Metropolitan Archbishop +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, Ph.D.
Bible Abuse is not only possible, but it is a reality and the major cause for what might be called a "Sick Religion" today, primarily existing in and with a majority of the Protestant cults, sects or so-called denominations, including Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, Church of Christ, Promise Keepers, the Moonies, etc., etc. as the list is enormous. What they have done is just a shade less than what the Jim Jones fiasco did many decades ago because of actions which kill the spirit and destroy truth. It has been alleged, that parts of the Roman Catholic Church are thought by some to have aided in bringing about the enormous 'Sex Scandal' of recent time through their having given in to American Protestantism's more heretical denominations. Ministers, Pastors, Priests, Preachers, and Teachers are the many who can be blamed for inciting violence upon persons and groups of people. This is alleged to be a primary cause for why many Clergy and former faithful have, over the years, errantly committed violence and suicide.
Quotes are taken from the Holy Bible as translated by George M. Lamsa's
translation from the Aramaic of the Peshitta because Jesus spoke in Aramaic.
This is a more true translation that makes no mistake of what was written
as do the many and various versions of the Roman Catholic and Protestant
In the last century we have seen the rise of numerous alternate translations of the Holy Bible, as much as we have seen the influx and growth of Protestantism's numerous satanic cults and sects, especially such as exampled by "Pentecostal," "Assemblies of God," "Church of Christ," "Scientology," "Jehovah's Witness" amongst others. Their so-called 'scholarly' approach would seem to be a work of art with quotations from a few holy fathers, Saints, and more so from those of the Protestant churches themselves. The majority of "Bibles" in print today, under "Revised" translations, "New World" translations, and others, including the much touted Jehovah's Witnesses translations have produced a plethora of false and misleading understandings that are leading people astray from the roots of Christianity in a manner and form that violates the very foundations and teachings of all that had been truly Christian in the Church Catholic both East and West.
Because of those errant bible translations, the people who have come to believe and rely on them as a result of the so-called preachers and teachers; is the producing of a new world order of so-called ministers, pastors, priests, teachers and preachers who hold people sway to a shrill sound likened to that of a Pied Piper who lead rats to their doom. Except, in this instance, the "pied piper" is Satan's flesh and blood henchmen under guise of being prophets at best, preachers, teachers, pastors, ministers, or priests at worse. And the proverbial "rats" are those who have opted out of the pain of heart struggle in this life for the life to come, being beguiled by entertainments, feel good beliefs, material power and wealth through the psychological manipulation of artful 'religious leaders' who have themselves unknowingly (for most of them) fallen sway to the demon. Jesus Christ saw ahead as did the Apostles, many Martyrs. What has been and is happening should be no mystery to anyone who has viewed world history, knows even a smattering of prophesies from Biblical Truth, not that which claims to be such under the guise of "Church" as we know it today where banjos and do-da rap (crap rap) rhythm, gang-banger entertainment mentalities are being coaxed and used to bend the hearts and minds of people who truly believe in this falseness of maddened frenzy to call themselves "Christian".
Let's be a bit truthful about those so-called religious leaders in the Protestant denominations as well as some in the Roman Catholic Church jurisdictions, along with some in the Orthodox Church; all of whom, have become involved in the present day heresy of synchrestic ecumenism (movement). A movement dominated by heretical sects and cults of Protestantism, their Council of Churches and World Council of Bishops, etc.. While the Roman Catholic Church may say they have sent "representatives" for dialogue, it is impossible for their so-called representatives to create dialogue after so much time has passed, when they have engaged in and with those heretics in a public display of worship, setting the statute of Buddha on the top of a tabernacle dedicated to Jesus Christ, exchanging the Christian 'kiss of peace' and even offering them the consecrated body and blood of Jesus Christ which is, by action alone, the proof of the fact that they (the Roman Catholic Church) are members in spirit and truth of the Ecumenist Movement as embodied in the World Council of Churches and other heretical groups. But, lest we forget, the same has been and is being done also by many of the Eastern Orthodox representatives, patriarchs and other leaders too; bedding down each with the other.
The history of biblical interpretation and application are from somebody's own point of view no matter whom they may be. The individual interpreter's education (or lack thereof), personal history, religious background, personality, and prejudices guide the results. While history has shown that there are some, but very few at best, who have been lead by the Holy Spirit, and those only from the One, Holy, Orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic Church into the knowledge, for lack of a formal man-made education, there are none in existence in these present times. The "Mind of the Church" that had been with those of former times, are lessened by the on-going machinations of man within and outside the Church herself today.
Many seminary programs, religious institutions and colleges are primarily the proponents of their own churches or denominations. They used to teach theology and other subjects relative to religion and psychology, along with some aspects of civil law, canon laws of the church, and other areas which impinge upon the church's need to prepare its future leaders for guiding the flock. But what is happening and has happened in the last few decades should make one beware of what they learn and where that understanding comes from because the subjects are not necessarily what the Church Catholic had previously prepared its seminarians for. And, such influence the Protestant cults and sects have had in this area can be viewed or seen in the "Theological Unions" at Berkeley, California and many other places across the country where Roman Catholic and some Orthodox seminarians attend. The influence of many of the Protestant cults and sects to infuse our seminarians through those courses of study at so-called schools of higher learning, dismantles the spiritual and material ingredients that once made seminarians of both the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Catholic Churches, One, Holy, Orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic. What is seen on the forefront is a two-edged sword... a battle... one side is impinging upon a destructive education of Orthodox and Catholic seminarians while the other side of the sword is taking out those past and present Orthodox and Catholic priests who hold to many of the old understandings and beliefs. They are being taken out by such as the Sex Scandal has produced... the various local and state governments being the other side of the sword. Little is heard of, or about, Sex Scandals in the various Protestant Churches because much of it is covered up or silenced, through political intrigues, is alleged. The more pitiful side of this particular aspect can be seen how one of the very pillars of the Church Catholic is being torn asunder. That pillar being the Seals of the Confessional. Only Orthodox Catholics and Roman Catholics enjoy the protection of the U.S. Constitution as regards this particular issue because they pre-existed the Constitution altogether. Not so for the various Protestant sects and cults which has caused for strange bedfellows and politics with local, state and federal governments.
Far to many of those of the Orthodox and Catholic Faith are guided by similarities in the above description, more especially is this true of those who have fallen under sway of the heretical synchrestic Ecumenist movement, violating the ancient councils of the Church. That "sway" involves money, power, ego, image and the like. There was a time, for example: when the Pope (Bishop of Rome) could demand of his clergy through out the world (even in the United States) to stick to the practicing of certain Rules of Life including the wearing of the time honored 'cassock' on a daily basis. No longer is this true. Thus, in this example, the American part of the Roman Catholic Church has shown their complete disregard for their so-called "Pope" of Rome except and when it serves their own interests. Why? In this example it is because of two things: 'Power' which is gained by 'greed' involving money. The American Roman Catholic Church uses its financial power to force Rome into acceding to its wishes: 'If you don't do what we want, we won't send you any money or support'. What are those 'wishes'? Because of the vast influence of various heretical Protestant Churches (another example) to abhor the very symbol that causes us to be called "Christian" - the Crucifix - which is the whole icon of Christ's incarnation, death and resurrection. Protestantism has, over the years, applied pressure to force (at least) the American Roman Catholic clergymen to abandon the wearing of any true crucifix or cross as well as abandoning that which had been consistently a "Catholic" presentation of her clergy as being a part of the true Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ himself. These examples are only tips of the proverbial ice-berg where underneath lies the many political machinations, motives, financial and other greeds!
The result again, is Bible Abuse! And what is Bible Abuse?
Bible Abuse is the misapplication of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ in a manner and form whereby people's lives are changed into a destructive force either to themselves or another. However, let us be a bit more specific too.
Bible Abuse is the misapplication of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, away from the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, by placing the ancient scriptures in a light where manufactured credence is given as to make it appear that Jesus Christ wholly supports that which is being taught and preached in contravention to His intentions as explained by Him in the New Testament.
The enemy is Satan (the Evil One). Satan is the "adversary"" in both Hebrew and Greek. The enemy is not necessarily to be interpreted as a 'class of people'. The enemy is within ourselves under many forms which include idolatry of money or gold and silver, power over others, ignorance, fear, anger, discord, disputes, and works of the human flesh sometimes called "human works" as referred to in Galatians 5:19-21 ["For the works of the flesh are well known, which are these: adultery, impurity, and lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, stubbornness, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and all such things; those who practice these things, as I have told you before and I say to you now, shall not inherit the kingdom of God."]
The opposite of such is described as "Fruits of the Spirit" which are well described in Galatians 5:22-26 ["But the fruits of the spirit are love, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; there is no law against these."]
We also learn, and this a hard one... "Let us therefore live in the Spirit, and surrender to the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another," [Galatians 5-25-26]. There is not a one of us, including myself, who has not found this to be a most difficult part of scripture to follow, more especially when we try to drive away proselytizing heretics from our doorsteps, and the doorsteps of those who rely upon us for their care in their elder years.
Bible Abuse is many things...
Many of us in the true Orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic Church are faced with a most important part in life where we are pitted against those who abuse and misuse the bible for many and varied reasons. We do not have the luxury of dealing with just one problem at a time, but many. We are surrounded by a menagerie of issues relating to judgmental religion. Parents, family issues, HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, self-esteem, even politics are just a few of the issues we have to constantly face day to day in real life and living, in addition to that which is seen on the television and other media. Our mission though is not hopeless and not even helpless.
Actually, bible abuse is more than just 'many things' - - - it is legalistic, judgmental religion, and it is a very deadly disease that spreads rapidly among many of those who consider themselves a part of the so-called "Fundamentalist" movement of Protestantism, and even some Roman Catholic jurisdictions and even now the Eastern Orthodox Church itself, especially in North America.
In truth, legalism is the enemy of the Good News of Jesus Christ! Read Galatians. Paul saw the Law as the opposite of the Gospel. Legalism is very demonic! Legalism killed Jesus and will kill you if you do not resist it. It will kill your very soul. The cure is Jesus Christ as represented in the Gospels, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but who cannot kill the soul; be afraid of him who can destroy both the soul and the body in hell," [Matthew 10:28]
The cure is being careful of what we say and how we say it. But that alone is not enough for we also have to be careful as to how we are heard when we talk about God's Love through Christ to all people of every stripe, character, and non-violent lifestyle. It means rethinking our manner and way of how we translate into words, ideas, and phrases or verses. It means listening to where people really are in their own ideas and experiences. It means being far more flexible in "becoming all things to all people" than we probably were taught to be in our past. This also means to be on guard against the numerous heresies of those speaking.
Reaching wounded and oppressed people requires we take a different psychological non-violent attitude of approach by our taking a non-judgmental and non-threatening stand that reflects the attitude of Jesus. This does not mean revamping our theology, but revamping our understanding of it in comparison to what we know to be true as regards the lessons of Jesus Christ's Love for all people, while drawing away from those who have become Sadducees and Pharisees.
When one changes their own personal attitude of approach in revamping their understandings; one will come to find that they really are in the "trenches of spiritual warfare" against "principalities and powers and the rulers of darkness" [Ephesians 6:12]. You may more likely find that the battle scars you receive will have come more from one's self and friends than outsiders. Yet, you may also come to a realization that, "I have been deceived, betrayed, abandoned, and demonized by people I love, my very brothers in Christ," which will prove to you that the enemy is truly within. This should not daunt your spirit or demoralize you, but indeed build up your spirit because you know that even Jesus Christ Himself went through the very same and more of it, if not worse. Nothing we can take as an assault can ever compare to what Christ went through. So, be glad and rejoice for even the Holy Apostles, Saints and Martyrs went through similar things!
Yet, as we go forth, to those outside of our circle of family and friends, we may come to realize that we are not alone either. That there are truly many others who have suffered and brought suffering without realizing their mistaken abuse of the Bible on a non-violent and oppressed people.
Legalism in religion today is an idolatrous religion of ecumenism. Idolatry is the result of making anything other than God absolute. It is true that a person loses their identity and self-esteem when laws and rules become absolute. The legalistic approach of many jurisdictions of the true Orthodox Catholic Christian Church today is no better than the Satanic heresies of Protestantism. This is often times evident in the presentations of many scholarly writings which is not in itself so much in error as it is when such is taken without forethought of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ and not holding everything in comparison to the Gospel message He gave.
Legalistic religion is what is seen today as a result of various Jurisdictions' approach to their being servants of Christ and the People or Children of God. Much like the Protestants, they have become the mortal enemies to the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ wherein one subtly learns that a healthy self-esteem is needed while realizing that one is still a sinner in the eyes of God. We can "Hope" and thus struggle, out of pain of heart, for those things promised by Christ for the next life. Yet, we cannot appropriate to ourselves what is only God's to give!
The Sick Religion of today has appropriated to themselves through teaching their members the opposite of a healthy self-esteem balanced with a realization that we are sinners in this life who must constantly struggle on a day to day basis with our thoughts, our very words, and our actions in a most humble manner regardless of what others may do or say about us, to us or against us.
The New Testament idea of salvation was expressed in Greek words that meant "liberation" and "freedom". The Greek words for "save" and "savior" in the New Testament (Greek, sozoand soter) meant "to set free, liberate, rescue" or to be a "liberator" or "one who sets people free".
In the times of Christ, the words were used for teachers, who liberated students from ignorance, doctors who liberated people from sickness, or leaders who liberated people from an enemy. The very name "Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew name "Joshua" which means "deliverer" or "liberator".
The ancient Christian Church which we hold to, has always held to both an oral and written tradition. The Bible is an icon, an image. The Bible is not the fourth member of the Trinity, if one was taught the Mystery of the Trinity wherein the +Father, the +Son and the +Holy Ghost are one. The Bible is a book, an icon! The Church did not come about as a result of the Bible, but the Bible came about as a result of the Church - - - is a FACT of reality! The Bible can be translated incorrectly, distorted, twisted out of context, and made to say things or understood in ways that are the opposite of the original purpose of the text. In the numerous cultic sects of the Protestant churches, the Bible (according to the numerous and various errant translations) has become absolute, perpetrated by many jurisdictions of the Roman Catholic Church as well as many Eastern Orthodox Churches in North America. To make the Bible as a book, absolute is idolatry. Why? Because we were warned to alter or change one 'jot' of that which was written for it would be worse for them who do than it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet, this has already happening and is a growing problem as those who publish those various bibles are making and have been making further changes under pretext of making the Bible more understandable to a society that has been loosing its educational foundations.
Jesus Christ set us free from "biblical literalism" as did the ancient Church established on the very foundation of Christ and the Holy Apostles. He, Jesus, set us free from the idolatrous use of the "Bible" to provide religious weapons against that which causes psychological, religious (spritual), and physical harm toward others and ourselves, brought on by those who errantly teach and preach falsely.
In John 1:1-14 we learn of the coming of Jesus as the "Word of God" that "became human and dwelt among us." The word of God did not become words but became a human being ... "flesh". The Bible never calls itself "the Word of God". The Bible calls Jesus the "Word of God". When we take our attention off Jesus Christ and concentrate on the Bible as an end in itself, we ignore how Jesus used, interpreted, and corrected the scriptures of the Old Testament. Thus, a new baalism, has been created which, like idolatry in the Hebrew Testament, is manipulated to the advantage of the so-called ministers, pastors, priests, teachers and preachers to the abuse and oppression of everybody else.
Jesus did not say that all authority is given to the Bible but that all authority is given to Him, (Matthew 28:20). Jesus did not say to follow the bible but "follow me". This does not mean that we abandon the Bible but that we never try to use it without the help of Jesus and the Spirit of God, not the spirit of demons (the Evil One). The "Mind of the Church" is bound up in and with the Holy Spirit which, by the power of Christ, made the true Church, One, Holy, Orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic. The Holy Spirit is bound up with the "Oral" and the "Written" teachings of which one without the other is like a single parent family that eventually becomes dysfunctional which has already taken place in many jurisdictions of the Orthodox Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church and has made 'Christianity' of Protestantism wholly dysfunction. The Holy Spirit does not cause for one to speak in unintelligible languages for edification of no one from another country, but only for the purpose of enlightening those who speak a language from another country. When the Holy Spirit prompts one, the Bible is never used abusively. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, (John 14:26; 15:26; and 16:13-15) who always bears witness to Jesus Christ. True followers of Jesus Christ are obligated to learn the content of the Gospels first, as their point of reference for everything else in and outside the Bible. The "Mind of the Church" as given by Jesus Christ exists only in that which is truly Orthodox and Catholic who are empowered to speak as one voice by the grace of the Holy Spirit as exists in the Church, not as it exists in those Protestant Churches who commit spiritual fraud. The Mind of the true Church says: "Be free! Follow Jesus Christ!"
+Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.
Other associated subjects you may wish to view:
Penance, Repentance, Seals of the Confessional Forgiveness