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Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)

4 short introductory video studies First recorded in 2007, posted to GodTube in 2010  These short videos were made nearly 14 years ago. ...

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Catholic Church's Definition of "Christian"

 A little different tack today. I am very careful not to parrot opinion or sterotype. I prefer to let people speak for themselves. As I like to put it, "I don't accuse 'em, I just quotes 'em."

Social network (GETTR) live-streamer and "influencer," Isabel Brown, groaned recently on her page, "Catholics are Christian too!" I suppose one too many Evangelicals questioned the status of Catholics as Christians. This would be a interesting gripe if not for the official doctrines of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church officially, and with great prejudice, condemns, specifically, the gospel held by Evangelicals (Trent, etc.). That's fine. That should end the discussion (on both ends). We acknowledge they have a right to believe what the want, just don't pretend to be some sort of victim. 

For the record,  I don't care what label you take, I'll fellowship with anyone resting in the Lord's work alone. If one does believe in the gospel of the free grace of God, I don't understand why he would stay in the CC, but that's a horse of a different color. As to who is a true "Christian" however, Isabel's chosen church of affiliation has very clear opinion (and they're not very nice about it).

A few quotes from countless like them, covering a millenia or more:

"To be Christian one must be Roman. One must recognize the oneness of Christ’s Church that is governed by one successor of the Prince of the Apostles who is the Bishop of Rome, Christ’s Vicar on earth."
-Pius XII (1957)

"So long as the member lives in the body, it lived; separated, it lost its life. Thus the man, so long as he lives in the body of the [Catholic] Church, he is a Christian; separated from her, he becomes a heretic."

"He who confesses the doctrine of Jesus Christ in his Church. Hence, he who is truly a Christian thoroughly detests all cults and sects found outside the doctrine and outside the Church of Christ, everywhere and among all peoples, as for example the Jewish, the Mohammedan, and the heretical cults and sects."
-St. Peter Canisius

"[The CC] firmly believes, confesses and preaches that no one outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but neither Jews nor heretics and schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life, but will go into eternal fire 'which was prepared for the devil and his angels' (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her... No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."
-Eugene IV
And from the current catechism, released by the Magisterium under the auspices of "Saint" John Paul II in 1994 concerning me (condemned) and you (the Catholic Church is saving you from a distance, heretic):

YOU MUST BE BAPTIZED! Oh, except Muslims, Hindus, Animists...

And we have not even scratched the surface of the many caveats on their doctrines regarding baptism and non-Christian religions. The Paulist order (which the imprimatur of the Archbishop of Newark) taught that other religions (and even atheists) are just climbing the same mountain, but on the other side [Faith of Catholics: An Introduction by Richard W. Chilson, Paulist Press, 1978]. It's a free-for-all meant to deceive. 

Let us remind ourselves, again, of this "infallible" decree:

"Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.”

They'll say whatever works, on any particular day, to try and fool Evangelicals (I know, I was trained in the art of deception as a Religious Education Teacher in the CC), but they have never departed from "Christian = Catholic."

Isabel is offended if someone questions whether she's a Christian or not while her church condemns non-Catholic believers over and over and over while also insisting that only Catholics are real Christians?

I have less than zero sympathy for Miss Brown.

Monday, May 15, 2023

The Process of Seeing Spiritual Truths (The Lord Heals the Blind)

Physical and Spiritual Blindness

 Let us take a quick look at the man born blind in John chapter 9.

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.

We are all born blind from birth. We know nothing of the Lord. As far as the infant is concerned, time began when he took his first breath. His only concerns at that point are personal (warmth, food, shelter), etc. The babe cannot give love, yet he has tremendous potential to give love and that process begins not long after birth.

While the babe can start to make sense of the world around him, he is limited to his immediate surroundings. He will only know of the greater world through additional experiences and education. But even with these, his knowledge will not be complete immediately. The process of gaining knowledge is continual and is hampered along the way by the limitations of the flesh and the constant decaying of the mind. 

And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Enter human and religious reasoning into the account (from the Lord's disciples, no less). As we experience life, we naturally start to apply what we perceive to that which is around us. It is natural and right to conclude that there must be an intelligence to the design we see. And we are all born with some sense (although flawed by our fallen nature in Adam) of right and wrong. 

The disciples were in the very presence of the God of Abraham, the God of Israel. They walked with him daily. They heard him speak They knew from experience and from scripture that sin had consequences and that God added his own repercussions to sinful choices. 

In John chapter 5, after the Lord has healed the man with the 38-year infirmity (John 5:5), we have the Lord's warning to the man recorded for us.

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”

It would have been natural for the disciples to conclude that all infirmities are the result of sin.  But this does not necessarily follow. We don't know that the man's 38-year condition was the result of any sin (his or his parents' sin). All we know is that, being healed, he should leave whatever life of sin had its hold on him lest a "worse thing" inflict him.  

The Call: Opening Israel's Eyes

Let us return to John 9.

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

The man was born blind for this very moment. God is outside of time and can see the full picture. We are creatures of time, so we may not fully grasp the Lord's workings here, but we must allow the Lord to do as he will as he knows best.

The Lord healed the man to reveal what God has planned in the long run. The Lord was sent to Israel to proclaim the promised Kingdom and he came to all of us to proclaim the taking away of our sin. We see in this statement that there are windows to God's workings. This is another aspect of dispensationalism. That is, the Lord is teaching us that there are times when the Lord will work these miracles out in the open and times when he will not (and can not). 

Does the Lord change? No! The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and to the end of the ages (Hebrews 13:8), but how he deals with men changes, his economies change, and his focus changes and hopes change (heaven, earth, kingdom, etc.).

The Lord states that he is "the light of the world."  While he was here, in the world, it was daytime. In the Acts age, the Lord was with the Apostles "to the end," reflecting his light through them, yet indirectly.

Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

-John 13:1

 Does this teach that the love of the Lord ends for his own? No, but the end of a stage of his earthly ministry was near. He would soon "depart" from this world. This is reference to the his ascension. This was a truth unseen by the disciples. Their eyes were still blind to all that was to shortly come to pass.

We pause to note that word for "world" here is the Greek "kósmos." It is used around 90 times in the gospel accounts, over 75 times by John. The Lord is the Light of the kósmos, and when that Light departs, darkness shall come to the kósmos. Israel here is in the context of the Passover. His earthly people in context of the human family. At the same time sperate and included. They were called directly by the Light while he was among them, and indirectly after he ascended.

This is evident in the Acts Age. The Light reflected more dimly through the choses apostles. Those commissioned to Israel in the land and in the Dispersion were far better equipped and separated unto the work than we could ever claim in our own calling, but the Light was still filtered through men to its detriment.

In this way, the Acts Age carried with it a judgment against Israel for Israel had taken "by lawless hands" the Son of God, their Messiah, and had crucified him.

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death... 
-Acts 2:22-23

The word translated "lawless" here ("wicked" in the KJV) is the Greek "ánomos." It means "not subject to the Mosaic law" or "without Law" and is used of Gentiles. A gentile is naturally outside of the Law. The Law was given specifically to Israel. The charge Peter makes here (at Pentecost, after the Holy Spirit had fallen) is against "Ye men of Israel." There was still an Israel. This brings our thoughts back to John's charge in John 1:4-5, 11.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it... He came to His own [Israel], and His own did not receive Him.

Israel's Messiah, Hidden in the Prophets, Revealed in Christ

Israel had the Light of men walking among them, but they acted as though they had no Law ("lawless"), they (as a nation) preferred the darkness, and thus they crucified the Lord of Glory. In Paul's Acts Age epistle of 1 Corinthians 2, he makes reference to truth which was spoken by the Prophets in the Hebrew scriptures, but whose application and meaning were hidden because their hearts were hard. They could know, but they had to open their eyes. They had to ignore the teachings of the "lettered" Pharisees to see the truth in the written word.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

The Light of Life prophesied to the nation of Israel, the Christ for whose arrival they longed, the one the Law and the Prophets said would come was rejected. The direct Light was rejected during the Lord's earthly ministry and the indirect Light through the Apostles to the Circumcision was rejected in the Acts Age. 

Taking the Message to the Lord's Brethren, to the Jew First

In the Acts Age, the Apostle Paul always went to the Jews first (Acts 17:2). And he testified that he spoke nothing that was not spoken by Moses and the Prophets (Acts 26:22). In Rome, he called the Jewish leaders there together to witness to Christ again appealing, as he always had to that point, to Moses and the Prophets. This "mystery" was only hidden from those who refused to see it, despite it being in the very texts they held sacred.

Let's take a quick look at Paul's ministry in Rome in Acts 28:

And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers

Israel was still around in that age. Israel was still being called to repent so the Lord could return (Acts 3).These are Paul's "brethren according to the flesh." Israel are the "brethren" to whom the Lord refers in the parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25. Paul had done "nothing" against who he refers to as "our people," And he violated no "custom" or "our fathers." (See also Romans 9:1-5; 10:1)

Christ and his apostles provided all the evidence from scripture for Israel to believe. Recall that the Bereans in Acts 17 "searched the scriptures daily" whether the things Paul preached were true. The "mystery" of  1 Corinthians (Acts Age) was simply hidden from hearts which refused to see.

The Acts is About the Continued Preaching of the Earthly Kingdom to Israel

So when they [the Jewish leaders in Rome] had appointed [Paul] a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.

Paul spoke nothing about a "Gentile" church or some "Spiritual Israel" to these men. He spoke nothing about the Mystery of Ephesians 3 to them. At this point, the message was still a revealing of truths from Moses (the Law) and the Prophets concerning the restoration of the Kingdom in Israel as taught by the Lord to his disciples (Acts 1:6).

Some believed and some did not (Acts 28:24). Some had their blindness removed, others remained in the dark.

Paul then, In Acts 28, pronounced the declaration from the Prophet Isaiah concerning Israel.

‘Go to this people and say:
“Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;
And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.” ’

When the truth is proclaimed in any age, some will see, some will never see, and some will start to see and then have a choice: do they continue to study and seek greater understanding or do they simply close their eyes? Some will start seem but not fully perceiving, they choose merely to close their eyes.

Paul revealed another Mystery in Ephesians 3. This Mystery, however, is said to be "hidden" from Moses and the Prophets. Hidden from before the foundation of ages and revealed to Paul alone. In this current economy of God (dealing with blessings in the far above the heavens and not dealing with the earthly Kingdom), men must also have their blindness removed to see it. 

Comparing the Healings of the Blind Man in John & the Blind Man in Mark

Let us return to the blind man in John:

When [The Lord] had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

 In any age, this is the moment of decision. I believe the clay represents men. The use of saliva was considered medicinal in Israel. It was not forbidden by he Pharisees, however, its use was forbidden on the Sabbath ("Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes"). I would contend the Lord was making a statement, again, that a good work performed on the Sabbath was not a violation of the Law (it pointed to the greater Sabbath of Genesis). In this case, the medicinal spittle is combined with clay (the Lord as a man, sent to his people) to heal the nation and nations.

This sign is the sixth sign in John. I always want to be careful not to read too much into every jot and tittle in scripture, but "6" is the number of man. Man was created on the sixth day and the Sabbath established on the seventh. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27) and the Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). The Sabbath rest of Genesis is not the Sabbath of the Law. In regard to all men, it supersedes the Law of the Old Covenant of Exodus. John presents the Lord as God with no beginning and no end (John 1:1). He is greater than the Sabbath.

The leaders of Israel did not understand the Law nor could they see their own Messiah in their midst. They "perceived him not" as we have noted. They did not "comprehend" the Light sent to them.

Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath”... So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”


It has been noted that we should look to Revelation 3:18 and the Lord's words to Israel in a coming time of trouble for possibly more enlightenment.

I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.


There is a need in every age to do what we can to see more clearly. We cannot rest on our laurels of a degree or a confession or a council or a statement of faith. We must all, individually, seek to see better. 

A quick comparison to the healing recorded in Mark chapter 8.

Then [the Lord] came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.

Here we have healing which also involves a blind man. In this account, the man is brought to the Lord. The Lord uses saliva, but no clay, and the healing is in stages. Again, being careful not to draw huge theological doctrines and dogmas from the details, I would still note the differences.

Mark is the gospel of the Lord as Servant. The book has no lineage. He is the great Servant sent to Israel. Yet Israel still had to be led to him. And when they came upon him, he serves them directly. He applies the saliva directly to the blind man who does not immediately see clearly. He initially sees men "walking like trees." I believe we can see here the partial salvation of Israel in the Acts Age (cp Romans 9:1-13, etc.) and then the final restoration in the age to come.

There is no hint of the Mystery of the current age here in Mark. There is an unspoken gap in the story. There is no explanation for the partial sight and no events listed before the final restoration.

The word "restored" in Mark 8:25 is the Greek word, "apokathístēmi." This is a "restoration" of eyesight. Thayer's dictionary defines this word, "to restore to its former state." This is the same word used in Acts 1 in reference to the "restoration" of the Kingdom in Israel (Acts 1:6). That is the reestablishment of the Throne of David. It is not a "new church."

Mark 8 is not a blindness from birth as in John 9. Just prior to the healing in Mark 8, the Lord warns of "the Leaven of the Pharisees [fake legalism] and the leaven of Herod [fake King of the Jews]." He then points his disciples to the miracle of the fish and the loaves.

When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”

Twelve being associated with the nation of Israel and seven being associated with her final day (1000 years) of rest.

 Healing and provision are coming to Israel in the age to come. Her Sabbath rest of 1000 years awaits her when the Lord restores the Kingdom in Israel and sits on the throne of His father, David. Gabriel proclaimed to Mary, as given to us by Luke,  concerning the Messiah she bore:

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

And recall, it is this same angel, the same messenger of God, who revealed truths to Daniel regarding the age to come.

Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.”

-Daniel 8:15-17


The Lord was sent to Israel alone (Matthew 15:24), yet the Messiah always planned to bless the nations through Israel's blessings (Romans 15). But Israel has to see her Messiah first, repent, turn to the living, resurrected Christ as her Lord and Christ, and then the blessings of the earthly kingdom will come. Israel and the believing Gentiles will experience the Kingdom which is to come.