Sneak preview of Rod Bennett’s upcoming book, “Four More Witnesses”

Four More Witnesses In The Early Church: Further Testimony from Christians Before Constantine
Found it here, but not available yet.

My Roman Catholic friend Rod Bennett, gave a sneak pre-view of his upcoming book, “Four More Witnesses”. (in the 2nd half of Gary Michuta’s podcast.) Somehow I stumbled upon this –

https://player.fm/series/hands-on-apologetics/ep-25-jun-21-rod-bennett-four-more-witnesses

It bears repeating that I still love Rod as a friend and miss his creativity and intellect and friendship. He broke off our friendship years ago, apparently because of his commitments to Roman Catholicism. I appreciate that he said he did not want to debate me anymore because of our friendship. (he did not want to hurt me, and thought 8 years was enough and that I was impossible to convince, etc.) See the many articles I have written I have written about this story. (see also under the category of past articles under “Rod Bennett”.

See also here for my 4 part review of his earlier work, “Four Witnesses”.

Somehow I stumbled upon this and I cannot wait until his new book comes out and I can read what he says. He says his “Four More Witnesses are: 1. Hermas (of the Shepherd of Hermas) (140-155 AD), 2. Hippolytus of Rome (died, 235 AD), 3. Clement of Alexandria (died 215 AD), and 4. Origen of Alexandria (253 AD)

Hippolytus of Rome, is the very first clear reference to infant baptism (215 AD) along with Tertullian arguing against infant baptism. (190-200 ?)

Interesting! If you are going to include a heretic like Origen, why not a schismatic like Tertullian? There is much in both Origen and Tertullian to appreciate, and some things to reject for sure. Origen was an amazing scholar, and wrote a lot and even a rich person paid a group of people to follow him around and write everything he said down! (Amazing!) According to scholars and what I have learned, Origen taught the pre-existence of souls (seems really weird), and that even the devil will eventually be saved and that all humans will eventually be saved; and Eusebius reported that he castrated himself ( I realize some scholars dispute that Origen really castrate himself); and also a lot of the very bad allegorical method of interpretation of historical narrative passages and parables come from Origen. I was surprised that he did not choose Tertullian (wrote from around 190-220 AD) and Cyprian (died 258 AD) instead of Hermas and Hippolytus. They wrote much more than Hermas and Hippolytus did! I look forward to his argumentaton. Rod says that Hermas’ views on baptism help us understand it properly.

I look forward to reading Rod’s argumentation and perhaps he will have more than this famous passage in the Shepherd of Hermas:

CHAP. III.

And I said to him, “I should like to continue my questions.” “Speak on,” said he. And I said, “I heard, sir, some teachers maintain that there is no other repentance than that which takes place, when we descended into the water175 and received remission of our former sins.” He said to me, “That was sound doctrine which you heard; for that is really the case. For he who has received remission of his sins ought not to sin any more, but to live in purity. Since, however, you inquire diligently into all things, I will point this also out to you, not as giving occasion for error to those who are to believe, or have lately believed, in the Lord. For those who have now believed, and those who are to believe, have not repentance for their sins; but they have remission of their previous sins. For to those who have been called before these days, the Lord has set repentance. For the Lord, knowing the heart, and foreknowing all things, knew the weakness of men and the manifold wiles of the devil, that he would inflict some evil on the servants of God, and would act wickedly towards them.176 The Lord, therefore, being merciful, has had mercy on the work of His hand, and has set repentance for them; and He has entrusted to me power over this repentance. And therefore I say to you, that if any one is tempted by the devil, and sins after that great and holy calling in which the Lord has called His people to everlasting life,177 he has opportunity to repent but once. But if he should sin frequently after this, and then repent, to such a man his repentance will be of no avail; for with difficulty will he live.”178 And I said, “Sir, I feel that life has come back to me in listening attentively to these commandments; for I know that I shall be saved, if in future I sin no more.” And he said, “You will be saved, you and all who keep these commandments.”

Shepherd of Hermas, Mandate 4, chapter 3. (come other versions the reference is paragraph 31 (The Apostolic Fathers, Lightfoot, Harmer, Holmes, p. 383) see also here on line: https://ccel.org/ccel/hermas/pastor/anf02.ii.iii.iv.html

I must say that that is an amazingly shallow understanding of sin and repentance by this guy Hermas, in saying that after baptism, there is no more repentance for sins committed after baptism. Praise God that the NT teaches us that we will continue to battle against sin until we die (Romans 7:13-25 and into chapter 8; Galatians 5:13-26; Ephesians chapters 5 & 6; Hebrews 12), and that true believers always confess and repent of their sins daily and sometimes all through the day, even after baptism. And praise God that there is continual forgiveness of sins based on Christ’s once for all atonement! Amazing that Hermas wrote this false idea. The NT speaks of believers confessing and repenting of their sins ( 1 John 1:9, see fuller context 1:5-2:2; James 5:13-16) and the meaning of “put off and put on” (Colossians 3:5-11 and Ephesians 4:17-26) is exactly that – to continue to repent of sins, even after baptism.

You can listen here:

https://player.fm/series/hands-on-apologetics/ep-25-jun-21-rod-bennett-four-more-witnesses

The First part of Gary Michuta’s program is massive over-exalting of Mary and prayer to Mary! “For Thou canst do all things. Amen. Virgin Most Powerful, Pray for us!” (did he actually pray this first part to Mary? I cannot tell if the “Thou canst do all things” is to the Lord or to Mary. Nevertheless, it is a crazy practice to pray to Mary as “Virgin most powerful”) Roman Catholics give divine attributes to Mary in prayer, even though officially, they deny that they worship Mary. The distinction between dulia, hyper-dulia, and latria disappears when you really look into this stuff.

Gavin Ortlund is right about prayers to the saints and prayers to Mary. Gavin Ortlund gives many examples of unBiblical prayers to Mary that give Mary descriptions of power and praise in prayer that should only be given to God! Gavin Ortlund mentions that someone re-did all the Psalms into prayers to Mary: (sometimes attributed to Bonaventure (1200s AD) Psalterium majus Beatissimae Mariae Virginis, a reworking of the 150 Psalms of the Latin Psalter into prayers to the Virgin Mary!! Wow!! Blasphemous!

Lutheran pastor, Dr. Jordan Cooper is also right on this issue:

The quotes from Athanasius and other Early church fathers is great!

Rod also mentions the Prot-evangelium of James (2nd century) and the idea of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. This is a false writing, not written by James (none of the 3 main guys named “James” in the NT – 2 of the 12 and the Lord’s half brother). This is a Gnostic tinged work that views the baby Jesus as “beaming out of Mary”, not breaking her hymen.

See more articles on the problems with the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, declared a dogma in 553 AD at the 2nd Council of Constantinople.

One of the main arguments for the Perpetual Virginity of Mary is the earliest literature that imply the PVM are 2nd century non-Canonical texts (Odes of Solomon may be in 3rd Century) “Gnostic tinged” 3 texts that are apocryphal and non-canonical – 1. The Odes of Solomon, 2. The Ascension of Isaiah (also may be in early 3rd century), and 3. The Proto-Evangelium of James. (a second century work) The Odes of Solomon is particularly offensive in speaking about God the Father in that way! (breasts and milk, etc.) These are clearly Gnostic and Gnostic tinged sources. Baby Jesus “beams out” (Star Trek) of Mary without breaking her hymen. James White spent an entire DL program several years ago reading the Proto-Evangelium of James. The details are also in Dr. White’s book, “Mary: Another Redeemer?” (along with the other issues of Marian piety and practices, doctrines, and dogmas)

Listen here where James White reads the relevant texts that formed the basis of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary: 1. The Proto-Evagelium of James, 2. The Odes of Solomon, 3. The Ascension of Isaiah – all false writings from the 2nd and 3rd Century.

About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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