Thursday, March 10, 2011

1 Timothy 4:1-3 In Context

Every year about this time the pretended "Reformers" make it a point to attack the Catholic Church on Lenten fasting, etc. The folks at the blog, "Beggars All" who have made it a daily affair to attack the Catholic Church with false accusations, regularly take Scripture out of context. For instance, a couple of their blogger visitors have taken 1 Timothy 4:1-3 out of context thinking that it condemns, or at least gives them an out from obeying the Church on fasting,  as well as condemning celibate priests. The passage reads...

1 Now the Spirit manifestly saith, that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared, 3 Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful, and by them that have known the truth. (1 Tim:4:1-3)

Here is how two pretended "Reformers" over at the blog "Beggars All" use the Biblical passage.

Zipper778 writes before quoting the above passage, "But to be clear, it is not sinful to not fast on Ash Wednesday or to refrain yourself from eating meat on fridays during Lent. The Scriptures are clear about that..."

Another ignorant blogger named Kim responds to him with this gem on the passage,

"Interesting Scripture quote, Zipper. It's interesting in that Paul equates "things taught by demons" with "forbid[ing] people to marry and order[ing] them to abstain from certain foods".
So what does that make of the Catholic priesthood and church-wide fasting from "certain foods"?

If forbidding people to marry and requiring them to abstain from certain foods is considered to have come from demons, well, hmmmmm."
What is interesting is how these two resemble the heretics who were attacking the Church back in the early centuries of the Church, because they too also were fasting and had celibate clergy. It seems that the Saints of the early Church had to deal with similar distortions of the Scriptures. It is quite amazing that over 1600 years ago Saint Chrysostom and Saint Augustine were addressing people who were taking the same passage out of context. Now for the real interpretation as given by the Church Fathers and the Catholic Church.

Ver. 3. Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, &c. Here says St. Chrysostom[1] are foretold and denoted the heretics called Encratites, the Marcionites, Manicheans, &c. who condemned all marriages as evil, as may be seen in St. Irenæus, Epiphanius, St. Augustine, Theodoret, &c. These heretics held a god who was the author of good things, and another god who was the author or cause of all evils; among the latter they reckoned, marriages, fleshmeats, wine, &c. The doctrine of Catholics is quite different, when they condemn the marriages of priests and of such as have made a vow to God to lead always a single life; or when the Church forbids persons to eat flesh in Lent, or on fasting-days, unless their health require it. We hold that marriage in itself is not only honourable, but a sacrament of divine institution. We believe and profess that the same only true God is the author of all creatures which are good of themselves; that all eatables are to be eaten with thanksgiving, and none of them to be rejected, as coming from the author of evil. When we condemn priests for marrying, it is for breaking their vows and promises made to God of living unmarried, and of leading a more perfect life; we condemn them with the Scripture, which teaches us that vows made are to be kept; with St. Paul, who in the next chap. (ver. 12) teaches us, that they who break such vows incur their damnation. When the Church, which we are commanded to obey, enjoins abstinence from flesh, or puts a restraint as to the times of eating on days of humiliation and fasting, it is by way of self-denial and mortification: so that it is not the meats, but the transgression of the precept, that on such occasions defiles the consciences of the transgressors. "You will object, (says St. Chrysostom) that we hinder persons from marrying; God forbid," &c. St. Augustine, (lib. 30. contra Faustum. chap. vi.) "You see (says he) the great difference in abstaining from meats for mortification sake, and as if God was not the author of them." We may observe that God, in the law of Moses, prohibited swine's flesh and many other eatables; and that even the apostles, in the Council of Jerusalem, forbad the Christians, (at least about Antioch) to eat at that time blood and things strangled; not that they were bad of themselves, as the Manicheans pretended. (Witham) --- St. Paul here speaks of the Gnostics and other ancient heretics, who absolutely condemned marriage and the use of all kind of meat, because they pretended that all flesh was from an evil principle: whereas the Church of God so far from condemning marriage, holds it to be a holy sacrament, and forbids it to none but such as by vow have chosen the better part: and prohibits not the use of any meats whatsoever, in proper times and seasons, though she does not judge all kinds of diet proper for days of fasting and penance. (Challoner) --- We may see in the earliest ages[centuries] of Christianity, that some of the most infamous and impure heretics that ever went out of the Church, condemned all marriage as unlawful, at the same time allowing the most unheard of abominations: men without religion, without faith, without modesty, without honour. See St. Clement of Alexandria, lib. 3. Strom. (Haydock Bible Commentary

There, now you have the Christian interpretation of this passage, not the heretical one.


scotju said...

Paul could have been talking about the Judaizers and Pharisees as well as these other groups mentioned by him. The Pharisees were said to have Satan as their father by Christ in John's Gospel, and in Matthew's Gospel they were called the children of hell. Since the Pharisees aspired to be teachers, they would be teachers of the doctrines of men and devils, rather than God's. They were hypocrites, (Matthew 23 uses the word constantly), and because they demanded submission to the Mosiac law, they would have forbidden intermarriage between Jews and Gentiles and would have demanded kosher foods. Interestingly enough, St Pius V said in his decree of 02/26/1569 said, "We know that this most perverse people have always been the cause and seedbag of almost all the heresies." Indeed, one only has to read Rabbi Newman's "Jewish Influence On Christian Reform Movements" to realize he was right.

scotju said...

You know, Bugay seems to be absolutely determined to tear down everything he ever believed as a Catholic. His BA buddies think that is great, but I believe their cheering will turn into wailing and moaning in a few short years. I think it's reasonable given his destructive attitude, he will one day start deconstructing his Protestant beliefs. He's using liberal scholars like Lampe to attack us, so it's not beyond the pale to believe he'll be seduced by his own hatred to use liberal scholars to attack what he believes now.

Matthew Bellisario said...

He is truly a madman. The comments that he makes mark the characteristics of a man gone totally insane. I really think he either has something mentally wrong with him or perhaps he has a demonic infestation of sorts, and I am not being facetious here.

Aside from that, I can no longer take much of anything the guys on that ring of "Reformed" blogs serious anymore. When you spend time reading works written by true scholars and then you read a guy like Bugay, Swan, White,Hays or the guy or women, (who knows truly which) who has called themselves Turretin Fan, you realize how pathetic they really are. They rehash the same pathetic arguments that have been refuted for 500 years now, and they all think they are geniuses. If I happen to see something that is worth commenting on that I think will help someone find the Truth, I put up a quick post like this and then continue on in my studies of works worth studying.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Bugay has now misquoted a scholar from St. Vladimir's seminary. I cannot believe this guy thinks he can actually get away with this nonsense. Behr never says anywhere in the quote that St. Ignatius did not believe in apostolic succession. The part in bold that Bugay highlights merely states he believed that he as a bishop did not have the same power to "lay down" precepts or teachings as the apostles did, which we all know those doctrinal teachings ended with the apostles. That however has nothing to do with apostolic succession, which continues to hand down the teachings that were laid down by the apostles. As I said, this guy is insane.

scotju said...

I don't believe Bugay is mentally ill. His behavior is that of a fanatic. A fanatic is driven by extreme self-doubts about himself, but he adopts a doctrine that he attributes certitude. As Eric Hoffer explains it, the doctrine can be the most sublime thing or absolute garbage. So it really doesn't matter how true or false it is, it's believing it's true that counts. That's why he can quote lies as truth and distort information that's true. As long as he believes it to be true, it is truth. Romans 1:25 pretty much tells us what goes on in the mind of someone like Bugay.