Authority

We are not to be deceived by false teachers (Colossians 2:18-19). We do this by holding on to Christ, the Head of His body. The direct context of this reference to Christ as our authority is false teachers and heresy (Colossians 2:20,22). Thus, we are to follow the ordinances of Christ which are given by Christ's authoritative representatives. This is the source of Church authority.

The apostles had authority over the Christians of that day (2 Peter 3:2). Note that at the time Peter wrote this there was no New Testament; the teaching was verbal (Tradition). It was the authoritative teaching of those chosen by Christ (the apostles) which was the authority. Certainly the apostles are to be our authority even today. But since they are no longer with us they must have passed-on their authority via ordination. Remember that it took hundreds of years before there was a New Testament. Who would the Christians have listened to during these years if not the successors to the apostles?

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Christian Life

As a community of Spirit-filled Christians we are to relate to one another in peace and love (Ephesians 5:19). We are to speak to one another through singing.

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Difficulties

I can think of two possible meanings of this verse (John 21:22):

  1. John's vision of the second coming which he recorded in the book of Revelation (Revelation 19:11).
  2. The judgment of all upon death (Hebrews 9:27). There is a sense in which Jesus comes again to each of us at death.

Preterists claim that this verse supports the idea that Jesus came again in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed the temple. I reject this view.

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Election

In the Protestant doctrine of Calvinism God chooses those who are to be saved. The Bible does teach that God elects the chosen, but it also teaches that man must freely accept God's salvation. And it nowhere teaches that God elects some for eternal damnation.

It is true that God chooses us to be saved (John 15:16).

We are only saved because God reveals His plan and purpose to us (Ephesians 1:9). Apart from God's revelation there is no salvation. But this implies that we must freely choose to receive in faith God's revelation.

More on election.

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Chosen for Holiness

We are chosen to be holy (Ephesians 1:4). It has always been God's purpose that one day we would all stand before God and give account of ourselves to Him. This verse does not say that God chooses some to be damned.


The Saints are Predestined

We are predestined to become members of God's family (Ephesians 1:5).

We are predestined to be saved (Ephesians 1:11). But as shown in the following section we are predestined for salvation in the context of God's plan to reveal the gospel of Jesus Christ when the time was ripe.


The Gospel is Predestined

God chose to hide (Colossians 1:26,27) the mystery of the gospel until a certain time in history and he chose when that time would be. He also chose that those who heard and believed the gospel would receive salvation. God does it all. The only thing God doesn't do is single out certain individuals for damnation.

The gospel of salvation through Christ was revealed in the time in history of God's choosing (Ephesians 1:10).


Perseverance

We must persevere in the faith (Colossians 1:23). This implies that we have free will. This verse does not teach "once saved, always saved."


Lose Salvation

Christians can lose their salvation by sinning after becoming a Christian (Hebrews 10:26).


Grace

God gives us all we need through grace (Philippians 4:19).

The Word of God is our source of grace (Colossians 1:25). The phrase "Word of God" is often used by Protestant fundamentalists to refer to the Bible, but note that it is more accurate to say the Bible contains the Word of God. There are other sources of the Word of God besides the Bible. A few examples: the Church, prophecy, apparitions, the faith of the faithful, Church Councils.

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Jesus

Jesus has adopted those of faith into His family as His children (Ephesians 1:5).

Jesus is merciful (Jude 21). Although we are unworthy, we look to Jesus to forgive us and to unite us to Himself.

Jesus is love (1 Timothy 1:14). He is the source of our love.

Jesus desires that we be spiritually nourished by Him during communion (John 6:53).


Judgment

There are many passages in the Bible which teach that believers are judged based on their works of faith.

We are each one of us judged by God (Romans 14:12 ).

We are judged by whether or not we perform deeds which offend God (Philippians 1:10). The phrase "day of Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:8) refers to Christ's second coming (1 Corinthians 5:5) and final judgment (2 Peter 3:10).

We must obey God's command to not sin in order to be saved (Ephesians 5:6).

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Miracles

Jesus performed miracles so that people would believe (John 14:11).

Jesus promises that believers will do even greater works than he did (John 14:12). In the history of the church this has been true—there have been many miracles.

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Prayer

Does God Answer Prayer?

Jesus promises that our prayers of supplication [asking] (1 Timothy 2:1) will be answered (John 15:7). God will answer our prayers if we ask in the name of Jesus (John 16:23) and if we abide [live] in Jesus and if His words abide in us (John 15:7). Thus, we have to do our part in order for God to answer our prayers.

God will answer our prayers but only if we ask for things that are in His will.

Does God really answer our prayers? (1 Peter 3:12). Apparently he does, but only if we don't do evil works.


How to Pray

Our prayers are to involve us in our gestures, such as lifting up our hands, as well as in our adherence to the law of God (1 Timothy 2:8).


Pray Always

We sanctify the things we do by prayer (1 Timothy 4:5). Thus, we are to enjoy God's creation but only in giving thanks to Him.

How is it even possible for us to pray night and day? (1 Timothy 5:5) Certainly the apostle Paul exhorts us all to pray continuously (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I can think of two possibilities:

  1. The expression "without ceasing" is merely figurative and means "often" (I doubt this is what Paul had in mind).
  2. It is possible to meditate on God continuously, perhaps in the context of repetitive mental prayer (2 Timothy 1:3).

The Holy Spirit

Prayer requires the participation by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26).

Everything we do as Christians needs to be done in the power of the Holy Spirit. This includes prayer (Ephesians 6:18).

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Prophecy

One purpose of predictive prophecy is so that we will have faith (John 14:29).

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Salvation

The Bible teaches many things about salvation. As a Protestant fundamentalist I was taught only part of what the Bible teaches. I was taught that my deeds had no relevance to my salvation—all I needed was faith (but the preachers strongly exhorted us weekly to be good). Some Protestant teachers such as John MacArthur have stressed the importance of Christians having good works as a requirement for salvation. But since the time of the first Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther, Protestant theology stresses that works are not a necessary ingredient for salvation.

Link:   Sola Fide (Faith Alone)


Saved

We are not saved until after Christ's second coming (1 Peter 1:5). Protestant Evangelicals who insist you are saved during an altar call are not strictly correct (Hebrews  9:28).

We are saved after this life (Hebrews 10:36). In order to be saved we must do the will of God. Salvation requires action.


Baptism

We must be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16). But, of course, adults who are baptized must have faith—for them the ritual of baptism itself does not do anything without being mingled with faith.

Just as Noah and family were "saved by water" (1 Peter 3:20) so also we are saved by baptism (1 Peter 3:21). Many Protestant denominations ignore this passage.

Some Protestants object to the practice of infant baptism but there is biblical support for the practice (Acts 16:33). There were likely young children in his household who were baptized.

The phrase sealed with the Holy Spirit seems to refer to baptism (Ephesians 1:13). The progression seems to be: (1) hearing the gospel, (2) believing, (3) baptism.

More on baptism

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Sin

If a person has heard Jesus' teaching about sin, that person is responsible for that knowledge (John 15:22). This implies that for a person who has not heard, that person is not responsible to the same degree. But this does not mean that it is OK for these people to sin.

Everyone is responsible to obey God's law (Romans 2:14) because everyone knows something about God's law. Everyone must avoid sinning.

God judges those who sin (Hebrews 13:4). Christians are not exempt from this judgment.

Actions performed without faith are sinful (Romans 14:23). This implies that having faith requires having knowledge about God's law.

Paul discusses concupiscence which is the desire of our senses for pleasant things which are opposed to the divine law (Romans 7:23).

This verse (Romans 5:13) doesn't match Protestant teaching at all. No Protestant would dare say that sin is not imputed because of a person's lack of knowledge. The typical Protestant view is that all sins are equally repulsive to God, that all are guilty whether or not they have knowledge, and that there are no degrees of sin. But this verse states that we are not responsible for our sin if we don't know God's standards and that God's revelation of His standards for our behavior makes us more accountable for our sinful actions. Yet even so, death is still reigning (Romans 5:14) because of original sin.

This verse (Romans 3:23) is used by Protestant anti-Catholicsto prove that the Catholic doctrine that Mary was sinless is false. But the context is that Paul is comparing Jews with Gentiles and showing that God treats them both the same (Romans 3:9). The word all clearly does not mean that there cannot be individual exceptions to the rule, people who have not sinned. The Bible mentions one exception (2 Corinthians 5:21). There could be others that the Bible doesn't mention. Mary is one of these. She had no sin so that Jesus would not take on a sin nature when he took His human nature from her flesh (Hebrews 2:14) (John 1:14) (1 Timothy 3:16). Non-Catholic Christians typically make light of the implications of Jesus taking on the flesh of Mary in her womb, but this has serious implications if she were sinful (1 Corinthians 15:21).

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Suffering

Paul's suffering had redemptive value (Colossians 1:24). Other translations make it clear that Paul in his suffering completes what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

Suffering for the gospel has a spiritual value (Romans 5:3). This contradicts the word/faith teachings which claim that suffering is a result of our lack of faith.


Persecution

Part of our calling as Christians is to suffer for our faith (Philippians 1:29) (1 Thessalonians 3:3).

The suffering of the Christians in Thessalonica is a "badge" of their faith (2 Thessalonians 1:4,5). It is righteous for God to judge sin because sinners, such as those who persecute Christians, deserve judgment. Christians prove their faith when they suffer under persecution. Suffering, therefore, is a testing of our faith.

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Catholic

Protestant anti-Catholicstypically have many negative comments about the Catholic Church but I have noticed that the Bible supports the teachings of the Catholic Church very well. The following passages are some examples.

Jesus instituted the ceremony of foot washing (John 13:5) and commands that we do it (John 13:15). Yet how many Protestant denominations practice this? The Catholic Church practices this rite during Easter.

After His resurrection Jesus gave the apostles the power to forgive sins (John 20:22-23). Protestant denominations have nothing that matches this passage.

Not everything is in the Bible (John 20:30). There is no indication in these verses that we should limit our understanding to only those passages which were written down (John 21:25). In addition to scripture the Catholic Church values the tradition which has been passed down from Jesus to the Apostles through the Church.

This passage supports the idea that Paul considered himself to be a priest (Romans 15:16).

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Eucharist

Besides the last supper narratives in the gospels there is one other extended passage regarding the Eucharist: (1 Corinthians 10:16-18) (1 Corinthians 10:21) (1 Corinthians 11:23-25) (1 Corinthians 11:26-27)

It seems clear that Paul believes the Eucharist is more than just a symbol (1 Corinthians 11:28-29). If it were merely a symbol why would people get sick and die for partaking? (1 Corinthians 11:30)

The Eucharist is when we eat at the table of Jesus, and the church is His kingdom (Luke 22:30). In this passage Jesus is speaking to the 12 apostles during the last supper.

Those who come to Jesus are those who do not make excuses to stay away when he calls (Luke 14:15). The kingdom is the church and the bread is Christ in the Eucharist who nourishes us.

At the Last Supper, Jesus gave the bread and wine to His apostles (Luke 22:16-18). The Kingdom of God is the church and Christ eats with us in the Eucharist.

Those who partake of the Eucharist are blessed (Revelation 19:9).

There are many references in the very Early Church Fathers which support the idea that the church practiced the Eucharist from the very beginning. And the passage above from 1 Corinthians is very compelling. But I would expect to find additional references to the Eucharist in the letters of the New Testament.

I believe Paul is referring to the Eucharist in this passage (Colossians 2:9-10). Immediately following he talks about baptism as a sacrament.

The Levitical priesthood has no right to eat at the altar (Hebrews 13:10) of the Christians. This altar sounds very much like the Eucharist and the mass of the Catholic church. The sin offering (Leviticus 4:27-29) of the Old Testament provides a way for the people to be forgiven for their sins. In the sin offering the priests eat portions of the animal (Leviticus 5:13) that is offered. In the passage in Hebrews, Jesus is both the high priest (Hebrews 2:17) and the sin offering. Therefore, it is fitting that in the Eucharist we should eat Christ's body (John 6:54).


Baptism

We are born again during Baptism (Colossians 2:11-14).

Just as the males of the Old Testament were circumcised in infancy, so New Testament believers are to be baptized in infancy (Colossians 2:11). A few points to note:

More on baptism


Liturgical Calendar

The apostolic church practiced worship on various days including Sabbaths and New Moons (Colossians 2:16). Many Protestant anti-Catholicsconsider such practices by Catholics as idolatry, but these are Biblical practices. They are the shadows of things to come (Colossians 2:17).


Liturgy

As a community of Spirit-filled Christians we are to relate to one another in peace and love (Colossians 3:16). Note that we are to teach and admonish one another through singing. This sounds like a reference to the liturgy of the Catholic Church.


Papacy

Jesus singles out Peter for a special role to "feed His sheep" (John 21:15-17).

Protestant anti-Catholicsoften claim that Peter was never at Rome (called Babylon). But Peter's own letter says otherwise (1 Peter 5:13) (Revelation 18:10).


Teaching Magisterium 

In speaking about heresies and false teaching, Peter provides guidance for interpreting scripture (2 Peter 1:20). We must interpret it the way God intended. This implies that only those who are authoritative representatives of the gospel can properly interpret scripture. But since the time of the Protestant Reformation any Bible teacher who considers himself qualified teaches whatever he wants as he sees fit (Sola Scriptura).


Protestant Reformation

Christians are to have unity (John 17:23). The schism of the Protestant Reformation destroyed this unity. Even today Protestants are only imperfectly joined to the church (the Catholic Church).


Mary

Protestants who object to the Catholic doctrine of the Assumption of Mary often object that such a thing could never happen (Hebrews 11:5). But it happened to Enoch because he pleased God. Certainly Mary also pleased God since Jesus Christ chose to take up residence in her womb.