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Monday, 01 March 2004 00:12

Other Christs, Other Gospels - The Ever Evolving Roman Catholic Church

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It never fails to amaze me when I come across some aberrational point of theology or cultic view of Christ or God. "How could they not see this, or how could they overlook the error in that point?" But when it comes to the ever-changing religious fables springing up in the Catholic Church, one would have to physically put on spiritual blinders not to see through their obvious errors. Let's look at one of their latest logical blunders.

The Lamb's Supper

Roman Catholic "apologist" Scott Hahn has written a new book entitled The Lamb's Supper-The Mass As Heaven On Earth. The premise of his book is that the Book of Revelation in its very essence is the Roman Catholic Mass. The book jacket tells us that, "The Lamb's Supper reveals a long-lost secret of the Church: the early Christians' key to understanding the mysteries of the Mass is the New Testament's Book of Revelation. With its bizarre imagery, its mystic visions of Heaven, and its end-of-time prophecies, Revelation mirrors the sacrifice and celebration of the Eucharist," asserts Hahn.

Hahn goes even further stating the only way a Christian can truly make sense of the book of Revelation "is by the Mass." In other words, the Mass is explained, or can be understood by the book of Revelation and vice versa. According to Hahn, Christians have been kept from understanding the long-hidden messages of the book of Revelation, and hence the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass, because the average Christian is not familiar with the book of the Apocalypse. :"(The last book in Catholic Bibles is called the Apocalypse.)":

In the foreword to the book, Friar Benedict J. Groeschel C.F.R. states that " Hahn points out that most Christians either sidestep the book of Revelation and its mysterious signs, or they spin their own peculiar little theories about who is who and where it's all going to end."

So now we know that "most Christians" are either just too lazy to study as they should in order to show themselves approved workmen of God, and therefore "sidestep" this book; or they are guilty of perverting God's Word by making up their own doctrine and understanding of Revelation. It makes me wonder if these "statements of fact" are merely from his imagination, or is he is setting up a straw man in order to build his case for Catholicism?

Hahn indicts most Catholics in the introduction of the book claiming that "Most Catholics will go a lifetime without seeing beyond the surface of memorized prayers. Few will glimpse the powerful supernatural drama they enter into every Sunday." If this is the case, then Hahn indicts the Roman Catholic Church itself for not discipling its adherents about its most central doctrine. So, according to Hahn, since most "Catholics and Christians" do not really know anything about the book of Revelation, it makes his book The Lamb's Supper all that more important. Note that he separates people into two groups-Christians and Catholics. On that I would agree. The two groups are diametrically opposed.

Hahn's Background

At some point in his early teenage years Hahn was converted to Christianity through an organization called Young Life. Jack, his mentor, taught him the importance of Bible reading and introduced him to the writings of John Calvin and Martin Luther. As a result, Hahn became a "convinced Protestant Christian, not just a Bible Christian." This is key. Early in his Christian life it seems that he started filtering the Bible through the lens of others rather than letting the Bible interpret itself. In retrospect, in The Lamb's Supper his understanding of the book of Revelation was limited because he filtered his studies of "Scriptures in a tradition that reaches back only four hundred years." :"(Hahn, Scott, The Lamb's Supper  " ” The Mass as Heaven on Earth,  ©1999 [Doubleday, New York], page 66.)": He needed more "Church Fathers" and "teachers of the first eight centuries" to understand the Bible. :"(It should be stated here that studying Church history or reading the early Church Fathers in and of itself is not wrong. But if one accepts their teachings and traditions as doctrine-especially if their teaching directly opposes God's Word-then one has entered into error and has exited true Christianity, and He is no longer being guided into all truth by the Word through The Holy Spirit.)":

During his high school years Hahn seems to have had a zeal for evangelizing his Catholic friends and convincing them that Christ alone brings eternal life and, "Not Mary, not the saints, not Purgatory, not devotions" ¦" He held to his convictions of Sola Fide through high school graduation and into college where he spent his time "triple majoring in philosophy, theology in scripture, and economics." Giving his spare time to doing ministry in Young Life, he found young Catholic kids "easy pickings" for conversion to Protestantism. "They (the young people) didn't have any reasons to back up their beliefs as Catholics. So getting them to see from the Bible, the Gospel, as I understood it from Martin Luther, from an anti-Catholic perspective, was like picking off ducks in a barrel."

With an intense attitude toward his studies, Hahn attended Gordon-Conwell Seminary in Boston, graduating at the top of his class.

Catholic Church Public Relations forces love to tout Hahn as a converted a Protestant minister, but controversy over his ministerial credentials makes a sham of their boasting. Mike Gendron, the founder of the Proclaiming the Gospel, a ministry of former Catholics, investigated Hahn's touted position with the Presbyterian Church. He reported that:

"The Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) had no record of his ordination or any record of Trinity Presbyterian Church, the church where he had been a pastor. Mr. Hahn acknowledged these facts but offered an explanation. Trinity Presbyterian was an independent church with an average attendance of 30 when two of its elders laid hands on him in a private ceremony in 1982. He served as their Associate Pastor for about two years. The church remained independent until its closing in 1986. Mr. Hahn told me the reason for his private ceremony was because he did not feel he was very qualified to serve as an elder at age 26, but needed the ordination to take the pastor's exemption from Social Security." :"(Proclaiming the Gospel Newsletter, quoted at:www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/2594/news98.htm)":

Hahn is currently Professor of Theology and Scripture at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, USA, one of the premier study and worship centers for the Roman Catholic Mary and center for "charismatic Catholics." He is also the founder and director of the Institute of Applied Biblical Studies, and serves as President for the Missionaries of Faith. :"(For more detailed and in-depth study on Hahn's fall into apostasy, I recommend John W. Robbins' The Lost Soul of Scott Hahn.)":

A profound discovery!

As an "academic exercise" one day Hahn slipped into the back of a Catholic Church in Milwaukee to witness his first Mass. He was unsure of himself. Was the thing that was driving him a healthy curiosity? :"("for whatever is not from faith is sin." Rom 13:23)": He had come to believe that his studies of the writings of the early Christians demonstrated that the Bible could not be rightly understood apart from the Mass. He wrote, "For the first Christians, the Bible -- the book I love above all -- was incomprehensible...apart from the Mass."

He wanted to understand the early Christians, but had no experience in liturgy, so he chose the Mass, the Catholic Church's main ritual, as his subject to study. While vowing not to bow down to idols, he was nonetheless impressed by the genuflections of the worshipers present at his first Mass. He became convinced that his early Calvinist training had not told him the truth about the Catholic Church. He began receiving messages from Mary  " ” "leadings"  " ” and other extra biblical experiences that drew him away from the Truth.

So during his "academic exercise" it dawned on him that his Bible was not just beside him, but also in front of him in the Mass. He remained an observer on the sidelines, yet was overwhelmed by the experience. According to Hahn, his academic observer status ended when the priest pronounced the words "This is my body...This is my cup of my blood." All of his doubt drained away; he was filled with excitement when he confessed, "My Lord and my God. That's really you!"

With all his resistance gone, he became a "basket case," now believing he is in the book of Revelation. All at once he was at the marriage feast that John described, before the throne of heaven while still on earth at the Mass. Heaven had touched down on earth for him, or he was in heaven, he did not know which it was. He seemed to have been in an enraptured state.

With renewed vigor he plunged into studying-not the contextual study of the Bible, but ancient Christianity. He found that early bishops and fathers of the Church made the same "discovery" that he did. No longer is Christ's finished work on the cross the acceptable sacrifice; now it is a repeated event happening in every Catholic Church, every day, everywhere in the world. No longer is one sacrifice enough as scripture teaches. Hahn repeated his "academic exercise"over and over again (with no objectivity), and discovers more and more riches in Catholic tradition, and these traditions confirmed to him that the Mass is a glimpse into heaven. The experience came as a divine revelation to him.

Driven by Tradition and Experience

After being won over by the ritual of the Catholic Mass, Hahn plunged into traditional Catholic teachings and errors. He turned to a dark teaching: the "Melchizedek" priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church. "When the priest speaks the words of institution 'This is My body... This is the cup of My blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant,'" wrote Hahn, "he is not merely narrating, he is speaking in the person of Christ, who is the principal celebrant of the Mass. By the sacrament of Holy Orders, a man is changed in his very being; as priest, he becomes 'another Christ'."

Later in the book he reiterated, "now we can understand why we call priests 'Father' and the pope our 'Holy Father,' because they are other Christs..." :"(Hahn, The Lamb's Supper, page 153.)": Does Rome support Hahn's statements? Vatican Council II Vol. II, No. 77, Dominicae Cenae, 24 Feb. 1980, Section 8, page 74 reads: "The priest offers the Holy Sacrifice in persona Christi; this means more than offering 'in the name of' or 'in the place of' Christ. In persona means in specific sacramental identification with the eternal High priest."

Paul warned in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 about deception in the form of another Christ, "... For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted you bear this beautifully."

Be warned, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed"Â  " ” Galatians 1:8.

So Rome does endorse "another Christ" and when Hahn takes this supposedly transubstantiated wafer he receives it from "a man" who "is changed in his very being" into "another Christ," and he bears this beautifully. In turn, every Roman Catholic who trusts in this "host" as being the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ is taking "another Christ" from "another Christ." This is heresy of the highest rank, and their very souls are at risk of being separated from the true Christ forever because of their trust in another Christ.

The book affirms Roman Catholic doctrinal teaching about the Mass that "by uniting our sacrifice with Jesus' eternal sacrifice, we have seen God's will done 'on earth as it is in heaven.' We have before us Jesus, 'our daily bread,' and this bread will 'forgive us our trespasses,' because Holy Communion wipes away all venial sins." :"(Ibid., page 55.)":

Here we see the fruit of this other Jesus. He does not, or is not capable of taking away all our sins by his one acceptable sacrifice. The writer of Hebrews under the unction of the Holy Spirit instructs us to believe in the one Savior who, "having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time sat down at the right hand of God." And it is this one sacrifice that Jesus -- the real Jesus -- has "by one offering perfected for all time those who are sanctified."

Later in the book, Hahn interprets the book of Revelation through the filter of the Church and early Church Fathers. Of the Woman clothed with the Sun (Revelation 12: 1-2) he states, "I believe (with the fathers of the Church) that when John describes the woman, he is describing the ark-of the New Covenant. And who is the woman? She is ...Mary." :"(Ibid., page 77.)": Hahn sees Mary as the New Eve, since a virgin caused disobedience, it would take a virgin to reverse the curse and bring obedience.

This tradition traces to Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (130-200 AD). In his "Against Heresies," Irenaeus drew parallels from Genesis and the Gospel. (e.g. The Garden of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane; the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to the Tree of the Cross.) Drawing such biblical parallels stems from a common Jewish teaching method called Midrash. Midrash is based upon scripture or doctrine and is used to illuminate, but not to make doctrine as is the case here. Hahn (along with the Roman Catholic teaching) go to far when they use non-biblical teaching or other sources for parallels in concluding that Mary is the new Eve. Paul writing under the unction of the Holy Spirit rightly used a parallel when he taught the doctrine of Christ as the second Adam, but nowhere in scripture is Mary named as the new Eve. This is one of the primary problems with tradition and church Fathers as authoritative; it allows for no boundaries.

The opposite is true for written revelation, as Theologian Abraham Kuyper has taught: "It is not susceptible errors of memory and is durable and accidental corruptions are minimized; it can be disseminated universally; it has the attribute of fixedness and purity and it is given a finality and normativeness which other forms of communication cannot attain. Further, there is no biblical precedent that tradition is authoritative. Rather the opposite is true. "" ¦that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up against the other." " ” 1 Corinthians 4:6

Many current Roman Catholic teachings on Mary cannot be found in the earliest traditions of the Church but evolved over time. Both Irenaeus and Jerome argue that Jesus was the seed of the woman that would crush the head of the serpent. (See Genesis 3:14-16.) But somewhere through the transmission of the Latin text of the Vulgate, whether by fraud or mistake, the neuter form of the Latin word ipsum which corresponded to the neuter of semen {seed} was changed from the neuter form to the feminine form. Writing the verse in Latin, Genesis 3:15 now reads "Inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem, et semen tuum et semen illius; ipsa conteret caput tuum, et tu insidiaberis calcaneo eius."

Mary's role as the new Eve was expanded to the one that was now crushing the head of the serpent. Mary now evolved into the "woman of valor," (Proverbs 31:10) who would ride into battle on banners, and her blessings would invoke armies going on the crusades. Artists and poets would seize the humble Mary of the Bible and make her into the Virgin triumphing over the serpent. The doctrine of the cult of Mary has expanded to such a point that Mary has the titles and offices of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix (Catechism of the Catholic Church para. 969). She has supplanted Christ in His role as the only mediator between God and man. And she has also supplanted the Holy Spirit as our Helper and Comforter. This is an official Magisterium teaching, and it is likely to soon become the fourth Marian dogma.

Hahn continues with the Book of Revelation as the Mass, trying as he can to mix literal and spiritual interpretations, applying both to the same passages mixed with personal thoughts and Church tradition. He often does this without use of context. He states "I believe" the book of Revelation is 'primarily about the fall of Jerusalem' in the "literal sense." :"(Ibid., page 93.)": Yet if this is true, then Irenaeus' dating of the writing of Revelation to the mid 90s AD would be wrong, as would that of most modern scholars. Hahn quotes Revelation 1:1 that this is "to his servants what must soon take place" (emphasis in original), which would mean that it would have been necessary for the book of Revelation to be written prior to 70 AD. But isn't that typical of working with the early Church Fathers? One says one thing while the other contradicts it.

Hahn holds to a pre-70 AD writing date based on Revelation 11:1 in which John is told to measure the temple, because after 70 AD the smoke would no longer "rise from the lambs of Israel's sacrifices." Daniel 9 teaches that in that final week of what the Bible calls "the time of Jacob's trouble," "in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering." If the sacrifices stop, then they have to be occurring at some future event after 70 AD. Even Paul used sacrifice for purification (Acts 21:26) and not sin offering after his conversion to Christ. So Hahn's proof texts that this had to be written before 70 AD fall short of understanding the prophecies of the Old Testament, and the understanding of the sacrificial system in which not all sacrifices are for sin. Yes, the sin offering has been done away with, but if Daniel is right, the sacrificial system will start again.

Hahn's teaching on Mary as the "Woman in the Sun" fails to take into account that this woman would flee into the wilderness where she might be nourished for 1,260 days (Revelation 12:6). To escape he says that this is about Israel (which is true) at this point. In other words if something fits his doctrine he uses the literal sense, but when it does not, he escapes by saying it fits the spiritual sense and then denies the overall context of the passage. He applies the part he wants to Mary and the part that doesn't fit to Israel.

I have asked some Roman Catholics about this very Scripture. One of the responses I received is that it points to the flight of Mary and Jesus into Egypt. Rather than referring to Scripture to support their interpretation, they primarily refer to the writings of the early Church Fathers. In other words if it doesn't fit contextually just say it doesn't apply at that point or make up a Gnostic point or find a Church Father to say something.

This is the common thread for Hahn as he builds his case for the Mass as the Book of Revelation. Take what fits and use it; if it doesn't don't mention it, or use it out of context. In the end this highly spiritualized book becomes just another way to hide the truth of God's Word -- the Bible -- from the people.

The followers of Roman Catholicism, like those of Jesus' day, are sitting in darkness and being led by the blind into the ditch. My concern is that with more and more Roman Catholics becoming further indoctrinated into the false apologetics of Scott Hahn, and the false doctrines of Roman Catholicism, it will be harder to pull them from the fire that is already nipping at their heels.

Read 3008 times Last modified on Friday, 26 December 2008 04:57

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