Sola Scriptura

November 15, 2000

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:16-17)."

Along with the Protestant reformation came the reverence of scripture. It was not that the Bible had not been revered before, it was always considered holy, but through the traditions of men, ignorance had obscured it during the Dark Ages. The Nicolaitan system of the separation of clergy and laity in the Roman Church and the repudiation in practice of the priesthood of all believers had combined to bring forth the teaching that the common man was not qualified to read the scriptures on his own. The Bible was forbidden to be translated in the common tongue and only Latin scholars were allowed to interpret it. The story is much more than that but the point is that those that disagreed with this hierarchy tradition were labeled as heretics.

John Wycliffe did the first translation of the Bible into English in the fourteenth century. Wycliffe developed a number of doctrines, one of which was the idea that the Bible is our supreme authority. Exalting the authority of the Bible ran into the authority of the Church as incompatible and Wycliffe was condemned.

We have spoken much on Catholic strengths and errors and tried to follow common ground. Whether you believe in the apostle's creed or not, it is a strength, the communion of saints is a fact and asking others to intercede for us is scriptural. It is Puritan ignorance that challenges these things solely through Biblical teaching. While the Roman Church has made many strides to overcome former ignorance, much still remains. Whether abuses are Catholic teaching or not, allowing false practices to continue will only fragment the universal church even more. Before Protestants have any right to condemn Catholic ignorance however, Puritan ignorance must be dealt with and put away. Puritan ignorance would have us denounce Catholic ignorance and Catholic ignorance would have us denounce Puritan ignorance yet both on its own would choose to remain ignorant out of the pride of being right. There are those that will allow dialogue to continue to breach these walls of division and there are those that will stand in the way or just ignore us. We are not re-inventing the wheel here; we are trying to restore the purity of the apostolic church. Those that think they already have it all together are the ones too stubborn to make any constructive reconciliation; again it is self-righteous pride that holds Christians back as a group from complete unity.

Martin Luther's initial insistence that indulgences would have never gotten him in trouble if the Church had admitted their faults from the beginning, possibly the church may have not have even gone through the schism. What got Luther into even more trouble was to go beyond the initial controversies by promoting new doctrine. Luther made many great points and confirmed many of the old truths but he also made errors, determinism for example. The de-emphasis of church tradition as a supreme authority was necessary to re-establish our Biblical roots. The biggest point of contention however was the same idea that Wycliffe had brought up of the Bible alone as the ultimate supreme authority - the "Sola Scriptura" doctrine.

Sola Scriptura would have us believe that the Bible is the supreme and final authority in matters of faith and doctrine. This was the vanguard of Puritanism. Here in America, the Puritans are generally taught to school children as those that came over on the Mayflower, had the first Thanksgiving, dressed in black, practiced extreme legalism, instituted the Sunday Sabbath, looked down on everybody else and burned witches - that's about all. Puritan beliefs, covenant theology, Calvinism, manifest destiny, Sola Scriptura and separatist church structure is generally ignored, even in most history courses at the college level. And of course, Puritan thinking as a theology of "ignorance" is virtually unknown in Protestant denominations. The Puritans thought that they alone of all the inhabitants of the earth were the true constitutional church. By allowing the Word of God to be their only guide, they inadvertently left spirit led living out of the picture, thought of spiritual gifts as superstition and part of the occult, rejected anyone who thought otherwise and resisted anything that God had taught the church since the first century.

Almighty God, through the power of His Holy Spirit is the final authority for the Christian. This is why the prophets must bear witness with the spirit and each other. If done in spirit and truth, this will never contradict the word of God. To make the word of God the final authority instead of God Himself is the same as serving the letter instead of the spirit, it is tantamount to worshipping the creation instead of the Creator. Sola Scriptura has led to an incredible abuse of the scriptures by allowing private interpretation and fundamentalist church doctrine to be the judge of what we should believe. No wonder there is so still so much incompatible doctrine among so many thousands of Protestant sects all pointing to the Bible as their authority, each having their own "we are right, you are wrong" mentality. It would take a book much longer than the Bible itself to document everything that Protestants cannot agree on about it. The enemy of Christ has done this; it is a foul demon that must be exorcised for deliverance and healing among the churches to come about.

Martin Luther did not really take Sola Scriptura to these extremes but the Calvinists did. Luther tried to conserve much of church tradition, it was the "traditions of men and the doctrines of demons" that he championed against. The Puritans however threw out everything Roman including what God had taught His people throughout history. Sola Scriptura is the doctrine that has led to this Puritan ignorance. Knowing this fact does not take anything away from the inspiration of the Bible, or of its accuracy. What Sola Scriptura has done is to introduce into the church the extreme fundamentalism that precludes all spiritual teaching from God that is not already chapter and verse recorded in the Bible. Certainly we are to have the fundamentals as the milk of the word but we are also to take meat and be responsive to the Holy Ghost as our guide. We discussed these things before, check out

I have copied the following from that page:

Some common fundamentalist traps to quench the spirit and foster ignorance are:

  • If the Bible is silent on any matter of doctrine, we must also be silent.
  • The scriptures alone are the only authority for faith and doctrine.
  • Since the New Testament has been completed, knowledge has ceased and God does not speak to us in history.
  • The Bible is the only book we need to study Christianity.
  • If you deny fundamentalism, you deny the Bible.
  • Fundamentalism is the only right way in Christianity, everything else is secular.
  • If you believe in revelation knowledge, you are a Gnostic.
  • If you believe in revelation as a valid spiritual authority, you are new age.
  • Faith in the Bible takes precedence over reason.

After some of the previous responses in this discussion, I should add to that list. Many of the points made here have been used to try to quench the spirit of this dialogue between Catholics and Protestants. Those that say that we can only appeal to scripture alone for this discussion are telling us not to listen to the voice of God as to present truth, nor do they have the historical knowledge necessary to put away denominational pride. Believe me, this is where most of my hate mail comes from and where I get the arrogant and holier than thou ones that think I am rejecting their own brand of truth as coming from God. Many speak as if they have the authority to dictate to us, but it is predicated upon ignorance as their guide and would have us follow the same instead of leaving it up the spirit of Jesus. It is as simple as that. It has already been mentioned that ignorance is not a sin, it is in hearing the truth of a matter and still choosing ignorance that will ultimately condemn us. Fostering ignorance and then teaching others falsehood after being exposed to the truth is what makes it into a lie and among the greatest of delusions. So rather than defend a theology of ignorance, we must do all we can to overcome it. We are still to be led by the spirit of God and accept our brothers and sisters in love. Some will, some won't.

The extreme Sola Scriptura doctrine will leave the prophetic word and the prophets and apostles unnecessary. Sola Scriptura will always lead one to this Puritan ignorance and extreme fundamentalism by quenching the spirit of God as to the teacher of Biblical interpretation. Sola Scriptura without the Holy Spirit as to final authority will lead to private misinterpretation of scripture and leave the door open for the doctrines of demons and disunity. If this is the fruit of Sola Scriptura, then the doctrine should be hewn down and thrown into the fire.

So let us bring this aspect of our Catholic-Protestant dialogue into discussion. What does Sola Scriptura mean to you? What does the guidance of the Holy Spirit mean to you apart from the letter? I believe that final authority should be predicated on the witness of the Holy Spirit as well as scripture and subject to the prophets. I believe if the Bible is silent on any matters affecting Christianity, we should not be silent but allow God to speak through us even more. What do you think? Do some research; some of you need not rely on personal opinion but have some facts to give us. What are they?

Also, I must apologize for giving a bad link to you for the last discussion. The responses were actually found at There were many good submissions that you should look at and I had responded to several. And thank you for all the messages concerning my accident the other week. I am healing very quickly.


That scripture "what is loosed on earth must be loosed in Heaven, More Literal says "what we loose on earth must have already been loosed in heaven." This is just another example of taking hold of the promises of God. Jesus already beat up the devil for us, but the Devil can still take us out unless we take the victory through Jesus Christ.

The point I am getting to is you most always stay in the basics of Christian, if you lose sight of the basics then what is the point of being a Christian.

I also believe in Intercessory Prayer, and if certain people don't believe, they need to go back to the basics, and start first of all on why Jesus died on the Cross. This could be a breakthrough for some people.

And when it comes to the saints in Heaven their prayers are no greater than ours, and it doesn't matter about the Saints, people get their eyes on the small garbage, and lose focus on Jesus.

"Seek ye First his Kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." Mat. 6:33:34 In other words seek first Jesus and he will reveal these things to you. I also know that if you are seeking Jesus first despite little stupid beliefs we wouldn't keep bashing on are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It's getting ridiculous. The devil will use these stopped little subjects to bring division, and clearly this is beginning to happen. We must unify for the end time Harvest.

Revival is coming, are you Ready?

Andrew Simpson

Just a short 'something' to share with you today, regarding both your fall (though not from Grace) and your comments on the hosts in Heaven: Our parish priests reminds the students at the all-school Mass on Nov. 1st each year that there indeed IS a communion of saints and he puts it, "...the Saints, with the upper case 'S,' who are now in Heaven and have been officially recognized as Saints.... the 'saints' with the lower case 's' who have gone before us, though have not been recognized as saints, per se, and finally...the 'all souls on earth'...all of US"...As the middle school religion teacher, I have each of my classes keep a prayer list, on which any student can add the name of someone they feel could use our prayers and the intercession of all Saints. Recently, I added my oldest sister's name to the list. She has MS in a very advanced stage, and when I had spoken to her last, she was frighteningly depressed, and I feared that she was about to take matters into her own hands. I explained to my students that she had been ill a long time, and usually dealt with her illness, but that she was depressed as the pain and inability to walk unassisted had become so much worse, and that she could really use their prayers. We made a card for her to tell her we were praying for her and mailed it off. Five days later, I got a call from my sister...she sounded so happy that I asked if she had won big at Bingo! She told me she had awoken the previous day, PAIN FREE, and feeling better than she had in ages! She felt so good, she said, that it scared it her: she thought perhaps it was her last day on earth, and God was making it a good one for her. She spent the day cleaning her house without help, and then went to do her own grocery shopping, still marveling at how great she was feeling. When she returned from grocery shopping, her mail had been delivered, and she opened the card from the kids. She said she knew immediately why she was feeling so good: our prayers on her behalf. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I was amazed at how effective our praying had been. I couldn't have come up with a better lesson for my students -and myself- on the effectiveness of praying for the intercession of the Saints on the behalf of another. The Heavenly hosts are our own personal cheering section; we need only ask for their support. On that note, I'll add you to our list.

Hey Jay,

My email doesn't allow me to reply to all senders. Drat!! Anyway, thanks for keeping my wife and I on your listserve. We don't have much time to get on the actual website, but it's a blessing to be able to skim over your emails!! Your on fire brother!!! I hope that you recognize that from our standpoint, we actually agree with alot of what you're breaking down, but we just don't strongly agree. PLEASE POST THE Biblical proof texts, when you have time. This is not so you can prove it to us, but rather to help us prove it to ourselves! You see what I'm saying? WE PRAYING FOR YOUR BACK BROTHER!!!

This is somethin' to chew on as you recover.

Recently, I was reading an article on Mormonism in US News and World Report. It was interesting, in that first of all it confirmed that a stipulation of Mormon doctrine is that Jesus Christ is Lord. While I was repulsed by a great many other statutes of Mormonism, like for instance that everyone eventually goes to Heaven except for the 'Sons of Perdition' that reject the Mormon Faith, keying off for me, 'cult alarms' in abundance. I was also blessed by the idea that as much demonic deception as people who join Mormonism may encounter, they will at least know that Jesus is Lord. I believe that one of the essential tenets of the 'One Faith' to which Ephesians 4:5 tells us to ascribe is the tenet of 'Charity' as described in Mathew 25 (31-46), and many other passages of scripture including Galatians 6:2 and Mathew 22:33-40. Charity is a secret and obvious truth of abundant life and brotherhood. We are called to see after other people's wealth before our own, we are called to give with the knowledge that it will come back to us, we are called to comfort rather than judge the downtrodden and outcast, we are called to do all of these things. To my knowledge there are very few organizations, denominations, religions who claim the name Jesus and who don't claim the name Jesus who by and large practice and preach the beauty of this truth.

We preach watered down versions of it, that allow us our houses and large bank accounts (this is not to say that God doesn't will some people to have houses and large bank accounts), we preach a sort of Judeo-Christian hybrid which states be as successful as you can possibly be and then if there's anything left, share it with others. Even in the way that we save souls sometimes, I believe that there is a sort of underlying covetousness in which part of us wants the soul saved, but the other part of us secretly wants to bring glory to ourselves in the 'overarching battle for souls' and then another part of us wants to build up our organization, denomination, and religion as supreme above all the others.

We live in a nation that glorifies competition and yet the bible states that emulation and variance are works of the flesh and not of the spirit. Could the American and really world wide worship of Monday Night Football and World Cup Soccer have resulted in an idol worship of variance, emulation, and the pride of life that is so reprobate in the minds of even Christian Leaders that we can no longer see it for what it is? How often do we truly confess or rebuke the pride of life?, that pride that says "look at me and what I've achieved" and when we do rebuke it, how often is it not a kid of afterthought wherein we say, "Hey look at me and what I've achieved, but oh yeah it was all the Holy Ghost, yes sir it was all the Holy Ghost!" How often do we boast and then say that it was a testimony of what "God's doing in our lives!" What a great and glorious day when we have as many 'testimonies' of what others are doing as we do of our own 'accomplishments'.

I wonder sometimes, whether we were ever really called by God to birth Mega Ministries which brought as much glory and honor to our own names and 'organizations' as they do to the glory of Christ? You can say what you will about Catholics but I very much admire them for their since of individual anonymity within their organizational collective and while perhaps putting all that power in the hands of the Pope, may be extremely problematic, at least it reflects an attempt, albeit it perhaps carnal on some levels, at sincere humility. The humility of Mother Theresa to kiss the Pope's hand was beautiful and seemed no less idolatrous to me than thousands of Christians who would pay $200 dollars to go here a big name preacher tell them what a diligent and prayerful study of Ephesians might have just as easily provided.

So what am I saying? And how does this all relate to my US News and World Report study of Mormonism? I suppose that I am saying that some of the nay-saying of disgruntled believers, supposed apostates, and unbelievers has through the help of the Holy Ghost begun to reveal some things to me. Many of us, look at Christians who maintain that 'our religion' is only one way amongst many to get to the Almighty, as apostate and idolatrous. While on many levels, I agree with such a characterization, I also believe that many of supposed apostates are very much SAVED through there belief in Jesus and may, as a result of their idolatry, perversing a message which they really are receiving from God.

What might God be telling us through this 'spiritual relativism' that has been sweeping the nation? Might he be revealing to us that in truth, we Christians have in some cases been a little overbearing, attempting to impose a whole doctrine and religion on people when in essence all they needed was God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Perhaps God in his sovereignty is revealing unto us that we have begun to idol worship the Bible which was supposed to be our guide book and so in essence made it a God above it's author. Perhaps God is telling us that we have in some cases competitively warred for souls as much out of a competitive quest for vainglory as stemming from a sincere movement of love. And so perhaps many apostates are simply going to the extreme of a message that the Holy Ghost is sending. "Stop thinking that you have the market cornered on God, stop trying to develop air tight theologies whereby you can theologically get people into Heaven and consign them to Hell, and stop pointing the finger at your Christian brethren in an attempt to increase your stature in the eyes of potential tithers, members, and followers." Sometimes I think we'd be a lot better off if Suburban Churches rebuked people for hoarding wealth as much as they bad mouthed the Catholics down the street. It's always easier to bad mouth people who are not present than it is to be honest to one's own 'tithing' fellowship, is it not?

Is this to say that all those people spreading the Gospel should not be lauded and appreciated?, of course not!! For in the spirit of Romans 5:20 and 21, no matter how many negative motivations we may have for spreading the Gospel, the biblical odds are that we have more positive than negative, and in the spirit of Romans 8:28, there will ultimately be more good than bad consequences. So again, what do I believe that God is in fact saying, through some of these developments such as the rapidly expanding membership of Mormonism and the global trend toward spiritual relativism? I believe that in addition to fulfilling biblical prophecy, that he may be opening the doors to a new era of the Gospel. While the gospel to areas that have never heard the truth of Jesus, may in some ways still resemble the book of Acts, our methods differ as a function of context. And I believe that these times, in some ways may demand a new approach, or at least another approach to try in addition to already existing methods. A friend of mine once stated that as a child, he was very much on fire for the Lord, but that he got confused and disgruntled.

He said that the Catholics in his neighborhood were telling him to do good and to do good works and he would go to Heaven and the Pentacostals in his area were telling him that he needed to believe in Jesus and receive the Holy Ghost and from that he would go to heaven. While in this specific scenario, I would have told him to side with the Pentacostal explanation, was either message truly complete? Does not the Bible tell us to repent and to believe. Is one really effective without the other. Ephesians 2:8 and 9 says, "for by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. But then Ephesians 2:10 says, "for we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them". So given that Faith without works is dead, there was truth in both messages. Now given his situation as an example, how are those of the unbelieving masses to cope with 3 or 4 different gospels all coming from people who say they believe in Jesus, one tells them to believe in Jesus and get rich, one tells them to believe in Jesus and join their church, and the other tells them to believe in Jesus and finally be happy, and in truth very few say something as radical as 'believe in Jesus and take upon you the beautiful cross of suffering for the sins of others, through which you can be baptized into his death and resurrection.." How is a person to decide? Only one answer resonates in my mind, "THE HOLY GHOST"!!! 1 John 2:27 states that it is the 'Anointing' who teaches us and leads us into truth. HMM, so it's not joe big preacher that we need, or even the Bible in and of itself, but rather it is the Holy Ghost who informs and instructs. So again, what am I saying?

I am saying that in these times of growing spiritual relativism the Lord may be calling us as saints to acknowledge a few truths and thus be more effective in the spread of the Kingdom, (even if it might be to the detriment of our individual egos or organizational dominance). While I would never say that I do not believe in the Bible, and while I would advocate and advise anyone else who is following God to believe in it, I am not sure if it is absolutely integral for new believers coming to Christ. I believe that the Bible, given the fact it has been so misused, abused, and idol-worshipped over the centuries may be not be absolutely necessary for a Buddhist monk to adhere to. In a word, I believe that God would rather have a Buddhist Monk or Islamic teacher or Jewish Rabbi acknowledge the truth that Jesus is Lord, receive the Holy Ghost, and then let them 'follow' the anointing to greater spiritual truth, than tell them that they have to believe the Bible from the beginning thus provoking certain spirits of unforgiveness etc. that may pull them away from their first breakthrough of submission and deliverance. I am not saying that I would lie and tell them that I don't believe that the Bible is true, but my focal point is on Jesus more so than on them coming to accept all the tenets of my religion (Especially given the fact that my religion seems to need some re-working of its own). I believe that the Journey of a Buddhist monk with the Help of the Holy Ghost, out of Buddhism to intentional acknowledgment of the truths of the Bible, would truly bring about a great deal of learning to both Christendom and those of other faiths. I believe that there are many truths that God has hidden within the idolatrous frameworks of Islam, Buddhism, etc. that he can reveal to the Body of Christ through these converts who have allowed the Holy Ghost to distill for them what is true and what is not true. In truth, my reading regarding Mormonism brought about a revelatory acknowledgement that in truth, most religious institutions operate under some kind of demonic delusion, it's just that those of us who confess that Jesus is Lord, operate in a general direction toward Heaven and those who do not, unfortunately operate in a general direction toward Hell. 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 says that 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Yet, 2 Timothy 3:15 states, "And that from a child thou has known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation THROUGH FAITH WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS."

It is only reading the Bible with FAITH which is valuable, reading it without FAITH could be just as detrimental as it is helpful. Thus it is FAITH in Jesus which is primary and the Bible which is secondary not the other way around. Understanding the Bible in this way, appropriately relegates it to a tool, guidebook which God has given through my Faith to use rather than a master to which I am called to submit instead of Jesus. I have but one teacher and one master and he is heaven. After all, history has demonstrated that Satan has a Bible which is just as much as deceptive with the same verses and language as God's Bible is enlightening and edifying. As Christian groups argue over who has the most 'Holy Understanding' of the Scripture, I believe that it would do us all some good to admit that as we have labored in the 'word and doctrine' all of us have partaken just a little too often from the Forbidden Fruit of Satan's Bible. Using the word of God, deceitfully is a pretty ugly temptation, in which some of us may partake without even knowing it. "THUS SPAWNS BIBLICALLY BASED ACCUSATIONS THAT CATHOLICS ARE A DEVIL WORSHIPPING ORGANIZATION!"

So in conclusion, (Hallelujah) what am I saying? I am saying that from now on, while I personally believe 100% IN THE BIBLE! and still plan to attempt to persuade people to join my church, I am coming to believe that the Bible may in certain specific contexts be a negotiable element in spreading the Gospel of our Lord. In a word, in the same way that Peter advised the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 that the yoke of circumcision and the Law was an unnecessary yoke to impose upon the gentiles, I believe that the Holy Ghost may be intimating to us that the yoke of forgiving the current church and the Bible for years of cultural imperialism, religious fascism, and political myopia may be too much for some to bear at such a fledging stage in their growth and that perhaps just the knowledge that Jesus is Lord, Loves them, and has forgiven their sins is enough to propel many converts from other religions to less litigious and more gratifying discovery of biblical veracity. Perhaps the Holy Ghost led journey of Naturalists, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews (other old testament heads), Mormons, Zorastrians, and Christian Scientists to the Bible will enable them to bring new Revelations to the rest of the body of Christ, that we had missed as a result of our own tendencies toward presumption.

I believe that in many ways when we ask people to believe in Jesus, because of the western hegemony that has characterized much of historical Christendom, we are asking them to forsake some aspects of their cultural identity that God may have wanted them to 'retain in the regeneration' and as a result we have forsaken some of the diversity that God willed to manifest through his Glorious Son and Sacrifice. So why not let them get the knowledge of Jesus and let it evolve in them to a point of discovery rather than capitulation to not only Jesus but our specific biblical brand of 'McDonald's and Rock and Roll Discipleship'? We are called to teach all nations, but perhaps some students can't stomach the Bible at first and so need to be placed in a prep class of Holy Ghost illumination. Could this not be what the Lord is bringing about through this new thrust toward religious relativism, could he not be setting up a context through which all of us can transcend some of the pharisaic assumptions and cultural imperialism of yesterday's church? Religion is a question of cultural / individual preference but belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is a mandate of ontological necessity. Praise the Lord, while at one time I was hopeful of Buddhists converting to Christianity, because of what God is allowing Satan to do with spiritual relativism, I am now equally hopeful in the prospect that a Buddhist Monk might be converted to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and that from him teaching his followers said truth, entirely new and diverse facets of 'The one Faith' to which all Christians ascribe might grow out of their journey to more orthodox practice. As we grow in the Grace of Jesus, let us never lose the truth that God can teach us through anyone. Amen.

Woodrow Lucas

Dear Jay,

Really sorry to here about your ladder accident.

Jay and all, I am responding to your discussion concerning the communion of the Saints. Like you, I do believe in intercessory prayer. Why? Because the Word of God says so. Since about five years ago, I have upheld God's Word as the final authority concerning doctrine. I will not change now. I have three points to make here:

1) I know you and I both know enough of God's Word - whether Old Testament or New Testament - that not one of God's Children ever prayed to, or petitioned, anyone or anything in heaven for intercession except to God alone lest that person incur the wrath of God.

2) "The communion of Saints" are the Saints on earth right now. All God's children on earth are called Saints. The Apostles called the Christians "Saints" in their letters to the Churches. If you are not a Saint than you are not a Christian. The Catholic Church teaches that you are not a Saint unless the Pope says you are - and only after you have gone to heaven.

3) There is no doctrine or teaching in the entire Bible that I am aware of that teaches that the Saints who are in heaven are given the ability to see and here everything or anything that is going on here on earth.

4) The Word of God explicitly condemns praying to the dead. You might say, oh, but they are not dead, they are alive in heaven. The fact is that, whether you are in hell or heaven, you are still a disembodied spirit that exists eternally. No one is really dead.

So what does the Bible mean by saying not to pray or petition the dead? Obviously the context of such passages is referring to the death of the person who lived on earth. When Jesus said to his disciples that Lazarus had fallen asleep, the disciples thought Jesus meant that Lazarus was just sleeping. Jesus corrected them by stating plainly that 'Lazarus is DEAD'. Death is separation of the spirit of a person from his body.

Yes, "death" could refer to Spiritual death too, and it could refer to Separation from God for all eternity. But the context is referring to people who have died.

When King Saul attempted to petition the dead prophet Samuel through the medium, Endora, was this something that God was pleased with? I think not after reading the context.

Let us stick to the Word of God, then we will be safe.


Hi Jay
Grace and Peace
I cant seem to find the other letters that you are talking about or replying to so I will start with this one and make a point or ask a Question (Maybe Both) Forgive me if I also am hard headed but I'm sure there is one point we both can agree on... "we cannot be to careful about what meat we swallow and what we don't put in our mouth... in the border line cases we try to be very certain before putting it in the mouth to taste and even more sure before we swallow." I personally don't put it in my mouth to begin with if I'm not absolutely sure its safe to swallow. :^) If we agree that caution with what doctrine we accept is absolutely necessary... then we can both proceed with relative caution and maybe with a grin get by the sticky points and on to what may be of more importance. We shall see.

>Hard Headed
>We have a consensus. We all agree that I believe in all of this and I am
>being pretty hard headed when there is no way that I can budge from a
>situation. Many of us believe that there is a host in heaven and that we
>can enlist their support.

Please if you can or will indulge me... What scriptural reference says this type of intercessory prayer is allowed or encouraged. (By this I mean chapter and verse of the apostles writings in our bible not from Papal or Church denominational doctrines.)
I do believe in intercessory prayer... of the type that is of the living for the living... prayer for your healing rapidly from your fall for example, which I will do now.
Intercessory prayer of this type has always been done in the church. But I cannot say as I have ever heard of a single place in the bible where a living person prayed to the dead to pray to God on their behalf. ok... lets go on as that is hanging on your reply... I'm curious as to verses you may have on that.

Many of us believe in eternity is all its
>forms without it ever being taken away. I and others believe in
>intercessory prayer. It is not enough for me to just pray for myself, I
>need to pray for others and would like them to pray for me. This is the
>orthodox position.

Agreed, I enjoy praying for others at times of need also... rather than enjoy I should say feel the need to pray for others... for healing, for The person to accept Salvation or other needs...

The following is written in your denominational jargon and is incomprehensible to those outside of your school of learning. or who have not studied specifics of your denominational lingo.

>The communion of saints is part of the apostle's creed, which was used
>to reduce the doctrine of Christ to the least common denominator. This
>is something that we are supposed to all agree upon. There are still
>those for who knows what reason that would argue against the notion that
>the saints are alive in heaven now. This is not just opinion, however,
>it is affirmation or denial of eternal life.

Eternal Life is the basis for our great hope... to be with Christ when he calls us. where he is we can be also... he has gone to prepare a place for us. However in 1Thes: 4 we read First the Dead in Christ shall rise and then those of us who remain shall be caught up to be with him in the air and there to be with him always... encourage one another with these words... (Free Paraphrase) This was speaking of "Those who have fallen asleep in Christ" which leads us to think that they are where they are but even if dead that the death is not permanent... Christ will call us to be with him. Eternal life however is not the element of contention as you state it to be. Regardless of whether the Apostles are asleep in Christ as 1 Thes 4 states or if they have been given a privileged early transition… Eternal Life is not in the balance over this topic.

>What we are doing here is to be humble enough to admit to mistakes in
>the past and for Jesus to win the argument.

Are we truly humble enough to admit to mistakes that have been perpetrated by exalted individuals like the Pope for example?
Dare we even ask if it is possible for a Papal encyclis to be in error? Or worse yet to be the ever perpetration of a man made doctrine that is totally unsubstantiated in the 39 Old and 27 New Test Books?

The angels ministered to
>Jesus and to us as well. Getting everyone in on this is important. We
>are to go out into the byways of the whole world and gather them in.

Here we are in agreement and I wish we could just ignore everything else and talk only about Matthew 28:19…. But as important as it is… we cannot talk about "Going" until we are in agreement of what to say when we get there. And that is the problem as I see it with all of these other topics. They take us away from what we should be talking about… Christ Crucified and raised from the dead. Sins Pardoned and The Gates of Heaven opened by Gods Grace For all who have Faith and Believe. (Believe in what? Have faith in What?)

>can our battle be in the heavenlies unless there is some one there to
>help us?

All of us I'm sure are well aware that Satan took 1/3 of the host of heaven with him at the fall... and that the angels in heaven outnumbered the stars of the sky? If this is true... and scientist today say there are more than 250 Billion stars, it is easy to see that there is quite a host still in heaven to help us...

We must overlook our former times of ignorance, forgive others
>of the same and treat the family of man as deserving of God's grace and
>forgiveness. Maybe the whole Body of Christ is the Bride, discussion?

The Problem of this topic is that we can never seem to get agreement on what constitutes Salvation and who is and who is not in the "Body of Christ"

>Embrace whatever brings us into holiness and pray for the latter rain in
>the time of the latter rain as God's spirit is poured upon all flesh.
>The watchword today is "to be absent from the body is to be present with
>the Lord." This is our lesson today. This we must not forget, it is our
>hope. Those that are present with the Lord are the heavenly host that
>awaits our beck and call, for unity begins with each of us. What we
>loose in heaven will be loosed on earth and this is the truth that binds
>the saints together in heaven as it is on earth.

Im sorry Jay but your point here is lost. It is a verse taken out of context and made to say what it doesn't say. Jesus taught us to pray to Father in heaven… Period. He Never… Not even Once, taught us to pray to himself, and or let alone his Mother or the "Saints" Mat 6:9 and Luke 11:2 "When you pray, pray like this… Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name …"

>Had a ladder accident last Wednesday. I didn't fall off the ladder, I
>fell with it about twenty five feet. Typing is slow, so I won't be
>answering so many e-mails lately. Pray that I heal quickly. I fractured
>my lower back and broke three fingers on my left hand. Fortunately my
>hard head broke the fall.

Jay I Have prayed for you. I Pray for your rapid healing and that the lord grant you Patience and underastanding To get through reading all of these letters and to even change your heart where he shows you the errors… If you find errors in our doctrines… show us. But please do it with chapter and verse when possible as we also try to do. It is not easy to go through what you are doing and trying to accomplish.
God Loves you Jay. He Loves you so much.
Grace and Peace be with you and yours.
In Christ
Jim Madden

Dear Jay

I'm not envious of your bane… Ladders and heights are rough… My Bane is just a large number of ever present Mosquitoes that attach me whenever I am sitting down to the computer for more than a few minutes.

Jay to be truthful I'm not sure of all of the differences in sections of the catholic side of the church. But in the country where I currently live (Brazil) there are many problems that are readily apparent. They are even more vivid when one is married to a woman who is formerly Catholic who accepted Christ and changed to Protestant in early adulthood. God blessed me with a wife who is nothing short of amazing. She is as close to the "Virtuous Woman or Wife of noble character of Proverbs as any woman has ever come. I say this not to brag on her so much as emphasize exactly who she is and to what degree she loves the Lord and strives to serve him. She studies her bible with a hunger that is seldom matched in any church or bible seminary for that matter. When this woman starts talking about the things she was taught (or not taught) growing up inside the catholic church here it is enough to make her either angry or want to cry. (Or Both)

You may be from a different branch of the church… Or you may just live inside the United States where the church approaches things differently than they do in 3rd world countries with people whom are less than totally literate.

On the surface it is rather confusing when first looked at… There are many Catholics here who are catholic by birth… never go to church unless it's a holiday… some don't even go then… Others practice all maner of sorceries etc but if you ask them… they claim to be catholic…(obviously they are not Christian but just claim to be) Every where you go you see obscene bumper stickers of little cartoon characters hanging B.A's at the cars behind them or Peeing on the car… or Graphicaly exposing themselves with an open trenchcoat and a little censure block over their privates. Other Bumper stickers have naked women, Couples having sex, and the lost is long and goes on… each bumper sticker a little more graphic than the last… What do they have in common? Usually there is also one or two stickers in the window… the pictures of Jesus and Mary that are on the cars of most Catholics. If you dont see those stickers then look on the rear view mirror. There you will see the Crucifix with the Rosary Beads…. Catholic. Its sad. They do not know they are uniting Christ with their Prostitution, Pornography and Immorality.

Others who claim to be catholic practice "Candombleh" (possible called Candleblack in the USA?) which came from Africa with the slave trade and sort of stayed…. In Candombleh they have patron saints also… I forget the names at the moment but they are unimportant anyway.. what is important is that the statues are almost Identical to Mary and the apostles… This of course is how they got by worshipping their Gods without being burned for idolatry. Today many don't know the difference and think its all just part of the religion… Remember Hellenism? All roads lead to Rome? They Don't really. But people here (and in general) seem to think they do… Spiritism is growing rapidly here in the vacuum left behind when people were given apostles and statues but not the Gospel of Christ to go with… People who don't know the difference are being taught all sorts of things… Inside the catholic church here there are people who don't know if they are going to heaven or not. If you ask them they say "God only knows… " or "I hope so" Jay many of them don't even know about their salvation by Christ taking away their sins. They don't know about grace… They have been taught to go to mass, put money in the offertory, do good deeds…. Pray to Mary and the Saints: That's the way to heaven. Jay is that right?

Oh and I know you said that the church dosnt believe in praying "TO" saints… but asking them to pray for you… Jay lets be realistic and re-examine that… How are you going to enlist their aid without Praying to them for it? Do you see how this perticular doctrine will always end with people praying "To" the saints? A side note on this... any prayer that is not going directly to God is in my personal opinnion waisted time on your knees.. for this reason. Most people will never spend enough time in prayer to God to begin with... and if you add a second person to be prayed to also that cuts your time and communion with God in half... now add two or three more... less and less time with God. There is a addage or formula called "The Razer" that I seem to remember... if something is not directly relevent to what is mandatory.... Remove It! What is left is a core of exactly what is needed. Later you can add back in the things that are necesary to teach also for continuity sake... This is the best advise I can give you with your intended Reunification Project. Use that Razebr!

When we present the Gospel to people who don't know if they are going to heaven or why… We have people who REFUSE to accept CHRIST!!!! They don't need to accept Christ or make a decision for Christ in their life…Because they are catholic? They don't need to accept Jesus… they don't need to get into heaven by Faith in Christ… or in the system of Grace by faith… Jay they have never heard some of the most important verses in the bible regarding their salvation. When they do hear them they think we have a different bible. We ask them if they have a bible and we show them in their own bible. Sadly many of them don't read their bibles. ( we have this problem in our churches at times also… but not usually to this extent.)

Jay… There are some real problems in doctrine being taught in some areas. Many of these problems are in what people are not being taught because it "may sound to much like the Protestants?" or is it just that the verses about salvation by Grace through faith are not important enough to preach on? Or that the Book of Romans is obsolete? Jay to make sure you understand our churches position on "Conversion" We are not here to Convert. We are here to preach the Gospel as written. We are in the field to "Go" and win souls for the kingdom of God. If someone says they are Baptist, we ask them if they are saved. Have they made a decision for Christ? Are they sure they are going to heaven when they die? If someone says Pentecostal or Assembly of God we ask them the same things…If they have and are saved then Great!!! Regardless of what church they are from.

I often ask this question when teaching…. What is more important: Being a good Christian or being a good Baptist, Methodist, Catholic etc… The answer that is correct of course is to always place Christ at the Head of the church. You would be surprised at the answers I get sometimes. Our church does not run a prejudiced campaign on Catholics. When we are in the field we encounter all sorts of people from some Real Catholics who know about their salvation, to totally unsaved people who have never heard about Christ in their entire life… and everything in between. We cannot let our guard down for a minute or someone could get away without hearing the gospel by claiming to be a church member when reality is that they sat in the back pew and slept through one or two sermons. Many think that is church membership and or the extent of belief in Christ. People don't mind going to churches… they don't mind being members of organizations, They don't even mind talking about Jesus… But it's a funny thing how hard the enemy tries to keep people from accepting Jesus into their lives as their Personal savior. Its fine to think of Jesus on the cross or as an infant in his mothers arms… But when you mention accepting him personally and taking seriously what he did on the cross…. Either you get tears and "Yes I believe in Jesus and Yes I want him in my life!!!!" or you get distractions and secular arguments and neighbors knocking on the door etc…. If you have done much soul winning you start to recognize a pattern of the ways the enemy tries to keep people away from their salvation… Pride is one of the greatest obstacles.

Its Great for Jesus to hang on the cross for all eternity…. Satan doesn't mind that part…. So much… but when a person starts to hear about "Why" he was up there and what happened after he died and three days later… He (Satan) tries every trick in the book to keep that person from understanding and making a decision for Christ.

Jay if everything was just hearsay….
But its not…. The Gospel has been changed from what was written in the 27 New Testament Books in the first century AD to something else that is not readily recognizable to people who study those books today. Too many other Books have been given equal importance. Too many sermons from Time Life Magazine Or about what Hillel or Plato thought… Jay neither of those two people had a relationship with Christ. And Neither of them were apostles of Christ either. The Jews tried to eliminate Helenism from its influence on the bible in 200 BC with the Septeguent version of the Bible… But the Catholic church added back in the very same books that were written in those times of Helenism and were written by the "Fathers" of the people who Killed Christ. Litterally the same people who were guilty of killing the prophets.

Something has sent doctrines into left field…. Sidetracked us from the Meat and Potatoes of what really matters in the Bible… Lost what mattered into an oblivion of mindless nonsense and double talk that detracted us from the truth of Christ and kept the church distracted for far to long! Jay you seem to be well educated… I hope you can see that not everything is Hunky Dorey with much of the Gospel being passed off as Catholic or Christianity today.

I would Love to be able to just talk Gospel… Exchange Soul winning ideas and share ways of spreading the Gospel.. but It is so very important what we teach people. (and what we don't teach them) EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Next Year God willing our Interdenominational ministry will start seven new churches in totally untouched territory, a people who have never heard the gospel but who have families and live their lives in relative isolation from the rest of the world… What will we tell them about Christ? How will we teach them?

I hope and Pray we do our job well and that if someone goes there in ten years he will find them not only able to converse about Jesus with insight but be able to show him other churches they have built in nearby towns, maybe schools for teaching their kids…. And most importantly be able stand firm in the Gospel of Christ as written, if the person is from a heretical doctrine like some are today. Testing that doctrine and the apostles who spread it like the church of Ephesus did.

Grace and Peace Jay… I hope and Pray you are feeling better now from your fall… I hope my words and news of how the church appears down here didn't totally ruin your day. It is not so pretty a subject some times but we must see the truth in these things if we are ever to get past them. You definitely have your work cut out for you…

By the way… Your site really needs a Gospel of Christ write up… how to accept Jesus and what it means… what Christianity is all about in short form. Not that my site is so good or anything but here is the URL you can have a look and see if it gives you any ideas… I haven't worked on it lately… haven't had the time. But there are things on salvation and the Crucifixion that may interest you. Check the "What is the Gospel" and "Prophecy" links and under Prophecy you will find the article on Crucifixion. It may interest you. Like your site but to a smaller degree everything is with links to the other related pages etc as there are far to many to go on a site map per-se Enjoy..
Peace of Christ abide with you and yours.

Jim Madden
Recife Brazil

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