Church, Bible, authority and moral duty

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Dear Editor,

There is only one true church and that is the Catholic Church or the Universal Church that Christ established upon Himself in Israel. The first members and servants of the church are the twelve apostles or the twelve Disciples of Christ. 

On one occasion, the original twelve apostles became eleven after Judah took his own life as a result of corruption. However, Judah was replaced by Matthias. Later on after Christ ascended to heaven, Paul joined the twelve apostles after he met Christ on his way to Damascus. 

After resurrection and before Christ ascended to heaven, Christ commissioned His disciples to spread His gospel around the world as in (Matthew 28:18-20) and (Act 1:8). Therefore Biblically and historically, that commission is call the “First Great Commission.” Disciples received direct authority from Christ.

 (Matthew 28:18-20) “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”

 (Acts 1:8) “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.””

Spreading the Gospel of Christ was not an easy mission at all because not only that the Judaism religion was against the Messiah but also, Israel was still under the control of Rome. Disciples should prepare to face death like Christ. They are the sheep in midst of wolves.

That means, the “First Great Commission” was accompanied by rejection and persecution. Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome during persecution under Emperor Nero (66 AD). In the same way, the first Christians of the first three centuries suffered in great persecution under the Roman Empire.     

During the reign of Emperor Diocletian (303 – 311 AD) he ordered the destruction of all churches in Rome and other territories, the imprisonment and killing of Christian leaders, the enslavement of the rest of Christians and the burning of their sacred Scriptures. As a result, some Christians gave up their Scriptures for their lives. Church leaders and Christians were hunted down and got tortured. They got burnt infront of large crowds and some of them were torn apart by wild animals in amphitheaters. 

In (308 AD) under the same emperor, Rome devised a new method for persecution call mutilation. That is, arms and legs were either cut off or punctured with hot irons. Tongues were cut out and eyes were gouged. Despite of those horrific persecutions, a Jewish / Christian historian by the name of Eusebius survives persecution. He was the first Author of the History of the Church (Ecclesiastical History 324 AD). 

In the “Ecclesiastical History,” Eusebius discusses the New Testament canon or the books belong in the New Testament. He mentioned Homologoumena (Recognised or accepted books) and Antilegomena (Disputed books). There are 27 New Testament books between Homologoumena and Antilegomena. Which means Eusebius did take researches and examinations of all major churches and discovered that the unanimous decision by all churches was that the 27 books were regarded as New Testament Scriptures. 

In (325 AD) Eusebius met Emperor Constantine who appeared to be the first Christian Emperor. The first universal council for churches which was the Council of Nicea (Turkey) was held on that same year. That council was called by Emperor Constantine in order to resolve conflicts within the church over some of Christian doctrines already affected by political influences, corruption and other threats. 

Most of church leaders who have attended the first Council of Nicea (Turkey) were victims and survivors of torture during the term of Constantine’s predecessor; Emperor Diocletian. So before the first Council of Nicea, church leaders were already aware about the truth about Scriptures as explained by Eusebius. Persecution could not eliminate their beliefs as well the truth they already knew about Scriptures and from Scriptures. 

Which means the Bible was a plan already put together by churches on the basis of discovery and canonical processes but its publication was impossible because of the great rejection and great persecution affecting all Christians. There are three criteria in the Canonical processes. (1) Apostolicity [written by an apostle or an associate] (2) Orthodoxy [the standard conforms to the gospel of Christ] (3) Catholicity [doctrines accepted by all churches].

Eusebius also wrote “Life of Constantine” and released in (339 AD). In the “Life of Constantine” he mentioned the “Second Great Commission” which is referring to the commission of 50 Bibles by Emperor Constantine for the purpose of establishing more churches in Nova Roma or Constantinople. That is 300 years after the “First Great Commission” (Matthew 28:18-20) and (Act 1:8).  

According to the “Ecclesiastical History” and the “Life of Constantine,” Emperor Constantine did not write or dictate the Bible. The calling of the first council for churches and the commission of 50 Bibles was Constantine’s only involvement and influence. Church leaders who attended the first Council of Nicea (325 AD) plus the work of Eusebius (324 AD) have taken full responsibility for the selection of books of the New Testament and for putting the Bible together.  

Therefore Constantine did not overrule Christ. He did not change anything about the First Great Commission. While being a Christian Emperor, he did commit some terrible crimes but he did not take over the authority and the place of Christ. He did the right thing of organizing a council to sort conflicts of churches, he let church leaders only to deal with conflicts of the church and also, he ordered the council to be held in Turkey instead of Rome. 

In (330 AD) Constantine fully transferred the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Turkey and named it as Nova Roma or New Rome. However, Constantinople (Constantine) became more popular than Nova Roma and therefore Nova Roma was replaced with Constantinople which is Istanbul nowadays in Turkey. 

On the [29 May 1453] the Ottoman Empire conquered the city of Constantinople. Christians and Scribes fled from there and scattered around in different parts of Europe. They took manuscripts with them and that was where the reformers have gotten the material basis of reformation from. There were many significant differences in doctrines have immerged between Protestant and the Roman Catholic since the reformation. 

For example, the two different definitions of canon and authority. In the Roman Catholic, the definition of canon is “the authoritative list of books.” That is, the Bible is chained and it cannot be accessible by the mass or members of the church unless they are authorised first by an authority in church. Only priests are allowed to have access to the Bible. 

In Protestant, the meaning of canon is “the list of authoritative books.” The Bible has been made available for everyone. The authority is from Christ alone because God’s grace through the promise of salvation fulfilled in Christ is a gift. So Christ is the canon and Christ is the only standard. In other words, the authority is not traditional or from the Council of churches.

The authority of Pilate according to Christ should not be confused with the First Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20 / Act 1:8), the law of God and the traditional authority of Caesar which is equal to the authority of Satan in (Matthew 4:1-10). There is no continuation of Pilate’s authority as identified by Christ because of the two following reasons and facts.

First one, Christ already served and fulfilled the purpose of that authority through His death and resurrection. Second one, Christ foretold His death before He got crucified. Christ’s death was already expected or counted to be necessary because that’s what the promise of salvation is all about. 

In other words, without any knowledge of Pilate about that authority from God, God used Pilate to serve God but not Caesar in that one-off occasion because Caesar did not make the promise for salvation in the Garden of Eden. God made that promise and fulfilled it in Christ. So the using of Pilate was just about salvation. It has nothing to do with the commandments and the law of God.

 (Luke 24:44-46) “Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the ‘Law of Moses’ and ‘the Prophets’ and ‘Psalms’ concerning Me. And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day”      

Promise of salvation is already fulfilled but the Judgment Day is not. Judgment Day is the purpose of the Christ’s second coming. That was why He said in (Matthew 5:18) “For assuredly, I say to you; till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” As said earlier, before Christ ascended to heaven, He commissioned the apostles to spread the Gospel around the world.   

That is just a small real example from the reformers’ work of great discoveries from manuscripts. There were many reformers before Martin Luther. They have laid the egg that was hatched by Martin Luther. One of those Reformers was a Dutch Christian known as Erasmus.

He published his 5 edition Greek New Testament in 1516, Martin Luther proposed his 95 thesis for debate in 1517 but the King James Bible just came out in 1611. Erasmus was the best Scholar of the New Testament in Greek in the sixteenth century.  

Speaking of Scholar and the Greek New Testament, that is the main purpose of Samoan Bible Scholars known as Church Ministers from Theological Colleges such as Malua, Piula and others including Theological Colleges and Universities abroad. Greek is not Samoan or English, Aramaic (Hebrew) is not Samoan or English and Israel is not Samoa. So the huge part of Church Ministers services in the work of God is taking long studies and trainings going back to the times of Christ to learn Greek, Hebrew and other languages in order to get to the root of the truth.          

Truth matters because not only that God is real but the beast, anti-Christ, atheists, agnostics, forgery and corruption are also real. They are working tirelessly and endlessly everyday against God and His work. We have seen it happening these days in our country right before our eyes. Fortunately, that evil is in shocking condition because the evil’s head hits just the small toe of the Secretary of a one specific church in our country.  

It appears that despite of the decline of membership of a one specific Protestant church since independence in 1962 from 52% to 29% however, the foundation of Samoa on God nowadays is much stronger than ever before because of the great awareness and faith of that one specific Protestant church. 

As a matter of fact, the decline of membership was due mainly to our freedom or the freedom of religion and international migration. What can the Government say according to government reports regarding the decline of Samoa’s population because of international migration? Shall we blame the Prime Minister for that decline? Or shall we blame a one specific church? Or shall we blame Christ? 

This is the reality overlooked by the Governments and its allies. Because of the freedom of religion, leadership in families spread members of families to support their relatives serving God in other denominations. [O isi matai o lo o tautuaina Ekalesia e tolu pe fa pe lima] In spite of that situation, membership of all Protestant denominations in our country is still the highest which is more than 75%. I believe, the 75% have shared only one dogma (Christ’s authority and faith alone) and they are united spiritually on that uniformity.  

Further, despite of the decline of membership of a one specific Protestant church since independence in 1962 from 52% to 29% however, during the course of the decline, the Constitution of the Independent State of Samoa was well protected, customary lands were well protected, Samoan custom and tradition were well protected, freedom / democracy / Christianity were well protected and the work of God was also well protected.

Not one of any Prime Minister or any Member of Parliament from that one specific Protestant church uses the privileges of Parliament to secretly violate the Constitution of Samoa for personal and political purposes, to attack an defame government CEOs, to attack and defame churches, to threaten Church Ministers and church members and to disturb the peace of societies. 

Mai itu uma o le lalolagi, ua lalau mai le aiafu o faifeau ma o latou faletua ma fanau, le gaoi o faifeau, le valea o faifeau, le pepelo o faifeau, le tau faapologa o faifeau, le milionea o faifeau, le iila o taavale ma fale o faifeau, le maua fua o fanua o faifeau, le lapopo’a o faifeau ma faletua atoa ai ma le talosagaina o le Malo ina ia faoeseaina mai faamalosia mea totino uma a faifeau ma Ekalesia.   

With that in mind, I have decided to share through this letter some facts from the part of history about the dark side of papacy since the 12 century. According to a historian by the name of Peter Derosa (ex-member of the Roman Catholic) he wrote the following in his “Vicars of Christ / The dark side of the papacy.”

 “History explodes the myth of a papacy lily white in the matter of truth. In an age of barbarism, the popes led the pack; in an age of enlightenment, they trailed the field. And their record was worse when, contrary to the Gospel, they tried to impose their truth by force.” 

 “The record of Inquisition would be embarrassing for any organisation; for the Catholic Church it is devastating. Today, prides itself, and with much justification, on being the defender of natural law and the rights of man. The papacy in particular likes to see himself as the champion of morality.”

 “What history shows is that, for more than six centuries without a break, the papacy was the sworn enemy of elementary justice. Of eighty popes in a line from the 13th century, not one of them disapproved of the theology and apparatus of the Inquisition. On the contrary, one after another added his own cruel touches to the workings of this deadly machine.”     

Lord Acton (John Emerich Edward Dahlberg) a historian from the Roman Catholic said the following about history in his letters to Mandell Creighton. 

 “The Inquisition is peculiarly the weapon and peculiarly the work of the popes. It stands out from all those things in which they co-operated, followed or assented as the distinctive feature of a papal Rome. It was set up, renewed and perfected by a long series of acts emanating from the supreme authority in the church.”

 “No other institution, no doctrine, no ceremony is so distinctly the individual creation of the papacy, except the dispensing power. It is the principal thing with which the papacy is identified, and by which it must be judged.”

 “The principal of the Inquisition is the Pope’s sovereign power over life and death. Whosoever disobeys him should be tried and tortured and burnt. If that cannot be done, formalities may be dispensed with, and culprit may be killed like an outlaw. That is to say, the principle of the Inquisition is murderous, and a man’s opinion of the papacy is regulated and determined by his opinion of religious assassination.”     

Generally speaking, since 1962, freedom conquered Samoa because our Government leaders from 1962 led our voyage with peace and love until the master mind of the H.R.P.P established the “Cabinet Handbook 2011” outside of the “Constitution of the Independent State of Samoa” and the “Standing Orders for Parliament.” As a result, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Revenue from the Roman Catholic in Siusega threatens Church Ministers with imprisonment and other severe sentences such as the taking away of Church Ministers’ personal assets.

That sounds very familiar. That sounds like the Roman Catholic Inquisition about torturing and slaughtering of Bible believing Christians who did not follow the Roman Catholic’s system of religion in more than six straight centuries starting from tenth century. Jews and Muslims were not spared. I believe, most of church members of the Roman Catholic, they are not aware about that situation.

In the 12 century, Bishops and Archbishops were acted upon the order of Pope Innocent III with regard to the Inquisition. But Pope Innocent IV was worse than Pope Innocent III. He provided the actual way of how the torture has to be done to suppress those who disagree with the Roman Catholic such as water torture (suffocating), Judas cradle, Advil head crusher, knee splitter, ladder rack, wheel torture, hanging, barrel pillory, Iron Maiden, burning and more.

He provided those structured methods in order to excruciate and inflict pain gradually so that the Bible believing Christians renounce their Biblical faith and their direct relationship with Christ and submit their faith in ordinance of the Roman Catholic. It appears right now that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Revenue; they are following the footsteps of Pope Innocent III and Pope Innocent IV. 

While the Roman Catholic continued to practice torturing and slaughtering of Christians around the same era, Christians on the other hand especially the Christians in Europe continued to keep their faith in Christ until the arrival of other Christians and Scribes who have fled from Constantinople (Turkey) and fought for reformation and was successful. That’s freedom. Can you imagine a world of chaos we would have been in today without the reformation? 

We should celebrate our freedom everyday by following the Gospel of Christ or the law and commandments of God. Our moral duty is following the law and commandments of God because those are our moralities or morals from God. Creating unchristian laws such as the new tax law to tax Church Ministers is not a moral duty. 

If the SOURCE of morals commanded priesthood and tithes as law then how did Rev Vaiao Eteuati support the unchristian tax law by the Government that is against the law of priesthood and tithes but he is a pastor according to the same law of God? They should listen to the voice of members of the church during the Conference.   

Finally, no matter what the Prime Minister has to say about the defense of the Minister of Revenue and the new unchristian and unconstitutional tax law, they are no true. He had no choice but just creating chaos after chaos.

This time he uses his faafafige principle to attack both the faafafige and the Secretary because he cannot find a fact to support their claim. In other words, he and the Minister of Revenue have been literally caught as treasonous and as traitors.  

If we leave politics to politicians, it does not change the FAAVAE O SAMOA for the politicians to follow. Ma le faaaloalo tele lava,

 

Nanai Malonuu Lealaiauloto Nofoaiga

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