Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Man's will, yes...Man's "free will," no! (Part 1)

Sometime when I was in Catholic School the nuns or the lay teachers or someone claimed that all people have "free will" to choose to believe in Christ or not, to eat meat on Fridays during Lent or not, to commit a "mortal" sin (which would blot their names out of the Book of Life, that is, until they went to Confession...isn't Roman Catholicism wonderful!) or just a "venial" sin (whatever that is...I guess it's a "liitle white lie" instead of a big one!), or to skip mass on Easter (and thus guarantee yourself a place in Hell for eternity...or if the Pope found out, be excommunicated!) or not.

Now of course, the Pope is the final authority for the Roman Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the final authority for the Anglican church. The various Protestant denominations have their heads. Various nondenominational churches, esprcially the big megachurches, have their authorities. And God forbid you should approach any of them with the notion that it is not they who are the head of their church, but Christ, and it is not them who are the final authority, but the Word of God. Remember Matthew 4:4--"Man does not live by bread alone but by every word from the mouth of God." Yet, these churches do not follow Christ's teaching and His truth, and instead insist that the "elders" of the church are the final authority. They misconstrue Paul's Epistles' teachings on this.

Anyway, bringing up this point is important if we want to come to some understanding how heresies came into being in the Body of Christ back in Paul's day ("The mystery of iniquity doth already work..." 2 Thessalonians 2:7). When Paul implored each Christian community to have elders it's implied that these elders be righteous and full of the Holy Spirit, Who would guide them in their leadership roles. It did NOT mean that anyone who considered himself a "leader" had authority, it did not mean that someone NOT filled with the Holy Spirit had a right to make up his own doctrines. Paul singled out a few individuals who had corrupted the Christian communities and held them up to denunciation, and, because the churches at the time did not have the wherewithal to ride these fellows out of town on a rail, by the time Paul had died, Christianity had already started down the road to the Mystery Babylon it is today.

It is getting late and I will continue with this shortly.

Deborah Lagarde

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