mary, meaning he is the only son of Mary. Second, the word “brother” in the Jewish context refers not only to being siblings under same father and mother, but also to cousins, relatives, tribesmen and fellow Israelites; therefore, one cannot make a definite conclusion that the “brothers” here means Jesus’ brothers born of Mary. Third, if the Jews would mean without a doubt that they are his real blood brothers, then the expression should be “sons of Mary” which is not used for them. Fourth, James and Joses/Joseph have another Mary as their own mother, “among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee” (Mt.27:56); “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid” (Mark 15:47); she is oftentimes called in the Gospels as “the other Mary”: “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre… Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre” (Matt. 27:61; 28:1).

“Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus.” Matt. 10:3. The three James related to Jesus are the following: James the Greater, whose brother is John, is the son of Zebedee and his mother is Mary Salome. James the Less, whose brothers are Joses and Jude, has Cleophas/Alpheus as his father and “other Mary”, the relative of Virgin Mary. The last James is mentioned in Acts 15 and Gal.2 and the writer of the Epistle of James. He is the relative of Jesus. All these three James were never mentioned as sons of Jesus’ mother Mary.

The Genealogy of the Brethren

Parents Siblings Biblical Texts
Zebedee and Salome or Mary Salome James the Greater and John the Beloved (Boanerges = Sons of thunder) Mt 10:2; Mk 1:19; Mk 3:17;
Mt.27:56; Mk.15:40;

Cleophas (Gk.)/Alpheus or Halpai (Heb.) and Mary (or the other Mary) the sister (cousin/relative) of Virgin Mary James, Joses and Jude Mt.10:3; Mt. 27:56,61; Mt 28:1; Jn.19:25; Lk 6;16; Acts 1:13 Holy Spirit (overshadowed Virgin Mary) and Virgin Mary the mother of Jesus Jesus Christ Isa 7:14; Zech 12:10;

“And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, “He is beside himself” (Mark 3:21). Jesus’ extended family wanted to seize Jesus out of public dismay. If Jesus were the firstborn son in their family, they could not have acted in that disrespectful manner.

b. John

“So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” (Jn.19:25-27)

“For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his brothers did not believe in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” (Jn.7:3-4)

IV. Protestant Reformers on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Martin Luther: “It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a virgin. Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact.” (Works of Luther, v. II, pp. 319-320; v. 6, p. 510.)

John Calvin: “Helvidius has shown himself too ignorant, in saying that Mary had several sons, because mention is made in some passages of the brothers of Christ” (Calvin, Opera).

“There have been certain folk who have wished to suggest from this passage [Matt 1:25] that the Virgin Mary had other children than the Son of God, and that Joseph had then dwelt with her later; but what folly this is! For the gospel writer did not wish to record what happened afterwards; he simply wished to make clear Joseph’s obedience and to show also that Joseph had been well and truly assured that it was God who had sent His angel to Mary. He had therefore never dwelt with her nor had he shared her company…. And besides this Our Lord Jesus Christ is called the first-born. This is not because there was a second or a third, but because the gospel writer is paying regard to the precedence. Scripture speaks thus of naming the first-born whether or not there was any question of the second.” (Sermon on Matthew 1:22-25, published 1562.)

Huldrich Zwingli: “I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin” (Zwingli Opera, v. 1, p. 424.).

Mary’s perpetual virginity was defended by Zwingli by referring to Exodus 4:22.

V. Modern-day Fundamentalist Objections Against the Doctrine of Perpetual Virginity

“…Mary had other children after Jesus. For one thing, “brothers’ and “sisters” are mentioned in the context of the family with the “carpenter’s son” and “mother,” which clearly indicates they are immediate blood bothers. For another, the Greek term for “brother” (adelphos) here is the normal word for “blood brother.” In fact, there is no single example where adelphos is used for “cousin” in the New Testament. There is a word for “cousin” (anepsios), as in Colosians 4:10, where Mark is described as “the cousin (anepsios) of Barnabas.” (Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, P.303.)

The objection above can be answered that to prove that adelphos in the New Testament is also used for persons not related by blood is quite easy. Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren (adelphos).” Here, St. Paul refers to Christ as the prominent one among the brothers, not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense.

The paragraphs below will further clarify the Biblical words that have been the cause of much confusion in the Fundamentalists’ groups today.

a. “Brothers” of Jesus

The word “brother” in Hebrew is ‘AH. Unlike the Greeks who utilize a variety of words for cousins and relatives, the Jews who are ever mindful of their common ancestry, call their close and distant relatives (Gk. “sungenis”) as ‘AH (brother). To read therefore from the New Testament that Jesus had brothers and sisters and conclude that they were his siblings in the same mother and father, is a hasty generalization. The earliest disciples who were Jews merely translated the Hebrew ‘AH to a general Greek term for brother.

Even in the Old Testament, Abraham called Lot ‘AH although Lot was Abraham’s nephew (Gk. “anepsios”) / Gen. 13:8; 14:14,16. (see also other references for the word brother which did not really mean strictly sons coming from the same mother. Gen. 29:15; Deut. 23:7; 1 Chron. 15:5-18; Jer. 34:9; Neh. 5:7 -”brethren” means kinsmen). Hebrew and Aramaic have no word for “cousin.” (2 Sam. 1:26; 1 Kings 9:13, 20:32 – 2 Kings 10:13-14 – King Ahaziah’s 42 “brethren” were really his kinsmen).
The real question is, if Jesus had brothers and sisters from Mary and Joseph, why did the Gospels not mention as close to the persecuted and dying Jesus on the way to Calvary? Or, if they were there, why did they not assert their legal right to claim Mary for their care when Jesus gave His mother Mary to his beloved disciple? The fact is, Jesus who cared for the Virgin Mary after the death of St. Joseph, hang suspended and dying on the Cross. With no sibling to care for His widowed mother, He entrusted her to John. This is the Catholic exegesis that perfectly fits the Gospel accounts, as opposed to modern-day Fundamentalists’ weak assumptions.

b. Lk.2:7 “Firstborn” (She gave birth to her firstborn son)

The next word that stirs the minds of many “Bible Christians” today is the word “firstborn”. Immediately it is erroneously concluded that there must be second born or third born or a dozen after the firstborn. But this is not correct biblical interpretation. The word “firstborn” is applied to the first male child who opens the womb of the mother, regardless whether there are other siblings afterwards or not. “Firstborn” is a technical term since one who has that title is given the privilege to receive the material and spiritual blessings of the family. The female child, although may be first in the order of siblings is never considered the firstborn.

“Consecrate to me all the first-born; whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine” (Ex.13:2).

“Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the people of Israel instead of every first-born that opens the womb among the people of Israel. The Levites shall be mine” (Nb.3:12).

”The firstling of an ass you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the first-born of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty” (Ex 34:20).

c. Matthew 1:25 (Joseph did not know her “until”)

Another word that has confused the minds of the Fundamentalists for a century now, is the word “until” in Matthew 1:25. This is a theological novelty which even the original Protestant fathers never ventured to deny the Blessed Mary’s perpetual virginity. This is again another case of theological bias in order to discredit the Catholic Church’s belief.

The American Heritage Dictionary (1982) gives the meaning of the word “until” – prep. 1. up to the time of 2. before a specified time; conj. 1. Up to the time that 2. before 3. To the point or extent that.

To conclude that the phrase “Joseph did not know her until” means Joseph had sexual relations with Mary after she gave birth to Jesus, is to do violence to the meaning of that word. In that case, the word “until” can also mean that immediately or few days after her giving birth, Joseph had relations with her, to which one may object that it is too much violence to that word. Well, that absurdity happens when one reads the Bible and interprets it by his own little learning and not according to the proper biblical context.

The following verses show the many occurrences of “until” wherein nothing happened to the contrary after it, as oppositionists assert.

”And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt.28:20, NAB); “Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching” (1Tim.4:13).

“For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1Cor.15:25); “And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel” (Lk 1:80). “And as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day”(Luke 2:37).

“The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.’ (Luke 20:42-43); “and sent forth a raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth” (Gen. 8:7).

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you” (Gen. 28:15); “And he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows the place of his burial to this day” (Deut. 34:6).

“And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death” (2 Sam. 6:23); “So they went up to Mount Zion with gladness and joy, and offered burnt offerings, because not one of them had fallen before they returned in safety” (1 Macc. 5:54).

Given the more than a dozen examples above, one can shatter one’s deeply-held bias and replace it with a scholarly viewpoint which considers the totality of the biblical data. That data shows and proves again and again for 2000 years already the Holy Spirit’s constant and infallible guidance of the Church’s faith in the perpetual virginity of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.
VI. The Testimony of the Early Church Fathers

Protoevangelion of James (120 AD). “And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by [St. Anne], saying, ‘Anne! Anne! The Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive and shall bring forth, and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.’ And Anne said, ‘As the Lord my God lives, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God, and it shall minister to him in the holy things all the days of its life.’ . . . And [from the time she was three] Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there” (Protoevangelium of James 4, 7).

“And when she was twelve years old there was held a council of priests, saying, ‘Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, lest perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord?’ And they said to the high priest, ‘You stand by the altar of the Lord; go in and pray concerning her, and whatever the Lord shall manifest to you, that also will we do.’ . . . [A]nd he prayed concerning her, and behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him saying, ‘Zechariah! Zechariah! Go out and assemble the widowers of the people and let them bring each his rod, and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. . . . And Joseph [was chosen]. . . . And the priest said to Joseph, ‘You have been chosen by lot to take into your keeping the Virgin of the Lord.’ But Joseph refused, saying, ‘I have children, and I am an old man, and she is a young girl’”.

“And Annas the scribe came to him [Joseph] . . . and saw that Mary was with child. And he ran away to the priest and said to him, ‘Joseph, whom you did vouch for, has committed a grievous crime.’ And the priest said, ‘How so?’ And he said, ‘He has defiled the virgin whom he received out of the temple of the Lord and has married her by stealth’”.

“And the priest said, ‘Mary, why have you done this? And why have you brought your soul low and forgotten the Lord your God?’ . . . And she wept bitterly saying, ‘As the Lord my God lives, I am pure before him, and know not man’”.

Origen. “The Book [the Protoevangelium] of James [records] that the brethren of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife, whom he married before Mary. Now those who say so wish to preserve the honor of Mary in virginity to the end, so that body of hers which was appointed to minister to the Word . . . might not know intercourse with a man after the Holy Spirit came into her and the power from on high overshadowed her. And I think it in harmony with reason that Jesus was the firstfruit among men of the purity which consists in [perpetual] chastity, and Mary was among women. For it were not pious to ascribe to any other than to her the firstfruit of virginity” (Commentary on Matthew 2:17 [A.D. 248]).

Hilary of Poitiers. “If they [the brethren of the Lord] had been Mary’s sons and not those taken from Joseph’s former marriage, she would never have been given over in the moment of the passion [crucifixion] to the apostle John as his mother, the Lord saying to each, ‘Woman, behold your son,’ and to John, ‘Behold your mother’ [John 19:26–27), as he bequeathed filial love to a disciple as a consolation to the one desolate" (Commentary on Matthew 1:4 [A.D. 354]).

Athanasius. “Let those, therefore, who deny that the Son is by nature from the Father and proper to his essence deny also that he took true human flesh from the ever-virgin Mary” (Discourses Against the Arians 2:70 [A.D. 360]).

Jerome. “[Helvidius] produces Tertullian as a witness [to his view] and quotes Victorinus, bishop of Petavium. Of Tertullian, I say no more than that he did not belong to the Church. But as regards Victorinus, I assert what has already been proven from the gospel—that he [Victorinus] spoke of the brethren of the Lord not as being sons of Mary but brethren in the sense I have explained, that is to say, brethren in point of kinship, not by nature. [By discussing such things we] are . . . following the tiny streams of opinion. Might I not array against you the whole series of ancient writers? Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and many other apostolic and eloquent men, who against [the heretics] Ebion, Theodotus of Byzantium, and Valentinus, held these same views and wrote volumes replete with wisdom. If you had ever read what they wrote, you would be a wiser man” (Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).

“We believe that God was born of a virgin, because we read it. We do not believe that Mary was married after she brought forth her Son, because we do not read it. . . . You [Helvidius] say that Mary did not remain a virgin. As for myself, I claim that Joseph himself was a virgin, through Mary, so that a virgin Son might be born of a virginal wedlock” (ibid., ).

Ambrose of Milan. “Imitate her [Mary], holy mothers, who in her only dearly beloved Son set forth so great an example of material virtue; for neither have you sweeter children [than Jesus], nor did the Virgin seek the consolation of being able to bear another son” (Letters 63:111 [A.D. 388]).

Pope Siricius I. “You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord’s body, that court of the eternal king” (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).

Augustine. “In being born of a Virgin who chose to remain a Virgin even before she knew who was to be born of her, Christ wanted to approve virginity rather than to impose it. And he wanted virginity to be of free choice even in that woman in whom he took upon himself the form of a slave” (Holy Virginity 4:4 [A.D. 401]).

“It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?” (Sermons 186:1 [A.D. 411]).

“Heretics called Antidicomarites are those who contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary and affirm that after Christ was born she was joined as one with her husband” (Heresies 56 [A.D. 428]).

Cyril of Alexandria. “[T]he Word himself, coming into the Blessed Virgin herself, assumed for himself his own temple from the substance of the Virgin and came forth from her a man in all that could be externally discerned, while interiorly he was true God. Therefore he kept his Mother a virgin even after her childbearing” (Against Those Who Do Not Wish to Confess That the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God 4 [A.D. 430]).

Pope Leo I. “His [Christ’s] origin is different, but his [human] nature is the same. Human usage and custom were lacking, but by divine power a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and Virgin she remained” (Sermons 22:2 [A.D. 450]).

Mary the Mother of God

Mary the Mother of God

Written by: Bro. Rey V. Entila
CFD – Diocese of Bacolod (Written: June 2005)

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The Blessed Virgin Mary, by giving birth to Jesus Christ who is God the second Person of the Holy Trinity, is truly called the Mother of God.

I. The Teaching of the Church

“Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus”, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother of my Lord”. In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly ‘Mother of God’ (Theotokos).” (CCC 495)

Council of Ephesus (431 AD)

“We confess, then, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his Godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in Godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her” (Formula of Union [A.D. 431]).

“Mary is truly “Mother of God” since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself”(CCC 509).

“The Virgin Mary “cooperated through free faith and obedience in human salvation” (Lumen Gentium 56). She uttered her yes “in the name of all human nature” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 30, 1). By her obedience she became the new Eve, mother of the living” (CCC 511).

II. Old Testament Prophecies

Right after the Fall of our First Parents, Adam and Eve, God delivered the first good news (protoevangelion) saying, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen.3:15). There shall be enmity between Satan (the serpent) and the woman.

Since Eve has succumbed to the temptations of the devil, she is not the woman that will have enmity (war, deep opposition) with the serpent. That would be another woman (Mary) whose seed (Greek “spermatos”) will be against Satan’s seed. This is the one and only time in the whole of the Bible that the woman will have a seed, which is naturally applied to men. This even predicts the virginal conception of Jesus by the Virgin Mary. Finally, the woman’s seed shall crush the serpent’s (Satan’s) head. It will be the Promised Messiah and His mother, the woman, is Mary.

Another prophecy made some 700 years before the birth of Jesus, says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa.7:14) The young woman (Greek, parthenos; Hebrew, almah) who will give birth to the Immanuel (literally, “God with us”), is Mary. Therefore, Mary is the Mother of God. Although this verse may have been used by the Jews to refer to King Hezekiah of Judah, the New Testament writers who were inspired by the same Holy Spirit that inspired Old Testament writers, apply this to Jesus. This is the sensus plenior (full sense). The sign there became a miraculous sign because the woman was not just any young woman who was married to conceive a child, but a virgin mother. The son was not just an ordinary son, but the Son of God, whose virgin mother is Mary the Mother of God.

The third of the Old Testament prophecies that concerns about the mother and son relation is in Isaiah 9:5-6. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” That child is born of the Virgin Mary. Since that child is called the Mighty God and Mary is His mother, Mary is therefore the Mother of God.

III. New Testament Fulfillment

a. Synoptics

“And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43). St. Elizabeth who was in verse 41, filled with the Holy Spirit, calls Mary the “mother of my Lord”. The Lord (Gk. “Kyrios”) in the Septuagint or Greek version of the Old Testament refers to the “Lord your God” (Deut.6:4). Both Elizabeth and Luke the writer of the Gospel, were guided by the infallible Holy Spirit to proclaim Jesus as Lord or God. Therefore, Mary is the mother of God.

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit… ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel’ (which means, God with us).” (Mt.1:18,23). The Old Testament prophecy is now accomplished through the virgin Mary who will bear a son called Emmanuel = “God is with us”. The suffix “el” in Emmanuel in Hebrew means “God”. Its plural form, Elohim, found in Gen.1:1 signifies that God is not just one person (cf. Gen.1:26 – “let us”) but later revealed in the new Testament as a Trinity of Persons. It is the Second Person of the three Divine Persons that Mary was chosen to be the mother. Hence, she is called a divine mother, not that she is divine but that her son is Divine.

“And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. (Luke 1:35). The child born will be called holy, “the Son of God” . The definite article “the” signifies exclusiveness and uniqueness, whereas the “Son of God” proclaims that he has same nature (Gk. Homoousious) with God, but not the same person. Jesus is Son of God by eternal generation having been begotten, not made, not made by the Father from all eternity. Since Mary is declared to be the bearer of this eternal Son of God, then she is the Mother of God.

There are still several passages in the New Testament which prove the point under discussion, worthy of mentioning but need not be given further explanations. “…and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh… Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him” (Mt.2:11,13,20).

“While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood outside, asking to speak to him.” (Mt.12:46) Again, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?” (Mt.13:55) Lastly, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31).

b. John the Evangelist

John who is both an apostle and evangelist describes the mother of Jesus as the “woman”.

“On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there” (Jn.2:1).

“When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come” (Jn. 2: 3-4).

“When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” (Jn. 19: 26).

c. St. Paul the Apostle

“But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Gal.4:4) Here St. Paul uses the word “woman” found in the protoevangelion or the first good news in Gen.3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This word takes a mysterious meaning since the woman in this passage will have a son who will crush the serpent’s (satan’s) head. Since that Son is Jesus, Mary is the woman. St. John who was privileged to take care of the Blessed Mother after the death of Jesus on the Cross used this hallowed word “woman” in the beginning (ch.2) and end (ch.19) of his Gospel. “Woman” is found in the beginning (Gen.3:15) and end (Rev.12) of the whole Bible.

IV. Protestant Reformers on Mary as Mother of God

In this research on the Marian doctrines, the researcher also hopes to show from the writings of the Protestant Reformers in the 16th century the truth and facts that even these vehemently anti-Catholic writers did not consider Catholic Marian doctrines as unbiblical. This is contrary to the positions held by modern Protestants today, who in their theological chaos, even rejected what their forebears held dearly. This might be surprising to the eyes and ears of Evangelicals and Fundamentalists today, but it may just indicate that due to the lack of historical scholarship in favor of the “Bible alone” theory, they may have forgotten their doctrinal heritage of the 16th century.

First and foremost among the Protestant Reformers is their unwavering faith that Mary is the Mother of God. Below are the citations of their words and works.

a. Martin Luther

“In this work whereby she was made the Mother of God, so many and such good things were given her that no one can grasp them…. Not only was Mary the mother of Him who is born [in Bethlehem], but of Him who, before the world, was eternally born of the Father, from a Mother in time and at the same time man and God.” (Weimer, p. 572.)

b. John Calvin

“It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of His Son, granted her the highest honor… Elizabeth calls Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God” (Calvini Opera, p. 348, 35.)

c. Ulrich Zwingli

“It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the Son of God” (Zwingli, v. 6, 1, p. 639.).

IV. Modern day Fundamentalist Objections Against the title “Mother of God”

“As God, He (Jesus) had no beginning, and He was Mary’s Creator. As God, He cannot possibly have a mother. Mary cannot be the mother of God the Father, nor the mother of God the Holy Spirit. In the same way, she is not the mother of God the Son.” (Pezzotta, p. 137.)

However, the ex-Salesian priest-turned Baptist, Mr. Anthony Pezzotta, has committed grave heresy when he denied the Blessed Mother’s title Mother of God. First, he denied the clear Biblical teaching that the Word (Jesus) who is God became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn.1:1,14) with Mary as his mother (Jn.2:1-4). Since Jesus is God, and Mary was His chosen mother, therefore, Mary is the Mother of God. To deny that Jesus is God is to fall into the condemned Arian heresy of the fourth century. In the same way, to deny that Mary is the Mother of God is to commit the condemned heresy of Nestorius in the fifth century and leads to the heresy of Arius once again. Even Protestant Reformers proclaimed the Catholic belief concerning Mary as Mother of God. Therefore, while biblical, historical, logical and philosophical evidence points to the Catholic faith of the Divine Motherhood of Mary, nothing supports the heresy of Pezzotta.

V. The Testimony of the Early Church Fathers

The Church Fathers are the well-known Christian teachers of the early centuries of Christianity who upheld and defended the teachings of Christ which were passed down from generation to generation. Four characteristics are necessary for a person to be qualified as a Church Father: 1) Antiquity, 2) Orthodoxy, 3) Holiness, and 4) Approval of the Church. The last of the Church Fathers of the West is St. Isidore of Seville (560-636). In the East, it is St. John Damascene (675-749). These Church Fathers were the witnesses of the true Apostolic Tradition that closely guarded the pure deposit of the Christian faith. To deny their authority and orthodoxy is tantamount to the denial of the constant guidance of Christ and the Holy Spirit to His established Church which was tasked to continue the saving mission of Christ. The following are the quotations from the early Church Fathers on Mary as the Mother of God.

a. Irenaeus. “The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God” (Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).

b. Athanasius. “The Word begotten of the Father from on high, inexpressibly, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, and eternally, is he that is born in time here below of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God” (The Incarnation of the Word of God 8 [A.D. 365]).

c. Jerome. “As to how a virgin became the Mother of God, he [Rufinus] has full knowledge; as to how he himself was born, he knows nothing” (Against Rufinus 2:10 [A.D. 401]).

“Do not marvel at the novelty of the thing, if a Virgin gives birth to God” (Commentaries on Isaiah 3:7:15 [A.D. 409]).

d. Cyril of Alexandria. “I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the holy Virgin who bore him not be the Mother of God?” (Letter to the Monks of Egypt 1 [A.D. 427]).

“If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the holy Virgin is the Mother of God, inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [John 1:14]: let him be anathema” (ibid.).

e. Vincent of Lerins. “Nestorius, whose disease is of an opposite kind, while pretending that he holds two distinct substances in Christ, brings in of a sudden two persons, and with unheard-of wickedness would have two sons of God, two Christs,—one, God, the other, man; one, begotten of his Father, the other, born of his mother. For which reason he maintains that Saint Mary ought to be called, not the Mother of God, but the Mother of Christ” (The Notebooks 12[35] [A.D. 434]).

The following excerpts are from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the authoritative and magisterial document that proclaims the unchanging truth about the Blessed Mother, her relationship to Jesus as well as to the Church which is His body (Col.1:18).

“Since the Virgin Mary’s role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church. “The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer. . . . She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’ . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head.” “Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church” (CCC 963).

“Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. “This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death”; it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion:
Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: “Woman, behold your son” (CCC 964).

“After her Son’s Ascension, Mary “aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers.” In her association with the apostles and several women, “we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation”(CCC 965).