SAMUEL THE PROPHET

THE BOY SAMUEL served the LORD and wore a special linen garment and the clothes his mother made for him. She would bring new clothes every year, when she and her husband came to offer sacrifices at Shiloh.

Eli would always bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “Samuel was born in answer to your prayers. Now you have given him to the LORD. I pray that the LORD will bless  you with more children to take his place.” After Eli has blessed them, Elkanah and Hannah would return home.

The LORD was kind to Hannah, and she had three more sons and two daughters. But Samuel grew up at the LORD’s house in Shiloh.

Samuel served the LORD by helping Eli the priest, who was by that time almost blind. In those days, the LORD hardly ever spoke directly to people, and he did not appear to them in dreams very often. But one night, Eli was asleep in his room, and Samuel was sleeping on a mat near the sacred chest in the LORD’s house. They had not been asleep very long when the LORD called out Samuel’s name.

“Here I am!” Samuel answered. Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. What do you want?”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli answered

“Go back to bed.”

Samuel went back.

Again the LORD called out Samuel’s name. Samuel got up and went to Eli.

“Here I am,” he said. “What do you want?”

Eli told him, “Son, I didn’t call you. Go back to sleep.”

The LORD had not spoken to Samuel before, and Samuel did not recognize the voice. When the LORD called out his name for the first time, Samuel went to Eli again and said, “Here I am. What do you want?”

Eli finally realized that it was the LORD who was speaking to Samuel. So he said, “Get back and lie down! If someone speaks to you again, answer, ‘I’m listening, LORD. What do you want me to do’”

Once again Samuel went back and lay down.

The LORD then stood beside Samuel and called out as he had done before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

“I’m listening,” Samuel answered. “What do you want me to do?”

The LORD said:

Samuel, I am going to do something in Israel that will shock everyone who hears about it! I will punish Eli and his family, just as I promised. He knew that his sons refused to respect me, and he let them get away with it, even though I said I would punish his family forever. I warned Eli that sacrifices or offerings could never make things right! His family has done too may disgusting things.

The next morning, Samuel got up and opened the doors to the LORD’s house. He was afraid to tell Eli what the LORD had said. but Eli told him, “Samuel, my boy, come here!”

“Here I am,” Samuel answered.

Eli said, “What did God say to you? Tell me everything. I pray that God will punish you terribly if you don’t tell me every word he said!”

Samuel told Eli everything. Then Eli said, “he is the LORD, and he will do what’s right.”

As Samuel grew up, the LORD helped him and made everything Samuel said come true. From the town of Dan in the north to the town of Beersheba in the south, everyone in the country knew that Samuel was truly the LORD’s prophet. The LORD often appeared to Samuel at Shiloh and told him what to say.


(Quoted from I Samuel 2:13-21, 3:1-21 of the Contemporary English Version of the Bible)

Illustration by Nestor G. Magalpo, Sr.

Is the Trinity Doctrine biblical or man-made? by Jose J. Ventilacion

IS THE DOCTRINE of the Trinity a man-made creed or is it truly a biblical doctrine?” E. Calvin Beisner, writer in theology, posed this question in the preface to his book, God in Three Persons. The answer to this question can readily be deduced from his admission that the word ‘Trinity’ is not found in the Bible.” If this doctrine is not found in the Bible, obviously, it is man-made. However, the Trinitarians argue that although the concept of the Trinity was merely formulated by men, it is an accurate representation of the teaching of the New Testament (God in Three Persons, p. 7).
     It behooves us then to examine the Trinity doctrine in the light of the Holy Scriptures. Is there really any teaching in the Bible that supports the concept of God having three distinct divine persons, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? The Bible tells us that since the beginning, the people of God have believed in a solitary God with no hint whatsoever that He is divided into three distinct beings. Moses, the prophet of God, spoke to the Israelites and proclaimed:
     “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!” (Dt. 6:4, New King James Version)
     In the Hebrew Bible which is also called The Old Testament, the Israelites recite twice daily the Shema in accordance with the rabbinic interpretation of Deuteronomy 6:7. The shema, Hebrew, “Hear [O Israel],” the first word of Deuteronomy 6:4, clearly reveals to us the strict monotheism upheld by the Israelites. There is no doubt in their minds that there is only one true God (Is. 46:9, Jer. 10:10).
     Jesus our Lord, when asked by one of the scribes, “What is the greatest commandment in the law?” being an Israelite, replied by affirming the oneness of God:
“…The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one’.” (Mk. 12:29, NKJV)
     With regard to the identity of the one true God, Christ didactically emphasized in His mediatory prayer that it is the Father alone who should be recognized as the only true God. John recorded this statement of our Lord Jesus Christ in 17:1,3:
     “…Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, …And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (Ibid.)
     However, in contrast to what was taught by Moses and Jesus Christ, Catholics and Protestants adhere to an ambiguous and confusing concept of God based on a creed ascribed to a certain Athanasius. Part of the so-called Athanasian creed reads:
     “And the Catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.” (McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia)
     The Trinity doctrine, considered as sacrosanct by its adherents, is crucial to Catholic and Protestant theologians in explaining their view of God from the basic Judeo-Christian perspective. Although these theologians do not subscribe to Judaism’s strict monotheism, they use the Old Testament in expounding their belief on the Trinity. This doctrine is so much ingrained into their theology. Consequently, voluminous writings were made in trying to explain the dogma. Books on systematic theology abound with critical analyses of the doctrine.
However, is Trinity taught in the Holy Scriptures? Edmund J. Fortman, an author who discusses a historical study of the doctrine of the Trinity, says:
     “Catholic theologians today maintain that neither a trinity or a plurality of divine persons is taught or revealed explicitly in the Old Testament.” (The Triune God: A Historical Study of the Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 290)
     Explicitly or implicitly, there is nothing in the Bible that teaches God as a Trinity! Catholic authorities further admit:
     “The word ‘Trinity’ does not appear in the New Testament; and the meanings of the words ‘person’ and ‘nature’ in the precise senses in which these words are used to bear that message rightly.” (The Teaching of Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, p. 177)
     “The doctrine of the Trinity as commonly defined is not found in the Bible. For we assert that there are three persons in one God—a statement not found in Scripture.” (Full Christianity: A Catholic Response to Fundamental Questions, p. 25)
     If one were to ask a Trinitarian to explain the doctrine that there are three persons in one God, he would likely get this same answer:
“This [the Trinity] is a mystery that no human mind can completely understand.” (A Catechism for Adults, p. 13)
     Could a person who is learned in the Scriptures, for instance a theologian, comprehend the Trinity doctrine?
     Fortman, a professor emeritus of historical theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Chicago who holds a Doctorate Degree in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, answers this question by saying that “…there is a general agreement among theologians that this dogma is a strict mystery …” (The Triune God A Historical Study of the Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 289)
     Whether reason can be used to comprehend this so-called mysterious doctrine, Footman confesses, “…that reason alone…cannot know it [The Trinity Doctrine]…cannot positively demonstrate it…” (Ibid.).
     But if reason could not know this so-called mystery, then on what ground should one accept the Trinity doctrine? Trinitarian apologists would come to the defense and reason out that faith should be the basis in accepting it. As William J. Cogan reasons out”
     “Faith is accepting something on the word of another. God says that there are three Persons in the One God. If you accept that statement as being true because He said so, then you have faith.” (A Catechism for Adults, p.13)
     By this very same argument, it is made more evident that only through a blind faith or fanaticism can one accept the Trinity doctrine. Never has God in the Holy Scriptures said that there are three persons in one God. The Bible clearly affirms that there is only one God. God Himself proclaimed:
     “Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a god besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any. (Is. 44:8, Revised Standard Version)
     “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me.” (Is. 46:9, NKJV)
     These statements coming from God Himself nullify the so-called trinity of persons in one true Go. There is no other God besides the one true God and there is none like Him. There is no mention in the Bible of the one God having a first, a second, and a third person.
     What is the confession of the Catholic Church regarding the Trinity doctrine which they firmly believe without reservation?
     “The most difficult part and the deepest mystery of the Christian confession of God still stands before us: the confession of the triune or trinitarian God…The content of this ecumenical confession of the triune God can be stated most succinctly as one God in three persons. The confession does not say that one person equals three persons, or that one God equals three Gods, which is absurd…This confession of the triune God is a deep mystery that no created spirit can discover of itself or ever comprehend.” (The Church’s Confession of Faith: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, pp. 72-73)
     Catholics admit that the Trinity doctrine is the most difficult part and the deepest mystery of Catholic confession. Why is it so difficult for them to understand this doctrine? Because it defies reason. Indeed, how could the one true God be manifested in three different persons and still be one in number?
     Trinitarians will certainly not agree that to say that God is a Trinity, is the same as saying that there are three Gods. But simple logic leads one to no other conclusion than that the Trinitarians are really believing in three Gods. If it were true that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, then each of the three would be a distinct being. And they add up to three beings, each of which they consider God. It is illogical to count them as just one God since they are three distinct beings and not just one. This is so simple that one does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out!
     After over a thousand years of trying to figure out the Trinity doctrine, have the Catholics succeeded in coming up with a clear understanding of it? Martin J. Scott, a Catholic priest answers:
     “The Trinity is a wonderful mystery. No one understands it. The most learned theologian, the holiest Pope, the greatest saint, all are as mystified by it as the child of seven.” (God and Myself: An Inquiry into the True Religion, p. 118)
     Sadly, Catholics believe in a doctrine that they themselves and their mentors do not understand. What about the Protestants who simply inherited this doctrine from the Catholics? Have they arrived at a clear and comprehensible understanding of the Trinity doctrine? Wayne Grudem, a Protestant theologian who is a professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical School, Deerfield, Illinois and holds doctorate degrees from Harvard, Westminster Seminary and Cambridge, admits:
     “…With respect to the doctrine of the Trinity, we affirmed that God exists in three persons, and each is fully God, and there is one God. Although those statements are not contradictory, they are, nonetheless, difficult to understand in connection with each other, and although we can make some progress in understanding how they fit together, in this life, at least, we have to admit that there can be no final understanding on our part.” (Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, p. 538)
     Why can there be no final understanding on their part as far as the Trinity doctrine is concerned? Here is a situation that is puzzling to our Trinitarian friends as described by Grudem:
     “What then do we say about the fact that ‘God cannot be tempted with evil’ (James 1:13)? It seems that this is one of a number of things that we must affirm to be true of Jesus’ divine nature but not of his human nature. His divine nature could not be tempted with evil, but his human nature could be tempted and was clearly tempted. How these two natures united in one person in facing temptations, Scripture does not clearly explain to us.” (Ibid., p. 539)
     The answer is plain and simple: Jesus is not God because it was Jesus, not God, who was tempted with evil. In fact, if they only believe what Jesus was taught that the Father is the only true God, they would not fall into error of believing that God is both God and man at the same time.
     If the Trinity doctrine can not be understood by leading Catholic and Protestant theologians, how can it be understood by an average person on the street? If a person accepts a doctrine that even his religious leaders could not understand, he must be a blind follower. This is a case of a blind being led by a fellow blind (Mt. 15:14)! If only they were satisfied with the unequivocal teaching of the apostles concerning who the true God is, they would not become consenting victims to the incongruent doctrine of the Trinity.
     The Apostles, true Christians and defenders of the truth about God, proclaimed:
     “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; …” (I Cor. 8:6, New International Version)
     The true Christians, like the apostles, are definitely not Trinitarians. They have learned the truth about God from Christ who taught them emphatically that the Father is the only true God (Jn. 17:1, 3). Ironically, the Trinitarians are defending an unbiblical doctrine. They say it is shrouded in mystery. But in the light of the Scriptures and sound reasoning, we have seen that the Trinity doctrine is absolutely not a wonderful mystery but an absurdity.


References:
Beisner, E. Calvin. God in Three Persons.
Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1984
Chilson, Richard W. Full Christianity: A Catholic Response to Fundamental Questions.       New York: Paulist Press, 1985.
Cogan, William J. A Catechism for Adults. Chicago, Illinois: ACTA Foundation, 1972.
Fortman, Edmund J. The Triune God: A Historical Study of the Doctrine of the
     Trinity. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1972.
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.
Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994.
Lawler, Ronald, Donald W Wuerl, and Thomas C. Lawler, eds. The Teaching of
     Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday
Visitor, Inc., 1976.
McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database © 2000 by Biblesoft.
Schindler, David L., gen. ed. The Church’s Confession of Faith: A Catholic
Catechism for Adults. San Francisco: Communio Books, Ignatius Press, 1987.
Scott, Martin J., S.J. God and Myself: An Inquiry into the True Religion. New
York: P.J. Kennedy & Sons, 1917.

Esau sells his rights

THIS IS THE STORY of Abraham’s son Isaac. Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebecca, the daughter of Bethuel (an Aramean from Mesopotamia) and sister of Laban. Because Rebecca had no children, Isaac prayed to the LORD for her. The LORD answered his prayer, and Rebecca became pregnant. She was going to have twins and before they were born, they struggled against each other in her womb. She said, “Why should something like this happen to me?” So she went to ask the LORD for an answer.

The LORD said to her, “Two nations are within you; You will give birth to two rival people. One will be stronger than the other; The older will serve the younger.”

The time came for her to give birth, and she had twin sons. The first one was reddish, and his skin was like a hairy robe, so he was named Esau. he second one was born holding on tightly to the heel of Esau, so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.

The boys grew up, and Esau became a skilled hunter, a man who loved the outdoors, but Jacob was a quiet man who stayed at home. Isaac preferred Esau, because he enjoyed eating the animals Esau killed but Rebecca preferred Jacob.

One day while Jacob was cooking some bean soup, Esau came in from hunting. He was hungry and said to Jacob, “I’m starving; give me some of that red stuff.” (That is why he was named Edom).

Jacob answered, “I will give it to your if you give me your rights as the first-born son.”

Esau said, “All right! I am about to die: what good will my rights do me?”

Jacob answered, “First make a vow that you will give me your rights.”

Esau made the vow and gave his rights to Jacob. Then Jacob gave him some bread and some of the soup. He ate and drank and then got up and left. That was all Esau cared about his rights as the first-born son.

 

(Quoted from Genesis 25:19-34, Today’s English Version)

Illustration by Nestor G. Magalpo, Sr.

Joseph reassures his brothers

     AFTER THE DEATH of their father, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still hates us and plans to pay us back for all the harm we did to him?” So they sent a message to Joseph: “Before our father died, he told us to ask you, ‘Please forgive the crime your brothers committed when they wronged you.’ Now please forgive us the wrong that we, the servants of your father’s God, have done.” Joseph cried when he received the message.

     Then his brothers came and bowed down before him. “Here we are before you as your slaves, “ they said.

     But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid; I can’t put myself in the place of God. You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened. You have nothing to fear. I will take care of your and your children.” So he reassured them with kind words that touched their hearts.

     Joseph continued to live in Egypt with his father’s family; he was a hundred and ten years old when he died. He lived to see Ephraim’s children and grandchildren. He also lived to receive the children of Machir son of Manasseh into the family. He said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will certainly take care of you and lead you out of this land he solemnly promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Then Joseph asked his people to make a vow: “Promise me,” he said, “that when God leads you to that land, you will take my body with you.”

     So Joseph died in Egypt at the age of a hundred and ten. They embalmed his body and put it in a coffin.


(Quoted from Genesis 50:15-26, Today’s English Version)
Illustration by Nestor G Malgapo Sr.

 

 

STRESSED? Depend on God, not on alcohol

 

 

LIFE AT PRESENT is very demanding or many people. For instance, when it comes to earning a living or one’s existence and survival, there are deadlines to meet and competitions to hurdle. Take the parents, there is the demand to meet not only the material needs for their children but also to provide them good education. Furthermore, without sparing anybody, the rapid pace of modern-day life has caused a myriad of health problems with corresponding increase in the cost medical treatment. Hence, dealing with the pressures of today’s difficulty living, it is but natural for many to be anxious trying to find ways to cope.

To overcome or at least deal with these pressures of life, some dedicate themselves to a physical regimen. Others pursue various hobbies, while others are content with taking a vacation whenever the opportunity arises. Tragically, some resort to more extreme methods of dealing with the intense demands of life like taking alcohol and drugs, and in doing so endanger their very lives.

Users may claim that these substances give them a sense of elation and contentment at least while they are under their influence But the negative results of alcohol and drug abuse far outweigh the satisfaction, if any, that one may get, as evidence in the following excerpt:

“Effects of Alcohol and Drug Abuse—Using alcohol and other drugs impair our judgment, making you more likely to hurt yourself and others, to have trouble with the law, to do poorly at work and school, and to have relationship trouble. Alcohol and drugs also have specific health risks; they can damage major organs, increase hour risk of cancers, and even cause death.” (Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, http:www.med.unc.edu/alcohol/prevention/effects.html)

In fact, depending upon the kind of substance being used, the effects can range from severe depression, paranoia, and hallucination to loss of body control and brain damage (http://goforward.harpercollege.edu/pagecfm/ p=1412). It is also a well-known fact that drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs is one of the major causes of vehicular accidents that can lead to death,, not only on the part of a drug-crazed driver but also of innocent motorists and pedestrians.

 

Dealing with stress

Clearly, abusing illegal substances is not the proper way of dealing with the pressures of life. So what is?

“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Your decrees are always fair; help me to understand them, that I may live.” (Ps. 119:143-144, New Living Translation)

According to the Holy Bible, one can alleviate the stress and pressure he is experiencing in life by obeying he commandments of God. Considering that He created us (Ps. 100:2-3) it is but right for us to approach Him to deal with life’s demands.

Anyway, should we be surprised that the time we are living in is stressful? II Timothy 3:1 reminds us:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress.” (Revised Standard Version)

Apparently, we should not be bewildered by the pressures of living in today’s world for it was forewarned that in the last days there will come times of stress. Since one cannot escape some level of stress, what is important is how he deals with it. Surely, it is not by resorting to alcohol or drugs.

What is one proof that abusing alcohol or drugs is not the proper way of handling stress? Proverbs 23:31-35 states this:

“Don’t let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you. For in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent; it stings like a viper You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast  And you will say, ‘they hit me but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it s=when they beat me up When will I wake up so I can have another drink?” (NLT)

 

The peril of substance abuse

When under the influence of alcohol or drugs, one certainly has a feeling of elation, and his troubles seem to be so far away or solved. But in truth, he is just compounding his predicament. For the surreal existence that he escapes to last only for a while, and then reality kicks back in with his problems still unsolved and, in fact, now more complicated.

To earn a living nowadays is very difficult, and what is earned should be used wisely. But for those who abuse themselves with intoxicating substances, they are actually squandering what they have earned—and invariably even the income of others For those with loved ones to take care of, this creates even more stressful and tumultuous arguments at home, since those who are depending on such a person will find themselves lacking in their basic needs.

What inevitably will happen who continues in his alcohol and substance abuse? Ephesians 5:18 states the following:

“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.” (NLT)

How many people have we heard reach the very pinnacle of success, only to come crashing down to obscurity and shame, due to substance abuse? Such is the peril of allowing oneself to be consumed by the intoxicating lure of alcohol and drugs.

 

Rely not on what’s fragile

Can one trust drugs for a “leg up” or assistance to deal with a task (studies or work assignment) or to cope with a problem?

“What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider’s web. He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold.” (Job 8:14-15, NIV)

Turning to drugs to help one cope with his worries is just like leaning against a spider’s web; such a fragile support easily crushes any time and leaves the dependent at the losing end. That is why, no matter how difficult life may be, he should never turn to drinking or taking drugs He should not even consider it Rather, his complete trust should always be in God.

But who can depend on God when he needs Him?

“Those who trust in the Lord are steady as Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance. Just as the mountains surround and protects his people” (Ps 125:1-2, Living Bible)

Members of the Church of Christ (Col 1:12-14; Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation) are always reminded to place their complete trust in God. Rightfully so, for as the people of God in the Christian era, they have much to lose, thus:

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (I Pet. 2:9-10, NIV)

So what will God do for His servants who place their confidence in Him?

“But those who trust in the LORD for help will find their strength renewed They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.” (Isa. 40:31, Today’s English Version)

 

True strength

Many a time in the life of a Church of Christ member has the Lord God come to his aid and rescued him. This in turn is the reason why we can confidently place our trust in Him, no matter how difficult life may be. And since we have the true God, do we need anyone or anything else?

“What else do I have in heaven but you? Since I have you, what else could I want on earth? My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; he is all I ever need.” (Ps 73:25-26, Ibid)

There is no need for members of the Church of Christ to seek out artificial means of dealing with life’s dilemmas; we have the true who has the greatest assistance one can ever hope for. And he is more than willing to grant His blessings unto us, through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. That  is why faithful members of the Church of Christ have the same level of confidence as that of Apostle Paul who steadfastly proclaims:

“I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” (Phil. 4:13, Ibid.)

It thus becomes imperative for a person to become a member of the Church of Christ to receive the strength to face all kinds of conditions and overcome the tribulations of life, and reach triumphantly the day of the promised salvation.

 

By Donald Pinnock

Source: God’s Message Magazine,

The Truth Concerning Christ’s Birth

SINCE THE BEGINNING of recorded history, there have been certain individuals who have played major roles in influencing the masses, and thus steering the course of mankind. But no man’s birth, life, and even death has created a phenomenon as that of the Lord Jesus Christ. Approaching 2000 years since His ascension to heaven, His legacy continues to affect the lives of millions of people around the globe. This is apparent when the so-called Christian world celebrates Christmas.
Christmas, to many, is that time of the year when there is a great outpouring of goodwill to one’s fellow man through the giving of gifts, well-wishing, and all-around merriment. However, despite the general “good” feeling that permeates man’s world and the obvious commercial aspect, not many truly understand the history of this annual celebration.

History and meaning of Christmas
What does the word “Christmas” mean? The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary mentions the following:
“Etymology: Middle English Christemasses, from Old English Cristes mæsse, literally, Christ’s mass
“Date: before 12th century
“1: a Christian feast on December 25 or among some Eastern Orthodox Christians on January 7 that commemorates the birth of Christ and is usually observed as a legal holiday” (school.eb.com)
Thus, Christmas is purported to celebrate the birth of Christ. But was this custom observed by the early Christians?

“There is no historical evidence that our Lord’s birthday was celebrated during apostolic or early postapostolic times.” (The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. 3, pg. 47)
So when did the celebration of Christmas begin? From the book, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, we can read the following:

“Soon after the end of the last great persecution, about the year 330, the Church in Rome definitely assigned December 25 for the celebration of the birth of Christ. For a while, many Eastern Churches continued to keep other dates, but toward the end of the fourth century the Roman custom became universal.” (pg. 60)

The celebration of Christ’s birth then was not practiced until the fourth century, hundreds of years after the death of the apostles. Many people do know that Christ was not born on December 25 was influenced by the fact that the Romans, from the time of Emperor Aurelian (275), had celebrated the feast of the sun god (Sol Invictus: the Unconquered Sun) on that day. December 25 was called the ‘Birthday of the Sun’, and great pagan religious celebrations of the Mithras cult were held all through the empire. What was more natural than that the Christians celebrate the birth of Him Who was the ‘Light of the World’ and the true ‘Sun of Justice’ on this very day?” (Ibid., pg. 61)

December 25th was chosen primarily because that date celebrated the feast of the pagan sun god Sol Invictus. So what many people are observing nowadays has its roots from paganism.
Regarding feasts and celebrations which are of pagan origin, Apostle Paul has this to say, thus:
“Here then is my word to you, and I urge it on you in the Lord’s name: give up living as pagans do with their futile notions.” (Eph. 4:17, Revised English Bible)

 

Significance of Christ’s birth
But is Christ’s birth significant? Very much so, as we can read in 1 John 4:9:
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (New King James Version)

Why did the birth of Christ manifest the love of God to mankind? Because Christ, being the Savior, brought peace to man:

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger’. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’” (Luke 2:11-14, Ibid.)

The peace that Christ has brought is absolutely vital, since man in general has been separated from God because of sin (Isa. 59:2), the wages of sin being death in the lake of fire (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:14). And since all men, except Christ, have committed sin (Rom. 3:23), then all should die on the day of Judgment (II Pet. 3:7, 10)

But because of God’s love and mercy, He sent Christ as the propitiation for sin that man may not die but live. However, have all benefited from this blessing? Who have benefited from the birth, life, and death of Christ? Where can those who have peace with God be found? In the “one body,” according to apostle Paul:

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Col. 3:15, NKJV)

The body is none other than the Church of which Christ is the head (Col. 1:18). Apostle Paul also makes known that the official name of the Church established by Christ is the Church of Christ:
“The common object of their labor was to bring the Christians maturity, to prepare them for Christian service and the building up of the Church of Christ …” (Eph. 4:12, Norlie’s Simplified New Testament)

So it is very necessary and important for one to join and remain in the Church of Christ or Iglesia ni Cristo in order to have peace with God and be saved by Christ. If there are those who can truly rejoice because of the birth of the Savior, it is none other than the members of the true Church of Christ.

Remembering the Savior
Celebrating one’s birth is not against biblical precepts. However, to celebrate one’s birthday, the date of birth of the celebrator must first be determined. As for Christ’s birthday, such information is unavailable. What we have is a date which was supposedly set for the birthday of a pagan god.

The importance of Christ’s birth can never be over-emphasized—it meant that a savior was born. However, Christ did not command that His birthday be commemorated. Instead, before Christ died on the cross, He instituted something that He instructed his disciples to observe in remembrance of Him:

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat, this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me’.” (I Cor. 11:23-25, NKJV)

The true servants of the Lord remember the Savior through the Holy Supper. Through this, they also remember all of His sufferings and sacrifices for His Church (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation), of which they are members and by which they have peace with God and will be saved from he Father’s wrath on the day of Judgment.

Indeed, members of the Church of Christ have been richly blessed. But they know it is not enough that their recognition and acknowledgment of Christ is scripturally based but that they also have the responsibility to remain as obedient servants until the end:

“That you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing.” (I Tim. Tim. 6:14, NKJV)

Why should the members of the Church of Christ remain obeying God’s commandments until the end? What awaits the obedient servants of the Lord? II Peter 3:12-14 states:

“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” (Ibid.)

Having the true knowledge of Christ and doing the right way of remembering Him will culminate in the salvation of the members of the Church of Christ, who will be taken to the new heavens and earth, or more specifically the Holy City (Rev 21:1-2)

This is the very reason why we, members of the Church of Christ or Iglesia ni Cristo, continuously rejoice in the sending of the Lord Jesus Christ by our God and Father in heaven though not in the manner the rest of the people in the world do. For we are assured that on Christ’s return, He will fulfill His promise unto us:

“Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know where I am going and how to get there.” (John 14:1-4, New Living Translation)


 

By Donald Pinnock
Source: God’s Message Magazine
December 2009 Issue

 

Halloween

In “That’s In The Bible” Bro. Bob Pellien was asked questions about Halloween by two curious students regarding Halloween.   
The first question came from Diana: “Why shouldn’t we celebrate Halloween? And how did it start?
To that Bro. Bob says we will not turn to the Bible to study Halloween because it’s not in the Bible, because it has its origins in pagan culture.

People say, aw, it’s just for fun, and the kids get candy, etc.
But, is there any Biblical guidance that God would want us to know and understand, like holidays like Christmas or Halloween? If these holidays are against the Bible, why are they celebrated?

To start with history, in the book “Catholic Customs & Traditions: A Popular Guide”, written by Greg Dues. Pg. 196, this is recorded:

“There are several possibilities for the origin of the tradition of giving treats as part of trick or treating. … The more probable origin is that the ghosts who roamed freely that night would be satisfied with a banquet table laid out in homes. For a while after Christianity arrived in Celtic lands, there was an attempt to transfer this custom to the eve of All Souls Day (November 2). Masked children would go from door to door to pray for the departed loved ones in return for a treat.”

So, you can see that Halloween has its origins not in the Bible but in ancient pagan cultures.
What is Halloween all about? If we look in The Encyclopedia Britannia, Vol. 2. Page 15 it says,

“HALLOWEEN (in Medieval times “All Hallows”) kept on October 31, the eve of All Saints Day, was a Celtic festival at the end of summer named Samhain. It was connected with … the practice of divinations and its association with the dead, whose souls were supposed to revisit their homes on this day.”

So, again it does not have biblical origin but has its origin in pagan cultures, and refers back to a Celtic festival at New Years’ time called Samhain, and it was connected with divinations, these dead souls were supposed to return to the homes. Does the Bible have anything to say about these practices of Halloween, divinations, ghosts returning to the homes to trick-or-treat and such things like that? Let’s go to the Bible, Lev. 19:26 (NIV)

… “Do not practice divination or sorcery.”

So, we don’t do that. We will not participate in the divination and ancient practices of Halloween. The Bible specifically prohibits such things. And how about that part where it made mention of culture and Celtic practices on Halloween time, that the dead will return to the home and have a banquet table set for them, which was part of the customs where you go to the homes trick-or-treating? The Bible also mentions that in Job 7:9 NLT;

“As the cloud disappears and vanishes away, so he who goes down to the grave does not come up. He shall never return to his house, Nor shall his place know him anymore.”

The Bible makes clear there’s no returning to the home as a ghost or a skeleton to get treats from a table that’s been provided for that one particular night. The Bible clearly teaches against such things. That is why Halloween is not a festival or a holiday or a practice that we faithful Christians should participate in.

Jason de la Cruz, from Kent, Washington similarly asks,
“My question is, why do you guys not celebrate Halloween?”

Well, even though it has such origins it’s still fun, and some will say: it’s just a myth, and fables, and traditions of the past that we’re just trying to give fun to the children. The Bible gives some particular guidance about that way of thinking.

Here’s what the Scriptures have to say in Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy NKJV, where it was addressed in these terms: I Tim. 4:7,
“But reject profane and old wives’ fables and exercise yourself toward godliness.”

So, the Bible is very explicit to reject such fables and instead, exercise godliness. And there’s another reason why the Church of Christ will not go along with traditions and practices of Halloween–there’s another element of Halloween that supposedly many people do not know, and that element of Halloween was described in the Encyclopedia Britannica like this, in Vol. 2, page 15:

“The autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, fairies and demons of all kinds…It was THE ONLY DAY IN WHICH THE HELP OF THE DEVIL WAS INVOKED FOR SUCH PURPOSES.” (Emphasis, mine.)

Imagine, that’s the day where they ask the assistance of none other than the devil himself. Obviously true Christians won’t participate in any such things regarding Halloween, knowing that the devil has a stake in these practices.

Well, then others will say, well look, we’re not thinking about its origins being in ancient pagan Celtic culture, and we’re not going back to the origination of any of those practices, and we’re certainly not going to invoke the help of the Devil, they would say, “We’re just doing this for fun, to wear masks and go to Halloween parties and get candy for the kids.”

Well, if one would say we’re just doing it for fun is there any Biblical guidance that God would want us to know and understand if that’s the way we were thinking?

Turning again to the Holy Bible, in Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, 4:17:

“Here then is my word to you, and I urge it on you in the Lord’s name: give up living as pagans do with their futile notions.

Lee Cunningham from Kent, Washington also posed questions pertaining to Halloween. He asked, “If national holidays like Christmas or Halloween are against the Bible, why are they celebrated?

Why? There’s something that they have missed. It was a warning that was given in the Holy Bible in the book of Colossians 2:8, NLV. The reason given here, it says,

“Don’t let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, …”

The reason why they do that today is that they missed the warning. The Bible issued the warning, with human ideologies that they have invented.

There was also an explicit instruction from Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians. Not only was his advice’ don’t let someone lead you astray with these things’, he went on to say in Gal. 1:8-9 NKJV this:

“But even if we, or another angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”

We will not then say well, it’s okay it is good to use pagan practices. We will not. We will stick to the advice and warnings of the Scriptures. Why? To conclude on that point, I Cor. 15:1-2 NKJV :

“Moreover, I declare the Gospel which I preached to you which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain.”

We’ll hold tight to the preaching of our Savior and his Apostles.

There are some also interesting things to touch on concerning Halloween festivities. For one, turnips were used as lamps then, but when there were no more turnips the druids found a good substitute in pumpkins.

FORBIDDEN FOODS

 

Are we what we eat? Of course, just ask any health guru, or the bodybuilder, or the beauty contestant. For them, just about everything is forbidden, if they want to attain their goal of 3% bodyfat, or 22-inch waist, respectively. Well, that takes discipline, and strict adherence to specific food regimens meticulously designed to meet that purpose. They are willing to practice, practice, practice to win.

In the same manner of diligence, some cultures maintain strict adherence as a matter of law. They set standards for food which can or cannot be eaten, and even how to prepare them. The Jewish culture, for example, have a set of dietary laws which requires kashrus, or more commonly known as kosher “from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér, meaning “fit”, or proper and correct. (memidex.com/kashrut).

Memidex.com/kashrut describes foods that meet these dietary standards. Quite intriguing. Some foods are alright to eat in and of themselves, but not in combination. For example, some meat and dairy products cannot be consumed together. You can find a lot of YouTube videos concerning just that. It’s even growing in popularity today whether you’re Jewish or not because it is healthy.

The set of Dashrut Dietary Laws, (jewfaq.org) has its roots in the first 5 books of the Bible called the ‘Torah’ or The Law of Moses, mostly in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Even any utensils that in contact with meat may not be used with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. (This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot.) Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten. These guidelines are being followed up ’til now.

What about Christians, do we follow the same. Why not if for health benefits? But we’re not strictly bound by it because the Law of Moses was written specifically for that time.

Please note: the Bible verses are cited by ordained ministers, not me. Never me. But I will read the Bible for myself if I feel like it. I also have the Quran for reference. (I got it from Amazon and was told after the fact that I could have gone to any mosque and get one for free. LOL)


Moving on, The Laws of Moses were meant form the nation of Israel at that time. Proof? It’s Written in the Bible. In (Deut. 1:5-3 TEV) Moses called together all the people of Israel and said to them, “People of Israel, listen to all the laws that I am giving you today. Learn them, and be sure that you obey them. At Mount Sinai the LORD our God made a covenant, not only with our fathers, but with all of us who are living today.”

Common misconception that all the laws that the Jewish people then or people of their God followed them is explicable to our time. But what many people failed to realize is that there are many laws that the Jews observed that lasted for only a period of time.

We could actually read that was in time of John the Baptist, in fact written in the book (Luke 16:16 CV) it says “Until the time of John the Baptist, people had to obey the Law of Moses and the books of the prophets. But since God’s kingdom has been preached, everyone is trying hard to get in.”

John the Baptist prepared the way for our Lord Jesus Christ. What is the significance of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ? It marked the beginning of the Christian era, but also brought the law of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Gal. 6:2 TEV) “Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will obey the law of Christ.” With Him came the law. Thus, Moses’s Laws had not been applicable since then.

Another video (from Joel Osteen on YouTube): He tells us all those things the Scriptures told us not to eat. They didn’t touch it then because “a pig will eat anything”, therefore it is unclean. In the Christian Era that law no longer applies.
What is the law of Christ regarding the pork or other meats that even the Kosheritary laws prohibits?
(Acts 10:10-15) He became hungry and wanted something to eat; while the food was being prepared, he had a vision. He saw a vision. He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a sheet being lowered by its four corners to the earth. In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and wild birds. A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter: kill and eat” But Peter said, “Certainly not, Lord! I have never eaten anything ritually unclean or defiled.” The voice spoke to him again, “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.” This was during the Christian Era what God declares as clean.

But if you are told not to eat pork because it was told to you in the Christian Era, don’t eat pork for health reasons, that’s a different issue altogether. But if you are told it’s because you’re not supposed to in the Christian Era, it’s wrong for anyone to claim that the Bible tells Christians you’re not supposed to eat pork.

What about Lenten dietary laws? Why is there a need to fast and why are certain foods forbidden?
Lent (Latin: Quadragesima) is a solemn observance of the liturgical year of many Christian denominations, fasting for approximately a period of 40 days, and approximately 6 weeks leading up to Easter Sunday. In the general Latin-rite and most Western denominations Lent is taken to run from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) morning or to Easter Eve. (Wikipedia.org) This includes prayer, penance, self-denial as well as other things. The reason behind this tradition is to commemorate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible.
What foods are being forbidden? In an article “Ash Wednesday Fasting: Meat and Other Foods Forbidden during Lent” by Torie Bosch/AOL News, meats and other foods are forbidden during lent:
 No meat if you are 14 or older. Fish is permitted, as are eggs, milk, cheese, etc. But no chicken, steak, or hamburgers—animal organs and meat should be avoided.
 Fasting if you are 18 to 59. Those between the ages of 18 to 59 are expected to fast. This doesn’t mean eating nothing, however; rather, it means eating less than usual.
 Snacking or eating between meals is not allowed.
What is the basis of all this? The rules for fasting and abstinence in the (Roman) Catholic Church, for Romans, are set forth in the code for Canon Law, and in the Code of Canons for Oriental churches or the Eastern Catholic Churches.
They can be modified by Bishops for each particular country; or in the Eastern churches for each particular rite.
Not in the Bible, though. In Isaiah 58:6 Geneva Bible Translation, “Is this the fasting that I have chosen? To loosen the bands of wickedness, to take off the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?”

So, if there is a fasting pleasing or worthy of God it is to lose that kind of wickedness or to avoid sin in our life. In other words, to lead a clean, righteous way of life. So, it doesn’t mention here at all to fast from any type of foods.

It is important for us to understand that when we’re talking from a religious perspective or Biblical perspective that restricting the eating of meat what they should understand that this is not a teaching of God to Christians.

In fact, if we read from (I Tim. 4:1-3) this is actually a teaching of the devil and this is what Apostle Paul actually says to us, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God had created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

So, according to what we read from Paul we have to be careful in the observance of God’s rules because it may be a doctrine of the devil as explained by Apostle Paul because we have to remember in the Christian Time, those formally unclean foods are now made clean for us since Christ. This is the Christian Era. So, it would be wrong for us to use the Bible to support our abstinence from eating meats.

But—there is something that can be eaten that is forbidden from the Bible, that many do eat.

Another video (viewer advised): Forbidden Foods, TLC/YouTube, “and I am addicted to drinking animal blood…there’s never a bad time to drink blood.” Michelle had been drinking blood for 10 years. She needs 7 liters to satisfy her cravings and can’t start her day without a sip.

(Genesis 9:1-4) God blessed Noah and his sons and said “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth. All the animals, birds, and fish will live in fear of you. They are all placed under your power. Now you can eat them, as well as green plants; I give them all to you for food. The one thing you must not eat is meat with blood still in it”. I forbid this because the life is in the blood.

Why? Because it is for the forgiveness of sins, and written here in (Lev:7:11), the life of every living thing is in the blood, and that is why the LORD has commanded that all blood be poured out on the altar to take away the people’s sins. Blood, which is life, takes away sins.

Blood should not be eaten because it has a holy, pure purpose, which is a cleansing intention which is of course to forgive us of all our sins, therefore it shouldn’t be eaten at all.

In many parts of the world it’s part of people’s dietary practice, but what people don’t understand it’s not biblical or against the Bible. Examples: Dinuguan, Europe-blood sausages, in Korea there’s what you call the Black Sunday, kind of a black pudding, Australia something called Blood Platter, Sweden something called Blood Pancakes, in Poland you have Blood Soup. Many cultures have as part of their cuisine, the eating of blood. But what people don’t know, don’t realize that this is forbidden by God.

So then and now, blood uh-uh. Written in Acts again 21:25 “But as for the Gentiles who have become believers, we have sent them a letter telling them we decided that they must not eat any food that has been offered to idols, or any blood, or any animal that has been strangled, and that they must keep themselves from sexual immorality.
So, the eating of blood was forbidden from the days of Noah up till our time today, the Christian Era. So once again, we should not eat blood.

Be careful from some practices because they might lead you away from the Lord our God and from our Lord Jesus Christ, instead of leading us closer.

Source of Discussions: Edwil Zabala, Quezon City; Barry Thompson, San Francisco; Glen David, Sydney, Australia; and Solomon Joves in Los Angeles, California; and of course, the references, books, articles, and YouTube. 😀

A wonderful child

The TIME CAME for Mary and Joseph to do what the Law of Moses says a mother is supposed to do after her baby is born.

They took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and presented him to the Lord, just as the Law of the Lord says, “Each first-born baby boy belongs to the Lord. “The Law of the Lord also says that parents have to offer a sacrifice, giving at least a pair of doves or two young pigeons. So that is what Mary and Joseph did.

At this time a man named Simeon was living in Jerusalem. Simeon was a good man. He loved God and was waiting for God to save the people of Israel. God’s spirit came to him and told him that he would not die until he had seen Jesus Christ the Lord.

When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to do what the Law of Moses says should be done for a new baby, the Spirit told Simeon to go into the temple. Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God,

“Lord, I am your servant, and now I can die in peace, because you have kept your promise to me. With my own eyes I have seen what you have done to save your people, and foreign nations will also see this. Your mighty power is a light for all nations, and it will bring honor to your people Israel.” Jesus’ parents were surprised at what Simeon had said. Then he blessed them and told Mary, “This child of yours will cause many of people in Israel to rise and many to fall and others to stand. The child will be like a warning sign. Many people will reject him, and you, Mary, will suffer as you have been stabbed by a dagger. But all this will show what people are really thinking.”

The prophet Anna was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Famuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. In her youth she had been married for seven years, but her husband died. And now she was 84 years old. Night and day she served God in the temple by praying and often going without eating.

At that time Anna went in and praised God. She spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who hoped for Jerusalem to be set free.

After Joseph and Mary have done everything that the law of the Lord commands, they returned home to Nazareth and Galilee. The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him.

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for Passover. And when Jesus was 12 years old, they all went there as usual for the celebration. After Passover his parents left, but they did not know that Jesus stayed on in the city. They thought he was travelling with some other people, and they went a whole day before they started looking for him. When they could not find him with their relatives and friends, they went back to Jerusalem and started looking for him there.

Three days later they found Jesus, listening to the teachers and asking him questions. Everyone who heard him was surprised. Everyone who heard him was surprised at how much he knew and at all the answers he gave.

When his parents found him, they were amazed. His mother said, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been very worried, and we have been searching for you!”

Jesus answered, “Why did you have to look for me? Didn’t you know that I would be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he meant.

Jesus went back to Nazareth with his parents and obeyed them. His mother kept on thinking about all that had happened.

Jesus became wise, and he grew strong. God was pleased with him and so were the people.


(Quoted from Luke 2:P22-52,
(Contemporary English Version)

Random Notes

A DELEGATION of senior Catholic Church officials has acknowledged that sex abuse scandals in Ireland have led to a loss of trust in members of the clergy.

The findings form part of the Holy See’s investigation into seminaries and dioceses across Ireland in the wake of controversy over the church’s handling of clerical sex abuse cases.

The report also proposes a number of reforms to improve child protection, along with pastoral priorities to help with the renewal of the church.  The report was completed after seven teams of Vatican-appointed church leaders visited Ireland. The teams visited the four archdioceses, two seminaries and male and female congregations.

It found that while guidelines to protect children are being followed, academic programs in seminaries should put more focus on the issue. During their stay in Ireland, members of the apostolic visitation were able to see how much shortcomings of the past gave rise to an inadequate understanding of and reaction to the terrible abuse of minors, the report stated.

“With a great sense of pain and shame, it must be acknowledged that… innocent young people were abused by clerics and religious to whose care they had been entrusted, while those who should have exercised vigilance often failed to do so,” it states.

It notes that many lay people have experienced a loss of trust in their pastors, while many good priests and religious have felt unjustly tainted by association.

On the other hand, it says this “time of trial” has brought to light the vitality of the Irish people’s faith, how many religious are living out their vocation and the level of lay involvement in areas such as child protection.

 

Source: The Irish Times
Free Bible Studies