Category Archives: Bible

WATCH: Pope accuses Christians of ‘cowardliness’ for overfocus on following ‘all’ 10 Commandments

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Pope Francis rebukes ‘lazy,’ ‘egotistical,’ ‘constantly condemning’ Christians

New papal homilies from Tuesday and Friday reproach those not aligned with his progressive agenda.

Folks, the attacks on faithful Catholic’s who hold to Church teachings and question the progressive “new horizon” of change is growing every week.  We in the US, just now coming off a presidential campaign year, have seen this very tactic of demonizing ones enemy for months now.

We who hold to the faith decry the claim and characterization that we are Pharisees only interested in rules and not the heart of Gods justice and mercy.  Why have we been called names every week by our own Church? Isn’t the fight against the spirit of the age that would deny what we have been taught?  Isn’t this exactly what St Paul taught when some came with new teachings? 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Timothy 1:13-14, 2 Timothy 3:14, Titus 1:9, Phillippians 4:9, 2 Timothy 2:1-7, etc.  Who is putting themselves in opposition to the scriptures?

It seems to me to be a simple diversionary tactic in the face of increased pressure to answer the dubia.  Wouldn’t it be better to clear the waters, speak the truth, and lead the little ones to safety? Luke 17:1-2.  Woe is the warning.

Source: Pope Francis rebukes ‘lazy,’ ‘egotistical,’ ‘constantly condemning’ Christians

The Law

I’m passing this along as a reflection on Christ’s words about fulfilling the Law and what that means. I continue to believe we misinterpret when we think Jesus or Paul meant to remove Gods Law. It makes more sense to see their comments as speaking to its relative importance (Mark 12:33) rather than as its exclusion.

Mark seems to express the down to earth “man on the street” understanding.

Mark 12:28-34

28One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

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Praying in Tongues

There are four primary scripture passages that are cited as evidence for praying in tongues: Romans 8:26; 1 Corinthians 14:4-17; Ephesians 6:18; and Jude verse 20. Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20 mention “praying in the Spirit.” However, tongues as a prayer language is not a likely interpretation of “praying in the Spirit.”

Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Two key points make it highly unlikely that Romans 8:26 is referring to tongues as a prayer language. First, Romans 8:26 states that it is the Spirit who “groans,” not believers. Second, Romans 8:26 states that the “groans” of the Spirit “cannot be expressed.” The very essence of speaking in tongues is uttering words.

That leaves us with 1 Corinthians 14:4-17 and verse 14 especially: “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.” First Corinthians 14:14 distinctly mentions “praying in tongues.” What does this mean? First, studying the context is immensely valuable. First Corinthians chapter 14 is primarily a comparison/contrast of the gift of speaking in tongues and the gift of prophecy. Verses 2-5 make it clear that Paul views prophecy as a gift superior to tongues. At the same time, Paul exclaims the value of tongues and declares that he is glad that he speaks in tongues more than anyone (verse 18).

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Gift of Speaking in Tongues

The first occurrence of the gift of speaking in tongues occurred on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4. The apostles went out and shared the gospel with the crowds, speaking to them in their own languages: “We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2:11). The Greek word translated tongues literally means “languages.” Therefore, the gift of tongues is speaking in a language the person speaking does not know in order to minister to someone who does speak that language.

Mark 16:17 – right before Jesus ascended into heaven, He prophesied “they will speak in new tongues.”

There are only four instances in the New Testament where people speak in tongues:

Acts 2:3 – when the Holy Spirit descended upon the twelve apostles on Pentecost Sunday, they began to speak in tongues. Acts 2:6 says that men from fifteen different nations each heard the apostles speaking in their own language.

Acts 10:44-46 – after Peter preached the gospel, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word, and they (including the Gentiles) began to speak in tongues.

Acts 19:5-6 – after Paul baptized and confirmed about twelve Ephesians, they spoke with tongues.

1 Cor. 12-14 – Paul teaches that members of the Corinthian church had the gift of speaking in tongues.

In each instance in the book of Acts, tongue speaking is heard as if it is a foreign language. This gift of the Holy Spirit was for the purpose of spreading the gospel to all peoples of the world. Peter supports this view when he equates the Gentile tongue-speaking with the tongue-speaking at Pentecost (which was heard as foreign languages) when he says “the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15).

In 1 Corinthians chapters 12–14, Paul discusses miraculous gifts, saying, “Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?” (1 Corinthians 14:6). According to the apostle Paul, and in agreement with the tongues described in Acts, speaking in tongues is valuable to the one hearing God’s message in his or her own language, but it is useless to everyone else unless it is interpreted/translated.

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God forged His people over thousands of years for a purpose. Jesus came to and for the Jews, God’s chosen people, to call them to action and service. From a ten thousand foot level can we look at the New Testament as a blueprint…how God planned to reach the Gentile nations and by who? Are the apostles and Paul archetypal models for the type of servanthood (discipleship) to which the Jewish people as a whole were called – including their saving mission to reach out and bless all the Gentile nations? Are they, in Christo, called to fulfill God’s promise and prophetic word to Abraham in Gen. 18:18, reiterated to Jacob at Bethel in Gen. 28:14?

It would appear to be the case. The early Jewish disciples and churches in Acts, approved by the Council of Jerusalem, purposely preached for the first time the answer to Jewish messianic prophecy to those out side of God’s chosen. A message of salvation through Christ Jesus to the pagans in their communities. We see recorded in the scriptures the model for those disciples to come. The missionary charge intended to be lead by God’s chosen and now being completed by the wild grafted branch. We should take the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 to heart when considering this topic and remember that what God plans and desires will eventually come to pass no matter how stiffed necked we are. He is long suffering and we often forget that His patience is a great sign of His great mercy for all.

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Judge or Executioner

Mark 6:7-13
He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance. They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

This is a very common scripture to many Catholics and non-catholics alike. So common that we all probably are certain we know what it means and what we should learn from it. We’re so certain that we’ve probably become lazy and no longer have ears to hear or eyes to see (Ez 12:2, Matt 8:18, Matt 13:15-16) I just heard a homily this weekend that got me to thinking and challenging my own certainty about my understanding of Mark 6:7-13 Continue reading