Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What the Quran says about Jesus - One of the strongest apologetics on Islam I've ever seen.

A priest had shared a fascinating video of a convert to Christianity from Islam. I looked up the details, and it turns out this convert named Mario Joseph (probably his conversion name) was not only an Imam, but he also converted to Catholicism (see Here)! I'm surprised this hasn't gotten more attention, and I'm also surprised what Mario said hasn't gotten more attention within Christian apologetics. 

Mario's claim was pretty simple: What does the Quran say about Jesus? Here are some things Mario discovered while still a Muslim:
  • The name "Jesus" appears in the Quran in about 25 verses, while "Mohammed" appears in only about 4 verses of the Quran. [This is significant because even though Mohammed is "mentioned" under different names, the name itself barely appears in 114 chapters of Islam's holy book (more on this later).]
  • The only woman mentioned in the Quran is "Mary the mother of Jesus". There is no other woman mentioned, including no mention of Mohammed's mother. On top of this, two chapters of the Quran are named after Mary. The Quran also says that Mary was born without sin, that Mary never sinned, that Mary was ever virgin, and that Mary was Assumed into Heaven. [This is obviously significant because the Quran repeatedly honors Mary and no other woman!]
  • The Quran says Jesus is "Word of God" and "Spirit of God" and "Christ".
  • The Quran says Jesus (1) spoke normal sentences a few days after his birth, (2) He created a bird out of clay and breathed life into it, making it a real bird, (3) He cured leprosy, blindness, and brought back people from the dead.
  • The Quran says Jesus was taken to Heaven, is still alive, and will come again.
  • The Quran does not say any of these or similar things about Mohammed. Mohammed never performed miracles, never healed anyone. Islam teaches Mohammed is not alive, he died and his tomb is still here, and that he will not come again. 
While Jesus doesn't get much attention in the Quran overall, and in fact is presented in a very shallow way as a mere prophet, it is fascinating that these details are in there (and that Muslims don't even object)! So what does this all mean? A few things. 

First of all, it means that the Quran definitely testifies to Jesus in a way that puts him beyond a mere prophet. This should get any Muslim thinking about why this is. Imagine if the Bible said all kinds of fascinating things about Joseph Smith, that would definitely startle a lot of Christians. 

Second of all, there is a growing scholarly consensus that the man we call Mohammed never actually existed. Catholic author Robert Spencer wrote a book recently called "Did Mohammed Exist?" The question is outrageous on it's face: of course Mohammed existed, there's all kinds of evidence, and no scholar in history has ever doubted it. But wait, it really wasn't until modern times when scholars have even dug into the question! 

The thesis that Robert Spencer holds is that Mohammed never actually existed, and instead Islam was originally a heretical Christian sect and the Quran was originally a Christian Liturgy book. Now when you compare all of what was said about Jesus in the Quran above, this starts to make a lot of sense! The name "Mohammed" means "The Praised One," which is precise who Jesus is. So to go full circle, the evidence suggests that Jesus was "Mohammed" the whole time in that Mohammed ("The Praised One") is another of many titles for Jesus. 

Over time, the heretical Christian sect was taken over by successive warlords, and these warlords started to weave together a new narrative, similar to how Joseph Smith weaved together a narrative of Jesus coming to America.

I know it all sounds outrageous, but as secular scholars become less afraid for their life, this critical scholarship will show more and more a consensus that Mohammed Never Existed. Even those scholars like Bart Ehrman who love to trash Christianity have said he hasn't equally applied his critical scholarship to Islam "because I value my life too much". I hope to write another post soon from more proofs from Robert Spencer's book.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Was there really no Bible until the year AD381?

I'm writing on an urgent matter that I think needs to be addressed within Catholic apologetics, namely the widespread Catholic claim that there was no Bible until Pope Damasus gave us the canon of Scripture in AD381. At best, this is a half truth, and at worst this is an implicit heresy and undermines Christianity. While it might score points against Protestants during a Sola Scriptura discussion, it's a bad argument that does far more harm than good. 

The problem with the "no Bible until 381" claim is that those who make the claim typically have in their mind that in the early Church - sometime after the Apostles died (~AD80) and up to 300 years later (~AD380) - there was mass confusion as to what books were Scripture and what weren't, such that the Pope had to call a Council to settle the matter by sifting through a massive pile of books, some which were inspired and some which were uninspired, and the "result" was the canon of Scripture. This mindset suggests that the Bible wasn't something passed onto us by Tradition, but rather something that was basically invented. The Pope most certainly did not walk into a library and start reading random books and try to "detect" if this or that book should be in the Bible.  In fact, this false 'personally feel out if this book is inspired' method is closer to the Protestant and Mormon approach to the canon of Scripture.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Why Head Coverings blind Protestants.

I think I've formulated a new apologetics argument that should prove fun and (hopefully) fruitful when talking with Protestants. Basically, the way Protestants view the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist is similar to how Paul describes the reason for Head Coverings in 1 Corinthians 11. The result of this line of thinking would not only force Protestants to make Baptism indistinguishable from Eucharist, but also to 'raise' Head Coverings up to the level of a new Sacrament in itself. Let's see where this goes. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

As (Not So) Often As You Do This - another round of the crushing Protestant liturgical dilemma

Though I haven't had much time to blog recently, I wanted to show people a beautiful real-life example of the crushing effectiveness of the Ultimate Catholic Apologetics Argument (UCAA) against Protestants (which I posted about previously). 

A "Reformed Baptist" pastor named Ken at the Protestant apologetics site Beggars All had a post focused on criticizing Catholics for following "traditions of men" rather than the Bible, which turned out to be highly ironic shortly after I brought up the UCAA in the combox. There's no need to read the post or most of the comments, but if you're interested just see the last ten comments or so for how effortlessly the UCAA can take down the most committed "Bible Christian" (see THIS link to take you straight to the last few comments). 

The key post is when I responded to Ken saying, 
[Pastor Ken said]: None of what you say really carries any weight with me, since you are right in the sense that that an order of worship is not laid out word for word, but the general idea is for us to worship God by Scripture, prayer, singing, teaching, etc. and we can arrange the order however we want to and that is not a big deal to me.

[Nick's response]: The main problem I have here is that you haven't actually given any Scriptural verses that say what the "general idea" is for Christian Liturgy. The closest thing you've listed is the Lord's Supper, which you say you only do once a month. I don't even think you've given a verse that says singing is supposed to be done during liturgy.

As for your admission that you only celebrated the Lord's Supper once a month, this is astonishing because either it is part of liturgy or it isn't. If it is part of liturgy, you have no right to only do it 25% of the time. This suggests a person can celebrate the Lord's Supper as rarely as they feel like it, and by extension they can leave out Scripture, prayer, etc, as often as they feel like it. All this reduces down to a liturgical relativism, which really isn't liturgy at all, but more and more a man-made event according to personal taste.
As you can see, Ken was pretty trapped here, because while the Bible does indicate the Eucharist is the essential part of the liturgy, and thus is done "often" (1 Cor 11:26), both Ken and most Evangelicals do not do this that often. And as I also point out, to compound the dilemma they are in, that line of thinking means there is nothing actually essential to the Christian Liturgy, which is ridiculous, and results in the Protestant being able to leave out anything they want on any given Sunday.

Now, it's important to note that while this massive problem didn't bother Ken nor will it trouble most other Protestants, the fact is it should, and I believe that it eventually will bother them. For now, it's great that some seeds were planted. I strongly believe that if more Catholics would start using the UCAA, I swear that this will be the downfall of Westminster Seminary in a few short years.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The ultimate and most effective Catholic apologetics argument against Protestantism.

I have come to the conclusion that the most powerful apologetics argument that a Catholic can make against Protestantism is that their Sunday Liturgy is actually man-made and thus blatant idolatry. Let me explain this more.

The most important duty a human has, regardless even of whether they are a Christian or not, is to worship God. This should be - without a doubt - an obvious truth that everyone can agree upon. Given this, a person must not only worship God, they must do so properly, i.e., they must worship as God has instructed them to do. This means that Liturgy requires divine revelation, because otherwise the person is "worshiping" God based on what sounds good to their human mind...but there is a word for worshiping according to what sounds good to you: it's called idolatry. So the only way to escape idolatry is to worship according to how God has divinely revealed it. Which leads us to the key problem which all Protestants face.

Friday, March 11, 2016

A powerful OT foreshadowing of the Papacy.

A friend of mine pointed out an amazing Old Testament foreshadowing of the Papacy that I'd like to share (and I think it's as important as Isaiah 22:22-23). The passage comes from the conclusion of Genesis, where the Patriarch Jacob (later renamed "Israel," Gen 32:28) was on his deathbed and giving each of his 12 sons (the Twelve Tribes of Israel) a specific blessing. When it came to his son Judah (Genesis 49:8-12), this is part of what Israel said to him:
Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your father's sons shall bow down before you. The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Here Jacob (Father Israel) predicts that the Tribe of Judah would one day come to lead the Twelve Tribes of Israel. As you can probably guess, a Catholic should see a parallel here for the Papal Office, with Peter being one of the Twelve Apostles being selected to be the leader of the other Apostles.

Some might object that if an OT image is not explicitly called out in the New Testament, then the OT image cannot really be said to be a prefigurment/prophecy. But this "rule" simply isn't valid, for the Early Church Fathers were steeped in OT typology, and even though texts such as Genesis 3:15 are never directly quoted in the New Testament, nobody would deny this text is the Proto-Evangelium (i.e. First Gospel). And given that the Twelve Apostles are most certainly premised on the prefigurement of the Twelve Tribes (Matt 19:28; Rev 21:12-14), the notion that there would be other prefigurments is not at all a stretch. 

Another parallel to note is that even after the united 12 Tribes later fell into sin, idolatry, and broke into two kingdoms (the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah), it was clear that God's favor and chosen kingly lineage still remained with Judah (Micah 5:2; Rev 5:5). From this analogy we can gather that even if a Pope were to fall into sin, this in no way entails the Papacy somehow loses it's authority or that schism is ever justified. It was no accident that Saint Paul told the Holy Roman Church, "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." (Rom 16:20; cf Gen 3:15)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Is sinfulness what prevents "Works" from saving us?

I'm glad to say this blog is not dead. I did take a break, but mostly because I was busy with life and didn't have anything new/original to share. I never wanted this blog to be about posting for the sake of posting, so I deliberately limited my number of posts and only would post when I felt I had something worthwhile to share that wasn't the same old apologetics you read anywhere else. 

For this post I want to discuss an interesting twist on the "not saved by works" discussions a Catholic will typically get into with a Protestant. First, the Catholic must understand that, in the Protestant mind, man is absolutely saved by his own works apart from faith and God's grace, but because of sin man is now unable to save himself and must have Jesus do those works for man in man's place. Human works alone (apart from faith and grace) are still what save us in the Protestant mind, the only thing that changes is that now Jesus does that work in man's place. This is completely contrary to the Catholic understanding of salvation, in which man can only be saved by faith and grace, never by his own works no matter how good those works are. I discuss this more HERE

This leads me to the main focus of this post: Did Paul say that the reason why "works" cannot save us is because those works are 'tainted by sin'? That's certainly the typical Protestant answer, but as you will see, that's not the 'plain teaching' of Paul at all. For this post I will look at some of Paul's key salvation 'apart from works' texts. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Penal Substitution is the key to understanding Protestant Evangelicalism.

Over at the CCC Blog I recently posted "Understanding Christ's Cry of Abandonment" and I began by 'predicting' that by Good Friday we'd see a flood of posts from well-educated Protestants (mostly Calvinist/Reformed) who were going to completely botch the meaning of "My God, Why have you abandoned me?" And it turned out, a number of Protestant outlets posted on precisely this.

As you read the following quotes, take note of how the Protestant understanding of the Cross (Penal Substitution), in which they openly speak of "Christ being damned to hell in our place," is directly linked to Justification by Faith Alone and is the heart of the Gospel as Protestants understand it. So if you want to improve your apologetics and dialogue with Protestants, you should be ready to talk about this issue. Even the average Evangelical you run into believes this stuff, they just don't realize this is what they're espousing with their "Just say the Sinner's Prayer" theology.

And now the quotes from famous conservative Protestant ministry blogs (with my highlights). Since it's about 2.5 pages of quotes, I have trimmed them only to cut down on size:

How much did prayer cost God?
March 30, 2015 by Justin Taylor [The Gospel Coalition blog network],

[Quoting Reformed Pastor Tim Keller:] The only time in all the gospels that Jesus Christ prays to God and doesn’t call him Father is on the cross, when he says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus lost his relationship with the Father so that we could have a relationship with God as father. Jesus Christ bore all the eternal punishment that our sins deserve. That is the cost of prayer. Jesus paid the price so God could be our father.
“My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?”  
Mar 30, 2015 by Dr. Pastor Joel Beeke [Ligonier Ministries],
Experiencing the full brunt of His Father’s wrath, Jesus cannot stay silent. He cries out: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Here Jesus descends into the essence of hell, the most extreme suffering ever experienced. It is a time so compacted, so infinite, so horrendous as to be incomprehensible and, seemingly, unsustainable. All the sins of the elect, and the hell that they deserve for eternity, are laid upon Him. With Jesus as our substitute, God’s wrath is satisfied and God can justify those who believe in Jesus (Rom. 3:26). You are immune to condemnation (Rom. 8:1) and to God’s anathema (Gal. 3:13) because Christ bore it for you in that outer darkness. 
This is a beautiful summary of the Protestant understanding of the Gospel. Jesus died in our place, we accept this by Faith Alone, and we can never lose our salvation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Two new posts at CCC: Problems with the Reformed view of Federal Headship and problems with the Reformed view of Liturgy.

I have two new posts up at Creed Code Cult. The first deals with the Reformed doctrine of "Federal Headship" and the problems with seeing salvation strictly in terms of Imputation (from a perspective most people don't think about), and the second is an article that explores the problems with the Reformed approach to Liturgy (and how Sola Scriptura is to blame).

Monday, February 2, 2015

Biblical proof that being "Clothed in Christ" has nothing to do with Protestant Imputation.

HERE is my latest post at Creed Code Cult where I show St Paul certainly did not have the Protestant dogma of "Christ's Imputed Righteousness" (by faith alone) in mind when he said we are "Clothed in Christ."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Traditionalism is the 'right wing' of AmChurch

The "American Catholic Church" (or "AmChurch" as some call it) refers to the Catholic experience in America of practicing the Faith with a "don't tell me what to believe" type attitude that is characteristic of Protestantism. The term is typically used by Traditionalists when speaking of “Liberal Catholics” in America, but the problem is much more serious because the Tradosphere is actually founded upon essentially the same erroneous (Liberal) principles as the AmChurch’s 'left wing'.

Long ago Rome saw these dangers creeping in, and so Pope Leo XIII issued an Encyclical against "Americanism" in which he singled out three big dangers we face:
These dangers are: (1) the confounding of license with liberty; (2) the passion for discussing and pouring contempt upon any possible subject; (3) the assumed right to hold whatever opinions one pleases and to set them forth in print to the world. (Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae)
The first error is the chief characteristic of Liberalism, which states that man is not bound to any law beyond himself, including not bound to Natural Law. The result is that "Liberty" becomes defined as “the right to do or say whatever you want” - which is not true Liberty at all, since it lacks restraints.

Building on the first error, the second and third AmChurch errors listed above immediately find their justification. They now think they have the right to discuss, criticize, pour out contempt upon, and especially publish anything he pleases. This "assumed right" states that one can even smear the reputation of another, protected under the guise of "free speech" (another Liberal error).

Monday, November 17, 2014

A clear prophecy of the Catholic Church in the Old Testament?

Over at the Creed Code Cult blog is an Article on how the Old Testament Prophet Daniel gave an unmistakable prophecy of the Catholic Church as a universal, visible, and everlasting entity on earth. This prophecy doesn't fit with the Protestant understanding of Christ's Church (ecclesiology), which is that of an invisible body and which fell into full apostasy prior to Luther (else there would have been no reason for Luther to break away if there was a faithful remnant already).

I firmly believe this is an awesome and effective apologetics argument to use against Evangelicals.

Update 11-19-14: I have found online an article called “Interpretations of the Kingdom of God in Daneil 2:44” by Gerhard Pfandl (1996). He gives a good summary of the patristic data. The following Patristic sources he cites I was able to find online and verify the quotes:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Is Imputation taught in 2 Corinthians 5:21?

Protestants consider 2 Corinthians 5:21 to be one of the chief Biblical proof texts for for their doctrine of the Imputed Righteousness of Christ. In fact, they put so much emphasis on this verse that a lot of their credibility hangs on it. Given this, I want to provide Catholics with some key information on what to say when speaking with a Protestant on this crucial text, because if you can stop them in their tracks here, you'll have gone a long way towards causing them to rethink everything about their own position and what Catholicism has to offer them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The difference between Catholics and Protestants

Over at Creed, Code, Cult, there is a new post (LINK) briefly discussing the core differences between Catholics and Protestants. People on each side of the fence need to know both their own position as well as the position of those on the other side, otherwise dialogue will never go anywhere. When each side defines key terms very differently, it does no good to simply quote verses, since each side is reading them with their own lens.

There is also an good discussion going on in the comments between me ("Nick") and "Eric," as well as a few others. The other comments are not really on topic, so if you don't have the time, just skim over them (e.g. the person posting by the name "Faith" is going off on his own tangents).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Does Infant Baptism contradict Calvinism?

I wrote an article for Jason Stellman's blog on why I believe Infant Baptism is incompatible with Reformed Theology. Since the Reformed tradition adamantly teaches Infant Baptism is a necessary and orthodox Christian teaching, if Infant Baptism is incompatible with other points of Reformed Theology, it means the Calvinist system is self-refuting and thus false.

The key question is: Does Baptism actually produce a change in the infant? For example, does the act of Baptizing, by the very act, induct an infant into the New Covenant? The answer is either Yes or No. 

If the answer to that question is Yes, then on what basis do the Reformed really have for opposing the Catholic notion of Baptismal Regeneration? None that I can see. Since no text of Scripture limits the effects of Baptism to merely inducting one into the New Covenant, it would naturally imply that if Baptism does something 'automatically' to the infant, then all baptized infants receive the same gifts that the Bible says Baptism bestows. So a Yes answer is obviously unacceptable.

But if the answer to that question is No, then it means Baptism doesn't do anything to the infant, and instead is an external sign of an already existing reality. For example, throwing a birthday party is an outward sign that someone is a year older, but it doesn't make the person one year older. The problem here is that it would mean children of believing parents are automatically part of the New Covenant in virtue of their natural conception or natural birth, which seems blasphemous since basically makes Baptism superfluous and it reduces New Covenant membership to a matter of biology. This would mean a No answer is also obviously unacceptable

If both options are unacceptable, then it means Infant Baptism contradicts Reformed Theology, despite being a part of Reformed Theology, making the system inconsistent and thus self-refuting. 

From my study on this matter, I think the problem is even worse, since it seems that the Reformed have equated baptism with circumcision, rather than drawing a parallel between them. And if that's the case, I see it as a variation of the Judaizer heresy, conflating life under the Mosaic Law with life in the Church. I address this more in the article linked above.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Reformed Professor Matthew Barrett and the shallowness of the Protestant grasp of Scripture

I'm not writing this brief article to make fun of anyone, but simply as an example of the sad situation Protestantism finds itself in when it comes to interpreting Scripture. I really want to emphasize this because for a long time and even still to this day Protestants are under a serious delusion that Catholics are too dumb to really know the plain teaching of Scripture. In this post I want to give a brief look at what a Reformed Seminary Professor posted on his blog.

Matthew Barrett has a PhD in systematic theology, is editor of a major Reformed magazine (Credo), and is a professor at a Reformed college. Just yesterday he posted on the Credo Magazine blog a post titled "It is finished: A reflection on John 19:30." Just by the title, you'd think that Dr Barrett is going to exegete this verse, and in fact I was drawn to read this post precisely because I know this verse is important for the Calvinist view of the Atonement. But when you read the brief "reflection," there's no actual exegesis of the text at all. He merely quotes the text in passing a few times, which is simply how most Protestants approach this verse. 

These two concluding paragraphs form the heart of his post, so that's all I'll quote and comment upon:
When we come to the cross and we see the enormous amount of suffering Jesus underwent, we tend to focus solely on his physical suffering: the crown of thorns, the nails, and the crucifix. But as important as all of this is, we cannot miss the main thing: the most excruciating thing about the suffering servant’s cross is that he bore the very wrath of God that was ours. The Lord laid upon Christ our iniquities and Christ took the due penalty for those iniquities. We see this and we hear it when Christ cries out, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Mark 15:34). And then come three beautiful words, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

What is finished? Christ, as he says in the garden of Gethsamani, has drunk the cup of God’s wrath in full (Matt. 26:39), and by doing so, as Hebrews 1:3 reminds us, Christ “made purification for sins.” As our high priest Christ “entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:11-12; cf. 9:13, 25-26). Indeed, this is good news.
Again, this man has a PhD in systematic theology, so he should know how to exegete Scripture and know how things fit together. And yet these handful of sentences show the most embarrassing level of interpretive skill and grasp of theology. But really, this is par for the course for the highest levels of orthodox Reformed Protestant scholarship.

Dr Barrett starts off by making the standard Protestant claim that Christ's physical sufferings at the hands of men, as dreadful as they were, were in fact nothing compared to the spiritual suffering of enduring the Father's Divine Wrath. Such statements are so obviously outrageous that I'd expect others to be speaking up against it. Dr Barrett both trivializes the physical sufferings of Our Lord and introduces a completely foreign concept of God's Wrath being poured out on Christ. Sadly, as I noted earlier, this is in fact the best Protestantism has to offer. It's not that they do this on purpose, but they have serious 'blinders' on that prevent them from thinking clearly. Such is the reality of sin, and such is the position one is put in when they're outside the Catholic Church. Trivializing the physical sufferings of Christ is equivalent to denying the Crucifixion, and God help me if I or any Catholic trivializes the heart of our salvation like that.

I'm not going to beat a dead horse on the "My God, why have you forsaken me?" comments, because I've covered that many times before. I just want people, Protestant and Catholic, to just stop and look at how shallow Reformed theology is and the liberties and desperation it takes with the Sacred Text. It's truly an abuse of God's Word if there ever was one. And to follow this up, Dr Barrett brings up the main text in question, "It is finished," as if he had actually exegeted and proved his thesis. He is oblivious to the fact "It is finished" has it's own context in John, and he's oblivious to the fact John (and Luke) never mention the "forsaken me" quote, despite Dr Barrett's insistence that this "forsaken me" text is the heart of the true understanding of the Cross. He has the audacity to ask "What is finished?" without even looking at the context. And he concludes by quoting all these texts from Hebrews, not realizing the absolute silence in Hebrews about any reference to God's Wrath (or Active Obedience). What's going on folks? And to think this is the enlightened 'wisdom' of men who don't want you to be Catholic? Give me a break.

Once you have the right glasses on, you have a hard time taking Protestantism seriously. To get the right glasses on, you just have to realize that Protestants don't really follow the Bible at all, but rather they follow a completely unbiblical "tradition of men"  called Sola Fide, and they accept this as a starting premise and from there proceed to make Scripture fit. The Reformation wasn't about Sola Scriptura, it was about Sola Fide, specifically the agenda of presuming its truth and forcing the Scripture's to agree (resulting in numerous other "traditions of men" they are forced to embrace). 

I guess what's really hard about reading this kind of stuff is that I really hoped for better, and I truly believe Protestants owe us Catholics better. But it's almost as if God's Word has a built in safety feature, where the moment someone starts to tamper with it, absurdities surface. That's precisely what happens with Protestant scholarship, and Reformed theology in particular. If the Reformed blogosphere isn't going to call out such embarrassing statements which the Reformed PhD's routinely make, then how can we really take them seriously?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Can Protestants drink from Christ's Cup and Carry their Cross in obedience to Jesus? I don't think so.

Today on John Piper's Desiring God Blog a guest writer named Steven Lee wrote a post titled "The Cup Consumed for Us." The post is a brief reflection on Matthew 20:20-28 where the apostles James and John are asked by Jesus "Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" Lee interprets this verse in the way many Calvinists do, claiming that this cup Jesus is going to drink is "the cup of God's wrath." But is this true? And wouldn't such a claim make nonsense of Our Lord's words? That's what I'll address in this post. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Does the Catholic view of Christ's Atonement permit the Reformed view of "Penal Substitution"?

Some Reformed Protestants have commented to me that the Catholic Church doesn't have an official view of the Atonement and that the Catholic Church even permits the Reformed view of "Penal Substitution". The problem with these kinds of claims is that they don't understand what the Catholic Church means when the Church uses terms like "atonement" and "sacrifice" (and similar terms), so these Protestants end up reading foreign ideas into Catholic teaching. The fact of the matter is, the Catholic Church doesn't have to condemn every single error that comes up in history, especially if those errors are already condemned in other forms. So while you won't find any Church teaching that says "Penal Substitution is heresy," you will find the Church teaching things directly contrary to what Penal Substitution espouses. Typically, the Church lays out parameters for orthodoxy, and while one is free to work within those parameters, one is not free to transgress those parameters. For this post I'll be giving some examples of Catholic teaching that go against the concept of Penal Substitution, showing that a Catholic cannot embrace that view of the Cross and be within the parameters of orthodoxy and Catholic thought.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Protestant apologetics site GotQuestions? says Jesus "spiritually died" on the Cross.

Sorry to annoy you dear readers, but I'm going to have to post a third post this week, after finding yet another big name Protestant apologist making it clear that God the Father damned His Son Jesus in place of damning us. This time it's the website GotQuestions?, a popular online source where Protestants can get their theological questions answered from a conservative Protestant viewpoint. I'll try to make this brief since I mostly just want it to be a "for the record" type post.

The following quotes about what kind of suffering Jesus endured come from various Question & Answer posts on the GotQuestions? website, so I'll quote and provide the link to each (quotes are trimmed down for brevity).
  • A physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. Spiritual death, which is of greater significance, is the separation of the soul from God. When Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord, they “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God.” The fellowship had been broken. They were spiritually dead. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He paid the price for us by dying on our behalf. Even though He is God, He still had to suffer the agony of a temporary separation from the Father due to the sin of the world He was carrying on the cross. After three hours of supernatural darkness, He cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:33-34). This spiritual separation from the Father was the result of the Son’s taking our sins upon Himself. That’s the impact of sin. Sin is the exact opposite of God, and God had to turn away from His own Son at that point in time. (Question: "What is spiritual death?")