Friday, February 22, 2008

238: “Reward,” “Prize” and “Crown”

The way those three little words are used in the New Testament (NT) must be diligently examined so we don’t deceive ourselves into believing we have something which may be the result of our wishful thinking, and which some churches joyfully encourage.

Those words are used in at least 3 different ways. The first way is to say the word means an inheritance (eternal life in heaven), and is always used in the singular. Another way is to say the word implies the brownie points one is accumulating in heaven for all the good one has done while here on earth, which will give that person a higher standing/greatness among her/his peers. And the last way is when a disciple of Christ is responsible for another person or persons gaining eternal life. That disciple’s reward/s will be the joy received in knowing that others will enjoy eternity with God because of his/her efforts in doing good.

Whenever the words “works,” “fruit” and “deeds,” which are synonymous, are used in Scripture, to keep matters simple, I will most often use only the phrase “doing good.”

I will now quote the relevant verses in the NT using the words “reward,” “prize” and “crown”; some times these words seem to have multiple meanings.

1) “Prize”: 1st Corinthians 9:24. "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."

1st Corinthians 9:27. "No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

Philippians 3:14. "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Colossians 2:18. "Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize."

2) “Crown”: 1st Corinthians 9:25: "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They will get a crown that will not last; but we get a crown that will last forever."

2nd Timothy 2:4-5: "No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he completes according to the rules."

2nd Timothy 4:8. "Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only me, but also to all who long for his appearing."

James 1:12. "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

1st Peter 5:4. "And when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."

Revelation 2:10. ". . . be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life."

Revelation 3:11. "I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown."

Without a doubt, these aforementioned verses using the words “prize” and “crown” are referring to eternal life in heaven.

---------------------------------------------------------------- Philippians 4:1: "Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends."

1st Thessalonians 2:19: "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of the Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy."

----------------------------------------------------- 3) “Reward”: Colossians 3:24. ". . . since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward."

Except for Colossians 3:24 above, which emphatically teaches that our inheritance will be our reward, when it comes to another 13 verses that use the word “reward,” they are ambiguous: i.e., they could be taken either way, as if they are specific individual rewards for the good we do, or as eternal life. There is not one verse in the entire New Testament that emphatically, without any ambiguities, says that a certain person will receive a certain reward in heaven for a specific good thing he/she has done on earth, even though the following 13 verses can be, and have been, taken that way by many who don’t know what is taught in Scripture.

Here are the 13 verses for those interested in checking them out: Matthew 5:16.--Matthew 6:1--Matthew 6:4--Matthew 10:41. Again, Matthew 10:41.-- Matthew 10:42.--Matthew 16:27.--Mark 9:41.-- Luke 6:23.--Luke 6:35.--Ephesians 6:8.--Hebrews 10:35.--and Hebrews 11:6.

There is one verse below—1st Corinthians 3:14-15—which says that those who were saved by the effort of another, if they survive and don’t fall away, the person responsible for their conversion will be rewarded; if they are burned up (fall away to follow Satan), the person initially responsible for their salvation will suffer loss, but he/she will still be saved.

1st Corinthians 3:14-15. "If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. But if it burns up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

-------------------------------------------------------- The moral of this post is this: There are several large denominations that teach how anyone can go to heaven without doing anything good since their salvation relies only on accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and not on good works. For example, they take those ambiguous verses as only having one meaning, which is that doing good works is only to gain rewards (a higher statue in Heaven), and without doing good, a person can still get to heaven if they are content to receive a lower status. Because of that false belief, many say to themselves, "I don’t really need any rewards; all I want is to get to heaven." Therefore, they go through life without producing fruit or deeds or doing any good works, since they believe it is only an option given to those who are ambitious.

That form of belief is a pleasant heresy when taught with convincing words that many millions have accepted without diligently examining New Testament Scripture. This blog displays more than ample Biblical evidence of how destructive it has been. The end result is a big bunch of "christian" do-nothings. This false teaching, in a hush-hush manner, implies in a subtle silent meaning: "Eat, drink and be merry; fear not, you are destined for heaven; leave the work of winning souls to us (the clergy and other qualified persons). Just keep coming to church on Sunday, and of course, don’t forget to bring your tithe since God loves a cheerful giver. You will be rewarded generously by God with a hundred- fold.”

To expose this heresy is a fairly new or seminal teaching by this post; therefore, it might be necessary to read this post a second time to get the full meaning of the deadly and demonic damage it has done and is still doing to the work of Christ.

What saddens me greatly is that many church people and others who claim to be Christians are only concerned about their own salvation. They are like a fig tree that bears no fruit. See Luke 13:6-8 in the next paragraph. That tree is worthless to its owner since the only reason for that fig tree is to bear fruit. That tree will be cut down.

Luke 13:6-8. "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years I have been looking for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I will dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine. If not, then cut it down.’"

The logic behind bearing fruit is this: The fruit guarantees that the species (Christianity) will continue. No one is exempt from producing fruit. Also, as I have written many times, that is doing what one is supposed to do: bearing fruit, doing good work and doing good deeds—which, as I previously mentioned, are synonymous—and is evidence to God and others that one truly has faith in Christ and loves God and their neighbor. No one can have faith, love God and others while caring only for their own salvation or family. Everyone is a spiritual fig tree or a vine; they are worthless if they don’t produce, and will be cut down and thrown in the fire. John, Chapter 15 will tell more than most desire to read.

Genuine Christianity is not a passive religion, but one of action and growth. We are saved not only as a personal passage to eternal life, but just as importantly, to guide others by our life of faith, love and obedience. Those holy virtues must be displayed by our lives.

Therefore, if anyone thinks they can gain an inheritance from the Lord while ignoring their eternal duty, I pray this post will make them start shaking in their boots and change their ways. This is like telling people—who thought they have been saved all their lives without obedience to Scripture—that they have been wrong and must bear fruit. Their answer will most certainly be, "Works, fruit and deeds will not give a person salvation." True. And yet they are essential and the very things that will be the result of anyone’s salvation. No results, no salvation, regardless of how much the clergy and others will attempt to convince whoever that this post is a lot of satanic hogwash.

One more thing: Going to church on Sunday, paying one’s 10% tax, saying one's daily prayers and not doing anything evil the remainder of the week is not going to cut it with the standard set by Jesus Christ in NT Scripture. Not doing anything evil is a passive form of neutrality, which will not teach others what it is to love God and others in need. Even shut-ins, the bedridden and the financially needy are not exempt from having an active form of bearing fruit, be what it may. To put it in a few words: Authentic Christianity is religion through faith, love and obedience that produces active results. No action, no life.

If anyone can find anything unbiblical, unreasonable or illogical in this post, I will be looking forward to your rebuttals on the comment section. Do yourself a favor: Bring this Biblical principle, which teaches that it is essential to bear fruit, to your church leader or others who are in the know; or better yet, give your Christian friends or church leader/s the address of this Biblical blog.

I pray that many will believe what is written in the Bible and in this post and change their beliefs, thus changing their lives.

Friday, February 08, 2008

# 237: The Roman Catholic Church

After publishing this blog for almost three years, I don’t know why I did not write on the evils of the Roman Catholic Church; it is truly an unbiblical religion. I must have taken it for granted that every Christian knew that its teachings and practices didn’t coincide with the New Testament, and that it therefore cannot be considered a Christian religion.

I haven’t been challenged by any of its followers until this last week, when I received two comments that sound like they are Roman Catholic. For that reason, I now will respond to the latest comment on this main section instead of on the comment section, since my response wouldn’t fit in the comment section. This is the comment by “anonymous”:


Section One

1) If you search the bible, you will discover that to go without food is not something that can bring us closer to God.

2) In the NT Paul tells his church that ascetic practices are of no value in the restraint of sensual indulgences.

3) Also, nowhere in the NT does it say that lengthy prayer get God's attention.

4) Jesus recommends that the way we should pray is by using the Lord's prayer.

5) When Jesus said that the demon could only come out with prayer and fasting, he was implying spiritual deliverance which requires that we follow God's will, submitting to a period of trial and testing. The fasting implies a time of lack, a walk through the wilderness as it were.

6) The way we should pray is to keep our request short and simple and to say it each day.

7) You seem to think that being proud of your body is sinful.

8) Paul says that sins are activities which defile and pollute body and spirit.

9) He also says that some sins do not lead to death. I think that taking pride in your body is something good. I think if you didn't take pride in your body, that would be sinful. Isn't the foundation of a healthy life, being respectful and proud of the bodies we are given.

10) I think much of your practice is modeled on asceticism which does not put you in line with God's will. Yes your body might have benefited, but is your soul any closer to entering the kingdom?

11) In the NT God wills us to do 3 things:

1) Pray daily (not all day)

2) Keep daily in the word

3) Become sanctified


1) The first false statement: If you search the bible, you will discover that to go without food is not something that can bring us closer to God. Answer: Isn’t it funny that the holy men of God in the Old Testament (OT) fasted and prayed for the express purpose of getting God’s attention (and most often they got it)? Did you ever study the OT? There are at least 65 verses that document the importance of prayer and fasting. In the New Testament (NT), there are about 25 verses that tell the value of fasting to gain access to God’s ear. Yet, I will agree that just fasting without prayer to God is of no spiritual value, though it may have many physical benefits.

2) In the NT, Paul tells his church that ascetic practices are of no value in the restraint of sensual indulgences. Answer: I don’t know why you brought up ascetic practices. Those who practice asceticism do harm to their bodies in order to fulfill their purpose, while fasting is the very best practice a person can do for their body and spirit, by cleansing their bodies of poisonous chemicals, etc., and pleasing God at the same time. If the modern Christian Church fasted regularly to speed His coming, Jesus Christ would already have made His second coming. 2nd Peter 3:12. "As you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming." As for sensual desire, if you are referring to me, I have been cleansed of that sort of stuff years ago. You must have been referring to asceticism as not having power to restrain sensual desires of others, possibly yourself.

3) Also, nowhere in the NT does it say that lengthy prayer get[s] God's attention. Answer: The apostle Paul encourages the believers in Thessalonians to "pray continually" in 1st Thessalonians 5:17. And I am certain they all desired to get as close to God as humanly possible. That is, or should be, the goal of every genuine Christian. That closeness comes from the foundation of Christianity, which is genuine faith in Christ and not just words alone—love for God with all one’s faculties, love for our needy neighbors and obedience to all Scriptural commands and not obedience to some man-made Catholic catechism. The virtue that cements that foundation together is fervent prayer, and if possible, fasting for a time.

4) Jesus recommends that the way we should pray is by using the Lord's prayer. Answer: Christ doesn’t say that is the only prayer one should pray, nor does He even imply that it is to be said repeatedly. I am talking about saying the rosary again and again (saying the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” over and over again). Along with that, saying the Our Father and Hail Mary over and over again, as penance for the sins committed after confessing one’s sins to a priest.

5) When Jesus said that the demon could only come out with prayer and fasting, he was implying spiritual deliverance which requires that we follow God's will, submitting to a period of trial and testing. The fasting implies a time of lack, a walk through the wilderness as it were. Answer: I don’t know where you got this to be the meaning of what prayer and fasting are; it sounds like a lot of gobbledygook. It must have come from some twisted Catholic teaching.

6) The way we should pray is to keep our request short and simple and to say it each day. Answer: That is a flat-out lie. Nowhere in the Bible does it say such a thing.

7) You seem to think that being proud of your body is sinful. Answer: Pride of any sort, secret or silent, is a sin that leads to death. Proverbs 16:18. "Pride goes before the fall/destruction." The only vocal boast we should have is the boast of the greatness, goodness, love and grace of God and of His Christ.

8) Paul says that sins are activities which defile and pollute body and spirit. Answer: That is only one form of sin. There are multitudes of more egregious sins than that, especially the lack of love for God and neighbor. That sin makes all other good that is done of no value.

9) He also says that some sins do not lead to death. I think that taking pride in your body is something good. I think if you didn't take pride in your body, that would be sinful. Isn't the foundation of a healthy life, being respectful and proud of the bodies we are given? Answer: wrong again. First of all, it wasn’t Paul who mentioned a sin that doesn’t lead to death, but the apostle John in 1st John 5:16. Concerning pride as a good thing, that is expected from someone like you who doesn’t get his/her guidance from the NT. It is important to be healthy, but not to think you are better than others because you are healthy. You see, pride elevates self above others. That is where sin makes its ugly face visible.

10) I think much of your practice is modelled [modeled] on asceticism which does not put you in line with God's will. Yes your body might have benefited [benefitted] but is your soul any closer to entering the kingdom? Answer: If living separate from how the world lives is asceticism, than I am an ascetic. If you only knew a fraction of all the spiritual blessings I received from that 21-day time of prayer and fast, you would be fasting also to receive His same blessings; of course, I mean only if you were a genuine Christian. Repeating, you see, Catholics are not Christians according to the NT.

11) In the NT God wills us to do 3 things:

1) Pray daily (not all day)

2) Keep daily in the word

3) Become sanctified

Answer: If God willed us to do only three things, they would be 1) have faith in Christ as Lord and Savior; 2) love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor in need as self; and 3) be obedient to all that Christ commands in the NT as evidence of our faith, repentance and love for Him.

Your comments are evidence that you/Catholics do not know what holy Scripture requires from all who are authentic Christians/disciples of Christ.


Section Two

Since the address of this blog is, let’s do a little exposing of some of the practices in the early years of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 382 AD, the Church enlisted Jerome to translate the Greek Bible into Latin. By the year 400 AD, the Bible had been translated into over 500 languages. At this time, the Roman Catholic Church ordered a decree allowing the Bible to be written only in Latin; so by the stroke of a pen, the 500 languages the Bible was written in were turned into one: Latin. The Church believed if they could control a people's language, they could control their lives. And so it was for about a thousand years. That started the period known as the Dark and Middle Ages when the world was plunged into darkness, from about 400 AD to the fifteenth century; a time when ignorance reigned, and all because of dominance by the Roman Catholic Church.

During that period of time, Pope Julius and Pope Leo the 10th made up a list of tariffs which granted indulgences for crimes committed; i.e., when a person committed a crime, they could pay a certain sum of money for the specific crime and be forgiven for the crime. For murder, the fee would be $1.75; for ravaging a virgin, the fee was $2.00; for a priest having a mistress, the cost was $2.25; and for pardon of any and all crimes, the large sum of $12.00. In effect, people with money could commit any crime and pay their way to freedom. This is real "christianity," sure! This decree rendered the state powerless to prosecute the offenders. The Church was in complete control.

During that period, the Catholic church considered prostitution as a necessary evil. The church had over 100,000 prostitutes in their employment for many years.

Pope Leo the 10th told the truth of his convictions when he was quoted as saying, "How profitable this fable of Christ has been for us.”

Adoration of all saints was mandatory.

The Pope was elevated—by whom, I am not certain—as the sole agent of God to lead the church. Any disobedience would lead to excommunication or death.

As Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican were being built, the Church was about to go bankrupt. The Church did two things: They extracted large amounts of money by granting pardons and penance for those in purgatory—another fabrication of the Roman Catholic Church. Along with that, Pope Julius and Pope Leo the 10th started holy wars against the Jews by killing them and stealing their money and property to finance the completion of the Vatican.

This is only an extremely short list of the many atrocities committed by the Catholic Church. Its evils were starting to be exposed by Martin Luther and other reformers in the 14th and 15th centuries. And still Catholics continued to reign, to this day as the largest "christian" church in the world. That goes to show that when it comes to the Christian religion in this world, ignorance rules supreme.


Section Three

The following is a history of this author as a child being a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

I was born and raised a Catholic in the Italian section of Schenectady, New York. I was baptized a Catholic and received religious instruction in the usual manner; I made my first Communion and was confirmed (made my confirmation), and my parents chose Nick Pomelia as my godfather; I was also married in a Catholic Church.

I went to church every Sunday and went to confession on Saturday about once a month so I could receive communion on Sunday. No one can receive the Eucharist (a round wafer about the size and thickness of a 25-cent quarter) without first making their confession on Saturday. I supposedly was a good boy. All that time, even after I was a teenager, I never seen or heard the word “Bible” mentioned once. Does that tell you something?

The church I went to was named Saint Anthony, after the Italian’s patron saint. Mass was said in Italian early on Sunday and in English later in the morning.

When I became a teenager, I started noticing some activities that didn’t seem right to me. It was the talk of us boys. The senior priest of about 50 years old was a nice person; he was overweight to the point of being obese. His name was Father Bianco. We boys liked him because he liked boys more than girls. I don’t think we knew the implication.

Then there was a much younger subordinate priest named Father Defranco. We didn’t like him for several reasons. First and foremost, he always had his eye on the young girls, and didn’t treat us boys very nicely.

In our church building there were two confessionals. They are little booth-like places where we would tell the priest our sins. There were two compartments in each booth, one for the priest to sit in and the other for the parishioners to sit and tell their sins; there was an opaque screen between the two compartments so that the priest could not see who was on the other side. Also, there were heavy dark drapes to act as doors.

The priests switched the side on which each one was to be for that specific Saturday; that way no one would know which side Father Defranco was on. This is the reason I say that. No one liked going to the side where Father Defranco was, because he was very nosy. He would ask a lot of embarrassing sexual questions, while Father Bianco never asked any questions. But we could tell what side he was on because he took much longer to listen and then ask his questions for each person than Father Bianco did. And the line of people waiting for him was always shorter.

After we made our confession, we had to say the act of contrition, which went like this: "O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee, but most of all, because you are all good and deserving of all my love, and I detest of all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and pains of hell. Therefore, I firmly resolve with the help of thy grace to confess my sins, do penance and amend my life, Amen." Depending on the amount of sins we confessed to, we had to do penance in the form of saying “Hail Marys” and “Our Fathers”; we went up to the altar and made our penance. The longer we took up there to say our penance, the more sins we had committed. And Father Defranco was notorious for giving us many more prayers to say than Father Bianco.

Something happened quite often when girls with a reputation went to Father Defranco to make their confession: When they were done, as they were leaving the confessional, Father Defranco would peek out of the drape to see who the girls were. As young as we were, we thought that wasn’t right, and we were right. Read on.

Every Sunday as the priest was saying Mass, there were two altar boys up front with the priest doing their duty in helping the priest–I forgot what their duties were. We boys would never consider being altar boys, because we thought those boys were fairies (queer). I don’t ever remember using the word “homosexual,” and the word “gay” was not used that many years ago either. We never knew what went on behind closed doors with the priest and the boys, but the rumors we heard were not very nice. And even if there was something going on, it would never be made public. The actions of the priests were above reproach. In the last five years or so, we are finding out what has been going on for many, many years.

Now with Father Defranco, it was a little different. He just couldn’t keep his hands off those pretty little girls. After many complaints from the parents of these girls, Father Defranco should have been excommunicated (fired). Instead, he was transferred to a church far away from Schenectady and we never heard from him again. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now it tells me that this practice was a common occurrence. I wonder if the bishops knew he/they would start that same thing wherever he/they was/were sent. We said, "Good riddance." I believe as an adult, now as then, that priests are hard to come by; they are a dwindling group, and that is the reason they keep all they have, regardless of offenses. Shame on them for ruining the lives of so many children. That fact was verified last year when it went public how several pedophile priests were transferred from one location to another.

In summation, though the Catholic Church had and still has satanic activities, there are two that contribute to them all: The first and most major problem is that their religion does not conform to the NT, even though they mention the name of Jesus Christ frequently. Their religion is not a Christian religion!

And second, they forbid the marriage of priest and nuns. I believe that before most nuns enter the convent, they are innocent and unaware of what will go on in their lives once they are ready to enter service for their Lord. But for the young men, it may be a different story. Some are gay; some are perverts; some are straight, at least for awhile; and a minority have no sexual desires for males or females. The latter will be the good Catholic priests. Their only crime is the fact that they are Catholics. And still, there is one problem with this minority: How can they identify with the common people whom they must serve? They cannot jump into the shoes (empathy) of those they are supposed to serve and then make the correct decisions.

By forbidding marriage, they are in complete disagreement with the NT. Listen to what Paul has to say about the subject of forbidding marriage: 1st Timothy 4:1-3. "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons . . . They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods . . ." It is a horrible thing to forbid people to marry. Actually, I don’t believe there are words in the human language strong enough to express the evil anyone does by forbidding another to marry. There are enough males and females who don’t care to get married, but still engage in sexual activities. That may be okay for them—hell—as long as they don’t call themselves Christians.

When my mother lived in the old country, she heard of how the nuns got pregnant by the priest and had to give up their babies or kill them. This was a regular practice then, and it still goes on to this day. The nuns’ babies that were adopted were called "priest’s kids," and when they grew up and knew what that meant, they had to carry that stigma for the rest of their lives. All Catholics are guilty of all the above-mentioned crimes against Christ and humanity by continuing, through their ignorance or stupidity, to support the satanic errors of the Roman Catholic Church.

My prayer is that some Catholic bloggers, hopefully many, will realize that the Roman Catholic Church is not the correct choice as a path to heaven, and will examine the Holy Scriptures and the history of their church to confirm what this post teaches.