“Many theologians who supported apartheid developed their theses on the basis of ideas set forth by the renowned Dutch theologian and statesman Abraham Kuyper (1838-1920).
Calvinist influence is also claimed in the Old Testament notions of ‘the called’ and ‘the chosen’ used by nineteenth-century Afrikaners to justify white supremacy. As expressed in a speech by M. W. Pretorius in 1871, ‘fathers of Israel chosen by the Lord, who like the Israelites trekked out of Egypt to escape the yoke of Pharaoh, also trekked from the Cape Colony to escape the yoke of the hated British Government.’
[Blacks were also seen as the cursed descendants of Ham, son of Noah.]
In response to du Toit’s expressed concern about the lack of evidence in colonial times, Allister Sparks suggests that the early Dutch settlers were influenced by the ‘chosen people’ mentality that existed in Holland during its war with Spain, which ended in 1648. ‘Spain was seen as the antichrist from which William of Orange had delivered his people by leading them through ordeal and exodus to a national rebirth in their promised land.’ Sparks maintains that… ‘all the circumstantial evidence suggests that this is something the early Afrikaners brought from Holland.’
However one comes out on these arguments, there is ample evidence to suggest that the Dutch Reformed church carefully manipulated biblical references in serving its political interests and providing the early underpinnings for apartheid.
As early as 1857, an important synod of the Dutch Reformed church called for separate services for whites and blacks. This facilitated a division of the church along racial lines and was later used to justify a policy of separate development as being ‘the will of God.’
More than 90 percent of Afrikaans speakers profess to have a church affiliation, with 70 percent of those belonging to the DRC. Thus, the highly religious orientation of Afrikaner society all but required a theological basis to rationalize apartheid. The DRC not only provided that theology, it essentially provided the policy itself. As noted by Michael Cassidy, the founder of Africa Enterprise, a multiracial African evangelistic association: ‘It was the white Dutch Reformed Church that, from 1932 on, sent delegation after delegation to the government to support proposals for racial legislation. It worked hard to devise practical policies of apartheid that could be implemented by the government, while formulating theological constructs to justify the policy. It was these plans the church finally presented to the Nationalist Party in 1947. The Nationalist Party accepted them and the [program] won at the polls in 1948.'”
Another excerpt from Dom Prosper Gueranger, and this one is most interesting. It is from the Greek Menaea for Pope St. Leo the Great, written, according to Dom Gueranger, many centuries before the Great Schism of 1054. The words from this hymn certainly do seem to establish a strong
belief in Papal primacy. They also highlight how the early Church viewed doctrinal orthodoxy/purity/correctness as one of the most vital characteristics of a bishop, especially the Sovereign Pontiff. No bonus points for saying Catholic things 99% of the time……they are demanded 100% of the time. See what you think below:
O happy Pontiff! Glorious Leo, thou hast been made companion of the faithful priests and martyrs; for thou was t most invincible in battle, and immovable as a tower and fortress of religion. Thou dist proclaim, with most prefect orthodoxy and wisdom, the unspeakable generation of Christ.
O ruler of…
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Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, may not have been Catholic, but he certainly made some very interesting points, which can easily be used as apologetics for the true Church.
From a sermon on 16 June 1844 (found in The New Mormon Challenge, p. 41):
“The old Catholic church traditions are worth more than all you have said. Here is a principle of logic that most men have no more sense that to adopt. I will illustrate it by an old apple tree. Here jumps off a branch and says, I am the true tree, and you are corrupt. If the whole tree is corrupt, are not its branches corrupt? If the Catholic religion is a false religion, how can any true religion come out of it? If the Catholic church is bad, how can any good thing come out of it? The character of the old churches have always been slandered by all apostates since the world began…”
From JS-History 1:9-10 (Pearl of Great Price):
“My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others. In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?”
Notable, too, is a story from Orson F. Whitney, recounted in A Marvelous Work and a Wonder (p. 3-4), a top Mormon apologetic book:
“Many years ago a learned man, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, came to Utah and spoke from the stand of the Salt Lake Tabernacle. I became well-acquainted with him, and we conversed freely and frankly. A great scholar, with perhaps a dozen languages at his tongue’s end, he seemed to know all about theology, law, literature, science and philosophy. One day he said to me: ‘You Mormons are all ignoramuses. You don’t even know the strength of your own position. It is so strong that there is only one other tenable in the whole Christian world, and that is the position of the Catholic Church. The issue is between Catholicism and Mormonism. If we are right, you are wrong; if you are right, we are wrong; and that’s all there is to it. The Protestants haven’t a leg to stand on. For, if we are wrong, they are wrong with us, since they were a part of us and went out from us; while if we are right, they are apostates whom we cut off long ago. If we have the apostolic succession from St. Peter, as we claim, there is no need of Joseph Smith and Mormonism; but if we have not that succession, then such a man as Joseph Smith was necessary, and Mormonism’s attitude is the only consistent one. It is either the perpetuation of the gospel from ancient times, or the restoration of the gospel in latter days.'”
Mormons should take this into account.
From p. 15-17 of Eastern Orthodox theologian Vladimir Solovyov’s wonderful work, Russia and the Universal Church:
There is in the Christian Church a materially fixed point, an external and visible center of action, an image and an instrument of the divine power. The apostolic see of Rome, that miraculous ikon of universal Christianity, was directly involved in the Iconoclastic struggle, since all the heresies were in the last resort denials of the reality of that divine incarnation, the permanence of which in the social and political order was represented by Rome. It is indeed historically evident that all the heresies actively supported or passively accepted by the majority of the Greek clergy encountered insuperable opposition from the Roman Church and finally came to grief on this Rock of the Gospel. This is especially true of the Iconoclastic heresy; for in denying all external manifestation of the divine in the world it was making a direct attack on the raison d’être of the Chair of Peter as the real objective center of the visible Church.
The pseudo-Christian Empire of Byzantium was bound to engage in decisive combat with the orthodox Papacy; for the latter was not only the infallible guardian of Christian truth but also the first realization of that truth in the collective life of the human race. To read the moving letters of Pope Gregory II to the barbarous Isaurian Emperor is to realize that the very existence of Christianity was at stake. The outcome of the struggle could not be in doubt; the last of the imperial heresies went the way of its predecessors, and with it the circle of theoretic or dogmatic compromises which Constantine’s successors had attempted between Christian truth and the principle of paganism was finally closed. The era of imperial heresies was followed by the emergence of Byzantine “orthodoxy.” To understand this fresh phase of the anti-Christian spirit we must revert to its origins in the preceding period.
Throughout the history of the great Eastern heresies, extending over five centuries from the time of Arius to that of the last Iconoclasts, we constantly find in the Empire and Church of the East three main parties whose alternating victories and defeats form the framework of this curious evolution. We see in the first place the champions of formal heresy, regularly instigated and supported by the imperial court. From the religious point of view, they represented the reaction of Eastern paganism to Christian truth; politically, they were the declared enemies of that independent ecclesiastical government founded by Jesus Christ and represented by the apostolic see of Rome. They began by conceding to sar [sic], whose protégés they were, unbounded authority not only in the government of the Church but even in matters of doctrine; and when Cæsar, impelled by the orthodox majority of his subjects and by the fear of playing into the hands of the Pope, ended by betraying his own creatures, the leaders of the heretical party sought more solid support elsewhere by exploiting the separatist and semi-pagan tendencies of the various nations which were free, or were aiming at freedom, from the Roman yoke. Thus Arianism, the religion of the Empire under Constantius and Valens, but abandoned by their successors, claimed the allegiance of the Goths and Lombards for centuries; Nestorianism, betrayed by its champion Theodosius II, was for a time welcomed by the Eastern Syrians; and Monophysitism, thrust out from Byzantium in spite of all the efforts of the Emperors, finally became the national religion of Egypt, Abyssinia and Armenia.
At the opposite extreme to this heretical party, trebly anti-Christian — in its religious doctrine, its secularism, and its nationalism — we find the absolutely orthodox Catholic party engaged in defending the purity of the Christian idea against all the pagan compromises and in championing free and worldwide ecclesiastical government against the onslaughts of Cæsaropapism and the aims of national separatism. This party could not count on the favor of earthly powers; of the higher clergy it included only individuals here and there. But it relied on the greatest religious force of those times, the monks, and also on the simple faith of the mass of devout believers, at least in the central parts of the Byzantine Empire. Moreover, these orthodox Catholics found and recognized in the central Chair of St. Peter the mighty palladium [sic] of religious truth and freedom. To indicate the moral weight and ecclesiastical importance of this party, it is enough to say that it was the party of St. Athanasius the Great, of St. John Chrysostom, of St. Flavian, of St. Maximus the Confessor and of St. Theodore of the Studium.
There are several things to realize about the Old Testament harvests and feasts.
The three harvests (Exodus 23:14-17) parallel the Crucifixion/Resurrection, Pentecost/The Church, and Christ’s Return (1 Corinthians 15:23-24).
The seven feasts of these harvests (Leviticus 23) correspond to the Church’s liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary, Lent, Triduum, Easter, Ordinary.
The harvest seasons can be classified as such: the first (Spring/Summer) gave grain, the second (Summer) gave grapes, and the third (Summer/Fall) gave olives, figs, and more.
The first, of grains, was smaller in weight — because the other harvests were water-dense — but the biggest source of food, as it made up over 50% of the Jewish diet. Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection, even though He was merely one Man, are key in the same way.
Notable is that the second big harvest had grapes, and this was just after the wheat was brought in. Perhaps this is a Eucharist reference, relatable to the Church. At every event, bread and wine were crucial. These are also necessary to every Mass, at which they are confected into our new manna, which, like the old, sustains us until we reach the Promised Land. Christ’s Blood redeems and strengthens us. We already have the todah, the ultimate Sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise (CCC #1359-1361), which our rabbinical brethren await!
The third, which has the feast of tabernacles/booths, is important to the Second Coming. This can also be referred to as “the Ingathering”. The great festival involved imagery of water and light, which points toward baptism and Christ as the Light of the world (John 1:4-11). At His Return, Christ will reveal Himself to all as their rightful King (Zechariah 14:16), just as He revealed Himself to the Jews as the ultimate Teacher around this important feast (John 7:1-16). He will then perform His own, final Harvest and gather His flock to Himself (Matthew 13:24-30). At this, we will perpetually celebrate all of His wondrous deeds, just as the Israelites celebrated all of the year’s harvests (Deuteronomy 16:13-15).
Typology of the olives and figs is important, too. Olive oil was used to burn the lamps continually (Leviticus 24:2), and so the rule of God, at Christ’s Return at the olive harvest, will last forever. Jesus calls us to join Him under the security and sweetness of the fig tree and learn from Him (Micah 4:1-5, Zechariah 3:8-10) and be grafted into the eternal olive tree (Psalm 52:8, Romans 11:13-32).
Let me try to explain, simply, what the Church teaches on the Trinity vis-à-vis monotheism.
The Trinity’s source is the Father. The Son is “begotten” from Him — not created by Him, “for there is nothing whatever that generates its own existence” (St. Augustine of Hippo, On the Trinity, Book I) — and the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit both of the Father and of the Son”, “proceeds from” the Two, and is “co-equal” to Them.
All must “honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (John 5:23) and recognize the Holy Spirit as “the voice of the Lord” (Isaiah 6:8-10, Acts 28:25-27). All are key to the “I Am”, the Logos, the principle on which everything — including reason itself — depends.
Philosophically speaking, because the Persons are so intricately connected (in mind, substance, action, etc.), They are One. This unity is to be mimicked in both the Church and sacramental marriage.
However, They clearly act distinctly (but not separately). This makes most sense, I think, in the context of the Eucharist: Father as being sacrificed to, Son as Sacrifice, Holy Spirit as the Person Who inspires sacrifice. They each have a place in the communitarian model.
They all must be God, though, because only God has these authorities. They must all be of equal power, also. How else could the Son be our Lord (John 20:28) and perfectly alike to the Father (John 5:19)? How else could the Holy Spirit bring forth the Son to earth (Matthew 1:18), how else could lying to the Holy Spirit equate to lying to God (Acts 5:3-4), and how else could our bodies belong to this same Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)?
That, in a nutshell, is how Catholics look at the Trinity — One, but Three; Three, but One. Thus, we chant, “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3).
(cf. Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed)
According to Latter-Day Saints (LDS, Mormon) President Orson Hyde, Jesus was married to several women, including Mary Magdalene, and had biological children.
“..[In John 2,] Jesus was the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana of Galilee, and he told them what to do. Now there was actually a marriage; and if Jesus was not the bridegroom on that occasion, please tell who was. … We say it was Jesus Christ who was married, to be brought into the relation whereby he could see his seed, before he was crucified. … I do not despise to be called a son of Abraham, if he had a dozen wives; or to be called a brother, a son, a child of the Savior, if he had Mary, and Martha, and several others, as wives; and though he did cast seven devils out of one of them, it is all the same to me. … I shall say here, that before the Savior died, he looked upon his own natural children, as we look upon ours; he saw his seed, and immediately afterwards he was cut off from the earth; but who shall declare his generation?”
— Hyde, at the Mormon General Conference, on 6 October 1854. (Printed in Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 82.)
Apparently, this position had support from Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, and others.
The LDS organization has since denied these claims. A spokesman said, “The belief that Christ was married has never been official Church doctrine. It is neither sanctioned nor taught by the Church. While it is true that a few Church leaders in the mid-1800s expressed their opinions on the matter, it was not then, and is not now, Church doctrine.”
Still, Hyde’s is an allowed position within Mormonism. That is concerning.
Of course, Christ is the figurative Bridegroom — but He is not so literally, in a carnal sense! Also, for the record, the “seed” of His mentioned in Isaiah 53:10 refers to our spiritual relationship with Him, in the sense of John 12:24 and Galatians 3:26.
Is the Church invisible? Well…
(Alternate link, via Vimeo.)
Is the Church only invisible? Many believe that “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus“, the famous phrase of St. Cyprian in Latin, which translates to “outside the Church, there is no salvation”, means that the Church teaches that one must be within what’s called the “visible” Church in order to be saved. But this is untrue, of course.
St. Augustine realized this, writing in his 45th Tractate on the Gospel of John, “[H]ow many sheep are outside, how many wolves within! And how many sheep are inside, how many wolves without!” There, he cites verses on predestination and bluntly makes the point that one could be in the Church one day and excommunicated the next, just as Luke 8:13 hints!
Obviously, the Church concurs. The Catechism makes clear that all “[t]hose who die in God’s grace and friendship” will reach Heaven (CCC #1023).
Eastern Orthodox bishop Kallistos Ware sums it up: “While there is no division between a ‘visible’ and an ‘invisible Church’, yet there may be members of the Church who are not visibly such, but whose membership is known to God alone. If anyone is saved, he must in some sense be a member of the Church; in what sense, we cannot always say.”
Protestantism takes this invisibility to an extreme, however, citing Luke 17:20-21 and 2 Timothy 2:19. These passages are hardly proof against the visible Church, though, because the first simply references the so-called “end times” and the current reality of the kingdom of God, and the second just points out that, despite heresy being almost everywhere, “the firm foundation of God stands” and “the Lord knows those who are His”.
But what is Protestantism’s relationship to the Church, then? Well, Protestants are in imperfect communion with Her, having only ecclesial communities without all of the seven Sacraments. Still, they have the grace of baptism, and they, therefore, can be guided somewhat by the Holy Spirit. And since baptism originates with the Church, they are connected to Her.
However, doctrine is indeed important, and those who willfully reject it lacerate the Body of Christ, as the Council of Florence noted in 1440. In section 48 of Lumen Fidei, His Holiness’ first encyclical, Pope Francis says: “..inasmuch as the unity of faith is the unity of the Church, to subtract something from the faith is to subtract something from the veracity of communion.”
Practically speaking, then, Protestantism purports that Christ has many brides. The reality is that Protestants are hopelessly divided, in violation of 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, Ephesians 4:1-6, Philippians 2:1-2, and 1 Peter 3:8. So, for them, it really boils down to this: Is Christ unfaithful? If one thinks so, they blaspheme. If one knows otherwise, then they must recognize that He cannot have more than one Bride.
In short, to speak simply, the Church is visible, but Her true membership is not always so. And the uncertainty in this does not excuse an extreme, heretical view of ecclesiology.