Friday, August 6, 2010

Rome's Challenge


I would like to discuss "Rome's Challenge." No doubt you've heard of it.

Back in September 1893, one James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland, approved a four-piece article for his personal newsletter, the Catholic Mirror. The title was "the Christian Sabbath."


In these articles we find someone who designs to represent the Roman Catholic Church thumping their chest against Protestantism by claiming that Sunday is the Christian day of worship by sole authority of the Catholic Church, thus all Protestantism has no reason to observe Sunday except by authority of the Catholic Church alone. Therefore, they might as well return to Saturday worship. This has taken on the name "Rome's Challenge."

I see a lot of the Rome's Challenge these days. It seems as if every Armstrongist must have been issued a copy, along with talking points. [Why was I never issued a copy??] It is often used in a passive-aggressive attack, to accuse me of following the pagan sun-worship of the Nimrod-Pope in Rome. Here is a sample comment: "The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church takes great credit in establishing Sunday (yes, in the 3rd century)".

This is nothing new. Sermons and articles during my whole time in the Worldwide Church of God were peppered by references to it. Second only, perhaps, to references to the Catholic Encyclopedia 1911 edition. Since the time it was written, the Adventists have taken to Rome's Challenge with a special fondness.

Truth be told, what Archbishop Gibbons allowed to be published does not exactly match with the official catechism of the Catholic Church. And if it doesn't mesh with the Catechism, then it doesn't mesh with the Magesterium of the Catholic Church. It most certainly does not support Sabbath observance. Telling Protestants to return to Saturday observance is tantamount to telling them to leave the New Covenant. And to top it off, crucial details are being conveniently left out  that you should know about.

I want to divert over to a little history lesson, and then I would like to introduce you to someone I hope you'll enjoy.

IMPORTANT HISTORY

If you're new here, you might be dumbfounded to learn that the term "catholic" was used since the early second century or perhaps earlier. Our first-known written record of the word comes from Ignatius of Antioch, student of the Apostle John:

"...wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic church" 
-Ignatius, Letter to the Smyrneans 8: 2 (circa A.D. 110).

There is no solid reason to believe that this term was coined by Ignatius; it was likely already coming into use. The word catholic simply means "universal", or in other words "worldwide". All Gentile Christians, in the east and in the west, came to use this as a general "nick name" for the Christian faith.

But one absolutely, positively must not confuse the phrase "catholic church" with the proper name "Catholic Church". There was no Bishop in Rome holding an office with the power, authority, and trappings that we would recognize as Pope until after the third century. Pope, meaning "papa", was a term used of all Deacons, Presbyters, and Bishops until the Bishops declared it would only apply to them. Each city had a Bishop presiding over it, and it eventually developed that the more prestigious the city, the more authority the Bishop of that city - so the Bishop of Rome naturally inherited the most authority among the Bishops with the Bishop of Alexandria and then the Bishop of Antioch close behind. When Constantine moved the capital of Rome to the previously unimportant Byzantium (aka Constantinople, now it's Istanbul), this upset the hierarchy in the church and caused a huge division between east and west. The Bishop of Rome didn't want to lose his prestige, so alliances were made and power was concentrated in Rome. The claim of the Bishop of Rome's unbroken ordination from the Apostle Peter now gained the forefront (and there is documentation, attested to by several early sources, demonstrating a nearly unbroken line). This arrangement evolved until the first person who could arguably be described as the first "Pope" of any real power was Leo I "the Great" (440-461 AD). One could say the seeds of the modern Catholic Church were not planted at all before this time. I'm not saying the Catholic Church did not exist before this time - it did exist from 33 AD as a unified church with the Orthodox and Coptics; I am saying that the way the "Roman" Catholic Church is perceived today did not exist before this time. In fact, the Latin West was still very much taking a back seat to the Greek East during these centuries. The first Pope to truly wield power in a religious and ecclesiastical sense was Pope Nicholas "The Great" I (858-867 A.D.). Nicholas the Great was the first of the kind of Pope most people think of when they envision a powerful Medieval Pope. This is about the time the seeds of the modern Catholic Church began to sprout, and a division truly began to form between East and West. These divisions would never be healed, however. Finally, in 1054 A.D., the unified catholic church formally split in two, with the eastern churches taking on the name "Orthodox Catholic Church" and the western churches taking on the name "Catholic Church" (commonly called "Roman Catholic Church"). The modern Catholic Church was born. And the infamous doctrine of Papal Infallibility was not formally declared until Vatican I in 1870 A.D..

Why all this boring history stuff? 
Because if we didn't go through this history, we wouldn't be able to see that the Bishop of Rome didn't have the authority to declare a change from Saturday to Sunday, nor would we be able to see that there was no official [Roman] Catholic Church proper until after 1054 A.D. so they did not change Saturday to Sunday.
What's so important about that? 
It's important because now we can see that the entire premise of Adventism's use of Rome's Challenge is that Saturday was exchanged for Sunday on authority of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, and that simply is not possible. 

I find it terribly convenient that Armstrongists accuse the Catholic Church of being filled with little more than the most untrustworthy and pagan liars..... except when they print something inadvertently favorable to Armstrongism; then they're all of a sudden the most trustworthy people on earth. When the Catholic Church has the story straight (which it quite often does), they are called liars. But when it is to the advantage of Herbert Armstrong, that is when they are adamantly accused of telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

But that isn't quite enough information to get the full picture. You see, in the mind of the Catholic Church, they are telling the truth. What I'm about to say is critical, so please read this twice. 
One must keep in mind that, according to Catholic doctrine, their church was started on that Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first sent to men, and they consider Peter their first Pope. Ergo the Apostles, as with all Christians, were Catholic.
Without understanding this absolutely vital bit of information you cannot possibly understand Cardinal Gibbons position in Rome's Challenge. Nor can you hope to avoid bearing false witness should you represent the Challenge to others. And I for one know that you are quite concerned with truth and accuracy or you wouldn't be here.

Building upon our last point, it is also important for you to understand that the official Catholic doctrine states that it was none other than the Apostles themselves who declared the Sabbath Command to be non-binding on Christians, and set up Sunday observance as a tradition (a position with which we at ABD tend to agree). The Catholics do not claim the Pope in the third century changed Saturday to Sunday; they claim the Apostles did. Since it was the Apostles who did this, and since the Catholic Church claims to be unbroken since that time (a position with which we at ABD tend to disagree, on technicalities) we now see why the Catholic Church claims it was on their authority that this thing occurred. To them, the Apostles were the first of the Catholic Church!

The fact is, someone on Archbishop Gibbons' staff had a bone to pick with the Protestants, and mis-used the Catholic Mirror as a bully-pulpit to undermine all Protestantism (this was still fashionable in some circles, since it was yet the Counter-Reformation age). Rather than seeking to heal wounds and find peace, they inadvertently made the problem worse. Adventists take advantage of this, and take advantage of our own ignorance in not knowing the details, and they paint a perfectly distorted picture in order to disparage anyone who goes to church on Sunday.

To clear this mess up a bit, I would like to introduce someone to you.

INTRODUCING D. M. CANRIGHT

Mr. Dudley Marvin Canright lived from 1840 to 1919. Twenty two years of his life were dedicated as a pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He was as familiar with Adventism as anyone could be. This is relevant to the Worldwide Church of God because the SDA church is a direct ancestor of the WCG. I think if you took some time to get to know Mr. Canright, you would be shocked at how the SDA church in the 19th century was making many of the very same arguments as the WCG did in the 20th century -- including Rome's Challenge!

I would like to paste here, for your reading enjoyment, an excerpt from Mr. Canright's 1915 book entitled "The Lord's Day From Neither Catholics nor Pagans: An Answer to Seventh-Day Adventism on this Subject" [which I found on truthorfables.com]. This book concentrates on answering Adventists regarding Rome's Challenge. One could say the book answers "The Adventists Challenge." In my opinion, he more than answers that challenge, he decimates it! I highly recommend reading the whole book.

These excerpts I paste here, from Chapter IV. "CATHOLICS LOCATE THE CHANGE OF THE SABBATH BACK WITH THE APOSTLES", have to do with the history of the Catholic Church, and why they claim to have been the ones to change Saturday to Sunday. I think this is important because it is not new, it will clear up the Roman Catholic view on a few things, and it makes plain the outright deception and mangling of facts still being employed after nearly a century.


In 1913 Monsignor John Bunyan was the special representative of the Pope in America. Next to the Pope, he was then the highest official authority of that Church in the United States, and what he says is authoritative. "Why Sunday is the First Day" was the title of an article he furnished the Washington Times, October 11, 1913. He says: "In the New Law the time for the fulfillment of this [Sabbath] obligation was changed by the apostles from the Sabbath, or the seventh day of the week, to Sunday, or the first day of the week, primarily to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who, early in the morning on the first day of the week, arose, glorious and triumphant, from the dead. Hence it is that in Scripture, the first, day of the week is called the 'Lord's Day' (Rev 1:10). It was also on this same day of the week that the Holy Ghost came down upon the apostles, and that the faith and law of Christ was for the first time solemnly published to the world by them."  

On this the Advent Review and Herald, October 23, 1913, says:

"As we read this article we should not forget that we are reading the deliberate declaration of the highest official in America of that Church which claims to reach back to Apostolic days."  

Here, then, by the highest authority deliberately stated, is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church as to who changed the Sabbath and the time when it was done. It was done by the apostles, in the time of the apostles. All Seventh-Day Adventists certainly know this, for it was published by the editor in their official organ, The Advent Review. Now will they cease teaching that the Catholic Church claims to have changed the Sabbath several hundred years after Christ without Apostolic authority? Remember again the question here is not whether the apostles really did make the change, but what does the Catholic Church claim about it? The papal delegate has settled that.  

Cardinal Gibbons comes next in authority. I wrote him with regard to when his Church began and when the day was changed. Here is the answer:

Baltimore, Md., July 1896 
REV. D. M. CANRIGHT,

Dear Sir: In reply to your favor of the 20th inst., to his Eminence the Cardinal, I beg to say:

First. The Catholic Church dates back to the day when our Lord made St. Peter the visible head of the Church, and when St. Peter established, first at Antioch, then at Rome, the seat of his residence and jurisdiction.

In these days and those immediately following, we find traces of the beginning of the custom of the Sunday observance. You may refer to the Christian writers of that period. (Confer Ignatius ad Magnes, 9; Justin Martyr, 1, Apol. 59; Tertul., Apol. 16.) All these writers speak of the Sunday as the Lord's Day; no other more distinct trace has been preserved, and the mention which occurs in the following centuries rests on the fact of a previous custom more or less general.

C. T. THOMAS, Sect.  

It will be seen that the Cardinal locates the introduction of the Lord's Day at the beginning of the Church with St. Peter.  

After the Cardinal, the next highest dignitary in America is Archbishop Ireland. In answer to my question as to when the Catholic Church changed the Sabbath, this high prelate answered as follows:

St. Paul, March 1914

My dear Sir:

In answer to your question I would state that the Jewish Sabbath was simply a positive precept in the Mosaic law and lapsed with that law. The apostles and early Christians instituted the Sunday as a day of special prayer in honor of the great mysteries of the Christian religion, the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit, both occurring on the first day of the week.

Very sincerely, 
JOHN IRELAND.  

That is clear, positive, and directly to the point. Here is another high Catholic authority, "The Catholic Encyclopedia on Doctrine," Article, "Sunday": "Sunday was the first day of the week according to the Jewish method of reckoning time, but for the Christians it began to take the place of the Jewish Sabbath in apostolic times as the day set apart for the public solemn worship of God" (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10). The same Encyclopedia, Article, "Sabbath," says: "St. Paul enumerates the Sabbath among the Jewish observances which are not obligatory on Christians (Col. 2:16; Gal. 4:9-10; Rom. 14:5). The Gentile converts held their religious meetings on Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2), and with the disappearance of the Jewish Church, with the Christian Churches the day was exclusively observed as the" Lord's Day."  

Notice that Catholics quote the same texts as Protestants do to indicate the change. They trace its origin to the New Testament the same as we do and thus claim Scripture authority for it. It will be seen that all these high Catholic authorities agree in locating the change in the days of the apostles and by the apostles.  

The following is from "The Catholic Dictionary, the Universal Christian Educator, Containing Doctrine of the Church," by Rev. Wm. A. Addis and Thomas Arnold, A.M., both of the Royal University of Ireland. Endorsed by Cardinal Manning and Cardinal McClosky. There could be no better Catholic authority. Now read, Article, "Sunday": "The precept of observing the Sabbath was completely abrogated in the Christian Church. In commemoration of Christ's resurrection, the Church observes Sunday. The observance does not rest on any positive law, of which there is no trace. Sunday is of merely ecclesiastical institution, dating however from the time of the apostles. Such is the opinion of St. Thomas. The Scripture given above (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10) shows that the observance of Sunday had begun in the apostolic age; but even were Scripture silent, tradition would put the point beyond doubt."  

I quote all these to show only one point; viz., the time when Catholics claim the change was made by the Church. They all say it was made by the apostles. No other date is given or suggested.  

Now read the written testimony of two Catholic priests:

TESTIMONY OF A CATHOLIC PRIEST

"Having lived for years among the Seventh-Day Adventists, I am familiar with their claims that the Pope of Rome changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week. Such assertions are wholly unfounded. Catholics claim no such thing; but maintain that the apostles themselves established the observance of Sunday and that we received it by tradition from them. The councils and Popes afterwards simply confirmed the keeping of the day as received from the apostles."

JOHN MEILER, 
Rector of St. John's Church, Healdsburg, Cal.  

The following statement I drew up, and read to a leading Catholic priest of Grand Rapids, Mich., who readily signed it, as will be seen below:

"The Catholic doctrine of the change of the Sabbath is this: The apostles, by instruction from Jesus Christ, changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday to commemorate the resurrection of Christ and the descent of the Holy Ghost, both of which occurred on Sunday. The change was made by the apostles themselves, and hence by divine authority, at the very beginning of the Church. There are references to this change in Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2; Rev. 1:10, etc. Yet these texts do not state positively such a change; hence Catholics go to the statements of the early Christian Fathers, where this change by the apostles is confirmed and put beyond doubt. Catholics also rely upon the tradition of the Church which says that the change was made by the apostles. Catholics never teach that the change of the day was made by the Church two or three hundred years after Christ. Such a statement would be contrary to all the facts of history and the traditions of the Church.  

"The Holy Catholic Church began with the apostles. St. Peter was the first Pope. Hence, when they say that the Church changed the Sabbath, they mean that it was done by the Church in the days of the apostles. Neither the Church nor the Pope, two or three hundred years after the apostles, had anything whatever to do with changing the Sabbath, for the change had been made ages before. Catholics do not call the first day of the week the Sabbath, for that was Saturday; but they call it Sunday, or the Lord's Day.  This above statement by Rev. D. M. Canright is true and pure Catholic doctrine."

Rev. James C. Pulcher, Pastor of St. James' Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.  

See how all these Catholic authorities agree. Now come to the catechisms which Adventists are so fond of quoting. This is from a " Systematic Study of the Catholic Religion." It is the one used by all students in the Catholic High School in Grand Rapids, Mich. On page 294 I read, "The Church from the time of the apostles has changed the Sabbath into the Lord's Day." In the Advent book, "Who Changed the Sabbath?" page 9, the following is quoted from the "Catholic Christian Instructed."

"Quest. What are the days which the Church commands to be kept holy?

"Ans. The Sunday, or our Lord's Day, which we observe by apostolic tradition instead of the Sabbath."  

You see this catechism refers the change of the Sabbath back to the apostles the same as all other Catholic writers do. The Church did this in the time of the apostles, just as all Protestants teach. Here follows another from the same catechism:

"Quest. What warrant have you for keeping the Sunday, preferable to the ancient Sabbath, which was the Saturday?

"Ans. We have for it the authority of the Catholic Church, and apostolic tradition."  

Here we are again referred right back to the apostles as before.

I will close this testimony of the Catholics with the following from a "Mission Priest." These are priests of the very highest education and influence. Their "mission" is to go from city to city in all the states to their great church centers and give a course of lectures on Catholic doctrines to both Catholics and non-Catholics. They are the best educated and best posted priests in that Church. So what they teach is of the highest character and reliable as expressing Catholic doctrines. I have obtained from my next door neighbor (a Catholic family whose daughter attends the Catholic High School here) the following book: "A Full Course of Instruction in Explanation of the Catechism," by Rev. J. Perry, edited and adapted to the present wants of Colleges, Academies, and Private Families, by a priest of the Mission. It is endorsed by the Archbishop of St. Louis, Mo.  Notice that this is the authority studied in families, high schools, colleges, and academies. Is there any better witness? Now read: "Third [Sabbath] commandment. Its obligation transferred from Saturday to Sunday." "What day of the week is the seventh day or Sabbath Day?" "It is Saturday." "Then why do we not keep Saturday holy?" " Because the Church in the apostles' time transferred the obligation from the seventh to the first day of the week." "Why was this done?" "In honor of Jesus Christ, and therefore the first day of the week is called the Lord's Day (Rev. 1:10). It was on the first day of the week (or Sunday) that Christ rose from the dead; that He commissioned His apostles to teach all nations; that He empowered them to forgive sins; that He sent down upon them the Holy Ghost; it was on this day that the apostles began to preach the doctrines of Christ and to establish the Christian religion "(pages 168-169).  

Here it will be seen that the Catholics use exactly the same arguments for the change of the day that all Protestants do, and locate the change at the same date, in the time of the apostles and by the apostles.  

But do not the catechism and Catholic writers, when controverting Protestants, assert that the "Holy Catholic Church" changed the day? Certainly, but they also claim that the Catholic Church began with the apostles who changed the day. Do not Adventists know this? Yes. Why, then, do they not tell the whole facts in the case? Let them answer.  

Consider the high Catholic authorities quoted on this subject - the Council of Trent; the papal delegate, Cardinal Gibbons; Archbishop Ireland; the Catholic Encyclopedia; the Catholic Dictionary; written statements of priests; and the teachings of the catechism. All agree that the change in the day was made by the apostles. Beyond dispute, this establishes the doctrine of the Catholic Church on the origin of the Lord's Day. Not a single Catholic authority can be quoted teaching that the change of the Sabbath was made by the Popes or by the Papacy centuries later. That is purely an invention of Seventh-Day Adventists. Here, then, is the testimony of two hundred and fifty million Roman Catholics, all agreeing that the observance of Sunday as the Lord's Day originated with the apostles. Now if Adventists quote the Catholics, then let them abide by their testimony.  

Now read "Rome's Challenge," "Father Enright's Challenge," and a lot of other Catholic "challenges," which Adventists gleefully gather up and endorse and peddle the world over as unanswerable. Read them very carefully and notice particularly that not one of these Catholic "challenges" ever locates the time when the "Catholic Church" made the change. In all these "Challenges" they adroitly leave this point out, and presume on the ignorance of the general public, which supposes that the Catholic Church began centuries after Christ. Then Adventists take advantage of this popular idea of the Catholic Church and locate the change about 300 years after Christ. Such deception is unworthy of Christian teachers.

Now, if you've made it this far, I applaud you. I also hope that this clears up a few things.

It is my assertion that one cannot hold up Rome's Challenge and say "Look! It's true! The Catholics even admit it." Then turn right around and deny the very reason why the Catholics make that claim. If we are to say Rome's Challenge is true, and the Catholics instituted Sunday, then it follows one must say the very reason why the Catholic Church makes this claim is also true - which means one admits the Apostles instituted Sunday as a day of worship, and the Catholic Church is as old as it claims to be - as this is what the Catholic Church is actually saying when they make Rome's challenge, which Armstrongists say is true. You can't have one without the other.

In closing, I would like to quote Canright regarding the ongoing distortion of facts: 
"Why, then, do they [the Armstrongists who perpetuate the distortions] not tell the whole facts in the case? Let them answer."

Indeed!


************ It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11
************

25 comments:

Purple Hymnal said...

"It seems as if every Armstrongist must have been issued a copy, along with talking points. [Why was I never issued a copy??]"

I never got a copy either...we had three editions of Bachiocchi in the house though, and the latest edition was always available in the church library. This was in the mid-80s.

I do see where you're going with this, although I'm not sure why you seem to be implying lately that it's important to keep Sunday versus Saturday, since, as a professing Christian, you believe in two covenants, and do not adhere to the tenets of Judaism, but, the most defence you can raise for keeping Sunday is, "It's a tradition."

A tradition based on an assumption that most Armstrongists are going to reject out of hand.

I tend to side with Tom Harpur's view on this, that Sunday was chosen, in part because of the resurrection being placed, in the later years of the Roman church, as having occurred on a Sunday

(Brief aside: The "Last Supper" occurring on a Friday is actually supported by the fact that the "last supper" described in the canonical NT is a Jewish chaburah and not a Passover seder, but that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish entirely!)

...and, conveniently, the Romans who venerated their gods by worshipping the sun, did so on "Sun-day" as well. So, it was a two-fold reason for instituting Sunday-worship as specifically universal, when they were trying to get the Roman church off the ground. Thing is, there's nothing wrong with that!

Tom Harpur, in his book The Pagan Christ, cites a Catholic encyclical (I don't have the book, but it is mentioned in the CBC documentary of the same name you can find on YouTube) of about the 5th century, telling people they could no longer pray to the rising sun, on the steps of St. Peter's basilica on Sunday mornings. Why would they still be doing that, if ostensibly the day was to be kept for a man who lived and died, and lived again?

This actually segues into the next interesting factoid of professing Christianity: The two strains, Catholicism and Protestantism, each follow two different "apostles"; the Catholic Church follows the authority of Peter, whereas the Protestants (kicked off by Martin Luther) follow the teachings, beliefs, and the general authority, of Paul.

(Given the issues with the Pauline and deutero-Pauline texts that exist and are well-known in these modern times, I'd have to say the Catholic church has the upper hand in that respect.)

Which doesn't even touch on the Orthodox church which, IIRC, takes its authority from the apostle Matthew, nor the Coptic-Syriac church, which purports itself to have been founded by somebody acting in the name of the apostle Mark.

Also, FWIW, the religious Gnostic churches (The largest of which takes its authority and teachings from the apostle John -- there's basically one flavour of Christianity, for each of the Synoptics -- it's no coincidence we heard more from the gospel of Luke, than any of the others!) say they're part of "the catholic church" meaning universal church, too.

I guess the main question I take away from this post, xHWA (From a devil's advocate POV, you understand -- and Armstrongism is certainly a devil!), is, do you now believe Sunday must be kept, as a Christian sabbath, simply because of the Christian date(s) of the resurrection?? Because, as far as I can tell, there are a significant number of Christians who disagree with that, saying it doesn't matter what day of the week they "do church" on, if they "do church" at all, that is.

Which doesn't even begin to touch on the fact that that argument is going to revert any Armstrongist into instant thought-termination, in the first place.

xHWA said...

"Why would they still be doing that, if ostensibly the day was to be kept for a man who lived and died, and lived again?" -PH

It was an early ecumenism. There were pagan sun worshipers. There were Christians. Some pagans thought they could adopt portions of Christianity without giving up the old gods. Some Christians thought they could retain Christianity and adopt additional gods. They were both wrong. That is what Leo was saying in that encyclical you mention.
What Tom Harper neglected to make clear, which I suspect you know and neglected to mention here, is that the Catholic Church moved to put an end to that error. And they succeeded. And rightfully so.

Once again, you are taking the errors of the later centuries and attempting to erase the facts of the first century with them. It simply does not work that way.
It's like asking, "Why would Joseph McCarthy fight against communism, if ostensibly America's Founding Fathers made the United States of America a Republic?"

"do you now believe Sunday must be kept, as a Christian sabbath" -PH

Once again, I have tried on multiple occasions to make it as abundantly clear as I humanly can... I do not believe Sunday is a "Christian Sabbath" nor do I believe that observance of Sunday is mandatory.

Refer to the FAQ for my views on Sunday/Saturday.

All I do is defend those who worship on Sunday from the lies of those who would have them believe that they must worship on Saturday or else. This is what we find coming from Armstrongism. Seeing that this is a ex-Armstrongist blog, that is what I deal with most often.
Had Armstrong taught that it was mandatory to worship on Sunday only, I would be here now arguing just as strenuously against that because that isn't true either. The time the New Covenant makes mandatory is "today" (see Hebrews 3 & 4).

xHWA said...

"This actually segues into the next interesting factoid of professing Christianity: The two strains, Catholicism and Protestantism, each follow two different "apostles"; the Catholic Church follows the authority of Peter, whereas the Protestants (kicked off by Martin Luther) follow the teachings, beliefs, and the general authority, of Paul."

I absolutely disagree with this. It's incredibly over-simplistic. I've been a Catholic and a Protestant. I believe I have some knowledge in this area.

It is an undeniable fact that the teachings of all of the New Testament are included in the doctrines of the Catholics and the Protestants.
Protestantism is not a different religion than Roman Catholicism; it is a reformation of Roman Catholicism. They are both Christianity. That is the religion - one and the same.
Neither Catholicism nor Protestantism, in any way, make any claim to prefer one apostle over the other. Statues of both Peter and Paul appear in almost every Catholic Church.
What Protestants do is emphasize grace and Sola Scriptura (albeit imperfectly). Paul spoke a lot about grace. What the Catholics do is emphasize Apostolic succession. Primacy of Peter is a large part of that.
Peter has two epistles. By sheer volume of writing alone, either church will lean on Paul over Peter for doctrine.
The Catholics add to that their own writings and traditions. To say they "follow Peter and not Paul" is not even remotely accurate. If anything would be close to accurate, it would be to say the Catholics follow their own traditions over either apostle. The Protestants do not recognize the authority of those traditions. That is a major part of the Reformation. But it is the Primacy of Peter that is not recognized, not the importance of Peter.

What the Gnostics do is their own business.

"the Romans who venerated their gods by worshipping the sun, did so on "Sun-day" as well." -PH

Sunday was not a day for sun worship over and above any other day. The week days were named after planets because of astrology, not religion.

xHWA said...

If anyone wants to know what the Catholic Church teaches, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church -- not Tom Harper.

Purple Hymnal said...

"It was an early ecumenism. There were pagan sun worshipers. There were Christians. Some pagans thought they could adopt portions of Christianity without giving up the old gods. Some Christians thought they could retain Christianity and adopt additional gods. They were both wrong. That is what Leo was saying in that encyclical you mention."

Eh, Leo said they were wrong...who died and made Leo the Pope? ;-)

J/K, J/K. Thanks for backing me up though, I wasn't sure which Pope it was, and I didn't want to go hunting through the video looking for it.

"What Tom Harper neglected to make clear, which I suspect you know and neglected to mention here, is that the Catholic Church moved to put an end to that error. And they succeeded. And rightfully so."

Not exactly. Tom Harpur, and others, contend this "error" was anything but. (I tend to lean towards that line of thought myself.) As for whether or not the Catholic Church was "right" for "succeeding" in this way, we're going to have to agree to disagree on that; ecumenism and universalism are the least harmful forms of religion that I have encountered in my studies. You may disagree with that. One branch of Quakerism agrees with my line of thinking, though. (Yes, that's where I get my "terrible non-Christian heresy" from. Sorry.)

"Once again, you are taking the errors of the later centuries and attempting to erase the facts of the first century with them. It simply does not work that way."

Not me, but I'm sure most Armstrongists would. I honestly don't think they would even get that far in the argument, though, because of your Christian belief in re: the resurrection. (I don't care, either way, but I can see somebody in the church just shutting down totally at that...I don't think any of us wants that!)

"Once again, I have tried on multiple occasions to make it as abundantly clear as I humanly can... I do not believe Sunday is a "Christian Sabbath" nor do I believe that observance of Sunday is mandatory."

Oh, I know that, but I think you need to highlight this point, every time you post about it. Going to take a lot, to break through the programming!

"I absolutely disagree with this. It's incredibly over-simplistic. I've been a Catholic and a Protestant. I believe I have some knowledge in this area."

Yeah, we'll have to agree to disagree on this. I've never been a Catholic, nor a Protestant, so I've done a lot of digging and research and reading on the two religions, which someone on the inside of both would not have (nor would they have been allowed to), IMO; Dennett touches on this disconnect, and the reasons for it, in his research paper.

Saying you've "been" a Catholic and a Protestant (I didn't know that, actually -- or are you referring to your brief stint with the CoG7?) is a far, far, cry from actual knowledge about the religions themselves. But, I suspect, this is something we're going to have to agree to disagree on. (cont.)

Purple Hymnal said...

(cont.)
"It is an undeniable fact that the teachings of all of the New Testament are included in the doctrines of the Catholics and the Protestants."

Despite the fact that the canonical texts are different, and translated differently? But this isn't an argument that serves either of our purposes here, in re: getting Armstrongists to think about their own religion. We are going to have to agree to disagree on that, although I do agree with your premise, that it's possible the event of "the last supper", could have taken place on a Friday...where did I put the link to that paper? Oh, yeah, here. (Just to prove I am on your side, I know that may not come through too clearly, sometimes.) :-)


"Protestantism is not a different religion than Roman Catholicism; it is a reformation of Roman Catholicism. They are both Christianity. That is the religion - one and the same."

Hm, but the fly in that ointment (to borrow Bill's phrase) is the fact that both view the other as apostate, and each considers themselves "the one true church"...now where have I heard that before...? Can't quite put my finger on it....But, you can't eat your cake and have it, too! If you say the Catholics and the Protestants are the same religion because they use the same holy books, you have to let the Gnostics in, too!

"What Protestants do is emphasize grace and Sola Scriptura (albeit imperfectly). Paul spoke a lot about grace. What the Catholics do is emphasize Apostolic succession. Primacy of Peter is a large part of that."

This is my point....We may have to agree to disagree on what we each think about these facts.

"What the Gnostics do is their own business."

See above; even when they utilize theologies promoted by the apostle John (AJC uses the NRSV, too, AFAIK)? Can't eat your cake and have it too! You can't say Catholics and Protestants are the same religion, because they use the same texts with different emphases, and leave the Johannites out of that loop as well. Just my opinion.


"If anyone wants to know what the Catholic Church teaches, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church -- not Tom Harper."

Tom Harpur. And no, he's not a Catholic, he's an Anglican (that's another strain of Protestantism, too -- are you keeping up LOL), but I would hardly say "the Catholic catechism" is fair or unbiased in this regard...not to mention all the "fruits" of Catholicism that have come to light in recent months, in re: all the scandals and the cover-ups.

You do need to address the mistaken Armstrongist assumption "The Resurrection was not on Sunday!" though, before any of the hard-liners will even be willing to look at the argument you give in your post, above. This may help. It's a bit heavy going, but it does favour the Catholics, in the end (and even suggests the Gnostics were partially responsible in making the Catholics more contemplative of their own rituals).

xHWA said...

Those are the errors you keep getting? I get those too! I thought it was just me. Are you using Chrome, by chance?
I've found that even though I get that error the post still goes up. I once posted the same comment 5 times before I realized it was going up.

Many comments knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day, I tell you.

xHWA said...

I will agree with you that there are a lot of Catholics and Protestants who have no clue as to what their churches teach. :(

BUT
I went through 10 years of Catholic schooling. I was more involved at the church than most of my peers because my mother was very involved. I was quite interested to learn everything I could about what the Catholics believed - if only so that I could disagree with it (I was a closet Armstrongist from age 5, you see.)

I assure you that even though I am no expert, I know quite a bit about what the Catholics believe, as well as how they came to believe that over time. I do not take the hard and fast stand that some Protestants do when they talk down about the Catholic faith. I see why they believe what they do. I love their traditions and confessions, even if I disagree with them. I enjoy going to mass. I feel they are fully Christian. I just cannot reconcile what I believe with the authority of the Catholic hierarchy.

The basic Protestant view is salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Some of what you say about the friction between Catholics and Protestants is completely true. I hold up Rome's Challenge as a fight being picked. I fully confess that the same has happened back at the Catholics over the years. I find this repugnant.

xHWA said...

"Eh, Leo said they were wrong...who died and made Leo the Pope? ;-)"

LOL

xHWA said...

"you need to highlight this point, every time you post about it."

OK. Wise advice. I will try.

"Going to take a lot, to break through the programming!"

Agreed!

"You do need to address the mistaken Armstrongist assumption 'The Resurrection was not on Sunday!'"

I can try to do more about that.
I had it in my mind to treat that as a seasonal thing, but I can do more study into it, if you think that is a good direction to go in.

xHWA said...

PH,

Whether we agree or not, you always post your comments with respect. I appreciate that. Thank you. I try to always to respond in kind.
You know that I have a hard time expressing things. So, if I do a bad job at it, please just overlook that.

Thanks.

Purple Hymnal said...

"Many comments knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day, I tell you."

ROFL! "These are not the Druids you are looking for!" ;-D

Purple Hymnal said...

"Eh, Leo said they were wrong...who died and made Leo the Pope? ;-)"

"LOL"


:-D

Purple Hymnal said...

"I can try to do more about that.
I had it in my mind to treat that as a seasonal thing, but I can do more study into it, if you think that is a good direction to go in."


Oh-ho-ho, going to try and offset the "Plain Truth About Easter" are you? IMO, a very bad idea to do it seasonally; after all, they're going to have all of the sermons, booklets, and broadcasts, fresh in their minds, if you try and de-cult-ivate (LOL sorry but I am unrepentant of that pun) them around the actual time of the Spring Solstice.

Post a firm debunking of that (from which I will, as the Quakers like to say, "stand aside", as I don't see anything wrong with the observance of the Spring Solstice, personally, no matter how that observance is framed), then link it back to this article, as the "next step" in their thinking...it will definitely be an eye-opener, for those "with the ears to hear" -- so to speak. :-)

Purple Hymnal said...

"Whether we agree or not, you always post your comments with respect. I appreciate that. Thank you. I try to always to respond in kind.

You know that I have a hard time expressing things. So, if I do a bad job at it, please just overlook that."


Me too, me too, in spades. And, thank you, for not censoring what I'm sure you think is my "rank apostate heresy" (LOL). I think that's the most important thing to let church-members see -- that we can still get along, and communicate with each other, with respect and give-and-take and our own researches, despite the fact that we're both out of the church (myself for a long time, you freshly out -- and with a lot of reading left to go for you yet, mi amigo), yet we are both clearly coming at it from vastly different directions.

I wish it will give people still in the church hope, that there is life outside of the church, and socialization amongst others, even those with whom you may not agree, is what I'm saying.

As for "having a hard time expressing things", you seem to do perfectly well to me...what did I tell you about not beating up on yourself, huh? Huh? Don't make me come back there! ;-)

Bill said...

I would point out that both the Catholic Church and the SDA, et.al. are subtly trying to tinge the debate by using the terminology of this all being a matter of "changing the day" when this oft repeated statement and claim is unsupportable.

You cannot "change the day" when the one day no longer exists as a required day of anything, let alone a day of rest. But the Catholics want support for "keeping" Sunday, and the SDA/Sabbatarian wants support for keeping the defunct weekly sabbath. Strange bedfellows indeed! There was no "change of days." The sabbath was not a day of corporate worship, and Sunday was not a day of rest.

It boils down to esteeming a day, period. The moment a church applies the attributes to Sunday of the old covenant sabbath, the line has been crossed; they have gone too far.

The rationale for observing Sunday as a day of worship; tied to the resurrection and Pentecost is fine, but does not provide evidence it must be done. Nowhere is it written that we observe Sunday because Jesus was resurrected on that day. Same with the Giving of the Holy Spirit. These rationalizations are the same methodology used in teaching falsehoods and deceptions. We cannot point out these methods as invalid for supporting Christians observing the sabbath, then turn around and try to use similar arguments for justification in the observance of another day.

I state again: There was no change of days; the substitution of one in favor of another. The old covenant ended. The conditions of that first covenant ended as a result. You can't change a day that no longer exists in this regard.

xHWA said...

Bill,

100% agreed. (Or more.)

"You cannot 'change the day' when the one day no longer exists as a required day of anything, let alone a day of rest."

That's right! The Old Covenant is gone. Abridged. Nullified. Passed away. The New Covenant Sabbath is Christ - not a day.
The rest is in Christ, it is spiritual, it is for the soul, it is perpetual.

Anyone who comes out and says "I searched the Bible and the only Sabbath mentioned is the seventh day (Saturday)" is starting from the false premise that a weekly Sabbath remains. A Sabbath rest remains (see above) but not a weekly Sabbath. They are all fighting the mistaken idea that Sunday is a Christian Sabbath. They get this idea because they do not understand that when Jesus died, the Old Covenant died.

Sunday is not a new Sabbath. It never was! I don't care what D. L. Moody thinks about it.

Sunday was called "Lord's Day" but that has nothing to do with a Sabbath rest. Lord's Day is a traditional memorial of Christ; a time to gather for worship and praise, to take communion, and that's about it.

"It boils down to esteeming a day, period."

Spot on!
If people, like D. L. Moody for example, want to treat it like a special day, fine and well for them. If you esteem it, then esteem it. But if not, then not. Both ways to the Lord.

I recommend people take the time to understand the Covenants! Understand what role Jesus played in them. Understand the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
This understanding will clear up many confusions regarding the Sabbath (and the law).

xHWA said...

A thanks to J from Shadows, in his article "Thanks, UCG, You Have Proved My Point Well." for reminding me that PH and I are doing exactly what shouldn't be done - striving over words and organized religions.

"True religion is simple: Love God, and Love man. the True Church is simply people who practice true religion. That’s it. It is NOT a corporation!" -J

Amen!

Purple Hymnal said...

"
The rationale for observing Sunday as a day of worship; tied to the resurrection and Pentecost is fine, but does not provide evidence it must be done. Nowhere is it written that we observe Sunday because Jesus was resurrected on that day. Same with the Giving of the Holy Spirit. These rationalizations are the same methodology used in teaching falsehoods and deceptions. We cannot point out these methods as invalid for supporting Christians observing the sabbath, then turn around and try to use similar arguments for justification in the observance of another day."


On this, Bill and I are in perfect agreement.

(Which prompts me to ask, if it won't be deemed impolitic: Bill, do you believe the resurrection occurred on Sunday?)

Child Survivor said...

Purple Hymnal asked "Bill, do you believe the resurrection occurred on Sunday?"

The Word of God declares:
"And He said to them, "What things?" And they said to Him, "The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened." Luke 24:19-21

And just for the record, this is the two on the road to Emmaus talking to the resurrected Jesus, but not recognizing Him ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK. I've already been told by one Armstrongist that Luke is obviously wrong. She's right, the Bible is wrong. Quite a bold statement if you ask me.

xHWA said...

"I've already been told by one Armstrongist that Luke is obviously wrong. She's right, the Bible is wrong. Quite a bold statement if you ask me." -CS

Very "Waterhouse."

xHWA said...

I just want to point out that this post is about correcting the perspective of the debate. It is not about promoting Sunday as a mandatory day of worship.

The problem, as I see it, is that the average Adventist (including Armstrongists) has no clue whatsoever about what motivated Cardinal Gibbons to promote what he did in his newsletter.
In their ignorance the Armstrongists see a claim by a Catholic newsletter, not knowing what the claim actually means they extract the words completely from context, they then proceed to seize what they think is an opportunity to assign their own beneficial spin to the words (complete intellectual dishonesty!), and then promote their own agenda - blissfully unawares that they are playing with something that in all reality opposes them more fiercely than they oppose it.
They are falling into a trap.

This post, in a nutshell, is saying - News Flash!! Rome's Challenge doesn't prove your point, it is against you. And YOU ARE SAYING IT'S ALL TRUE!!

Armstrongists who attempt to misuse Rome's Challenge aren't putting makeup on a pig. They're shooting themselves in the foot. This has been known for 100 years! It's a complete denial of reality bordering on the pathological! I don't know if "delusion" cuts it here as a descriptor.

So, in order for the people who actually care to know what is really going on to cut through the bull and see what it is that's being said by both sides, I wrote this post. I think there might be a few people who might look at how they are promoting the Catholic Church's claim that they are truly an Apostolic church, and might abandon Rome's Challenge once this sinks in.
I wrote this piece to show people what is really being said. If Armstrongists know what is being said, maybe they can understand what it is that they themselves are really saying.

Summary: The Catholics are saying the Apostles were the founders of the Catholic Church, and the Apostles changed Saturday to Sunday. THAT is Rome's Challenge!! IF you are holding up Rome's Challenge as if it is proof for Sabbath worship, you are only making an ass of yourself! Every time you say "it's true" you are saying Rome is every bit as old and legitimate as they claim, and that you are fighting against the Apostles.
Is that really what you want???

Purple Hymnal said...

"In their ignorance the Armstrongists see a claim by a Catholic newsletter, not knowing what the claim actually means they extract the words completely from context, they then proceed to seize what they think is an opportunity to assign their own beneficial spin to the words (complete intellectual dishonesty!)"

Prooftext, much??

I can only imagine what you've been dealing with in the comments, to have to write that, xHWA. My condolences. :-(

createsjg said...

The Sabbath is not "jewish". The commandment starts with the workd "remember". It was instituted in creation by the Creator and is the first thing that is made holy ( a space in time for communion and rest in Him) the second is marriage. i keep the Sabbath because Jesus did and I think that to follow Him I must endeavor to do as He did. He said that the He is Lord of the Sabbath and that's good enough for me (He also stated emphatically more that once that He did not come to change the law). Be careful of rationalizations and manipulation of scripture to suite yourself

xHWA said...

Hi createsg. We thoroughly answer every one of those points you've made in our FAQ, and about a hundred times over in the Categories. Read up.

"Be careful of rationalizations and manipulation of scripture to suite yourself."

Noted. I'll assume you're living by that as well, then.
Remember, Jesus loves you. May He speed you into His New Covenant.