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.

Debate: Mariology – Who is Mary according to Scripture?

When you build a theology on pagan goddess worship, man’s traditions, a dead religion of works, and arguing from silence, you will always lose the debate when faced with God’s Word.

See also: It’s All About Mary?

HT: Cup of Joe

Roman Catholic cardinal claims Adam and Eve were a mythology.

Below is the article from The Australian:


AUSTRALIA’S Cardinal George Pell has described the biblical story of Adam and Eve as a sophisticated myth used to explain evil and suffering rather than a scientific truth.

Cardinal Pell last night appeared on the ABC’s Q&A program, where he was debating British evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins.

Cardinal Pell said humans “probably” evolved from Neanderthals but it was impossible to say exactly when there was a first human. “But we have to say if there are humans, there must have been a first one,” he said.

According to Genesis, God created Adam and Eve as the first man and woman.

Asked by journalist Tony Jones if he believed in the existence of an actual Garden of Eden with an Adam and Eve, Cardinal Pell said it was not a matter of science but rather a beautiful mythological account.

“It’s a very sophisticated mythology to try to explain the evil and the suffering in the world,” he said.

“It’s certainly not a scientific truth. And it’s a religious story told for religious purposes.”

Cardinal Pell argued that the “great atheist movements” of Hitler and Stalin were the personification of social Darwinism.

“It’s the struggle for survival, the strong take what they can, and the weak give what they must and there’s nothing to restrain them.” he said. “And we’ve seen that in the two great atheist movements of the last century.”

Professor Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, rejected the notion as “ridiculous”.

He said Stalin was an atheist and Hitler was not, and they each perpetrated their acts for different reasons.

Towards the end of the debate, the head of the Catholic Church in Australia appeared to lament his struggle to promote Christ.

“My life would be much easier if I didn’t have to go into bat for . . . Christian principles,” he said.

Cardinal Pell then mused that he sometimes wondered if he should regret his life’s work, before asserting: “No, no.”

Book Review: “Life in the Grey Nunnery at Montreal” by Sarah J. Richardson

 lifegreynunneryWhen one gets a glimpse into the evils of Romanism perpetuated in the name of Jesus throughout history, words are hard to find to express the tempest of emotions roiling within.  Here, the account of Sarah J. Richardson and her years spent in the Grey Nunnery at Montreal are no exception.  Incredulity, shock, grief, loathing and more will flood your heart as you read the incredible account of her years spent imprisoned in this whitewashed sepulcher, which indeed appeared outwardly beautiful, but inwardly was full of all manner of dead men’s bones and uncleanness.

The book starts by providing a little background on Sarah’s earliest years and how her partially intoxicated father, in an act he thought for her best interests, gave his daughter away to the nunnery.  Sarah recalls this painful time of parting from her father by writing:

I am sure my father did not realize what he was doing. Had he waited for a little reflection, he would never have consented to such an arrangement, and my fate would have been quite different. But as it was, he immediately sent for the priest, and gave me to him, to be provided for, as his own child, until I was of age. I was then to be allowed to go out into the world if I chose. To this, Priest Dow consented. … Though I was at that time but six years old, I remember perfectly, all that passed upon that memorable occasion. I did not then comprehend the full meaning of what was said, but I understood enough to fill my heart with sorrow and apprehension.

But reflect on what he was doing was not to be for Sarah’s father, for his mind was made up and for his rashness he would never again see his daughter.  And so Sarah was torn away from her family and the world at large and carried away unto the world of the convent from which the eyes of most are prevented from venturing too deep into its hidden recesses.

From here Sarah begins the recollection of her life and the strict discipline and monastic life she was subjected to.  Something for which Roman Catholics are well known for where self-denial and beating of the body are held in high esteem.  As far as discipline is concerned, the nunnery was marked by it where the slightest infringement of the law of the land could yield the harshest of penalties.  One such law was that the children were not to speak, nay not even to groan or turn on their sides at night lest they cause the least bit of disturbance to the “holy” silence so cherished in convents.

This “holy” silence was to be observed throughout the convent where the nuns had to walk on their tip toes, and upon opening and closing a door had to do so with the utmost of care so as to not disturb the “peace.”  A rule which Sarah found herself mistakenly breaking when one morning in haste, she closed the door much to quickly where “it came together with a loud crash.”  We pick up her story where she writes about what happened next.

On entering the room, I found the Superior waiting for me; in her hand she held a stick about a foot long, to the end of which was attached nine leather strings, some twelve or fifteen inches long, and about the size of a man’s little finger. She bade me come to her, in a voice so cold and stern it sent a thrill of terror through my frame, and I trembled with the apprehension of some impending evil. I had no idea that she was about to punish me, for I was not aware that I had done anything to deserve it; but her looks frightened me, and I feared,–I know not what. She took hold of my arm, and without saying a word, gave me ten or twelve strokes over the head and shoulders with this miniature cat-o’-nine-tails. … But when I began to cry, and beg to go to my father, she sternly bade me stop crying at once, for I could not go to my father. I must stay there, she said, and learn to remember all her commands and obey then. She then taught me the following verse:

   I am a little nun,
The sisters I will mind;
When I am pretty and learn,
Then they will use me kind.
I must not be so noisy
When I go about the house,
I’ll close the doors so softly
They’ll think I am a mouse.

And so began the life of Sarah in the convent.  A life which would be filled with torments and griefs that far surpassed her beating for closing the door too loudly.  Beatings not for her alone though but for all within its walls who dared to violate the orders of the Superior and priests, not matter how inane or petty they were.

More can be said but the reader of this post is encouraged to take the time and read this book for themselves.  In posting this I know many will outright dismiss Sarah’s account as the ravings of a lunatic or the ramblings of yet another anti-Catholic conspirator. To this charge the reader would be well advised to study the history of Rome before making such a hasty verdict.  For we only need to look back a few years to recall the horrors and abject wickedness of Romanism brought into the light as the “sex scandal” became headline news.  Horrors that if protested against before this story broke, would have met with the same denial, incredulity and ridicule.

Or, one should peer back a little into history at the time of the inquisitions to find that men were of such hardened hearts that they could inflict the most horrible of terrors upon those who would not submit to the Papacy.  All of which that Rome would assiduously deny until there was so much proof she could do nothing but slink back into her corner.

A letter to the pope.

Thanks to Banner of Truth for reprinting this letter from Charles Hodge to Pope Pius the Ninth. In today’s atmosphere of blur-the-lines doctrinal positions it’s refreshing to see how men of old stood their ground on principles and refused to compromise truth on the alter of ecumenicalism.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The text of a letter written by Charles Hodge of Princeton Theological Seminary on behalf of the two General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church in the USA, explaining why the Pope’s invitation to Protestants to send delegates to the first Vatican Council of 1869-70 was being declined.

To Pius the Ninth, Bishop of Rome,

By your encyclical letter dated 1869 you invite Protestants to send delegates to the Council called to meet at Rome during the month of December of the current year. That letter has been brought to the attention of the two General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. Those Assemblies represent about five thousand ministers and a still larger number of Christian congregations.

Believing as we do, that it is the will of Christ that his Church on earth should be united, and recognizing the duty of doing all we consistently can to promote Christian charity and fellowship, we deem it right briefly to present the reasons which forbid our participation in the deliberations of the approaching Council.

Continue reading

Oh anathema, my anathema.

How many anathemas are you under?

Mark, from Here I Blog, decided to count his:

“I decided to count the number of anathemas that I am under from the 33 canons on justification. My count is 23 anathemas as I understand the canons. I tried to consider any nuances. Keep in mind that this is only 1 of 25 sessions of Trent.”

Read his post and see how many anathemas Romanism has you under here.


How to think like a Roman Catholic.

The following is an illustrated lesson to help you understand how the average Roman Catholic thinks on the matter of idolatry. I have provided several images which will allow you to better understand how a Romanist processes information.

But before we begin, and so you can fully grasp this lesson, you must carefully read the following passages from Leviticus 26:1 and Exodus 20:4-5 (respectively):

“You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,”

Now, let’s begin.

To see if you think like a Roman Catholic, what is your response to each of the the following pictures (the “proper” Romanist responses are indicated below each image).

Pagan idol worship condemned by scripture.

_______________________________

Veneration.

_______________________________

Pagan idol worship condemned by scripture.

_______________________________

Veneration.

_______________________________

Pagan idol worship condemned by scripture.

_______________________________

Veneration.

_______________________________

Pagan idol worship condemned by scripture.

_______________________________

Veneration.

_______________________________

Pagan idol worship condemned by scripture.

_______________________________

Veneration.

_______________________________

Pagan idol worship condemned by scripture.

_______________________________

Veneration.

_______________________________

Pagan idol worship condemned by scripture.

_______________________________

Veneration.

_______________________________

Pagan idol worship condemned by scripture.

_______________________________

Veneration.

_______________________________

Pagan idol worship condemned by scripture.

_______________________________

Veneration.

_______________________________

Pagan idol worship condemned by scripture.

_______________________________

Veneration.

_______________________________

Pagan idol worship condemned by scripture.

_______________________________

Veneration.

_______________________________

To see if you’ve been successfully conditioned to think like a Roman Catholic, we’ll conclude with one last picture.

Examine the following photograph carefully. The worshipers in the picture are from India, a country dominated with the worship of countless idols of Hindu gods made from stone and wood. So, are the people in this picture merely offering veneration, or are they pagan idol worshipers violating God’s prohibition of such activity found in Leviticus 26:1 and Exodus 20:4-5?

The answer: They are Roman Catholics, so therefore, their actions are only that of veneration.

If you answered this correctly, you are thinking like a Romanist, if you answered incorrectly you either need to start again at the beginning of this post, or you’re simply one of those fundamentalists who takes God’s prohibition against idolatry literally and seriously.

But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

The blasphemy of Rome’s priesthood.

Reminiscent of The Pharisees

“The priest speaks, and Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows his head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.”

– “Father” John O’Brien

The Faith of Millions

“Jesus died to institute the priesthood. Had he not died, where should we find the victim that the priests now offer? It was not necessary for the Redeemer to die in order to save the world; a drop of his blood, a single tear, or prayer, was sufficient to procure salvation for all . . . but to institute the priesthood, the death of Jesus Christ was necessary.”

– Alphonsus Ligouri

The Dignity and Duties of the Priest

They just don’t get it.

For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:2-4

They just don’t get it.

The false religions and cults simply cannot grasp the simplicity of the gospel message. This is evidenced anytime you have a conversation with one of them about sin, grace, faith, and justification.

You can go round and round in debate with a member of one of these organizations and you often walk away with a headache because they can’t see the forest for the trees.

They have been so indoctrinated to believe their respective organization’s interpretations of biblical texts that when someone presents them with the proper interpretation of biblical texts (using Scripture to interpret Scripture) they simply reject it.

It is so sad to watch the deceived continue in their deception, especially when they are leading others down the same broad path.

It’s like trying to convince a fish that it’s wet; the fish has known nothing but wet, so it cannot even fathom what dry is.

Recently the Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped by my home and dropped off an advertisement with my wife for an upcoming event. They won’t stay to talk (our house has been flagged for almost five years now) but they will occasionally still drop off literature . . . and run.

In their latest dump-and-run literature drop they gave my wife a flier for their upcoming commemoration of the anniversary of Jesus’ death. Here’s the opening line from that advertisement:

“John the Baptizer stated that Jesus ‘takes away the sin of the world.’ (John 1:29) This drew attention to Jesus’ role in saving obedient mankind.”

Jesus saved the obedient? 

See how subtle their deception is?

The obedient don’t need a Savior. Jesus Himself said He came for the sinner, not the righteous (Matthew 9:13, Mark 2:17).

This declaration by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is predicated on the erroneous assumption that our obedience is a prerequisite for Christ to be able save us. This is classic Watchtower Organization rhetoric and is essentially the doctrine of all cults and false religions: Believing you must do your part and cooperate with God to help Him or enable Him to save you.

They just don’t get it.

If the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe obedience is required as a means or requirement of salvation (which anyone who knows Watchtower doctrine can attest that this is indeed their position) then they better be obedient to all the Law without ever sinning once from cradle to grave, otherwise they will be found guilty of breaking all the Law (James 2:10):

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

But what’s even more damning to those seeking salvation via the conduit of obedience is the fact that they are under a curse for doing the very thing they think will save them (Galatians 3:10):

For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”

What Jehovah’s Witnesses (and Mormons, and Roman Catholics, and Muslims, etc.) fail to understand is that regeneration comes before obedience, not the other way around. Romans 8:6-8 makes our inability very clear:

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

It’s a classic case of putting of the cart before the horse.

They just don’t get it.

It’s only after we’ve been saved, regenerated, made alive in Christ, been born again, that our works and obedience are pleasing and acceptable to God 

Our obedience is borne out of a love and desire to please the One who purchased us with His own blood, not out of us trying to appease Him and merit His favor like the pagans try do for their idols.

Our obedience, and the good works we do after being saved, come from God and are prepared beforehand for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). This is why our behavior should reflect our conversion (Matthew 3:8, Luke 3:8, Acts 26:20, Ephesians 4:1) and why the absence of which should cause us to question whether or not we’ve been genuinely converted.

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?  2 Corinthians 13:5

Simply put, regeneration precedes obedience (John 14:15, John 14:21-24, 1 John 3:24).

What obedience did Abraham offer to become righteous before God (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3)? What obedience did John the Baptist declare to those coming to be baptized (Matthew 3:2)? What obedience did Christ declare upon the start of His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:17) or later in His ministry (Luke 13:5)? What obedience did the thief on the cross exhibit to be with Jesus that very day in paradise (Luke 23:39-43)? What obedience did Paul tell the Philippian jailer he needed to perform to be saved (Acts 16:30-31)?

The false faiths that dot the landscape of Christianity like pock marks all invalidate the word of God for the sake of their traditions (Matthew 15:6), and their works-righteousness gospel is in complete contradiction to Jesus’ teaching of the means of the free gift of God’s grace and mercy as cited in His example of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. You cannot read those words of our Lord and still believe that your obedience (or anything for that matter) merits you any favor in God’s eyes. If you still believe otherwise, then you make Christ’s brutal, bloody, and barbaric sacrifice null and void because it was all done in vain. 

I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. Galatians 2:21

See also: Why Don’t They Get it?

Roman Catholicism’s competition in Mexico.

I recently read an article about cults in Mexico that I found absolutely fascinating. It seems that the Roman Catholic organization is experiencing some competition in one of their stronghold nations.

Here’s a quote from the article about the growing worship of fictional drug-trafficking saint, Jesús Malverde:

“The emotional pressures, the tensions of living in a time of crisis lead people to look for symbolic figures that can help them face danger,” says José Luis González, a professor at Mexico’s National School of Anthropology and History who specializes in popular religions. Among the helper figures are Afro-Cuban deities that have recently found their way to new shores and outlaws that have been transformed into miracle workers, like a mythical bandit from northern Mexico called Jesús Malverde. There are even saints from the New Testament repurposed for achieving not salvation but success. In this expanding spiritual universe, the worship of a skeleton dressed in long robes and carrying a scythe—La Santa Muerte—is possibly the fastest growing and, at first glance at least, the most extravagant of the new cults.

There’s a reason for God’s prohibition against graven images and the bowing down to them. Our hearts are truly idol factories and here’s an example of how one such idol was created:

Eligio had been working as a driver in 1976 when he was knifed and shot in a holdup and left for dead. He prayed to Malverde, whose only monument at the time was a pile of rocks where his grave was said to be, promising to erect a proper shrine in Malverde’s honor if the saintly bandit saved his life. When he survived, he kept his word. González appears to have understood that people would grasp Malverde’s real importance only if there were an image of him they could worship, but unfortunately no photograph of Malverde existed—and, in fact, no evidence at all that he’d ever lived. In the 1980s González asked an artisan in the neighborhood to create a plaster bust: “Make him sort of like Pedro Infante and sort of like Carlos Mariscal,” Infante being a famous movie star from Sinaloa and Mariscal a local politician.

And then there’s the skeletal idol of death known as La Santa Muerte reminiscent of the Grim Reaper:

Antonio explains what gives La Santa Muerte her powerful attraction: “La Muerte is always beside you—even if it’s just a little postage stamp that you put up above your cot, you know that she’s not going to move, that she’ll never leave.” . . . El Niño and Antonio say just that La Santa Muerte will grant your prayers—but only in exchange for payment, and that payment must be proportional to the size of the miracle requested, and the punishment for not meeting one’s debt to her is terrible.

I find it ironic that the official position of the Roman Catholic organization is in opposition to the worship of Jesús Malverde and La Santa Muerte when they are one of the worst offenders of idol worship around and seem to have no problem when the idol being worshiped is one that they’ve created.

Mexicans who retain a strong connection to the Roman Catholic faith might turn instead to St. Jude Thaddeus. At a time when no-win situations abound, he is experiencing a rise in popularity comparable only to that of La Santa Muerte, perhaps because he is known in the Catholic Church as the patron saint of desperate causes. . . . St. Jude’s official feast day is October 28, and thousands of his followers feel inspired to come and pray to him on that day every month. Sixteen Masses are celebrated in the parish from dawn to evening, and worshippers crawl to the statue of the saint on their knees, praying for help, protection, and survival.

But let me caution you, before we look down on these souls in Mexico who are steeped in idol worship, let us not forget that we in America are equally as guilty of this sin; our idols just come in different forms (cars, sports, money, status, possessions, self, etc.).

To read the entire National Geographic article (and to view more pictures) visit National Geographic online.

Quotes (819)

It is impossible to measure the harm done to the Protestant cause through the retention of paedobaptism. The Reformed churches profess to be governed solely by Scripture, but so long as they continue baptizing babies, so long will they be taunted by Roman Catholics (and others) for their manifest inconsistency. . . . . Baby baptism is ruinous to the souls of thousands. Strictly speaking, it is not baby baptism but mistaken views regarding its efficacy and significance which leads multitudes down the broad way to destruction.

–          T.E. Watson

Sermon of the week: “The Judiazers” by Phil Johnson.

Your sermon of the week is the first in a five-part series entitled A Survey of Heresies. Every two weeks DefCon will be bringing you the next installment in this series from Phil Johnson on the top five major heresies that have plagued the church since its inception, and continues to rear its ugly head in the form of the cults and false Christian religions of today.

We begin this series with The Judiazers.

Quotes (815)

Modern Roman Catholicism is the monstrous tree that sprang from the acorn of the Judiazers.

– Phil Johnson

Are you a Roman Catholic or a Christian?

Are you a Roman Catholic or a Christian?

Grab pen and paper and take the following ten-question quiz (formulated by Dr. J. Ronald Blue of Dallas Theological Seminary). How you do will determine whether you’re a Roman Catholic or a Christian.

Choose the position which is most true:

1:

A). God gives a man right standing with Himself by mercifully accounting him righteous.

B). God gives a man right standing with Himself by actually making him into a righteous person.

2:

A). God gives a man right standing with Himself by placing Christ’s goodness and virtue to his credit.

B). God gives a man right standing with Himself by putting Christ’s goodness and virtue into his heart.

3:

A). God accepts the believer because of the moral excellence found in Christ.

B). God makes a believer acceptable by infusing Christ’s moral excellence into his life.

4:

A). If a man becomes born again, he will achieve right standing with God.

B). If a sinner receives right standing with God, he will then experience a transformation of character and life.

5:

A). We receive right standing with God through faith alone.

B). We receive right standing with God by faith and love.

6:

A). We achieve right standing with God by having Christ live out His life of obedience in us.

B). We achieve right standing with God by receiving the truth that he obeyed the Law of God perfectly for us.

7:

A). We achieve right standing with God by following Christ’s example by the help of enabling grace.

B). We follow Christ’s example because His life has given us right standing with God.

8:

A). God first declares us good, and then His Spirit begins making us good.

B). God sends His Spirit to make us good, and then He will declare that we are good.

9:

A). Christ’s finished work on the cross and intercession at God’s right hand gives us favor in God’s sight.

B). It is the indwelling Christ that gives us favor in God’s sight.

10:

A). Only by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness can we fully satisfy the claims of the Ten Commandments.

B). By the power of the Holy Spirit living in us we can fully satisfy the claims of the Ten Commandments.

Bonus Question 1:

You get to Heaven by works: True or False

Bonus Question 2:

Our faith is the ground of our salvation: True or False

Answers . . .

Continue reading

Praying for Rose Marie.

I first met Rose Marie a few years ago. She is a 20-something nun who works a booth at the local fair. Since she travels around selling Rome’s idolatrous wares and trinkets, I hadn’t seen her since that first meeting. However, she was back in town and I saw her yesterday at this year’s fair. When I approached her she immediately recognized me.

Rose Marie, or as I’m sure she prefers to be called, Sister Rose Marie, is still relying on her own efforts to save her from the coming wrath of God.

I only had a chance to chat with her for about a minute or two this time, but I am researching a way to correspond with her like a pen-pal. If this does not materialize, then I’ll have to wait another year to have an opportunity to speak with her.

I ask that the readers of DefCon please keep this precious young lady (who has devoted her life to a dead religion of works in hopes to find favor with God) in your prayers. To read a brief post on my first encounter with Rose Marie from 2007, check out: A conversation with a nun in the most unlikeliest of places.

Goodbye grandpa.

On August 03, 2010, while lying in bed nursing a 102 degree fever, I received a call that my grandfather (who was in the hospital recovering from a minor operation) had stopped breathing on two separate occasions but they were able to resuscitate him both times.

When I arrived at the hospital he was on a ventilator (tube down his throat feeding him oxygen) in addition to a myriad of other tubes and wires, and loaded with a plethora of medications—all of which were keeping him alive.

The following day tests confirmed that his condition was only growing worse and that his organs were beginning to shut down. It was unanimous: his wife and family decided that there was no need to artificially prolong the inevitable.

The day I’ve always dreaded arrived on the evening of August 04, 2010. With his family by his side, my grandfather slipped into a Christless eternity, ending his life of eighty-three years on earth.

Continue reading

Scott Hodge and his hodge-podge of Roman Catholic meditative monastic heresy.

Chris Rosebrough is tackling an unbelievable issue that has crept into the church: The continued march backward into Romanism by supposed Evangelicals (some of which are the golden calves of Americanized Christianity) through the use of monastic meditation practices. He addresses this in his post Purpose-Driven Roman Catholic Monastic Mysticism (which is where I obtained the quotes below).

Roman Catholic Monastic Mysticism is becoming all the rage among innovative post-modern purpose-driven pastors. Practices developed by Roman Catholic Monks such as the Lectio Divina, The Practice of the Presence of God and the Prayer Examen which was created by on [sic] of the arch enemies of the Protestant Reformation, Ignatius Loyola are openly being promoted by an alarming number of seeker-driven / Purpose-Driven pastors. These so-called ’spiritual disciplines’ are being featured at Willow Creek, Saddleback, and Mars Hill to name just a few.

Rosebrough examines an absolutely astonishing sermon from seeker-sensitive pastor Scott Hodge who teaches his whole congregation that practicing the mystical Lecito Divina (like eating at a five-star restaurant) is somehow better than reading the Scriptures for yourself without the magical formula (like eating McDonalds). This is unbelievable when you consider Hodge is considered an evangelical protestant. What in the world did Luther break from Romanism for if this guy is directing his people to place the yoke back upon their necks and return to the bondage of Rome’s dead religion?

Let me be clear here, Pastor Scot Hodge is not promoting meditative practices similar to Lecito Divina, he’s promoting Lecito Divina itself. He spends the overwhelming majority of his sermon singing its praises and he even walks his whole congregation through a Lecito Divina session that will make your hair stand on end (for those familiar with Eastern mysticism and New Age practices).

To hear this unbelievable “sermon” and Rosebrough’s commentary with it, you can download it by right clicking here. It starts at 1:08:08 into the podcast.

While listening to this sermon, keep in mind that this Roman Catholic mystical practice was developed by men who did not believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone by Christ’s work alone. These monks were trying to earn their salvation through their monkery. These practices are not taught in the scriptures. Neither Jesus, his disciples, the prophets nor the patriarchs practiced Lectio Divina. This Roman Catholic practice is pure monastic mythology and spiritual fantasy and rather than helping you experience God, it is more likely that you will experience self deception or demonic spirits.

For those unfamiliar with Scott Hodge, DefCon dealt with him back in 2007 when his video mocking the sacred ordinance of baptism was making its rounds on the internet. You can check out our previous post on Scott Hodge in the post Narcissism Gone Wild.

The fact that seeker-driven and Purpose-Driven pastors are adopting Roman Catholic Monastic practices in droves proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that chasing after relevance has caused them to abandon Biblical truth and they are now being blown about by every wind of false doctrine. (Eph. 4:7-19) Sadly, this is what happens when you try to marry the church to the ’spirit of the age’.

The peddler of false assurance.

Recently my grandfather was in the hospital for a week (it was looking pretty serious). On one of my visits to the hospital with my grandmother present, a nice white-haired man in a dress shirt and a tie entered the room. He introduced himself as a Eucharist Minister (I saw where this was going).

He was “doing his rounds” throughout the hospital visiting those who listed themselves as Roman Catholics on their intake papers and wanted to know if my grandfather wished to take (the heretically distorted version of Rome’s) holy communion. Of course both my grandparents were anxious to do so and stopped their profanities, taking of God’s name in vain, and all their other pet sins long enough to be good Catholics for a moment in the presence of such a holy man.

This man asked if we were all Roman Catholics and after my grandparents said yes, I said, “No, I’m a Christian.” Immediately realizing that his response was inevitably going to be “we’re all Christians,” I cut him off before he had a chance to tell that lie and I added, “Protestant,” for clarification.

My grandfather jokingly replied, “We won’t hold that against you.And of course this stranger representing Rome agreed, confirming they don’t hold anything against anyone. (How kind of him.)

Because challenging this man in front of my grandparents would do more harm than good, I bit my tongue. He then wasted no time as he leapt into ecumenical action requesting that since we were all Christians “let us pray to God together.”

I stood and watched as this man who knows nothing about my grandparents, their lives, their sins, their struggles, or even their current relationship with God, blasphemously stood in the place of the Lord Jesus Christ as their mediator and prayed for them to be forgiven of their sins.

And what sin of my grandparents did this stranger clairvoyantly hone in on as their biggest sin, requiring special emphasis and forgiveness from? Why, none other than their needing to be forgiven of their sin of not realizing how close God is to them and that God is near to them at all times.

After this feel-good prayer of pseudo-repentance while avoiding the real issues of their sin nature in all its abhorrent wretchedness and hostility toward God, we were now ready for communion! (If only the hospital was this quick with their formalities before moving on to administer care and medicine.)

The man then reached into the pocket of his slacks and pulled out a round object. It was very similar to an Altoid tin. This man then opened the lid to reveal a bunch of white squares resembling Chiclets gum. He removed one of the squares, and holding it between his two fingers, held it in front of him so that my grandparents could see it. He then presumptuously announced, “This is the Lamb of God.” I could endure no more and removed myself from the room with an exhale that I’m certain he heard.

This false teacher peddling his false assurance had the audacity to call a little piece of food the very Lamb of God; what utter blasphemy. Yet my grandparents clung to every word of this fork-tongued tool of Satan, and now had clean consciences to continue about their normal lifestyles of rampant and impenitent sin.

Sadly, late at night while I sat alone by my grandfather’s bedside trying desperately to convey the gospel of Jesus Christ to him (Law first), he remained completely averse to it. After all, the nice priestly mediator already prayed for him and he took communion, so what need does he have of a propitiation for his sins?

Not even his brush with death that put him in the hospital could rouse him from his spiritual slumber. My grandfather opined that God understands that he’s just a human, and with a nice condescending pat on my arm he assured me that all will be well . . . all will be well.


“They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.” – Jeremiah 16:14


A Catholic Funeral – The Dead Burying the Dead

Yesterday, I attended the funeral of an Aunt who died this past week.  And, as is true for any funeral, it was a sad time as yet another life has come to an abrupt end.  Never again will her voice be heard or will she be able to interact with the sons of men for the time granted unto her by God to live on this earth has expired.  And as such there will be no returning to life for the grave will surrender none of its victims to family or friend no matter how many tears they shed or prayers they pray.  It will only be on the Last Day when Christ Jesus, he who has the keys of the grave and death, will call forth to all the dead to come forth even as he did unto Lazarus, some unto the resurrection of life, and some unto the resurrection of damnation (cf. Joh 5:28-29).  My Aunt, as I am nearly certain (barring a last minute conversion), will be called unto the resurrection of damnation.

I make this last statement because my Aunt was, as is the case for the majority of my family, Roman Catholic.  A Roman Catholic who had religion, but not Jesus Christ.  A woman who was baptised with water, but not with the Holy Spirit.  A woman who ate the Eucharist, but did not eat of Jesus’ flesh or drink of his blood.  A woman who had good works, but never recognized that they were as filthy rags.  A woman who though appearing alive was in fact dead; dead in trespasses and sins as all are who are not born of the Spirit of God per his will.

And what so grieved my spirit and incensed me as I sat through the Mass (not participating in any way) and listened to the words of the priest was that from the moment he opened his mouth and spoke his first words until the time when he closed his mouth as her coffin lay over the grave, all he spoke were lies.  Lies that for the one lying in the coffin were meaningless as she heard not a one of them, but for the living were deadly.  Deadly because they acted as yet another hot iron further cauterizing their conscience to believe that as a baptized Roman Catholic they were in no peril, regardless of anything God’s word or one of his servants might say to the contrary.

This is the tragedy for never once were the people in the pews ever challenged to examine themselves to see whether they were in the faith (cf. II Cor 13:5).  Of course this can not be so because Catholicism is not the faith of the Bible, but even beyond this, they were not challenged even to see if they were in the Catholic faith.  This being all the things that Catholic apologists love to quote when you are debating with them about how they believe this and that, yet when the rubber hits the road and you hear the words from the priest at a funeral, it is all together another story.  All that matters is that you are a baptized (technically sprinkled) “card-carrying” Catholic and if so, you will have a priest say your funeral who will tell all of your family and friends that you are now in heaven (even though Catholic doctrine says you are in the torments of purgatory).

So rest easy all ye Catholics and do not fret about any sins or repentance for what I have stated above will be true regardless of the life you have lived, the sins you have been in bondage to, the company you have kept, the drunkenness, the fornication, the lust, the pride, the hatred of all things righteous, the deception, the disdain for the Scriptures, and any other evidences of a tree bearing bad fruit (cf. Mat 7:13-27).  Because as long as you were at one time sprinkled as a baby, worry not dear Catholic, for you need not be troubled about anything else and can live like the devil, because there will be a priest who will say Mass at your funeral and he will by the supposed powers vested in him transport you to the feet of Jesus in heavenly bliss.  The same thing of course will be true for your family and friends, even if they never attend Mass, avoid Confession, or are the twice of year Catholics who only attend Mass on Christmas and Easter, for they too will be sent to heaven by your local Catholic priest.  Just make sure you pay him for the Mass.

All of this is exactly what I witnessed at my Aunt’s funeral where according to this priest it was Catholic water baptism, the perennial Catholic ticket to heaven, that made her a child of God.  And it was because of this baptism or infant sprinkling, and that she was deemed a “good” person (cf. Romans 3:12) who did “good” things in her life (cf. Isaiah 64:6) and loved those who loved her (cf. Matthew 5:46-47), that this priest in essence told one and all, rest easy and shed not a tear, for she is now in heaven.  Words ironically coming from a man who never even met my Aunt once and only knew of her from the brief bio (all positive of course) presented to him by her daughter before the Mass.  Amazing, simply amazing and oh how tragic indeed.

Much more was said by the priest that made a mockery of God’s word and what true salvation is but to the people sitting in the pews it was music unto their ears.  Music because it sang sweet words of rest and ease unto them whereby they could continue their present course of life, regardless of how dark it might be, because in the end, it would all work out.

It also was music unto their ears because who among them was not likewise, according to their personal scales of justice, a good person, or who did not likewise do good things and love people around them.  Possibly even trumping my Aunt in these areas as they all compare themselves among themselves (cf. II Cor 10:12).  And so one and all left the funeral with a lift in their gait where possibly any twinges of conscience per the convicting of the Holy Spirit (cf. Joh 16:8) were quenched by the words of this one priest.

But this need not be for the Roman Catholic who believes that in spite of their religion, they are sick, for Jesus says, “They that are whole [healthy] have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mar 2:17)  Jesus is more than able to save to the uttermost those who come to the Father through him (cf. Heb 7:12) and this he will do unto you.  Yet you must believe that you are sick and a sinner in need of repentance.

If this be you than my encouragement unto you would be for you to call out unto the Lord for him to save you, to forsake vain and dead religion, to  repent from your sins, and believe on Jesus Christ alone for salvation.  Because baptism will, in and of itself, bring none into the kingdom of God and those Catholics who are trusting in their baptism and church to save them will be sorely disappointed on that day.  But for those who repudiate the false doctrine of Catholicism and place their hope solely in the finished work of Jesus Christ and not in infant baptism or their church, they will be wonderfully overjoyed on that day.

Finally, let it be clearly stated that the final arbiter of entrance into the kingdom of God is not a priest and his unoffending words of false hope, but rather the two-edged word of God.  Because it will be by this word that all will be judged, not tradition, not smooth sounding words, but solely by the word of God.  For the Lord spoke that, “…if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (Joh 12:47-48)

May all Catholics take these things I have written to heart and today, while you still have breath in your lungs and blood in your veins, seriously consider the words I have written.  For today may in fact be your last day as I can assure you my Aunt but a week ago was in no way thinking that the following week she would be lying dead and lifeless in a casket.  So too the same may be true for you whereby next week it will not be my Aunt lying in a coffin, but you the reader of this paper where then it will be too late.

Ecumenism Ultimately Points Toward A Common Eucharist, Pope Tells Christians

Pope in meeting with Christian Leaders in crypt of St. Marys Cathedral

Pope in meeting with Christian Leaders in crypt of St. Mary's Cathedral

Source: Catholic News Agency.

Words in italics are my comments.

Sydney, Jul 18, 2008 / 01:34 am (CNA).- Fifteen leaders of the Australian Christian church met the Pope in an Ecumenical event held in the St. Mary’s Cathedral Crypt on Friday morning. In his address to the church leaders, Benedict XVI called on them to not view doctrine as divisive since that view can prevent Christians from working to improve the world.

That’s right, lay aside your differences even though you know that much of Roman Catholic doctrine is heretical and just be one big, happy family singing along to the tune played by the Roman pied piper pontiff while observing a works-based gospel to improve the world!

Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell represented the Catholic Church, while Rev. Robert Forsythe was present for the Anglican Church. Leaders representing the Syrian Orthodox, Maronite Catholics, Indian Orthodox, Chinese Methodist, the Lutheran and Uniting churches were also present.

Youth representatives were also present at the event, where approximately fifty guests were present because of their involvement in the Ecumenical Council of New South Wales.

The pope delivered a short address to the leaders, praising their commitment to the ecumenical movement, citing the Covenant signed in 2004 by the members of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

“This document recognizes a common commitment, sets out goals, and acknowledges points of convergence without glossing over differences,” said the Pope.

While Baptism is the starting point for ecumenical dialogue, the Pope said that, “The road of ecumenism ultimately points towards a common celebration of the Eucharist… we can be sure that a common Eucharist one day would only strengthen our resolve to love and serve one another in imitation of our Lord.”

There we go, in case some have not caught on yet, ecumenism does not mean that Christians come together to work out their differences, but discard their beliefs to follow that of the Roman Church’s.

“For this reason, a candid dialogue concerning the place of the Eucharist – stimulated by a renewed and attentive study of scripture, patristic writings, and documents from across the two millennia of Christian history – will undoubtedly help to advance the ecumenical movement and unify our witness to the world,” the Pontiff said.

The ecumenical movement has, the Pope observed, “reached a critical juncture. To move forward, we must continually ask God to renew our minds with the Holy Spirit, Who speaks to us through the scriptures and guides us into all truth. We must guard against any temptation to view doctrine as divisive and hence an impediment to the seemingly more pressing and immediate task of improving the world in which we live.”

This emphasis will lead to our works of charity speaking more eloquently of God’s bountiful goodness and love towards all, Pope Benedict said.

Finally the Pope concluded his address by calling on the Christian world to work together.

“As ‘fellow citizens’ of the ‘household of God,’ Christians must work together to ensure that the edifice stands strong so that others will be attracted to enter and discover the treasures of grace within.”

Following the meeting Pope met with religious leaders of other major faiths, at nearby St. Mary’s Cathedral Chapter House.