Five Myths About 7 Books

Five Myths About 7 Books

Lenny’s comment: One of the first arguments that I heard against the Catholic Church is that they added books to the Bible at the council of Trent. The thing that I found most amazing is that the Church didn’t add books to the Bible at that time and Protestants still continued to print these SAME books in their Bibles up until 1825 when Protestant Biblical societies began to remove them. Mark Shea, a convert from Evangelical Christianity, gives a very Comprehensive and easy to understand article about the issues concerning these Seven Jewish books that are accepted by some Christians and rejected by others.


Five Myths About 7 books by Mark Shea.
Here are the answers to five common arguments Protestants give for rejecting the Deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament.

People don’t talk much about the deuterocanon these days. The folks who do are mostly Christians, and they usually fall into two general groupings: Catholics—who usually don’t know their Bibles very well and, therefore, don’t know much about the deuterocanonical books, and Protestants—who may know their Bibles a bit better, though their Bibles don’t have the deuterocanonical books in them anyway, so they don’t know anything about them either. With the stage thus set for informed ecumenical dialogue, it’s no wonder most people think the deuterocanon is some sort of particle weapon recently perfected by the Pentagon.

The deuterocanon (ie. “second canon”) is a set of seven books—Sirach, Tobit, Wisdom, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and Baruch, as well as longer versions of Daniel and Esther—that are found in the Old Testament canon used by Catholics, but are not in the Old Testament canon used by Protestants, who typically refer to them by the mildly pejorative term “apocrypha.” This group of books is called “deuterocanonical” not (as some imagine) because they are a “second rate” or inferior canon, but because their status as being part of the canon of Scripture was settled later in time than certain books that always and everywhere were regarded as Scripture, such as Genesis, Isaiah, and Psalms.

Why are Protestant Bibles missing these books? Protestants offer various explanations to explain why they reject the deuterocanonical books as Scripture. I call these explanations “myths” because they are either incorrect or simply inadequate reasons for rejecting these books of Scripture. Let’s explore the five most common of these myths and see how to respond to them.

Myth 1 The deuterocanonical books are not found in the Hebrew Bible. They were added by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent after Luther rejected it.

The background to this theory goes like this: Jesus and the Apostles, being Jews, used the same Bible Jews use today. However, after they passed from the scene, muddled hierarchs started adding books to the Bible either out of ignorance or because such books helped back up various wacky Catholic traditions that were added to the gospel. In the 16th century, when the Reformation came along, the first Protestants, finally able to read their Bibles without ecclesial propaganda from Rome, noticed that the Jewish and Catholic Old Testaments differed, recognized this medieval addition for what it was and scraped it off the Word of God like so many barnacles off a diamond. Rome, ever ornery, reacted by officially adding the deuterocanonical books at the Council of Trent (15645-1564) and started telling Catholics “they had always been there.”

This is a fine theory. The problem is that its basis in history is gossamer thin. As we’ll see in a moment, accepting this myth leads to some remarkable dilemmas a little further on.

The problems with this theory are first, it relies on the incorrect notion that the modern Jewish Bible is identical to the Bible used by Jesus and the Apostles. This is false. In fact, the Old Testament was still very much in flux in the time of Christ and there was no fixed canon of Scripture in the apostolic period. Some people will tell you that there must have been since, they say, Jesus held people accountable to obey the Scriptures. But this is also untrue. For in fact, Jesus held people accountable to obey their conscience and therefore, to obey Scripture insofar as they were able to grasp what constituted “Scripture.”

Consider the Sadducees. They only regarded the first five books of the Old Testament as inspired and canonical. The rest of the Old Testament was regarded by them in much the same way the deuterocanon is regarded by Protestant Christians today: nice, but not the inspired Word of God. This was precisely why the Sadducees argued with Jesus against the reality of the resurrection in Matthew 22:23-33: they couldn’t see it in the five books of Moses and they did not regard the later books of Scripture which spoke of it explicitly (such as Isaiah and 2 Maccabees) to be inspired and canonical. Does Jesus say to them “You do greatly err, not knowing Isaiah and 2 Maccabees”? Does He bind them to acknowledge these books as canonical? No. He doesn’t try to drag the Sadducees kicking and screaming into an expanded Old Testament. He simply holds the Sadducees accountable to take seriously the portion of Scripture they do acknowledge: that is, He argues for the resurrection based on the five books of the Law. But of course, this doesn’t mean Jesus commits Himself to the Sadducees’ whittled-down canon.

When addressing the Pharisees, another Jewish faction of the time, Jesus does the same thing. These Jews seem to have held to a canon resembling the modern Jewish canon, one far larger than that of the Sadducees but not as large as other Jewish collections of Scripture. That’s why Christ and the Apostles didn’t hesitate to argue with them from the books they acknowledged as Scripture. But as with the Sadducees, this doesn’t imply that Christ or the Apostles limited the canon of Scripture only to what the Pharisees acknowledged.

When the Lord and His Apostles addressed Greek-speaking Diaspora Jews, they made use of an even bigger collection of Scripture—the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek—which many Jews (the vast majority, in fact) regarded as inspired Scripture. In fact, we find that the New Testament is filled with references to the Septuagint (and its particular translation of various Old Testament passages) as Scripture. It’s a strange irony that one of the favorite passages used in anti-Catholic polemics over the years is Mark 7:6-8. In this passage Christ condemns “teaching as doctrines human traditions.” This verse has formed the basis for countless complaints against the Catholic Church for supposedly “adding” to Scripture man-made traditions, such as the “merely human works” of the deuterocanononical books. But few realize that in Mark 7:6-8 the Lord was quoting the version of Isaiah that is found only in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament.

But there’s the rub: The Septuagint version of Scripture, from which Christ quoted, includes the Deuterocanonical books, books that were supposedly “added” by Rome in the 16th century. And this is by no means the only citation of the Septuagint in the New Testament. In fact, fully two thirds of the Old Testament passages that are quoted in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. So why aren’t the deuterocanonical books in today’s Jewish Bible, anyway? Because the Jews who formulated the modern Jewish canon were a) not interested in apostolic teaching and, b) driven by a very different set of concerns from those motivating the apostolic community.

In fact, it wasn’t until the very end of the apostolic age that the Jews, seeking a new focal point for their religious practice in the wake of the destruction of the Temple, zeroed in with white hot intensity on Scripture and fixed their canon at the rabbinical gathering, known as the “Council of Javneh” (sometimes called “Jamnia”), about A.D. 90. Prior to this point in time there had never been any formal effort among the Jews to “define the canon” of Scripture. In fact, Scripture nowhere indicates that the Jews even had a conscious idea that the canon should be closed at some point.

The canon arrived at by the rabbis at Javneh was essentially the mid-sized canon of the Palestinian Pharisees, not the shorter one used by the Sadducees, who had been practically annihilated during the Jewish war with Rome. Nor was this new canon consistent with the Greek Septuagint version, which the rabbis regarded rather xenophobically as “too Gentile-tainted.” Remember, these Palestinian rabbis were not in much of a mood for multiculturalism after the catastrophe they had suffered at the hands of Rome. Their people had been slaughtered by foreign invaders, the Temple defiled and destroyed, and the Jewish religion in Palestine was in shambles. So for these rabbis, the Greek Septuagint went by the board and the mid-sized Pharisaic canon was adopted. Eventually this version was adopted by the vast majority of Jews—though not all. Even today Ethiopian Jews still use the Septuagint version, not the shorter Palestinian canon settled upon by the rabbis at Javneh. In other words, the Old Testament canon recognized by Ethiopian Jews is identical to the Catholic Old Testament, including the seven deuterocanonical books (cf. Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, p. 1147).

But remember that by the time the Jewish council of Javneh rolled around, the Catholic Church had been in existence and using the Septuagint Scriptures in its teaching, preaching, and worship for nearly 60 years, just as the Apostles themselves had done. So the Church hardly felt the obligation to conform to the wishes of the rabbis in excluding the deuterocanonical books any more than they felt obliged to follow the rabbis in rejecting the New Testament writings. The fact is that after the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost, the rabbis no longer had authority from God to settle such issues. That authority, including the authority to define the canon of Scripture, had been given to Christ’s Church.

Thus, Church and synagogue went their separate ways, not in the Middle Ages or the 16th century, but in the 1st century. The Septuagint, complete with the deuterocanononical books, was first embraced, not by the Council of Trent, but by Jesus of Nazareth and his Apostles.

Myth 2 Christ and the Apostles frequently quoted Old Testament Scripture as their authority, but they never quoted from the deuterocanonical books, nor did they even mention them. Clearly, if these books were part of Scripture, the Lord would have cited them.

This myth rests on two fallacies. The first is the “Quotation Equals Canonicity” myth. It assumes that if a book is quoted or alluded to by the Apostles or Christ, it is ipso facto shown to be part of the Old Testament. Conversely, if a given book is not quoted, it must not be canonical.

This argument fails for two reasons. First, numerous non-canonical books are quoted in the New Testament. These include the Book of Enoch and the Assumption of Moses (quoted by St. Jude), the Ascension of Isaiah (alluded to in Hebrews 11:37), and the writings of the pagan poets Epimenides, Aratus, and Menander (quoted by St. Paul in Acts, 1 Corinthians, and Titus). If quotation equals canonicity, then why aren’t these writings in the canon of the Old Testament?

Second, if quotation equals canonicity, then there are numerous books of the protocanonical Old Testament which would have to be excluded. This would include the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Judges, 1 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations and Nahum. Not one of these Old Testament books is ever quoted or alluded to by Christ or the Apostles in the New Testament.

The other fallacy behind Myth #2 is that, far from being ignored in the New Testament (like Ecclesiastes, Esther, and 1 Chronicles) the deuterocanonical books are indeed quoted and alluded to in the New Testament. For instance, Wisdom 2:12-20, reads in part, “For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”

This passage was clearly in the minds of the Synoptic Gospel writers in their accounts of the Crucifixion: “He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, ÔI am the Son of God'” (cf. Matthew 27:42-43).

Similarly, St. Paul alludes clearly to Wisdom chapters 12 and 13 in Romans 1:19-25. Hebrews 11:35 refers unmistakably to 2 Maccabees 7. And more than once, Christ Himself drew on the text of Sirach 27:6, which reads: “The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does a man’s speech disclose the bent of his mind.” Notice too that the Lord and His Apostles observed the Jewish feast of Hanukkah (cf. John 10:22-36). But the divine establishment of this key feast day is recorded only in the deuterocanonical books of 1 and 2 Maccabees. It is nowhere discussed in any other book of the Old Testament. In light of this, consider the importance of Christ’s words on the occasion of this feast: “Is it not written in your Law, ÔI have said you are gods’? If he called them Ôgods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the One Whom the Father set apart as His very own and sent into the world?” Jesus, standing near the Temple during the feast of Hanukkah, speaks of His being “set apart,” just as Judas Maccabeus “set apart” (ie. consecrated) the Temple in 1 Maccabees 4:36-59 and 2 Maccabees 10:1-8. In other words, our Lord made a connection that was unmistakable to His Jewish hearers by treating the Feast of Hanukkah and the account of it in the books of the Maccabees as an image or type of His own consecration by the Father. That is, He treats the Feast of Hanukkah from the so-called “apocryphal” books of 1 and 2 Maccabees exactly as He treats accounts of the manna (John 6:32-33; Exodus 16:4), the Bronze Serpent (John 3:14; Numbers 21:4-9), and Jacob’s Ladder (John 1:51; Genesis 28:12)— as inspired, prophetic, scriptural images of Himself. We see this pattern throughout the New Testament. There is no distinction made by Christ or the Apostles between the deuterocanonical books and the rest of the Old Testament.

Myth 3 The deuterocanonical books contain historical, geographical, and moral errors, so they can’t be inspired Scripture.
This myth might be raised when it becomes clear that the allegation that the deuterocanonical books were “added” by the Catholic Church is fallacious. This myth is built on another attempt to distinguish between the deuterocanonical books and “true Scripture.” Let’s examine it.

First, from a certain perspective, there are “errors” in the deuterocanonical books. The book of Judith, for example, gets several points of history and geography wrong. Similarly Judith, that glorious daughter of Israel, lies her head off (well, actually, it’s wicked King Holofernes’ head that comes off). And the Angel Raphael appears under a false name to Tobit. How can Catholics explain that such “divinely inspired” books would endorse lying and get their facts wrong? The same way we deal with other incidents in Scripture where similar incidents of lying or “errors” happen.

Let’s take the problem of alleged “factual errors” first. The Church teaches that to have an authentic understanding of Scripture we must have in mind what the author was actually trying to assert, the way he was trying to assert it, and what is incidental to that assertion.

For example, when Jesus begins the parable of the Prodigal Son saying, “There was once a man with two sons,” He is not shown to be a bad historian when it is proven that the man with two sons He describes didn’t actually exist. So too, when the prophet Nathan tells King David the story of the “rich man” who stole a “poor man’s” ewe lamb and slaughtered it, Nathan is not a liar if he cannot produce the carcass or identify the two men in his story. In strict fact, there was no ewe lamb, no theft, and no rich and poor men. These details were used in a metaphor to rebuke King David for his adultery with Bathsheba. We know what Nathan was trying to say and the way he was trying to say it. Likewise, when the Gospels say the women came to the tomb at sunrise, there is no scientific error here. This is not the assertion of the Ptolemiac theory that the sun revolves around the earth. These and other examples which could be given are not “errors” because they’re not truth claims about astronomy or historical events.

Similarly, both Judith and Tobit have a number of historical and geographical errors, not because they’re presenting bad history and erroneous geography, but because they’re first-rate pious stories that don’t pretend to be remotely interested with teaching history or geography, any more than the Resurrection narratives in the Gospels are interested in astronomy. Indeed, the author of Tobit goes out of his way to make clear that his hero is fictional. He makes Tobit the uncle of Ahiqar, a figure in ancient Semitic folklore like “Jack the Giant Killer” or “Aladdin.” Just as one wouldn’t wave a medieval history textbook around and complain about a tale that begins “once upon a time when King Arthur ruled the land,” so Catholics are not reading Tobit and Judith to get a history lesson.

Very well then, but what of the moral and theological “errors”? Judith lies. Raphael gives a false name. So they do. In the case of Judith lying to King Holofernes in order to save her people, we must recall that she was acting in light of Jewish understanding as it had developed until that time. This meant that she saw her deception as acceptable, even laudable, because she was eliminating a deadly foe of her people. By deceiving Holofernes as to her intentions and by asking the Lord to bless this tactic, she was not doing something alien to Jewish Scripture or Old Testament morality. Another biblical example of this type of lying is when the Hebrew midwives lied to Pharaoh about the birth of Moses. They lied and were justified in lying because Pharaoh did not have a right to the truth—if they told the truth, he would have killed Moses. If the book of Judith is to be excluded from the canon on this basis, so must Exodus.

With respect to Raphael, it’s much more dubious that the author intended, or that his audience understood him to mean, “Angels lie. So should you.” On the contrary, Tobit is a classic example of an “entertaining angels unaware” story (cf. Heb. 13:2). We know who Raphael is all along. When Tobit cried out to God for help, God immediately answered him by sending Raphael. But, as is often the case, God’s deliverance was not noticed at first. Raphael introduced himself as “Azariah,” which means “Yahweh helps,” and then rattles off a string of supposed mutual relations, all with names meaning things like “Yahweh is merciful,” “Yahweh gives,” and “Yahweh hears.” By this device, the author is saying (with a nudge and a wink), “Psst, audience. Get it?” And we, of course, do get it, particularly if we’re reading the story in the original Hebrew. Indeed, by using the name “Yahweh helps,” Raphael isn’t so much “lying” about his real name as he is revealing the deepest truth about who God is and why God sent him to Tobit. It’s that truth and not any fluff about history or geography or the fun using an alias that the author of Tobit aims to tell.

Myth 4 The deuterocanonical books themselves deny that they are inspired Scripture.

Correction: Two of the deuterocanonical books seem to disclaim inspiration, and even that is a dicey proposition. The two in question are Sirach and 2 Maccabees. Sirach opens with a brief preface by the author’s grandson saying, in part, that he is translating grandpa’s book, that he thinks the book important and that, “You therefore are now invited to read it in a spirit of attentive good will, with indulgence for any apparent failure on our part, despite earnest efforts, in the interpretation of particular passages.” Likewise, the editor of 2 Maccabees opens with comments about how tough it was to compose the book and closes with a sort of shrug saying, “I will bring my own story to an end here too. If it is well written and to the point, that is what I wanted; if it is poorly done and mediocre, that is the best I could do.”

That, and that alone, is the basis for the myth that the deuterocanon (all seven books and not just these two) “denies that it is inspired Scripture.” Several things can be said in response to this argument.

First, is it reasonable to think that these typically oriental expressions of humility really constitute anything besides a sort of gesture of politeness and the customary downplaying of one’s own talents, something common among ancient writers in Middle Eastern cultures? No. For example, one may as well say that St. Paul’s declaration of himself as “one born abnormally” or as being the “chief of sinners” (he mentions this in the present, not past tense) necessarily makes his writings worthless.

Second, speaking of St. Paul, we are confronted by even stronger and explicit examples of disclaimers regarding inspired status of his writings, yet no Protestant would feel compelled to exclude these Pauline writings from the New Testament canon. Consider his statement in 1 Corinthians 1:16 that he can’t remember whom he baptized. Using the “It oughtta sound more like the Holy Spirit talking” criterion of biblical inspiration Protestants apply to the deuterocanonical books, St. Paul would fail the test here. Given this amazing criterion, are we to believe the Holy Spirit “forgot” whom St. Paul baptized, or did He inspire St. Paul to forget (1 Cor. 1:15)?

1 Corinthians 7:40 provides an ambiguous statement that could, according to the principles of this myth, be understood to mean that St. Paul wasn’t sure that his teaching was inspired or not. Elsewhere St. Paul makes it clear that certain teachings he’s passing along are “not I, but the Lord” speaking (1 Cor. 7:10), whereas in other cases, “I, not the Lord” am speaking (cf. 1 Cor. 7:12). This is a vastly more direct “disclaimer of inspiration” than the oblique deuterocanonical passages cited above, yet nobody argues that St. Paul’s writings should be excluded from Scripture, as some say the whole of the deuterocanon should be excluded from the Old Testament, simply on the strength of these modest passages from Sirach and 2 Maccabees.

Why not? Because in St. Paul’s case people recognize that a writer can be writing under inspiration even when he doesn’t realize it and doesn’t claim it, and that inspiration is not such a flat-footed affair as “direct dictation” by the Holy Spirit to the author. Indeed, we even recognize that the Spirit can inspire the writers to make true statements about themselves, such as when St. Paul tells the Corinthians he couldn’t remember whom he had baptized.

To tweak the old proverb, “What’s sauce for the apostolic goose is sauce for the deuterocanonical gander.” The writers of the deuterocanonical books can tell the truth about themselves—that they think writing is tough, translating is hard, and that they are not sure they’ve done a terrific job—without such admissions calling into question the inspired status of what they wrote. This myth proves nothing other than the Catholic doctrine that the books of Sacred Scripture really were composed by human beings who remained fully human and free, even as they wrote under the direct inspiration of God.

Myth 5 The early Church Fathers, such as St. Athanasius and St. Jerome (who translated the official Bible of the Catholic Church), rejected the deuterocanonical books as Scripture, and the Catholic Church added these books to the canon at the Council of Trent.

First, no Church Father is infallible. That charism is reserved uniquely to the pope, in an extraordinary sense and, in an ordinary sense, corporately to all the lawful bishops of the Catholic Church who are in full communion with the pope and are teaching definitively in an ecumenical council. Second, our understanding of doctrine develops. This means that doctrines which may not have been clearly defined sometimes get defined. A classic example of this is the doctrine of the Trinity, which wasn’t defined until A.D. 325 at the Council of Nicaea, nearly 300 years after Christ’s earthly ministry. In the intervening time, we can find a few Fathers writing before Nicaea who, in good faith, expressed theories about the nature of the Godhead that were rendered inadequate after Nicaea’s definition. This doesn’t make them heretics. It just means that Michael Jordan misses layups once in awhile. Likewise, the canon of Scripture, though it more or less assumed its present shape—which included the deuterocanonical books — by about A.D. 380, nonetheless wasn’t dogmatically defined by the Church for another thousand years. In that thousand years, it was quite on the cards for believers to have some flexibility in how they regarded the canon. And this applies to the handful of Church Fathers and theologians who expressed reservations about the deuterocanon. Their private opinions about the deuterocanon were just that: private opinions.

And finally, this myth begins to disintegrate when you point out that the overwhelming majority of Church Fathers and other early Christian writers regarded the deuterocanonical books as having exactly the same inspired, scriptural status as the other Old Testament books. Just a few examples of this acceptance can be found in the Didache, The Epistle of Barnabas, the Council of Rome, the Council of Hippo, the Third Council of Carthage, the African Code, the Apostolic Constitutions, and the writings of Pope St. Clement I (Epistle to the Corinthians), St. Polycarp of Smyrna, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, St. Hippolytus, St. Cyprian of Carthage, , Pope St. Damasus I, the , St. Augustine, and Pope St. Innocent I.

But last and most interesting of all in this stellar lineup is a certain Father already mentioned: St. Jerome. In his later years St. Jerome did indeed accept the Deuter-ocanonical books of the Bible. In fact, he wound up strenuously defending their status as inspired Scripture, writing, “What sin have I committed if I followed the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susanna, the Son of the Three Children, and the story of Bel and the Dragon, which are not found in the Hebrew volume (ie. canon), proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. For I wasn’t relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they [the Jews] are wont to make against us” (Against Rufinus 11:33 [A.D. 402]). In earlier correspondence with Pope Damasus, Jerome did not call the deuterocanonical books unscriptural, he simply said that Jews he knew did not regard them as canonical. But for himself, he acknowledged the authority of the Church in defining the canon. When Pope Damasus and the Councils of Carthage and Hippo included the deuterocanon in Scripture, that was good enough for St. Jerome. He “followed the judgment of the churches.”

Martin Luther, however, did not. And this brings us to the “remarkable dilemmas” I referred to at the start of this article of trusting the Protestant Reformers’ private opinions about the deuterocanon. The fact is, if we follow Luther in throwing out the deuterocanonical books despite the overwhelming evidence from history showing that we shouldn’t (ie. the unbroken tradition of the Church and the teachings of councils and popes), we get much more than we bargained for.

For Luther also threw out a goodly chunk of the New Testament. Of James, for example, he said, “I do not regard it as the writing of an Apostle,” because he believed it “is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works” (Preface to James’ Epistle). Likewise, in other writings he underscores this rejection of James from the New Testament, calling it “an epistle full of straw . . . for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it” (Preface to the New Testament).

But the Epistle of James wasn’t the only casualty on Luther’s hit list. He also axed from the canon Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation, consigning them to a quasi-canonical status. It was only by an accident of history that these books were not expelled by Protestantism from the New Testament as Sirach, Tobit, 1 and 2 Maccabees and the rest were expelled from the Old. In the same way, it is largely the ignorance of this sad history that drives many to reject the deuterocanonical books.

Unless, of course, we reject the myths and come to an awareness of what the canon of Scripture, including the deuterocanonical books, is really based on. The only basis we have for determining the canon of the Scripture is the authority of the Church Christ established, through whom the Scriptures came. As St. Jerome said, it is upon the basis of “the judgment of the churches” and no other that the canon of Scripture is known, since the Scriptures are simply the written portion of the Church’s apostolic tradition. And the judgment of the churches is rendered throughout history as it was rendered in Acts 15 by means of a council of bishops in union with St. Peter. The books we have in our Bibles were accepted according to whether they did or did not measure up to standards based entirely on Sacred Tradition and the divinely delegated authority of the Body of Christ in council and in union with Peter.

The fact of the matter is that neither the Council of Trent nor the Council of Florence added a thing to the Old Testament canon. Rather, they simply accepted and formally ratified the ancient practice of the Apostles and early Christians by dogmatically defining a collection of Old Testament Scripture (including the deuterocanon) that had been there since before the time of Christ, used by our Lord and his apostles, inherited and assumed by the Fathers, formulated and reiterated by various councils and popes for centuries and read in the liturgy and prayer for 1500 years.

When certain people decided to snip some of this canon out in order to suit their theological opinions, the Church moved to prevent it by defining (both at Florence and Trent) that this very same canon was, in fact, the canon of the Church’s Old Testament and always had been.

Far from adding the books to the authentic canon of Scripture, the Catholic Church simply did its best to keep people from subtracting books that belong there. That’s no myth. That’s history.


Mark P. Shea “5 Myths about 7 Books.” Envoy 2001.
This article is reprinted with permission from Envoy Magazine.

Envoy is a bi-monthly journal of Catholic apologetics and evangelization. While there are a few other periodicals that deal, at least ostensibly, with this subject area, Envoy magazine is distinct from them in every way—graphically, editorially, and in content. It presents the truths of the Catholic Faith in a fresh, contemporary style, featuring today’s top Catholic writers, full-color graphics, and an upbeat, innovative format. To subscribe to Envoy call 800-55-Envoy.

Mark Shea is Senior Content Editor for Catholic Exchange. You may visit his website at or check out his blog, Catholic and Enjoying It!. Mark is the author of Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did (Basilica), By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition (Our Sunday Visitor), and This Is My Body: An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence (Christendom).

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church, is it Satan’s main weapon, or the Church that Jesus founded?

A man by the name of Danilo says; “Mr. Leonard Alt. A sharp, articulate man like you who chooses to remain lost is such a waste of life for not recognizing the cult of Roman Catholicism that has enslaved so many gullible people… It is a cult and RCC is Satan’s main weapon to lure worshipers away from God.”

Danilo, the false allegation against the Catholic Church, that it is somehow involved in Satanism is not new; this accusation actually goes back to the time of Jesus and the Apostles. In fact Jesus himself was accused of operating by Satan. When Jesus drove out a demon, the Pharisees accused Jesus of driving out demons by Satan, “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.’

Jesus said to them, “‘If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out?’ Therefore they will be your judges” (Mt 12:26-27).

Anyone can make an accusation against the Church founded by Jesus. The Christians, in the Bible, were not making the allegation of Satanism about one another. By making the accusation of Satanism, you are not echoing the words of Jesus in the Bible. You are echoing the words of the Pharisees, who accused Jesus of Satanism.

“It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.” Jesus said to them, “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out?

In every diocese of the Catholic Church there is an exorcist appointed and they discern and where it is necessary they do exorcise demons, but not in the name of Satan, but in the name of Jesus, in imitation of Jesus.

  • What do you do in remembrance of Jesus?
  • Satanic Mass done in mockery of the real Mass
  • Demon possessed man shows up at Mass:
  • Have you unwittingly aligned yourself with Satan?
  • Protestant confusion over the words “this is my body:”
  • How did the early Church solve issues where there is disagreement?
  • The Bible way or the Bible alone apart from the Church!
  • They knew their ABC’s and would not accept a different gospel
  • “Show it to me in the Bible!” Is the Bible Catholic?
  • Show it to me in the 1611 King James Bible!
  • Has the gates of Hades prevailed against your Church?

What do you do in remembrance of Jesus? The Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox and some Protestant Churches celebrate the Mass. Every Mass is a reenactment of Jesus’ Last Supper before Calvary. And we do this reenactment because Jesus tells us to in remembrance of Him, “Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19). Jesus could have asked the Apostles to do something else, but He didn’t. He wanted them to break bread claiming this is His Body; this is what he wanted the Apostles to do in remembrance of him.

And how of course the next question is how often did they do this in remembrance of Jesus, in the early church? They broke bread in remembrance of Jesus daily. And on the first day of the week (Sunday) they also broke break bread. There was a daily (Acts 2:4-6) and weekly (Acts 20:7) breaking of the bread and this was how often they did this in remembrance of Jesus. Does your tradition allow for a weekly breaking of the bread which was the Biblical norm?

For those of you who are reading this, does your church do what Jesus commanded us to do in remembrance of Him? Or do you follow some other tradition that does not follow these words of Jesus?

And do you devote yourselves “to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Does your tradition allow for these Biblical traditions as expressed in the Bible.

Satanic Mass done in mockery of the real Mass: Not every mass is a Mass that honors Jesus. Instead of doing this “in remembrance” of Jesus, some people (Satanists) perform what is called a black mass that is done in mockery of the words of Jesus and the Holy Mass which He instituted. In fact Satanists will steal consecrated hosts and desecrate them in their satanic masses.

In Oklahoma City there was a satanic group who stole a consecrated host from a Catholic parish and planned to desecrate it at one of their Satanic Masses. Archbishop Paul Coakley filed a lawsuit, asking a judge to stop the desecration by requiring the group to return the stolen property. He indicated in the suit that the Host was to be desecrated in the vilest ways imaginable as an offering in sacrifice to Satan. In light of the threatened lawsuit, the group returned the consecrated host to the Church. Thanks be to God.

“A spokesman from the satanic group, Adam Daniels, said, “The whole basis of the [satanic] ‘mass‘ is that we take the consecrated host and give it a ‘blessing‘ or offering to Satan. We’re censoring it, [I think he means using incense], doing all things that’s [sic] normally done to bless a sacrifice, which is obviously the host body of Christ. Then we’re taking that and we’re reconsecrating it, or the Devil does …

Msgr. Charles Pope says: “Grave and sad though this incident was (and it wasn’t the first), these Satanists obviously consider the Catholic Eucharist to be the Body of Christ. Unless I missed it, there have been no attempts by Satanists to steal and use a Methodist host, or an Episcopal one, or a Baptist one, or a Lutheran one, etc. It is a Catholic host they seek. Here then is an affirmation of the Scripture which says, Even the demons believe—and shudder” (James 2:19).

Demon possessed man shows up at Mass: Msgr. Pope tells of an experience with a demon possessed man who was present at one of his masses. “It was almost 15 years ago. I was At Old St. Mary’s here in D.C. celebrating Mass in the Latin (Extraordinary Form). It was a solemn high Mass. I don’t suppose I thought it any different than most Sundays, but something quite amazing was about to happen.

As you may know, the ancient Latin Mass is celebrated “ad orientem” (toward the Liturgical East). Priest and people all face in one direction. What this means practically for the celebrant is that the people are behind him. It was time for the consecration. At this time, the priest is directed to bow low with his forearms on the altar table and the host between his fingers.

As directed, the venerable words of Consecration were said in a low but distinct voice, Hoc est enim Corpus meum (For this is my Body). The bells rang as I genuflected.

But behind me there was a disturbance of some sort; a shaking or rustling sound came from the front pews behind me to my right. And then a moaning or grumbling. “What was that?” I wondered. It did not really sound human, more like the grumbling of a large animal such as a boar or a bear, along with a plaintive moan that also did not seem human. I elevated the host and again wondered, “What was that?” Then silence. As the celebrant in the ancient Latin Mass I could not easily turn to look. But still I thought, “What was that?”

It was time for the consecration of the chalice. Again I bowed low, pronouncing clearly and distinctly but in a low voice, Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei, novi et æterni testamenti; mysterium fidei; qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem pecatorum. Haec quotiescumque feceritis in mei memoriam facietis (for this is the cup of my Blood, of the new and eternal covenant; the mystery of faith; which will for the many be shed unto the remission of sins. Whensoever you do this, you do it in my memory.

Then, I heard another sound, this time an undeniable moan and then a shriek as someone cried out, ‘Leave me alone, Jesus! Why do you torture me?’Suddenly there was a scuffling noise and someone ran out with the groaning sound of having been injured. The back doors swung open and then closed. Then silence.

Realization – I could not turn to look for I was raising the Chalice high over my head. But I knew in an instant that some poor demon-tormented soul had encountered Christ in the Eucharist and could not endure His real presence displayed for all to see. And the words of Scripture occurred to me: “Even Demons believe and tremble’ (James 2:19).

Have you unwittingly aligned yourself with Satan? Danilo, you accuse the Catholic Church of Satanism and mock the Church calling it a cult. What you don’t realize is that you have something in common with the satanists. You also are mocking the Church by calling it a cult and by falsely associating it of Satanism. I am not calling you a satanist because you are not; however, because you mock Jesus’ Church, you have unwittingly aligned yourself with the Satanists.

It would be helpful to you if you actually sat down over a period of time and read a history of the Church and the early Church Fathers, some of whom even knew the Apostles. What you will find is that the Catholic Church is the Church of history going back to Jesus and the Apostles. This is the single major reason why so many extremely intelligent God believing Evangelicals are becoming Catholic. Danilo, I know this is a surprise to you; after all your tradition, (not the Bible) has taught you that the Catholic Church is false.

When the Protestant reformers broke with the Church and tried to find their own way using the Bible Alone concept, they ran into theological anarchy. They all believed the Catholic Church was wrong in some way; however they could not agree with what is right.

An Evangelical friend of mine said that she didn’t like studying the Protestant reformers because it left her confused. The confusion had to do with the lack of common understanding of what the Bible was saying.

There is this common myth among non-Catholics that the Protestant reformers were a united group of wonderful Christians coming against an evil corrupt Catholic Church. These people were anything but united.

Protestant confusion over the words “this is my body:” One of the first things they were divided on was the Mass and what does Jesus words “this is My Body” (Mk 14:22) mean? Luther rejected transubstantiation; however; he “still retained the traditional interpretation, which said that Jesus was really present in the bread and wine by a bodily and objective presence – not dependent upon subjective feelings and considerations” (A Concise History of the Catholic Church – T. Bohenkottler. p. 199). Ulrich Zwingli’s understanding was that we partake of bread of wine and remember Jesus; however, there was no unique presence in relationship to the elements of bread of wine during the service. John Calvin believed that Christ was present on top of the bread and wine. Calvin, in his understanding of “this is My Body” was actually trying to get Zwingli and Luther to come together. He did not succeed; he just came up with another version of what communion is all about. From the start they were a Kingdom divided.

In reference too Holy Communion, Zwingli believed one thing, Luther believed another and Calvin still another. This is why any attempt by non-Catholics to give the Protestant view on Communion or most other items of Protestant belief will meet with failure. The big question is this, why could they not come to common agreement among themselves? One of the things I hear over and over from Evangelicals and other non-Catholics is that we should do things “the Bible way.” I believe they are right in this and so let’s see how they solved issues in the early Church using the Bible.

How did the early Church solve issues where there is disagreement? The first major issue in the Church was the issue of circumcision. In Acts 15 there were certain individuals from Judea saying you must be circumcised in order to be saved. The Apostle Paul could have just consulted the Bible and made his own determination as many do today. However, he didn’t do that, for one thing the Bible (New Testament) had not been written as yet. He consulted with the Apostles and the elders. “Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders” (Acts 15:2). After much debate Peter spoke up: “Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will” (Acts 15:10-11).

James affirmed Peters statement; “Simeon has related how God first looked favorably on the Gentiles, to take from among them a people for his name. This agrees with the words of the prophets, as it is written… (Acts 15:14-15). The disagreement in the Church was solved in the first conference of the Church in Jerusalem. Peter’s pronouncement still stands, and this is why the Church today does not require circumcision.

The Bible way or the Bible alone apart from the Church! The issue was ultimately solved. “The Bible way” is not consulting the “Bible Alone” apart from the Church and everybody making up their own minds. The Bible very clearly says they went up and consulted with the Apostles, Peter and the elders, the authority of the Church. This is the Bible way. A Baptist minister speaking against authority once said to me “I don’t think I should have to follow what some man has to say.” Well, if the minister was right then the Apostle Paul was wrong when he consulted men (the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem). Paul should have consulted “the Bible alone,” but instead chose to consult men.

Peter made the determination. The early Protestants had a major problem, which understanding of Jesus’ words “this is my Body” (Mk 14:22) is the correct one? They could have gone up to the authorities of the Church, using the line of Peter, and solved their problem. But they didn’t do this for the obvious reason, that they had already separated from the line of Peter in their protest. Did they try any other line? No they did not! They opted for “Bible Alone(Sola Scriptura), apart from the Church. They ignored “the Bible way” by going their way and not submitting this issue to the legitimate authority of the Church, as was done in Acts 15.

are not partaking of the one body, the one same loaf because they could not solve the problem of what it was. “Because the loaf of bread is ONE, we though many are ONE body for we all partake of the SAME loaf” (I Cor 10:17).

The Protestant reformers rejected the “the Bible way” for their own way. They would not submit to the authority of the Church and as a result could not partake of the “same loaf.” This was the beginning of theological anarchy in the Protestant experiment. They were a house divided and they exchanged “one body” for over 40,000 contradictory churches, denominations, non-denominations, sects, and fellowships all teaching a different Gospel.

They knew their ABC’s and would not accept a different gospel: Danilo, there are wonderful Evangelicals and others who knew their ABC’s (Anything But Catholic) of their faith just as you do. They were people of faith and like Catholics, they very much wanted to know the truth. They knew about the Apostle Paul’s warning and they wanted a church that presented the real Gospel as presented by the Apostles and Jesus; and they didn’t want to be turning to a different Gospel by mistake. “Or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough (2 Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6). They were very sincere and they knew that all of these thousands of non-Catholic groups collectively couldn’t be that one church because they were not all teaching the same Gospel.

If there is such a thing as “one body” as spoken of in 1 Corinthians, which one of the many thousands of non-Catholic churches is it? This is the question they were asking themselves. These people wanted to be apart of that one Church founded by Jesus and the Apostles. And they knew it must be ONE because the Apostle Paul in the Bible said so. But if it is one of the more than 40,000, then which one is it?

There is ONE body and ONE Spirit, just as you were called to the ONE hope of your calling, ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all (Eph 4:4-6).

How did the early Christians express their faith? They would pray and ask God for help in figuring this out. Then they discovered the history of the early Christians. In order to find out which one is the correct church with a line that goes back to Jesus and the Apostles they wanted to know how the early Christians acted out their faith. And to their dismay, they discovered that it was not one of the more than 40,000. When they began to study the early Church Fathers, some of whom even knew the Apostles or the disciples of the apostles they discovered a church that appeared to be look like it was Catholic. This was more than a little frightening and so their prayer changed. Now, they were not just asking God which Church is His one Church established by Jesus Christ; they also added, “please Lord don’t let it be Catholic!” But of course it was Catholic and they began to fall in love with the very Church that they were taught to hate.

“Show it to me in the Bible!” Is the Bible Catholic? Being Evangelical, they had a very high regard for the Bible. They began to study the history of the formation Bible. They discovered that the Bible (New Testament) was fully determined by the Catholic Church in the latter part of the 4th century. There are a lot of brilliant Evangelicals out there and when they see this, they stop their war against the Catholic Church. Even Fr. Martin Luther credited the Bible to the Catholic Church. In 1228, Cardinal Stephen Langdon, archbishop of Canterbury broke the Bible into chapter divisions. In 1536 the Italian Dominican priest Santes Pagnini made a new Latin translation of the Bible, he subdivided Langdon’s chapters into verses. In 1559, the French printer Robert Estienne, working in Geneva, adopted many of Pagnini’s verse divisions and modified others when he printed his editions. Non-Catholics will often times make reference to the Guttenberg press and Bible printing. What they won’t tell you is that the very first book ever printed on this press was in fact a Catholic Bible, Latin Vulgate. There were 180 original copies of this Bible printed; 49 still exist today.

Marcus Grodi, former Presbyterian minister and present commentator on Eternal Word Television Network commented about the Bible. There was a time when Marcus Grodi had led Catholics out of the Catholic Church to his church using his Bible. HIs expression was,

“SHOW IT TO ME IN THE BIBLE!” He then tells about when he first realized that the Bible owes its existence to the Catholic Church. “I remember the strange empty feeling when I realized that the only reason that I have the Bible was the Catholic Church.”

Show it to me in the 1611 King James Bible! I have a copy of the original 1611 King James edition of the Bible and yes it is in print; you can order it from your local Protestant bookstore. The interesting thing about this Bible is that it has all the books. The deuterocanonical books were not removed from the later editions of the Protestant Bibles until the 19th century. When I made this point, I had one individual mention that he had a 1611 King James Bible and those books are not in it. I didn’t disagree with him; I simply made the point that he did not have the earliest edition, but a later edition. When I wrote a defense of Purgatory, I was quoting word for word in 2nd Maccabees from this 1611 King James Bible. Non-Catholics will insist those books are not in there; however my 1611 King James Bible says otherwise.

Has the gates of Hades prevailed against your Church? Danilo, I believe that you are a person of good intention and some day perhaps you will realize that it is futile to oppose the very Church that Jesus founded. After all, it was Jesus who said “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). You are not the first one to oppose the Church that Jesus founded, actually the Apostle Paul (Saul), in his spiritual blindness, was one of the first.

Mathew 16:18 is one of those Catholic verses that Catholics explain and non-Catholics attempt to explain away. Here is a rock and Jesus is going to build his CHURCH on it and He also gives us a guarantee that the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. Every Catholic sees this Church as the Catholic Church. Some Protestants might disagree.

However, I have never heard a non-Catholic argue that this Church, which cannot be destroyed by “the gates of Hades,” is in fact their church. Why not? I believe it is because the moment that they say that they are, then they are not only at odds with the Catholic Church, but also with the many thousands of other Protestant churches. If it is not the Catholic Church, then which church is it? They are not saying.

If you believe that your church is the one true church which is built on a rock with the promise by Jesus that “the gates of Hades will not prevail against it,” then please say so. At the same time would you also explain how your church alone is that one church and the other more than 40,000 non-Catholic churches are not. And while your at it could you please show a history of your specific church going back to to Jesus and the Apostles. The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches can show a history going back to Christ and the Apostles.



Rapture and Tribulation History

by Rev. Thomas W. Sheehan

Rapture comes from a vision (private revelation) not history or the Bible. In the spring of 1830, Margaret began having visions of Jesus catching-up in the air a select group of believers before the time of the anti-Christ. These visions marked the first time in Christian History that anyone ever split the Second Coming into two separate stages. Soon the McDonald’s Presbyterian Minister began to strongly preach against them. In time, the McDonalds were disassociated from their Church.

Why do people believe in rapture when it was not believed in the Church before 1830 and did not come from the Bible, but came from private revelation?Why do people believe in rapture when it was not believed in the Church before 1830 and did not come from the Bible, but came from private revelation?

Why do people believe in rapture when it was not believed in the Church before 1830 and did not come from the Bible, but came from private revelation?

In 1828, in Port Glasgow, Scotland four of the five McDonald brothers and sisters experienced Christian conversion and accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. The McDonald household then became the setting for evenings filled with Bible study and prayer. Using no other books but the Bible and their own limited knowledge of end times, a teaching on Christ’s expected Millennial Coming and Reign soon emerged. For six agonizing months, the only family holdout was Margaret McDonald, a 15-year-old girl.

Then she experienced conversion. In the spring of 1830, Margaret began having visions of Jesus catching up in the air a select group of believers before the time of the anti-Christ. These visions marked the first time in Christian History that anyone ever split the Second Coming into two separate stages. Soon the McDonald’s Presbyterian Minister began to strongly preach against them. In time, the McDonalds were disassociated from their Church.

Another element in creating The rapture and tribulation into a new doctrine involved the Rev. Edward Irving in London, England. A powerful preacher and a licensed Presbyterian minister, 1815, was strongly influenced by the 1,260 day/year theory. In 1826 he adopted the theory, that a corrupt Roman Catholic Priesthood would be the future anti-Christ. In 1828 he concluded the end time would witness an outpouring of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Soon tongues and end time prophesying were heard regularly in his London Church. Thus, he became the father of modern day Pentecostalism.

In 1830 he sent a group of observers to meet Margaret McDonald. In the September, 1830 issue of the Morning Watch, her distinctive teachings were set forth as accepted prophecy. By 1832, these and other teachings led to his dismissal from the Presbyterian Church. He then founded the Catholic Apostolic Church, in London. His followers were called Irvingites. The Irvingite Church preached as doctrine, a distinction between the ‘Epiphany’ (now known as rapture) and the parousia’ (second coming after the tribulation).

The next element was a man named John Darby, an Anglican Clergyman who left that Church to found the Plymouth Brethren in about 1828-1830 AD. Ordained for the Anglican Church in Ireland in 1825, he soon left the priesthood. Between 1828 to 838 he helped the Brethren movement grow in the United Kingdom. Among the doctrines taught was non­denominationalism.

Hearing of the new visions and the new teachings proposed by Margaret McDonald, he journeyed to Scotland to listen to her. Then he began to preach, as his own, her new end time teachings. In 1850, he claimed that he discovered these teachings while studying 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; in 1830. The teaching literally leaped at him from the Bible text.

The Plymouth Brethren adopted this new teaching on the end time as true prophecy. Many of the distinctive teachings of The Brethren, such as Dispensationalism, Pre­Millennialism and Creationism, have been adopted by modern fundamentalism. One of The Brethren’s most disruptive stances has also been adopted by modem fundamentalism. This is, to actively seek converts from the established Catholic, Orthodox & Protestant Churches.

As originally proposed by The Brethren, The Rapture, Tribulation & Millennium events are as follows. The ‘Epiphany’ (Rapture) can be expected at any moment and may be in secret. All true Christian believers, living and dead, will be carried to Heaven. Then the judgments of God, as foretold in Revelations, will fall upon the earth. During this time the anti-Christ will reign and be overthrown. A faithful Jewish remnant will witness to Christ during the Tribulation. Then Jesus will come in Glory (Second Coming) and take possession of the earth for 1,000 years and make Jerusalem His capital. The martyred tribulation saints will rise and go to heaven. The faithful Jewish remnant will live on earth with Jesus. The Millennium will end in a Great Rebellion led by Satan. Jesus will defeat His enemies and the wicked will be judged. The Old Testament saints, The raptured saints and those martyred during the tribulation will then descend from heaven to reign forever on the new earth. Though little changed in its basic outline by later fundamentalism. The scenario of events has become more dramatic and detailed as the 20th Century has progressed. With the discovery of Nuclear War, the interpretations were greatly enhanced.

Both friend and foe admit that the rapture and tribulation is a new teaching, and not a rediscovery of an old Doctrine. In 1834 AD, John Darby wrote: “We must pursue it (New End-Time Teaching) steadily; it works like leaven, and its fruit is by no means seen yet; I do not mean leaven as ill, but the thoughts are new, and people ‘s minds work on them, and all the old habits are against their feelings… “In 1983 AD, in ‘The Rapture’ Hal Lindsey states: “The one authority is the Word of God, and we are not confined by the straight jacket of tradition.” He claims that this stance has permitted the believer to interpret the Bible anew, and then he quotes the visions of Margaret McDonald as his prophetic authority! Then he argues (though not convincingly) for some connection to the teachings of the early Fathers, whose TRADITION testimony he has already flatly rejected. One thing is clear! The doctrine of the rapture and tribulation is an entirely new and modern teaching!

How did this system of dispensations get from Darby to Hal Lindsey and the present day? Darvey had a friend by the name of Schofield. Schofield, who was a lawyer, came up with a Bible and used Darvey’s notes. It was called then and now the Schofield Bible. Prior to this Catholics had notes in there Bibles but not Protestant because it would have been considered scandalous to put mans words with Gods word. The Schofield Bible became the hottest selling Bible among Protestants. This system of dispensations did not exist prior to 1830.

So what happened is a guy, John Alexander Campbell, studied this and the Bible teaches that you convert and you get Baptized, and you have to have communion, and you have one Church. So he started the one Church called the Church of Christ (fundamentalist). And then the Church of Christ got to fighting on whether you could have musical instruments in the Church. The other Church that came out of this is the Disciples of Christ called “Christian Church.”

Sorry, “Left Behind” Fans, “The Rapture” Is Not in the Bible.

Sorry, “Left Behind” Fans,

“The Rapture” Is Not in the Bible.

In fact, if anyone’s getting beamed up, it’s not the good guys.

John Martignoni / May 05, 2015

Question: A friend of mine has been reading the Left Behind books that have all of this stuff about the “Rapture” in them. Is there really going to be a “Rapture” like these books talk about?

Answer: No. The “Rapture” refers to a passage in First Thessalonians 4, where Christians are “caught up” in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” Many Christians believe, and the Left Behind books promote, that this being “caught up” to meet the Lord will occur before the Great Tribulation sometime in the near future. Christians will simply vanish, meet Jesus somewhere in the air, and then return with Him too Heaven to await the end of time.

But notice, in verse 15, Paul says that “…we who are alive, who are left,” shall be caught up. This is a very important point to stress to rapture enthusiasts. Those who are “left” get caught up to meet the Lord. Keep that in mind as we look at these next couple of Scripture passages.

The Left Behind books get their name from a passage in Luke 17, and a similar passage in Matthew 24, which compares the coming of the Lord to the days of Noah and the days of Lot. Matthew 24 puts it this way: “As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man…[they ate, they drank, they married] and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field, one is taken and one is left. Two women grinding at the mill, one is taken one is left.”

“One is taken, one is left” — the Rapture right? Jesus takes the Christians and leaves behind non-Christians!

That’s how rapture enthusiasts interpret these passages. Well, you need to say to them: “Not so fast, folks.” Two problems with the Protestant “Left Behind” interpretation: First, in the passages from Luke 17 and Matthew 24, Jesus’ coming is compared to the days of Noah and the days of Lot. Let’s think about that for a moment. After the flood, who was left? Noah and his family — the good guys. The bad guys were taken and the good guys were left behind! After Sodom and Gomorrah went up in smoke, who was left? Lot and his daughters — the good guys.

The bad guys were taken and the good guys were left behind!

The second problem with the “Left Behind” interpretation, has to do with what I mentioned above: 1 Thessalonians 4 says that those who are “left” get to meet Jesus in the air. You want to be left behind. Why? Because those who are left behind get to meet Jesus on His return to earth. Again, when you put 1 Thessalonians 4 together with Matthew 24 and Luke 17, it becomes quite apparent that the good guys are the ones left behind to meet Jesus.

And, if you need further proof of that, there’s a passage in Matthew 13 that pretty much seals the deal. Matthew 13:39-43, “…and the enemy who sowed them [the bad seed] is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of man will send His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

So when Scripture says that “one is taken and one is left,” as it does in Luke 17 and Matthew 24, it is not talking about the Rapture, it is talking about the harvest at the close of the age. The ones who are taken, as it says in Matthew 13, are the evildoers. The angels have taken them and tossed them into the furnace of fire. So, the Left Behind books got it exactly 180 degrees wrong.

The ones taken are not the good guys, they are the evildoers.

The ones who are left behind are the ones who get to be caught up in the clouds to meet Jesus in the air at His Second Coming, when He will bring all of the angels and saints with Him and there will be a new Heaven and a new earth.

In other words, there will be no Rapture like the one the Left Behind books talk about. The Left Behind books teach the opposite of what Scripture actually says.

John Martignoni is a nationally-known Catholic apologist and Bible scholar. He is the Founder and President of the Bible Christian Society, where you can find lots of free apologetics materials — CD’s, mp3 downloads, e-newsletters, and more, and host of EWTN’s “Open Line” airing on Mondays at 3 p.m. EST. He is also Director of the Office of the New Evangelization in the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama.

Can We Ever Lose Our Salvation

Can We Ever Lose Our Salvation


A person called in to a local Christian talk radio program in the Milwaukee area and was concerned that he might not be saved. They were trying to assure him that the moment he gave his heart to the Lord, he could never lose his salvation. The caller didn’t sound very convinced.

I often times run into people who believe in the “once saved always saved” concept. They firmly believe that once they have confessed their sins and asked Jesus into their heart they are saved and can never lose their salvation. They can kill, steal, rape and destroy, but ultimately their salvation is guaranteed because they believe they can never lose their salvation.

In fairness to my Evangelical friends it should be pointed out that this is only one point of view among Evangelicals. Some Evangelicals believe “once saved always saved” while others vehemently reject the notion. The concept of “once saved always saved” while never losing your salvation is not in the Bible. It comes from human reasoning. In fact, the Bible speaks against this particular concept.

Did the Apostle Paul believe that we can never lose our salvation? If Paul had absolute assurance that he can never lose his salvation then why did he work out his salvation with fear and trembling? “So then, my beloved, be obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).

Did Paul believe “once saved always saved” or was it possible to be cut off? In the book of Romans, there is the possibility that you can lose your salvation; you too can be cut off, if you don’t remain in Gods kindness. “For if God did not spare the natural spare you either. See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell, but God’s kindness to you, provided you remain in his kindness; you too will be cut off” (Rom. 11:21-22).

Did Jesus require us to endure to the end to be saved or did He believe in “once saved always saved?” If you can never lose your salvation then why did Jesus require endurance and perseverance to the end to be saved? “You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved” (Mk. 13:13). Was Jesus mistaken? Is it truly necessary to persevere to the end to be saved, or should we believe those people who claim, that we can never lose our salvation?

I can believe someone, who says there is no possibility of losing their salvation or I can believe Paul, who speaks about the possibility of being cut off (Rom. 11:21-22). I can believe people, who say, once saved always saved, a concept and wording not in the Bible, or I can believe Jesus, who says, “The one who perseveres to the end will be saved” (Mk 13:13).

By claiming the man-made tradition “once saved always saved” they have nullified the word of God “for the sake of your tradition” (Mt. 15:6). They make the claim that we can no longer lose our salvation; therefore, they no longer have to persevere to the end as Jesus commanded. How is that for making “void the word of God” (Mt. 15:6)?

This does beg the question, why do some Evangelicals today believe in the “once saved always saved” concept when in fact this is at odds with the Bible? Where does this concept come from? It actually comes from the Fr. Martin Luther and John Calvin. Both were Catholic; however, this is one of the areas where they departed from the Bible and Church teaching. I personally believe that they were trying to come up with a nicer, kinder easier form of Christianity. They seemed not to be aware of the fact that the “once saved always saved” concept is at odds with both the Apostle Paul and Jesus.

Some non-Catholics are quick to point the finger and make the claim that Catholics don’t always know their Bible very well. And in this, they are correct because here we have two Catholics John Calvin and Fr. Martin Luther who were not knowledgeable about their Bible as it relates to salvation. Had they been aware that their Bible requires that you have to persevere to the end in order to be saved, they would not have had to break with the Catholic Church on this point. When they broke with the Catholic Church, they were also breaking with the parts of their Bible, that did not fit with their own understanding. Instead of listening to the Church (Mt 18:17), they were leaning on their own understanding.

“There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:16).

We have already seen that we must persevere to the end and we can be cut off and so what are some of the verses, that some claim, are evidence of the “once saved always saved” concept.

That you may know that you have eternal life. The verse in the Gospels that seems to be quoted most often for proof of “once saved always saved” is in 1 John 5. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life (1 Jn. 5:12-13). This is interpreted by some to mean that you cannot lose your salvation because once you have eternal life in you, you cannot make God die. Eternal life is the very life of God so how can it die. This type of thinking is misleading because no one is claiming that God dies; however, we can separate ourselves from God and lean on our own understanding.

Their point is that we can have eternal life and know it. The fact that they don’t list any contingencies doesn’t mean that there isn’t any. It just means they haven’t listed any. In fact, we have already quoted some of the contingencies coming from both Paul and Jesus.

They quote 1 John as their proof text for “once saved always saved” and then conveniently forget to mention the contingency given in 1 John 5. In doing so, they have left out part of the context. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments (1 Jn. 5:2&3).

The contingency here is that we love God and obey his commandments. The reason that these verses are not listed in the “once saved always saved verses” is because if we don’t love God and obey his commandments then there is a possibility that we too can lose our salvation.

Never-the-less there are those who absolutely insist that keeping the commandments is not a requirement for salvation. And will even go so far as to say “nobody can keep the commandments!”

Is keeping the commandments truly a requirement for salvation? Some say yes, others say no, but what does the Bible say? Below is a conversation that I had on social media with an individual who insists that we do nothing in order to be saved because for him, Jesus did it all.

Timothy Barret: “What must *I* do to obtain and maintain my salvation (and please provide me the exhaustive list of everything that I must do, please, if possible).”

Lenny Alt: “Timothy, thank you for your very excellent question. I will answer your question if you will answer my question first. What must you or I do to inherit everlasting life with God in Heaven? I will make it easy for you. I won’t ask you for an exhaustive list. Personally, I don’t think you can answer this question correctly. On the other hand, if you can then you will have answered your own question.”

Timothy Barret: “The answer to your question is nothing, for Jesus did it all. We are saved by grace, not works (Eph. 2:8-9). And please do not assume I will get an answer to a question incorrect. It is arrogant and condescending.”

Lenny Alt: “Timothy, to your credit, you did give a verse of the Bible that has to do with salvation; faith versus works of the law, circumcision (Eph. 2:8-11). Notice that the Apostle Paul speaks for good works in verse 10 and against works of the law (circumcision) in verse 11. This is much clearer in Romans 3:28-29.

Yes, you are correct, Jesus did it all and He also answered my question, something you did not do. Here again is the question that you did not answer. What must you or I do to inherit everlasting life with God in Heaven? How did Jesus answer this question? He said,

“If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

The rich young man asked Jesus, “Teacher what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, ‘Why do you ask me about the good? There is only one who is good.’ If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Mt. 19:18). And then Jesus went on to list several of the commandments.

Jesus said to enter into life, keep the commandments, and then spoke against man-made traditions that usurp the commandments. He rebuked the usurping and undermining of scriptures through man-made tradition when He said, “The worship they offer me is worthless; the doctrines they teach are only human regulations. You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions . . . In this way you make God’s word null and void for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down” (MK. 7:7, 8, 13, J.B.V.).

No one can keep the commandments. Are they liars? There are still others who make the statement, “no one can keep the Commandments!” However, Jesus doesn’t say that; the Apostles do not say that; the Bible does not say that anywhere. They are coming from a man-made tradition that is in violation of the Bible and the commandments.

I can listen to Jesus who says to keep the commandments or I can listen to man-made tradition which says “nobody can keep the commandments.”

Who will you listen to? The Apostle John says that people who claim to follow Jesus and don’t keep the commandments are liars. “The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:3). You can’t know Jesus without following the commandments! Will you keep the commandments or will you be a liar, devoid of truth? Why would Jesus and the Bible ask us to keep the commandments if we couldn’t do it? The fact is this, we can keep the commandments and when and if we fail, He is faithful and just to forgive us.

Will we follow the liars who say that “nobody can keep the commandments?” Or will we follow Jesus who says that the one who “does not keep the commandments is a liar?”

For the full story on this please go to:

So, if we are following the commandments, we have some indication that we have eternal life and if at some point, we turn our backs on God and choose not to follow the commandments then we no longer have the assurance of eternal life with God in Heaven. Those, who claim that you cannot lose your salvation, are quoting from their tradition, not from the words of the Apostles or Jesus.

One Evangelical friend told me that all you have to do for salvation is believe in the name of Jesus. I asked her this question, “do you mean that we do not have to actually believe what Jesus says; all we have to do is believe in the fact of Jesus existence? And she said, “Yes.” However, what she didn’t seem to realize is that Bible asks us to go beyond this and to not only believe, but to obey Him as well. “Whoever does not obey the son shall not see life” (Jn. 3:36).

If I were to use her criteria Satan, would have been saved because he believed in the fact of Jesus existence and yet He did not obey Jesus. Satan wanted Jesus to obey him instead. “You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble” (Jm. 2:19). Satan believed in Jesus enough to even tempt Him. I have since discovered that although intellectual ascent is an Evangelical tradition; in fairness to many Evangelicals, there are those who do believe that obedience to Jesus is necessary for salvation.

There are those who contrast an absolute assurance of salvation with no assurance of salvation. This is a false contrast because the Church does not teach no assurance of salvation. It teaches that we can have a reasonable assurance of salvation. It is just that it is possible to be self-deceived and that is why we do not claim an absolute assurance. And it is also possible that after believing “in the name of the Son of God” (1 Jn. 5:13) to turn away from him. “Severity toward those who fell, but God’s kindness to you, provided you REMAIN in his kindness; you too will be cut off” (Rom. 11:22).

God’s kindness is not afforded to those who claim “once saved always saved.” It is given to those who remain in His kindness.

Good luck to those who when seeing Jesus say “Lord, Lord, I am once saved always saved.” If they didn’t do anything, because Jesus was supposed to do it all for them, He will say to them, “Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven (Mt. 7:21). How many people over the years have told me that they do absolutely nothing for their salvation? They ignore the words of Jesus which require obedience to the will of the Father as a requirement for entrance into Heaven. They neglect the many verses in the Bible that require effort on our part.

Those who preach the “once saved always saved” concept are people of good intention who were taught this in their tradition not knowing that this concept is at odds with their Bible. Our Bible very clearly shows that salvation is a conditional one that requires effort on our part to persevere to the end (Mk. 13:13) otherwise we will be cut off (Rm. 11:22). Those, who claim that we cannot ever lose our salvation, are at odds with the Apostle Paul, Jesus and their Bible.

Salvation God So Loved the World he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Sacrifices that cannot take away sin

Sacrifices that cannot take away sin

Are priests really false mediators offering sacrifices that cannot take away sin
or is Mike Gendron teaching falsehood?

Dan Bregant on Face-book posts one of Mike Gendron’s writings alleging that priests are offering “same sacrifices that can never take away sins” (Heb 10:11). I asked Dan several times what were these same sacrifices that cannot take away the sins of the world? He said many things, much of which was true; however, he never actually answered the question.

catholic Priests

There are two pertinent questions that must be answered in order to determine the context. What are these same sacrifices that cannot take away sins? And are priests actually offering these same sacrifices?

What are these same sacrifices that cannot take away sins? And are priests actually offering these same sacrifices?

Animal sacrifices cannot take away sins. In chapter 10 of Hebrews it tells us very clearly what these “same sacrifices” are. “For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats take away sins” (Heb 10:3-4). Now we know that the sacrifices that can never take away sins are animal sacrifices. Why doesn’t Mike Gendron indicate that these “same sacrifices” are animal sacrifices? This is because the moment that he mentions that these are Old Testament animal sacrifices, he can no longer use this against the New Testament offering of Jesus at every Mass. We do not offer animal sacrifices at Mass; we offer one same Sacrifice Jesus at every Mass.

Are priests actually offering animal sacrifices? No they are not. If you attended Mass and a priest was offering animal sacrifices, he would be in violation of Hebrews 10. However, there is no violation because he is offering Jesus at the Mass.

Michael Gendron, by confusing animal sacrifices with the one same Sacrifice of Jesus celebrated at every Mass, is teaching falsehood

Dan, you are right, Gendron does not say that animals can take away sin. Herein lies the problem he quotes a verse in Hebrews that has to do with Old Testament animal sacrifice and tries to apply it to the new testament Mass where Jesus is offered. The priest at Mass does not offer animal sacrifices. Gendron is both quoting out of context and is being intellectually dishonest.

Gendron quotes from Hebrews “Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins” (Heb 10:11).

In the Old Testament we have a priest and in the New Testament we have a priest. And so what is the difference in priesthoods? It is in the offering. In the old, the priest offers animal sacrifices. In the new we offer Jesus.

And so the next question is this; how do we know that Hebrews 10:11 is speaking of animal sacrifices? How do we know that this verse does not have to do with sacrifice of Jesus, when it refers to sacrifices that can never take away sins? This is because the context in verse 4 says that it is in fact animal sacrifices.

“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4).

And so the context is animal sacrifices,

Gendron is both quoting out of context and is being intellectually dishonest.

12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” 13 and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

Verse 11 in context should be read this way; “Every [Old Testament] priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices [animal] that can never take away sins.” Alfonso and others are confusing animal sacrifices with the Sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass.

Born Again

Born Again

Are you “born again” the Bible way?

Steve, just curious, are you born again? I said Yes, I am born again the Bible way. And he says what do you mean by that? You asked the question, so why don’t you tell me how one gets born again? Why don’t you take the Bible off your lap? I saw it under there and why don’t you read for me John chapter three verse 3. They hate it when we know the Bible better than they do. Jesus said to Nicodemus, in order to see the kingdom of God you must be born again. Verily, verily I say unto you, you must be born again. And he closed his Bible and I said, so what is the answer how do you get born again? He said by asking Jesus into your heart and asking him to be your personal Lord and savior. I said, now I have a dilemma, because now I have to decide whether I am going to believe your definition or Jesus’ [definition]. Who should I believe, you or Jesus? I said, would you please open your Bible again; you always do this, you read one proof text and close it.

Read the whole thing in context! He opened it and read further; verse 4 says, and Nicodemus says how can that be, I am too big, too old to crawl back into my mother’s womb and Jesus said you are the teacher of Israel and you don’t understand these things. Unless a man is born of water and the Holy Spirit, he will never see the Kingdom of God. I said to him; Jesus said I get born again by water and Spirit and you say asking Jesus in my heart.”

Jesus said, I get born again by water and Spirit and you say asking Jesus in my heart.

Lenny’s Note: Born again, how does it happen?
The Baptist (ex-Catholic) answer; by asking Jesus into your heart and asking him to be your personal Lord and savior. Source, Baptist tradition not in the Bible. The Catholic, Steve Ray (ex-Baptist) answer; Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (Jn 3:5). Source, Jesus in the Bible.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (Jn 3:5).

My question to you is this, who or what will you follow? Will you follow the Baptist tradition, which is not in the Bible or will you follow Jesus, who is in the Bible?

Being born of water and the spirit is Baptism. Others will claim that being born again is asking Jesus into your heart; however, you don’t ask Jesus into your heart and take a glass of water to consummate being “born again.” Jesus did say “born of water and spirit” and so this begs the question is there anything having to do with water and spirit in the context of John 3? “Yes there is; after this exchange Jesus and the Apostles went out and baptized.” After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing (Jn 3:22).

I understand there are people who will believe that being “born again” is asking Jesus into your heart; however, asking Jesus into your heart is neither in the context nor even in the Bible. I understand that there are those, who will not be able to believe “born again” is Baptism. However, Baptism is both in the context and in the Bible and something that Jesus advocated. I have a rule; when your religious tradition conflicts with the Bible and Jesus, then leave your TRADITION and follow Jesus.

Where else in the Bible is water spirit and Baptism? “He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. (1 Peter 3:21-22). Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19-20). These are some of the references to salvation and Baptism.

Steve Ray “Are you born again? A Catholic response.”(YouTube)

Steve Ray also puts on the very finest pilgrimages to Rome and Israel, that there is. Make your Bible come alive by walking in the foot prints of Jesus in the Holy Land with Steve as your guide. I usually don’t advertise for other people; however, in this case, I have personally gone with Steve Ray to the Holy Land and it was far beyond my expectations.

Steve Ray pilgrimages to Rome, Israel and other places.