The following is an email correspondence concerning the whitepaper entitled "The Harlot!":
FIRST EMAIL IN.
From: "Vicky Murphy" <Email Address Removed>
To: <m y c o m m e n t s @ b o r n 2 s e r v e . o r g>
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 6:02 PM
Subject: an observation
I am a lifelong Protestant Christian. I read your website with interest; I agree with much of it. But I was horrified by Mr Mills' discussion of Catholicism. Surely Jesus' central message was to love one another. Currently in this country, we're not doing a very good job of that, and our failure to love and respect those with whom we disagree is leading to deep divisions between us. It is in hopes of taking a small step towards reconciliation that I write you, with a plea to reconsider your
intemperate remarks about the Catholic Church. Surely we have enough to do in caring for our own church organization and helping it to be the best it can be without condemning others. We cannot rise by casting down those we dislike.
Yours in love,
MY FIRST RESPONSE
Dear Ms. Murphy,
Thank you for your comments as well as the spirit in which it was written. Although I am quite sure that I will be unable to "reconsider" my remarks about the Catholic Church", I would like to respond to what you believe to be "intemperate". Unfortunately, I am not sure what exactly you were "horrified" by, nor what you found to be extreme. If you will be so kind as to enlighten me as to what specifically was offensive to you, I will respond in kind.
David C. Mills
HER RESPONSE SECOND EMAIL (RESPONSE TO MY 1ST)
Thank you very much for responding to my email. Your remarks under the rubric "Harlot" are what I find divisive and, yes, offensive (your word!) on what is intended to be a website disseminating Christian doctrine. How does claiming that the harlot in Revelation 17 is the Catholic Church help anyone, Protestant, Catholic or non-Christian, lead a Christian life? As followers of Jesus, aren't we called upon to reconcile, not divide? Most Biblical scholars, as I understand it, think Chapter 17 of Revelation refers to heathen Rome of the time, probably under the reign of Vespasian. But my question is not so much one of interpretation as it is one of motive: why should anti-Catholic invective have any place on a Christian (or any) website? Again, I truly appreciate your taking the time to respond. Even if neither of us changes his/her opinion, I feel there is some value in this dialogue.
Sincerely, Victoria Murphy (Protestant for generations despite the Irish name!)
MY SECOND RESPONSE:
Dear Ms. Murphy,
First, let me start by saying that I myself am not a protestant. I grew up Catholic and am now a Bible believing born-again Christian, whose final authority lies with the Holy and preserved Word of God. I am Baptist by conviction and hold to Baptistic distinctives.
I believe you are correct in stating that "one" of the purposes of the website is to disseminate Christian doctrine, which will by God's grace help Christians in a variety of ways. One way, as you have stated, is that they may lead a more Christ-Like life.
As a review for both of us, for one to lead the Christian life it requires first of all that they be a Christian. It is my assumption that you believe that those in the Catholic faith are such. I will not go into a long dissertation at this time why I do not believe that to be true, (not that there may be some in the Catholic church who are indeed born-again, and need to get out), however I will list some clear doctrinal errors in their teaching which have a bearing on that statement.
Salvation Through The Church
Salvation Through Good Works
The Church Forgives Sins
The One True Church
The Pope: Vicar of Christ
The Pope: Infallible
The Sacraments Save
The Sin of Presumption
Mary: Saved from Birth
Mary: Source of Holiness
Mary: The Intercessor
Mary: Recipient of Prayers
Mary: Queen Over All Things
Praying to Saints
Praying for the Dead
If you would like to talk about any of the above or another Catholic Doctrine (this is not an all inclusive list) I would be glad to.
As followers of Jesus Christ we called upon to reconcile not divide (speaking of those within the body of Christ primary), however we are also called on to "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." We are called on to hold "fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." For those outside the household of faith (those who are not born-again and part of the Body of Christ) we are instructed "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." It however is not possible, when these men are teaching false doctrine.
The Catholic Church is preaching a false gospel that is sending millions (probably billions) to a firey Hell. They are preaching another gospel, contrary to the one in the Word of God. Let's be reminded that the Word of God tells us that "if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
Let me ask you.
...was James acting in such a way when he said "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."?
How about Peter when he said "ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:"?
How about Jesus what he stated, "Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?"?
I could go on an on, but the bottom line is, there is a time to rebuke. Paul stated toward the end of his ministry that he had "fought a good fight", you will notice that that word fight is a military term. As a Christian I am in a battle, as are all Christians, and part of that battle is to defend the faith.
As you stated "Most Biblical scholars, as I understand it, think Chapter 17 of Revelation refers to heathen Rome of the time, probably under the reign of Vespasian." If you read my article, I clearly stated that that was the case and problem. I would encourage you to do a study of Revelation chapter 17, along with Daniel chapters two and seven. If after then you still do not see a clear picture of a revised Roman empire we can talk on this subject again. As a matter of fact, if you would like, I could start a Forum Discussion on the issue and you could join us.
I criticize the Catholic Church again, because they are teaching false, damning heresy that is having an eternal impact on millions upon millions. They need to recognize that it is false doctrine, and not biblical doctrine. My motive is to educate Christians, the lost and even Catholics so that Christ might be glorified.
David C. Mills
HER RESPONSE THIRD EMAIL (RESPONSE TO MY 2ND)
Dear Mr. Mills,
Thanks for your email of several days ago which I read carefully.
I think one of our points of difference is in what constitutes "the Christian life." To me the Christian life is much more about doing than about believing. If one supports the powerless, for example, (working in a soup kitchen, volunteering to tutor in a ghetto school, helping the aged, for example) are these acts not Christian if the one performing them is not a Christian? If a non-Christian, a atheist, say, or a Hindu or Buddhist, is faithful to his wife, does not steal or lie or kill, forgives those that wrong him -- why is that life not as "Christian" as yours or mine-- maybe even more Christian?
The list of the Catholic beliefs you don't consider Christian are certainly beliefs I find untenable -- and in some cases quite irritating! But again, to me the test of a Christian is in how that person applies Christ's love to his/her life. You list the infallibility of the Pope as a doctrinal error, and I'd agree with you. How then can you claim, though, that YOUR interpretation of Biblical texts is infallible? (Possibly, because you were raised a Catholic, you are more accepting of the concept of infallibility than some of the rest of us are.)
I'm not enough of a scholar to get into a discussion of the Book of Daniel -- although I love it for its magnificent language and imagery. One common interpretation, as you know, identifies the predicted four kingdoms as the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman -- the last as the "everlasting" kingdom because the birth of Jesus occurred within that time. There's another more recent theory identifying the fourth kingdom as the Greek empire. I don't know enough to have an informed opinion on all this, except that to identify any of the "kingdoms" as the Catholic Church seems like quite a stretch. Is this really what you mean in your email?
I return to my original observation: that to condemn ANY other religion, whether it calls itself Christian or something else, on the basis of doctrine alone, seems to me deeply wrong. Jesus calls us to love one another, to reconcile our differences, to accept ALL people. In that lovely passage in Romans which you quote:"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all." Paul knew that we cannot always find it possible to live peaceably because we are fallible humans,-- BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN WE CAN'T TRY TO DO SO! To me, this is exactly what Paul is saying in Chaper 12 and also, even more clearly, in Chapter 14.
In the words that we sang this weekend, let's crown America's great good with brotherhood, not accusation and threat of eternal flames.
With cordial greetings, and appreciation of the sacred text we share, Victoria Murphy
MY THIRD RESPONSE:
You started by saying that you read my last email “carefully”. With all due respect, I’m not sure you did.
The Great Commission!
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
He did not say, Go ye and feed them, or cloth them, etc., He said Preach the Gospel. (1 Corinthians 15 - The Gospel is specific in nature) That is the main and central focus of a Christian’s life. It is not one of a social gospel which only helps the physical needs of people; on the contrary it is primarily a spiritual focus. There is a time and need to “help” people physically, however if they die and go to hell that will not do them much good, will it? Indeed, we need to do works meet for repentance, we need to show forth the love of Christ so that those outside of Christ will see His light through us, so that He will be glorified. (Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16) But we must first and foremost make every possible effort to pull them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Ms. Murphy, the Christian life is ALL about believing.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 1 John 5:10
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Indeed, it is commendable for any person to act in a kind and loving matter (as Christ did), in a way, as you have stated, that even some Christians do not act, and that is sad. Do you truly believe that a person can go through life without stealing or lying or killing (in God’s eyes), or not forgiving those that wrong him? The question is not how “good” a person is being. As I said before, there are many who seem to live good lives, but a good life doesn’t get you to heaven. (Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5)
With tears I wonder what kind of protestant you are. Friend, if you don’t see a problem with the list of “Catholic beliefs” that I gave you, and are “quite irritating” by my listing them, I would have to ask you, if you have truly been born-again. These doctrines are clearly defiant toward the Holy Scriptures. You asked by what authority I have to make such claims and “interpretations”, one that the Pope doesn’t, and I say I have the Word of God. You will not find these “Catholic Doctrines” in the bible. Look for them, if you find them you let me know. You will have to go to their extra biblical writings in some cases, and in others the Pope himself. They are unbiblical and that is a fact, and as I have stated already, it is another gospel.
If I misunderstood you about this, I truly apologize, if I am correct; please consider repenting of your sin toward God and trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. Ask him for forgiveness, and ask him to save you. (...The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15)) For more information on what the bible says please see http://www.born2serve.org/how_can_i_be_a_born.htm
You stated: “I return to my original observation: that to condemn ANY other religion, whether it calls itself Christian or something else, on the basis of doctrine alone, seems to me deeply wrong.“
Paul said in Colossians 1:24-28, that his job was to warn and teach every man. One can not teach the whole counsel of God without warning of false doctrines, which include every false religion (all 20,000+) I condemn EVERY religion outside of Biblical Christianity, just as Paul did, and just as my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did.
You are wrong my friend!
God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; Romans 3:4
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1Timothy 2:5
I am wondering, you said early on that you agreed with much of what was on website at Born2Serve Ministries. What exactly did you agree with?
Here is an interesting fact for you to research. Find a Catholic bible and look at the subheading or footnotes of Chapter17 and 18, tell me what you find.
I trust you receive this in the Spirit in which it was written.
David C. Mills
HER RESPONSE FOURTH EMAIL (RESPONSE TO MY 3RD)
Thanks for your prompt response containing lots to think about. I will get back to you in detail in a few days after my husband and I return from a quick visit to kids and grandkids on Thurs -- but I did want to correct one misapprehension: I did NOT say that I was irritated at YOU for having listed those Catholic tenets --it is some of the beliefs themselves I was talking about. Please read that paragraph again. I think I said what I meant quite clearly. I'll get back to you at more length soon.
Yours truly, Victoria Murphy
MY FOURTH RESPONSE:
I reread that sentence several times before responding and honesty was not
sure. Please accept my apology. :)
David C. Mills
HER RESPONSE FIFTH EMAIL (RESPONSE TO MY 3RD) 06/04/05
Dear Mr Mills,
To start with the Bible passages to which you refer. Mark 1:14ff describes Jesus' ability to cast out demons and to relieve people of fear and disabilities, all miracles accomplished through (I believe) his perfect love. "Repent" in that context meant to give up false gods and false practices inconsistent with loving God (and with a loving God) and with loving one another. Today we may repent of following such false gods as wealth and power. I hope you and I can agree on this.
In Colossians 1:24-28, Paul says, as I read it, that each follower of Jesus
must strive through love to become "perfect" and through that perfection to
illustrate the truth and love of Christ. Paul says nothing about condemning
others; just helping others find life through love as Jesus taught. Paul and
Jesus both preached almost exclusively about how to build a strong, loving, non-judgemental
I too am concerned about community and what is required if we Americans are to retain our national community so carefully constructed and supported by those who preceded us. How can you and I contribute to such a community when we so deeply disagree? I hope this correspondence has helped us see some areas in which we DO agree. You and I certainly share a desire to make the world a better place. We share a concern for the less fortunate. We share a commitment to follow the teachings of Jesus. Where we differ is in our interpretation of those teachings.
Briefly, our ideas diverge, I think, around how we relate to other people. As
I see it, if the greatest two commandments are to love God and to love my
neighbor as myself, I should put my energy into practicing that love (not always
easy). And to me, loving another means loving that person as he/she is, not as I
might like him or her to be. If, through seeing and feeling my love and
acceptance, that other person becomes a better person (closer to Christ, if you
like), then I have only demonstrated what Jesus spent his life talking about:
that sharing love turns us all into better, less fearful, more generous and more
You, on the other hand, see those commandments as allowing you to condemn other religions and directing you to persuade others that their salvation lies only in their recognizing Jesus as their savior. Does your attempt to "save" others truly come from your love of others? Or does your conviction that yours is the only path tempt you to think that you are better than those you are trying to persuade? I'm sure your answers to these two questions would be "yes" and "no" respectively, but I ask them because those questions are the first that occur to me when I consider your theological position. Or, put another way, were I to believe as I think you do that proselytizing was what Jesus calls us to, I should have to ask those questions of myself. Incidentally, I find it curious that although the word "love" occurs over 500 times in the Bible, it does not appear at all in the "Statement of Belief" on your "born2serve" website.
Because we are human, not divine, we are tempted to feel pride in our own superiority when we see ourselves as right and good and another as wrong and bad. I have tried very hard not to indulge in this human weakness during our dialogue and I appreciate your having done the same. While deeply objecting to your point of view about other religious groups, I do respect you as a person and as a sincere although misguided follower of Christ. I am also very grateful to you for this correspondence because it has made me think more deeply about my own religious beliefs and practices. We shall never agree with each other but I am glad -- and I hope you are -- that we have had this dialogue.
Perhaps we should end here, agreeing to disagree and still appreciating each other as human beings? What do you think?
Blessings, Victoria Murphy
MY FIFTH RESPONSE:
Respectfully, I have attempted to answer each and every statement and question that you proposed; unfortunately you have not done the same. I believe that if you would have, it would have been beneficial. I will only agree that you do not disagree with me, but the Word of God for there is no private interpretation.
Just so were clear, Jesus condemned religious practices outside of the truth as did many of the disciples. As a matter a fact, Jesus told the Christians of His day not to do the things that the “religious” people of that day were doing. He said in Mathew 6:7 “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. “ Notice the repetition of prayers; sounds a little familiar with the RCC and their rosary, huh? (Rhetorical) As a protestant, did not your denomination form as a result of some condemning the RCC for there beliefs? (Rhetorical)
I pray that you do truly have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and if so will continue to grow in His grace and knowledge. For the record, I love my Saviour, I love people; I hate sin and that is my motive. You stated that we “share a desire to make the world a better place.”, I am sorry but the world will get worse and worse until the Lord returns. My desire is to see souls saved to the glory of God!
I will agree that our conversation will end here. I will be posting our discussion on our forums (without your email address) so that others might weigh in. You are invited to view it or join in on the conversation there if you wish.
Forum Discussion - The Harlot
David C. Mills