Monday, April 18, 2016

Roman Catholicism distorts the Biblical message about God’s work in time

Leonardo De Chirico has revised and re-posted an article of his that demonstrates how the Roman Catholic distortion of time plays a major role in its current ecclesiology (which is, as I’ve mentioned, its major selling point in the post Vatican II era). He focuses on two words, two biblical measures of time, “hapax” (“once for all”) and “mallon” (“for evermore”)

As Protestants, we believe the following:

1. The incarnation of Christ was “once for all”
2. Christ’s death and resurrection and our redemption were “once for all”
3. “Revelation” was “once for all delivered to the saints”.

Roman Catholicism flips these precisely on their head:

1. The Roman Catholic Church is the “ongoing incarnation of Christ” (“for evermore”)
2. “The Eucharist” (“the sacrifice of the Mass”) is a “re-presentation” of the one sacrifice of Christ, providing redemption on an ongoing basis (“for evermore”) throughout time.
3. The “once for all” sense of biblical revelation is opened up to being integrated with “living Tradition” that is mediated by the Magisterium, creating a dialectic between the biblical message and the process of tradition.

De Chirico’s original Themelios (2004) article is here.

In it, he suggests “Roman Catholicism is not intentionally driven by the desire to confuse the time periods of God. It would be uncharitable and prejudiced to think so,” he says.

However, Roman Catholicism IS driven to exalt itself: “Rome IS all about aggrandizing Rome”. And if it means distorting the Biblical message about God’s work in time, it has no hesitation to do so. This is not at all “uncharitable and prejudiced to think so”, because it is true.


  1. John, I read the linked article, and must differ with de Chirico on Rome's intentionality: hapax & mallon are very clearly distinct terms; for those not ignorant of Greek to consistently misuse them to their advantage more than suggests intentionality.

    1. Kirk, I'm not inclined to disagree with you. Roman dogma has evolved over centuries, and I believe that the notions above are products of the last two centuries (beginning with Johann Adam Mohler and others). If I recall, Calvin addresses about 15 different aberrations of Rome's "Eucharist", and "re-presentation" is not one of them. There are, of course, a lot of Roman Catholic writings to take into account in searching for where these ideas originated. (And it's likely that the originators had no understanding of Greek when they started talking about these things). For sure, I'd like to study these things further "when I grow up".

  2. Mr. Bugay, Could you clarify the differences between Prot/RC understanding of #1 above a little more? I'm not sure I see it as clearly as I should. Thanks

    1. Hi Scot -- well, the Incarnation of the Word is one of the central events in the history of our salvation. It was "contingent ... on the good pleasure of God", according to Berkhof -- it was part of God's "one plan from the beginning" (pg 334).

      So Protestants hold according to the Nicene creed, for example:

      [He], for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

      These are all very definite beliefs, historical at many points. Scripturally revealed in other. He "ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of the Father" and "He shall come again".

      Those are very definite points of belief. Rome, on the other hand, chooses to see itself, "the Church" (and when they say "the Church", they mean "the Roman Catholic Church (accept no substitutes!)" as "the ongoing incarnation of Christ". In fact, some Roman Catholics have told me, "The Church IS Christ". According to the Roman Catholic system, Christ is somehow incomplete, and the Roman Catholic Church is itself is the completion of Christ in the world.

      That is pure idolatry.

    2. So, essentially you're saying that Christ's incarnation was for a limited time on earth - based on scripture, while RC is saying Christ's incarnation is ongoing through the church. Do you know if the RC believes that it is Christ's physical ongoing incarnation, or is it spiritual? I think it is more of the former, while Reformed would understand it be more of the latter. Thanks

    3. No, the argument is not that Christ's incarnation was temporary. Rather, the argument is that the church should not be treated as equivalent to Christ Incarnate.

      It is, of course, true, that God Incarnate was temporarily on earth. That doesn't make the Incarnation temporary, but where the God Incarnate was temporarily located.

    4. I've always understood it to be more of an ongoing spiritual incarnation. Do you have a resource you might recommend to understand this more? Thanks

    5. Here are a couple of items to refer to:

  3. Didn't know where to write. What are your thoughts on this?