19:31 Tuesday, May 11, AD 2021 GMT
Introduction [ Menu ]
Here I tackle a novel doctrine: that God Our Father does not lead anyone into temptation.
Those that have partially established this doctrine have not, that I know of, argued that God has changed. Rather, They argue that Christendom has, for some 2000 years, been mistaken about one of His attributes. For all those years, saints, believers, pontiffs and theologians believed that God Our Father can lead people into temptation. Now some ecumenists and Roman Catholic (R.C.) Episcopates insist that God Our Father never leads anyone into temptation. And They are so sure of Themselves that They revised Bibles and Missals to reflect Their novel concept of God.
Are those Episcopates correct? Was everyone mistaken about this for 2000 years? Is it really true that God does not lead anyone into temptation?
Here I argue that those Episcopates are mistaken. And there are a number of Them. Their novel doctrine is now officially in effect throughout R.C. France and Italy.
Not all R.C. Episcopates accept or insist on the novel doctrine. To keep the two groups of Episcopates separate, I refer to Them that insist on the novel doctrine as Ecumenists.
It seems to me that the Ecumenists really believe in Their novel doctrine and in the revisions that They made. And as I begin, I give Them the benefits of these doubts:
I take Them at Their word, that They really believe that God Our Father never leads people into temptation. Consequently, They really believe that Matthew 6:13, Luke 11:4 and the Lord’s Prayer are errant, and need revision. I give Them that, from Their point of view, They are not trying to make a novel or false god, but to correct an errant belief concerning Him. From Their point of view, They are establishing a more perfect understanding of God, and increasing their holiness.
It must be remembered, however, that all of the above falls apart if Their novel doctrine is false. In that case, Matthew 6:13, Luke 11:4 and the Lord’s Prayer were inerrant, and needed no revision. In that case, to revise them was to wrest them. In that case, the Ecumenists were in error. In that case, They might obtain unity with one another, but that so-called unity would be one wherein everyone that accepts the doctrine goes astray and does not realize it: “All have turned out of the way; they are become unprofitable together” (Romans 3: 10-18).
If you get the impression that I would like to do away with the novel doctrine, you are right. But do not make the mistake of thinking that I want to harm the Episcopates or ecumenists that promote or establish it. I don’t. Do not think of this article as a rationale for violence against Episcopates. It is not. I wish only blessings on the Ecumenists, and all Episcopates, whether or not They seek to establish this errant doctrine.
Here I use the Angelic Doctor's format for addressing questions. That is because I am a fan, and I do not know of a better format:
Question 1: Whether God may lead people into temptation? [ Menu ]
Objection 1: Tempting and leading into temptation are the same thing. Since God does not tempt, He also does not lead into temptation.
I reply that, it is true that, “God is not a tempter”:
Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God. For God is not a tempter of evils, and he tempteth no man. But every man is tempted by his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured. (James 1: 13-14)
However, tempting and leading into temptation are two different actions. In God’s case, there is also a difference in purpose.
The purpose of a tempter is to lead souls astray and cause our ruin, both temporal and eternal. That is never God Our Father’s purpose. When He leads into temptation, His purpose is always noble. It may be to correct or chastise someone. It may be that His Justice demands it. It may be simply to enforce Fear of the Lord. He needs to enforce it, because many people have no fear of Jesus. For instance, some refuse to petition Him as His Son taught: “And lead us not into temptation, ...”. And He has the power to see His noble purpose through to its desired end.
Jesus is to be feared: “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matth. 10:28). There is a tendency in the so-called modern world to think of Jesus as a harmless flower-child. He never was a harmless flower-child, however, when He was here previously and visibly as a human being, His mission was to be made sin for us, and to be executed for our sins:
Him, who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us, that we might be made the justice of God in him. (Second Cor. 5:21)
And incidentally, we see that the Father of Jesus let the world define Him as sin. Will you novel doctrinaires now say that the above passage must be errant, because a good God would never allow the world to define His Son to be sin? If you argue that, you argue against and reject your own salvation, which resulted from God His Father allowing the world to do just that.
The Glory of Jesus as a mighty and fearsome Warrior that can both kill and throw into Hell is real and is coming. The demons know Jesus better than some Christians; they know that He can throw them into Hell. Jesus is to be feared, and His holy Instructions are to be followed, not denied or doubted.
Objection 2: God is just, and a just God would never lead anyone into temptation.
I reply that, because God is omniscient and because His Justice is perfect, He can remain just and lead certain people into temptation. This is not so with us humans. What God in His Wisdom and Omniscience decides that He may do does not apply to us, only to Him. In other words, I do not argue that it would be wise or just for us humans to lead people into temptation. We are not omniscient, nor do we have the power to see our questionably just purposes through to their desired ends. However, whatever God does is by definition just; when He leads someone into temptation, He does not err in any way, or become any less just.
Objection 3: We know from experience that God leads no one into temptation. We therefore rightly conclude that He may not.
On the contrary, no one knows from experience whether God leads people into temptation. There is no objective method from which to construct an inductive argument that God does not lead anyone into temptation. Here is why:
To make an inductive argument that God does not lead people into temptation, we would need to be able to observe God and see whether He leads people into temptation. God can lead people from the background, in such a way that no one can observe Him, and even the person that He led would not realize that He led him.
From the mere fact that someone was tempted, we do not know whether he tempted himself, that is, through his desires, or if some tempter tempted him. If some tempter, we do not know whether the tempter tempted on its own initiative, or someone led the man to the tempter. If someone led him, we do not know who. Maybe God led him. Maybe someone else. We have no objective, empirical way to know any of this.
From an inductive approach, the answer to this question is, “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” (Sir Winston Churchill). No empirical evidence exists from which to decide this question by inductive reasoning.
Objection 4: We know from Scriptures that God leads no one into temptation. We therefore rightly conclude that He may not.
On the contrary, All of the relevant Gospel passages implicitly teach that God may lead people into temptation.
Our best, most reliable data on this question are Matth. 4:1, Matth. 6:13 and Luke 11:4.
In Matth. 4:1, God Our Father sent His Spirit to lead His Only Begotten Son into temptation:
Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. (Matth. 4:1)
The above is one-third of the Gospel evidence that we have regarding this question.
Jesus did not act according to His own Will, but the Will of His Father in Heaven: “Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). The Spirit of God Our Father, and of Jesus—the same Spirit—led Jesus into the desert to be tempted. Thus we see that God Our Father may lead people into temptation. And in this instance, it was for our edification: people did not know that Jesus would overcome temptations, or that He would defeat the devil at his own game—quoting Scriptures—or that He would cast him out.
By leading Jesus into temptation, His Father in Heaven allowed Him to demonstrate His mastery and Authority over the devil. That edified all believers. The Father of Jesus was not evil to lead Him into temptation.
In Matth. 6:13, the disciples had asked Jesus to teach them to pray. And one of the points that He taught was to petition God Our Father, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” What is there about that teaching that people don’t understand?
Jesus said it. I believe it. That settles it! God Our Father may lead people into temptation. The above is a sound conclusion from deductive reasoning, using Matth. 4:1, 6:13, and Luke 11:4 as premises.
Objection 5: Whether or not sound arguments exist that God may not lead people into temptation, the Pontiff has approved our revisions. He has said that God does not lead people into temptation. What more do you want?
I reply that, I want and insist on the truth regarding this question.
I agree that the Italian Episcopal Conference rightly added the word anche to the Italian translation of Matth. 6:12 and the Lord’s Prayer. Anche means also: “And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” anche was missing from the Italian translation, but the Greek word καὶ, which means anche, is present in the Greek manuscript. To his credit, the Pontiff approved that correction.
Regarding the main question, whether God may lead people into temptation, I obviously disagree with the Ecumenists and the Pontiff.
I know that the Ecumenists worked a long time at their new Missal, and I have no knowledge of how they actually proceeded. Maybe at some point They allowed arguments contrary to Their novel doctrine. Maybe they brought in someone to defend the classic doctrine: that God may lead people into temptation. I just disagree with the novel doctrine, that is, that particular outcome of Their proceedings.
It saddens me that the Pontiff fell for the novel doctrine. Probably, he saw all the work that the Ecumenists had done, and how nice their new Missal looked, and approved it because so many Episcopates put so much effort into it, and seemed to believe that what They had done was good. None of that makes Their novel doctrine true. I still ask the question that God asked of Cain: “What have you done?” (from Genesis 4:10)
The Ecumenists’s novel doctrine merely reflects the way that They want God to be. The Gospel evidence supports the classic doctrine, that God may lead people into temptation.
Question 2: Would revising our belief that God Our Father may lead people into temptation harm us, or would that revision be harmless? [ Menu ]
Objection 1: The revision of the classic belief is harmless. God does not actually lead anyone into temptation. And we that believe that have obtained a truer perception of God; we are more advanced than those that do not believe as we do. We have made progress! That can mean only a positive difference in people’s lives.
On the contrary, that novel doctrine is potentially very harmful.
I reply that, the Ecumenists’s novel doctrine is harmless only if it is true. However, as I have argued here, it cannot be proven true; it is only a speculation. And the relevant Gospel verses, if you can find incorrupt versions, say that God can lead people into temptation.
Their novel doctrine is false. And those that follow it could quickly get into trouble. Here’s how:
God in His Wisdom sent His divine Son to instruct us to petition Him, “And lead us not into temptation.” We would be wise to not say to Him, “Father, You never lead anyone into temptation.” That is because we would be inferring that His Son misled us in teaching us how to petition Him.
Inasmuch as people believe that God Our Father never leads anyone into temptation, they would no longer petition Him, “And lead us not into temptation.” In effect, they would say to God, “I refuse to make the petition that Jesus instructed us to make.” By refusing to make it, they would in effect be saying, “Go ahead, God, lead me into temptation.” In addition, they would risk insulting both God Our Father and Jesus by saying, in effect, “I refuse to believe the teaching of Jesus in this matter.” That would lack both wisdom and prudence.
Normally, we do not want to try to restrict God. But in this matter, Jesus recommends that we do. And it seems to me that the only reason that God Our Father permits us to so restrict Him is that He does not want to lead us into temptation. That would be why He sent his divine Son to teach us to petition Him to not lead us into temptation. However, from the fact that He does not want to lead people into temptation, it does not follow that He never does.
Similarly, from the fact that He does not want to throw souls into Hell, it does not follow that He never does. The Justice of God is perfect, and provides standards that He follows regarding things like leading into temptation and throwing into Hell. If we were to develop doctrines to the contrary, and believe them, we would have no reason to fear God. In our minds, He would always be nice regarding us, no matter what we did or failed to do, no matter how wicked we became. We would have made for ourselves a false god to believe in. St. Peter would object from the dust:
And Peter opening his mouth, said: In very deed I perceive, a that God is not a respecter of persons. But in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh justice, is acceptable to him. (Acts 10: 34-35)
And again we see the importance of the Fear of the Lord. In a nutshell, it seems to me that the Ecumenists want to make a god that is not to be feared—an always nice god that never leads people into temptation.
The truth is that God may chastise us: “For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6). God may lead people into temptation. God may hand people over to torturers:
And when he had begun to take the account, one was brought to him, that owed him ten thousand talents. And as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. But that servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And the lord of that servant being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt.
But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants that owed him an hundred pence: and laying hold of him, he throttled him, saying: Pay what thou owest. And his fellow-servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he paid the debt.
Now his fellow servants seeing what was done, were very much grieved, and they came and told their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him; and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me: Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee? And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt.
So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts. (Matth. 18: 24-35)
God may throw people into Hell. God is to be feared and respected. We make a falsely nice god at our own peril. The next thing we would say is, “God is always nice; He will never punish us. Therefore, we need not keep His commandments.” And we would be lost.
God is the ultimate expert at Justice. His Justice is never wrong or in error.
Again, I do not say this of humans. Our justice makes all kinds of errors and is not a sure guide for judges. Only divine Justice and Wisdom are sure guides regarding punishments, which we call, “corrections”, as if throwing someone in jail were no more severe than correcting an errant opinion or doctrine.
Question 3: Would God Our Father answer our wrested petitions? [ Menu ]
Objection 1: Because God is good and merciful, He would answer our wrested petitions. And at this point, what difference does it make? The only effect of our novel doctrine is to revise two Gospel verses and the Lord’s Prayer. We have revised the latter from, ‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’, to, ‘And do not abandon us unto temptation, but liberate us from evil’, and, ‘And let us not enter into temptation, but deliver us from Evil.’ Surely, God will hear and answer our Lord’s Prayer petitions exactly as before.
I answer that, No one argues that God is not good and merciful. But whether He would answer our wrested petitions would be up to Him.
In considering this question, we tend to leave out the second part of Matth. 6:13: “but deliver us from evil.” It perhaps needs to be pointed out that the second part does not stand alone, but is lexically connected to the first. And I wonder, if someone wrests the first, “And do not let us enter into temptation”, would God Our Father answer the second, “but deliver us from evil”?
Maybe some think that I am splitting hairs here. Maybe they think that, surely He will answer the wrested, “And do not let us enter into temptation”, just like He would the incorrupt, “And lead us not into temptation”. However, that would assume that God respects and honors our false doctrine, by which we wrested His holy Writ. I would not make that assumption. And again, how would anyone obtain evidence regarding the truth or untruth of that assumption?
For that reason, it is important that we stick to the holy Doctrine and Words that God gave us. It is not difficult—not until intellectual pride steps in and insists, “Hey wait a minute. God does not lead people into temptation.” At that point, all bets are off, because we are disputing holy Doctrine and wresting Gospel passages. What reason does anyone have to assume that God would honor such corrupted petitions? He sent His Son to give us His Wisdom, then we turn around and say, “No. That’s not right.” What is not right about the Wisdom of God?
Nothing. Everything is right about the classic doctrine and the classic verbiage.
Maybe, after petitioning Him with our wrested first part, “And do not let us enter...”, He might rightly object. We want Him to deliver us from evil, but when are we going to deliver Him from our evil, wherein we reject His Doctrine and revise His holy Words according to our human wisdom, and then expect Him to answer our petitions?
I think that God would be justified to refuse to answer our wrested petitions.