Sunday, September 2, 2018
Recently, a storm has been brewing in Pennsylvania and it involves members of the Catholic Church. But the focus wasn’t on the average Catholic in the pew. The focus was on a Pennsylvania grand jury report, in “the most exhaustive investigation of the church taken on by a state,” accusing over 300 priests of sexual misconduct, abusing more than 1000 children.
Not only were there priests involved, but there were monsignors, bishops, archbishops, and even cardinals, either directly involved in sexual misconduct themselves, or involved in a deliberate cover-up of the ordeal.
According to one website:
“Instead of contacting law enforcement, senior church officials would regularly shuffle offending priests from parish to parish, where they would continue to have contact with minors.”
According to this same source, less than a week after the Pennsylvania grand jury report came out, Pope Francis formally apologized for the church’s mishandling of the sex scandal. Yeah, that’s way too little, way too late. Not impressive at all. We don’t think that anyone that high up could be unaware of the things that are going on in his own church. Pope Francis, as well as the previous popes, should have started weeding out these perverts long ago. But now, hundreds and hundreds of victims have already been damaged.
Another source states:
“It is time to face the horrible truth: The Catholic church is a pedophile ring.”
“… the grand jury report includes, but is by no means limited to, the case of a ring of pedophile priests in Pittsburgh, who raped their male victims, took pornographic pictures of them and marked them by giving them gold crosses to wear so that they could be easily recognized by other abusers.”
Concerning the Catholic Church’s cover-up of these crimes, this same source said:
“These strategies used to subvert stories of abuse were so common that the FBI reviewed a significant portion of the evidence collected and received by the grand jury and found a series of practices engaged in by church leaders to conceal the truth. For instance, church authorities who documented the cases for internal use never used the word ‘rape,’ only ‘inappropriate contact.’ Investigations were conducted by other clergy members, rather than trained personnel. Church-run health centers, not lay psychiatric facilities, were used to examine priests accused of pedophilia. Housing and funds were provided for priests, even when it was known they were raping children. Priests were moved from the area only if their communities found out, to other communities where the abusers and abuses were not known. Most importantly, the hierarchy was instructed to not inform law enforcement about abuses reported by parishoners, but to consider any such case an ‘internal personnel matter.’”
“What the now-multiple Pennsylvania grand jury reports show clearly is that the Roman Catholic church has treated the protection of its pedophiles, rapists and sexual abusers as their highest priority.”
One source sums it up this way:
“Mitchell Garabedian, who represented many of the Boston victims… added that the report, ‘lays out the standard blueprint of dishonesty, immorality, criminality and cover-up of the Catholic Church which has been previously revealed in Boston and archdioceses and dioceses worldwide.’”
Much more has been revealed through many media sources on this investigation, but sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Ok, so since there are so many problems with sexual perversion in the Catholic Church, could there possibly be something wrong with the Catholic system, itself? Is there a problem with the structure of the hierarchy, or maybe with the environment that is produced therein?
According to the following Catholic source, there is indeed a problem with the environment in which priests are placed:
“Even if a seminarian’s homosexuality isn’t ‘deep-seated,’ it will likely become deep-seated when he is placed in an all-male environment for five to eight years, and sleeping in bedrooms with men. Putting homosexuals in an all-male environment is what’s called ‘an occasion of sin,’ that is, it leads to deep-seated temptations. You might as well put heterosexual men in the convent or a nunnery for five to eight years, and let them sleep in bedrooms with girls and women, and see how long they remain chaste.”
A friend once asked me if I had ever seen a masculine looking priest. Neither of us could honestly answer yes to that question, even though we both live in a heavily Catholic area. We’re not saying that all priests everywhere are feminine looking, but it appears that at least the great majority are!
But why is that? Do they purposely ordain gay or feminine priests in the Catholic Church? This is what one source revealed:
“According to a news story in The New York Times (Sept. 15, 2005), Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., the former Editor-in-Chief of America, said that ‘with the shortage of priests, the church can hardly afford to dismiss gay seminarians.’”
So, it seems that they don’t really have a problem ordaining gay men into the Catholic priesthood, in spite of the fact that homosexuality is a sin (Genesis 19:1-29; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Jude 7). So with the type of men they are recruiting, and with the environment that these men are subjected to, is it any wonder that all these things are now surfacing?
Friday, August 17, 2018
It is commonly known that Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) is a controversial figure. He is more liberal than the previous popes, and he has made some controversial statements, even surprising and offending many within the Catholic Church. The pope has also been on a campaign lately to rid the world of capital punishment, i.e., the death penalty.
On August 2, 2018, the pope has officially revised the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty, changing paragraph #2267 of the Catechism to reflect his belief that the death penalty is always wrong.
Of course, details and comments about this whole affair were all over the news, and anyone can easily check the online quotes below from many media sources.
Now, concerning this serious topic, no one can honestly claim that the death penalty doesn’t work to prevent serious crime, at least on the most basic level, since it is all too obvious that dead people can no longer commit crimes. Not only is capital punishment functional, but it is also a biblical concept.
But the pope’s objections to capital punishment rest more on emotional grounds, rather than on biblical or practical reasons. He is willing to sacrifice scriptural principles in order to cater to the “increasing awareness” of the “dignity” of hardened criminals.
But note carefully the reasons for this pope’s desire for change:
- He stated that “today capital punishment is unacceptable, however serious the condemned’s crime may have been.”
- The death penalty, regardless of the means of execution, “entails cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.”
- He has said that “no matter how serious the crime that has been committed, the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”
- “Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.”
- “It must be strongly confirmed that condemning a person to the death penalty is an inhumane measure that humiliates, in any way it is pursued, human dignity.”
- The death penalty “is in itself contrary to the Gospel because it is voluntarily decided to suppress a human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of which God only in the final analysis is the true judge and guarantor.”
- Another reason it is to be rejected is “due to the defective selectivity of the criminal justice system and in the face of the possibility of judicial error.”
- From an earlier letter in 2015: “The Church’s Magisterium, based on the Sacred Scripture and the thousand-year experience of the People of God, defends life from conception to natural end, and supports full human dignity inasmuch as it represents the image of God.”
Gee, all this sounds quite lofty, and really tugs on the heartstrings of our bleeding-heart liberal friends, but the truth is, these prisoners are on death row for a reason.
The innocent victims of these murderous criminals also used to have dignity, but they don’t have it anymore – you see, it was stolen from them when they were brutally murdered by the very type of people whom the pope is insisting must now be protected at all costs! One must wonder, is he willing to work as hard to protect the families of innocent victims left behind as he is with mobsters, criminals, and perverts?
Those on death row are still able to receive visits from their families. But the families of their victims will never see their loved one again.
In the following link, the author gives an example of the effectiveness of the justice system in America for one American mass murderer:
“Jeffrey Dahmer raped, killed and ate parts of at least thirteen men. As punishment, the government was planning to feed, clothe, educate, medicate, entertain, and legally represent him for the rest of his life in an expensive climate-controlled facility. Families of his victims would pay taxes, in part, to keep Dahmer comfortable, warm in winter and cool in summer. That type of punishment is supposed to scare and deter other potential mass murderers. Even though Dahmer eventually did truly repent, the New Testament verses below indicate that regardless, he still should have been executed. However, an inmate interrupted the governments plans for Dahmer to have a long life and instead he was beat to death in prison.”
Sad to say, but this example illustrates the fact that, in some cases, there is more justice delivered by hardened criminals themselves than by the weak, criminal-coddling justice system in America.
Questions for the Pope
The person who reportedly killed Dahmer in prison was one Christopher Scarver, also a convicted murderer. So, what would the pope say about Scarver? How should he now be punished? Or should he be punished at all? Even though Scarver murdered Dahmer, isn’t Scarver also made in the image of God, just as Dahmer was?
And what if Scarver continues to kill people in prison? Do we just keep adding new meaningless “life sentences” to his account? What also becomes meaningless in all this is the term “made in God’s image” being thrown around. This phrase simply sets people apart from the animals. Being made in the image of God does not automatically entitle you to escape punishment for your crimes. But if you persist in your criminal ways, then this just puts you in the “animal” category, according to your behavior.
Withholding capital punishment from hard-hearted criminals does not necessarily produce repentance in them (Proverbs 19:19; Isaiah 26:10).
King Solomon, one of the wisest men to ever live, gives us the solution to dealing with these evil people:
“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11)
When our proper, God-ordained governing authorities do their job of dealing swiftly and decisively with criminals, as Israel did in the past, they are indeed doing the will of God. Rather than these cases being dragged on year after year with appeal after appeal, the death penalty, appropriately administered and done as soon as possible, would work wonders for our society. And setting the example for other lawbreakers, many of our problems with hardened criminals would be solved.
The pope insists that because man is made in the image of God, we should do away with the death penalty. But God, Himself, says that it is for this very reason that we should KEEP the death penalty!
Genesis 9:6 – Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God He made man.
Read it again. Yes, all men are made in the image of God. And it is for that very reason that the blood of the murderer must be shed. God is focusing on the rights of the VICTIM here, while the pope is focusing on the “rights” of the criminal. Pope Francis misses the whole point of the death penalty because his logic is perverted. He is trying to override what God says.
God also said that “… the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it” (Numbers 35:33). Sometimes it’s the only way. And the execution is to be done by the governing authorities, and not God.
Arguments Against Capital Punishment
It is obvious that God used the death penalty in the Old Testament, but some will argue that we are no longer under the Law today, but under grace. That’s true, but notice that the death penalty was established in Genesis 9:6 (as mentioned above) long before the Mosaic Law came about. So our accepting or rejecting the death penalty really has nothing to do with this dispensation of grace.
Ok, but isn’t Christianity supposed to be all about love and forgiveness, rather than vengeance? Don’t we see this in the Sermon on the Mount?
The context of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) is not about the responsibilities of the governing authorities concerning punishment of criminals. But it is about the responsibility of individual believers to make sure their hearts are right. It is to prevent our personal desire for vengeance.
It is not the job of individuals to “forgive” those people who have violated the laws of society. Individuals can only forgive those who sin against them, personally. It is the solemn duty of the governing authorities to determine, through fair trial and the evidence of truth, whether the law has been broken and what the penalty will be. Man must be accountable for his own actions. So, again, the Sermon on the Mount does not address capital punishment.
Someone may object that the Old Testament allowed the death penalty, but things changed in the New Testament, because it now says “avenge not yourselves” (Romans 12:19) and “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). They may say that these are the “new Christian values,” as opposed to the “Old Testament values.”
But the context of these passages is in no way canceling the death penalty. In fact, these “avenge not yourselves” and “love thy neighbor” concepts are actually in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18), as well. These concepts didn’t negate the idea of the death penalty in the Old Testament, so neither do they negate the idea in the New Testament.
Some will say, “But what about the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11)? Jesus forgave her and let her go, so didn’t Jesus teach us here that He is against the death penalty?”
No, this was not a rejection of capital punishment (which would have been a rejection of the long-standing law in Israel), but Jesus did this to expose the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. They purposely set a trap for him (John 8:6), knowing that He would be compassionate toward the woman. But He also knew that in the case of adultery, the Law required both the cheating woman and the cheating man to be executed (Leviticus 20:10), and since the man wasn’t brought forth with her, Jesus sensed that she was very likely set up by the mob. He detected their trickery and forced them to look at their own evil hearts, causing the crowd to slowly disappear. So, again, this was not a rejection of the death penalty at all.
Furthermore, the apostle Paul was ready to fully accept the death penalty for himself, if the authorities thought he deserved it (Acts 25:11).
Also, in Romans 12:19 Paul tells believers not to avenge themselves, but to “give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, sayeth the Lord.” Yet, a few verses later (Romans 13:4), he says that it is the proper civil authorities who “beareth not the sword in vain” to execute wrath and establish justice. It is God’s will for the government authorities to execute His wrath on criminals. So, we see clearly that capital punishment is both an Old Testament and a New Testament concept.
It is interesting that the pope has long denounced the death penalty and even opposes life sentences, which he has called “hidden” death sentences. If that’s really how he feels, then where is this going to end up? Will he next push for no jail time at all for criminals? It is reported that Pope Francis remains in touch with a group of Argentine inmates that he ministered to during his years as archbishop of Buenos Aires. It almost seems that he is trying to protect some “old friends” with all this anti-death penalty talk. Could it be that he is just trying to get certain people “off the hook”? Time will tell.
Some have even questioned the timing of this change in capital punishment, as well, and seem to suspect that all this could be a smokescreen to evade the clerical sex abuse scandals and cover-ups in the Catholic Church, to which the pope seems to have given little attention.
But whatever the pope’s motive, he is wrong about the death penalty.
This change by the pope may appear, on the outside, to be very noble and compassionate for the “down and out,” but it rings hollow when almost nothing is mentioned of the victims of such people, and when all the focus seems to be on the plight of the “poor” criminal. The victims are hardly an afterthought in the pope’s statements.
Pope Francis, since he is the head of the Catholic Church, may have the right to change the Catechism of his Church, but he has no power to change the principles of Scripture (which actually support the death penalty). We believe that this change on the death penalty will have long-term effects. It will be especially frustrating for the many living families’ victims of these horrible crimes. It is this type of frustration and failure to responsibly deal with dangerous criminals that causes lawlessness in our society to abound. Jesus spoke of this same frustration concerning the last days:
Matthew 24:12 – “And because iniquity [lawlessness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
The more criminals that get away with serious crime, the colder the hearts of the people in society will be. We will be seeing much more of this in the coming days, thanks to Pope Francis and his disregard for those affected by criminals.
Just to be clear, no one is suggesting a “wild west” approach to the death penalty, where mere suspects are hung on the spot.
Capital punishment is never to be taken lightly or casually. Each case should be investigated carefully, fairly, and thoroughly. The death penalty should never be enforced unless there is ample evidence of the crime and every reasonable precaution is taken to ensure the guilt of the person first. But once the guilt is clearly established, the penalty should be carried out swiftly, as an example to future lawbreakers.
v. 1) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
v. 2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
v. 3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
v. 4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Saturday, July 28, 2018
We all know that there was a ministerial priesthood in the Old Testament, that is, a priesthood where special men were needed to mediate between God and man. That was God’s design for the nation of Israel for that time period. But what about the New Testament period? Was this same type of priesthood intended for today? There are certain groups today (with Christian roots) who do indeed claim to have a priesthood, like Catholics, Orthodox, and even certain Protestants (e.g., Anglicans / Episcopalians and some Lutherans). This article applies to all of these groups, but here we intend to focus on Catholicism, since it is the largest and most popular group to have priests.
To answer the question of whether a priesthood should exist today, we will go on a short journey through the New Testament to determine if there is indeed a ministerial priesthood therein.
Ok, what about the gospels? Do we find priests mentioned in these accounts? Well, we find Jewish priests in Matthew (e.g., 8:4; 12:4), Mark (e.g., 1:44; 2:26), Luke (e.g., 1:5; 5:14), and John (e.g., 1:9). But no Christian priests are mentioned.
How about in the book of Acts? Again, we find only Jewish priests (e.g., Acts 6:7), and one pagan priest (Acts 14:13).
Ok, let’s look at the epistles.
Romans 15:16 mentions the apostle Paul’s “ministering the gospel of God” (KJV). The Greek term for this phrase basically means “to minister in the manner of a priest.” But the apostle never takes to himself this title. This verse is simply speaking of his work of sharing the gospel with the gentiles, not being or becoming a priest.
And then there is the book of Hebrews, which only mentions Jewish priests and a Jewish priesthood (e.g., 7:5; 7:12), including Jesus’ High priesthood (2:17; 8:1), and Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:21) who was an Old Testament priest.
That brings us to the book of 1 Peter, which only mentions the universal priesthood of all believers (e.g., 2:5: 2:9).
And finally, in the book of Revelation, we again see only the universal priesthood of believers (e.g., 1:6; 5:10).
Nowhere in Sight
These are the only types of priests mentioned in the whole New Testament. So again, we find a pagan priest, Jewish priests, and the universal priesthood of all believers, but absolutely no Christian ministerial priests. But why would this be if a modern-day priesthood is so important (according to Catholics) and has such a vital role in the church? The silence is very telling.
Ok, so there is no one called a Christian priest in the New Testament. Could it be that there is another term that is used for “priest” today? According to Catholics, yes there is. Protestants will rightly say that the Greek word “hiereus” is the word for priest and that this Greek word nowhere appears to describe a ministerial priest in the New Testament. But Catholics believe that the word for “elder” (Greek “presbuteros”) is now the proper New Testament term for priest (e.g., Acts 14:23; James 5:14).
The Etymology Argument
But what is their reasoning for calling elders priests? They will tell us that the English word priest also comes from the Greek “presbuteros.” In other words, it is derived from presbuteros and has eventually evolved over the years into the word priest. And etymology (the study of word origins and how they evolve and develop) confirms this. So, according to them, since the word “priest” is derived from “presbuteros,” then those elders in the early church were actually priests. But is that good logic? It is certainly not good Bible exegesis (i.e., critical explanation / interpretation of a text without reading something into it).
Sadly, Catholics are more dependent on etymology here than they are on Scripture. But if etymology is that important, then we can also call biblical elders Presbyterians, since this word is also derived from “presbuteros.” But we don’t think we’ll see Catholics rushing to say that. So, this etymology argument doesn’t work.
The Similar Functions Argument
Another argument from Catholics is that they believe that modern ministerial priests are the same as the biblical elders because today’s priests perform the same functions as biblical elders, like receiving tithes, laying hands on the brethren, preaching and teaching, shepherding the flock, administering ordinances like communion and baptism, praying for their people, etc. But we would say that this is exactly what many Protestants do, also. According to that logic, wouldn’t that make the biblical elders “Protestants,” as well, since they perform similar functions? Again, we don’t think that Catholics would be in a hurry to say that, either.
Catholics attribute to themselves a particular title (priests) and mimic some of the basic things that the biblical elders did, and then they try to force that title (i.e., priests) back onto those biblical elders where it doesn’t belong. That’s not how you determine the definition of something, and again, neither is it proper exegesis.
Just because you copied them doesn’t mean that you are one of them, or that they are the same as you. You can’t assign your own claimed title to someone to whom the Bible doesn’t recognize as such! Even if the work one does somehow ties in to the work of a priest, so what? It doesn’t make one a priest. It simply links to a priestly type of work / function.
And furthermore, what spiritual work DOESN’T tie in to a priestly type of work? Apparently, every true spiritual work seems to relate somehow to priests. So, does this make EVERYONE who does any kind of spiritual work a ministerial priest? Of course not. This Catholic argument seems to prove too much, and thus, also falls by the wayside.
Not on the List
But why would we think that ministerial priests exist in the New Testament anyway? The apostle Paul mentions the offices and functions of the church in 1 Timothy chapters 3 and 5, and in Titus chapter 1. He gives specific instructions for ministry, church order, gifts and service in 1 Corinthians chapters 11-14 and in Ephesians chapter 4. But according to Paul, there is no office of “priest.” Wouldn’t you think that this would have been a great opportunity to mention a priesthood if God intended one for the church? If ministerial priests are absolutely critical for the church age, where are they in the new covenant?
No More Sacrifice
For a ministerial priesthood to exist, there has to be a sacrifice for sin. A priest is a special mediator between man and God (1 Timothy 2:5). In God’s economy, the Old Testament used priests for this purpose. One of their main jobs was to offer sacrifice for the people to be saved from their sins. In those days, the debt of sin was not yet paid for mankind. But today, there is NO MORE SACRIFICE to offer for sin (Hebrews 10:18). The one and only, the ONCE FOR ALL (Hebrews 7:27; 10:10) and Ultimate Sacrifice has been offered (John 19:30), terminating the need for any more sacrifices which atone for sin. The types of sacrifices that are to be offered today are spiritual sacrifices, for example, your praise and thanksgiving to God (Hebrews 13:15), your own selves (Romans 12:1), etc.
In a desperate attempt to salvage a priesthood, Catholics use two main passages trying to prove that Jesus established a ministerial priesthood. The first one is the Last Supper discourse where Jesus breaks bread and pours out wine, and says, “This do in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19-20). They will insist that Jesus really meant, “Offer this sacrifice in remembrance of Me.” But we have no biblical reason to believe that the apostles saw this ritual as an actual sacrifice, or would have thought that in the Last Supper that a priesthood was being established. See these links:
The other passage they use is John 20:21-23 where Jesus sends His apostles on the Great Commission, breathes on them and tells them whoever’s sins you remit / retain are remitted / retained. But there is absolutely no mention of a priesthood here, nor any kind of precedent to cause anyone to think that a priesthood was beginning here, either. See this link:
The fact that Scripture denies a New Testament priesthood should, in itself, settle the matter, but even history is against the concept, as we will now show.
The Church Says…
According to the Catholic Church, “…the sacred Scriptures show, and the tradition of the Catholic Church HAS ALWAYS TAUGHT, that this priesthood was instituted by the same Lord our Saviour, and that to the apostles, and their successors in the priesthood, was the power delivered of consecrating, offering, and administering His Body and Blood, as also of forgiving and of retaining sins.” [Emphasis added] Council of Trent, 23rd Session, Doctrine and Canons, Chapter 1
Please note first of all that they are claiming that Scripture teaches that the priesthood was instituted, or established, at the Last Supper. But this cannot be proven by Scripture at all. There is nothing about a priesthood there. It is read into the text. Secondly, notice that they are also claiming that the church has always taught, from the beginning, that this priesthood was believed and accepted by the early church. But this is not true. Ministerial priests can only start to be found in the church in the second or third century A.D.
Even many Catholic apologists admit that calling an elder a “priest” was a development over time. And if it developed, then they are admitting that this concept is not apostolic in nature, since it was not taught by the apostles. Something is not “apostolic” if the apostles didn’t believe it, teach it, or do it.
Here are some sources to demonstrate this fact.
The Witness of History
“A priesthood developed gradually in the early Christian church as first bishops and then elders, or ‘presbyters,’ began to exercise certain priestly functions, mainly in connection with the celebration of the Eucharist. By the end of the 2nd century, the church’s bishops were called priests (Latin: sacerdos)… The development of eucharistic theology resulted in a further emphasis of the priest’s supernatural powers and qualities…” Encyclopaedia Britannica, online (under “Priest – Christianity”)
“Although the term ‘priest’ (Greek hiereus) refers to the entire Christian people, it is given to no church officer in the New Testament. First appearing in the 2nd century, the office is associated with the establishment of the eucharistic sacrifice, over which the priest was called to preside. No doubt the development of the monarchical episcopate also contributed to the emergence of the priesthood…” Encyclopaedia Brittanica, online (under Roman Catholicism, Structure of the Church, The Priesthood)
[Speaking of the Epistle to the Hebrews] “This argument leaves no room for a special priesthood in the Christian Church, and in fact nothing of the kind is found in the oldest organization of the new communities of faith. The idea that presbyters and bishops are priests and the successors of the Old Testament priesthood first appears in full force in the writings of Cyprian… [245-258 A.D.]” The Encyclopaedia Brittanica (Handy Volume Issue), Volume XXII, p. 321, Eleventh Edition, copyright 1911, (under “Priest”)
“Even Hebrews does not associate Christ’s priesthood with the Last Supper or the Eucharist, however. This required a further development: the emergence, at the end of the first century, of the explicit teaching that the Eucharist was a sacrifice, presided over by a Christian priest… From the beginning of the second century, Christian writers increasingly applied cultic, sacerdotal terminology to the church’s ministers.” The Encyclopedia of Religion, Volume XI, p. 528, copyright 1987 (under “Priesthood”)
Historian Philip Schaff writes:
“The idea and institution of a special priesthood, distinct from the body of the people, with the accompanying notion of sacrifice and altar, passed imperceptibly from Jewish and heathen reminiscences and analogies into the Christian church… Whether we regard the change as an apostasy from a higher position attained, or as a reaction of old ideas never fully abandoned, the change is undeniable, and can be traced to the second century… The New Testament knows no spiritual aristocracy or nobility, but calls all believers “saints”… Nor does it recognize a special priesthood in distinction from the people, as mediating between God and the laity… During the third century it became customary to apply the term “priest” directly and exclusively to the Christian ministers, especially the bishops.” History of the Christian Church, Volume II: Ante-Nicene Christianity. A.D. 100-325, chapter IV: Organization and Discipline of the Church, paragraph 42, Clergy and Laity, pp. 78-80, online.
It is absolutely amazing that a respected and important office such as the ministerial priest, one who is considered to be another Christ (“Alter Christus”), being so critical to the life of the church, would be absent from the God-breathed Scriptures. Strange indeed. And the reason that it is not there is because it is not something that God ordained. Where are all the ministerial priests in the New Testament? There aren’t any. And as we said before, this does not only apply to Catholics, but to the Orthodox and Protestant “priests,” as well.