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Why so many Christian denominations?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Surrealgurl, Aug 27, 2004.

  1. HelpMe

    HelpMe ·´sociopathic meanderer`·

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    The Apostle Paul also called Jesus the Rock. He said:

    "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:1-4, emphasis added)

    Did Peter act like he was in charge of the early Church? The Book of Acts describes a controversy about whether or not gentile converts to Christianity should be required to be circumcised and to follow the Jewish dietary laws. Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to confer with the apostles about it. (Acts 15:2-4) Peter and other people spoke. (Acts 15:7-13) Following a period of silence, James (not Peter) made the final decision in the matter. He called it a "sentence." According to Strong's Concordance, the word means a judicial sentence, a decree, or a judgment. The Bible says:

    "And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me…Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood." (Acts 15:13, 19-20, emphasis added)

    This is the last mention of Peter in the Book of Acts. The Book of Acts is the history of the early Church up until a few years before Peter's death. If Peter was "the first Pope," and the officially recognized head of the Church, would we not expect that the Biblical history of the early Church would have said more about him?

    The Book of Acts says nothing about Peter being in authority over the whole Church. It shows no connection between Peter and Rome.

    Acts 28:14-15 tells how Paul met with the "brethren" in Rome, but it makes no mention of Peter. As we shall see, when Paul met with Peter in Jerusalem, Peter was identified by name.

    Acts 2:14 and Acts 8:14 say that Peter was in Jerusalem. Acts 9:36-43 says that Peter went to Joppa, which is near Jerusalem. In chapter 10 of the Book of Acts, Peter is still in Joppa. Acts 11:2 says that Peter returned to Jerusalem.

    Joppa is about 30 miles from Jerusalem. If the Book of Acts records this much detail about Peter's visit to a nearby town, wouldn't it tell us if Peter went all the way to Rome? Particularly since it does tell us that Paul went to Rome.

    Acts 15:1-20 tells how Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to meet with the "apostles and elders" of Jerusalem. Peter is identified as being one of the apostles of Jerusalem. The Bible says:

    "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe." (Acts 15:1-7, emphasis added)

    The Apostle Paul identified Peter as being an apostle in Jerusalem. He said:

    "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother." (Galatians 1:18-19, emphasis added)

    The Book of Romans was written by the Apostle Paul. He addressed it to: "all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…" (Romans 1:7, emphasis added) In Romans 16:1-15, Paul greeted 26 people by name. He never mentioned Peter. If Peter was the leader of the Church in Rome, then why didn't Paul mention him?

    Paul wrote five letters from a Roman prison (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, and Philemon). He never mentioned Peter. The man who stayed with Paul in Rome, to help him and encourage him, was Luke—not Peter. (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11)

    Paul only mentioned Peter in one of his epistles. In Galatians 1:18-19, Paul said that he went to Jerusalem to see Peter and James. In Galatians 2:8, Paul said that he preached to the gentiles and Peter preached to the Jews (the "circumcision").

    In Galatians 2:11-15, Paul recounted how he publicly rebuked Peter, because Peter had become so intimidated by the Judaizers that he "walked not uprightly." Evidently, Paul's public correction of Peter did not cause a problem between them. Peter loved and respected Paul as a brother. He exhorted the Church to heed Paul's wisdom. Peter said:

    "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things…" (2 Peter 3:15-16, emphasis added)

    (Can you imagine what would have happened if a Catholic cardinal had publicly rebuked Pope Innocent III and openly accused him of not walking uprightly?)

    Legends and Traditions

    When I was in school, I was taught that, when he was a boy, George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and confessed his transgression to his father. Parson Weems' biography of George Washington is the source of that story. According to modern historians, the cherry tree event never happened. I was quite surprised to hear that, because I had never questioned the story.

    Some people say that Parson Weems deliberately created the cherry tree legend some time between 1800 and 1809. But perhaps Parson Weems wasn't deliberately deceiving people. Perhaps he was simply passing on a story that he believed to be true. Either way, modern biographers of George Washington say that the cherry tree episode never really happened. (Information about this is online.)13

    If we hear a story repeated often enough, then we tend to believe it. The idea of questioning it becomes almost unthinkable, because the story is so familiar and so widely accepted.

    I believe that something similar has happened with the Catholic Church's stories about Peter. These traditions have been repeated so often that many people never question them.

    The "Early Fathers"

    Catholic apologists often quote the "Early Fathers" in support of Catholic doctrines, the papacy, and other Catholic claims. Who were these people?

    There were many early Christian leaders, including priests, bishops, and scholars. There were a lot of these men. They had a wide variety of opinions on religious matters. Their theological differences were as widely varied as those of theologians from different denominations are today.14

    So one person finds some Early Fathers to support one position, and another person finds some other Early Fathers to support the opposite position. But it's not a level playing field. Among all of those early Christian leaders, who decided which ones qualified to be called Early Fathers? The Catholic Church.

    There is also the problem of knowing which documents are authentic. Some documents were forged. They were falsely attributed to Early Fathers, in order to give them credibility. Some genuine documents were changed by forgers, in order to give credibility to papal claims of power and authority. (See the chapter, "Forged Documents and Papal Power.")

    Apostolic Succession

    The Roman Catholic Church paints a picture of an orderly succession of popes, who faithfully followed in the footsteps of the Apostle Peter. However, according to Biblical standards, some of these men were not fit to rule a house church, let alone be bishops. (This is discussed in the chapter, "Ungodly Popes and Papal Authority.")

    One example was Pope Benedict IX (1033-1045). He had sex with boys, women, and animals. He practiced witchcraft and Satanism. He gave orders for people to be murdered. He filled the Lateran Palace with prostitutes.15

    In spite of all that, Catholic doctrine says that Benedict's decisions about theological matters were infallible. (This is online


    TBC
     
  2. HelpMe

    HelpMe ·´sociopathic meanderer`·

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    According to Roman Catholic doctrine, popes and Catholic church councils are infallible. This means that, whenever they make official declarations concerning matters of faith or morals, God supernaturally protects them from making errors. Infallibility applies to all Roman Catholic popes and church councils: past, present, and future. (This is online.)17

    What happens if a pope or a Catholic church council makes an "infallible" declaration that directly contradicts the "infallible" declaration of another pope or church council?

    Truth does not contradict truth. Therefore, if the "infallible" pronouncements of the popes and Catholic church councils really are infallible, they will never contradict other "infallible" pronouncements. So if there is even one contradiction, then the doctrine of infallibility cannot be correct.

    The claim for papal infallibility does not stand up to the test of history. Pope Zosimus (417-418 A.D.) reversed the pronouncement of a previous pope. He also retracted a doctrinal pronouncement that he himself had previously made. Pope Honorious was condemned as a heretic by the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680-681 A.D.). (This means that Pope Honorious made doctrinal statements that are contrary to Roman Catholic doctrine.) He was also condemned as a heretic by Pope Leo II, as well as by every other pope until the eleventh century. So here we have "infallible" popes condemning another "infallible" pope as a heretic. In 1870, the First Vatican Council abolished some "infallible" papal decrees. It also abolished some decrees of two "infallible" Catholic Church councils.18

    The doctrine of the Assumption of Mary states that Mary was taken bodily up to Heaven. This was officially declared to be a dogma of the Roman Catholic faith on November 1, 1950. Therefore, every Roman Catholic is required to believe this doctrine without questioning it. However, as we will see, the teaching of the Assumption of Mary originated with heretical writings that were officially condemned by the early Church.

    In 495 A.D., Pope Gelasius declared that the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary is a heresy, and that people who teach it are heretics. In the sixth century, Pope Hormisdas declared that anyone teaching this doctrine is a heretic. Two "infallible" popes both declared that this doctrine is a heresy. Then, on November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII (another "infallible" pope) declared that the same doctrine is official Roman Catholic dogma, which all Catholics are required to believe.19

    So before November 1, 1950, any Catholic who believed in the Assumption of Mary was a heretic (because of "infallible" declarations of popes). But after November 1, 1950, any Catholic who failed to believe in the Assumption of Mary was a heretic (because of the "infallible" declaration of Pope Pius XII).

    In 1864, Pope Pius IX "infallibly" declared that the idea that people have a right to freedom of conscience and freedom of worship is "insanity," "evil," "depraved," and "reprobate." He also declared that non-Catholics who live in Catholic countries should not be allowed to publicly practice their religion. In 1888, Pope Leo XIII "infallibly" declared that freedom of thought and freedom of worship are wrong. (These encyclicals are online.)20

    The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) produced a document called, Declaration on Religious Liberty, which states that all people have a right to freedom of religion.21

    Now I certainly agree with the idea of freedom of religion. However, it totally contradicts the "infallible" declarations of Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII. It also contradicts the anathemas of the Council of Trent, the killing of "heretics," the Inquisition, the burning of people who translated the Bible into English, and the persecution of Protestants during the Protestant Reformation.

    Freedom of religion also contradicts modern Canon Law (1983). Canon 1366 says that parents are to be punished if they allow their children to be baptized in a "non-Catholic religion" or taught to observe it. The reference to baptism shows that this means Christian religions that are not Roman Catholic. (You can read this law online.)22

    Here the Catholic Church is on the horns of a dilemma. If it says that people have a right to freedom of religion, then it admits that it is not infallible. If it says that it is infallible, then it admits that it really does not believe that people have a right to freedom of religion.

    The Catholic Church can claim infallibility, or it can claim that it has seen the error of its ways and it now supports freedom of religion. But it can't have it both ways.

    Two Roman Catholic organizations have found contradictions between "infallible" doctrinal declarations of the Second Vatican Council and "infallible" doctrinal pronouncements of Pope Pius IX. Articles dealing with these contradictions are online.23

    The conservative group (True Catholic) concludes that, therefore, the Second Vatican Council must not be legitimate. The liberal group (Women Priests) concludes that, therefore, Pope Pius IX taught "errors." Either way, there are contradictions between official doctrinal declarations of an "infallible" pope and an "infallible" church council.

    True Catholic also claims that Pope John Paul II has taught 101 things that are contrary to "infallible" Catholic doctrines that were declared by "infallible" popes and church councils. They conclude that John Paul II is therefore a heretic. According to Canon Law, that would mean that he is not a valid pope. So they call him an antipope. (This is online.)24

    If John Paul II is not a valid pope, then the papal chair has been vacant. In order to rectify this situation, True Catholic has elected a pope. On May 20, 1998, Pope Pius XIII was elected. (This is online.)25

    So we now have two men who claim to be Pope: John Paul II and Pius XIII. It seems that having two men claim to be Pope at the same time is not confined to the Middle Ages. (This is discussed in the chapter, "Ungodly Popes and Papal Authority.")

    The Roman Catholic Church was created by Emperor Constantine and Bishop Silvester in the year 314 A.D.

    Peter did not act like a Pope and he did not describe himself as having any special authority. In the Church meeting that is described in chapter 15 of the Book of Acts, James appears to be the person in authority. He makes the final decision. The Bible shows Peter as being in Jerusalem, not in Rome.

    There are "infallible" doctrinal declarations that contradict one another. Therefore, the doctrine of infallibility is not valid.

    The contradiction of "infallible" doctrines has caused some very conservative Catholics to believe that John Paul II is not a valid pope and the Second Vatican Council was not a valid council. It has also caused some very liberal Catholics to believe that Pope Pius IX taught doctrinal errors.


    --S
     
  3. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    HelpMe,

    As always, the quality of your cut and paste work is without equal, but I do have one question:

    WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE TOPIC OF THE THREAD?

    :confused:
     
  4. HelpMe

    HelpMe ·´sociopathic meanderer`·

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    perhaps it is notable that all information is directly linked to your claim that the RCC is of the original followers.perhaps i'm crazy.


    --S
     
  5. Ronald

    Ronald Well-Known Member

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    When I read your post, the first thought was you had been on a long Space Oddessy, then I should have some of what you're drinking, then maybe it's your Rose Colored Glasses.
    Anyway, it seems you are not seeing what the rest of the World sees.
    If, Only the Biblical outline of what those that proclaim, Jesus Lord and Savior, were the case there would be few denominations.
    2500+ Denominations is not a clear picture of Love and Harmony.
    The un-Biblical words and doctrines are what powers the generation of new denominations, as we speak, most likely one or more splits have occured somewhere in America. Hebrews call it Lashon HaRah/eviltongue, gossip, causeless hatred among brothers. In a perfect world. Not yet.
     
  6. HelpMe

    HelpMe ·´sociopathic meanderer`·

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    such as 'bible'


    pb
     
  7. Surrealgurl

    Surrealgurl Member

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    There seems to be an example right here in this thread of what the topic of this discussion is all about! ;)

    This stuff even happens within the same church sometimes. Here is a few things that I found from Merle Hertzler, "Does God Speak to us Through His Spirit?";

    "There was a time when I was busy doing what I thought was the Lord's work. I remember one church program that I was excited about. I was busy trying to get the program started. But other people at my church disagreed with me. They did not think God was on my side, so they worked behind the scenes to oppose my plans. What did I do? I prayed. Do you know what God told me? That's right, God told me that he was on my side! And I read the Bible. God "spoke" to me when I read. What did he say? He said he was on my side! He said that those that opposed me were wrong. They were dead wrong. I was right. God himself told me that I was right. Or so it seemed to me.

    Across town there were other people who also talked to God. They also were serious about serving God. They didn't like my plans. So they prayed to God. Guess what happened when they prayed? That's right. God "spoke" to them! He told them that I was wrong! He told them that they were right. He told them to stop me from doing what I wanted to do. Surely they were doing the right thing. God himself was on their side! Or so it seemed to them.

    I see it over and over again. Why is it that God always seems to be saying exactly what we expect to hear? ...Perhaps gullible people misunderstand what God wants. Do you agree? Good. So tell me. Should you and I include ourselves in that list of people who might possibly be deceived? If others are mistaken when they think they hear from God, maybe we are too.

    Surely God's Spirit was not simultaneously inspiring both Catholics and Protestants to kill each other in Ireland, was he? Surely you must agree that at least some of those combatants were mistaken."
     
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  8. Ronald

    Ronald Well-Known Member

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    Surrealgurl, Good Post!
    Surely, one or both of the Irish combatants were not taught of the Spirit of God!
     
  9. trishtrish10

    trishtrish10 Active Member

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    heretics and their formal age, come and go. the rcc remains and will remain.
     
  10. trishtrish10

    trishtrish10 Active Member

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    the cornerstone of a building was the base position from which all measurements were referenced. Jesus was the cornerstone and peter was the rock, from which his successors came.
     
  11. Ardhanariswar

    Ardhanariswar I'm back!

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    the next joan of arc.

    no church is better than another. they are all valid paths to God.
     
  12. HelpMe

    HelpMe ·´sociopathic meanderer`·

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    yhwh's rules come and go, and we know the opposer has remained even longer than the rcc.

    does the scripture say to call believers catholic(universal)?
    what clear picture does scripture paint of the intertwining of religion with the government's of this world(given that we know who these earthly goverments*[as in rome] are run by)?DO you really really really think age gives validity to anything?arianism,unitarianism,and the trinitarians have remained since yeshua, one, by violence has been made the most notable.know who?i'll give a hint, it's based in rome.



    --S
     
  13. Ronald

    Ronald Well-Known Member

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    Hardly! Me, a name I call myself.
    You call the "Word of God" the Bible! Since it is supposed to be the "Word of God" with no additions and subtractions. Why do Christians Add holidays, add days, add doctrines and take away Holy Days, Sabbaths and commandments?
    Also add forbidden words to a childs vocabulary?
     
  14. HelpMe

    HelpMe ·´sociopathic meanderer`·

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    The term "Scripture (or Scriptures)" is used once in the Book of Daniel and fifty-four times in the New Testament. It refers to the whole book, which is commonly known as "the Bible." The parts of The Scripture, or individual books, are called "books" or "scrolls," which are biblos or biblion in Greek. These words do not refer to the complete writ, The Scriptures.

    The word "Bible" for The Scriptures was first used about A.D. 400. The papyrus, on which all documents were written was imported from Egypt through the Phoenician seaport Gebal, which the Greeks called Byblos or Byblus. This seaport was the home of the Phoenician Sun-deity. This city was founded by Baal Chronos and was the seat of Adonis and once contained a large temple of Adonis. The Sun-god was associated with the "Lady of Biblos." Both the city of Byblos in Phoenicia and the city Byblis in Egypt were named after the female deity Byblis (also called Byble or Biblis). This deity was the grand-daughter of Apollo, the Greek Sun-deity. Byblia was also a name for Venus, an astral goddess and a goddess of sensuality among the ancient Greeks.

    similarly

    The term "Scripture (or Scriptures)" is used once in the Book of Daniel and fifty-four times in the New Testament. It refers to the whole book, which is commonly known as "the Bible." The parts of The Scripture, or individual books, are called "books" or "scrolls," which are biblos or biblion in Greek. These words do not refer to the complete writ, which are The Scriptures. The word "Bible" for The Scriptures was first used about AD 400. The papyrus, on which all documents were written, was imported from Egypt through the Phoenician seaport Gebal, which the Greeks called Byblos or Byblus. This seaport was the home of the Phoenician Sun-deity. This city was founded by Baal Chronos and was the seat of Adonis and once contained a large temple of Adonis. The Sun-god was associated with the "Lady of Biblos." Both the city of Byblos in Phoenicia and the city Byblis in Egypt were named after the female deity Byblis (also called Byble or Biblis). This deity was the granddaughter of Apollo, the Greek Sun-deity. Byblia was also a name for Venus, an astral goddess and a goddess of sensuality among the ancient Greeks. 'The Scriptures' is the correct term to use when referring to the whole of the Sacred Writings.


    --S
    pb
    <3
     
  15. Ronald

    Ronald Well-Known Member

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    WOW! I didn't see that comming! Sorry Ya'll!
     
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Active Member

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    If you think all Christans live in peace with each other, visit Norther Ireland in the UK
     
  17. Merlin

    Merlin Active Member

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    Well, most are. There are some quite exteme and violent so called 'churches'. But certainly all the main stream religions are all equally valid. Logic says they must be.
     
  18. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    Hi Surrealgurl,

    I'm not 'run of the mill' Christian, but I agree with a lot of what you say. I find that divisions and differences are a sad reflection of the distortion of what is meant to be the main message of Christianity, which is Love.

    Maybe there would be many who will criticize me gor not being a 'proper' Christian, and that is up to them. I am happy as i am, I try hard to follow what I think of as a Christian life style, and though I am in no doubt that I sin every day, I am genuinely upset when I do so, and try not to repeat the sin..........I'm not a good achiever.

    I honestly believe that a lot of wars and wrongdoings in the name of Religion in history was not actually about the Religion, but more about wealth, power, land grabbing..whatever.

    Nothing would give me (personally) greater pleasure than seeing everyone who believes in the life of Christ as an example, and in his death as gift to mankind of the knowledge that we will be forgiven our sins, come together and agree to put differences asside, and be one group.

    Unfortunately that is about as unlikely to happen as my winning the lottery (mainly because I never buy a ticket:D ), but it hurts - it actually pains me to see people arguing about what seems to mean everything to them. I supppose I should accept it, but I am slow to learn................
     
  19. Nimaj

    Nimaj Member

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    Michael, Unity is only a good thing if all eyes are set upon Jesus.:sarcastic

    To answer the question:
    When Christians diverge from oneanother:149: (like the emergance of Lutheranism, etc.) it is often because their doctrines and translations differ in meaning (generally very minor differences{KJV vs. NIV today}, though some are larger than others {Protestant bible and Catholic bible}) and and because they feel that the church leadership is not reacting in an adequate manner toward some need. When one group believes that they are right about something, and the other doesn't think so, divergance happens. Still, "Cast your eyes upon Jesus...And the things of this world, will go strangely dim, in light of his power and grace." That should be the true path, but, as it is not used by many denominations (not to accuse anyone here) we have many christian sects.
     
  20. shema

    shema Active Member

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    there are good people and bad people of every religion. to sum it all up, some people are just in it for the ride, or just following tradition, I believe that anything not in line with the words written in the bible is not of God. and thats for any denomontion. If you were to meet a true christian(a lot of people can say they know jesus) it would be self evident. not by what they say they are but by their actions
     
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