Monday, January 30, 2012

7 reasons Protestant anthropology is to be rejected

(If you want to double your effectiveness as a Catholic apologist in 30 minutes, read this article.)

Anthropology refers to the study of human nature in general, but within the context of theology it refers to man's nature as it corresponds to his final goal, his abilities, and the effects of Adam's sin. This subject is indispensable in forming good theology, especially when discussing salvation, because if you get this subject wrong, you'll likely get salvation wrong as well. As an analogy, if a medical doctor fails to understand how the body functions, he will most likely fail to properly diagnose and treat the ailment. Well-informed Catholic theologians have understood this and explained why incorrect anthropology is at the heart of the Protestant Reformation. Luther's decision to reject the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church came ultimately as a result of him severely erring on his view of human nature, and thus turning that into an erroneous view of salvation. From an apologetics point of view, any discussion with a Protestant is bound to fail if you don't understand that each side has issued a radically different "diagnosis" to the "illness" mankind finds himself in after Adam's disobedience. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Do Muslims deny the Crucifixion of Jesus?

Like most Christians living outside the Middle-East and northern Africa, my knowledge of Islam is limited, yet Islam's massive influence on world history from the time it began in the Seventh Century up to today make it a subject worth looking at. The question is: where to start? My most recent interest in looking into Islam came when a blogger named David made a post regarding the Muslim view of the Crucifixion. In particular, David was addressing a verse from the Muslim holy book, the Koran, which plainly says Jesus was not really crucified, but David came upon a few scholars who say otherwise. In looking into the evidence for myself, I believe that David is incorrect, and that I believe the Koran clearly denies the Crucifixion. This matter is important for Christian apologetics for obvious reasons: the Crucifixion is one of the central aspects of the Christian faith - if it didn't happen, Christianity is a lie; if it did happen, then the Koran is wrong and thus so is Islam. The first step then is to show the Koran does in fact deny the Crucifixion. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"Call no man Pastor" - a fresh look at Our Lord's prohibition.

In seeking to 'refute' the naive Protestant attack of appealing to Our Lord's instructions to "call no man father" (Matthew 23:9) as a prohibition of calling a priest "father," most Catholics have fallen into an entirely 'defensive mindset' and thus failed to apply this teaching at all. Typically, a Catholic will point out how this instruction cannot literally mean don't use the term "father" in reference to biological (Mt 15:4) or adoptive (John 6:42) or spiritual fatherhood (Rom 4:11-12; 1 Cor. 4:15), but once they've 'disarmed' the Protestant they feel their duty towards this verse is finished. In reality, the lesson from this verse is as important as ever, particularly with the rise of Protestantism.

I have become increasingly disturbed over the past few years as I stop and realize how much sway Protestant "pastors" have within the culture at large. This is disturbing because of the nature of their authority: it's ultimately self-appointed. I cannot think of any (functional) system in which the human authorities are self-appointed, and yet this is precisely a cornerstone of Protestant ecclesiology. Millions of people, including Catholics, have the mindset that just because someone is a "pastor" that they are entitled respect and even some level of submission. I write this having had that mentality until recently, only now realizing how dangerous and anti-Christian it is. And I realize now this is the true context in which Our Lord said "call no man father," meaning do not bestow titles of religious authority upon usurpers and detractors from God's true leaders.