VerMeer's Geographer

VerMeer's Geographer
The Geographer, by Vermeer, c. 1669


Was The Papacy Established By Christ? (Parts 1 & 2)

A well researched, well nailed-down article.  Roman Catholicism stands or falls with the papacy.  If the office of the so called "Vicar of Christ" is built on false pretenses--than so are all of Roman distinctives... 
 Engwer goes a long way toward proving--through scripture and the early Fathers--the conciliar form of Church governance, with only 3 offices, Deacon, Elder, and Bishop--as found in E. Orthodoxy and Anglicanism--was that of the original Church of the Apostolic Fathers. ~ RWD

by Jason Engwer as posted on his blog here: http://triablogue.blogspot.c(om/

(Part 1)

For those who don't have much familiarity with the dispute between Protestants and Catholics over the doctrine of the papacy, I want to post two introductory articles on the subject today and tomorrow. The first article, this one, will be about the Biblical evidence, and tomorrow's article will be about the early post-Biblical evidence.

Roman Catholicism claims the papacy as its foundation. According to the Catholic Church, the doctrine of the papacy was understood and universally accepted as early as the time of Peter:

"At open variance with this clear doctrine of Holy Scripture as it has been ever understood by the Catholic Church are the perverse opinions of those who, while they distort the form of government established by Christ the Lord in his Church, deny that Peter in his single person, preferably to all the other Apostles, whether taken separately or together, was endowed by Christ with a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction; or of those who assert that the same primacy was not bestowed immediately and directly upon blessed Peter himself, but upon the Church, and through the Church on Peter as her minister....For none can doubt, and it is known to all ages, that the holy and blessed Peter, the Prince and Chief of the Apostles, the pillar of the faith and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of mankind, and lives presides and judges, to this day and always, in his successors the Bishops of the Holy See of Rome" (First Vatican Council, session 4, chapters 1-2)

Different Catholics interpret these claims of the First Vatican Council in different ways. Some Catholics will argue that the concept of the papacy that was understood and accepted in the earliest generations involved universal jurisdiction, so that the differences between how modern Catholics and the most ancient Catholics viewed Peter and the bishops of Rome would be minor. Other Catholics claim, instead, that the earliest Christians wouldn't have associated a concept like universal jurisdiction with Peter and the earliest Roman bishops, and they maintain that the modern view of the papacy developed more gradually. Some Catholics even go as far as to claim that there's no need to show that a concept like universal jurisdiction was intended by Jesus and the apostles. They may argue for the papacy on the basis of philosophical speculation or personal preference, or they may claim that no argument is needed for the doctrine.

Catholics who take that last sort of approach are abandoning the battlefield without admitting defeat. Any belief could be maintained on such a basis. If we're going to accept the papacy just because it seems to produce more denominational unity than other systems of church government, because our parents were Catholic, or for some other such inconclusive reason, then we have no publicly verifiable case to make for the doctrine. My intention in these posts is to address some of the popular arguments of those who attempt to make a more objective case for the papacy.

Those who argue that a seed form of the papacy existed early on, one that wasn't initially associated with universal jurisdiction, would need to demonstrate that such a seed form of the doctrine did exist. And they would need to demonstrate that the concept of universal jurisdiction would eventually develop from that seed. It wouldn't be enough to show that the development of universal jurisdiction is possible. We don't believe that something is true just because it's possible. If we're supposed to accept a papacy with universal jurisdiction on some other basis, such as the alleged authority of the Catholic hierarchy that teaches the concept, then an objective case will have to be made for the supposed authority of that hierarchy.

If there had been a papacy in the first century that was recognized as a distinct office, we would expect it to be mentioned in much the same way that offices such as bishop and deacon are mentioned. We wouldn't expect Roman Catholics to have to go to passages like Matthew 16 and John 21 to find alleged references to a papacy if such an office of universal jurisdiction existed and was recognized during the New Testament era. Instead, we would expect explicit and frequent references to the office, such as in the pastoral epistles and other passages on church government.

That's what we see with the offices of bishop and deacon. Not only are the offices mentioned (Acts 20:17,Philippians 1:1), but we also see repeated references to their appointment (Acts 14:23, Ephesians 4:11, Titus 1:5), their qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9), their discipline (1 Timothy 5:19-20), their responsibilities (Ephesians 4:12-13, Titus 1:10-11, James 5:14, 1 Peter 5:1-3), their reward (1 Timothy 5:17-18,1 Peter 5:4), their rank (1 Corinthians 12:28), the submission due them (1 Timothy 2:11-12), etc. If there was an office that was to have jurisdictional primacy and infallibility throughout church history, an office that could be called the foundation of the church, wouldn't we expect it to be mentioned explicitly and often? But it isn't mentioned at all, even when the early sources are discussing Peter or the Roman church. In the New Testament, which covers about the first 60 years of church history (the prophecies in Revelation and elsewhere cover much more), there isn't a single Roman bishop mentioned or named, nor are there any admonitions to submit to the papacy or any references to appointing Popes, determining whether he's exercising his infallibility, appealing to him to settle disputes, etc. When speaking about the post-apostolic future, the apostles are concerned with bishops and teachers in general (Acts 20:28-31, 2 Timothy 2:2) and submission to scripture (2 Timothy 3:15-17,2 Peter 3:1-2, Revelation 22:18-19), but don't say a word about any papacy.

Craig Keener, citing Jaroslav Pelikan, comments that "most scholars, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, concur that Peter died in Rome but doubt that Mt 16:18 intended the authority later claimed by the papacy (Pelikan 1980: 60)" (A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew [Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999], n. 74 on p. 425). The Roman Catholic scholar Klaus Schatz comments:

"There appears at the present time to be increasing consensus among Catholic and non-Catholic exegetes regarding the Petrine office in the New Testament….The further question whether there was any notion of an enduring office beyond Peter’s lifetime, if posed in purely historical terms, should probably be answered in the negative. That is, if we ask whether the historical Jesus, in commissioning Peter, expected him to have successors, or whether the author of the Gospel of Matthew, writing after Peter’s death, was aware that Peter and his commission survived in the leaders of the Roman community who succeeded him, the answer in both cases is probably 'no.'…If we ask in addition whether the primitive Church was aware, after Peter’s death, that his authority had passed to the next bishop of Rome, or in other words that the head of the community at Rome was now the successor of Peter, the Church’s rock and hence the subject of the promise in Matthew 16:18-19, the question, put in those terms, must certainly be given a negative answer." (Papal Primacy [Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1996], pp. 1-2)

What's said of Peter in Matthew 16 and John 21 is said of other people in other passages. Other people are rocks upon whom the church is built (Ephesians 2:20), other people have the keys of the kingdom that let them bind and loose and open and shut (Matthew 18:18, 23:13), and other people are shepherds of the church (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:2). Just as Peter is given a second name, so are other people (Mark 3:17). Peter is called "Peter" prior to the events of Matthew 16 (John 1:42), and we can't know whether he was given the name as a result of Matthew 16 or, instead, Jesus' choice of imagery in Matthew 16 was shaped by a name Peter was already given for another reason.

Peter is singled out in Matthew 16 and John 21, but his being singled out doesn't suggest jurisdictional primacy. We could speculate that Peter is singled out in these passages because he's supposed to fulfill the roles in these passages in a greater way than other people, but such a speculation can't be proven. Other people are singled out in other passages, but we don't conclude that those people were Popes. Even if Peter was singled out because he was to fulfill these roles (rock and shepherd) in a greater way than anybody else, he wouldn't need to be a Pope in order to fulfill these roles in a greater way than other people. And he wouldn't need to have successors in that role.

So, if Peter isn't singled out in Matthew 16 and John 21 because he was being made a Pope, then why was he singled out?

In Matthew 16, he's probably singled out because he singles himself out. He's the one who answered Jesus' question. Similarly, John and James are singled out in Mark 10:35-40 because they were the ones who initiated the discussion with Jesus, not because they were being given some sort of primacy.

In John 21, Peter probably is singled out because he was the one in need of restoration. Peter was the one who denied Jesus three times and thus needed to reaffirm his love for Jesus three times. Since the other apostles didn't deny Jesus as Peter did, it would make no sense for Jesus to approach them the way He approached Peter. Similarly, Jesus treats Thomas (John 20:26-29), John (John 21:20-23), and Paul (Acts 9:1-15) differently than He treats the other apostles. But nobody would assume that Thomas, John, or Paul therefore has jurisdictional primacy or that such a primacy was passed on to a succession of bishops.
Catholics sometimes argue for a papacy by interpreting Matthew 16 in light of Isaiah 22:20-22. But whatever relevance Isaiah 22 would have to Matthew 16, it would have relevance for Matthew 23, Luke 11, and other passages that use such imagery as well. And any Catholic appeal to Isaiah 22 would have to be a partial appeal, not a complete parallel, since a complete parallel wouldn't favor the claims of Roman Catholicism. God is the one who gives the key in Isaiah 22, so an exact parallel would put Jesus in the place of God, not in the place of the king. So, if Jesus is God and Peter is the prime minister, then who is the king? Some church official with more authority than Peter? What about Isaiah 22:25? Should we assume that Popes can "break off and fall", and that the keys of Matthew 16 can eventually pass to God Himself (Revelation 3:7) rather than to a human successor? If Catholics only want to make a general appeal to Isaiah 22, without making an exact parallel, then how can they claim that papal authority is implied by the parallel? Why can't the Isaiah 22 background convey a general theme of authority without that authority being of a papal nature?

Paul refers to "apostles" (plural) as the highest rank in the church (1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 2:20), and he names Peter second among three reputed pillars of the church (Galatians 2:9). The most natural reading of the Biblical evidence is to see Peter as a highly reputed pillar of the church who had equal rank, equal jurisdiction, with the other apostles. He could be said to have had some types of primacy in some contexts, and the same could be said of other apostles and early church leaders, but there's no reason to think that papal authority was one of those types of primacy or that such authority was passed on exclusively to a succession of Roman bishops.

There is no papacy in the New Testament. It's not there explicitly or implicitly. This "clear doctrine of Holy Scripture" that the First Vatican Council refers to isn't even Biblical, much less clearly Biblical. Roman Catholics assume that a papacy is implied in some New Testament passages, but that assumption can't be proven and is unlikely.

Was The Papacy Established By Christ? (Part 2)

Because neither the apostolic nor the earliest post-apostolic Christians refer to a jurisdictional primacy of the bishop of Rome, Catholics often cite references to any type of primacy of the Roman church. But a non-jurisdictional primacy of the Roman church doesn't prove a jurisdictional primacy of the Roman bishop.

Even Peter himself isn't referred to as having papal authority among the early post-apostolic sources. Terence Smith explains:

"there is an astonishing lack of reference to Peter among ecclesiastical authors of the first half of the second century. He is barely mentioned in the Apostolic Fathers, nor by Justin and the other Apologists" (cited in Robert Eno, The Rise of the Papacy [Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1990], p. 15)

Concepts of Petrine supremacy (as well as a primacy of Paul or James in some places, for example) did develop over time. Cyprian, for example, a bishop who lived in the third century, believed in a primacy of Peter, but it was a non-jurisdictional primacy (On the Unity of the Church, 4), and Cyprian repeatedly denied, in multiple contexts, that the bishop of Rome or any other bishop has universal jurisdiction (Letter 51:21, Letter 54:14, Letter 67:5, Letter 71:3, Letter 72:26). The Roman Catholic scholar Robert Eno wrote:
"it is clear that he [Cyprian] did not see the bishop of Rome as his superior, except by way of is clear that in Cyprian's mind, one theological conclusion he does not draw is that the bishop of Rome has authority which is superior to that of the African bishops" (The Rise of the Papacy [Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1990], pp. 59-60)

Roman Catholic scholar William La Due:

"In the context of his life and his convictions reflected in his actions and his writings, Cyprian's position can be paraphrased as follows: Peter received the power of the keys, the power to bind and loose, before the other apostles received the same powers. This priority - in time - symbolizes the unity of episcopal power which is held by all in the same way. The only difference is that Peter was granted the power a short time before the others. It must be said that the impact of Cyprian's symbolism is not entirely clear. He was not a speculative theologian but a preacher, trained more as a lawyer than as a rhetorician. His meaning, from the context of his conduct as a bishop, seems quite unambiguous. And those who see in The Unity of the Catholic Church, in the light of his entire episcopal life, an articulation of the Roman primacy - as we have come to know it, or even as it has evolved especially from the latter fourth century on - are reading a meaning into Cyprian which is not there." (The Chair of Saint Peter [Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1999], p. 39)

Catholic scholar Klaus Schatz:

"He [Cyprian] does not rely on any specific responsibility of Stephen [bishop of Rome] as primate....Cyprian regarded every bishop as the successor of Peter, holder of the keys to the kingdom of heaven and possessor of the power to bind and loose. For him, Peter embodied the original unity of the Church and the episcopal office, but in principle these were also present in every bishop. For Cyprian, responsibility for the whole Church and the solidarity of all bishops could also, if necessary, be turned against Rome." (Papal Primacy [Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1996], p. 20)

Even the conservative Roman Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott acknowledged:

"St. Cyprian of Carthage attests the pre-eminence of the Roman Church...However, his attitude in the controversy regarding the re-baptism of heretics shows that he had not yet achieved a clear conception of the scope of the Primacy." (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma [Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1974], p. 284)

Eastern Orthodox scholar Veselin Kesich:

"In his controversy with Bishop Stephen (254-257), Cyprian expressed the view that any bishop, whether in Rome or elsewhere, was included in Jesus' message to Peter. Like Tertullian, Cyprian is unwilling to accept the claim of exclusive authority for the Bishop of Rome on the basis of Mt 16:18-19....Peter is not superior in power to the other apostles, for according to Cyprian all of them are equal." (The Primacy of Peter, John Meyendorff, editor [Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1992], p. 63)

Anglican scholar J.N.D. Kelly:

"Cyprian made plain, that each bishop is entitled to hold his own views and to administer his own diocese accordingly...[In Cyprian's view] There is no suggestion that he [Peter] possessed any superiority to, much less jurisdiction over, the other apostles...While he [Cyprian] is prepared, in a well-known passage, to speak of Rome as 'the leading church', the primacy he has in mind seems to be one of honour." (Early Christian Doctrines [San Francisco, California: HarperCollins Publishers, 1978], pp. 205-206)

In Cyprian we see an example of a father who thinks highly of Peter and the bishops of Rome without believing in a papacy. In fact, he contradicted the concept. With Cyprian in mind as an example of how Catholics often misrepresent the fathers to make them appear to have supported the papacy when they actually didn’t, let’s consider the earliest evidence cited by Catholic apologists.

Clement of Rome, the earliest church father and a Roman bishop, sent a letter to the Corinthian church to counsel them about a dispute involving the leadership of their church. Such letters were common in early Christianity (Ignatius' letter to Polycarp, Polycarp's letter to the Philippian church, etc.), and no jurisdictional superiority, much less papal authority, is implied by the sending of such a letter. To the contrary, the letter is written in the name of the church of Rome, not the bishop of Rome, and the letter makes many appeals to various authorities (scripture, Jesus, the apostles, the Holy Spirit, etc.), but never to any papal authority. 

Thomas Halton comments:

"Some scholars anachronistically saw in the epistle an assertion of Roman primacy, but nowadays a hermeneutic of collegiality is more widely accepted." (Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, Everett Ferguson, editor [New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1999], p. 253)

Other early sources, such as Ignatius and Dionysius of Corinth, commend the Roman church for virtues such as love and generosity, but say nothing of any jurisdictional primacy of the Roman bishop. Irenaeus speaks highly of the Roman church, but gives non-papal reasons for doing so. Roman Catholic scholar William La Due comments:

"It is indeed understandable how this passage [in Irenaeus] has baffled scholars for centuries! Those who were wont to find in it a verification of the Roman primacy were able to interpret it in that fashion. However, there is so much ambiguity here that one has to be careful of over-reading the evidence....Karl Baus' interpretation [that Irenaeus was not referring to a papacy] seems to be the one that is more faithful to the text and does not presume to read into it a meaning which might not be there. Hence, it neither overstates nor understates Irenaeus' position. For him [Irenaeus], it is those churches of apostolic foundation that have the greater claim to authentic teaching and doctrine. Among those, Rome, with its two apostolic founders, certainly holds an important place. However, all of the apostolic churches enjoy what he terms 'preeminent authority' in doctrinal matters." (The Chair of Saint Peter [Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1999], p. 28)

Similarly, Tertullian gives non-papal reasons for the importance of the Roman church (The Prescription Against Heretics, 36). Regarding Origen, the Catholic scholar Robert Eno explains that "a plain recognition of Roman primacy or of a connection between Peter and the contemporary bishop of Rome seems remote from Origen’s thoughts" (The Rise of the Papacy [Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1990], p. 43).

The first reference to a papacy or something similar to it is found in the Roman bishop Stephen, acting in his own interests, around the middle of the third century. Peter had been dead for nearly two centuries before the doctrine first appears. When Stephen asserted it, he was opposed by bishops in the West and East, such as Cyprian and Firmilian. Thus, the papacy was absent, including in contexts where we would expect it to be mentioned, for about the first two centuries of church history, then arose in Rome and gradually became more widely accepted in the West and sometimes to some extent in the East. But even in the West, the papacy was accepted only gradually and inconsistently. Some of the earliest ecumenical councils would either imply or explicitly state a rejection of the doctrine. The Catholic scholar Klaus Schatz summarizes:

"Rome did not succeed in maintaining its position against the contrary opinion and praxis of a significant portion of the Church. The two most important controversies of this type were the disputes over the feast of Easter [in the second century] and heretical baptism [in the third century]. Each marks a stage in Rome's sense of authority and at the same time reveals the initial resistance of other churches to the Roman claim." (Papal Primacy [Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1996], p. 11)

It’s important to recognize that the early sources had many opportunities to mention a papacy if they believed in such a concept. When men like Clement of Rome and Tertullian comment on issues of authority and the status of the Roman church without mentioning a papacy, the absence of the concept is significant. When men like Ignatius and Irenaeus write at length on issues of authority and Christian unity, without even once mentioning a papacy, that absence is significant. They explicitly and frequently mention offices such as bishop and deacon. They explicitly and frequently make appeals to Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the apostles, prominent churches, and other authorities. They explicitly and frequently discuss the Messiahship of Jesus, the virgin birth, the resurrection, the unique authority of the apostles, and other basic Christian doctrines, so it can’t be argued that they didn’t mention a papacy only because it was already known to and assumed by everybody. The fact that otherconcepts were known and assumed didn’t keep the early sources from explicitly and frequently mentioning thoseconcepts. Why didn’t they mention a papacy?
They did sometimes mention a prominence of the Roman church. And, thus, Catholic apologists have attempted to transform the prominence of the Roman church into a jurisdictional primacy of the Roman bishop. But if the papacy is an oak tree, the prominence of the early Roman church is more like an apple seed than an acorn. It has to be manipulated if we want to transform it into an oak tree. If the seed is being manipulated so as to arrive at a desired unnatural conclusion, then it’s not comparable to an acorn naturally growing into an oak.

The early prominence of the Roman church doesn’t logically lead to a papacy. The churches in Jerusalem, Rome, Alexandria, and other cities have been prominent at different times in church history for different reasons, and none of them can claim an apostolic jurisdictional primacy for their bishop as a result. It would be sort of like arguing that since the city of Philadelphia was prominent during the time of the founders of America, then the founders must have intended whatever authority claims the mayor of Philadelphia makes hundreds of years after the founders have died. If Ignatius thinks highly of the virtues of the Roman church or Tertullian commends the Roman church because some of the apostles labored and suffered in Rome, it doesn’t logically follow that these church fathers would agree with a later claim of universal jurisdiction by the bishop of Rome.


Why we'll never bake your fake 'wedding' cake

Dear homosexual,
We are your fellow sinners and no better than you. We know this. We are saved from eternal torment, self-wrought, by the grace of Christ alone. If you are an unrepentant, “out and proud” homosexual practitioner, then you are not. It is our deepest prayer that you, too, will accept the free gift of eternal salvation, repent and “go and sin no more.”
The alternative is a living hell.
Let us be direct. According to the unequivocal moral precepts of biblical Christianity, explicit throughout both the Old and New Testaments, your homosexual behavior is sin. Sin is evil. Homosexual behavior is the central, defining characteristic of your counterfeit “gay marriage.” Therefore, “gay marriage” is evil. Christians are obligated to avoid sin – to “do no evil.” “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality. …” (1 Corinthians 6:9).
It really is that simple. This is why, as faithful Christians (apostate “Christians” notwithstanding), we will never have anything whatsoever to do with your pagan, sin-based “same-sex wedding” rituals.
We will not bake your fake wedding cake.
We will not arrange your fake wedding flowers.
We will not take your fake wedding pictures.
We will not host your fake wedding reception.
We will not do these things because to do these things is to disobey God. It is to aid you in your sin, to cause you to stumble, which, in and of itself, is to layer sin upon sin. “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2).
While we all fall short of His glory, the history of God’s people has shown that no unjust law presuming to force us to do otherwise, will ever make us disobey God in this or any other regard. I realize that forcing others to affirm that which offends God makes you feel better about your sin for a time. I also realize that it infuriates you when we refuse to join in as you attempt, ineffectively, to justify your wickedness by calling it “marriage.”
This is nothing new. We Christians have been infuriating pagans by refusing to bend on truth for over 2,000 years.
And we will continue to do so until Christ returns.
Children don’t like to be told “no.” They sometimes throw a fit when we don’t give them what they want. Still, when we know that some desire they may have is both wrong and harmful to them, we must tell them no.
They get over it.
You’ll get over it.
We’re telling you no because we love you with the love of Christ. But understand this: As we are so commanded, we must, and do, hate the evil conduct by which you define your identity. Sexual immorality – in this case self-destructive and disease-spreading sodomy, which violates the laws of nature and nature’s God – is a grave sin that will destroy you in both body and soul. You are deceived. It is not “who you are.” It is what you do.
And what you do is wrong. Period. Full stop.
If we as parents were to condone, support and even assist our children in the commission of a grave sin, of a wrong, what kind of parents would we be?
What kind of friend would we be to you if we condoned, supported or assisted you in the commission of your grave “gay marriage” sin?
Maybe this will help you to understand. Whereas, and while you may be in denial of this fact, sexual immorality is the central defining characteristic of your temptation-driven “gay” identity, Christ’s righteousness and our obedience to Him are, at least in part, central aspects of our Holy Spirit-gifted Christian identity.
You can financially ruin us, sue us, throw us in jail or even feed us to the lions, but we will never, under any circumstances, while empowered by the Holy Spirit, deliberately disobey God to please you or anyone else. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Of late, we Christians are especially inspired by one of our Christian sisters (and others who face similar trials). She is leading by example in her obedience to Christ.
“If Rob walked in the store today, I would hug him and catch up on his life. The same faith that tells me that I can’t be a part of Rob’s wedding is the same faith that tells me to love him as Christ does.”
And with this graceful, compassionate and very truthful statement, Barronelle Stutzman, the elderly grandmother and floral artist who faces financial ruin at the hands of both homosexual activists and the state of Washington, has at once mirrored the love of Christ and exhibited the heart of a lion.
Ms. Stutzman is the victim of anti-Christian persecution and discrimination. Her case has garnered national attention and represents a microcosm of the cultural Marxist effort in America to silence Christian dissent and compel us to join in sin. Barronelle is being sued by homosexual practitioner and longtime customer Rob Ingersoll for politely declining to create the floral arrangements for his mock “gay wedding.” She has been charged by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Because of the tremendous negative publicity Ferguson’s and Ingersoll’s persecution of Ms. Stutzman has generated, Ferguson recently offered, via press release, to quickly settle the case for $2,000 – as long as Ms. Stutzman would surrender her Christian freedom and right of conscience and promise, going forward, to sin. That is, to take-part in sodomy-based “marriages.”
Again, and with characteristic grace and courage, she flatly declined.
“[This conflict] is about freedom, not money,” wrote Ms. Stutzman in reply to the offer. “I certainly don’t relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important. Washington’s constitution guarantees us ‘freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment.’ I cannot sell that precious freedom. You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver. That is something I will not do.”
Truth, in love.
Dear “gay” friend, you will one day realize, hopefully before it becomes too late, that you are not only on the wrong side of history, you are on the wrong side of eternity.
It breaks our hearts to see you there.
And so we refuse to help send you.
The Christians
Media wishing to interview Matt Barber, please contact



Wake Up Christians!

By Robert A. J. Gagnon
Sadly, most Christians in the United States, when it comes to recognizing the dangers to their civil and religious liberties, sleep the sleep of ignorance that the disciples slept at Gethsemane before the arrest of Jesus. It ought to be obvious by now how "sexual orientation" laws and "gay marriage" are used to subvert the civil and religious liberties of those who view homosexual practice as sinful, contrary-to-nature conduct.
Our children in the schools are taught (with our tax money, incidentally) that their parents are bigots for opposing homosexual unions. Teachers who don't tow the line are threatened with dismissal. They must teach about "Stonewall" and other occasions of homosexualist advocacy as positive events in history, irrespective of the fact that such readings are at odds with reality. They must lift up people like Harvey Milk, who bedded many an underage boy and lived a sexually promiscuous life, as heroes of history or be fired.
For example (as Mass Resistance reports), "in 2011, California passed Senate Bill 48, the Orwellian-labeled “FAIR Education Act.” It requires that the 'historical contributions' of 'lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans' be included in courses, instructional material, and textbooks in California Public Schools. Furthermore, the law includes prohibition of any 'materials that reflect adversely' on LGBT persons or the movement....This was such an abrupt change that Grades K-8 have been given until July 1, 2015 to comply, but high schools are required to move as fast as possible. Many California high schools are rolling out their new 'gay' curricula this month – September 2014."
Christian colleges like Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., are now being threatened with loss of accreditation and/or loss of federal funds if they have moral standards that prohibit all sexual conduct outside of marriage between one man and one woman, including homosexual intercourse.
Bakers are being fined as much as $150,000 if they refuse to letter a "gay wedding cake" (even if they are willing to sell cakes to homosexual couples, just not specifically design it for a wedding). Photographers are fined for not wanting to contribute their gifts of artistic expression to further what they regard to be immoral sexual unions. Florists unwilling to provide floral arrangements for "gay weddings" are likewise being put of business. A civil rights commissioner has found that a Kentucky Christian T-shirt company that refused to print shirts for a gay pride parade is guilty of discrimination, calling for its employees to attend diversity training, with fines to follow if the violations continue. Religious liberty does not even exempt religiously affiliated associations, like retreat centers connected with denominations that forbid same-sex marriage, from renting its facilities out for homosexual "marriages."
Increasingly, Christians in "white-collar" positions who don't support homosexual indoctrination at the workplace are being fired. Some have been fired simply for expressing the view on Facebook and other social media outside the workplace that "gay marriage" is immoral.
You'll recall how the Obama administration revoked an invitation to a Black pastor to say a prayer at Obama's 2nd inaugural when it was discovered that he had once, a decade earlier, given a sermon where he expressed the view that homosexual practice was sin.
At Dartmouth College, my alma mater, an African Anglican Bishop who was appointed to lead the Tucker Foundation, which oversees all social justice and religious ministries on campus, had his appointment terminated before he even arrived on campus because it was discovered that a decade earlier he had expressed disappointment over the appointment of Vicky Gene Robinson to be the first "gay" Episcopal Bishop. Even though the African bishop protested that he was now affirming of "gay marriage" they terminated his employment because at some point in his life he had expressed opposition to this idolatry of homosexualism. Dartmouth went on to hire as the moral overseer of the campus a lesbian Episcopal minister.
In most mainline seminaries today candidates for faculty positions who are known to have published in favor of the scriptural and orthodox position on male-female marriage will not be hired. It is even less likely that candidates for faculty positions in secular colleges and universities will be hired. After all, institutions of higher learning can tolerate the hiring of "bigots."
Against parental protests and concerns for safety in many jurisdictions "bathroom bills" have been passed that allow boys who identify as female to use girls' rest rooms. Men who identify as women must be allowed to use female changing rooms and rest rooms. In these jurisdictions it is the "civil right" of persons who regard themselves as the sex opposite of the one given to them at birth to force all the rest of us to participate in their sickness for which they should be providing appropriate therapeutic help.
In many states, even if an adolescent and his or her parents wants to receive help in managing homoerotic urges and experiencing some reduction in intensity of urges, that adolescent is forbidden to do so because, allegedly, it confirms the adolescent's "internalized homophobia." So much for the self-determination of the client.
Most recently the lesbian mayor of Houston had subpoenas issued to some Houston pastors compelling them to produce transcripts of every sermon in which they discussed the issue of homosexuality or face contempt of court. Two ministers who for a fee conduct Christian weddings for Christians are being forced by the state to participate in same-sex marriages or face a $1000/day fine until they do comply. A professor of English at a Christian school (Robert Lopez) has been harassed by persons in and outside of his institution simply because he shared the story that his upbringing by two lesbians was less than ideal.
It is not a question of "live and let live" when it comes to a homosexualist agenda. It is a question of homosexualist advocates doing their best to drive out of the public square with abusive rhetoric and the teeth of "sexual orientation" laws anyone who calls into question their agenda.
So, no, I'm not willing to support ridiculous construals of the Constitution that codify me and other believers who adopt the view that Jesus held about marriage and sexuality generally as bigots and the moral equivalent of racists. Surprisingly, I'm not willing to supply the legal bat with which to beat me senseless. Imagine that.
On top of all this is the absurdity of arguing that a "gay marriage" is comparable to an interracial marriage. As someone in an interracial marriage I resent the comparison to an immoral unnatural relationship. Racial differences in marriage do not represent any kind of conflict with nature. Homosexual unions do. If the logic of a heterosexual union is that the two halves of the sexual spectrum reunite to form a single sexual whole, moderating the extremes of a given sex and filling in the gaps of the sexual self, the logic of a homosexual union is that two "half-males" unite to form a single whole male; two "half-females" unite to form a single whole female. That is what Paul referred to as a self-dishonoring, self-degrading act, where it treats one's own sex as only half intact, not in relation to the other sex (in accordance with truth) but in relation to one's own sex (in accordance with falsehood).
It is not "discrimination" to say that such a union is not a true marriage, any more than it is "discrimination" to say that adult-consensual incestuous or polyamorous unions constitute a true marriage. Persons in polyamorous and incestuous relationships today suffer from far more public hostility than persons in homosexual unions. What are you not advocating for their "civil rights"? And, as noted above, in most areas of the country today, Christians who have spoken publicly at some time in their life about the immorality of promoting homosexual relations are more likely to be discriminated against then persons openly expressive of their homosexual behavior. Do you know that most colleges today give an affirmative action bump to applicants who identify as "gay," lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or no gender at all?


The Savage Lands of Islam

by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia ruled that ten year old girls can be married off, because in his words, "Good upbringing makes a girl ready to perform all marital duties at that age."
The Grand Mufti
The Mufti, who also called for destroying churches in the Arabian Peninsula, is descended from Mohammed Wahhab who gave birth to Wahhabism and whose descendants have controlled the Saudi religious establishment, and through it Islam around the world.
However for all his power and influence, the Mufti is blind and hasn't seen a thing in the last half century years; an apt metaphor for his entire religion.
Saudi Arabia, the heartland of Islam, still tries and executes witches. What sort of religion can come out of a place that marries off ten year old girls and murders old women on charges of witchcraft? The sort that flies planes into skyscrapers, murders teenage girls for using Facebook and bases its entire society on a ladder with Muslim men at the top, Muslim women a few rungs below and everyone else somewhere at the bottom.
The Saudis are not an aberration, they are Islam in its purest and truest form. That is why Al Qaeda was founded by a Saudi and why Saudis, the wealthy citizens of a wealthy kingdom, are its best recruits. It is not poverty or oppression that moves them to kill, but wealth and privilege.
This is where Islam originated, whose brutality and cunning spread it across the world, whose clans killed each other, then killed or enslaved minority groups, and then embarked on a wave of conquest that destroyed countless cultures and left behind the seeds of hate of the wars we are fighting today.
Unlike Egypt or Syria, they were never colonized by European powers and the impact of Ottoman influence was limited. Oil has brought in massive amounts of money, but it has changed very little. There are limousines instead of camels, the slaves have foreign passports, though they are often still slaves, there is still a brisk trade in imported luxury goods, harems for princes and clans staggering under the weight of their indolent progeny.
Religiously, Wahhabism has done its best to recreate the "pure" Islam of its origins. Economically, oil has allowed the Gulf Arabs to prosper without reform or change. And if Mohammed were to ride out of the desert tomorrow, he would have little trouble fitting in, as soon as he developed a taste for Porsches. Anyone who wants to see the world as it was in Mohammed's day can visit Saudi Arabia and see inbred clans, slave labor, veiled women and thugs enforcing the will of Allah on every corner.
But you don't even need to visit Saudi Arabia because diluted forms of it can be found everywhere from Cairo to London and from Islamabad to Los Angeles. A hundred and fifty years after the United States freed its slaves, Muslim immigrants have brought back slavery, importing young girls to live as their slaves. Ninety years after American women won the right to vote, the ghosts of Islam tread the streets in sheets that hide their personhood and mark them as property.
The religious wars of the desert have not stayed there as the immigration Hegira has brought them here and everywhere. And that is the source of the Clash of Civilizations. Immigration has brought Muslims into closer contact with different cultures and religions who don't defer to them or give Islam the privileged status that its adherents are used to enjoying.
To know the truth of this all you have to do is measure the respective tolerance levels of America  against the average Muslim country. There is no comparison with even the more secular Muslim countries, not in law and not in public attitudes. The sole benefit of the Arab Spring has been to expose the fraud of the moderate Muslim country. Egypt's transition to theocracy reminds us that a moderate Muslim state is a completely unrepresentative dictatorship. The alternative is majority Muslim rule.
The endgame of the Arab Spring and the immigration Hegira is to reduce the entire world to the level of Saudi Arabia. And that means eliminating outside influences in a long march to purification.  Islamists know that they cannot enjoy complete cultural dominance over their own people until their rivals in the West are obliterated. To turn Egypt and Malaysia into Saudi Arabia, and to purify Saudi Arabia, the infidels must be brought down, their religions subjugated and their nations replaced with proper Islamic states.
Islamic leaders are under no illusion that religion is a spiritual matter, they know that it is a numbers game. Wage enough wars, terrorize enough nations, marry enough barely post-pubescent girls and use them to crank out an endless supply of babies, intimidate or trick enough infidels into joining up and you win. That was how Islam took over so much territory and spread around the world, that is how it is doing it again now.
Islam is not a spiritual religion, even its paradise is a materialistic place, a fantasy harem where the physical pleasures of life can be enjoyed without restraint. That gives it an advantage over Judaism and Christianity, just as it gives the Saudis and the Pakistanis an advantage over the Americans and Israelis. There is no angst in Islam, no spiritual seeking and no room for doubt. The marching orders are always clear and individual deeds and thoughts matter less than a willingness to always obey.
Islam came out of the desert and it has never left the desert, instead it has brought the desert with it along with its codes, its deep hatreds, its constant deprivation, its deceptiveness and its nomadic expansionism. Where Islam goes, the desert rises, its tents, its red knives and its insecurities. It was backward even at the time of its birth and it has only become more so, but its singlemindedness is an advantage in an age of effete leftectuals and eurocrats dreaming of a transnational world.
While the leftectuals dream of windmills, the Saudis hire foreigners to pump their oil and then sell it to them, the money goes to fund the Hegira, its mosques in every city from Dublin to Moscow to Buenos Aires and Toronto, the fatwas, the bombs, the websites where the masked faithful hold up AK-47's, the Islamic science courses and sessions on learning to love the Hijab and then the Burqa,
The Saudis just want what everyone wants, for everyone to acknowledge their greatness and live like them. They can hardly be blamed for that when the West spends almost as much money promoting democracy and its own way of life to people who still execute witches and blasphemers. They may be savages, but they fell ass backward into enough black gold to fuel a global religious war, and they're using it cleverly and cunningly to transform our societies and wage war against us even while attending dinners at the White House. It's smoother work than our diplomats are capable of.
You can hardly blame the desert bandits for being what they are, but you can blame the apostles of reason for preaching about a golden age of tolerance and enlightenment from every purloined pulpit and then turning away the heartland to a religion that is nakedly brutal and intolerant at home.
An honest look at Saudi Arabia, at its cruelty, its slaves, its intolerance of other religions and even of women, should be enough to tell even the dimmest Eton or Harvard grad exactly what the West is in for. No matter how many specialists in Muslim tolerance show up at universities, there is the Grand Mufti explaining that Mohammed commanded the eradication of Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula, and therefore there can be no churches allowed there.
Even few apologists for Islam will defend Saudi Arabia for the simple reason that it is indefensible. The media will run the occasional story about the House of Saud's commitment to reform, much as Charles Manson keeps committing to becoming a better person, but even they don't really believe it. Yet even though Saudi Arabia is the heartland of Sunni Islam, and its fortunes shape and control mosques and teachings around the world, they insist on treating Islam and Saudi Arabia as two separate things.
It is brutally telling that the two centers of Islam, Saudi Arabia for the Sunnis and Iran for the Shiites, are genuinely horrifying places. Neither can remotely be associated with tolerance or human rights. It is simple common sense that the spread of Islam will make Western countries more like Saudi Arabia and Iran, rather than less like them.
If Saudi Arabia is not an example that we wish to emulate, then why must we bodily incorporate the religion of Mecca and Medina into London and Los Angeles? What other possible outcome do we imagine that there will be but fewer rights and more violence, dead women, abused children, bomb plots and polygamy?
There are two Islams. The real Islam of the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and an imaginary Islam that exists only in the mosques of air and card table Korans of academics apologists and political pundits who have decided that Islam cannot be bad, because no religion can be bad, not even one which kills and kills, it must just be misunderstood.
But then why not tell the Grand Mufti that he has misunderstood his own religion, the religion that he and his ancestors have dedicated themselves to purifying and reforming back to its roots? Telling him that would be a dangerous thing on his own turf, but it would also be foolish. The Grand Mufti's controversial statements contain nothing that Mohammed had not said.
Can the founder of a religion misunderstand his own teachings?
Islam is savage, intolerant, cruel and expansionistic, not due to a misunderstanding, but an understanding of the worst aspects of human nature. It is what it is and no amount of wishing will make it otherwise.
We have opened the door to the desert and a hot wind blows through into the northern climes. Either we shut the door or get used to living in the Saudi desert.