In Search of Authentic Universal Christianity

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Although the Bible tells us that Jesus established a Church (Matt. 16:18) and reminds us of our Savior’s desire for Christian unity (John 17:20-21, Eph. 4:16, 4:12-13), we’ve seen a recent explosion of new churches. They claim to be “Bible-based” churches; often they have broken off from some larger church or denomination. With as many as 28,000 different Christian churches today, the mystery to many is <which one is Jesus’ true Church?>

In this article you will learn how to solve that mystery. You’ll be the “gumshoe” (detective) in an interactive scriptural investigation.

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Knowing Enough History to Defend It: Catholic History and Apologetics

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Catholics should be prepared with at least a brief reply to commonly cited events and issues in the Church’s two millennia past. In the words of Blessed John Henry Newman, we need to be Catholics “who know so much of history that (we) can defend it.” We might not be able to change someone’s mind when she asks us about why the Church was so mean to Galileo, but at least we can demonstrate that we know our history. If she’s not willing to listen to a dissertation-length explanation, a few points might help her understand better. The fact that we know may impress her, open the door to more friendly conversation, and grant an opportunity to witness the reason for our joy in being Catholic. This article offers some guidelines and hints for answering these historical questions.

One advantage any Catholic starts with when discussing our history is the position of the Catholic Church as a historic, unique institution. Our Founder entered human history at a definite place and time, established his Church upon St. Peter and the Apostles, and promised to protect and guide it until the end of time, when he returns. With the Father, he sent the Holy Spirit to inspire it; yet he left imperfect humans to lead it as his representatives on earth. St. Peter had denied him thrice before his death on the cross; all but St. John had abandoned him during his Passion. Upon them, he founded the Church and gave them authority.

So the Church is distinctive among institutions in the history of mankind: it is human and yet divine; perfect, yet in need of reform; holy, yet made up of sinners; infallible, yet led by fallen, fallible humans. That’s a hard concept to express to someone outside the Church—sometimes it’s hard for us inside the Church to remember it.

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Concise answers to fundamental questions about the Catholic faith

Do Catholics worship Mary? Why do Catholics emphasize Mary so much?

Timothy it says Jesus is our sole mediator, yet we pray to Mary and the Saints. Is that going against the Bible?

In Romans, chapter 3, it says that none is righteous and that all have sinned, but the Catholic Church teaches that Mary is without sin…could you explain that in light of Romans 3?

Why do Catholics call Mary the Queen of Heaven? Doesn’t God rebuke the Israelites in the O.T. for worshipping a false goddess called the Queen of Heaven? Should we not refer to Mary with that title, therefore, since it is the title of a false goddess?

The Bible clearly says that Jesus had brothers and sisters, but the Catholic Church teaches that Mary was a perpetual virgin…how can you reconcile those seemingly different positions?

See the answers to these questions and more

The Catholic apologist’s universal scriptural reference sheet

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Sola scriptura

Jn 21:25 … not everything is in the Bible.
2 Thess 2:15; 2 Tim 2:2; 1 Cor 11:2; 1 Thess 2:13 … Paul speaks of oral tradition.
Acts 2:42 … early Christians followed apostolic tradition.
2 Pet 3:16 … Bible hard to understand, get distorted.
2 Jn 1:12; 3 Jn 1:13-14 … more oral tradition.
2 Pet 1:20-21 … against personal interpretation.
Acts 8:31; Heb 5:12 … guidance needed to interpret scriptures.


Sola fide

Jas 2:14-26 … what good is faith w/o works?
Heb 10:26 … must avoid sin.
Jas 5:20 … “earning” forgiveness.
Lk 6:46; Mt 7:21; Mt 19:16-21; Jn 5:29 … must do will of God.
1 Cor 9:27 … “buffet my body …”
Phil 2:12; 2 Cor 5:10; Rom 2:6-10, 13, 3:31; Mt 25:32-46; Gal 6:6-10; Rev 20:12 … works have merit.
1 Jn 2:3-4; 1 Jn 3:24; 1 Jn 5:3 … keep commandments.

Salvation (once and for all?)


1 Cor 9:27 … after preaching … I myself disqualified.
1 Cor 10:12 … thinks that he stands … lest he fall.
Phil 2:12 … work out salvation with fear and trembling.
Heb 4:1 … fear of failing to reach salvation.
1 Jn 5:16,17 … some sins are mortal, some not.
Rom 11:21,22 … spare branches, continue or be cut off.


Deuterocanonicals

Deuterocanonicals were used in NT: 2 Mach 6:18-7:42 … Heb 11:35; Wisdom 3:5-6 … 1 Pet 1:6-7; Wisdom 13:1-9 … Rom 1:18-32
Septuagint (Gk, w/ Deuterocanonicals) version of OT quoted in NT, noticably different from Hebrew version: Is 7:14 … Mt 1:23; Is 40:3 … Mt 3:3; Joel 2:30-31 … Acts 2:19-29; Ps 95:7-9 … Heb 3:7-9 etc.


Purgatory…

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The Catholic Treasure Chest Website: Down to Earth Answers To Life’s Heavenly Questions.

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Visit the Site

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The theological art and science of Catholic apologetics

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Truth or friction?

The Catholic Church, since the time of the apostles, has preached the faith as the truth.  I have already quoted St. Peter to the effect that the apostles and their converts “were not following fictitious tales.”  Jesus Christ proved the truth of his assertions about himself by rising from the dead.  As St. Paul explains in Chapter 15 of his first epistle to the Corinthians, the resurrection of Christ was a matter that could be verified with eyewitnesses, not only the apostles, but many others, as well (cf. CCC 641-44).  In addition, the many prophecies that our Lord fulfilled by his birth, life and death, give further proof of the truth of the revelation committed by him to his Church (cf. CCC 156 and 522).  It is with arguments of this kind that we must defend the doctrines of the Catholic Church, not by seeking to prove that the Catholic religion is more useful than any other.

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Stumpers for the Jehovah’s Witnesses

The sect known as Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) began with Charles Taze Russell in the 1870’s. Russell was raised a Presbyterian, then joined the Congregational church, and was finally influenced by Adventist teachings. By his own admission, he had a hard time accepting the existence of hell. He sought out the Bible, and as his “studies” continued, he systematically began to reject the major doctrines of historic Christianity. He ultimately established his own belief system, and in 1879 he started publishing a magazine to promote his beliefs. This magazine was the precursor to today’s Watchtower (WT) magazine, by which Jehovah’s Witnesses are typically known.

In this tract we will examine five topics relating to Russell, the JWs, and their parent organization, the Watch Tower Society (WTS). We will show that the beliefs of JWs are unscriptural, and that both Russell and the WTS are completely unreliable as spiritual guides.

1. Is the Watch Tower Society Reliable?

In 1910 Russell wrote, “If anyone lays the Scripture Studies [short for a 7-volume WTS publication entitled Studies in the Scriptures, hereafter abbreviated as Studies] aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years—if he lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood the Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the Scripture Studies with their references and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he will be in the light at the end of two years . . . ” (WT Reprints, 9-15-1910, 4685). The WTS maintains that it is God’s reliable mouthpiece to the nations, and it claims to be God’s inspired prophet (WT, 4-1-1972, 197)—and yet its prophecies have repeatedly proven to be false. The only conclusion to be drawn is that the WTS is to be rejected as a false prophet.

Among other things, the WTS predicted the following:

1889 “The ‘battle of the great day of God almighty’ (Rev 16:14) which will end in AD 1914 . . . ” (Studies, Vol. 2, 1908 edition, 101).
1891 “With the end of AD 1914, what God calls Babylon, and what men call Christendom, will have passed away, as already shown from prophecy” (Studies, Vol. 3, 153).
1894 “The end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble” (WT Reprints, 1-1-1894, 1605 and 1677).
1897 “Our Lord is now present, since October 1874 AD” (Studies, Vol. 4, 1897 edition, 621).
1916 “The six great 1000 year days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great 7th day, the 1000 years of Christ’s reign began in 1873” (Studies, Vol. 2, p. 2 of foreword).
1917 “Scriptures . . . prove that the Lord’s Second Advent occurred in the fall of 1874” (Studies, Vol. 7, 68).
1918 “Therefore, we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the faithful prophets of old” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 89).
1922 “The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the scriptures than 1914” (WT, 9-1-1922, 262).
1923 “1925 is definitely settled by the scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge” (WT, 4-1-1923, 106).
1925 “The year of 1925 is here. . . . Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year” (WT, 1-1-1925, 3).
1931 “There was a measure of disappointment on the part of Jehovah’s faithful ones on earth concerning the dates 1914, 1918, & 1925 . . . and they also learned to quit fixing dates” (Vindication, 388, 389).
1939 “The disaster of Armageddon is just ahead” (Salvation, 361).
1941 “Armageddon is surely near . . . soon . . . within a few years” (Children, 10).
1946 “Armageddon . . . should come sometime before 1972” (They Have Found a Faith, 44).
1966 “Six thousand years from man’s creation will end in 1975, and the seventh period of a thousand years of human history will begin in the fall of 1975 C.E” (Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, 29).
1968 “The end of the six thousand years of man’s history in the fall of 1975 is not tentative, but is accepted as a certain date” (WT, 1-1-1968, 271).

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Submitted by Doria2

Catholic Scriptures on Suffering

By Lisa Graas

One of the most useful sites on the internet is Scripture Catholic which offers Scripture references for Catholic teaching in a handy indexed format. The site was put together by Catholic apologist and author John Salza. I strongly recommend that you bookmark it.

Below are the references Mr. Salza put together for Catholic teaching on suffering.  Unless we know what actually happened on the Cross, we cannot know the fullness of what God has done for us, so I’m offering these references here for those who suffer and who are having trouble understanding the meaning and value of their sufferings. Also recommended: “Love Beyond All Telling” at the website of the Passionist Nuns of St. Joseph Monastery.

SUFFERING

Matt. 10:38 – Jesus said, “he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Jesus defines discipleship as one’s willingness to suffer with Him. Being a disciple of Jesus not only means having faith in Him, but offering our sufferings to the Father as He did.

Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34 – Jesus said, “if any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus wants us to empty ourselves so that God can fill us. When we suffer, we can choose to seek consolation in God and become closer to Jesus.

Luke 9:23 – Jesus says we must take up this cross daily. He requires us to join our daily temporal sacrifices (pain, inconvenience, worry) with His eternal sacrifice.

Luke 14:27 – Jesus said, “whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” If we reject God because we suffer, we fail to apply the graces that Jesus won for us by His suffering.

John 7:39 – Jesus was first glorified on the cross, not just the resurrection. This text refers to John 19:34, when Jesus was pierced on the cross by the soldier’s lance.

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Editor’s note: Jesus calls on us to voluntarily take up our own individual crosses and follow him. I doubt he ever intended for the institutional church to involuntarily impose the heavy crosses of scandal and corruption on the faithful, but he certainly knew such things would occur.

Evidently, any cross suffered for the cause of Jesus Christ is worth carrying.