"Love means never having to say you're sorry." --Erich Segal

Serious Play on Words

You tell me --
Mistakes are part of being young,
But that don't right
The wrong that's been done.

(I'm sorry) I'm sorry,
(So sorry) So sorry,
Please accept my apology.
But love is blind,
And I was too blind to see,

Oh, oh, oh, oh,
Oh, oh,
Oh, yes.
--"I'm Sorry," Vocals: Brenda Lee, lyrics: R. Self, D, Allbritten;

Apology, in normal use according to the first definition given by the Oxford dictionary, is a noun that means: a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.

And I'll forgive
The lies that I --
Heard before,
When you gave me no reply.

No reply! no reply!
--"No Reply," The Beatles, lyrics: J. Lennon, music: P. McCartney

Apology, in the sense of apologetics, from the Greek, Ἀπολογία, (reply) is Oxford's 3rd meaning. (their second definition for apology is: a very poor or inadequate example of... , and hopefully this will not be that...). This being: a reasoned argument or writing in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine. The Christian association came from Justin Martyr's replies to Roman authorities questioning Christianity. He had to refute misinformation of charges of sedition, (Pliny the Younger's heraeria), cannibalism and others. (Eating the Body of Christ in the bread during the sacrament caused this.) Writers like C. Suetonius Tranquillus wrote "The Lives of the Twelve Caesars" about Nero Claudius Caesar, "He likewise inflicted punishments on the Christians, a sort of people who held a new and impious superstition." Many times earlier the Christians were lumped in with Jews, just thinking they had some variety to the rituals. Egyptian and astrologers were not condoned by Tiberius this same chronicler conveys.

Step up to the Plato

I bomb atomically,
Socrates' philosophies,
and hypothesis can't define.
How I be droppin' these mockeries,
lyrically perform armed robbery.
Flee with the lottery,
possibly they spotted me.

Battle-scarred shogun,
explosion when my pen hits,
tremendous, ultra-violet shine blind forensics
I inspect you,
through the future see millennium.
--Wu-Tang Clan, "Triumph"

Hundreds of years earlier Plato wrote his Platonis Apologia Socratis which was Socrates' reply to charges of "...corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel." In the first century the Apostle Paul would address these Athenians, reminding them of their altar with an inscription to an unknown god. (Acts 17:23). The Romans liked atheists and the tongue-in-cheek pantheon believers better than the stubborn non-conforming Christians, who as their kind of contemporary sounding writer, Celsus put it:

The Christians are accustomed to have private assemblies, which are forbidden by the law. For of assemblies some are public, and these are conformable to the law of the land; but others are secret, and these are such as are hostile to the laws; among which are the Love Feasts of the Christians.

Men who irrationally assent to any thing, resemble those who are delighted with jugglers and enchanters, etc. For as most of these are depraved characters, who deceive the vulgar, and persuade them to assent to whatever they please, this also takes place with the Christians. Some of these are not willing either to give or receive a reason for what they believe; but are accustomed to say,"Do not investigate, but believe, your faith will save you."

 Okay, you say, so that's free speech in the Empire, well it caused the authorities to round up and marginalize, torture and kill Christians.

(Doesn't that bit about "jugglers and enchanters" remind one of Bob Dylan's line in "Like a Rolling Stone", where the "jugglers and the clowns all did tricks for you..."?

Get Agrippa on it

However, Paul was not sorry he was thrown in prison and eventually martyred for telling all who would hear about the good news. When the term Christian was used in the first century, it was a derisive term for this cult or sect. I suppose many reading this will respond like the new Roman Judean governor Porcius Festus and the Jewish puppet King Herod Agrippa II (AD 27) after Paul's sermon to him in Acts 25:24-26; 26 (Holman),

(24) Then Festus said: “King Agrippa and all men present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish community has appealed to me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he should not live any longer. (25) Now I realized that he had not done anything deserving of death, but when he himself appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him. (26) I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore, I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after this examination is over, I may have something to write. (27) For it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner and not to indicate the charges against him.”

(1)Agrippa said to Paul, “It is permitted for you to speak for yourself.”

Then Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense: (2) “I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that today I am going to make a defense before you about everything I am accused of by the Jews, (3) especially since you are an expert in all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

(4) “All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem. 5They had previously known me for quite some time, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I lived as a Pharisee. (6) And now I stand on trial for the hope of the promised made by God to our fathers, (7) the promise our 12 tribes hope to attain as they earnestly serve Him night and day. King Agrippa, I am being accused by the Jews because of this hope. (8) Why is it considered incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? (9) In fact, I myself supposed it was necessary to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus the Nazarene.
 

And the Horse You Rode in On

I watched you suffer a dull aching pain,
Now you've decided to show me the same.
No sweeping exit or offstage lines,
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind.

Wild horses couldn't drag me away,
Wild, wild horses couldn't drag me away.

I know I've dreamed you a sin and a lie,
I have my freedom but I don't have much time.
Faith has been broken tears must be cried,
Let's do some living after we'll die.

Wild horses couldn't drag me away,
Wild, wild horses we'll ride them some day.
Wild horses couldn't drag me away,
Wild, wild horses we'll ride them some day.
--Keith Richards, Mick Jagger

Paul goes on to tell his salvation story, knocked off his horse and that he saw and listened to the Resurrected Jesus and then was called to bring the message of the Anointed One's atoning death to the Gentiles. Continuing in Act 26:

(22) To this very day, I have obtained help that comes from God, and I stand and testify to both small and great, saying nothing else than what the prophets and Moses said would take placer — (23) that the Messiah must suffer, and that as the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles.”s

(24) As he was making his defense this way, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice, “You’re out of your mind, Paul! Too much study is driving you mad! ”

(25) But Paul replied, “I’m not out of my mind, most excellent Festus. On the contrary, I’m speaking words of truth and good judgment. (26) For the king knows about these matters. It is to him I am actually speaking boldly. For I am convinced that none of these things escapes his notice, since this was not done in a corner. (27) King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe.”

(28) Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily? ”

(29) “I wish before God,” replied Paul, “that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am — except for these chains.”

(30) So the king, the governor, Bernice, and those sitting with them got up, (31) and when they had left they talked with each other and said, “This man is doing nothing that deserves death or chains.”

(32) Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
 

Caesar Salad

Suetonius in his book about the Caesars said Drustus "... banished from Rome all the Jews, who were continually making disturbances at the instigation of one Chrestus." (Christ) Celsus also wrote about this clash and how it was not good for Roman culture:

The Christians and Jews most stupidly contend with each other, and this controversy of theirs about Christ differs in nothing from the proverb about the contention for the shadow of an ass'. There is also nothing venerable in the investigation of the Jews and Christians with each other; both of them believing that there was a certain prophecy from a divine spirit, that a savior of the human race would appear on the earth, but disagreeing in their opinion whether he who was predicted had appeared or not

The Jews originating from the Egyptians deserted Egypt through sedition, at the same time despising the religion of the Egyptians. Hence the same thing happened to the Christians afterwards, who abandoned the religion of the Jews, as to the Jews who revolted from the Egyptians; for the cause to both of their innovation was a seditious opposition to the common' and established rites of their country.

The same thing happened to the Christians afterwards, who abandoned the religion of the Jews, as to the Jews who revolted from the Egyptians; for the cause to both of their innovation was a seditious opposition to the common' and established rites of their country.
 

I am a man of Contantine Sorrow

I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow

You can bury me in some deep valley
For many years where I may lay
Then you may learn to love another
While I am sleeping in my grave.

While he is sleeping in his grave.

Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger
My face you'll never see no more.
But there is one promise that is given
I'll meet you on God's golden shore.

He'll meet you on God's golden shore..
In constant sorrow through his days

The church was to change radically after the 4th Century Roman emperor Constantius Chorus, (sometimes regarded as a pretend pagan), married the Christian Helen. Their son Constantine as emperor embraced the faith and made it the official religion. Thereby beginning its awkward marriage with the state, that is not really the friend of the true church. Now that part of Paul's letter to the Romans 13:4 (ESV) "For he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer." This seems okay against civil crimes, but when one adds religious divergence, that's another matter.

The early Christians, though trying to make a stand based on reasoning with the pagan rulers (that they were good and honest citizens), knew the penalty for not giving sacrifices to Caesar as a god. They were willing to pay with their lives. Unfortunately the payback later, by way of the anti-pagan campaigns waxed and waned in severity for the next hundreds (thousands?) of years were kind of brutal themselves. Like ISIS today, they destroyed temples and statues. Then there was Julian the Apostate that in 361 AD reverted to paganism. He even attempted to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem just to irritate the Christians. One time fellow pagan and admirer, Ammianus, had this critique of his going overboard in a way:

That was inhumane, and better committed to oblivion, that he forbade teachers of rhetoric and literature to practice their profession if they were followers of the Christian religion.
Indeed Julian was writing apologetics too, in a long philosophical tirade, obviously versed in the scriptures as well, in his "Against the Galileans" he tries to show inconsistencies (some sound kind of modern):
For "He dwelt among you, and ye beheld his glory." Why then do you add to this that "No man hath seen God at any time"? For ye have indeed seen, if not God the Father, still God who is the Word. But if the only begotten Son is one person and the God who is the Word another, as I have heard from certain of your sect, then it appears that not even John made that rash statement.

However this evil doctrine did originate with John; but who could detest as they deserve all those doctrines that you have invented as a sequel, while you keep adding many corpses newly dead to the corpse of long ago? You have filled the whole world with tombs and sepulchres, and yet in your scriptures it is nowhere said that you must grovel among tombs and pay them honour. But you have gone so far in iniquity that you think you need not listen even to the words of Jesus of Nazareth on this matter. Listen then to what he says about sepulchres : "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers; outward the tomb appears beautiful, but within it is full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." If, then, Jesus said that sepulchres are full of uncleanness, how can you invoke God at them? . . .

Eunapius was another sophist who wrote against the Christians especially in his works, Universal History, and Lives of the Philosophers. He blamed Christians for helping the invading Romanian Visigoth King Alaric to sack Rome in 410 AD.

Who put the Sin in Synod

They say that breakin' up is hard to do,
Now I know, I know that it's true.
Don't say that this is the end.
Instead of breakin' up I wish that
We were makin' up again
. --Neil Sedaka

After the Fourth Ecumenical Synod in Chalcedon 451 AD, the Oriental Orthodox churches comprising Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Eritrean Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox (India), and Armenian Apostolic churches split over the teaching about the "two natures" of Christ: they maintained Christ only had one nature, at once both human and divine. Today these churches have separate details from each other, (unlike the unified Eastern Orthodox). There is continual struggle as they are in countries dominated by Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism.

The Sixth Ecumenical council of 680 AD actually posthumously anathemized Pope Honorius I of Rome as being a heretic. It was his embracing of Monothelitism, a 7th Century Armenian/Syrian Christology that said Jesus has two natures but one will. The biblically based orthodox position is He had two wills, divine and human. (Scripture reference, Hebrews 10:7 the writer inspired by Psalm 40:7-8; John 6:38, and 10:17-18.)

Fast forward to 1054 and the "Great Schism," when the Eastern Orthodox removed their communion with the Roman Catholic church.

Wycliffe Notes

The 14th Century English theologian, John Wycliffe originally began his study of Scriptures in earnest when trying to make his case against a greedy church. He said, "Even though there were a hundred popes and though every mendicant monk were a cardinal, they would be entitled to confidence only in so far as they accorded with the Bible." And, from that study, seeing that some churchmen were not worthy he penned,
The Church is the totality of those who are predestined to blessedness. It includes the Church triumphant in heaven… and the Church militant or men on earth. No one who is eternally lost has part in it. There is one universal Church, and outside of it there is no salvation. Its head is Christ. No pope may say that he is the head, for he can not say that he is elect or even a member of the Church.

You Hussy!

14th Century Czechoslovakian theologian Jan Hus, (a.k.a. John Huss), took Wycliffe's radical ideas to heart, and looking at just these two teachings of his from the 30 extracts we can see how it insured his death sentence:

7.) Peter neither was nor is the head of the holy catholic church."
And,
13.) The pope is not the manifest and true successor of the prince of the apostles, Peter, if he lives in a way contrary to Peter’s. If he seeks avarice, he is the vicar of Judas Iscariot. Likewise, cardinals are not the manifest and true successors of the college of Christ’s other apostles unless they live after the manner of the apostles, keeping the commandments and counsels of our lord Jesus Christ.

Hus was given the opportunity to recant, to which he retorted, "I never taught any doctrine that was evil, now what I have taught with my lips, I will seal with my blood." Roman Catholic Father Poggius Florentini witnessed Huss’ martyrdom recording:

“In thee, O Lord, I put my trust, bow down thine ear to me.” With such Christian prayers, Hus arrived at the stake, looking at it without fear. He climbed upon it, after two assistants of the hangman had torn his clothes from him and had clad him into a shirt drenched with pitch. At that moment, one of the electors, Prince Ludwig of the Palatinate, rode up and pleaded with Hus to recant, so that he might be spared a death in the flames. But Hus replied: “Today you will roast a lean goose, but hundred years from now you will hear a swan sing, whom you will leave unroasted and no trap or net will catch him for you.” Full of pity and filled with much admiration, the Prince turned away.
 

Martin Luther as Lex Luthor

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
--Martin Luther

In year 1507 Martin Luther was ordained into the Roman Catholic Church; ten years later he would finally rock his and everyone's world. Working on a Doctor of Theology (1511) at Wittenburg, he immersed himself in the letters of the Apostle Paul and was moved by the verse, "The just shall live by faith," and the one in Ephesians 2:8 ("For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."). It was on the school's bulletin board (there were student unions even back then?) that those 95-Thesis were tacked onto the University's bulletin board at the Castle Church door. His letter (translated by Adolph Spaeth and others) in the same year, 1517, to the Archbishop of Mainz gives us insight to how less rebellious was his intent:

To the Most Reverend Father in Christ and Most Illustrious Lord, Albrecht of Magdeburg and Mainz, Archbishop and Primate of the Church, Margrave of Brandenburg, etc., his own lord and pastor in Christ, worthy of reverence and fear, and most gracious.

JESUS

The grace of God be with you in all its fulness and power! Spare me, Most Reverend Father in Christ and Most Illustrious Prince, that I, the dregs of humanity, have so much boldness that I have dared to think of a letter to the height of your Sublimity. The Lord Jesus is my witness that, conscious of my smallness and baseness, I have long deferred what I am now shameless enough to do, -- moved thereto most of all by the duty of fidelity which I acknowledge that I owe to your most Reverend Fatherhood in Christ. Meanwhile, therefore, may your Highness deign to cast an eye upon one speck of dust, and for the sake of your pontifical clemency to heed my prayer. Papal indulgences for the building of St. Peter's are circulating under your most distinguished name, and as regards them, I do not bring accusation against the outcries of the preachers, which I have not heard, so much as I grieve over the wholly false impressions which the people have conceived from them; to wit, -- the unhappy souls believe that if they have purchased letters of indulgence they are sure of their salvation; again, that so soon as they cast their contributions into the money-box, souls fly out of purgatory; furthermore, that these graces i.e., the graces conferred in the indulgences are so great that there is no sin too great to be absolved, even, as they say -- though the thing is impossible -- if one had violated the Mother of God; again, that a man is free, through these indulgences, from all penalty and guilt.

O God, most good! Thus souls committed to your care, good Father, are taught to their death, and the strict account, which you must render for all such, grows and increases. For this reason I have no longer been able to keep quiet about this matter, for it is by no gift of a bishop that man becomes sure of salvation, since he gains this certainty not even by the "inpoured grace" of God, but the Apostle bids us always "work out our own salvation in fear and trembling," and Peter says, "the righteous scarcely shall be saved." Finally, so narrow is the way that leads to life, that the Lord, through the prophets Amos and Zechariah, calls those who shall be saved "brands plucked from the burning," and everywhere declares the difficulty of salvation. Why, then, do the preachers of pardons, by these false fables and promises, make the people careless and fearless? Whereas indulgences confer on us no good gift, either for salvation or for sanctity, but only take away the external penalty, which it was formerly the custom to impose according to the canons.

Finally, works of piety and love are infinitely better than indulgences, and yet these are not preached with such ceremony or such zeal; nay, for the sake of preaching the indulgences they are kept quiet, though it is the first and the sole duty of all bishops that the people should learn the Gospel and the love of Christ, for Christ never taught that indulgences should be preached. How great then is the horror, how great the peril of a bishop, if he permits the Gospel to be kept quiet, and nothing but the noise of indulgences to be spread among his people! Will not Christ say to them, "straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel"? In addition to this, Most Reverend Father in the Lord, it is said in the Instruction to the Commissaries which is issued under your name, Most Reverend Father (doubtless without your knowledge and consent), that one of the chief graces of indulgence is that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to God, and all the penalties of purgatory are destroyed. Again, it is said that contrition is not necessary in those who purchase souls out of purgatory or buy confessionalia.

But what can I do, good Primate and Most Illustrious Prince, except pray your Most Reverend Fatherhood by the Lord Jesus Christ that you would deign to look on this matter with the eye of fatherly care, and do away entirely with that treatise and impose upon the preachers of pardons another form of preaching; lest, perchance, one may some time arise, who will publish writings in which he will confute both them and that treatise, to the shame of your Most Illustrious Sublimity. I shrink very much from thinking that this will be done, and yet I fear that it will come to pass, unless there is some speedy remedy.

These faithful offices of my insignificance I beg that your Most Illustrious Grace may deign to accept in the spirit of a Prince and a Bishop, i.e., with the greatest clemency, as I offer them out of a faithful heart, altogether devoted to you, Most Reverend Father, since I too am a part of your flock.

May the Lord Jesus have your Most Reverend Fatherhood eternally in His keeping. Amen.

From Wittenberg on the Vigil of All Saints, MDXVII.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending how one looks at it, he had to run for his life to Wartburg castle when excommunicated as a "convicted heretic" (not to be confused with Tic Tacs) in 1521 at the Diet of Worms run by Charles V.

So, after the Reformation took root, things have really divided and divided again. And there are arguments for holiness (More or less and who is or not legalistic), church government, how literal or not our interpretation of the Bible is to be. Tongues yes or not; Healing, Sabbath days.... oh my. Ironically, this goes against Scripture that declares all are one in the Body of Christ by the regeneration by the Holy Spirit by faith.

Bishops and Who are Rooked

(Modern love) walks beside me,
(Modern love) walks on by,
(Modern love) gets me to the church on time,
(Church on time) terrifies me,
(Church on time) makes me party,
(Church on time) puts my trust in God and man.
(God and man) no confessions,
(God and man) no religion,
(God and man) don't believe in modern love. --David Bowie

There has been attempt at reunification with the Roman Catholics and Orthodox, (along with the Anglicans), but problems still exist.

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev in Vienna, the representative of the Patriarchate of Moscow (Eastern Orthodox) to the European Union said:

The Orthodox Church does not recognize the Bishop of Rome as the “pontifex maximus” of the Universal Church. In case of restoration of the Eucharistic communion, the Orthodox Church will recognize the Bishop of Rome as the first among equals (primus inter pares) in the family of primates of the local Churches. The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is, for the Orthodox, that of honor, not of jurisdiction.
However, before one thinks the Orthodox wing is siding with most Protestants, and their "invisible church," Hilarion also implicitly stated their doctrine thus:
The Orthodox also believe that apostolic succession and the sacraments are essential marks of the Church. This is why the Orthodox will agree that those ecclesial communities which do not enjoy apostolic succession and have not preserved the genuine understanding of the Eucharist and other sacraments cannot be called “churches” in the proper sense.
 

Recently the Roman Catholic church made this summation about who was really in the 'church':
According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense.

The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ratified and confirmed these Responses, adopted in the Plenary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication. Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 2007, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

In Summation

And if my thought dreams could be seen,
They'd probably put my head in a guillotine;
But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only
. --Bob Dylan

I suppose modern apologetics are a lot more complicated with so much going on today. There are still hard core for each denomination, whether cessationists (Spritual gifts have ceased -- those miraculous ones, like healing (once it was from a passing shadow of an Apostle), (Baptists and other Reformed cousins) or more common ones for Full Gospel or Pentecostals and their glossolalia, or the ones manifesting the latter. Liberal Christians endeavor to make a large tent, while Conservatives might define what is the narrow way, well, little more narrowly. (Also there are those that would be considered cults by many organizations ...that's another story er node.) There are strong differences in when the Lord Jesus will return too. (See Christian Eschatology)

I lean towards a more literal read of the Bible (that is it without error in its original autographs). If it says "Be Holy, because I am holy" then that's what one should aim for. I would probably be thrown out of most denominations for various reasons. I might be too profane in one way (I like Blues and Rock and Roll sometimes ...though I don't party hearty anymore). I would upset those in the "emerging Church movement" as I would rebuke, and or reproof Christian organizations depending on marketing instead of the Holy Spirit. I would not be appreciated when I tell Pentecostals I don't think one has to speak in tongues and show evidence for a baptism in the Holy Ghost. And likewise my cessationist brethren wouldn't be happy when I point out that Paul said, "Do not forbid the speaking in tongues." The snake handlers would probably throw one of their rattlers my way when I reminded them "Do not test the Lord." You get my point.

I, too, need to examine myself to see whether I am in the faith. To stay humble I just need to remember, "There goes I but for the grace of God." The list of sinful behavior for those not entering into heaven is quite politically incorrect. He did take care of it on a Roman cross. I believe God can give his saints any spiritual gift He wants. And Jesus is outside knocking to be allowed inside. Open the door everybody!


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