“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mt. 10:34). The bloodshed and pain of a sword – metaphorical or literal – are unpleasant. Divine revelation evaluates and indicts every person and culture. G. K. Chesterton observes: “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” A compelling national interest includes the protection of civilization.
A culture describes community-based patterns of commonly accepted behavior, conscious or unconscious. One or more cultures make up a civilization, and every society has identifiable ruling characteristics.
A Christian civilization based on the Ten Commandments — the greatest being to love God and neighbor (Mt 22:36ff) — requires our awareness and free cooperation. God’s law measures all human actions and institutions and calls us to reform. The relevant precepts for our purposes parallel the Ten Commandments.
First Three Commandments:
- Reverently worship the one God instilling the virtuous pattern for all forms of respect.
- Respect the lawful authority of the family and patriotically love the country.
- Respect national boundaries as extensions of family boundaries.
- Control anger and hatred, wage just wars, and do not murder.
- Recognize the compatibility of science and the empirical method with religion.
- Hate abortion, euthanasia, genocide, properly-defined racism, etc.
Sixth and Ninth Commandments:
- Honor marriage (one man and one woman), hate divorce, pornography, and illicit sexual behavior.
The Seventh and Tenth Commandments:
- Respect private property and refuse to make excessive welfare demands on the government.
- Institute Godly charitable agencies that are attentive to the poor.
- Renounce greed in all its forms.
- Honor the rule of just law and pay just taxes.
The Eighth Commandment:
- Recognize and abide by the authentic meaning of words.
- Define a lie as an assertion that willfully does not coincide with objective reality.
- Respect the privacy and reputations of others.
- Celebrate human freedom created in the image and likeness of God.
The entire world needs a redemptive culture, examining itself in the light of Revelation.
Our traditional American culture — derived from Christian civilization — is historically exceptional and worth defending: One nation under God and the rule of the Constitution. But the widespread rejection of the Ten Commandments has dangerously degraded our civilization.
The existing structure of civilization is traditional, rooted in Christianity, but a fading shadow of it. Here is a snapshot of the central cultural attributes — some good, some bad — roughly in the order of the Ten Commandments:
Shadows of the First Three Commandments:
- Worship God and attend churches and synagogues.
Shadows of the Fourth Commandment:
- Emphasize individual rights and the centrality of the family.
- Reject the social engineering of the “Great Society” legacy and its destructive effects on the family.
- Favor the liberty of family-owned companies and small businesses.
- View the American flag as a sign of patriotic honor.
- Support border control to maintain social stability and family safety.
- Use limited government spending to purchase voter blocs, but worry massive government spending will tank the economy.
- Oppose excessive government regulation.
- Generally, respect the rule of law and – albeit with a vague understanding – the Constitution.
Shadows of the Fifth Commandment:
- Vote pro-life, with several inconsistent exceptions.
- Avoid thinking about developing medicines using aborted embryonic tissue.
- Tolerate “gay marriage,” cross-dressing, and genital mutilation for adults, but oppose the exploitation of minors.
- Generally trusting of health authorities but increasingly suspicious of the necessity and safety of vaccines (autism, allergies, and heart failure).
- Notice and appreciate ethnic differences and mostly avoid vicious remarks, but enjoy robust and playful ethnic jokes.
- Proudly support the right to self-defense and the Second Amendment.
- Support most foreign military interventions but quickly weary of the inevitable mission creep, excessive spending, and lack of exit policy.
- Realize that Congressional declarations of war are ideal, but nervously hope various Congressional authorizations provide the necessary authority.
Shadows of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments:
- Uphold the traditional marriage but permit easy divorce.
- Live and let live when it comes to adult behavior in marriage, the family, and education.
- Believe it is possible to limit adult debauchery and protect young people, but unable to prevent obscene excesses with kids.
Shadows of the Seventh and Tenth Commandments:
- Generally, defer to scientific experts with emerging doubts about man-made climate change
- Allow the IRS to determine a charitable organization and supplement agencies with private donations.
Shadows of the Eighth Commandment:
- Strive for honesty and principle but bend principles when compelling personal interests require.
- Argue well and respectfully.
Despite the flaws, this traditional structure partially acknowledges the Ten Commandments and is, overall, worth purifying and defending.
A competing secular, politically-correct civilization has also formed over the last fifty years. The September 1st speech by President Biden in Philadelphia is a major, culturally significant event. His handlers reinforce the stark contrast between our time-honored but wounded civilization and modern totalitarian secularism. Here is the vision – an effete brave new world compared to the declining alternative — roughly in the order of the Ten Commandments:
Replacing the First Three Commandments:
- Reject God’s supremacy and “organized religion.”
Replacing the Fourth Commandment:
- Use centralized government authority to undermine family and individual rights.
- Aim for ideological control of every American institution: government, academia, Hollywood, the media, the Internet, and government schools.
- Undermine the authority of parents by invoking the expertise of atheistic academics and elites to solve every social problem.
- Favor the dominance of technology, pharmaceutical, and military oligarchs, and consider citizens as cogs in the machinery of government and industry.
- View the American flag as racist but occasionally recognize use as a prop.
- Use open borders to undermine social stability and promote voter fraud.
- Use massive government spending to purchase voter blocs, destabilize the economy with inflation, and introduce increasing doses of socialism.
- Use government regulations as an indispensable method of social control.
- Disproportionately enforce harsh laws in support of politically-correct precepts.
Replacing the Fifth Commandment:
- Promote unrestricted abortion as a human right.
- Conceal the immoral scientific experimentation that advances useful medical products and procedures.
- Celebrate almost every form of obscenity in the name of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
- Redefine science with often-dubious statistics and obey health bureaucrats without question.
- Wildly expand the definition of “racism” that silences all humor but uses racial and gender profiles for employment (particularly in the military).
- Outlaw gun ownership, rely on the federal police state to impose elitist views on prominent dissenters, and redefine terrorism to include political opponents.
- Follow the Hollywood bellweather for all foreign interventions.
- Consider a Congressional declaration of war as a completely irrelevant World War II relic.
Replacing the Sixth and Ninth Commandments:
- Marginalize matrimony by expanding the definition of marriage.
- Claim oppressed minority status even as the laws succumb to every LGBTQ demand.
- Celebrate almost every form of obscenity in the name of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Replacing the Seventh and Tenth Commandments:
- Dismiss those who question the scientific basis of man-made “climate change” or refuse some vaccines on moral grounds as science deniers.
- Expect taxpayers to fund so-called charities such as PBS and Planned Parenthood, and expect well-funded government agencies to accomplish the works of charity.
Replacing the Eighth Commandment:
- Redefine the meaning of words, apply the law unequally, and use lies as the rhetorical weapon of choice.
- Cancel or de-platform opposing views.
- Label any statement that contradicts the narrative as a “conspiracy theory.”
These elements form the totalitarian tapestry – or the forest — of the secular, politically-correct civilization. The components entirely misrepresent, distort, and replace the fading culture and eclipse the Ten Commandments. Distracted by the trees, we cannot see the forest. Many of us have become unwitting cultural cogs, blindly doing our part to keep the bureaucratic engines humming. This Christian critique of our civilization even determines whether our nation has a right to send its sons (and daughters) into battle to defend the country. A cancerous culture threatens our national survival.
We must ask and consider: Why has their effete understanding of civilization gained so much traction?
But we also must return to Christian basics for the self-evaluation. And ask ourselves: Do we know the Ten Commandments? And do our children and grandchildren know them? Asking with sincerity, do the newly created cardinals know the Ten Commandments? Is there a resolve to abide by them to the shedding of blood (hence the red hat)? If not, they and we are part of the problem, and our children are sheep for the slaughter.
Jesus is the sword advancing a Christian civilization. The Ten Commandments form His order of battle. “Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest” (Dt. 6:6-77, NAB).
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Add to this well-defined state of the American mindset:
1. Politicize everything in society. Power is everything.
2. Destroy all political enemies – real or imagined. Use whatever means necessary. Lying is most effective – including brainwashing and indoctrination. Where lying is not successful, injecting the population with agents that weaken their will can be useful. Use imprisonment if necessary. Provoke the opposition in order to use that as the pretext to eliminate them. If all else fails, kill your opponents.
When Satan is fully in control, happiness will reign on earth.
One caveat about establishing a “Christian civilization” is the danger of succumbing to the “enthusiastic” (in the Msgr. Ronald Knox sense) desire to bring about “the Kingdom of God on Earth” — “the consistently recurring objective of American messianic movements” (Adam Morris, American Messiahs: False Prophets of a Damned Nation. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2019, 6-7, 256). To counter this tendency, a development that came out of the “New Things” (rerum novarum) of modernism, socialism, and the New Age noted by Pope Gregory XVI in 1834 and reiterated by Pope Leo XIII in 1891, Pope Pius XI proposed “the Reign of Christ the King,” a kingdom “not of this world,” but to which our institutions and personal acts should conform.
As Pius XI explained in Quas Primas (1925), the Reign of Christ the King does not consist of a temporal theocracy or divine right monarchy as some suppose, but in adherence of our individual behavior and social institutions to the precepts of the natural law, not in a state accepting or legally establishing any particular religion. This is achieved through “acts of social justice” by people organized and empowered with direct private ownership of capital as he explained in Quadragesimo Anno (1931) and Divini Redemptoris (1937).
Applying this in today’s modern(ist) age can get difficult, but it can be done, as described in a book I co-authored and that is available from the publisher, TAN Books. The upcoming second edition has the imprimatur of Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington. It’s the only book of which I am aware that has been endorsed by Fr. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute, and Geoffrey Gneuhs, who was chaplain to Dorothy Day and the New York Catholic Worker. The first edition is currently on sale for $5 in hardcopy, by the way; an inexpensive way to prepare for the Feast of Christ the King coming up soon.
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:8 (2nd commandment)
Exodus 20:8 states: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (3rd commandment)
“A culture describes community-based patterns of commonly accepted behavior, conscious or unconscious. One or more cultures make up a civilization, and every society has identifiable ruling characteristics.”
Here is how Liberal Democrats have culturally turned wrong into ‘right’.
America was built on Americans helping Americans and helping others in the world. America sees that racism is wrong and fights our greatest war ever, with more Americans giving their lives for Freedom than all our other wars combined. Racism is defeated and, Ten Commandments, love for fellow man wins.
Liberal Democrats come along and decide that a certain number of sexual acts, of their determination, will now be ‘right’, while other sexual acts, of their determination, will still be wrong. Rather than debating in Congress which sexual acts should still be wrong, and which sexual acts will now be ‘right’, the the Liberal Democrats, instead, make an imaginary link to their selected sexual acts as ‘rights’ and compare their selected sexual acts to being ‘right’ as equal to fighting for racial equality in our American Civil war.
I remember reading where the Canadian government denied humanitarian aid to an African nation because the African nation would not accept Canada’s LBGT culture on what sexual acts are ‘right’, compared to other sexual acts which the Canadian culture see as wrong. Yes! The Democrat liberals will genocide masses of people, through lack of humanitarian aid, based on the Democrat liberals cultural Discrimination! This is today’s version of the Canadian culture massacring all those indigenous children who would not accept their culture 100 years ago.
So now you have the Democrat Liberal genocide of masses of people due to their beliefs, in Africa, and the Liberal Democrats call this ‘right’.
Isaiah 5:20 Ah! Those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness to light, and light into darkness, who change bitter to sweet, and sweet into bitter!
Our American Freedom of Religion protects us from having to accept Liberal Democrat discrimination of right and wrong, against the Commandments of God, into our American Catholic Church.
Theism leads to one kind of government, atheism quite another.
If those who currently have a firm grip on the reins of power understand that there is an authority above even the highest human authority, and that the only legitimate authority the highest human authorities possess comes from God, they also understand that there are boundaries on their legitimate authority. They know that their authority isn’t limitless and that might doesn’t make right.
Atheism, on the other hand, doesn’t have any such inherent constraints on governmental authority. If humanity is indeed nothing more than a rather peculiar collection of atoms quite accidentally vomited forth by mindless natural processes then might does make right There are no such things as God-given, inalienable human rights that government is obligated to protect. There are no limits on the pursuit of power and pleasure. There is no ultimate accountability to a higher authority for how those in power use it. This is why the currently reigning atheocracy never stops concentrating power into its own hands.
Anybody with any familiarity at all with the thinking of the founding generation of Americans knows that the government they established was based upon Christian theism. Our founding documents rejected theocracy as plainy as they embraced biblical theism. They rejected the concentration of governmental power as openly as the currently reigning atheocracy pursues it.
We have lost what the American Founders established. The genuine Americans among us will restore it. The blatantly anti-American atheocracy will be brought down.
The man-made government in Washington, DC is not part of God’s plan. Never does Christ tell his followers to go to Rome and write man-made laws to change the world. Christ gave us the Church to change the world. Religious leaders who play politics are destroying the Church. In the New Testament, the only time religious leaders use a man-made government official to get their way is when they talked Pilate into killing Jesus. If we want more Americans following the teachings of Christ, we need to get more Americans in Church. Father Pokorsky is pushing his political views with this article, he is not teaching us the teachings of Christ. Never does Christ endorse capitalism or patriotism to the American flag. Never does Christ endorse the US Constitution or the second Amendment. I assure you, God does not recognize the southern US border, but God does recognize how we treat the people crossing the border. The Ten Commandments are clear and simple commandments without all the nonsense Father Pokorsky injected. The Teachings of Christ are clear and simple—Love your neighbor. I am really surprised a priest wrote such a hateful article.
“Christ gave us the Church to change the world.”
And to also provide principles that directly pertain to, say, nations and their borders. Which is the why the Church teaches that governments have a duty “to secure one’s border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good. Sovereign nations have the right to enforce their laws and all persons must respect the legitimate exercise of this right…”
Do you really think Christ is against an authentic love for country? The CCC does state, “The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity.” And Fr. Pokorsky never mentions capitalism.
You seem to have missed that the essay begins by stating, “A Christian civilization based on the Ten Commandments — the greatest being to love God and neighbor (Mt 22:36ff).”
Hate to say it, but you seem to be the one with the hate problem.
Thank you Fr. Pokorsky for your reflections on the Ten Commandments.
All democracies fail; ergo the Founders gave us a Republic.
Most people (empirically proved) are overwhelmed by the zeitgeist. They follow the perceived ‘majority’ even if they are intellectually at odds with it.
Three major factors have undermined our Republic:
1) the Federal Income tax has given behemoth powers to the national government
2) the lack of term limits has enabled massive corruption; witness all the aged multimillionaires in Congress who grew wealthy there
3) Womens suffrage has emasculated fathers and wrecked families; given us a huge welfare state, no fault divorce and abortion on demand up to the day of birth.
1) the Fair Tax to eliminate the IRS
2) term limits will force politicians to represent the people instead of corporations or enemy states
3) only a net tax paying married man and wife should have a single vote that they cast in cooperation
Without these fundamental changes to rescue our Republic from democracy our country is doomed.
And from the Catholic pulpits we need to hear the rumble of old thunder: ‘There is no compromise with evil’.
The heathen are always pleased to receive the benefits of the Commandments from the Jew or Christian. However, they don’t reciprocate in turn. Many will argue that we have passed the point of no return. Calamity and cataclysm are on the way. The Bible tells us plainly what is to come.
It is Jesus Christ that gives us peace in our hearts. To have that serenity, we must know what He says. His word is in the Bible. Some Catholics prefer dogma and tradition, which is the penultimate. Why the secondary when God’s word gives us assurance through His blessed expression?
Alas, nonsense will never cease until the 1K reign of Jesus comes to its conclusion. God will then judge. For one to think that Mary, deceased saints, the angelic host or our work can save us, is in for a sad shock. Of course this statement is controversial and may not find its way into print!
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Romans 8:33-34 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
John 1:49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
All churches are under attack. We must unite under the banner of Jesus Christ to bring knowledge and comfort to one another. No this is not ecumenicism, it is the common sense voiced by God for the blessing and enlightenment of those whom He loves.
Entreaties and prayers together with special invocations for Papa.
“Some Catholics prefer dogma and tradition, which is the penultimate. Why the secondary when God’s word gives us assurance through His blessed expression?:
Without oral tradition, you would have no knowledge of which books belong in the Bible, as nowhere in the Bible is the canon revealed. How did God reveal the canon to you? Through Scripture or through oral tradition?
If through Scripture, please cite the books, chapters, and verses that demonstrate which books are inspired.
We don’t have all the inspired books of the Bible. The Bible itself tells us this. So the Bible cannot possibly be the sole rule of faith because it is not complete.
We have the books that God, in His sovereignty, has provided for us. The cannon is complete; nothing is missing. God’s word, the deepest expression of His heart, mind, and will, is the final authority.
The canon of the Bible is complete only insofar as concerns the books we possess; it is incomplete as far as the number of books that are inspired.
We do not have all of Saint Paul’s epistles (it says so right in his epistles), and Saint James quotes from Scripture (again, he blatantly says so), but the portion he quotes is found nowhere else in the Bible. Therefore, we are missing inspired Scripture. It’s a demonstrable fact; the Bible itself tells us this.
Thank you for your important query. A few thoughts and scripture for your consideration! Though I haven’t touched on all your points, we can discuss matters further if you wish
The Catechism advises us that Holy Scripture is first and foremost for understanding and appropriate worship!
How was it determined that some writings or oral tradition were inspired and other works were no accepted into the canon of Scripture?
What is inspired, is what we see in the Bible. It is as complete as we need it to be. God provides us with answers
in matters of faith. We are not to add to it and if we do find something different, we examine it by means of Holy Scripture.
2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
John 10:35S If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
Undoubtably, someone else has a better answer, yet it is a privilege to respond to your question!
God bless you,
“How was it determined that some writings or oral tradition were inspired and other works were no accepted into the canon of Scripture?”
As I’ve remarked before, in response to another of your comments, the NT texts themselves do not give us a table of contents of either the OT or the NT.
As the Catechism succinctly states: “It was by the apostolic Tradition that the Church discerned which writings are to be included in the list of the sacred books. This complete list is called the canon of Scripture. It includes 46 books for the Old Testament (45 if we count Jeremiah and Lamentations as one) and 27 for the New.” (CCC, 120).
It might help to consider it chronologically:
• c. 30 AD: Christ’s death and Resurrection. Founding of the Church at Pentecost (Acts 2).
• late 40s-early 90s: The texts of the NT were written, in order to give an account of Christ’s life and work (cf Lk 1:1-4, etc) and to address questions/situations in the life of the early Church.
• Those texts, along with others (ie, The Didache), circulated and were read by the early Christians in the churches established by the Apostles and their disciples.
• The canon of the NT was not clear in the first couple of centuries; it was much discussed and there was a fair amount of debate over certain books (ie, The Apocalypse).
• Local councils (ie, Council of Hippo in 393 and the Council of Carthage in 397) made decisions about the canon–decisions later ratified at The Council of Trent in the 1500s.
For more, see “How the New Testament Canon Was Chosen” by Nicholas LaBanca. There are plenty of the much more detailed essays and books on the topic if you are interested.
You have studied scripture and you know scripture. You can teach others as well myself! Yet, with God’s inspired word at my side, can I also be a reliable observer and guide? That will be left to others to decide!
The apostles knew Jesus, they believed in Jesus and had joy in His words and deeds. The Holy Spirit moved within them to preach the Good News. That is the Apostolic Tradition and it is reliable. Yet one of the twelve was a traitor!
The Didache is a work of man. If it were inspired, Paul, Peter or the Gospel writers would have endorsed it. It may be a maxim, an assist to worship, nevertheless, not part of the canon of scripture.
Tradition and dogma can be aids to a sense of belonging and purpose; meaningful to many! What gives comfort and unity is to be respected. All the same, salvation is of the Lord. Do we stand in the righteousness of Jesus Christ or do we prefer to bring our works and presuppositions to His alter?
Paul’s epistle to the Romans is a compelling outline of the preeminence of Jesus Christ. Our faith in the Lord, is the cradle and completion of our redemption.
Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 10:9-10 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Romans 4:16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
Job 19:25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
1 Peter 1:18-19 Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
God bless you and thanks,
“The Didache is a work of man. If it were inspired, Paul, Peter or the Gospel writers would have endorsed it.”
Well, it’s not clear if Peter and Paul were still alive when the Didache was created, as scholars are still debating when the Didache was complete, how widely and quickly it was distributed, etc.
And: Where is the evidence that Peter, Paul, or the Gospel writers accepted, say, the Epistle of James? Or Jude?
We keep coming back to the same issue: the recognition of the canon took place over decades and centuries, and it was done by the Catholic Church. Even the very notion of an authoritative/inspired canon was not really common among Jews, and it didn’t become a focus of the early Christians until the second centuries. Yes, they recognized certain books as authoritative and inspired, but the concept of a NT canon took a while to come about, first with a focus on the Gospels, then, later, the remainder. But there were disputes and it took time. And it was something that was done by Catholics, precisely because (to state the obvious) there weren’t any Protestants around.
The circular incoherence of the Protestant position was articulated succinctly nearly a century ago by Fr. Ronald Knox, a former Anglican priest (his father was an Anglican bishop) who became Catholic, wrote numerous exceptional books, and translated the entire Bible by himself (the Knox Edition, complete mid-20th century). In The Belief of Catholics (1927), he stated:
“Tradition and dogma can be aids to a sense of belonging and purpose; meaningful to many!”
All Christians believe in Tradition in some form, although some pick and choose in such a way that is, again, circular and self-defeating. Scripture itself, in a real sense, is Tradition in written form. The Apostle Paul states: “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess 2:15).
There is much more, but I’ll stop there for now. Pax Christi!
“What is inspired, is what we see in the Bible.”
And how did God reveal the canon to you? There are only two options: through the Bible or through oral tradition.
If He revealed the canon via Scripture, please show us where. If He revealed it through tradition, then the Bible is not, nor can it be, the sole rule of faith, which negates the basic premise underlying Protestantism in all its forms.
Were all of Saint Paul’s epistles inspired? If not, how does one figure out whether one of the uninspired ones has been included the Bible?
If all of Saint Paul’s epistles were inspired, we’re missing several inspired epistles.
Three examples of missing Scripture (more could be cited):
1 Corinthians 5:9: “I wrote to you in an epistle not to keep company with fornicators.” (In the so-called first epistle to the Corinthians, Saint Paul mentions a prior one. Where is that prior epistle?)
Colossians 4:6: “And when this epistle shall have been read with you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you read that which is of the Laodiceans.” (Where is the epistle of the Laodiceans?)
James 4:5: “Or do you think that the scripture saith in vain: To envy doth the spirit covet which dwelleth in you?” (Other than this passage, where is that quote found in the Bible?)
Oral tradition needed some correction, consequently God appointed apostles giving them devine inspiration to show us the way. On the other hand, if you feel there is something important that should be addressed, I encourage you to present it. The three verses you offered differ from what is given in the Bible. It is no wonder that many would find find them perplexing! Let’s go patiently that the Lord inspires us.
1 Corinthians 5:9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—
Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
2 Thessalonians 3:14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
James 4:5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
2 Corinthians 6:16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
God bless you,
“1 Corinthians 5:9: I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—”
Yes, that is what I was pointing out. Where is the prior letter Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians where he tells them not to associate with sexually immoral people?
We don’t have that letter; it’s no longer extant, and neither is the epistle of the Laodiceans. Therefore, some of Saint Paul’s inspired epistles are missing.
So, that is the answer to this question: “And how did God reveal the canon to you? There are only two options: 1) through Scripture or 2) through oral tradition.
What is your answer?
If it is 1, please show us where. If it is 2, then the Bible is not the sole rule of faith, as we would have no means of knowing what the Bible is supposed to consist of.
@Mr Carl Olson,
The canon is well established and we are the recipients and beneficiaries! If the sages and luminaries of old had what we have today, might disputations have been more easily resolved? 🙁 Let us stand on the firm foundation of God’s word and take comfort therein.
We are arguing for Jesus Christ and the strength of the church. Let us celebrate that fact.
When you write an article, you buttress your position with scripture references. You have my appreciation for giving us these to ponder!
Your reply is your view, yet where is scripture to assert the crux of your argument? If our focus is disputations, who really benefits? Our sole purpose is to glorify God and present His word so that we may better servants and in turn have the peace of God within. We strive for understanding and concordance and those gifts are from the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Hebrews 10:14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
1 Corinthians 1:30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
Thank you for your response, may God bless you in your endeavours,
“The canon is well established and we are the recipients and beneficiaries!”
Indeed, that is true, but you have never answered the question: How did God reveal the canon?
The canon of the Bible includes 73 books. If you contend otherwise, then you would have to demonstrate how you arrived at your canon, using the Bible only.
Romans 1:18-For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, …
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
2 Peter 1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:4 By which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
Hebrews 1:2 But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began
Ephesians 3:9 And to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,
Ephesians 3:5 Which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
Which one of those quotes demonstrates that the Bible is comprised of 73 books?
Try these on for size:
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Ephesians 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Hebrews 5:11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
2 Timothy 2:25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
1 Timothy 2:4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Is God’s word a joy to a person or does he consider it a millstone around his neck? Let us remember that God rebukes those whom He loves.
None of those verses answers the question. Where do any of those verses state that the Bible is comprised of 73 books?
Secondly, it merely assumes that what is quoted is actually part of Sacred Scripture. How does one know that? How did God reveal to the Church what the canon of Sacred Scripture is?
Here is the point: The Bible is not the sole rule of faith, and without the teaching of the Catholic Church, you would not know what the canon of the Bible is. It is the Catholic Church that put the canon together, not the Bible itself, as the Bible is not capable of doing so.
Council of Carthage, affirmed by “the Church across the sea” (i.e., Rome) 397 AD:
16 It was also determined that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in the Church under the title of divine Scriptures. The Canonical Scriptures are these: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua the son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two books of Paraleipomena, Job, the Psalter, FIVE books of Solomon, the books of the twelve prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezechiel, Daniel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two Books of the Maccabees.
17 Of the New Testament: four books of the Gospels, one book of the Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles of the Apostle Paul, one epistle of the same [writer] to the Hebrews, two Epistles of the Apostle Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude, one book of the Apocalypse of John.
The experience of the Church after Pentecost has many lessons. There is a diversity of witness. Witness is both individual and collective. Collective witness is not blandished about everywhere. There is the practical work the apostles undertook through their particular strengths; and most of this was of a personal nature. There is the work of preservation of doctrine and fidelity which are exemplified in St. Peter’s near successors and the close associates of John the Evangelist. Martyrdom and dishonour for the sake of faith is embraced and there is no questioning this in the Church.
The Apostles concluded the Council of Jerusalem with Peter, who at the same time though was lagging and having to catch up to them. This Council didn’t only correct the circumcision question; it defined once and for all the great evils that forever have no place in the Church: Cain’s sins, oppression of the labourer, fornication/sodomy, defrauding, idolatry.
There is the unique apostolic guidance from St. Paul. What would this stand for in our time? This would be the preaching of the true word and every priest is called to do it: that a priest has to maintain clarity and has to grow in the good sense of what he is doing.
Paul’s claim to be an apostle is founded on the same Pentecost and you will find that out if you pay a closer attention to what he says, about Jesus appearing to them and then to him.
Back to the present, another difficulty presented by my bishop, is, he is always going on endlessly about “Church paradigm” and even just “paradigm”. One such instance of it is, he says St. Barnabas was the one “training” St. Paul “how to approach different communities” and this “relationship of theirs” is “a paradigm of the Church”.
There is no basis for asserting that Barnabas “trained” Paul. At the same time, constraining the Church to conceptual paradigms based on communities in the early Church, is not VATICAN II. I also have to notice that neither the “paradigm” concept nor the “training from Barnabas” ties in with the synodal-synod concept presently in motion. And whereas the Holy Father warns against intellectualisms, I sense that somehow these things are, or will amount to, just that.
Appreciation and God’s richest blessings!
Brian, your comments read like a bible study. Some Christian denomination make a big mistake stating that “to believe and to confess with your mouth” Jesus is Lord, you are saved. But to truly believe means to act it out, to believe all of the Words spoken by Christ and to follow him. “Your maker is your husband” (IS 54) The Church is the Bride, the Church is the Body of God Christ and the messianic anointing flow from the Head to the body. The gates of hell will not prevail against His Church, yet, the battle is more ferocious than ever. “The Christians of the first centuries said ‘The world was created for the sake of the Church’. God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the ‘convocation’ of men in Christ, and this ‘convocation’ if the Church. The Church is the goal of all things, and God permitted such painful upheavals as the angel’s fall and man’s sin only as occasions and means for displaying all the power of his arm and the whole measure of love he wanted to give to the world: Just as God’s will is creation and is called ‘the world” so his intention is the salvation of men and is called ‘the Church’ (CCC 760). Christ is the Church and in the sacraments, He feeds us with Himself, He washes us in His precious Blood, He anoints us with the Holy Spirit. The Church guards all the truth : she is built on a lasting foundation: “the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev21:14) “She is indestructible (Cf Mt 16:18)” (CCC869) Over 2000 years. 12 million new Catholics added in 2020. Not even a rebellious pope can destroy the Church Christ founded for the salvation of men. The Church is a treasure trove of truth. Jesus will rejuvenate His battered Church aain. A Catholic is required to believe in the teachings of Holy Church, dogmas, Magisterium, tradition, to receive the fullness of faith. As we await the divine intervention of our Lord “But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world ‘in a state of journeying’ towards its ultimate perfection.” (CCC320) “Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind” (St Catherine of Sienna)
Hello Edith, nice to see your name and hear from you.
You have put thought into your case, it is appreciated. While we can agree on some of what you say, lets examine one point where we can both gain. As God teaches us we are bettered.
Romans 10:9-10 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Belief seems to be the key here, unless I am mistaken! Let’s look at faith-belief.
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Acts 16:31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Romans 5:1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
John 15:3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
How do you read these verses?
God bless you,
“For with the heart one believes and is justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” AMEN. You are correct to say believe/faith is everything. That is the foundation and the beginning. God Jesus founded a church of salvation for us. What praise of God is this when you praise Him with Holy Scripture but refuse His salvation as He established the true priesthood to make Him PRESENT on the holy altar to offer Himself up to the Father daily in every catholic church and we are to offer ourselves up with Him and in the New Testament the people of God partake of the divine offering, the body and blood of Christ Jesus. There was this Pastor who pondered the Church still present for 2000 years and illumined his soul that it is Christ’s promise come true and with many of his congregation he joined the Church and became a deacon. I love scripture too and all that you cited but to receive Him, body, blood, soul and divinity, in holy Communion is already heaven on earth. God bless you, Brian.
That you love scripture is a joy to hear!
To quote you, “but refuse His salvation as He established the true priesthood to make Him PRESENT on the holy altar to offer Himself up to the Father daily in every catholic church”. This is a weighty proposition.
Where do we find support in scripture for such a pronouncement?
A few verses for us to contemplate:
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
1 Peter 2:5 You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Hebrews 13:15-16 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Exodus 19:6 And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
Looking forward to your reply.
God bless you also,
See Malachi 1:10-11 for the daily sacrifice of the New Testament Gentiles foretold (KJV):
Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
It’s a NT sacrifice wherein “incense” (Hebrew qatar, meaning incense, sacrifice) is offered a) by Gentiles, b) in every place, c) from the rising of the sun to its going down.
It’s not a Jewish sacrifice, as the Jews are not permitted to sacrifice anywhere except in the temple in Jerusalem, and it’s NT because the OT Gentile sacrifices were to devils, not to God (1 Corinthians 10:20).
The early Christians recognized this as the Christian sacrifice:
Didache chapter 14:
CHAPTER 14 – The Sunday worship
1 On the Lord’s Day of the Lord come together, break bread and hold Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions that your offering may be pure; 2 but let none who has a quarrel with his fellow join in your meeting until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice be not defiled. 3 For this is that which was spoken by the Lord, “In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great king,” saith the Lord, “and my name is wonderful among the heathen.”
Saint Paul states clearly that Christians receive the body of Christ: “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
The Bible predicts there will always be a man sitting on David’s throne (Christ) and that there will be a sacrificing priesthood until the end of time. Jeremiah 33:17-18.
“And Jesus took bread said the blessing and broke it…Take and eat, this is my Body.” (Mt 26:26) God is LOVE; God is a Lover-God; John the Baptized called Him divine Bridegroom and called Him Lamb of God who makes Himself food to nourish His creatures with Himself. It is about LOVE and it takes two to consummate love. We eat Him and we drink Him and we match His submission to submit ourselves totally to Him also. God is a blazing holy Fire of Love. It is about a wedding, love for love, and unity with God Himself. “This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church.” (Eph 5:32)”And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.” (Eph 1:22) “I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ” (Phil 3:12) “For in him were created all things…all things were created through him and for him (the Bridegroom) and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the Church.” (Col 1:16’18). “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:29) “As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so shall your God rejoice in you” (Is 62:5). “I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they will be one as we are one.” (Jn 17:22). They say that the sign of a Christian is JOY. Are we full of Joy yet?
Thank you for the scripture, a blessing indeed. Thank you too for the reminder that God is love. We need to love one another for it helps us recall that He loved us first! He forgives us when we ask in the name of Jesus and He gives us the holy prerogative of forgiving others as they ask!
What a glorious saviour we serve. Loving , kind, patient, instructive, merciful and conforming us into His image.
As we uphold God in our conversations, we grow into worthwhile servants. The articles that I read in CWR are generally of a high order and many of those who comment have not buried the talents that God has given them either. 🙂
Understanding and wisdom are given by God, after all we are created in His image and he withholds no spiritual blessing from us when we seek.
In these troubling times it is good that people who believe in the church fight for her dignity and proclaim the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Joy goes beyond happiness. Through our suffering, sinfulness and disappointments, joy prevails and we delight in His salvation.