Apologetics 1.8: Call no man ‘Father’?

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If you have ever come across a Protestant, one common argument that you may have heard is “The Bible says to not call anyone father.” The scripture passage that they are  referencing is Matthew 23:9 in where Jesus says to not call anybody on earth your father. However, this must be taken in its proper context from the understanding of that time period and from Jewish lenses. In that time period, the Roman kings would identify themselves as “Father God” to replace the True Creator. Considering that this is blasphemy and outright idolatrous, Christ warned to not identify anybody on earth as “Father” in the context of “Father God”, for such would be idolatrous.

If Christ implied to not use the term “father” within itself, then we’d have to conclude that He and the scriptures have contradicted itself. Since Christ is God and cannot do so, nor can scripture since its inerrant and inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself, that’s impossible. All throughout scripture, the term Father is used by God Himself or His disciples.
Luke 14:26 – “If anyone comes to me, and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and yes, even his own life, he is not able to be my disciple.” Note, Christ clearly used the word father to refer to the earthly male parents of our life on earth. Christ is clearly not against the use of the term, for even the fourth commandment says to “honor your father and your mother.” Would this mean that God is contradicting Himself? Absolutely not. Again, context needs to be considered.

Later, in the book of Luke chapter 16:24, Jesus says the following when giving a parable: “And crying out, he said: ‘Father Abraham, take pity on me and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water to refresh my tongue. For I am tortured in this fire.’ ” This is also why in the book of Romans, Paul calls Abraham the “Father of us all.” (Romans 4:16-17)

Therefore, the reason we identify deacons and priests as ‘Father’ is because of their pastoral role as spiritual fathers in whom tend the flock, us as the spiritual children. This is the very continuation of how the ancient Jews identified the priests of their time period, thus St. Stephen the martyred deacon’s identification of the Jewish elders and priests as “fathers.” (See Acts 6:14)

 

Apologetics 1.7: Biblical evidence for the Holy Trinity

For those aware of Catholic teaching, the Catholic Church teaches that the Trinity alone is God. This means that we believe that God is one in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This does not mean that there is three gods, for that would be heresy. However, we believe in the “Holy Trinity, One being and Undivided” (Byzantine Rite).
There are many false religions that reject this very immaculate dogma; such as the Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals, Hebrew Israelites, and many more. Considering that they uphold a neo Arian and Diocletian heresy, let us examine the scriptures and the Early Church fathers in regards to the Son and the Holy Spirit being Divine just like the Father.

Part 1. The Son is God!

Proof:

Titus 2, 13-15: “Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things speak, and exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”
Matthew 4, 7 – ““Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (When read in context, Jesus’ gives this response to Lucifer since he was tempting Jesus in His Humanity.)

John 1, 1 -14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (Jesus Christ is called the Word throughout scripture. This scripture speaks of Christ’s Incarnation.)

In John 3:5, Jesus makes it known that nobody can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are baptized. In Col 1:13, Saint. Paul the Apostle makes it clear that the Kingdom of God belongs to Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ were not God, wouldn’t this be a blasphemous suggestion? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit cannot error nor can He fail! For Jesus Christ is God!

Romans 9:5 “Whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ, according to the flesh, who is over all things, God blessed for ever. Amen.”

Titus 3: 4-6 “But when the goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared: Not by the works of justice, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the laver of regeneration, and renovation of the Holy Ghost; Whom he hath poured forth upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior:”

Note: Savior is applied to God and Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ were not God, as the false religions insist, wouldn’t this be a blasphemous suggestion as well? Of course not, for as stated earlier, The Holy Spirit cannot error!

Jude 4: “For certain men are secretly entered in, (who were written of long ago unto this judgment,) ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord God into riotousness, and denying the only sovereign Ruler, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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In John 8:58, Jesus Christ our God states: “Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am.” If Jesus Christ happened to not be God, suggesting Himself to be “I am” or “Yahweh” in Hebrew would be blasphemous and idolatrous; for He would, according to Jehovah witnesses logic, be putting Himself in the place of God.

This explains why the Jews were angry at Him for calling Himself “I am” and later threw stones at Him, for they were calling Him a blasphemer for giving Himself the same title as God the Father. See Exodus 3:14.

Luke 24, 52: “And they worshiped Him”

Note: Jehovah’s Witness translation, that being the poorly translated 2013 New World translation (I call it the NWO translation considering they’re Masonic), it states: “And they did obeisance to him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” The definition of obeisance is “A gesture expressing deferential respect, such as a bow or curtsy.” (Ref: Oxford Dictionary).

This explains why their footnotes for this scripture also suggests that this scripture also means “Or “bowed down.” Evidently, they try to shy away that this scripture Bares Witness to the Divinity of Jesus Christ. The irony is that the synonym for obeisance is “worship.” Considering that they believe, just like us Catholics, that bowing to false gods are idolatry and that bowing to anybody, for that matter, is idolatrous: wouldn’t this make the disciples of Christ in this passage idolaters since bowed to Him?

Again, NO! For the Holy Spirit cannot error nor contradict Himself.
Part 2. The Divinity of the Holy Spirit.

We Catholics, we believe that the Holy Spirit is a Person. Being that He is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, this makes Him the same substance as God the Father and the Son: One God, but Three Persons undivided and completely united as one Divine Being. Thus, the Holy Spirit is also God.

Proof from scripture:

Acts 5: 3-4 “But Peter said: Ananias, why hath Satan tempted thy heart, that thou shouldst lie to the Holy Ghost, and by fraud keep part of the price of the land? Whilst it remained, did it not remain to thee? and after it was sold, was it not in thy power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thy heart? Thou hast not lied to men, but to God.” (Note: His Holiness Pope Peter 1 did not say that Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit AND God, but to God Himself, the Holy Spirit.) He later stats in sentence 9 “Why have you agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold the feet of them who have buried thy husband are at the door, and they shall carry thee out.”

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Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you; he that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead, shall quicken also your mortal bodies, because of his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Note: What other Spirit raised up Jesus Christ’s Body besides God’s? In Gal 1:1, the book of Galatians speaks of Jesus Christ being raised by the spirit of God the Father!

“Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead,”
2 Cor 3:6 speaks more of the spirit of the Lord: ” “Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit. For the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth. Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious; so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which is made void: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather in glory?

For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory. For even that which was glorious in this part was not glorified, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is in glory. Having therefore such hope, we use much confidence: And not as Moses put a veil upon his face, that the children of Israel might not steadfastly look on the face of that which is made void.

But their senses were made dull. For, until this present day, the selfsame veil, in the reading of the old testament, remaineth not taken away (because in Christ it is made void). But even until this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. But when they shall be converted to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is a Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

1 Peter 1:2 “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, unto the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you and peace be multiplied.” In the book of 1 Paul to the Thessalonians, this same sanctification is from the “God of Peace” “And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Genesis 1:2 ““And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters.”

Note: The same Spirit of God that sanctifies is the same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead and created the world.

Hebrews 1: 5-13 ““For to which of the angels hath he said at any time, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith: And let all the angels of God adore him. And to the angels indeed he saith: He that maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But to the Son: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And: Thou in the beginning, O Lord, didst found the earth: and the works of thy hands are the heavens. They shall perish, but thou shalt continue: and they shall all grow old as a garment. And as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: but thou art the selfsame, and thy years shall not fail. But to which of the angels said he at any time: Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool?”

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(Note: This scripture refutes the heretical doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus Christ is allegedly Saint Michael the Archangel.)

Apologetics 1.6: Does God condemn iconography? 

Protestants make the absurd accusation that we as Catholic’s worship statues and images. In my previous post, I have made it clear that we as Catholics worship the Trinity alone and that the Catholic Church condemned idol worship. (Nicea 2).

With that being said, Protestants cite Exodus 20 which states the following:
“You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down to them or serve them”
As Catholics, we complete agree with this verse. That’s because we as Catholics agree with the bible 100% being that we are bible Christians. That’s right. Protestants would say we don’t accept this, thus God’s condemnation on the construction of statues. However, what is this scripture really addressing? If you were not aware, Protestants suffer with a bad case of personal interpretation of scripture, something coming from the heretic and schismatic Martin Luther.

When examining this scripture in context, the scripture in itself is condemning the pagan use of statues, that being the construction of them in order to put them in the place of God out of pride and disobedience. Being that God is almighty and cannot be replaced, the pagans have committed the sin of idolatry. However, does God condemn the religious use of images? No, for God doesn’t contradict Himself.
Five chapters away from Exodus 20, God instructs the construction of the ark of the covenant. The ark of the covenant was a container in which held the very word of God within it, that being the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

“And you shall make two cherubim of gold [i.e., two gold statues of angels]; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece of the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be” (Ex. 25:18–20).

Also, in the book of 1 chronicles, David has commanded Solomon to make statuary. “for the altar of incense made of refined gold, and its weight; also his plan for the golden chariot of the cherubim that spread their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of the Lord. All this he made clear by the writing of the hand of the Lord concerning it all, all the work to be done according to the plan” (1 Chr. 28:18–19).

Note something, “made clear by the writing of the hand of the Lord concerning it all, al the work to be done according to the plan.” If the construction of images were idolatry in themselves, why would David make it known that this is according to God’s plan? This plan included statues of angels, something found within Catholic Churches which co exists with images of saints.

Within the book of Ezekiel, the author describes the interior of the Jewish temples of the time. It is described as having images of the cherubim. On the walls round about in the inner room and [on] the nave were carved likenesses of cherubim.” (Ezekiel 41:17–18)

During a plague of serpents sent to punish the Israelites during the exodus, God told Moses to “make [a statue of] a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it shall live. So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live” (Num. 21:8–9).