Sunday, February 18, 2007

Communion Meditation-Partial Sight

We see partially. Our vision is not fully fixed. Although we were blind, now we see. We have seen Jesus as our Redeemer by faith. When we are told that God has made a way for us into the holy of holies, we look past our sins that block the way and see Jesus beckoning us in as friends. We make our way past the rumblings and threatening of the wrath of God and up to the mercy seat of Jesus. When we arrive there, we see that Jesus has brought the show bread and the blood of the offering. He wants us to eat and drink it. We recoil at the idea but He reassures us that the show bread can be eaten and the blood has been redeemed with good wine made to be drunk by all the saints.

We are surprised to be in this holy place and eating such holy food. We cannot take it all in and cannot comprehend all the various meanings of all the rituals and furniture of the holy place.

Nor, can we see all the benefits of being in such a place. We are like high priests here, who could only enter once a year, but we get to enter every week. We are like king David, eating the shewbread but this is no exception to the rule but the exception has become the rule. We are like the prophets of Old, hearing the very words of God, not occasionally, when the Spirit moves, but every week, words of promise fulfilled. And all without the danger of being harmed by God because of our sinfulness, because we are here with Jesus, at the mercy seat, eating and drinking the peace offering with God. We have become prophet, priests and kings because we partake of the righteousness of God which is Jesus Christ.

So, we understand in part. We have to have faith for the rest. But we see Jesus. We see the bread and the wine. So, we eat and are thankful and we pray that Jesus will touch us again and help us to see more each time that we come into this holy room.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Believing is Seeing

In a church near here, somewhere, there was a man who had lost his eyesight as a fairly young man. He had been an honorable man prior to this but the people in his church figured that he must somehow have deserved his ill fortune. He was eventually reduced to beggary, the people having distanced themselves from him.

One summer, flyers went up announcing that a faith healer was coming to town. The church was fairly modern so they were not overly excited about the news. Many tongues began to wag.

At their church picnic in the park that Sunday, there was a big uproar. The blind man had been sleeping under the bandstand and popped out and asked what was going on. The people from his former church told him that a faith healer was in town and was just now entering the park.

The blind man instantly began yelling, “Faith healer, have mercy on me. Please stop. Faith healer, help me!”

The people from his church were greatly embarrassed and told him to be quiet. One said, “Why are you yelling? Can’t you see that he is nothing?”

But the blind man just looked at him with blank staring eyes.

And the more they told him to shut up the more he shouted up, “Faith healer, have mercy on me. I need your help!”

And the faith healer stopped. He looked towards the dignified and embarrassed church and commanded that whoever had yelled at him needed to come forward. The church members were nonplussed at being spoken to in such a way by that sort of charismatic fellow but they complied nonetheless. The blind man was brought forward.

The faith healer looked at the man and realized that he was not looking back.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

“I want to see.”

The faith healer said, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.”

And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. (Luke 18:43)

But the proud members of the church did not follow. They scoffed.

One of his former friends said, “I knew he wasn’t blind. Imagine us doing a stunt like that. For the life of me, I can’t see why he does such things.”

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

God is a Rock

Yesterday, having said this,

"We must not be afraid to fix that which is broken or to build upon that which is foundational. Whether they be Confessions, Catechisms, or Ecclesiastical Structures."

Today, I must qualify.

I do think these issues are about reformed and reforming, about a cultural clash, protecting sacred ground. So, let me be clear. I am not opposed to sacred ground. Like it very much. And, I readily agree that the Westminster Confession of Faith is sacred ground. But it is not the same kind of sacred ground as Scripture.

None of our men, nor this one, are in a hurry to remodel. We like the building we are in and think it is quite a good one from which to launch attacks on the enemy. The devil, by the way, not other Presbyterians. In fact, most of our men only take a few standard exceptions from the Westminster Confession. The pope is not THE antichrist, some family or church related recreation is permissable and even good on the Lord's Day, and the exception of more substance, that very small children ought to be allowed to the Lord's Table. Basic stuff. Not the kind of exceptions heretics are made of. We readily agree that the Confession of Faith is a good guide for orthodoxy and a ready, at hand, starting point for finding dissent or even heterodoxy. That is, if used properly.

In the discussions that I have had with anti-FV Presbyterians, I have found them to be less confessional than myself. They don't like the fact that baptism confers (Westminster's word) grace, for instance. But we do. Who should take an exception here? This struck me as odd, as the main accusation against our men is that they are not faithful to the confession. It is we FV-ers that are arguing for the right to differ from the confession, as long as we do so Scripturally. We also believe that the Confessions, in theory, can and should be improved. But while arguing for this right, we really don't take it very much. That is good because the men at Westminster were brilliant and gave us a wonderfully crafted document. But it was for their time, for their day, for their issues. It is amazing that it has withstood the test of time and church issues this long. Brilliant.

But think about the answer to Shorter Catechism #4, for instance. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice , goodness and truth.

I like this answer. It is all true. But does it define God very well or give us much insight into His character? Especially to a four or five year old? But more biblical language does this for us. "God is a rock, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of the great tree of His Church." This is a quick start, just looked up a few verses as I wrote. It could be much better written but I propose that even this simple attempt says more about God, not less, than the abstract ideas and doctrines, represented in the shorter catechism. And it does so, in Biblical language. Is this somehow, not being confessional?

Rich Lusk has written a Shorter Catechism-like work with more biblical language answers. However, as far as I know, no one in the CREC or FV-leaning PCA circles has sought to formally add any changes or updates to Westminster. Why? Because we do not have substantive differences. But the Bible has much more to say about God, doctrine and practice than the Confession of Faith was ever intended to say. So, we ought to be able to add. And if it comes to it, we can even subtract. No sin there. No necessary heresy. Just plain old reformation.

Since we are presbyterians, even CREC men, then we should not make changes to a church document willy-nilly or in our own little vacuum. We should seek to do so, as we can, as the broader church. That church is getting harder to find in the micro-p's, split-p soup we call TR Land.

So, where does this leave us? In my opinion, the ones arguing for the culture to be more Scriptural than confessional are more confessional than the true confessors.

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Reformed? or Reformer?

Peter Leithart makes a great point about the current Federal Vision controversies. Leithart says that this debate is creating an identity crisis for Presbyterians, particularly the OPC and PCA.

Another issue that is at stake in all of this is the very nature of reformation. The church is to continue reforming. Reformation was not a once for all-time event. It is necessary that we children of the Reformation do not see ourselves as heirs of a great house that we must struggle to keep up. There is some truth in that. But God requires that we build a house, not just live in one. We must continue to grow individually and corporately.

Of course, any work that truly tears down the house ought to be rejected. We are to build not tear down. But if mistakes have been made, then perhaps parts of the house must be dismantled and refurbished. Besides that, other aspects of the house just are not built yet. We must not be afraid to fix that which is broken or to build upon that which is foundational. Whether they be Confessions, Catechisms, or Ecclesiastical Structures.

Are we Reformed? Or Reforming?

A friend of mine embraced many of our Reformed views after many years of being a Christian. One day, he told me that he was now a 'Reformer.' At the time, I smiled to myself, bemused. He didn't quite understand the nomenclature. We are used to hearing people say, "Well, I give up, now I'm Reformed." But that is wrong and my friend was right.

What are you? Reformed or Reformer?

North/South Face Off

Just finished my annual State of the Church address. I have been studying about the rise of Global South Christianity. Although the state of the Western Church is a bit discouraging, the State of the Church in the world is quite exciting.

Philip Jenkins makes several notable observations in his book, The New Faces of Christianity. He talks a great deal about the contrast of simple, believing Global South Christians and complex, educated Northern Christians. The contrast, in many ways could simply be unbelief vs. belief.

In a world where the words of Jesus take on great importance for everyday survival, he says, "The practical consequences are all too clear if we contrast the teeming congregations of Africa and Asia with the empty churches of post-Christian Europe. In the words of the Magnificat, God has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty." (p. 186)

An interesting contrast for Northern Christians vs. those Christians in Asia, Africa, and South America, where manifest evil and demons are still forces to be reckoned with. "Modern optimism (of the North) means that angels remain quite acceptable to popular belief, while giving credence to demons raises doubts about one's sanity." "Yet the further Christianity moves from ideas of evil (in the North), the less intelligible doctrines such as salvation and redemption become; salvation from what?" (p. 184)

And while we are thankful for science and medicine in the West, it has become a ready excuse for unbelief. "For most Europeans and Americans, healing is a secular, medical function, and has long been so." (p. 185)

It is good for us to think about these things, trying to see them from the perspective of people who live amongst great evil and come from cultures that have lived this way for centuries. The rise of Christ in these nations gives them hope that evil can, in fact, be overcome. While we have some good things to teach them, they also have much to teach us.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

An Honest and Good Heart

I often post our Exhortations and Meditations in this place. I thought I would give you our entire Liturgical form here so you can see how we do this in our church.

Minister: Let us Worship the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Luke 9:1-2 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Minister: Our Father in Heaven, we praise Your Name, for it is great and mighty to save and to heal. We thank You that Your Word has gone out to the ends of the Earth, proclaiming freedom to captives, dispensing with the authority of the devils, curing men of all manner of diseases and announcing the peace of the kingdom of God. We thank You that though we were sick and dead in our sins, You have made us healthy and alive in Christ. Though we were blind, we now see Jesus. Though we were deaf, You have given us ears to hear His Word. Glory be to God in the Highest. Amen.

HYMN OF PRAISE-Psalm 47- All Peoples, Clap Your Hands for Joy-Cantus Christi 87

Luke 8:4-5 4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: 5 A sower went out to sow his seed

That seed is the word of God. There are people who hear this Word who do not really hear it. The devil comes and takes away the Word out of their hearts before they even have time to believe and be saved. Other people hear this Word as if they were a wee bit of soil on a rocky spot. When they first hear the Word of God, they receive it with joy. But since they are on rocky ground, they have no root. They believe for a short time but as soon as some difficulty or temptation comes their way, they fall away.

There are other people who seem to be in good soil. But the soil is also sown with weed and thorn seeds. They get along for a time but eventually they are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

Some hear the word as if they were good ground, well prepared. They have an honest and good heart. They hear the Word and keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. (Luke 8:16-17)

Dear Saints, be careful how you hear the Word of God. If you hear Jesus and have the Word of Life, then more shall be given you. More Word. More life. But if you do not hear and obey, then even what you think you have, which really isn’t much after all, will be taken away from you.

So, come to Jesus, honestly, with an honest and good heart. Honest because you are man, woman or child and He is God. Good because Jesus takes your faith in Him and reckons it as righteous. So, let us confess our sins, seeking Christ.

Luke 8:5-7 and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

Our Father, we confess to You that there are those in Your Church who do not really believe as they should. They have embraced Your Word but are unwilling to let go of the pull of the world. Our Father, we renounce the world and its desires, taking up our crosses and following Jesus. May we look to Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Our Father, prepare our hearts now and ever, to be good and honest soil, ready to receive all the Words of Jesus, to hold them dear, and to keep them until He returns.

Unison: O Lord God, who sees that we do not put our trust in anything that we do; mercifully grant that by Your power we may be defended against all adversity and temptation, through Christ our Lord. We confess our individual sins to You now. (Silent Confession)
Minister: O, Father, we thank You for hearing and forgiving us through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Minister: Rise up, O Saints of God, Forgiven in Christ Jesus.

Luke 8:8-10 8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God:

Dear Saints, those of you who hear the Word of God and seek the Lord Jesus Christ in Spirit and Truth, are the good soil. May you fruit bear 30, 60 and 100 fold. The Lord Jesus is your Lord. In Him, you are forgiven. So, come and worship Him now. Amen.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Warmly Cooling

I'm a bit of a skeptic. I fashion myself a throwback, perhaps all the way back to the medieval age. Or at least back to when men were men, women were women and the weather minded its own business. So, being skeptical is not necessarily throwbackish. Perhaps, as a profession, skepticism is more modern. So perhaps, I am modern, really, in an old fashioned sort of way.

Whence comes all this confusion? Its the weather, I tell you. I can't help it. I remember as a child in Southern Idaho when my winters were long and cold. I used to spit on the wood shed and try to touch the spit as fast as I could to see if it was frozen yet. At -20 F, it would freeze before I touched it. But I hadn't remembered a winter like that for many, many years and now that I am old enough to say things like, "Twenty years ago...", well I suppose I know what I'm talking about. It is definitely getting warmer.

Sure, I was skeptical about global warming, too, until this so-called winter. It was in the 60's and 70's during Christmas break. The flowers were coming up, the Iris's blooms were starting to unfold. It was Spring in December. Global warming was a fact and my skepticism had been undeniably erased by the mere force of brute facts. Facts, I tell you, sure, solid, facts.

So, it was no wonder when I looked out this morning and saw the sun shining that I knew that I had made the correct, reasonable, scientific choice. In fact, since it is so warm, now, I don't even have to start my car five minutes early and let it run so my hands don't freeze on the steering wheel. I'd probably do it if it was cold. But it is nice that it is so warm so I don't have a personal moral dilemma about warming up my car.

Anyway, I headed off to work this morning thinking these great thoughts. What a shock to my system as I walked out the front door. The calm air, the blue sky and the bright sunshine were being selfish, deceitful perhaps, almost liars. They looked so warm and inviting from inside my cozy home. Arctic blastedness! Not so. I wheeled back into my house with an astonished look on my face and headed over to the computer to check the weather. Five degrees! What! On my globally warm Tuesday?

I had time to rethink it all NOW. Good thing I had time to do so, while the car warmed up. Global warming? Pshah!

Got to work and found this article. Peace of mind.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Better than the Witch Doctor?

In The New Faces of Christianity, Philip Jenkins makes a compelling case for the dramatic shift of Christianity around the globe. In fact, he does not have to ‘make a case’ for it at all. The facts are evident for all to see and our role in this is simply to recognize ‘what is’ or not. There are many startling aspects in what is occurring. How we view this depends largely on our view of what God is doing in history.

Much of the rise of Christianity in the global South is occurring among Pentecostals and Charismatics. Those of us with the mature Christian faith of North America may object to the growth of the church in this way. It does not fit our paradigm as to what the modern or mature church ought to be. One aspect of this dynamic growth in the church has been an emphasis on a ‘health and wealth’ gospel. That form of the gospel resonates strongly with a large portion of the world that is sick and poor. They need health and wealth and they are increasingly looking to Jesus to bring it to them.

While I am no proponent of this form of peddling Jesus to the masses, especially in its radically materialistic form here in the States, via the format of the The Blasphemy Network (TBN), I am glad to see the gospel of Jesus preached to those who need His message of salvation.

Tell me, what is worse, North Americans who have a solid, orthodox faith, without any outlandish aspects, who also do not think that prayer, and by implication, Christ, has anything to do with their health and wealth? Or, global South Christians who are still culturally young in the faith, who take the many words of Scripture on this subject, as if God actually meant them? Is it that their doctrine is wrong? Or is it merely an imbalance? Perhaps the expression of a childlike faith? The Scriptures require us to have this kind of faith. It must always be childlike. That is, truly trusting. But it must not stay childish. We must grow up in our understanding of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But could we North Americans not use some balancing of our own in this area?

I am not charismatic. Nor will ever be. I was once, or tried to be, but I failed or did I succeed? I often tried to speak in tongues, but also prayed that God would not let me do so, unless it was real. I never did. And a stint in YWAM in the mid-80's, along with a lot of other goofy stuff, cured me of any charismatics leanings.

I believe the miraculous sign gifts to the church have ceased. Although, after reading Jenkins’ books, it is somewhat difficult to write that sentence. But even the testimony of the early church fathers showed that miracles gradually dissipated from the church over the course of a few hundred years. However, God does not cease to do remarkable things. He makes the sun come up each day. He puts food on my table. He gives me a healthy body. While I can tie these blessings to seemingly scientific data (if I try hard), I must retain the proper view that these blessings occur because they are wrought by the hand of the Governor of Providence. In that sense, they are miraculous.

Global South Christians live in a world where daily survival requires them to have a vibrant faith. Faith in the God who providentially governs daily circumstances is more than just an idea to them. It is no wonder that a health and wealth gospel is appealing. Instead of wagging our heads about this, we should consider this a manifestation of a truly Trinitarian faith. It is anti-Gnostic, and that is good. Consider this quote from Africa, “If the gospel you are preaching does not speak to human needs, it is useless. It cannot compete with the witch doctor and the gods.”

You see, they believe that worshipping the ancestors has real power. They need a power that is stronger and Jesus is it. Granted, we have some syncretism to deal with, some muddy waters to clear out, some false doctrines to clean up. But this is not unlike the issues facing the early Christian Church. We best roll up our sleeves and get at it.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Communion Meditation-Wash Up!

It is good to prepare ourselves for many things. It is unthinking of us and haphazard to just show up. We do this sometimes but to our shame. Sometimes circumstances beyond our control require us to ‘just show up,’ but that should be the exception, not the norm. Some people have a penchant for showing up for just about anything and seldom seem as if they have given even a moment of forethought to the event. They really like that song, “Just as I am.” It has some merit but should ‘just as you were’ perpetually be ‘just as you always are?’

It would be bad manners to come to a meal unprepared. This is true of the most ordinary meals. Wash up, tuck in your shirt, wait for the ladies to sit down. But how much more so for a special occasion? A Thanksgiving feast, the Christmas dinner, an important birthday. Then, the preparations should be even more elaborate. Put on some nice clothes, decorate the room, make sure to ask questions of Suzy on her birthday. We should be constantly looking forward and arriving at places with a sense of preparation, ahead of time, not twenty seconds before or twenty seconds into it.

What we do here, at the Lord's Table, is of the highest importance. We seem to have to use our ordinary meals and special days to inform us how to act here. Really, we should be thinking much better about how to act here and practicing on improving this, so that we know how to act out there.

We ought to come to this meal having prepared. That is the purpose of our service, to prepare us. We go through many steps and think about many things. The right clothes, the right thoughts, the right expectations, the right attitude. And of course, none of this should be on the outside only but what we see on the outside should reflect the reality of what God has done on the inside.

Are you prepared? Did you wash up? Are you minding your manners? If so, then wonderful, we’ll pray and eat presently. And if not, then why not? We gave you plenty of time before calling you to supper. There now, I don’t say that to depress you. Let’s not have any long faces. Sit down and eat anyway. The food is good. The fellowship is splendid. Perhaps the goodness of the meal will make you think more of it the next time you come here to eat. Welcome all.


You’ll notice on our bulletin that this is Septuagesima Sunday. Some of you may hear a similarity in that word to the Septuagint, which was the Greek translation of the Old Testament by the 70 Jewish elders. Septuagesima, seventy days. Strange name, not exactly sure of its historical use but we can let it help us to think like Christians. Some say that it refers to the approximate number of days to Easter. Others to the 70 years of Babylonian exile. Some early Christians began some form of fasting 70 days before Easter. Whatever the exact origin of the word, the dates are clear. It is to be placed three Sundays before Lent or nine Sundays before Easter.

Why do I bring it up here? The main reason I want to discuss it is to point out how differently we think today. Rarely, do we count our days by our religious holidays. If we do so at all, it is because we are just now learning to do so. We think in terms of school years, semesters, Labor Day and Memorial Day, July 4. I know that I do. Our school year runs from Labor Day to Memorial Day. It’s not sinful to do so, per se, but something strikes me as particularly non-Christian about it. It also strikes me as odd that modern day Christians, some Presbyterians at that, object to the keeping of a church calendar. They do so, expressly exchanging it for a secular calendar. There is no other calendrical choice. But the government does not govern time, the Heavenly Governor does.

Also, I want us to think in terms of preparation. We ought to prepare for seasons just like we prepare ourselves for Church. Some of you say, “But I don’t prepare myself for Church.” Well, that is the problem.

Of course, Church should prepare us. Something happens here that changes us and makes us fit for God’s kingdom, battling with the devil, and persevering unto the end. Something analogous occurs when we go to be a guest at someone’s home. We do not come disheveled, exhausted looking or sounding, and all out of sorts, even if we think we need the fellowship and the meal to encourage and nourish us. We make sure we are in a fit condition to enter their house. We talk to the children ahead of time about having good manners. We remember the house rules of our host.

Some of you do not prepare at all to enter the Lord’s house. You do not think about His house, His rules, what trouble He’s gone through to invite you here, what the meal cost, or what a blessing you should be to Him when you get here. Basically, you have shown bad manners. So, come expecting supreme fellowship, consolation for your soul and body. But come, also having prepared your soul and body so that you can be a blessing to Jesus and His body, the saints.

Start thinking about Sunday on Saturday. Prepare your heart and home before you come to church. And then the fellowship, worship, and meal will be an even greater blessing to you. Think more highly of others, your fellow saints and Your Lord, than you do yourself. Where will this take you? I don’t know exactly, for you, but hopefully, we can all learn from this and make some important changes.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Titch of Aceticism

The Reformation was an attempt to reform that which had got bent and out of shape. The Church, the Roman Catholic Church, had become a bloated and ill looking bride. The stated goal of our Lord is that she be without spot or blemish or any such thing. The spots must go. The blemishes, too.

It is interesting that modern day Protestants, perhaps especially we Presbyterian types, see the shadow of Rome looming over many Christian practices. Every attempt at a modern Reformation, even say back to what our Reformers taught and practiced, is seen as another step ‘back to Rome.’ This might include the church calendar, a formal liturgy, robes for ministers, baptizing and communing children, or even regular fasting.

Many of us grew up with RCatholics eating fish on Friday, thought it was weird, and couldn’t even get an answer from our RCatholic friends as to why they did so. Just do, that’s why. But it really isn’t that weird.

I sit here with a fat belly from another lunchtime feast. Food is plentiful in my part of town and I greet it gladly. But I do not want it to be my god, my own personal Buddha to carry around with me. I ought to remind myself often that God is my God, not wealth, not pleasure, not food. What is wrong with eating some simple fare, regularly, to show myself that I can, to focus on the Lord’s goodness, to put down the flesh’s ever-present demands? I’m no Gnostic but what is wrong with a titch of asceticism now and then? Is there no truth in abstaining, even for a season, for the purpose of prayer?

We have not yet put anything like this in practice in our church but I see no biblical reason why it would not be a healthy and wise practice, especially if we insist on the glory of feasting on the Lord’s Day, especially if we practice the principle, not just our own favorite method. Live simply. Eat simply. Rule the flesh. Do not let it rule you.

Feasting on the Lord’s Day. That’s the real rub. Many stodgy Sabbatarian types get it all backwards. Sunday is the fast day. Perhaps that is not what their text books say. Just their voices. Just their faces. Perhaps they don’t abstain from food. Just joy. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Put on a long face.

Stop! Not so! Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. We get to go to church to eat with Jesus and His friends that day. We have the whole day, with an empty agenda, to do whatever the Lord would have us do, with family, with friends. What joy!

But Augustine was not in Rome. “And yet, if any one were to think that the Lord’s Day should be appointed a day of fasting, in the same way as the seventh day is observed by some (the Roman Church of AD 396) such a man would be regarded, and not unjustly, as bringing a great cause of offence into the Church.” (Letters of St. Augustine, Letter XXXVI, AD 396).

His point here is that the Lord’s Day should be a feast day and not a fast day. He proves both points for us. Fasting is allowed and even good. Fasting on the Lord’s Day is an offence to Christ’s Church.

Is this Catholic? I hope so. Is it Roman? Nope. Not in a thousand years.