Nicea? Nice To See Ya!

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I guess I need to start off with an apology for a scandal.  My scandal and many others’ scandal who call themselves Christians is that we are divided.  This has been a subject of criticism from many who do not participate in Christian community.  I word it as “who do not participate” because there are Christians out there who do not participate in Christian community thinking that the basic bread and butter is something complex and man made.

What I hope to do in these three blogs is add some thoughts to de-scandalize the readers and afflict the comfortable. Maybe even comfort the afflicted that feel weighed down by that which is dry tradition and/or very complex regarding the kingdom of God.

Some years ago I was speaking with my 19-year old daughter about her schedule that coming week and she bashfully disclosed a new term to me called RCIA.  She slowly elaborated when I asked that this was Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.  She and I were both Protestants and I was not disturbed but other people in her life had.  I assured her that it was fine and brought to her attention the Council of Nicea.

So now its time to bring to mind what the Council of Nicea and what it means.  In 325 tree was an end to a theological civil war.  One side of bishops saw Jesus as both divine, consubstantial with the Father (of the same essence), and eternal.  The other side, the Arians, said “There was a time where He was not”.  Long story short the former won out and the other side was greatly reduced and eventually died out.   The winning side, in unity with the Bishop of Rome, had a creed ratified called The Nicean Creed.

For some readers you may have heard this. For those that have not, here it is.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Simple enough?  This can always be read and reflected upon by Christians of good conscience among Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox believers. Protestants can read this fervently if it is interpreted in the most basic senses.   Catholic comes from kata and holos meaning “with respect to the whole”.  When I went to a Protestant church in Portland called Imago Dei the apt phrase they used was “taking the whole gospel to the whole world to the whole person”.  That is very much the spiritual and universal health plan of God.  All who embrace the Nicene Creed embrace a practical and holy Jesus along with the members of the Body.  This is the picture of Orthodox thinking (orthos-doxa) as Jesus wants.

But Christians are called to be Evangelical.  This is a walk in grace that is not dependent on coming from a Protestant tradition.  Evangelical comes from evangelion which was not only good news but the announcement of the coming Roman emperor.  The news for the world, especially from a united Body, is that Jesus is Lord, He loves them and wants to reign in their hearts.  What is stopping us?  Pride?  Juicy tidbits about how one side silted the other?  Maybe true, false or in between?

Ultimately the scandal is that there is one prayer of Jesus that is not currently being fulfilled.  “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,  so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17:20-21).

Now again I address the prodigals out there.  Sinners in the universal church of Jesus, I being one of them, may have betrayed you. Being the prodigal who comes home may not be appealing.  It may be scary.  But I encourage you despite the confusion that you have a place at the table of Jesus by which is shown the Father.  Come and listen for Jesus through the fallible people preaching or sitting next to you.  You may even be used to being listened to.  The point is that salvation is an individual and big picture process.  The bringing together of people in Jesus happens by His hand but in cooperation with the believers in different levels.

So come home to the simplicity of devotion to Jesus in the Catholic Church, Orthodox Church or Protestant Church (presented alphabetically by design).  But just come home.  Even if you are a long standing sitter in a pew.  Jesus and the family need you.

Recommended links.

Tony Palmer and Pope Francis.  The first several minutes have a charismatic feel but then it gets meaty very fast.

The next link is for John 17 the Phoenix based movement.  This includes Baptists, Catholics, Charismatics praising and teaching together on the essentials of Christianity.  There are differing views represented but they leave those to the theologians.

http://www.john17movement.com

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8 comments on “Nicea? Nice To See Ya!

  1. spookchristian says:

    Christians should not have fellowship with roman Catholics,Mormons,JW’s,Islam,,,it would not be a proper and Biblical fellowship, it would be a sin..

    2 John 9-11

    To put it bluntly, ‘Ecumenism ‘ is a sin.
    I watched the video of tony Palmer, and that impostor, Kenneth Copeland, and his little phone call with the so called pope Mth 23 v9.

    Tony Palmer, is of course an ‘ Anglican ‘, and so I really should not have expected anything other than false doctrine from him, or indeed, even Copeland.

    What tony Palmer was doing was a sin, and he was attempting, purposely or otherwise, was deceiving people, into accepting roman catholics as brothers..

    ” PROTESTANTISM IS NOT DEAD ”
    I am Protestant, but only as a result of my understanding of the plain teaching’s of the Scripture’s, and an acute understanding, inmost areas anyway, of roman catholic dogma, as well as the false teachings of other cults, i.e. Islam JW, etc..

    Every Christian should be a theologian, and should not be seeking to leave the debate to others etc..Every Christian, ( genuine one I mean ) is thoroughly furnished etc.. 2 Tim 2:15

    There is nothing ‘ Meaty ‘ about the Copeland/Palmer/Jesuit interview/phone call..

    .

    • jembenjamin says:

      Dear Spookchristian,

      I want to compliment you on your obvious zeal for Jesus and the integrity of God’s Word. My hope is that this can be mutually edifying dialogue.

      I would like to address your comments one by one as best as I can.

      Christians should not have fellowship with roman Catholics,Mormons,JW’s,Islam,,,it would not be a proper and Biblical fellowship, it would be a sin..
      2 John 9-11

      This was a powerful statement predicated on scripture. So I looked these verses up.

      “Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense. Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.”

      The commentary in my bible says something interesting about the historical context. “ ‘Anyone who is so “progressive’: literally, ‘Anyone who goes ahead.’ Some gnostic groups held the doctrine of the Christ come in the flesh to be a first step in belief, which the more advanced and spiritual believer surpassed and abandoned in his knowledge of the spiritual Christ.”

      The gnostic groups were a first and second century heresy that denied Jesus came in the flesh and along with this called the Eucharist only a symbol. However the early church writings of those called by Ignatius as “Catholic” in 107 believed Jesus came in the flesh and was present in the Eucharist.

      As to Mormon’s and JW’s you have a point in that they are not in agreement with the Nicene Creed as I assume you and I are.

      To put it bluntly, ‘Ecumenism ‘ is a sin.

      So the ecumenical councils are also a sin? Nothing good can out of sin is what I assume you and I believe. So the ecumenical council of Nicea was therefore false teaching? Or the ecumenical councils of Carthage and Hippo that solidified once and for all what the canon of scripture was? Particularly the New Testament?

      I watched the video of tony Palmer, and that impostor, Kenneth Copeland, and his little phone call with the so called pope Mth 23 v9.

      I have grave concerns about the teaching of Kenneth Copeland. If I was to have a frank discussion with him I would bring correction to him respectfully. However, that does not mean that God was not using him to bring a light to unity.

      The Matthew 23:9 is not a good proof text about the pope title or for a local priest and amounts to cherry picking. The context of the verse was about Pharisess that were going after people to follow them as if they had something new. Otherwise Jesus would be in sin when he refers to “Father Abraham” in Luke 16:24. Or Paul would be the biggest sinner by saying to Timothy that he became his father through the gospel.

      Tony Palmer, is of course an ‘ Anglican ‘, and so I really should not have expected anything other than false doctrine from him.…

      Perhaps you are confusing all anglicanism as the same. This is likely because in American the dominant strands to anglicanism have become apostate in endorsing abortion and gay marriage. Worldwide the dominant representation has bee very strong on God’s word. Notable Anglicans include CS Lewis, JND Kelly and NT Wright. Tony Palmer is of that more conservative strand.

      I would come back to the Nicene Creed. This is not only a creed agreed upon by Catholics, Orthodox and 95% of Protestants but it was ratified by the Catholic Church in union with the pope of that time.

      What tony Palmer was doing was a sin, and he was attempting, purposely or otherwise, was deceiving people, into accepting roman catholics as brothers..

      I would come back to the Nicene Creed. This is not only a creed agreed upon by Catholics, Orthodox and 95% of Protestants but it was ratified by the Catholic Church in union with the pope of that time. Yes, catholics are not perfect, but looking at history worldwide and in contexts, the fruits have been that they believe truth and love their neighbors.

      ” PROTESTANTISM IS NOT DEAD ”
      I am Protestant, but only as a result of my understanding of the plain teaching’s of the Scripture’s,

      I would like to address you understanding of “plain teaching” as “scripture alone” is only as good as the interpreter.

      “The Bible clearly teaches, starting in the tenth chapter of Genesis and going all the way through, that God has put differences among people on the earth to keep the earth divided.” – Bob Jones III, defending Bob Jones University’s policy banning interracial dating/marriage. The policy was changed in 2000. 

      “The right of holding slaves is clearly established by the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example.” – Rev. Richard Furman, first president of the South Carolina State Baptist Convention.

      “People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. This fool…wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.” – Martin Luther in “Table Talk” on a heliocentric solar system.

      “Sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents…We have sufficient light from the Word of God for our proceedings.” – Captain John Underhill, defending the Puritan decimation of the Pequot tribe.

      “The evidence that there were both slaves and masters of slaves in churches founded and directed by the apostles, cannot be got rid of without resorting to methods of interpretation that will get rid of everything.” – Rev. Leonard Bacon, in defense of American slavery. (Christian ministers wrote nearly half of all defenses of slavery, often citing Scripture to make their case.)

      “The Bible is the revealed will of God, and it declares the God-given sphere of woman. The Bible is, then, our authority for saying woman must content herself with this sphere…Who demand the ballot for woman? They are not the lovers of God, nor are they believers in Christ, as a class. There may be exceptions, but the majority prefer an infidel’s cheer to the favor of God and the love of the Christian community.”  – Rev. Justin Dewey Fulton in his treatise against women’s suffrage. 

      “Wherever we have the races mixed up in large numbers, we have trouble….These religious liberals are the worst infidels in many ways in the country; and some of them are filling pulpits down South.  They do not believe the Bible any longer; so it does not do any good to quote it to them.  They have gone over to modernism, and they are leading the white people astray at the same time; and they are leading colored Christians astray.  But every good, substantial, Bible-believing, intelligent orthodox Christian can read what the Word of God and know that what is happening in the South now is not of God.” – Bob Jones Sr., in his treatise against integration entitled, ‘Is Segregation Scriptural?’

      and an acute understanding, inmost areas anyway, of roman catholic dogma, as well as the false teachings of other cults, i.e. Islam JW, etc..

      When you refer to the “inmost teachings”, are you referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church? If not, I recommend this rather as a good way to find out what they believe. There are no secret back chambers for teachings.

      Every Christian should be a theologian, and should not be seeking to leave the debate to others etc..Every Christian, ( genuine one I mean ) is thoroughly furnished etc.. 2 Tim 2:15

      I agree with that statement. But as for deviation, a prominent theologian named Alistair Cook said that the sola fide of Martin Luther was a “novelty”. This is why someone can say “The Sinners Prayer”, mean it, live it for a while and live fifty years selfishly with they idea that God legally owes them heaven.

      Also, I need to address the backdrop of that 2 Timothy verse you bring up. If Christians at the massive level were to deviate from foundational truths would you say that sin or Satan prevails against them? Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 that “the gates of hell will not prevail against it [the Church].

      As Christian believers we have chosen Jesus as Lord of our lives. The anti-christians out there believe he is a liar, lunatic or legend or a combination of the three. Because Jesus is Lord, He is everything He said He was and so is the Church. If the gates of hell did prevail to the point that it stayed in heresy then we are stuck in the letter “l’s”.

      There is nothing ‘ Meaty ‘ about the Copeland/Palmer/Jesuit interview/phone call..

      So the 1999 concord of Catholics and the most foundational denomination of Protestantism is not meaty? “Saved by grace through faith unto good works” seems pretty strong to me and it was quoted in the video.

      Like you I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God for anyone who believes. However, I am also an Evangelical Christian who has come home to The Catholic Church with an evangelical fervor that is in the soil tilled by the Savior’s hand.

      God bless you and keep you as you continue to serve the Lord Jesus according to your conscience.

      • spookchristian says:

        Thank you for that long essay, on what you believe etc.
        as far the verse in 2 John 9-11, please do not think that that is the only verse of scripture, that I base my understanding of ecumenism upon, because it is not.
        I am sure that I know other verses, that would back up my argument on the subject of so called fellowship with those of faiths outside of Christianity.e.g. catholicism, JW’s,Islam, etc..

        The canon of Scripture,, was decided long before the catholic so called church decided to have their little, big meeting to decide doctrine, so called, and to decide the canon of Scripture.

        Paul the apostle, already stated in one of the pastoral letters,that all scripture is God breathed, and we have the Scriptures, as given by the Apostles, through the Holy Spirit.
        There is NO need of a Papist to decide what has already been fixed in place, as though ‘ validation ‘ is needed from them.

        The catholic so called church however, uses the corrupted versions,,i.e. the Alexandrian line of MSS, to determine canon, and as a result, we have the soiled NIV bible and others.. whereas, I use the Antiochan line of MSS, of which the KJV is derived from..

        If it was left up to, or had been left up to, the catholic so called church,, we would not have a Bible at all, seeing as they made such an effort to MURDER everyone not following their line of dogmas, and therefore they started the Inquisitions, auto-de-fe etc.. and therefore we have the Jesuits..
        If you are a part of the catholic so called church, and you say your are evangelical.what do you evangelize.. the Gospel of rome, or the true Gospel of Jesus Christ..?
        I also cannot accept, that you are indeed Christian, seeing as you view catholicism as you spiritual home.
        It is the whore of Babylon as in Rev 17.

        In your diatribe. you introduce matters, that I never mentioned, in order to prove your point..Of course you can use whatever means you need to ,to prove your point, or feebly illustrate it.
        Yes, you say . ” saved by faith, through grace..unto good works..”

        But what exactly does the catholic mean by faith, and in whom, and what do they mean by grace..?

        Grace to a Christian such as me, means one thing.. but say the same word to a catholic, and they think of another meaning,,and receipt of it, via another means,, that is NO true means of grace at all..

        The catholic thinks that he/she may receive grace, via a catholic so called priest in a confessional, or through Mary..or by indulgence, or by taking their mass, or their cookie.

        I think that, you must think me stupid,because I see no end of catholics coming out with the most atrocious blasphemy,..
        { and you talk to me, as though we were in agreement on a lot of things, when in fact, we are not.. }….concerning mary, so called saints etc.. to be fooled by your words, and you have been decent to me,, {I am no smooth talker though..}

        I think you need to revise your association with the catholic so called church,friend,
        Notice,I DO NOT call you Brother ..
        Please excuse any typo’s

      • spookchristian says:

        (1) Romans 9:6 [5]
        (1) Romans 10:17 [11]
        (1) 1 Corinthians 14:36 [4]
        (1) 2 Corinthians 2:17 [10]
        (1) 2 Corinthians 4:2 [16]
        (1) Ephesians 6:17 [16]
        (1) Colossians 1:25 [23]
        (2) 1 Thessalonians 2:13 [15][39]
        (1) 1 Timothy 4:5 [7]
        (1) 2 Timothy 2:9 [14]
        (1) Titus 2:5 [16]
        (1) Hebrews 4:12 [3]
        (1) Hebrews 6:5 [6]
        (1) Hebrews 11:3 [12]
        (1) Hebrews 13:7 [15]
        (1) 1 Peter 1:23 [13]
        (1) 2 Peter 3:5 [11]
        (1) 1 John 2:14 [30]
        (1) Revelation 1:2 [6]
        (1) Revelation 1:9 [31]
        (1) Revelation 6:9 [23]
        (1) Revelation 19:13 [17]
        (1) Revelation 20:4 [34]

      • spookchristian says:

        Here is an example of the utter blasphemy, that your #Catholic colleagues tweet.

  2. jembenjamin says:

    You have given me a lot to work with so I will try my best to reply.

    The tweet that you use does not both me at all. The term “pardon crucifix” is a sacramental and does not have intrinsic power to forgive sins. As for a blessing from a priest, that is not a problem either. Jesus said to the 72 when he sent them out to bless each house that they came to. Since I am addressing the priesthood, I would suggest you consider what Jesus said in John 20:23 “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

    As to the canon of scripture being clear long before the Council of Carthage in 395, that is not true. Athanasius drew his list of the NT books which corresponds to what you and I have in the 320’s. But he was only a deacon then and there were plenty of other books not in our present NT that were regularly read in churches in different regions.

    As for the true gospel, I do indeed preach that. If I saw someone in their last minutes of life in a brutal car accident I would say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Since God is covenantal always, it is normative from what we see in Acts that someone is baptized to fully experience the saving grace of God.

    As for grace and faith, this is the position of the Catholic Church, ”
    “If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema. This decree is consistent with the revealed word of God”. –Council of Trent.

    Again, I would point you to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus’ proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. “Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.39

    1990 Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God’s merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals.

    As for the reference to all scripture being God breathed, that is correct. But all does not mean only. If taken to its logical conclusion that it does not mean only, then there is no need even for a local Baptist pastor since all you would need is scripture.

    “There is NO need of a Papist to decide what has already been fixed in place, as though ‘ validation ‘ is needed from them.”

    In the very first ecumenical council held in Jerusalem, Peter the first pope, settled the debate on circumcision in Acts 15. “It seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us” is pretty strong language. He settled it because Jesus said that he was giving him the keys and he could bind and loose. Binding an loosing was a rabbinical term. Once Peter settled it, everyone was silent according to scripture.

    Mary— Catholic venerate her. The honor due to the Trinity is latria. The honor due to Mary is hyperdoulia. Totally different. She did not atone for us and when sacrifice were being offered to her in the 4th century the Catholic Church excommunicated them just like they did the Pelagians who taught working for salvation.

    The cookie.– The gnostics referred to the Eucharist as only a symbol. The early, free of error Christians referred to John 6 where Jesus maintained that his body was true food even though many left him.

    Thank you for your comments. It is regretful that you do not see me as a brother in Christ. All I can say is that these last few years, I love Jesus and my neighbor more than ever and have a deeper appreciation of the scriptures.

  3. jembenjamin says:

    I also want to point out that if you take Matthew 23:10 literally then we can not call any bible school teacher a teacher. Not even doctor so and so. That includes Dr. Billy Graham, Dr. Luis Palau or anyone else. After all, doctor comes from doctore in the Latin.

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