Monday, September 27, 2010

The Catholic Defender reunites with John Michael Talbot

It has been several years since I had the chance to see John Michael Talbot perform and what an honor for us to have him come and Minister to our Parish here at Fort Hood Texas.

In the early 1980's a friend and myself were doing presentations on Rock Music through the concerns that we have on the moral decline of our society.

John Michael Talbot met us at Little Portions in Eureka Springs Arkansas giving us his advice and encouragement. He gave me an endorsement on what we were doing.

I still have his consideration and response on our work to this day.
To this day John continues to be true to his commitment to serving Our Lord and His Church.

He is a most gifted musician and he can sing. The Book of Psalms speaks of singing something like 66 times.

That might be one reason why those in monastic life pray them so often. Psalms 9:2-3 says, "I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will declare all your wondrous deeds. I will sing hymns to your name, Most High". I hope that through the fruits of these Ministries, more young people will rise up and fill the need we have today to see their gift of music as a blessing.
I want to thank John Michael Talbot for this amazing mini-mission and his team for their support.

I also want to thank David Nunez, the Catholic Coordinator on Fort Hood and also a member of deepertruth, for helping me arrange this event. We are working to bring more Catholic music events from across the Country.

I feel that this is important not only for our Catholic Artist's, but for our Catholic Community surrounding the Fort Hood area.

The late great Pope John Paul II was loved by millions of teenagers from all over the world. He created he World Youth day celebrations that have affected many.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Catholic Defender: John Michael Talbot at Fort Hood

John Michael Talbot performed several of his older songs and dedicated much of his performance to songs of meditation. This was his first appearance at Fort Hood Texas and it was great to have him here. John shows he is still a very important presence as he dedicated 4 hours of music and teaching for the Fort Hood community. He would give the Gospel reading of the day and give a reflection on the message. There were about 300 in attendance for the concerts. His message is certainly important for our time.
John's ability to get a crowd inspired was noticed as he spoke with great knowledge and inspiration. He wanted to give the people something that would help them in their meditations. He made reference to St. Paul's encouragement to "pray unceasingly" using breathing as a means to pray. When you breath in, reflect on the name of Jesus, and when you breath out, let all those things that are not Christ like in our heart, mind, and soul flow out. John also gave a great testimony of how he began in music learning to play the banjo.

John's testimony of how he became a Christian, his involvement in the musical field, his movement towards Christian Contemporary Music and finally his conversion to the Catholic Faith. What an inspiration and what an example he sets for young people. As the Squires sitting on the front row listened, John spoke to them about the progression of the monastic life. The roots of the Faith demonstrated by the devotion men and women had from the beginning of the Catholic Faith. John spoke about the Rosary in the west prevalent with the Marian prayer and devotion.

John also informed them of the "Jesus Prayer and how this influenced the rosary of the Eastern lung. He made the point that if you took 15 to 20 minutes a day breathing in the Jesus prayer and breathing out the bad habits people may have, he promised that you would soon see a change in yourself. This is important in the light of how easy it is to allow things in your home that takes you away from the gospel life. John also promised that by making such devotion by the time you reached about the 15 minute mark, you will find that you should have about two minutes of deep meditation that will give you peace.

Having John here at Ft. Hood was special to everyone who attended the concerts. Tomorrow they go back to Arkansas to prepare for an annual event with the society in which his team belong. Soon after he will begin another tour starting in Florida. Please keep John and his team in your prayers. It was great to meet all of them. I was privileged to get to know them and they are for real. May the Lord grant them peace and safety as they continue home and beyond, that they are given good health, body, mind, and Spirit. Lord, give them strength to carry on! Amen!

Some day very soon, John Michael Talbot will air on deepertruth to give his testimony. Please keep watch for our advertising here as this will be a great blessing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Catholic Defender Goes Long!

It was 4th down, the game was tied, I went wide right as we were nearing the end of the game.

The Quarterback counts off and the ball is hiked and off I went. I moved inside (left) towards the middle of the field then ran strong right going long.

I sprinted hard to get free. The Quarterback being rushed rolls right and spots me throwing the ball 40 yards.

I remember the ball rising over the outstretched hand of the defender as I was able to flag it down and make the catch for the game winning touchdown. What a great moment for me as this would be the last play I would make with my troops.

At age 53 I felt great that I could still compete with my guys who most of whom were in their early 20's. This was a memorial event for me as I have been a player for more than 25 years in all the unit's I've been associated.

I was actually on 7 post/division championship softball teams. One year we got the chance to play at Walter Reed for a National tournament. We got 5th in the Country that year. I was also able to play on a winning team in Korea. All of this was a lot of fun and I am graced to have been able to participate.

It was great for the morale of all the troops. Going long has been something I have always done, not only on the ball field, but for the Church. Jesus want's us to "go long" for anyone out there who has drifted on their own, who are lost in sin, who are hurting.

This year we have a number of RCIA Catechumans and Candidates who will be received into the Catholic Faith on Easter Vigil! We are just beginning the program the past couple of weeks and the journey is beginning for quite a few people here.

What I think is really awesome about this is that our people adds to those throughout our Diocese and to the whole world. This Easter Vigil millions of people will be received into the Catholic Faith from every nation of the earth.

What a tremendous event this is. As we begin, we pray for the grace to take this opportunity for personal growth. I encourage Catholics to get involved. Many times they get more from RCIA than they did going to CCD or even Catholic School growing up. This week, I will be covering the following questions for discussion:

1. Why Does God Allow Evil?
2. Why Does the Church Have So Many Rules?
3. Why is the Catholic Church Unique?
4. Aren't All Christians 'Saints'?
5. Are Catholics 'Born Again'?

These are some good questions and intended to make people think. I will be covering these in following articles. Just a few days ago, we remembered the events of September 11, 2001. Nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered by Terrorists. Many of us will never forget what happened that day.

Violence and war are a constant reality. Where is God in all of this? Clearly Jesus was present, His death on the cross as He participated in this human mystery. Death is reality as a result of Original Sin. Sin is in the world and that brought in death.

There are many examples here and people can relate to much of this from personal experience. What Jesus Accomplished on the cross, He gives us hope and victory. St. Paul writes, "Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" 1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

St. Paul writes, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God's stewardship given ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me" Colossians 1:24-29).

That is the RCIA and that is the goal for Easter Vigil to attain and possess the mysteries of our faith, "Going Long" for the reward that he has promised. The promise of everlasting life.

Friday, September 17, 2010

*BEST OF DTB #21* Thoughts for show refuting the Protestant Solas

Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Christus, Sola Scriptura, Sola Deo Gloria. These are the so-called ''five solas'' that make up the rallying cry of Protestantism's view of how we are saved.

In a nutshell, Protestants contend that we are saved by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone, by the authority of Scripture alone, for His Glory alone.

Now, make no mistake, we are to understand that we are certainly saved by Grace through Faith in Christ, aided by the Scriptures and for His Glory.

but all five of these Protestant doctrines are false..... because God requires our participation in our own salvation and, though it is certainly Christ that is the Author of our salvation, it is the Church that is the means.

God has never acted alone, in the affairs of men, since He created the first man. Does God need man's participation to carry out His will? Of course not. Was Christ's sacrifice at Calvary materially sufficient to save all men? Yes, it was.

The issue isn't what God needs, it is what God wills. We do not have to understand why God has attached Salvation to a Covenant relationship but we do have to understand that He has done so and honor our part of the Covenant.

That is why Grace alone, through Faith alone in Christ alone, by Scripture alone for His Glory alone is Bologna alone..... and not present anywhere in Scripture or Judeo/Christian history.

These five solas were the invention of Martin Luther. They do not appear, expressed or implied, anywhere in the Bible. The only times they are alleged to appear result from verses of scripture that are wrenched from their context and misinterpreted, as we will clearly show.

In the course of exposing these flawed doctrines for what they are, we are going to have expose several protest straw men used frequently to defend them.

The first strawman is the so-called "weak Jesus" argument. This argument holds that the Catholic Jesus is a ''weak Jesus" because He is somehow unable to save us without our assistance. This argument is totally fallacious because it draws a non-existent line between what Christ is able to do according to His omnipotence to what He must do according to His Justice. Christ simply cannot declare an unjust person justified, for to do so acts against His very nature of Justice, which is perfect. Rather than the Catholic Jesus being a "weak Jesus", the protestant Jesus is not a sovereign Jesus.

The second straw man is that Catholicism is a religion of works while protestantism is a religion of faith. This is a fallacy of the "false dilemma" where two choices are presented as the only two options in order to force someone to accept your position. The truth is that real choice is between protestants who believe that Faith consists of verbal and intellectual assent alone and that works are a presumed result of Salvation as a singular and finished event. Catholics, on the other hand, reject both the propositions of salvation by vain, faithless works as espoused in verses like Ephesians 2:8-9 and of work-less faith as espoused in Romans 2 and James 2 and countless other passages. Catholics uphold the two-fold principle that without God we can do nothing, yet through God we can do anything.

The third straw man is that Catholics reject the inerrantcy and inspiration of Holy Scripture. Again, this is a fallacious argument. Scriptural sufficiency is, in no way a logical consequence of Scriptural infallibility. If I quote Jonah 1;17, I quote a passage that is both infallible and inspired but I challenge anyone to tell me that knowing that Jonah was inside a fish for 3 days is sufficient for salvation. The Bible tells us that the teachings of Jesus couldn't fit in all the books written since the beginning of time (John 21:25).

The last straw man is that the Catholic church violates 1 Timothy 2:5 by elevating the Pope, the Priests or the Saints to the position of mediators between God and Man. Ministers are not mediators and they certainly are not mediators between God and Man. Only Christ could perform this role because only He IS God and Man.

With these points made, let us enter into our discussion.

To support their position that Salvation is by Grace alone, Protestants often quote Ephesians 2:8

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God -- 9 not because of works, lest any man should boast.

These verses do indeed tell us several things about salvation.
  1. That we are saved by grace, which is a free gift, undeserved and unmerited.
  2. That that grace is received as a result of faith.
Many protestants assert that this passage says that Salvation is the free gift of God that this passage describes and that Grace is nothing but an expression for God's favor.

This interpretation does extreme violence to the passage. The subject of the sentence is Grace. The verses tell us the attributes of Grace- that it is free and undeserved- and the result of Grace- Salvation. So Grace is a thing, not a disposition.

Verse 7 proves this; 2:7 that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Grace is not God's kindness but something given to us according to God's kindness.

JN 1:16 From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace,

JN 1:17 because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

ACTS 6:8 Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people.

ACTS 11:23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,

ACTS 13:43 After the congregation had dispersed, many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.

ACTS 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they."

EPH 1:7 In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace

EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

EPH 2:7 that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

EPH 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;

EPH 3:2 if, as I suppose, you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for your benefit,

EPH 3:7 Of this I became a minister by the gift of God's grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power.

EPH 3:8 To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,

EPH 4:7 But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.

EPH 4:29 No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

So, Grace is given to us. But why? To find out, you need to go only 1 more verse.
2:10 For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.

By Christ's Grace we are saved for the purpose of doing the good work that has been prepared for us. This means that that Grace must be responded to by works. Works are the completion of Faith (James 2:22). Therefore, Grace alone is refuted because Grace requires a response and it is that response that confirms our faith. There is still no reason for boasting because the grace that enables us to do good works is not a result of our efforts but of God.

To support their contention that Salvation is by faith alone, protestants cannot support any direct proof texts. In fact, the only text that uses the term Faith Alone is one that explicitly refutes it

James 2: 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

There are scores of passages that tie Salvation to works and perseverance. Phillipians 2;12, Matthew 24:13 and Romans 2: 5-10. Matthew chapter 25 explicitly ties works to Salvation. The idea of salvation by only a verbal assent to Faith is absurd and comes from taking certain verses out of context.

One such example is Romans 10:9-13

9 because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. 11 The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. 13 For, "every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."

The biggest mistake one can make (and many do make) is to read this passage out of literary and Biblical context and inject into it that which it does not say. In doing so, one turns the Bible into a mass of contradictions on salvation.

Indeed, conforming to this kind of overly literal translation, this very passage gives 3 different criteria for salvation;

  1. Confessing Jesus' Lordship with your lips and believing God raised Him from the dead. (verse 9).
  2. Believing in Him (Christ) (verse 11)
  3. Calling on the name of the Lord, only. (verse 13)

One can simply take these words and run with them- and many do- but all that does is create confusion with a multitude of passages about salvation.

Out of such absurdly literal interpretations grows the doctrine of Sola Fide- Salvation by "Faith alone". Many people confuse "literal" with "true". The two are not at all synonymous. There are countless scriptures that must be properly interpreted because the literal interpretation would be misleading.

One example of this is a Scripture that has an allegorical meaning;

Revelation 12: 3 And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. 4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth.

Another example is a scripture that loses something in the translation because the English words are not quite compatible;

Luke 14: 26 "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

To take the English translations of these passages, at literal face value, would be ridiculous. So, it is the same with the passage in Romans. How many different versions of salvation can we come up with if we apply this kind of a simplistic, sound byte approach?

There are 3 in the passage above, alone.

  1. Confessing Jesus' Lordship with your lips and believing God raised Him from the dead. (verse 9).
  2. Believing in Him (Christ) (verse 11)
  3. Calling on the name of the Lord, only. (verse 13)

There are so many more.

  1. We are saved by keeping the Commandments (Matthew 19:17)
  2. We are saved by belief only (John 3:16)
  3. We are saved by belief and Baptism (Mark 16:16)
  4. We are saved by Repentance and Baptism (Acts 2:38)
  5. We are saved by Baptism only (1 Peter 3:21)
  6. We are saved by being born again by water and the Holy Spirit (John 3:5)
  7. We are saved by perseverance (Matthew 24:13)
  8. We are saved by Faith, apart from works (Romans 3:28)
  9. We are saved by Works and not by Faith alone (James 2:24)
  10. We are saved by multiplying faith (Matthew 25:14-30)
  11. We are saved by the Corporal works of Mercy (Matthew 25:31-46)
  12. We are saved by advancing in Righteousness (Matthew 5:20)
  13. We are saved by being poor in spirit, pure in heart,meek, merciful, peacemakers who are persecuted (Matthew 5:3-10)
  14. We are saved by producing good fruit as proof of repentance (Matthew 3:7-10)
  15. We are saved by His blood (Romans 5:9).
  16. We are saved by Grace (Acts 15:11)
  17. We are saved by Grace through Faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  18. We are saved by working out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Phillipians 2:12)
  19. We are saved by eating Christ's Body and drinking His blood (John 6:48-58)
  20. We are saved by the Church (Matthew 16:18-19)
  21. We are only saved by forgiveness through those Christ gave the authority to (John 20:23)
  22. We are saved by humility (Matthew 18:2-4)
  23. We are only saved by obedience to earthly religious authority (Romans 13:1-2)
  24. We are only saved if we don't judge (Romans 2:1-3)
I have just given you more than 25 different perspectives on how we are saved. Which one is true? Which is the correct one?

It is silly to simply pick one, interpret it how we choose and run with it. If we are to use Scripture as the model for Salvation, we must use the whole body of Scripture and interpret it as it is, not as we wish it to be. The truth is that all of these verses contain elements of what is required for salvation.

This brings us back to Romans 10, and other proof texts like it, where protestants claim Salvation is only an act of Faith or Belief. The issue is not that the verses are not true, they are.
Yet, they are only true in that which they truly say and not in the meanings that are falsely ascribed to the words.

The entire weight of these passages hinges on the meaning of belief. Protestants want to define belief in it's simplest form- intellectual and verbal assent. In other words, if I assent to a truth in my heart and express that truth with words, then I am saved.

Does the sense of this chapter convey that? no it does not!

The word believe is translated from the greek word pisteusēs which conveys to believe in, to trust in and to lean on. It conveys an active commitment to action. So, it is also true with the word Lord (kurios, meaning authority) and the Word Confess ( omologēsēs, meaning to speak of one mind)

Therefore, what this passage is saying is that you must believe in, lean on and trust Jesus Christ fully, submitting yourself fully to His Lordship and authority and fully accepting and trusting in His resurrection. This is an active, ongoing process.

Notice that it says that if you do this, you will be saved. There is nothing in this passage (or any other, for that matter) that implies Salvation as a singular event.

These passages assure us that those who truly believe in Christ in mind, heart and deed, can have confidence in salvation. Those who believe in vain cannot.

1 John 2: 4 He who says "I know him" but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him:

If Salvation is not by Grace alone nor by Faith alone then, as a consequence, it cannot be by Christ alone, either.

Take the parable of the wedding feast . It illustrates this very clearly.

Matthew 22
1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, 3* and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.' 5 But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.' 10* And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 "But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; 12* and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. 13* Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.' 14 For many are called, but few are chosen."
Let's look at this analogy closely. The King represents the Father, the Bridegroom represents Christ and the Bride represents the Church. The wedding feast represents Christ's mystical marriage to His Bride. Those who are invited first represent the Jews. Those servants who brought the invitations were the prophets. The Jews killed the prophets so the King destroyed them and their city (Jerusalem). [Matthew 23:37, Revelation 17 & 18).

Then the King invited others (The Gentiles). Many came and dined but some came unprepared. they are represented by the foolish servant who showed up without the wedding garment.

This represents those who are not baptized or sanctified.

Revelation 3: 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.

So, you see that Christ offers the invitation but many will refuse the invitation outright. Others will accept the invitation in word but still hold on to their uncleanness.

The result will be the same-

13 Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.' 14 For many are called, but few are chosen."

The attendants represent the Holy Angels and the outer darkness, of course, represents hell.

So, the fact that we must respond to the call (and not just by word but by action as well), refutes the concept of Sola Christus on one level. However, what is meant most by the Protestant claim of Sola Christus (Christ alone) is foundational to another Protestant Sola- Sola Scriptura.

By Christ alone, Protestants assert two things;
  1. That we cannot contribute to our own salvation.
  2. That there is no visible church or ministry or communion of saints that contribute to our salvation.

In asserting that Salvation is through Christ alone, protestants contend that each person is saved individually and personally according to a personal relationship with Christ.

This claim is bound structurally to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura and to the doctrine of Sola Fide. They all must stand together or fall together.

Sola Scriptura is the doctrine that asserts that the only authority we are bound to is Scripture. Further, Protestants contend that we are bound only to the 66 specific books that make up the Protestant canon. Some go even further and maintain that we are bound to a specific translation, namely, The King James version.

The first, and most ironic thing is that there is nothing whatsoever in Scripture that asserts such rubbish but that does not stop Protestants from going to great extents to assert that there is.

Each and every argument presented to defend Sola Scriptura is a non-sequiter that simply does not get them to their destination.

In fact, in their zeal to defend this indefensible doctrine, protestants will invariably misrepresent the Catholic position, whether intentional or not.

Therefore, our starting point must be that on which Protestants and Catholics agree upon regarding scripture.

  1. We both believe Scripture is inspired. That is, we believe Scripture is- in a sense- the Word of God. More accurately, it is a recording of the Word of God.
  2. We both believe that Scripture is free from doctrinal or moral error (infallible). That is, we believe that Scripture itself is free of doctrinal or moral error. This does not always hold true to the interpretation of Scripture. Protestant interpretation of Scripture is free of all kinds of errors!

So, let's move on to the definition of Sola Scriptura. Not my definition, mind you, but theirs;

from the;

The doctrine that the Bible alone1 is the ultimate authority2 was the "Formal Principle" of the Reformation. In 1521 at the historic interrogation of Luther at the Diet of Worms3, he declared his conscience to be captive to the Word of God4 saying, "Unless I am overcome with testimonies from Scripture or with evident reasons -- for I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils, since they have often erred and contradicted one another5 -- I am overcome by the Scripture texts which I have adduced, and my conscience is bound by God's Word." Similarly, the Belgic Confession stated, "We believe that [the] holy Scriptures fully6 contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently7 taught therein...Neither may we consider any8 writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures nor ought we to consider custom or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God... Therefore, we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible9 rule" (VII).

There is more than enough there to declare Sola Scriptura as heretical and even blasphemous but, unfortunately, protestants go even further.

The very words of the Westminster confession assert:

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.10

Let's look at these points closer.
  1. The principle of the Bible alone is expressly refuted by Scripture in so many places it is difficult to count. In Matthew 16:18-20, we are told that the Church has the authority to bind and loose. this is a legal term denoting authority. In Luke 10:16 we are told that He who rejects the words of the Disciple (and by consequence, his successors) rejects Christ and The father. In Matthew 18:15-17, we are told that the Church is the final arbitor of disputes. In 1 Timothy 3:15 we see that the Church is the Pillar and foundation of all truth. In 2 Thessalonians 2:15 were are told to obey all teachings of the Church, written and Oral. In Romans 13:1-2 we are told that rejection of ordained authority- yes it uses the term "ordained"- brings Judgment on us. In Matthew 23:2, we are told that the authority rests in the Chair of Moses and, that it is not dissolved but given to others. (Matthew 21:42-44). The authority of the Church is clear as crystal.
  2. The notion of the Bible as an ultimate authority is absurd and untenable. The Bible is a book! It is a collection of inspired and infallible documents written by men. Each and every book of the Bible is written by men who were authorized and ordained to write, but also to preach. The Bible draws it's authority from men. Men wrote it, translated it, canonized it, interpreted it, printed it, bound it and sold it. The Bible didn't fall from the sky. Without the Old and new Testament Churches, the Bible could never have come to be. The authority rests in the Church. Without the action of men, the Bible will sit on your nightstand and collect dust. It cannot read itself, interpret itself, preach itself . The Scriptures contain the word "Bible" 0 times but the word "Church" more than 100 times. The Bible is not an authority and never claims to be, nor ever can be. The Bible is not divine, nor can it last forever. It is paper and ink. Should we cherish Scripture? Of course! but the idea of Scripture alone is nonsense and, ironically, un-Biblical.
  3. I cannot help but appreciate the fact that Luther defended his heresy at a place called the diet of worms, since that is what he now is.
    Mark 9: 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
  4. The Word of God canard is one of the most circular arguments that protestants use. It goes like this- because the Bible tells us that Scripture is the inspired Word of God, anything that isn't scripture isn't the Word of God. They justify this insidious nonsense by quoting Scripture telling us not to add to the Word of God. This is a circular argument. Only Scripture is the Word of God because Scripture, which is the only Word of God, tells us not to add to the only Word of God, which is Scripture. How anyone could fail to see this argument as fallacious is beyond me. However, the argument is not on fallacious, it is false.

    Romans 10:8 But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); ........
    ............14 But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? 15* And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!"
    2 Thessalonians 2: 15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.
  5. This is not only the fallacy of the unestablished premise (for Luther has only his own word that the church has erred or contradicted itself), but it contradicts the plain promises of Christ that what the Church bound on earth would be bound in heaven (Matthew 16:18-20), that whoever rejected what the Church said rejected Him (Luke 10:16), that He would be with the Church always (Matthew 28:20) and that the Holy spirit would lead it to all truth (John 16:13). All these promises are recorded in Scripture. Luther cannot plausibly infer that all of these scriptures have been broken and still credibly appeal to Scripture. All Christianity stands or falls on these promises.
  6. John 21:25 But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
  7. See note on 6
  8. Since the Scriptures, themselves, are writings of men, this argument is self contradictory.
  9. Since Luther is claiming his own doctrine as Infallible, he has to prove that he speaks with God's infallible authority. Further, by his own logic, he must do so Structurally.
  10. Practical sufficiency is dis-proven practically, in the fact that 33,000 Christian denominations cannot agree on what Scripture teaches Re; Salvation.

This brings us, lastly, to Sola Deo Gloria. To say that Salvation is for God's Glory alone makes God look like an egomaniac. God's Great Glory is exemplified in His Power and Might and Justice but, most of all, in His Great Love and Mercy.

I close with Paul's words to the Romans;

Romans 2:3 Do you suppose, O man, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? 4* Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. 6* For he will render to every man according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11* For God shows no partiality.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Catholic Defender with a word on Training

To reach for the sky, to get where you need to go, you must plan and prepare to obtain the goal. To achieve means you've got to believe in yourself. You got to believe that you can move mountains if you have the faith. "Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about so great a cloud of witnesses, 'let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). We are training ourselves and disciplining ourselves to obtain the goal.

Along the way there will be snares that will be set before you that you must maneuver through. "But refuse profane and old wives fables, and exercise yourself rather towards godliness. For exercise has limited value, but devotion is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:7-9). That is a most wonderful text especially for an athlete. It is so true! As you train for worldly pursuits, keep your eyes on the Kingdom of heaven.

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). St. Jerome once said that "ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ", this should become our field manual. Take the dust off the binders and take another good look at the biblical teachings that give us strength and hope. In order to reach the goal set before you, this field manual will have to become a daily practice. Your word Oh Lord becomes a light unto my path.

The Catholic Faith is really a team effort. "What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled', without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead" (James 2:14-17). We must do the will of the Father, to pick up our cross and follow Him. It is the way of the cross!
Along the journey there will be trials along the way. The Lord gives us the strength that we need to carry our cross. We should do so as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed, willingly not for shameful gain but eagerly. We are not to lord it over them but to serve, to be examples for others to follow (1 Peter 5:1-5). Even though this text is primarily for the leaders of the Church, it is good for all of us to train ourselves in humility. "To know God, love God, and serve God". If we can experience the love of God in our hearts, this brings us joy.
The fruits of the Spirit is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."
(Galatians 5:22)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Catholic Defender at EWTN

Marcus Grodi, Bruce Sullivan and
myself take a picture following the
broadcast live on EWTN. Both Marcus and Bruce will appear on our deepertruth radio show. They are both great Apologists for the Catholic Faith. They had the crowd totally into the show. Marcus was a former Lutheran Minister and Bruce was a former Church of Christ Minister. They were very well received at the show.

I take an opportunity to pose on the set "The Journey Home". This evening is one of the last episodes of "The Journey Home" broadcast live from this location. It will be moved to a location much closer to home for Marcus Grodi. Tonight began the show's 14th year on the set. Great Job Marcus! What a great place to be, some of the great convert stories of our time like Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Steve Ray, Tim Staples, and many more. God is so good!

Marcus Grodi and Bruce Sullivan talking about pre-game warmups which they would knock the ball out of the park. It was a wonderful day for everyone as EWTN has a great team there. Both men were very approachable and happy to meet people. Bruce had two of his Daughters there and they got the chance to see their Dad hit a grand slam this very evening. It was great to have been there! I knew Bruce as we worked together in Kentucky during the Youth 2,000 weekends!

I had the chance to speak with Father Frank Pavone. He will be a guest on deepertruth radio soon as he was very interested to talk to me. He was very gracious with his time, a true man of God who loves the Lord and His Church. He is one of the great spokesman for the unborn child! Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg of you to spare the life of the unborn child, whom I have spiritually adopted.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

*BEST OF DTB #20* My trip to Shanksville

Updated 9/11/10. Listen to our 9/11 tribute show.

Almost eight years to the day of the September 11th attacks, I finally made it to Shanksville, Pennsylvania to see the crash site of United Flight 93.

The crash site is less than 145 miles from home and yet the drive seemed like a trip to another world.

Shanksville and it's surrounds bore no resemblance to Manhattan or Washington DC.

In fact, it is hard to imagine a plane that took off in Newark, NJ (within eye shot of the WTC) wound up here.

Yet, that is exactly what happened. In fact, it was a mere 4 minutes between the time that United flight 93 cleared the runway at Newark to the time that American 11 hit the north tower of the World Trade Center, striking horror into the hearts of all of us.

As I am just getting over my revulsion of two disgusting human beings (Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy) being lionized as heroes, I can once again, focus on the true heroes of that day.

It is commonly stated that 40 people fought to retake that plane but that is not accurate.

The first persons to die that day were passenger Mark Rothenberg and Flight attendant Deborah Welsh. Minutes later, Pilot Jason Dahl and First officer Leroy Homer had also been slain. It was probably Homer's voice on this very disturbing Mayday, Mayday call.

Hilda Marcin was 79. Jane Folger was 73 and her sister-in-law, Patricia Cushing was 69. It is difficult to imagine they played a major role in the attack, probably deferring to the younger crowd. Other older passengers included Donald Peterson and His wife Jean Peterson, and Kristin White- all in their 60's. Collen Fraser was only 4 foot 6 and disabled from a degenerative bone disorder. She almost certainly would not have been able to assist significantly in the assault. John Talignani was on the way to claim the body of his step son who had died in a car accident. Who knows how much fight he had in him?

Christian Adams of Germany was believed to have been the pacifist liberal on board. Edward Felt was locked in the bathroom making an emergency call when the plane went down.

There may be others who, for various reasons, were unlikely to have been on the front lines of the counter attack, but we can be reasonably sure that there were no more than 27 or 28 combatants. The actual number was probably less. In fact, the number we can identify for certain is not more than 10.

Among those of which there can be no doubt are Tom Burnett Jr., who first stated that this was a suicide mission. Burnett was the leader of the group.

It was Todd Beamer who, after praying the Lord's prayer with United operator Lisa Jefferson, spoke those famous words, "Let's Roll!"

Jeremy Glick, a former national judo champion is almost certain to have led the attack and Louis Nacke and Mark Bingham were two tough guys that we can confirm were involved. Unfortunatly for Bingham, he had too much to drink at a friend's birthday party on September 10th (also my birthday) and had to rebook on Flight 93. He nearly missed that flight too, the last passenger to board.

The cockpit voice recorder confirms Alan Beavan and Richard Guadagno were in the fight and we know that Flight attendants Cee Cee Lyles, Wanda Green, Lorraine Bay and Sandy Bradshaw boiled water and procured weapons at the very least. Cee Cee Lyles was a former police officer and she demonstrated she could stay cool under fire.

Friends, and fellow adventures, William Cashman and Patrick Driscoll were on their way to Yosemite National park and it's not unreasonable to assume they joined in.

Donald Greene was the former pilot everyone was trying to get to the front. It seems reasonable to imagine that 20 year old high school football player Toshiya Kuge would have fought. Facing death, one could very plausibly assert 20 somethings Deora Bodley and Nichole Miller would have fought for their lives. Miller is described as a very unselfish person and her parents say that it would have been perfectly natural for her to lay down her life for others. Andrew Garcia is another very likely choice. As a former United Airlines employee and National Guard air traffic controller, he is believed to have offered to help talk the pilot down after they got him in the cockpit. He was very fit for his 62 years and may very well have been a combatant. We do know that Lauren Grandcolas was the EMT who tried to save Mark Rothenberg. She also is known to have loaned her phone to Honor Elizabeth Wainio. Wainio is reported to have said to her mother; "I have to go, they are breaking into the cockpit". That seems to indicate her involvement but we can't be sure.

Joseph Deluca was flying with his girlfriend Linda Gronlund. Although I can find no specific information indicating his involvement in the fight, we do know that leader Tom Burnett was reported to have said "We need every big guy". At 6" 3", 235, Deluca would certainly have qualified. It is unclear how Linda would have assisted.

Marion Britton is one we can eliminate. She was on the phone with her friend Fred until the plane crashed. When he told her about the towers, she said she knew and that two passengers had had their throats cut. Britton told Fred that she knew she was going to die and seemed, I'm sorry to say, too willing to accept that fate without a fight. We do know, however that Britton was on the plane with her Census bureau co-worker Waleska Martinez. Martinez was younger and had a reputation for being a tireless worker and a remarkably energetic person. It is not unreasonable to imagine her joining in the fight.

Georgine Corrigan arrived at Newark Airport early and decided to change flights to United 93, in order to get home earlier, as Flight 93 was scheduled to be a non-stop flight to San Fransisco. Sadly, 15 other passengers also changed their plans to board United 93. She was a pacifist by nature and would not been likely to have been involved in physical attack.

Exactly what happened on that flight and how close they came to saving it, I don't know.

Here is what I do know, for certain....

When I pulled into the fine gray gravel parking lot and exited my truck, I felt those 40 people.

Not just an emotional presence, though certainly that. Not just a Spiritual presence, but that as well.

No, standing on that sacred ground, I felt these people physically. They spoke to my soul and I heard them. "We had lives" they said. "We had fathers and mothers and husbands and wives and children that were stolen from us by practitioners of a barbaric religion of hate that hides behind the mask of peace.

In my heart I know I must do whatever I can do to protect their memory from being defiled by those who would build an Islamic shrine on this site.

Having now been to this site, I can tell you for certain that the orientation of the design makes the least logical sense. It places the entrance near the trees at the place of worst accessibility.

I invite you to visit Alec Rawls Crescent of Betrayal website.

and Never Forget.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

*BEST OF DTB #19* The Catholic Defender: Are Condoms Safe

Year after year the United States Government pours out millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood who is one of the largest Abortion providers in the Country. They are wanting to make Abortion accessable to all nations.

I once told Jane Fanda that if the people of the world would obey the teachings of the Catholic Church, Abortion, AIDS, and all the problems associated with Sexually Transmitted Disease would be gone over night. That has not changed, but the message of the Sexual Revolution is in full swing as if they have conquered.

Homosexual liberation is part of the Progressives agenda and they have the political influence to win due to the Progressives in Government.

Pope Paul VI viewed Abortion as related to Artificial Birth Control (HUMANAE VITAE). They are closely related. The past few years it has been the Government policy to sell condoms as "safe sex". As a result this icon of the Sexual Revolution, has pushed equality for those who push for the Progressive message: Anything goes.

Let's take a good look at some of the results to this new found freedom. In 1964, when the Beatles hit America by storm with the Ed Sullivan show, their song, "I want to hold your hand" at that time was revolutionary.

1 out of every 32 graduating Seniors that year was diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). 1964 was close to the beginning of the Sexual Revolutions beginnings. The next few years saw radical changes and Woodstock would be a voice of a generation.

In 1982, Olivia Newton John had one of her greatest hits "Physical" which says, "I took you to an intimate resturant, then to a suggestive movie, there's nothing left to talking about it, except horizontally,I want to get physical, I want to get animal, I want to hear your body talk". This is a bit more explicit from "I want to hold your hand". That year 1 in 18 graduating Seniors had been diagnosed with a STD.

You push into the 1990's and things really began to heat up. Music really began to become far more ranchy with the creation of "HipHop" and MTV's popularity, the University of Michigan conducted a study finding that the average listener was hooked into the music 8 hours per day. By 1996, HipHop was gaining popularity through their artists such as Ludacris. By this time, 1 out of every 4 graduating Seniors were diagnosed with a STD.

The constant message of sex has it's consequences. Young people will imitate whom they admire and grow into whom the imitate. The Apostles instructed us to imitate their example. Today, our youth have been exposed to a lie that is tearing down the fabric of Society.

Pope Paul VI was very prophetic.

STD's are the most common diseases in America next to the common cold and flu.

12 Million new STD cases are reported each year. That is about 33,000 per day.

45 million Americans are infected with an incurable STD.

There are now more than 60 different kinds of STD's that exist.

20 different STD's are rampant among teenagers.

63% of all STD's occur in persons less than 25 years of age.

STD's infect 3 million teenagers each year and growing.

Last year it was reported that 1 out of 4 girls have been diagnosed down to the age of 12. 60-80% infected with an STD do not develop initial symptoms.

AID's has been a leading cause of death (among 18-25 year olds) despite wonder drugs that help extend life, there is no cure. The following statements reveal the danger condoms present in acquiring STD's:

Dr. Nicholas Fiumara, Former director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said, "In summary, then, it's ineffectiveness makes the condom useless as a prophylactic against gonorrhea, and even under ideal conditions against syphilis".

The U.S. Public Health and Human Services Task Force warned, "The risk of condom failure in anal intercourse is so high that the practice should be avoided entirely-with condoms or without".

Dr. Robert Redfield, AIDS Specialist at the Department of Retroviral Research, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research states, "Condoms are not safe. They're dangerous. Sex with a condom with an infected person is not protected. It's very unprotected. It's very, very dangerous". He goes on to say, "The truth is, condoms are not an appropriate medical or public solution to this epidemic. It's not going to work, and we are losing precious time to re-educate, train and equip our young people on how to avoid becoming a statistic in the AIDS epidemic".

Dr. Harold Jaffee, Chief of Epidemiology for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, refering to AIDS stated, "It is just too dangerous a disease to say that people can do whatever they want as long as they wear a condom".

Dr. Malcolm Potts, Once President of the Family Health International and one of the inventors of condoms lubricated with spermicides, confessed that anyone who tells a person who engages in high-risk behavior to use a condom "is like telling someone who is driving drunk to use a seat belt".

Infectious Disease Specialist Robert C Nobles warned, "Passing out condoms to teenagers is like issuing them squirt guns for a four alarm blaze".

Theresa Crewshaw, M.D., Past President of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, and a member of the Presidential AIDS Commission, says that equating condom use with safe sex "is, in fact playing Russian Roulette. A lot of people will die in this dangerous game".

Recently, Pope Benedict XVI was attacked by the Obama Administration because he said condoms is not a good policy to deal with the AIDS crisis in Africa. The Secualrists and the Progressives will continue to push condoms and the billions spent at Planned Parenthood. Taking what the Scriptures teach and the 2,000 year constant tradition of the Church, I will proclaim the good news of the Lord.

The last real point is what condoms do to the soul, the spiritual death that takes you away from God. Sex outside of marriage is a mortal sin. A condom does not change that fact.

The Catholic Defender: Notre Dame and the far Left, brother

This past week I've been really thinking about where our Country is shifting to. As long as I have known, the United States politically have been center right. Because of recent events the past two years the question must be asked, "What in the world is going on".

What a strange turn of events when Notre Dame would be defient to the Catholic Church. When you would have the President of Notre Dame (Fr. Jenkins) and Norma McCorvey (Roe V Wade Abortion Decision) changing places in the Abortion debate.

Fr. Jenkin's invitation to President Obama clearly defied the National Catholic Bishops Conference directive from 2004. Norma McCorvey's coming to Notre Dame protesting the event really inspired the pro-life cause.

This is just a part of what has been happening in the United States. We have seen Senators who totally decieved the American people who were supposed to be "pro-life" Democrats but caved in at the last second against 70% of the American people to vote for the Obama Health Care program. Abortion is front and center in this bill.

While I was still working for the New Orleans MEPS between 2002 and 2005, USMEPCOM came down with guidance that we were no longer allowed to put up Christmas trees in the MEPS. This was so strange to me. I had a small display in my office, but they made it clear they did not want anything that had a Christian appearance.

The past two weeks I have been thinking about this as we have been preparing to interview Dr. Gregory Thompston. Dr. Thompson was targeted by the ACLU in Southern Missouri to get the 10 Commandments out of the School. They informed him he could not have a bible in his office, they informed him he could not have a cross on his wall, and they informed him he could not give thanks for his meal at the dinning hall in the presence of students.

This is a clear cut attack on his First Amendment Rights! Yet, he was fired because he would not comply. As we are preparing to interview Dr. Thompson, I have been in the the process of getting a contract with John Michael Talbot to play a concert at Fort Hood Texas.

I called up the Public Affairs office wanting to get some promotion for the concert. I was informed they could not help us. I was shocked! I was told that if we were bringing in the Rolling Stones, there would be no problem, but because John Michael Talbot is a Christian, they could not help. I was totally disgusted with what I am being told.

I told him, "This is America, this is not the Old Soviet Union, the Iron Block, this is the United States of America"? Since when are we denied our Christian faith? Why would we be treated as second class citizens? At a time when Soldiers and their families could really enjoy the quality of music John Michael Talbot offers, but the message is vital for so many Soldiers who have seen such evil.

When I was serving in Iraq between 2009 - 2010, our Brigade Chaplain confided to me that Homosexual Activist have gone to the United States Chaplancy that they would have to modify what they preach from the pulpit? Can you believe what is happening?

Early 1985 while I was at Basic Training Fort Jackson, South Carolina, my Platoon was shown a movie of how the Russian Army trained. It was to show us how our counterparts trained compared to our training. After the movie, we were invited by the Drill Sergeant to ask questions. I raised my hand and got permission to speak.

I said, "Drill Sergeant, I do not have a question, but more of a comment". It was interesting to watch how the Russians trained, but there is a major reason I prefered this uniform that I am wearing as opposed to the uniform that they wear. This uniform defends the right to freedom of religion, while our counterparts would think nothing of taking a club and beat up old men, women, and children for hiding in a barn praying to God.

With that people all around began to cheer. The Drill Sergeant was taken back as he was not expecting such a response. After about 30-40 second of everyone busting lose with applause, the Drill Sergeant got his composure and gave that look and as fast as everyone erupted, it got very quiet very quickly.

There is a culture war taking place in our Country and if we do not stand up for our rights we will lose this liberty. Pope Pius XII gave a stern warning concerning the attack on the Faith and the family in the last half of the 20th century and beyond. He said that for a Christian to be a true Christian you would have to be a living martyr.

The attacks on the family and our Faith will be that strong. We need to get back down on our knees and intercede for America. It is not too late. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "and if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land".

Right now we need it as the Secularists have gained the Judicial powerusing Court Judges to usurp the will of the American People. They are legislating from the bench pushing Secualr Humanism and Socialism. We have serious issues today.

I went to Catholic School most of my grade school years, they didn't train me for these kinds of problems. People are losing their faith in a secular enviornment. We need to get back to the basics.

St. Peter instructs us to "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverance, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame" (1 Peter 3:15-16).

A common question asked of me is:

"Did Jesus have brothers according to Catholic teaching and what is your opinion of the Bible and what it says?"

The Gospel of Mark, 6:3, tells us that Jesus was the Son of Mary, "and the brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon. And are not his sisters here with us?" Looking at this off hand, it does not look good for the home team. Why the apparent contradiction?

On 12 August 1994, I was listening to Dr. James Dobson of "Focus on the Family" on WNJK Christian Radio. One of his guests addressed himself as a former Catholic who basically left the Church because he read the bible and found Jesus had brothers. He felt that the Catholic Church was going against the bible. How many times have I heard that? He could not cope with what he believed the bible was stating and what he was raised to believe.

I sat listening to this and realized alot of people have gone astray with this issue. I felt that if only I could have reached him before he became solidified in his apostasy, I might have been able to share with him the truth of the scripture.

The breakdown begins with a language barrier, and social differences in the way society has changed. In the days of Jesus, it was common for close relatives to be part of a family structure. First cousins were regarded as "brothers" and "sisters".

The translation from Greek into English does not explain this. The word "brother" is used in English several times in the New Testament, and only some were literal brothers like James and John. Peter and Andrew were also brothers. However, in Greek, the original meaning could infer to cousins, friends, and countrymen.

The word "brother" is mentioned over 340 times in the bible. When St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:23, he says, "Peace be to the brother,..." which refers to all who love the Lord. Take the case of Mark 6:3 and the "brothers of the Lord",James, John, Judas, and Simon. When compared to Mark 16:40, these brothers can be identified with the help of John 19:25 as the Son's of Mary the wife of Clopas, who is identified by John as the sister to the Mother of Jesus.

Hense, "first cousin"! Things are looking better for the home team. Another peace of evidense I will submitt, take John 19:26, Jesus states, "When Jesus saw his Mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his Mother, 'Woman, behold your Son. Then he said to the disciple, behold your Mother.' And from that hor the disciple took her into his home".

There are two point I want to make:

1. If Jesus would have had brothers, according to jewish Tradition, Mary would have stayed with the next eldest brother.

2. Traditionally, John is considered by the Church to be the youngest disciple and most capable for this job in view of the missionary activity the Apostle took.

His role of 'Bishop' would not have been an advantage for Mary if she would have had other sons. Consequently, the followers of the Apostles such as St Ignatius of Antioch, St. Polycarp, St. Ireaneous of Lyons echoed Mary as "Mother of the Church".

It is well established from the writing of the Saints throughout the ages of the Church that Mary remained 'ever virgin". Some monk in the Middle Ages did not discover this teaching, but it has been handed down from the beginning.

I believe that current attempts to raise this issue of brothers of the Lord, are derived in closer observation, an attack on Mary. The teachings on Mary such as the Assuption, Coronation for example. None of the first Protestants rejected Mary or the teaching concerning him.

Later when the bible became the sole rule of their faith, and this not explicitly defined, the outcome is obvious. The Catholic Church must be faithful to that Apostolic Tradition which helps keep God's revelation in His word unchanging.

The issues facing the Catholic Church in the United States today, from the Secularist and the Extreme Protestant, are very simular in an unholy alliance. St. Jude states, "I now feel a need to write to encourage you to contend for the Faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones. Let us work towards understanding growing in knowledge, using wisdom to trust God in His faithfulness to His word. We need to cooperate with His will.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Catholic Defender: The Breaking of the Bread

On September 16, 2007 while deployed to Iraq, I was preparing a number of Soldiers who were going to receive their first Holy Communion. I wrote this piece:
This morning went very well, but it had a couple of twists! It begins when one of the Candidates arrives with their sponsor. Being cordial, I simply asked him how long he had been in Iraq. He responded that he had been here almost 9 months. I asked him what Mass he went to because I never seen him before.
At this point, he admitted that he had not been to Mass since he got here. I was surprised by that and asked him how he hadn't been to Mass in 9 months, what kind of missions did he do that kept him from going. He admitted he just preferred to sleep in on Sunday.
Considering we have Mass at Division at 10:30 and at Warrior chapel at 13:00 I began to challenge him. I noticed he had no wedding ring, but I asked him if he planned to get married some day. He responded yes! I asked him if he would want to kiss his wife when he got married.
He said all the time. I asked him what he would think if his wife would tell him she would kiss him once a year, on their Wedding anniversary or perhaps on another special day of the year. He looked at me like that would not fly well with him.

Then I told him he was acting like the wife to the Lord. I told him that Matthew 26:28 said "This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting Covenant, it will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven, do this in memory of me". When you go to Communion, you renew the Covenant with Him.
At this point, Father just entered and I told him he needed to go to Confession. He was very surprised, but he was glad to go with Father. He came back a few minutes later actually feeling much better and glad he went. It was a great moment as it was good for our converts to see.
The other situation occurred when I was reminding those receiving their first communion that the Priest was going to say, "The body of Christ" and they were to respond, "Amen". I then stated that in doing so, you are receiving the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. That it wasn't symbolic as John Calvin had taught, but it was real.
At this point, I was getting ready to place everyone in line for procession when the Division "Protestant" Chaplain called me into another room and told me to have a seat. As I sat down he asked me what I thought of Jack Chick? I responded to him that Jack Chick is a liar, gave him the example about his story of Alberto Rivera who claimed to be ordained a Catholic Priest in Spain to undermine Protestant churches in Brazil.

I told him that "Christianity Today", a respected Protestant magazine exposed the story as Alberto Rivera was actually in a Protestant seminary in Jamaica, married with two children. Jack Chick is a liar as there are many such examples. Plus he preaches hate towards Catholics.
I then compared it to the Chaplain telling him that if I planted falsehoods about his church carrying bombs in their basements with the purpose of attacking Washington D.C., I'd be doing his religion an injustice.

I don't think the Chaplain expected this kind of response from me. He didn't like my reference to John Calvin, but I did not speak ill of Calvin here, nor did I speak a falsehood about him. I was merely reinforcing the truth of the Gospel and giving the distinction.
I told Father about it later, he said this was the same Protestant Chaplain that was giving him a problem. He was also the same one who tried to make it difficult to pray the rosary and hold a Catholic Bible study.
I think he wants a generic Christianity that has no differences or not distinctions. I thought it was weird, especially since he did this right before Mass causing us to begin late.
In remembering this story, it reminds me of the importance of the Mass, that we must be in the state of Grace when we receive the Eucharist. Where does all this controversy begin? Some people refer to it as a 'ritual' calling it a pagan practice.

The controversy over ‘the breaking of bread’ begins with Jesus and his early followers during Christ’s ‘bread of life’ discourse. Some of his followers began to fall away (John 5:22-59). Even his own disciples murmured amongst themselves (John 6:60-70).
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day” (John 6:53,54).

Jesus often explained his parables to his disciples. In the case of the breaking of bread, Jesus reaffirms and clarifies his teaching (John 6:53-58). Jesus directly asks the Apostles if they too would like to leave (John 6:67).

Every Believer should respond with St. Peter as he states, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life….”(John 6:68). It was here that Judas began to break (John 6:64-71), and he broke the night it was given (John 13:21-30).
Scripture makes clear that the apostles recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:35). St. Paul wrote that if you didn't recognize Jesus’ body in the breaking of bread, “you bring judgment to yourself” (I Corinthians 11:29). The other apostles were in unison with this teaching (Acts 2:42-47).

St. Ignatius of Antioch, ordained as Bishop by the Apostle Peter, urged believers to "partake of one Eucharist, for one is the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one the cup to unite us with His blood.” St. Ignatius also warned the Ephesians that if they “abstain from the Eucharistic Celebration because of their doubts, they will die in their doubts.” During the middle of the second century, St. Justin the Martyr states, “on the day which is called ‘Sunday,’ we have a common assembly….The Eucharistic elements are distributed and consumed.”

This is the teaching of the Catholic Church from the very beginning: In the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is truly present; body, blood, soul and divinity. Jesus instructed the Apostles to proclaim this fact (Matthew 28:16-20).
As the Church grew under persecution during the first three centuries, the pagans thought we were cannibals because of false rumors and misrepresentations that were spread about the Christians. The Mass was done in secret because it was against Roman law.

In the year 258 A. D., Tarcisius, a young boy became the first martyr for the Eucharist. While taking consecrated Hosts to Christians in prison, he was caught and killed by Roman soldiers. They could not open his hands which held the blessed Sacrament. Our Lord was not desecrated and clearly Tarcisius recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread.
A Eucharistic miracle occurred in early 700 A. D. A priest began to have doubts about the real presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. To show the priest the error of his ways, the Host transformed into flesh and the wine transformed into blood during the moment of consecration.
This act of God is known as ‘The Miracle of Lanciano and is kept in the Church of St. Francis, Italy. Millions of pilgrims have traveled to this site to view this now 1300-year old miracle. The Vatican recently ordered an investigation. A number of medical professionals from respected universities such as Turin and Florence spent two years conducting a thorough investigation.
They determined the flesh to be cardiac, i.e., from the heart. Furthermore, rigor mortis had not occurred, implying that the heart tissue was yet living. The examiners called it ‘incorrupt.’ The blood (which had coagulated into five blood clots as the centuries passed) was determined to be in a petrified state, but upon liquefaction of a particle of the blood, tests showed that protein and chemical compounds were wholly present.

The blood type is AB positive, the same type blood discovered on the shroud of Turin, the fabric that served Jesus Christ as His burial cloth. Another unique finding was that the blood revealed it held a feminine characteristic. What is interesting about that point is Jesus had no earthly Father. He got his DNA from His Mother, Mary.

I use to serve as an NCOIC of a Troop Medical Clinic, I was responsible for all the lab, including the drawing of blood for all kinds of testing. I went to our local hospital and ask what happens to the blood when exposed to air.
I found that blood begins to decompose after 15 minutes. Blood in test tubes is only good for a few hours. With refrigeration, blood is good for 30 days. The red blood cells begin to die after this period of time.
The blood and flesh of the ‘Miracle of Lanciano has been exposed to the elements for 1300 years, two of those years under intense biochemical observation. There is no natural explanation for ‘The Miracle of Lanciano.’

Some two hundred years after the Lanciano miracle occurred, controversy again appeared. A monk named Ratramnus, in 868 A. D. claimed that the Eucharist could not be the historical Jesus. He believed that it was symbolic rather than corporeal. His teaching was condemned at the Synod of Vercelli.

In 1079, Archdeacon Berenger of Tours favored Ratramnus position, but he later recanted, or repented, to Pope Gregory VII. Other men that would challenge church teaching on the Eucharist prior to the Protestant Reformation were Peter Waldo, founder of the Waldensian heresy, and priests such as John Huss and John Wycliffe.
The latter two were condemned at the Council of Constance in 1415 A. D. During the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation, no one challenged the church on the Eucharist like John Calvin, nor had his impact. Calvin claimed that the Eucharist was merely a memorial and cited Luke 22:19, "do this in memory of me.” His position is held yet today by most fundamental Protestant groups.

The Catholic Church maintains that “in memory” of His death and resurrection, we proclaim the “death of the Lord until He comes” again in glory (I Corinthians 11:26). In our generation, many Catholics appear to have lost faith in the real presence, thus fulfilling the word expressed in I Timothy 4:1-5.
Like the Disciples on the road to Emmaus, the Church has recognized the Lord in the ‘breaking of bread’ for almost 2000 years. It has His protection (Matthew 16:18), His promise (Matthew 28:20, and His Spirit (John 14:15-26).

The question of the Eucharist is really a question of belief. Each Christian must choose to believe God, or choose to believe man. Our Lord Jesus Christ claims His presence in the Eucharist. Whom will you believe?