Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Cross: Symbol of Christianity

     The cross and the Crucifix, Christ on the Cross, is a symbol for Christianity. Many Protestants attack Catholics because we have crucifixes and Crosses. One of the Protestant sect says,

"di naman totoo yung cross eh false gospel yan, nacrucify si Messiah sa TREE"
"It's not true that is a  false gospel, the Messiah was crucified on a TREE" 
 "Image of the beast!!!!"

-Irvin Carson 

       I asked him what denomination he belongs he said he was part of this group called The Way and he said it is in Acts.
-Irvin Carson 
In English,
"Please learn.... The ways is in the Book of Acts ...."
"Learn the Book of Revelation..." 
-Irvin Carson

       He completely says that Jesus never died on a cross, but on a tree. He quotes verses that refers to the "Tree of Life" and anything that talks about trees that is connected to Christ. This heresy I never encountered until today. Even this sect I never heard of.
    People like these doesn't know why Catholics, along with other Protestants, use the cross and portray Christ crucified. This portrayal of Christ and using His' cross as a symbol. By the Cross Christ conquered death and sin, thus becoming a symbol of our salvation. Here is what the Bible says.

What History and Church Tradition Says 

In the Golden Legend 

In The Life of Adam Voragine writes that the true cross came from three trees which grew from three seeds from the 
"Tree of Mercy" 
which Seth collected and planted in the mouth of Adam's corpse. In another account contained in Of the invention of the Holy Cross, and first of this word invention, Voragine writes that the True Cross came from a tree that grew from part of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, or 
"the tree that Adam ate of", 
that Seth planted on Adam's grave where it 
"endured there unto the time of Solomon"

In the Eastern Orthodox Tradition:
According to the Sacred Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church the True Cross was made from three different types of wood: cedarpine and cypress.
This is an allusion to Isaiah 60:13 : "The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box [cypress] together to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
 The link between this verse and the Crucifixion lies in the words,
 "the place of my feet" 
which is interpreted as referring to the suppendaneum (foot rest) on which Jesus' feet were nailed. This is where the Eastern Cross appear.

Ecclesiastical History According to Theodoret

When the empress beheld the place where the Saviour suffered, she immediately ordered the idolatrous temple, which had been there erected, to be destroyed, and the very earth on which it stood to be removed. When the tomb, which had been so long concealed, was discovered, three crosses were seen buried near the Lord's sepulchre. All held it as certain that one of these crosses was that of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the other two were those of the thieves who were crucified with Him. Yet they could not discern to which of the three the Body of the Lord had been brought nigh, and which had received the outpouring of His precious Blood. But the wise and holy Macarius, the president of the city, resolved this question in the following manner. He caused a lady of rank, who had been long suffering from disease, to be touched by each of the crosses, with earnest prayer, and thus discerned the virtue residing in that of the Saviour. For the instant this cross was brought near the lady, it expelled the sore disease, and made her whole.

Itinerario Egeriae

Then a chair is placed for the bishop in Golgotha behind the [liturgical] Cross, which is now standing; the bishop duly takes his seat in the chair, and a table covered with a linen cloth is placed before him; the deacons stand round the table, and a silver-gilt casket is brought in which is the holy wood of the Cross. The casket is opened and [the wood] is taken out, and both the wood of the Cross and the title are placed upon the table. Now, when it has been put upon the table, the bishop, as he sits, holds the extremities of the sacred wood firmly in his hands, while the deacons who stand around guard it. It is guarded thus because the custom is that the people, both faithful and catechumens, come one by one and, bowing down at the table, kiss the sacred wood and pass through. And because, I know not when, some one is said to have bitten off and stolen a portion of the sacred wood, it is thus guarded by the deacons who stand around, lest any one approaching should venture to do so again. And as all the people pass by one by one, all bowing themselves, they touch the Cross and the title, first with their foreheads and then with their eyes; then they kiss the Cross and pass through, but none lays his hand upon it to touch it. When they have kissed the Cross and have passed through, a deacon stands holding the ring of Solomon and the horn from which the kings were anointed; they kiss the horn also and gaze at the ring... 
What the Bible Says

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." -1 Corinthians 1:18 

"but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles," -1 Corinthians 1:23

"You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified." -Galatians 3:1

"Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished." -Galatians 5:11

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." -Hebrews 12:2

"And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." -Colossians 2:15

"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!" -Philippians 2:8

"and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility." -Ephesians 2:16

"and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." -Colossians 1:20

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Iglesia ni Cristo Denies Christ as the Savior

When I asked an INC member who was the Savior, since they deny Christ's divinity, he answered:
 "Dong,Ang Dakilang Ama pa rin ang Tagapagligtas. Instrument lang si Cristo. Paiilalim yan sa Kapangyarihan ng Dios."- Noel Recamier 
In English,
"Boy, the Great Father is still the Savior. Christ is only an instrument. Under the Power of God." - Noel Recamier
Clearly these heretics deny Jesus as the Savior. Jesus is savior, all Christians says He is. In the Bible the Apostles call Jesus savior. No where does it say that He is only an instrument. If He is Savior and God alone is Savior, then Jesus is God as in Titus 2:13. In Titus 2:13 we see Christ's name used in an appositive, an appositive is a noun or noun phrase that renames another noun right beside it. The appositive can be a short or long combination of words. The important point to remember is that a nonessential appositive is always separated from the rest of the sentence with comma(s). 

Are they, the INCs, even Christians?

What Scriptures Says

"To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior." -Titus 1:4
"but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." -2 Timothy 1:10
"Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:" -2 Peter 1:1

"whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior," -Titus 3:6

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." -2 Peter 3:18

"while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ," -Titus 2:13

"If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning." -2 Peter 2:20

"and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." -2 Peter 1:11

"From this man's descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised." -Acts 13:23

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Theotókos

      Theotókos (Θεοτόκος) is one of the title given to Mary. Theotókos in Greek is God-bearerthe one who gives birth to God, and Mother of God Incarnate. In the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. decreed that Mary is the Mother of God. Since Jesus is God and human. When Protestants bring this topic up, in their mind they think this refers to God the Father and thinking that Mary is Mother of God from eternity. However this title is only referring to the Incarnation of Jesus. To summarize it Mary is called Mother of God Incarnate. Even before the legalization of Christianity and the Council of Ephesus, the early Church believed that Mary is the Theotókos. Before the Council of Ephesus, their was debates about the title of Mary. There were two titles, Christotokos and Theotókos. Mary is Theotokos because her son, Jesus, is one person who is both God and man. Since Jesus is God Incarnate and through the Virgin birth Jesus came into flesh. So it is right to call Mary the Theotókos.

     Does this title, Mother of God, imply that Mary is in some way superior to God? Of course not! Mary is clearly a creature. But like all mothers, Mary gave birth to a person. In her case it was a divine Person, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. However, in giving birth to her Divine Son she was not giving birth to his divinity, which existed from all eternity.

The Early Church Fathers

"The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God"- Against Heresies, 5:19:1 (A.D. 189).

"[T]o all generations they [the prophets] have pictured forth the grandest subjects for contemplation and for action. Thus, too, they preached of the advent of God in the flesh to the world, his advent by the spotless and God-bearing (theotokos) Mary in the way of birth and growth, and the manner of his life and conversation with men, and his manifestation by baptism, and the new birth that was to be to all men, and the regeneration by the laver [of baptism]"-Discourse on the End of the World 1 (A.D. 217). 

Gregory the Wonderworker

"For Luke, in the inspired Gospel narratives, delivers a testimony not to Joseph only, but also to Mary, the Mother of God, and gives this account with reference to the very family and house of David"-Four Homilies 1 (A.D. 262). 

"It is our duty to present to God, like sacrifices, all the festivals and hymnal celebrations; and first of all, [the feast of] the Annunciation to the holy Mother of God, to wit, the salutation made to her by the angel, ‘Hail, full of grace!’" (ibid., 2). 

Peter of Alexandria

"They came to the church of the most blessed Mother of God, and ever-virgin Mary, which, as we began to say, he had constructed in the western quarter, in a suburb, for a cemetery of the martyrs"- The Genuine Acts of Peter of Alexandria (A.D. 305). 

"We acknowledge the resurrection of the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the firstling; he bore a body not in appearance but in truth derived from Mary the Mother of God"-Letter to All Non-Egyptian Bishops 12 (A.D. 324). 


"While the old man [Simeon] was thus exultant, and rejoicing with exceeding great and holy joy, that which had before been spoken of in a figure by the prophet Isaiah, the holy Mother of God now manifestly fulfilled"-Oration on Simeon and Anna 7 (A.D. 305). 

"Hail to you forever, you virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto you do I again return. . . . Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man. . . . Wherefore, we pray you, the most excellent among women, who boast in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate your memory, which will ever live, and never fade away" (ibid., 14). 

Cyril of Jerusalem

"The Father bears witness from heaven to his Son. The Holy Spirit bears witness, coming down bodily in the form of a dove. The archangel Gabriel bears witness, bringing the good tidings to Mary. The Virgin Mother of God bears witness"-Catechetical Lectures 10:19 (A.D. 350). 

Ephraim the Syrian

"Though still a virgin she carried a child in her womb, and the handmaid and work of his wisdom became the Mother of God"-Songs of Praise 1:20 (A.D. 351). 


"The Word begotten of the Father from on high, inexpressibly, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, and eternally, is he that is born in time here below of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God"-The Incarnation of the Word of God 8 (A.D. 365). 

Epiphanius of Salamis

"Being perfect at the side of the Father and incarnate among us, not in appearance but in truth, he [the Son] reshaped man to perfection in himself from Mary the Mother of God through the Holy Spirit"-The Man Well-Anchored 75 (A.D. 374). 

Ambrose of Milan

"The first thing which kindles ardor in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose?" -The Virgins 2:2[7] (A.D. 377). 

Gregory of Nazianz

"If anyone does not agree that holy Mary is Mother of God, he is at odds with the Godhead"-Letter to Cledonius the Priest 101 (A.D. 382). 


"As to how a virgin became the Mother of God, he [Rufinus] has full knowledge; as to how he himself was born, he knows nothing"-Against Rufinus 2:10 (A.D. 401). 

"Do not marvel at the novelty of the thing, if a Virgin gives birth to God"-Commentaries on Isaiah 3:7:15 (A.D. 409). 

Theodore of Mopsuestia

"When, therefore, they ask, ‘Is Mary mother of man or Mother of God?’ we answer, ‘Both!’ The one by the very nature of what was done and the other by relation"-The Incarnation 15 (A.D. 405). 

Cyril of Alexandria

"I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the holy Virgin who bore him not be the Mother of God?"-Letter to the Monks of Egypt 1 (A.D. 427). 

"This expression, however, ‘the Word was made flesh’ [John 1:14], can mean nothing else but that he partook of flesh and blood like to us; he made our body his own, and came forth man from a woman, not casting off his existence as God, or his generation of God the Father, but even in taking to himself flesh remaining what he was. This the declaration of the correct faith proclaims everywhere. This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin ‘the Mother of God,’ not as if the nature of the Word or his divinity had its beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that holy body with a rational soul, to which the Word, being personally united, is said to be born according to the flesh"-First Letter to Nestorius (A.D. 430). 

"And since the holy Virgin corporeally brought forth God made one with flesh according to nature, for this reason we also call her Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh"-Third Letter to Nestorius (A.D. 430). 

"If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the holy Virgin is the Mother of God, inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [John 1:14]: let him be anathema" (ibid.). 

John Cassian

"Now, you heretic, you say (whoever you are who deny that God was born of the Virgin), that Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, cannot be called the Mother of God, but the Mother only of Christ and not of God—for no one, you say, gives birth to one older than herself. And concerning this utterly stupid argument . . . let us prove by divine testimonies both that Christ is God and that Mary is the Mother of God"-On the Incarnation of Christ Against Nestorius 2:2 (A.D. 429). 

"You cannot then help admitting that the grace comes from God. It is God, then, who has given it. But it has been given by our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ is God. But if he is God, as he certainly is, then she who bore God is the Mother of God" (ibid., 2:5). 

Council of Ephesus

"We confess, then, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his Godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in Godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her"-Formula of Union (A.D. 431). 

Vincent of Lerins

"Nestorius, whose disease is of an opposite kind, while pretending that he holds two distinct substances in Christ, brings in of a sudden two persons, and with unheard-of wickedness would have two sons of God, two Christs,—one, God, the other, man; one, begotten of his Father, the other, born of his mother. For which reason he maintains that Saint Mary ought to be called, not the Mother of God, but the Mother of Christ"-The Notebooks 12[35] (A.D. 434).

Mary is the mother of Jesus.
Jesus is truly God. 
Therefore, Mary is the mother of God.

Where is it in the Bible? 

"But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? "-Luke 1:43

In John 20:28 we see that Jesus is Lord and God. In Luke 1:43 Elizabeth calls Mary as Mother of her Lord. Who is she referring to? In John 20:28 Thomas calls Jesus Lord and God. 

Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" -John 20:28

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."-Isaiah 7:14
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."-Matthew 1:23
Therefore, she is the mother of God, since Lord is God.