Arminianism: The Road to Rome

Arminianism: The Road to Rome

Augustus Toplady (1740-1778)

hymnwriter and theologian

Whose Voice Do You Hear? toplady3

“My sheep, saith Christ, hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish. O, most worthy Scriptures! which ought to compel us to have a faithful remembrance, and to note the tenor thereof; which is, the sheep of Christ shall never perish.”Doth Christ mean part of his elect, or all, think you? I do hold, and affirm, and also faithfully believe, that he meant all his elect, and not part, as some do full ungodly affirm. I confess and believe assuredly, that there shall never any of them perish: for I have good authority so to say; be- cause Christ is my author, and saith, if it were possible, the very elect should be deceived. Ergo, it is not possible that they can be so deceived, that they shall ever finally perish, or be damned: wherefore, whosoever doth affirm that there may be any (i.e. any of the elect) lost, doth affirm that Christ hath a torn body.”1

The above valuable letter of recantation is thus inscribed: “A Letter to the Congregation of Free-willers, by One that had been of that Persuasion, but come off, and now a Prisoner for Religion:” which superscription will hereafter, in its due place, supply us with a remark of more than slight importance.


John Wesley, A Friend of Rome?

To occupy the place of argument, it has been alleged that “Mr. Wesley is an old man;” and the Church of Rome is still older than he. Is that any reason why the enormities, either of the mother or the son, should pass unchastised?

It has also been suggested, that “Mr. Wesley is a very laborious man:” not more laborious, I presume, than a certain active being, who is said to go to and fro in the earth, and walk up and down in it:2 nor yet more laborious, I should imagine, than certain ancient Sectarians, concerning whom it was long ago said, “Woe unto you Scribes, hypocrites; for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte:”3 nor, by any means, so usefully laborious, as a certain diligent member of the community, respecting whose variety of occupations the public have lately received the following intelligence: “The truth of the following instance of industry may be depended on: a poor man with a large family, now cries milk, every morning, in Lothbury, and the neighbourhood of the Royal Exchange; at eleven, he wheels about a barrow of potatoes; at one, he cleans shoes at the Change; after dinner, cries milk again; in the evening, sells sprats; and at night, finishes the measure of his labour as a watchman.”4


The Quarrel is With the Wolf

Mr. Sellon, moreover, reminds me (p. 128.) that, “while the shepherds are quarrelling, the wolf gets into the sheep fold;” not impossible: but it so happens, that the present quarrel is not among “the shepherds,” but with the “wolf” himself; which “quarrel” is warranted by every maxim of pastoral meekness and fidelity.

I am further told, that, while I am “berating the Arminians, Rome and the devil laugh in their sleeves.” Admitting that Mr. Sellon might derive this anecdote from the fountain head, the parties themselves, yet, as neither they nor he are very conspicuous for veracity, I construe the intelligence by the rule of reverse, though authenticated by the deposition of their right trusty and well-beloved cousin and counsellor.

Once more: I am charged with “excessive superciliousness, and majesty of pride:” and why not charged with having seven heads and ten horns, and a tail as long as a bell-rope? After all, what has my pride, or my humility, to do with the argument in hand? Whether I am haughty, or meek, is of no more consequence either to that, or to the public, than whether I am tall or short: however, I am, at this very time, giving one proof, that my “majesty of pride” can stoop; that even to ventilate the impertinences of Mr. Sellon.


Arminianism at Home in Rome

But, however frivolous his cavils, the principles for which he contends are of the most pernicious nature and tendency. I must repeat, what already seems to have given him so much offence, that Arminianism “came from Rome, and leads thither again.” Julian, bishop of Eclana a contemporary and disciple of Pelagius, was one of those who endeavoured, with much art, to gild the doctrines of that heresiarch, in order to render them more sightly and palatable. The Pelagian system, thus varnished and paliated, soon began to acquire the softer name of Semipelagianism. Let us take a view of it, as drawn to our hands by the celebrated Mr. Bower, who himself, in the main, a professed Pelagian, and therefore less likely to present us with an unfavourable portrait of the system he generally approved. Among the principles of that sect, this learned writer enumerates the following:

“The notion of election and reprobation, independent on our merits or demerits, is maintaining a fatal necessity, is the bane of all virtue, and serves only to render good men remiss in working out their salvation, and to drive sinners to despair.   “The decrees of election and reprobation are posterior to, and in consequence of, our good or evil works, as foreseen by God from all eternity.”5

Is not this too the very language of modern Arminianism? Do not the partizans of that scheme argue on the same identical terms? Should it be said, “True, this proves that Arminianism is Pelagianism revived; but it does not prove, that the doctrines of Arminianism are originally Popish:” a moment’s cool attention will make it plain that they are. Let us again hear Mr. Bower, who, after the passage just quoted, immediately adds, “on these two last propositions, the Jesuits found their whole system of grace and free-will; agreeing therein with the Semipelagians, against the Jansenists and St. Augustine.”6 The Jesuits were moulded into a regular body, towards the middle of the sixteenth century: toward the close of the same century, Arminius began to infest the Protestant churches. It needs therefore no great penetration, to discern from what source he drew his poison. His journey to Rome (though Monsicur Bayle affects to make light of the inferences which were at that very time deduced from it) was not for nothing. If, however, any are disposed to believe, that Arminius imbibed his doctrines from the Socinians in Poland, with whom, it is certain, he was on terms of intimate friendship, I have no objection to splitting the difference: he might import some of his tenets from the Racovian brethren, and yet be indebted, for others, to the disciples of Loyola.


Papists and Predestination

Certain it is, that Arminius himself was sensible, how greatly the doctrine of predestination widens the distance between Protestantism and Popery. “There is no point of doctrines (says he) which the Papists, the Anabaptists, and the (new) Lutherans more fiercely oppose, nor by means of which they heap more discredit on the reformed churches, and bring the reformed system itself into more odium; for they (i.e. the Papists, & etc.) assert, that no fouler blasphemy against God can be thought or expressed, than is contained in the doctrine of predestination.”7 For which reason, he advises the reformed world to discard predestination from their creed, in order that they may live on more brotherly terms with the Papists, the Anabaptists, and such like.

The Arminian writers make no scruple to seize and retail each other’s arguments, as common property. Hence, Samuel Hoord copies from Van Harmin the self same observation which I have now cited. “Predestination (says Samuel) is an opinion odious to the Papists, opening their foul mouths, against our Church and religion:”8 consequently, our adopting the opposite doctrines of universal grace and freewill, would, by bringing us so many degrees nearer to the Papists, conduce to shut their mouths, and make them regard us, so far at least, as their own orthodox and dearly beloved brethren: whence it follows, that, as Arminianism came from Rome, so “it leads thither again.”


The Jesuits and Predestination

If the joint verdict of Arminius himself, and of his English proselyte Hoord, will not turn the scale, let us add the testimony of a professed Jesuit, by way of making up full weight. When archbishop Laud’s papers were exam- ined, a letter was found among them, thus endorsed with that prelate’s own hand: “March, 1628. A Jesuit’s Letter, sent to the Rector at Bruxels, about the ensuing Parliament.” The design of this letter was to give the Superior of the Jesuits, then resident at Brussels, an account of the posture of civil and ecclesiastical affairs in England; an extract from it I shall here subjoin: “Father Rector, let not the damp of astonishment seize upon your ardent and zealous soul, in apprehending the sodaine and unexpected calling of a Parliament. We have now many strings to our bow. We have planted that soveraigne drugge Arminianisme, which we hope will purge the Protestants from their heresie; and it flourisheth and beares fruit in due season. For the better prevention of the Puritanes, the Arminians have already locked up the Duke’s (of Buckingham) eares; and we have those of our owne religion, which stand continually at the Duke’s chamber, to see who goes in and out: we cannot be too circumspect and carefull in this regard. I am, at this time, transported with joy, to see how happily all instruments and means, as well great as lesser, co-operate unto our purposes. But, to return unto the maine fabricke:–OUR FOUNDATION IS ARMINIANISME. The Arminians and projectors, as it appeares in the premises, affect mutation. This we second and enforce by probable arguments.”9


The Sovereign Drug Arminianism

The “Sovereign drug, Arminianism,” which said the Jesuit, “we (i.e. we Papists) have planted” in England, did indeed bid fair “to purge our Protestant Church effectually. How merrily Popery and Arminianism, at that time, danced hand in hand, may be learned from Tindal: “The churches were adorned with paintings, images, altar-pieces, & etc. and, instead of communion tables, alters were set up, and bowings to them and the sacramental elements enjoined. The predestinarian doctrines were forbid, not only to be preached, but to be printed; and the Arminian sense of the Articles was encouraged and propagated.”10 The Jesuit, therefore, did not exult without cause. The “sovereign drug,” so lately “planted,” did indeed take deep root downward, and bring forth fruit upward, under the cherishing auspices of Charles and Laud. Heylyn, too, acknowledges, that the state of things was truly described by another Jesuit of that age, who wrote: “Protestantism waxeth weary of itself. The doctrine (by the Arminians, who then sat at the helm) is altered in many things, for which their progenitors forsook the Church of Rome: as limbus patrum; prayer for the dead, and possibility of keeping God’s com- mandments; and the accounting of Calvinism to be heresy at least, if not treason.”11


Arminianism From the Pit

The maintaining of these positions, by the Court divines, was an “alteration” indeed; which the abandoned Heylyn ascribes to “the ingenuity and moderation found in some professors of our religion.” If we sum up the evidence that has been given, we shall find its amount to be, that Arminianism came from the Church of Rome, and leads back again to the pit whence it was digged.


ENDNOTES:

1. Strype, u.s.
2. Job 1:7 with 1 Peter 5:8.
3. Matt. 23:15.
4. Bath Chronicle, for Feb. 6, 1772.
5. Bower’s Hist. of the Popes, vol. 1, p. 350.
6. Bower ibid.
7. Arminius, in Oper. P.115. Ludg. 1629. (See book for Latin.)
8. Hoord, In Bishop Davenant’s Animadversions, Camb. 1641.
9. Hidden works of darkness, p. 89, 90. Edit. 1645.
10. Tindal’s Contin. of Rapin, vol. 3 octavo, 1758.
11. Life of Laud, p. 238.

Touched by a Demon?

RNS-BIBLE-COUPLE

Roma Downey, from the hit series “Touched by an Angel” speaks from the heart in this video, and if there is any doubt in your mind about where she stands in her theology, this will more than clear that up. She openly admits to being a Roman Catholic and even more surprising is that she openly admits that she prays to “Mary, the blessed mother.”

For those who watched the movie, “Son of God”, you should be aware that this is not the movie that any Biblically based Christian should be supporting or endorsing. However, the rabbit hole continues to go down into Never Never Land as many within the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) scene fully endorse Roma Downey, who is also a New Age sympathizer.

The movie, “Son of God” is actually a Trojan Horse.

Read here for further proof of this debacle – “We Will Stand.”  What bothers me greatly is the names that are included on the list of “Christian artists” including “Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Don Moen, Mark Schultz, Sandi Patti, Travis Cotrell (Beth Moore’s worship leader), Love Song, Steven Curtis Chapman, Steve Green, Dallas Holm, The Imperials,  Nicole Mullen and many others.”

The truth is found in Galatians 1, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

 

Accidental Similarities?

borg_queenpope_benedict_

This is the tale of two organizations with eerie similarities in how they evolved through the years. One is fictional, the other quite real. As far as we know, these similarities are not intentional, though this author believes in a Sovereign God – meaning there are no coincidences.

Nobody knows for certain the origin of either organization. Both entities appeared in time and “history” was filled in after the fact to varying degrees. They gave rise to charismatic, authoritarian leaders whose power was rarely challenged. Each leader provides communications to the respective “collective”, insuring each “drone” has the official message, disregarding any information that may contradict it regardless of veracity.

The first encounter locals had with either resulted in the same outcome: death or being assimilated. With each assimilation, the conquering organization was changed, having taken on various characteristics of the culture it conquered. As time went by, the original culture of each organization resulted in something that was not true to either their beginnings or the cultures from which they assimilated new converts.

They each proclaimed that they, alone, represented the best hope for civilization – claiming to be the only legitimate culture into which all would be assimilated or disposed of. Each left a path of wreckage and death in their wake, blind to the needs of outsiders and blind to the errors of their ways and beliefs.

Here now, is a concise comparison between these two cultures. My goal is to make clear the old truism: truth is stranger than fiction.

Chart 1
Chart 2
chart 3

Note: No sources are listed, as fans of the Borg know their stuff and likely are not put off by this little article and Roman Catholics have their own sources and would not condescend to read anything I might suggest. So this document stands on its own, as my personal perspective, not needing to be defended against the Romans nor explained to the Reformed.

With the Pope’s latest visit to the US (this was written in 2008), I’ve begun to notice certain similarities between him, and Batman…

1. Both use an assumed identity.

2. Both costumes include headwear.

3. Both costumes include a cape.

4. Both assisted by young boys.

5. Batmobile/Popemobile

6. Both control vast economic empires, handed down to them by a previous “father figure.”

7. Both live in huge mansions.

8. Both have dark events in their pasts, which they would rather not discuss.

9. Both have an aging English butler, who’s been in the family for decades.

10. Batsignal in the sky over City Hall summons Batman. White smoke in the sky over the Vatican summons a new Pope.

11. The Batplane/Popeplane

12. The Batcave/Underground Tunnels at the vatican

Let it be known that I do not hate Roman Catholics. I hate false doctrine that denies essential Christian Truths whether it is proclaimed by Catholics, Hindus, Episcopalians, Southern Baptists, or my own self. For this a Truth – God (by this I mean the Great I AM of the Bible) alone is without false ways.

All blessing and glory and honor and power be unto the Lamb of God! Christ is risen – He has conquered sin and death and saved His chosen ones by His grace, lest anyone boast in the flesh.

Rick Warren has a pope!

James White continues to stand firm, praise the Lord! I do wish, however, that he would not run to the Reformation as his first line of defense as he often does. While I agree with and thank God for the Reformation, our first line and only line of defense is the Bible – as White came back to later in the video. Also, nowhere in the Bible do we see or get instruction on “living out the gospel”. The gospel is a report of the news of Christ’s redemptive work – it’s not something we live out. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the gospel, we are raised to new life and live for the glory of God, proclaiming the gospel to dead men everywhere. But we do not and cannot live the gospel

None the less, may the Lord protect and hold up our dear brother as he continues to press on!

Rick Warren’s Roman Catholic Affinity

This video reveals the long standing intent and affinity of Rick Warren with Roman Catholics. This is nothing new since Rick Warren has been trying to unite Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Protestants for several years now. However, this video candidly reveals his judgment on major, doctrinal matters. At one point Rick Warren states, “…if you love Jesus, we are on the same team.” This, of course, is meant that if you profess to love Jesus we are on the same team, not if you are genuinely born again by the Spirit of God through faith alone. This kind of mixing of poisoned waters is dangerous! I love Roman Catholics. I love them so much I will tell them the truth of justification by faith alone through Christ’s finished work on the cross. According to Warren, though, we are on the same team. However, in order to be on the same team, we must all play by the same playbook. Roman Catholics clearly do not, and neither does Rick Warren.

Pray for his followers and pray for Rick Warren’s soul.

The Fallacy of Pope Francis

Big Bang Theory true according to Pope Francis

Once again, the world has the distinction of hearing “Thus says the man in the white robe” instead of “thus says the Lord.” If we question the veracity of God’s Word and the foundations which He has established, then it will be easy to cut out further parts of Scripture. Here are a few things to consider as to whether pope Francis is right or wrong.

There are several problems with Christians accepting the Big Bang Theory and the theory of evolution.

1.  It questions the validity and work of the Trinity. Genesis states that each member of the Triune Godhead was involved in creation.

A.  God the Father is attributed with the work of creation throughout the Old Testament. If creation is not true, then we must exclude every writer who spoke and wrote falsely giving credit to the holy God. This means that Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, the five books of Moses, and others must be taken out of the Bible.

B.  God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, speaks of the creation during His earthly ministry, especially when He addresses the matter of marriage being between one man and one woman.  If Jesus was wrong about creation and the beginning of the world, then He cannot be God for He spoke at least one lie.

C.  God the Holy Spirit is attributed with the inspiration of the Scriptures. 2 Peter 1:21 says, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Thus, if the words written are attributed to the moving of the Holy Spirit, then we can only come to one of two conclusions. 1) Either the prophets wrote contrary to the leading of the Holy Spirit, or 2) there is no Holy Spirit that guides into all truths.  Therefore, the Holy Spirit made a mistake in the work of inspiration which makes Him no longer God, or the Bible is not inerrant and we have nothing which we can believe.

2.  If these theories are correct, then there is no hope for mankind.

A.  There would be no reason to accept any absolutes.

B.  There would be no morals on which to base our lives. If survival of the fittest is truly an underlying principle of evolution, then logic MUST dictate that what Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Nero, Genghis Khan and others did is acceptable. They weeded out those who added nothing to the gene pool.

C.  There would be no such thing as sin. Any “wrongdoings” are only based on one’s upbringing, culture, and societal mores. What would be unacceptable in one culture must be acceptable in another. Therefore, as one example, if evolution is correct, then what ISIS is doing cannot be considered as wrong. If evolution is correct, then we have no right to correct the actions of another culture or society that has “evolved” in a different manner than we have.

D.  Fighting against the inevitable will be a horrific exercise in futility if evolution is correct. Therefore, those who have some deformities, or the wrong skin color, or mental imbalances are doomed to eventual extinction for they add nothing to society and the future of a greater man.

E.  If evolution is true, then there is no sin to die for. There would be no reason for Jesus Christ to have died for a sub-species of animal that has simply evolved from a primordial soup. If evolution is true, then Christ died in vain as a good person, and not as the God-Man.

Now, here is a further thought about the article I have linked to at the top in which pope Francis endorses these false theories. Many in so-called evangelical circles have decided that the Roman Catholic church is also Christian and that their teachings are compatible in many ways with evangelicalism or fundamentalism. There is little that could be further from the truth than this thinking. The Roman Catholic religion is not based on Scripture but on the traditions of man.

Many want to claim that Roman Catholics are going to heaven, but the ONLY way to heaven is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone. The RCC does NOT teach this, and has NEVER taught these truths. To the pope and the teachings of the RCC, all who believe that salvation is only through Christ are to be considered anathema and accursed to the deepest regions of hell.

Before somebody accuses me of hating those who do not believe like me, this is not about me. This is about what the Bible teaches. Either God is true or He is not. If He is not true, then He cannot be God and we are yet in our sins. My prayer is that people will come to Christ alone and realize the joy that comes by believing by faith in the work of creation and the finished work of Calvary.

These theories of the big bang and evolution are NOT based on the truth of Scripture. Any time, science comes up with a new theory designed solely to undermine intelligent design and the truth of a Creator, then the Bible trumps the scientist. The Bible does not ever discredit true science but endorses the truths of what we find in the scientific world.

To conclude, my response to the false teaching of the pope, the heresies of the Roman Catholic church, the false theories of science, and the falsely held positions of a growing number of people in evangelical circles is based on the words of Martin Luther when he was being held to account by the religious establishment —

My belief is based on God and His infallible, inerrant Word. Here I stand, I can do no other. So help me, God.

 

 

The Roman Catholic Eucharist

Why the Catholic (and Emerging Church) “Eucharist” Does Not Line Up With Scripture

By Roger Oakland    Pope

The Catholic Church teaches that once a Catholic priest has consecrated the wafer of bread during Communion, the wafer turns into the literal and real body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.1 Therefore, the Communion Host is no longer bread but Jesus, under the appearance of bread and is therefore worthy of adoration and worship. The Catholic Catechism states succinctly:

In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.”2

The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease.3

 

What Does the Bible Teach About the Lord’s Supper?

We have documented [in Another Jesus] what the Catholic Church teaches concerning the Eucharist. But what does the Bible teach? The Bible encourages believers to study “all the counsel of God”(Acts 20:27) and to “[p]rove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21). And as believers, we are admonished to:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15)

With these instructions in mind, let us search the Scriptures to determine what the Bible teaches concerning the Lord’s supper.

The Last Supper was celebrated by first century Christians in obedience to Jesus’ words “this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). This observance was established by the Lord at the Last Supper when He symbolically offered Himself as the Paschal Lamb of atonement. His actual death the next day fulfilled the prophecy. Only Paul uses the phrase “Lord’s supper” (I Corinthians 11:20), while the Church fathers began to call the occasion the Eucharist meaning thanksgiving from the blessing pronounced over the bread and wine after about A.D. 100. Christians have celebrated the Lord’s Supper regularly as a sign of the new covenant sealed by Christ’s death and resurrection.4 Today, the Eucharist means far more than simply thanksgiving.

 

This is My Body

To what exactly did Jesus ordain during the Last Supper? The Bible states:

[Jesus] took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22: 19-20)

Proponents of the Catholic Eucharist point to Jesus’ words recorded in John 6. Though this chapter does not deal with the Last Supper, Jesus’ words, which are taken to relate to the Communion meal, are as follows:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (John 6:51-55)

Just what do these Scriptures mean? The answer to that can be found in our examination of the Word of God itself.5

 

Metaphors and Similes

Throughout the Bible, context determines meaning. Bible-believing Christians know to take the Bible literally, unless the context demands a figurative or symbolic interpretation. Before exploring Jesus’ words in John chapter 6 and elsewhere, let’s review a few examples of symbolism in the Scriptures. All scholars would agree that the following verses are metaphorical. An explanation follows each verse:

O taste and see that the LORD is good. (Psalm 34:8; Try to experience God’s promises to find if they are true.)

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14; For those who receive the gift of salvation, Christ’s Spirit shall dwell in their souls assuring them of everlasting life.)

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. (Ezekiel 3:1, 2; Receive into your heart, internalize, and obey God’s Word.)

And I could go on and on with one example after the next. At one point Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). The Jews thought He spoke of the literal temple in Jerusalem, but if we keep reading, we find that Jesus was referring to His body (John 2:20-21). On another occasion, Jesus said, “I am the true vine” (John 15:1). Of course, we know that Jesus did not mean that He was a literal grape vine twisting around a post. When the Bible says God hides us under His wings (Psalm 91:4), we know that God is not a bird with feathers. God is the source of all life and our provider and protector, and these figures vividly illustrate this.

Throughout the Bible, figurative language is used to compare one thing to another so that the listeners can easily understand. In fact, the Bible tells us that Jesus regularly used parables to figuratively describe one thing as something else (Matthew 13:34).Jesus Himself stated, “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs” (John 16:25). The Bible should always be interpreted literally unless the context demands a symbolic explanation. So what does the context of John’s Gospel and the other Gospels demand?

 

John Chapter 6: The Bread of Heaven

If we read the entire sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, we not only get the context, but also some startling insights into what Jesus meant when He said we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. John 6 begins with the account of Jesus feeding five thousand, followed by the account of Jesus walking on water. On the following day, people were seeking Jesus for the wrong reasons, which we understand from Jesus’ words in verses 26 and 27:

Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.

These verses begin to frame the context of the verses that follow, specifically, that Jesus emphasized the need for them to seek eternal life. Jesus goes on to explain to them how to obtain eternal life. And in verse 28, when the people ask Jesus, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Jesus replies, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (vs. 29).

Here Jesus specifies only one work that pleases God, namely, belief in Jesus. Jesus reemphasizes this in verse 35 when he states: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Notice the imperative is to “cometh to me” and “believeth on me.” Jesus repeats the thrust of His message in verse 40 where He states:

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Jesus could not be clearer—by coming to Him and trusting in Him, we will receive eternal life. At this point in the narrative, the Jews complained about Him because He said: “I am the bread which came down from heaven” (vs. 41). Jesus responds to their murmuring when He states that He is indeed the “living bread” and that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood to obtain eternal life (vs. 42-58). However, let’s remember the context of this statement. First, Jesus contrasts Himself with the manna that rained down on their fathers and sustained them for their journey. But their fathers have since died. But Jesus now offers Himself as the living, heavenly bread, causing those who eat of Him to live forever.

Jesus is not the perishable manna that their descendants ate in the wilderness—He is the eternal bread of life that lives forever. Only by partaking in His everlasting life can we hope to live with Him forever. This contrast strengthens His main message, where Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (vs. 47). Notice, Jesus said that as soon as we believe in Him we have—present tense—eternal life. It is not something we aim at or hope we might attain in the future, but rather, something we receive immediately upon accepting Him by faith.

When Jesus said these words, He was in the synagogue in Capernaum, and He had neither bread nor wine. Therefore Jesus was either commanding cannibalism, or He was speaking figuratively. If He was speaking literally, then He would be directly contradicting God the Father: “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat”(Genesis 9:4). Therefore, because Jesus Himself said, “[T]he scripture cannot be broken”(John 10:35), He must be speaking metaphorically. And that is exactly how He explains His own words in the subsequent verses.

 

The Flesh Profits Nothing

After this, in verse 60 (of John 6), we find that many of His disciples said: “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” Jesus was aware of their complaints and He responded saying:

Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. (vs. 61-64)

Wait a minute, the flesh profits nothing! I thought Jesus said we must eat His flesh? Yet, if the flesh profits nothing, Jesus must be speaking in spiritual terms. And that is what He says: “[T]he words that I speak unto you, they are spirit.

Jesus uses the exact same Greek word for flesh (sarx) as He did in the preceding verses. Therefore, He is emphatically stating that eating His literal flesh profits nothing! If the Lord Himself sets the context of the dialogue, we would do well to hear Him. He said that the words He speaks are spirit and that the flesh profits nothing. In other words, Jesus has just told us He has spoken in a metaphor, so we need not guess at it.

If that isn’t clear enough, Peter’s words add further clarity. Immediately following the dialogue with the Jews, in which some disciples left, Jesus said to the remaining twelve apostles, “Will ye also go away?” (vs. 67). Peter’s response is profound:

Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (vs. 68-69)

Amazing! Peter did not say we have come to believe that we must eat Your flesh to live. He said that we know You are the Christ, and we have come to believe in You as the Christ. This is the confession of faith that leads to eternal life, not eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood. It also agrees with the totality of Scripture.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)

[W]hat must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. (Acts 16:30, 31)

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. (John 3:36)

To understand more fully the Catholic Eucharist versus biblical communion and salvation, read Roger Oakland’s book, Another Jesus.