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Allen Boatwright wrote:

Hi, guys —

I live in Fredericksburg, Texas where there is, in my opinion, a stellar St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, lead for recent years by a man whom I consider to be my brother in Christ and personal friend, Enda McKenna. My wife Helen "Chica" Greenlee is what I, and I believe the leadership of St. Mary's, believe to be a sincere and effective member of this church.

Chica and I have been attending a Catholic Scripture Study (CSS) International's series on Revelation at St. Mary's, and are now up to Lesson 5 of CSS's series on James. I am a member of another church in town generally considered by the Roman Catholic Magisterium to be a congregation of separated brethren having defective doctrine.

The previous sentence is neither a complaint nor a whine, just I believe, a statement of fact between two different churches which are both seeking salvation through Jesus Christ.

Improving my and my congregation's teachings and doctrine would doubtless lessen the separation between our churches. One of the major genuine questions of mine, after many decades of studying and attempting to obey what I've been taught are the Scriptures, is:

What are two or three examples of:

  • teachings
  • doctrines, or
  • lessons (other than history, stories, devotional narrative, commentary, etc.)

  • contained in the what I've been told are called the Deuterocanonical or apocryphal books?

    (i.e., books included in the Roman Catholic Old Testament canon that are either not included, or inadequately included in the generally accepted Protestant translations.)

Hopefully, you will consider this to be, as I intend, a fair and sincere question. For, me and my family, a considered answer to my above question is far more serious than a very bad train wreck!

Yours in Christ,

Allen

  { What are some examples of teachings, doctrines or lessons contained in the Deuterocanonicals? }

John replied:

Hi, Allen —

The Second book of Maccabbees gives us explicit examples of:

  • the dead praying for us, and
  • the living praying for the dead.

Maccabbees records a [vision/dream] experienced by Judas Maccabeus. In this vision, Judas sees the High Priest Onias and the Prophet Jeremiah (both of whom were dead and buried) interceding on behalf of Israel. (2 Maccabbees 15:11-16) While Maccabbees was not included in the Jewish Canon (for political reasons in 90 A.D.), Jews still maintain this belief.

In Second Maccabbees, we also see one chapter where sacrifices are offered for Jews who fell in battle. (2 Maccabees 12:38-46)

Now as Catholics, we believe these doctrines are implicit elsewhere in Scripture but these particular texts are explicit. Second Maccabbees also explicitly mentions the resurrection of the dead. This is rare in the Old Testament. At best it is implicit in the Old Testament.

In addition, the Merits of Martyrdom is also first seen in Maccabbees. These passages are later quoted in Hebrews 11.

The adjuncts to Esther are also important because they include the mention of God. In the Masoretic text there is no mention.

The issue here, is not just the Deuterocanonical books, rather what manuscript of codex is being used. These books are found in the Alexandrian Canon otherwise called Septuagint Text. This is a far older text than the Masoretic Text. The Septuagint dates back to 150 to 250 B.C. The Masoretic Text is a Rabbinic document that is about 1,000 years old. It was purged by the Jewish Rabbis of many Messianic prophecies that pointed to Christ.

The Septuagint was the most promulgated and widely used canon among the Jews throughout the world at the time of Christ. Some of the Palestinian Jews rejected it because they didn't want to accept Maccabbees for political reasons and because it was a Greek Translation but that was about nationalism. They didn't reject the doctrines. Orthodox Jews believe in prayers for the dead and the prayers of the saints.

In 382 A.D. the Church gave us an official Canon. That Canon stood until Luther took out 7 books of the Old Testament on the pretext that they weren't in the current Jewish Canon but the Jewish Canon was put together long after the authority was taken away from them and given to the Church. These same Jews rejected all the writings of their fellow Jews of the New Testament. So their Canon is far from authoritative. Moreover, this was just a pretext. Luther wanted to reject the Communion of Saints and purification after death but he couldn't just toss out Second Maccabbees. That would have been too obvious so he tossed out the Septuagint as a whole.

He also attempted to toss out James and Revelation from the New Testament.

I hope this helps.

John

Allen replied:

Thank you very much, John!!

Your thoughtful response is certainly appreciated! I will study these issues with my wife who is a member of the Roman Catholic Church. I appreciate many of the strong, Godly stands her Church takes on so many vital issues.

May God bless you in your service to Him.

Allen Boatwright

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