For example, “For there is one God, also there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ, Jesus.” [1 Tim. 2:5]. Mediator here is the Greek mesites, defined as “one who intervenes between two.” It is not two or more who intervene, but just one. Knowing the definition of the numeral one in this case, and knowing the difference between the words, God and men, this verse from Paul’s letter to Timothy seems fairly clear. There is God. And there is mankind. And there is ONE who is the mediator between these two, namely Jesus Christ. [See the Feature article, Christianity Is Not A Surrogate For Christ].
When we redefine the word of God, however, it changes the intended meaning. It comes to mean whatever we want it to mean even when it contradicts the clear intent of the word of God. Motives aside, the Roman Catholic Church says, “It is objected that the invocation of saints is opposed to the unique mediatorship of Christ Jesus. There is indeed ‘one mediator of God and man, the man Christ Jesus.’ But He is our mediator in His quality of our common Redeemer; He is not our sole intercessor nor advocate, nor our sole mediator by way of supplication.” And snap! just like that -- one means more than two and the truth is 23 skidoo. [23 skidoo is an early 20th century slang expression meaning to be forced to leave quickly].
Talk about blatant redefining of what the text says! Among the synonyms for the word one is the word sole. Once we choose to redefine the word of God, then we abandon knowledge of the truth. We accept the lie. The Biblical record states that Christ is the one, the sole Mediator between God and men. The Roman Catholic Church says Christ is the one mediator of God and man, but not the sole mediator. Huh?! [See the Feature article, Moving Forward].
And if we follow this Roman church logic [?], that one means two or more, what are we to make of the Biblical statement, “For there is one God …." Yes, there is one God, but God is not the sole God? When we start messing around with the word of God, merrily redefining as we go, we create theological conundrums. And we wonder why there are more than 30,000 Christian denominations from one Bible? [See Number Of Denominations].
The Roman church chose to redefine Christ’s role as the sole mediator between mankind and God for their own purposes. It's sort of Orwellian-like doublespeak, or fake theological news. Thus, the truth of the Biblical word of Christ’s categorical role as mankind’s sole mediator is tossed aside simply by redefining the terms. It’s as if they’re saying, “Well Christ is unique as a mediator between God and man, you know, the common big picture stuff. But he doesn’t cover individual humble requests. We’ve got our own Saints to cover these things.” According to Catholic Online, there are more than 7500 of these Roman church-made mediators and advocates standing by, apparently waiting for your prayer call like some kind of a heavenly telethon. [See the Feature articles, Heaven Can Wait and Heaven Can Wait II]. Once we decide to redefine the word of God, we are playing a theological shell game. We only fool ourselves to our detriment.
The context of Christ as our sole mediator in 1 Timothy begins by stating, “I exhort therefore that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men … who will have men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth …” [1 Tim 2:1, 4]. These supplications and intercessions, regardless of what the Church of Rome redefines, are made through the one mediator between men and God, namely Christ. As Christians, we have a direct conduit to God through Jesus Christ, our high priest, without Earthly or alleged Saintly intercessors. We don’t need Saints, we don’t need priests and we don’t need a pope to do this for us. “You are bought with a price; do not become the servants of men.” [1 Cor. 7:23; see the Sneakers article, Our History In Context].
So it is not surprising that the Roman church also has redefined who it is that is our father on Earth in terms of our salvation and forgiveness of sins. To this point, the pope recently stated in an address at Vatican City, "It's absurd ... to listen to Christ but not the Church ...." But what's one to do when the "Church," meaning the Roman Catholic Church, doesn't listen to Christ? When it, in fact, contradicts Christ? In matters of religion, Christ said, “Do not call anyone on Earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” [Mat. 23:9]. Here’s that number one again. But as above, one is redefined to mean more than two. Hence, the legion of Roman church priests, many of whom turned out to be sexual predators, are called father and the pope is called the holy father.
The day after Pope Benedict stepped down, a headline ran that referred to the Roman church as a "leaderless church." Apparently, this was an acknowledgment that Christ is not the head of the Roman church. And when one steps into a confessional with a ‘father’ on the other side of the partitioning screen, the Roman church instructs its adherents to say, “Bless me father for I have sinned ….” Once we recite our sins to the priest, he alone allegedly determines how many Apostles' Creeds, Hail Marys or Acts of Contrition we need to repetitiously recite, like obedient little mindless minions, in order to be forgiven of our sins. [See our Feature article, Why Can't A Christian Sin?].
But some Protestants/evangelicals are no better off. In Genesis 2:7, God formed man of the dust of the Earth, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living creature. Apparently, for the sole purpose of being anti-abortion, they’ve chosen not to redefine the word of God, but to completely ignore it. Evangelicals explain Adam and Eve away as "special cases," even though this same reasoning is not extended to their discussions of marriage. When we accept the truth of the word of God that life begins at first breath, Adam and Eve need not be special cases.
However, by ignoring the plain statement in the Biblical record that conflicts with their own man-made religious tenet, they are forced to redefine other verses, taken out of context, to suit their purposes thereby creating more theological messes. The truth is 23 skidoo. And on and on it goes. [See our Sneakers articles, Conceived-Again Christians and Biologically Irrefutable, Guv'nor?].
The point is anyone can start a church or denomination simply by redefining the word of God. But our goal as Christians is not to make up our own ideas turning the word of God to our own purposes. The goal of the ekklesia is to love the truth of the word of God, letting the Biblical record define itself, and then live our lives guided by the Spirit of God accordingly.
Italics and [ ] are the author's.
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