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Showing posts from February, 2019

DESCRIPTION OF APOSTOLIC WORSHIP IN THE WORDS OF JUSTIN MARTYR – 150CE

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“And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, This do in remembrance of Me, this is My body; and that, after the same manner, having ta…

WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC CAN A CHRISTIAN LISTEN TO

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In modern Christian circles exists the opinion that true committed Christians should only listen hymns or religious kind of music, and all found enjoying modern secular music are either condemned or looked down upon in some circumstances.
But this is not correct.
MUSIC IS A GIFT FROM GOD TO ENJOY
Like any form of art, Music is a talent, a skill given by God to humans to be able to combine sounds and create harmonious melodies.
As in any other art, like painting, architecture or cooking, it was given for men to enjoy and enrich their quality of life.
OFFERING THE FIRST FRUITS
We are under obligation to offer the first fruits from all God’s gifts to our Divine Provider as proper sign of recognition and gratitude (Proverbs 3:9), and so, the same goes for all forms of art and craft; we should offer our God the best of them.Musicians should compose firstly hymns and psalms to God, Painters should paint Icons and religious motives, Architects should build temples and Chefs and Cooks make bread …

CREATION VS EVOLUTION

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WHERE DO DIFFERENT RACES COME FROM

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For those Christians who believe in the historical reality of Adam and Eve, or that God created all humanity from only one original couple, this question comes to mind eventually.
Liberal theologians, who believe in divinely induced evolution, would answer that God created several human couples at the same time, of different races, which later, through intermixing and habitat conditioning, changed even further through natural causes into the different races we have today. This may seem a good answer, but it clashes with the principle of Original Sin professed by Christianity.
If God would have created several human couples to start the human proliferation on the planet, the fall of one of them into sin, would not have affected the rest of them who were not their direct descend, and would contradict the teaching of Scripture that says:
“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth”
(Acts 17:26)
And also:
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through…

SAINT POLYCARP OF SMYRNA

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Saint Polycarp was born around 69 of the Christian era. All the information that we have today about him, is contained in the writings of St Irenaeus, St Ignatius, Tertullian, Polycarp’s own Letter to the Philippians, in the anonymous Martyrdom of Polycarp, and Eusebius.
It is assumed according to these accounts that Polycarp was a follower of St John Apostle, who eventually appointed him Bishop of Smyrna, Turkey (1)
According to these sources, St Polycarp suffered martyrdom for refusing to offer incense to the Roman Emperor’s statue.
HIS MARTYRDOM
When sentenced to death, it is said the Roman Consul asked him to consider his old age and accept to worship the Emperor and be spared. At that moment, the Christians present, heard a voice from Heaven:
“BE STRONG POLYCARP, BE STRONG”
To this, Polycarp answered:
“Eighty and six years I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong, How then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?.
Then the Consul told him that he had lions and tigers to eat him, to w…

TEACHINGS OF THE FIRST CHRISTIANS

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FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED, GIVE FREELY

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I remember the few times I encountered Muslim preachers on the streets of Sydney and Melbourne. Their preaching was a mix of common sense, a mixed up knowledge of Christianity and the Judeo-Christian scriptures, and a good knowledge of the Koran and the Hadiths, all spiced up by a strong conviction and dedication.
What called my attention the most, it was the fact that all teaching and material was for free, and the copies of the Koran, a thick hard cover edition in English and Arabic that would cost not less than $100 AUS dollars, was given out for free.
In another occasion, an old English man, very sick and in his last years, long ago, when I asked him why he did not go to church, he said he was poor, and had no money to ‘pay’ for the services, clearly referring to the collection plate.
The Church as an organization has expenses, buildings, staff and clergy to support, apart from common everyday expenditures, not mentioning hospitals, schools and missions.Our Lord Jesus in fact taugh…

IF MARRIAGE WAS ALLOWED FOR THE PRIESTHOOD, WOULD ALL PRIESTS BE ALLOWED TO MARRY IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH?

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The original order of priests in the Christian Church was the equivalent of what today is known as Diocesan Priests.
According to the original status of Presbyters, they were always allowed to get married, even to the level of Bishops and even after ordination, but only once. Remarriage in case of the death of the spouse was not allowed (1Tim 3:2; Tito 1:6).
In today’s world however, the Roman Catholic Church has diocesan priests (Men ordained to serve in a particular diocese and subjected directly to the regional Bishop), as well as Friars and Monks, ordained as priests to cover the lack of diocesan presbyters and subjected in function not only to the Bishop of the diocese they serve in, but also to their Order’s Superior by vow, who in practice has the ultimate authority over the Friar or Monk, even over the Bishop.
Since friars priests are bound not only by the Priestly canonical legislation in the Roman Church, but also by the rules of the Order they belong to; they are subjected t…

TEACHINGS OF THE FIRST CHRISTIANS

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WAS THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST PROPITIATORY OR EXPIATORY?

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The words Propitiation and Expiation are used interchangeably among Christians when they refer to the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, as if they were synonymous, but in strict theological terms, they mean two different aspects of the redeeming sacrifice of Christ.
PROPITIATION is the act of amending carried out by Lord Jesus to appease God’s holy wrath towards humanity for their evil.
EXPIATION, on the other hand, deals with the cleansing of sinfulness Lord Jesus gained for us on the Cross.
Seeing them separately, Propitiation focuses in God’s reaction towards sin, and in the actions of Jesus to stop God’s holy anger; while Expiation pays attention exclusively to the atonement Lord Jesus paid for our sins in order to erase our guilt and free us from God’s just punishment. The problem starts when some prefer to obliterate one aspect of the redemption of Christ in favour of another. Among Eastern Christians, the concept of Propitiation has been misunderstood as being God’s resentful wra…

A SWORD WILL TRESPASS YOUR SOUL

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Saint Mary was a humble woman, who gave herself totally to God without reservations, and remained faithful to her call throughout her life until her death.
She could have rejected her mission, but without fully understanding it, she accepted it and trusted in God.
With the greatest responsibility she cared for Jesus during his infancy and childhood. She bathed him, fed him, dressed him, and loved him; the God of the Universe Himself in his human form.
She probably taught Him to read and write, to dress and bathe Himself and to prevent danger, a everything else a mother does for a child she loves.
She felt more than anyone else on earth his pain, during his life, during his Passion and especially during his crucifixion, because she was connected to him physically, genetically. The anguish she felt was that one that Simeon prophesied 33 years earlier in the Temple (Luke 2:35). No one had ever felt so close to the pain of Jesus than Mary, and no one else ever will.
The Humble Servant, who by…

HOW DIFFERENT CHRISTIAN GROUPS UNDERSTAND "THE CHURCH"

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FORGIVENESS IS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION

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In one occasion, talking about a repentant woman, our Lord Jesus Christ said:
“Whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
(Luke 7:47)
With this, Lord Jesus said that the gratitude of a person whose many and grave sins have been forgiven, will be more grateful and loving towards this Redeemer than that person whose sins have not been many in number or equal in severity.
As average Christians, many have experienced difficulty in forgiving someone who has hurt them or offended them in great manner. Generally people will keep resentment towards someone who has caused them deep pain or humiliation, and find extremely hard to forget and forgive the damage caused to them unjustly. Even when in most cases they may do not act against the offender, still, the emotional resentment remains, and it is manifests almost unconsciously in different ways, especially in the way they alternate with them afterwards or the comments they may give to others about that person.
Lord Jesus talking about forgi…

DID JESUS SAID IN JOHN 14:14 TO ASK HIM IN PRAYER?

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Translations vary in the way the words of Lord Jesus are presented in verse 14 of Chapter 14 of the Gospel of John.
Some translations, like the New Jerusalem version, or the New International Version translate the verse:
“You may ask ME for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
But other translations like the King James or the American Standard Version read:
“If ye shall ask anything in my name, that will I do.”
In the second reading, the expression “με” (Me), is not written, leaving the impression that Jesus was telling us to ask the Father in his Name (Jn 14:13); and not to Himself (Jesus). Furthermore, as the first expression in verse 13 does not contain that pronoun, it seems logical to some, that the translation that contains “Me” is a later interpolation, and that the original version would have been written without it; thus Lord Jesus would be teaching us to ask only the Father in his Name, and never to ask Him (Jesus) in his own Name.
This assumption, supported by some manuscrip…

THE DIFFRENCE BETWEEN TRICKS AND MIRACLES

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Christians should be aware that it is possible for the devil to counterfeit portents as if they were from God.
In the Scripture we can see how the Pagan priests of Egypt performed a portent that tried to compete with Moses’s true miracles (Exodus 7:10-11), and St Paul warns us that the devil can perform “miracles” as if they were from God:
“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders”
(2 Thessalonians 2:9)
THREE MARKS OF A TRUE MIRACLE
There are three major marks of a true miracle coming from God:
1 – IN THE NAME OF GOD
Miracles should give Glory and attention to God Himself.
Whether they are claimed to have happen through someone’s intersession, relics, prayer or blessing, the ultimate glory must be to the Holy Trinity, not to the channel used, either, person, object or matter.
2 – TRUE DOCTRINE
The portent should be done according to true doctrine, and not to avail or support heresy or error. Miracles are among other things, a seal o…

TEACHINGS OF THE FIRST CHRISTIANS 2

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THE GREAT MERCY OF JESUS

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THE DEMONIAC
On one occasion, Lord Jesus arrived to the shores of the town of Gergesa, on the eastern shore of Lake Galilee.
When He arrived, together with his disciples, a possessed man came to Him and dropped to his feet, saying:
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.”(Luke 8:28).
In other occasions demons would express in the same way as soon as they saw Lord Jesus coming.They knew that sometime in the future, they will be gathered and condemned eternally, and worried what kind of punishmenthad the Son of God prepared for them in the meanwhile; so they did not wait, they ran to Him and begged.
In this occasion, they identified themselves as Legion, for they were many.
A Roman legion was about 5000 men. This does not mean that was the exact number of demons inside that man, but certainly they were a great number.
What sins this man could have committed to be possessed by such a large number of evil spirits, we don’t know; but being u…

BASIC RULES OF BIBLICAL INTERPERTATION

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This is a list of basic hermeneutical norms for a correct biblical analysis. All texts must be studied taking into account:
1 – ORIGINAL LANGUAGE Texts lose force and meaning in translation. The original language in which the text was written should be taken in consideration to capture the intended meaning of the writer. 2 – ORIGINAL GRAMMAR AND GENRE The grammar in the original language should be observed to discern the proper sense of an expression, phrase or paragraph. Modern translations sometimes do not reflect the original grammar of the text.
Also the Genre and Style of the text should be taken into account, whether is a poem, a narrative, a chronicle, etc. 3 – HISTORICAL BACKGROUND In what period of history was the text written Date, place and circumstances will determine the proper perspective of the text. 4 – AUTHOR Even if the author’s name is not revealed, it is important to identify who is the author and when he is speaking. This will provide a plateau from where we can place…