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Preview: Biblical Evidence for Catholicism

Biblical Evidence for Catholicism

Christian, biblical apologetics, theology, history, exegesis, and Bible discussion, led by Catholic author Dave Armstrong

Updated: 2017-10-11T06:39:03.541-04:00


This Blog and its Existing 1500 or So Posts Will Soon be Moving to Patheos


Not sure how all that works, but I have re-edited all my old papers, preparing them for the move, with a book ad to my e-booksite on each one. It may be by the end of today (8-10-15). There will be forwarding links (I dunno how many).

I'll have to reorganize everything once the "exportation" occurs. It'll be a painstaking process of several weeks. The header above, that was professionally designed for my blog some years ago, will be retained. Over there they have the cool drop-down menus that I have never had, so navigating my many "topical web pages" should be at least as easy, if not easier, than it has ever been.

Here is my blog page at Patheos.

And here is my introductory post.

Readers can subscribe to Patheos itself and to my own posts (see the sidebar). That seems to have never worked properly here.

I get paid per so many page views, so if you are reading my stuff (especially multiple posts in one reading), you are helping me earn income. Very exciting, as I've never had that opportunity before . . .

I'll be cranking out more articles than ever under this new system. Please come read, and you can always follow the ad on each page to my e-booksite for some rock-bottom prices for ePubs and mobis ($2.99) and $1.99 for PDFs!


New (?) Analogical Argument for Veneration of the Saints and Angels from the Prohibition of Blasphemy of the Same


By Dave Armstrong (8-8-15)The Bible looks negatively on what it describes as "blasphemy" -- not just against God, but against holy persons or those set apart for His purposes (Moses: Acts 6:11; St. Paul: Acts 13:45; 18:6; saints in heaven: Rev 13:6; Christians in general: 1 Pet 4:4), and against angels (2 Pet 2:10; Jude 8; Rev 13:6). The same words for blasphemy are used for men, angels, and God.This is because these men and angels serve as His messengers (2 Cor 8:23), direct representatives (Matt 10:40; Lk 10:16; Jn 13:20), ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20; Eph 6:20; Phlm 1:9), or witnesses (Jn 15:27; 19:35; 21:24; Acts 1:8; 2:32; 3:15; 10:39-41; 23:11; 1 Pet 5:1; Rev 1:2; 6:9). Indeed, Christians are even described as "fellow workers" with Him (1 Cor 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1; Phil 2:12-13). The Church is equated with Jesus Himself (both being persecuted in the same actions: Acts 26:11, 14-15), and there is also an identification of the Church "Body of Christ" with Christ Himself (1 Cor 12:27; Eph 1:22-23; 5:30; Col 1:24).The aspect of divinization, or theosis, is a biblical motif of very close identification and union with God:Acts 17:28 (RSV) for 'In him we live and move and have our being': . . . 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)Ephesians 3:19 . . . to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.Ephesians 4:13 . . . mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, [4] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. In other words, the key is affinity with, or closeness; proximity to God. Just as God can be blasphemed, in a lesser but still very real sense, so can His ambassadors and witnesses. There is the primary Being: God, and the secondary ones: His vessels. They reflect and represent God; therefore, as such, people can scorn and reject and blaspheme them just as they do God.It seems to straightforwardly follow, then, by analogy, that if a rejection or blasphemy of God can be expressed via an essentially lesser but connected rejection or blasphemy of His ambassadors (the lesser vessel being in close affinity with the greater source), by the same token and principle and logic, conversely, the worship of God can be expressed via an essentially lesser but connected  veneration of His ambassadors.In this manner, the wider application of blasphemy in Scripture to creatures suggests by symmetrical analogy, a wider application of honoring: expressed in veneration of creatures, which is distinct (but not altogether disconnected) from the adoration that God alone is entitled to, as Creator. The creatures reflect the Creator like the painting reflects the painter, or moonlight, the sunlight that is the source of it.Moreover, we see that the Bible refers blasphemy of men almost solely to the most eminent of God's followers (Paul, Moses, and perfected saints in heaven): and angels even higher in the scale of things. Thus, by analogy, the relatively greater veneration would be towards those who had attained a higher holiness and sanctity; hence in the Bible we see a differential "system" of blasphemy / veneration not unlike how the Catholic Church ranks lesser and greater saints, with the greater receiving more veneration.Lastly, the biblical data about blasphemy of immaterial holy things (the gospel, Christian doctrine, the law, the Temple) leads to the opposite analogy of reverence of th[...]

Books by Dave Armstrong: "Proving the Catholic Faith is Biblical: From Priestly Celibacy to the Rosary: 80 Short Essays Explaining the Biblical Basis of Catholicism"


 [completed on 2 August 2014; 245 pages. Accepted for publication by Sophia Institute Press on 11 November 2014; published on 7 July 2015][cover design by Coronation Media in collaboration with Perceptions Design Studio]----- To purchase, go to the bottom of the page -----ENDORSEMENTS“Dave Armstrong is a master of biblical citation and compressing arguments. He does in a few pages what many apologists take chapters to accomplish.”Al Kresta, Host of Kresta in the Afternoon“A treasure-trove of biblical texts demonstrating the veracity of the Catholic Faith. This is a must-read for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.”Tim Staples, Catholic apologist (at Catholic Answers) and AuthorFACEBOOK INTRODUCTION / ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACCEPTANCE FOR PUBLICATION / SOPHIA PAGE[Read my public Facebook post]Sophia book page and promotional write-upTABLE OF CONTENTS  [slightly different chapter titles in some cases, from the published book, which also doesn't contain the larger categories (in Roman numerals)]Dedication Introduction [see below]I. Bible and Tradition (Authority) 1.Tradition is Not Always a Bad Word in Scripture +2. The Catholic “Three-Legged Stool” vs. Sola Scriptura 3. Tradition: Short Reflection & Basic Explanation4. The Bereans & “Searching the Scriptures” 5. Ten Deuterocanonical References in the New Testament  II. Doctrine of the Church (Ecclesiology)6. The Catholic Church: Why we Accept Her Claims7. Catholic Ecclesiology & the Jerusalem Council [read original longer dialogue]8. Three Biblical Arguments for an Authoritative Church +9. “Call No Man Father” & Calling Catholic Priests Father * 10. We Believe All that the Catholic Church Teaches11. On the Scandal of the Outrageous Claim to be a Church 12. On Whether God Would Protect His Church from Error [read original longer dialogue]13. Are Church Councils More Authoritative than Popes?III. Priestly Celibacy14. Short Exposition on Catholic Priestly Celibacy 15. The Celibate Priesthood as a Higher Calling 16. A New (?) Argument for Mandatory Priestly Celibacy [read original post and Facebook discussion]IV.Theology of Salvation (Soteriology)17. Works Can be Good or Bad, Just as Traditions Are 18. Faith & Works (But Not Justification) in Isaiah Ch. 1 19. Catholic Soteriology in John 3:36 (“Disobey the Son”) 20. Hebrews 3:14 (Lots of Catholic Theology on Salvation) 21. Unanswered Prayers of Jesus as a Counter-Reply to Limited Atonement 22. John 12:32 vs. John Calvin & Limited Atonement 23. God Doesn't Predestine the Damned (2 Thess 2:10-12) V. Purgatory and Penance24. Prayer, Penance, & the Eternal Destiny of Others 25. The Abundant Biblical Support for Lent *26. Divine Chastisement (or, Purgatory in ThisLife) * VI. The Holy Eucharist and the Sacrifice of the Mass 27. Mystery is No Basis for Rejecting Transubstantiation *28. On the Nature of Idolatry 29. “The Apostle Paul Says He is a 'Priest'?! Where?!” VII. Sacramentals, Devotions, and Worship 30. Sacramentalism & the Bible +31. Biblical Support for Ritualistic & Formal Worship +32. Is the Rosary “Vain Repetition”? * VIII. The Communion of Saints and Angels33. Asking Saints to Intercede is a Teaching of Jesus *34. Praying to Angels & Angelic Intercession *35. Worshiping God Through Images in Holy Scripture36. Martin Luther's Belief in the Invocation & Intercession of Mary & the Saints, as Late as 1521 [read online]37. The False Doctrine of “Soul Sleep”38. New (?) Biblical Argument for the Veneration of Saints: God “In” & “Through” St. PaulIX. The Blessed Virgin Mary (Mariology) 39. Biblical Arguments for the Perpetual Virginity of Mary *40. Holy Ground & the Perpetual Virginity of Mary *41. Rationalist Objection to the In Partu Virginity of Mary42. Martin Luther & the Immaculate Purification of Mary*43. Mary's Immaculate Conception & the Bible*44. Quick Biblical Proof that Mary is the Mother of God 45. The Bible & the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin [...]

Dialogue with an Atheist Concerning My Semi-Satirical Critique of Atheism


By Dave Armstrong (7-10-15)This came about as a result of an atheist responding to my paper, Why Atheists Are Far More Religious Than we Think. It occurred on a public Facebook page. His name will remain anonymous (unless he requests otherwise), but all the words are his, and will be in blue.* * * * * It really is just kind of semantic. The atheist, at least the scientifically minded one, would not starkly claim that there is no possible way that a god created the universe. We are simply saying that there is no more reason to believe a god created it than to believe it was created by the tooth fairy or a dragon.Exactly my point in reverse. Thanks for verifying my reasoning. I was arguing that there is no more reason -- and that it requires as much faith [which might be defined very broadly as a belief in unproven axioms] -- to believe that atoms and cells can do the remarkable things they do by their own self-generated power (which came from . . . ?) than to believe that there is a spiritual entity called God that put it into them in creating them.There is some reason to believe that there is a completely natural explanation as every single scientific inquiry that has ever been solved has been solve through a natural explanation, not a supernatural one, so that is where we are going to focus our efforts of explanation.There is plenty that is unexplained at the presuppositional level, as my post gets into. No one really knows by what conceivable process life came from non-life. There are several theories bandied about, of course, but by no means any definitive answers. So it requires "faith." You guys don't know why life is here or how the big Bang could start a process that led to it (by what laws and mechanisms?), and so you know no more than we do. You have to believe in faith that the processes that brought about these remarkable things were completely natural , whereas we agree that they are largely natural but that the missing ingredient that explains origins is indeed God. You have faith in the remarkable inherent qualities of atoms. We have faith in God. One is no more plausible than the other in this basic "brass tacks" sense. Many great philosophers and other thinkers have believed in God, based on various arguments, as well as internal experience or intuition, so the belief can't be dismissed with a wave of the hand as mere fairy tales or on the level of a belief in unicorns, etc.Might we be wrong in the end? Um... sure I guess. But most atheists would then put it to the theist: why your God and not another religion? Why not a tooth fairy? Why not a dragon?And we say: "why atoms, that supposedly developed the power to create the entire universe by themselves?" Is that not an incredible blind faith? I would say that is more of a blind faith even than belief in tooth fairies or dragons as alleged possible agents of creation.Bottom line: Jesus Christ. He revealed that God exists and what He is like. As an apologist I can give a host of reasons why I believe in God, Christianity, and Catholicism in particular. It's like asking someone "why do you love your wife?" There are a host of reasons, and the usual immediate response is to hesitate, precisely because there are so many; you don't know where to start in describing your feelings of love.These are not questions (whatever one's view is) that are given to short, sound-byte answers. It just doesn't work that way. As I said, many great minds (arguably the vast majority of the best, most original ones) believed in God. Certainly atheists would have a hard time arguing that they were all gullible fools and anti-rational simpletons?. . . There is no more reason for me to believe in that god than any of the hundreds upon hundreds of other gods that have made sense to their followers throughout time.There certainly is. Christianity is based on historical argument. We can point to concrete things in history that happened, that confirm the existence of God. That's already very diffe[...]

Why Have Legal Same-Sex Unions Come About in Our Day and Time?: Some Off-the-Cuff Ruminations


By Dave Armstrong (7-9-15)PREAMBLEI love the history of ideas. When something this momentous occurs it is useful, I think, to step back and take a look at what has transpired in recent history to bring about such a tragic breakdown of societal morals and traditions. These are my own speculations along those lines.1. THE CRUCIAL, FUNDAMENTAL CONTRACEPTION CONNECTIONThe initial "intellectual opening" to the notion of a so-called "gay marriage" came about, I believe, in a two-step process, 30 years apart: the acceptance of contraception (in "hard cases" of course) for the first time among any Christian group, by the Anglicans in 1930, and the widespread introduction of the birth control pill around 1960. Thus, the current revolution in thinking has occurred over an 85- or 55-year period, depending on where one wishes to start in the causal chain. The longer period is within the lifetime of my parents; the shorter span, within my own lifetime. The sexual revolution might also be said to have started around 1960 (especially after 1967: the "summer of love"), as the large baby boomer generation came of age.Now, how is this related to same-sex "marriage" and homosexual acts? It has to do with the fundamental purposes of things, and what is natural as opposed to unnatural. The primary, essential purpose of marriage is procreation: producing of children as the fruit of the sexual oneness of a married couple. That's not to deny the unitive / pleasurable function of marriage, but it is the most important purpose. Obviously, this can only occur between a man and a woman. Thus, in order to prepare a population for the notion that, somehow, two men or two women can "marry"; first it is necessary to break this immemorial and instinctive connection between sexuality / marriage and procreation.Once this heretofore casually assumed link was questioned, then we had the related notion of sex merely for fun; for the relinquishing of desires and biological needs only, rather than for the purpose of having children; or, more specifically, being open to conception when and if it occurs.2. THE FRUITS OF CONTRACEPTION AND THE SEXUAL REVOLUTIONThat was the first necessary break in the ongoing moral tradition of western civilization. It broke the intrinsic connection between [heterosexual] sexuality and procreation. Sex could now be utilized for pleasure purposes only (and without "consequence"); utterly disconnected from its deepest purpose. This leads, of course, to a breakdown in marriages, due to a much easier promiscuity and widespread premarital sex, which runs contrary to both procreation within marriage and the idea of being committed solely to one person, sexually and exclusively within [heterosexual] marriage. It was the triumph of the "playboy" lifestyle. Women had at last given up the fight for traditional sexuality and surrendered to those who wished to reduce them to mere objects of pleasure. And so we have seen those fruits, in the alarming rise of illegitimate births and now cohabitation. Families are breaking down (usually meaning that fathers aren't present). This in turn leads to massive, debilitating poverty, crime, and hopelessness (those direct connections all being massively confirmed by secular social science). If you want to see the way that things are progressing, look at the inner cities. That is the fruit of secular liberalism and it's so-called "progressive" economic and sexual viewpoints and policies. That's our future. A wonderful sight and prospect, isn't it?3. GENOCIDE OF PREBORN CHILDREN: THE NEXT LOGICAL STEPLegal childkilling [aka abortion] came along in the US in 1973: by judicial fiat, just as this ruling was. At that point, we could no longer in any way, shape, or form, be considered a "Christian" country, or guided (even vaguely) by Christian principles. Just as contraception had separated moral married sexuality from children, in an abstract (theoretical) way, so abortion literally separated the chil[...]

Pope Francis Defended: Helpful Resources for Confused, Troubled, and Frustrated Folks


By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong [see also my book, Pope Francis Explained: Survey of Myths, Legends, and Catholic Defenses in Harmony with Tradition] I wrote on 9-20-13:For all of you out there worried about the pope. Relax; chill. All is well. We have a pope who says the unexpected: a lot like Jesus. And, like Jesus, those who don't get it and are outside looking in, will misunderstand, and those who are in the fold will grasp what is being said, in the context of historic Catholic teaching, if they look closely enough and don't get hoodwinked by silly media wishful thinking.Those who are outside often hear only what they want to hear (God loves everyone, even sinners!!!) and not what they need to hear (stop sinning; stop this sin . . .). I wrote in a letter to a friend:It's the same old dumb misunderstandings: media misreports what the pope said; never understand what he means in context, and in context with past teachings. Don't fall into their trap! Pope Francis is a good Catholic; nothing to be alarmed about at all. The world wants Christians to renounce their teachings. We're the guys who have never done so. We keep the same moral teaching that the Church had from the beginning: no abortion, no divorce, no contraception, no same-sex "marriages," etc. Virtually no one else has done so! So the attack is against us to change traditional morality, and we will never do that.1. Pope Francis' Notable Humility: Could it Possibly "De-Sacralize" the Papacy? (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 3-14-13)2. Nine things you need to know about Pope Francis's inaugural Mass (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-17-13) 3. Should We Be Concerned About Pope Francis's Inaugural Mass? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-18-13) 4. Pope Francis on Homosexual Unions (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-20-13) 5. Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope (Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Crisis / The Wall Street Journal, 3-22-13)6. How Should We Understand Pope Francis Washing Women's Feet? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-28-13) 7. Canon Lawyer Pete Vere on the Pope Francis Foot-Washing Controversy (Dave Armstrong's Facebook page, 3-30-13)  8. Radical Catholic Reactionary Super-Site Rorate Caeli's "Cherished Friend" and Featured Pope-Basher, Marcelo González, is a Holocaust Revisionist (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 4-8-13)9. Pope Francis and lying to save life  (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 5-15-13)10. Did Pope Francis Preach Salvation by Works?? (Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing on My Head, 5-23-13)11. Dreadful Misleading Headline of Catholic Online Pins Heresy on Pope (Brian Kelly,, 5-23-13)12. Did Pope Francis Say That Atheists Can Get to Heaven by Good Works? (Jimmy Akin,, 5-24-13) 13. Did Pope Francis poke Protestants in the eye? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 6-4-13) 14. Pope Francis and the Vatican "gay lobby"—10 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 6-12-13)15. From the IOR to the gay lobby: Pope Francis tells all on flight from Rio to Rome  (Andrea Tornielli, Vatican Insider, 7-29-13)16. Seven things you need to know about what Pope Francis said about gays (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 7-29-13 17. Pope Francis and the Franciscan Friars (Michelle Arnold, Catholic Answers, 7-30-13)18. Don’t Tell the Press: Pope Francis Is Using Them (Elizabeth Scalia, First Things, 7-30-13)19. Misinterpreting Francis [Homosexuality] (Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, 7-30-13) 20. Franciscans of the Immaculate decree worries traditionalists (Catholic News Agency, 7-30-13) 21. Pope Francis on Homosexuality: Take a Deep Breath (Scott P. Richert, Catholicism, 7-30-13)22. On the Pope’s Remarks about Homosexuality (Scott P. Richert, Crisis, 8-1-13) 23. What Did the Pope Really Say about Gays in the Priesthood?  (Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. [...]

Apologetics-Oriented Biblical Commentary on Colossians (RSV)


By Dave Armstrong (1998)Chapter 11 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colos'sae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. 3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing--so among yourselves, from the day you heard and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 as you learned it from Ep'aphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. 9 And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his willin all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; 16 for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. 19 For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.21 And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, 23 provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. 24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.* * *apostle: Gr. apostolos=sent one or ambassador: Mt 10:2; Lk 22:14; Ac 2:37; 8:18; 15:2-6,22-23; Rm 1:1; 11:13; 1Co 1:1; 9:1-5; 12:28-29; 2Co 1:1; 12:11-12; 1Pt 1:1; 2Pt 3:2; Jd 17; Rv 21:14God, the Father: Is 9:6; 64:8; Jr 31:9; Ma 2:10; Mt 5:45-48; 6:1-32; 11:27; Jn 3:35; 5:18; 6:27; Rm 1:7; 8:15; 1Co 8:6; Gl 1:1-4; 4:6; Ep 5:20; Ph 2:11; Cl 3:17; 1Th 1:1; Hb 1:5; Jm 1:27; 1Pt 1:2-3; 1Jn 2:1,14[...]

Refutation of Dr. John MacArthur's Sola Scriptura Defense: "The Sufficiency of the Written Word"


By Dave Armstrong (15 September 2003)Dr. John MacArthur is an influential and well-known radio preacher, Bible expositor, and author, well-worth listening to (until he gets to the subject of Catholicism . . . ). I will quote a great deal of his article, but not all (unlike Mr. Bennett's piece, which was reproduced in its entirety). Dr. MacArthur's words will be in blue. The subtitles are his own (in brown). * * * * * Teaching as Doctrines the Precepts of Men . . . The Jews of Jesus' day also placed tradition on an equal footing with Scripture. Rather, in effect, they made tradition superior to Scripture, because Scripture was interpreted by tradition and therefore made subject to it.It doesn't follow that because interpretation exists, therefore, Scripture is "subject to it," in the sense that it is somehow lesser or inferior. That is simply an unbiblical and false Protestant dichotomy (one of many). Interpretation must exist because that is simply the reality with regard to all written documents: even inspired ones. This is presupposed in Scripture itself (RSV):. . . no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation . . .(2 Peter 1:20). . . Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him . . . in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their destruction.(2 Peter 3:15-16)In Nehemiah 8:1-8, we find that Ezra reads the law of Moses to the people in Jerusalem (8:3). In 8:7 we find thirteen Levites who assisted Ezra, and who helped the people to understand the law. Much earlier, in King Jehoshaphat's reign, we find Levites exercising the same function (2 Chronicles 17:8-9). There is no sola Scriptura, with its associated idea "perspicuity" (evident clearness in the main) here. In Nehemiah 8:8: . . . they read from the book, from the law of God, clearly [footnote, "or with interpretation"], and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. So the people did indeed understand the law (8:12), but not without much assistance - not merely upon hearing.Whenever tradition is elevated to such a high level of authority, it inevitably becomes detrimental to the authority of Scripture.This doesn't follow, either. To say that supremely authoritative Scripture has to be interpreted is not to denigrate it in the slightest. Many Protestant scholars have pointed out that the Catholic Church's regard for Scripture is in no wise inferior to that of evangelical Protestantism:Roman Catholicism has a high regard for Scripture as a source of knowledge . . . Indeed, official Roman Catholic statements concerning the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture would satisfy the most rigorous Protestant fundamentalist.(Robert McAfee Brown, The Spirit of Protestantism, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1961, 172-173)There was never a time in the history of the western Church during the 'Dark' or 'Middle' Ages when the Scriptures were officially demoted. On the contrary, they were considered infallible and inerrant, and were held in the highest honour.(Peter Toon, Protestants and Catholics, Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1983, 39)After quoting 19 eminent Church Fathers to the effect that Scripture is infallible and held in thehighest regard (bolstering his own thesis in this book), and citing all sorts of examples of Protestant denominations lowering their view of biblical infallibility and inerrancy, Harold Lindsell, former editor of Christianity Today and well-known evangelical scholar, has this to say about the Catholic reverence for Scripture:The view expressed by Augustine was the view the Roman Catholic Church believed, taught, and propagated through the centuries . . . It can be said that the Roman church for more than a thousand years accepted the doctrine of infallibility of all Scripture .[...]

Critique of Chris Ferrara's Radical Reactionary Hit-Piece in Opposition to Pope Francis' Christian Environmentalism


By Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong (6-20-15)Radical Catholic reactionary and quasi-schismatic Christopher A. Ferrara published a critique of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato si at the reactionary Remnant website. It's entitled, On the Pope's Encyclical, 'Laudato Si’: Talk to the Animals - After All, You’re One of Them (6-18-15). I shall proceed to write a rebuttal of it. Ferrara's words below will be in blue.* * * * *. . . Pope Francis attempts to fashion yet another post-conciliar novelty in the Church: a call to “ecological conversion,” This is no novelty at all. In fact, it is such an old-fashioned, non-novel Christian worldview that it hearkens all the way back to Genesis and Adam and Eve:Genesis 1:28 (RSV) And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." The crux of the "issue" in many ways, is what "dominion" means. The pope has given us an extended treatise on that very thing, and many others. This entails ecology or environmentalism: stewardship over God's creation. The staunchly orthodox, saintly Fr. John A. Hardon, in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, defined "dominion" as follows:Ownership of material goods, entitling the owner to proprietary rights, i.e., to use, change, keep, or dispose of what one owns. Christianity views dominion as not absolute, but always relative to the common good of society. See that last part? Applied to Genesis 1:28, it means that man's dominion is "not absolute" but rather, integrated into the common good of society (and by extension here, the earth). This is not a new thing in Catholicism, but a very old thing in man's existence. The pope deals forthrightly with these fundamental aspects of Christian environmentalism and stewardship:67. We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us. This allows us to respond to the charge that Judaeo-Christian thinking, on the basis of the Genesis account which grants man “dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature by painting him as domineering and destructive by nature. This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church. Although it is true that we Christians have at times incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures, nowadays we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures. The biblical texts are to be read in their context, with an appropriate hermeneutic, recognizing that they tell us to “till and keep” the garden of the world (cf. Gen 2:15). “Tilling” refers to cultivating, ploughing or working, while “keeping” means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving. This implies a relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature. Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. “The earth is the Lord’s” (Ps 24:1); to him belongs “the earth with all that is within it” (Dt 10:14). Thus God rejects every claim to absolute ownership: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with me” (Lev25:23).which requires a subtle demotion of man to merely a part of the natural world.This is sheer nonsense. The "superiority" of man is casually assumed:We do not understand our superiority as a reason for personal glory or irresponsible dominion, but rather as a different capacity which, in its turn, entails a serious responsibility stemming from our faith. [220; my bolding]T[...]

Pope Francis' Encyclical "Laudato si": A Beautiful and Profoundly Wise Statement of Christian Environmentalism and Theology of Creation


By Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong (6-18-15)I read the whole thing a short while ago. There are innumerable riches here, and a fabulous integrated treatment of environmental / resource problems. This will clearly become the definitive Christian statement on the topic. For too long, Christians have been accused of being (or, too often, actually were in practice) indifferent to the problems of the earth and the environment: as if we merely want to exploit the earth and her resources, rather than (the biblical view) being stewards of God's marvelous creation. I think this encyclical will go a long way towards dispelling those notions. The secularists don't "own" this discussion, anymore than they own economic or demographic or "nature of the marriage and family" discussions. Along these lines, the Holy Father observed:An inadequate presentation of Christian anthropology gave rise to a wrong understanding of the relationship between human beings and the world. Often, what was handed on was a Promethean vision of mastery over the world, which gave the impression that the protection of nature was something that only the faint-hearted cared about. Instead, our “dominion” over the universe should be understood more properly in the sense of responsible stewardship. [116]Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others. Since the world has been given to us, we can no longer view reality in a purely utilitarian way, in which efficiency and productivity are entirely geared to our individual benefit. Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us. [159]. . . a mistaken understanding of our own principles has at times led us to justify mistreating nature, to exercise tyranny over creation, to engage in war, injustice and acts of violence, . . . [200]It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience. [217][W]e are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion. [220]I particularly like the Holy Father's emphasis on blending and harmonizing Catholic "environmental" and social teaching:There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology. [118]Today, the analysis of environmental problems cannot be separated from the analysis of human, family, work-related and urban contexts, nor from how individuals relate to themselves, which leads in turn to how they relate to others and to the environment. There is an interrelation between ecosystems and between the various spheres of social interaction, . . . [141]He "humanizes" and "Christianizes" important scientific discussions that are usually hyper-secularized in the false dichotomy habitually drawn between science and God. I love that! It's a direct "punch to the nose" to a ludicrously compartmentalized and intellectually bankrupt secularism and excessive scientism (i.e., a materialistic version of science that is logically self-defeating, given the origin and history of that same science: which was overwhelmingly theistic):It cannot be maintained that empirical science provides a complete expl[...]

Books by Dave Armstrong: "Cardinal Newman: Q & A in Theology, Church History, and Conversion"


 Completed on 24 May 2015 and published at Lulu on the same day. 367 pages.[cover design by Dave Armstrong]--- For purchase options scroll to the bottom --- MiscellaneousCardinal Newman's Conversion Odyssey, in His Own Words (September 1839 to December 1845) [list compiled from two of my Newman quotations books] [19 March 2015]Facebook Excerpts On the "Argument from Longing" [10 May 1828]On the "Rule of Secrecy" ("Disciplina Arcani") and Development of Doctrine [26 Jan. 1834]On How the Indwelling Holy Spirit Works in Us [29 Jan. 1835]Prayer for the Dead is as Well-Attested in the Early Church as the Canon of Scripture [16 May 1838] No Fundamental Difference Between Written and Oral Tradition [23 May 1838]On the Definition of Grace [22 Jan. 1841]On What Usually Persuades People of Christianity [Feb. 1841]Cardinal Newman's Conversion Agonies: Jan. 1842 to Feb. 1844  On Arian, Monophysite, and Donatist Analogies to Via Media Anglicanism [April 1844]Still-Anglican Newman on Papal Supremacy in the Early Church  [19 May 1844]On Pope Gregory the Great's Supposed Denial of Universal Papal Jurisdiction [ 5 Nov. 1849]On the Falsity of Sola Scriptura [26 Feb. 1850]On How Departed Saints Can be Aware of Earthly Events [8 March 1853]On the Supposed Necessity of Infallible Proofs for an Infallible Church [24 April 1858]Newman Virtually Predicts Vatican II (and a Greater Role for the Laity) in 1859 [17 July 1859]On Biblical and Traditional Evidences for Mary's Immaculate Conception [30 May 1860]On Invincible Ignorance and the Salvation of Protestants [4 Sep. 1862]On the Possible Salvation of Protestants [7 Feb. 1864]On Folks Who Pretend that Mere Theological Opinions Are Dogmas [10 March 1864]Wonderful Argument on How we Know that Biblical Eucharistic Language is Literal [24 Aug. 1864]On Much that is "Good and True" in Protestantism [18 Sep. 1864]On the Importance of Catholic Laity  [30 Nov. and 2 Dec. 1864]On the Communion of Saints and Veneration of the Saints [2 Oct. 1865]On the Invocation of Mary [29 March 1866]On Papal Infallibility in March 1867 [23 March 1867]Newman's Rebuke of William G. Ward as an Exponent of a Renewed Novatian, Quasi-Schismatic, Rigorist Attitude [9 May 1867]On Darwin and Theistic Evolution [22 May 1868]On the One, True Visible Church [25 Jan. 1870]On Whether Laymen Have to Interpret and Apply Church Proclamations [30 March 1870]On Whether Pope Gregory XIII Gave Assent to the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre [9 Sep. 1872]On the Nature of Papal Infallibility [17 Sep. 1872]On the Intolerance and Cramped Thinking of Atheism and Skepticism [11 Jan. 1873]Table of Contents Dedication  Introduction [read online]Bibliographical SourcesI. Apologetics What Are Some Basic Guidelines in Defending Our Faith?.......25 Is Apologetics Only for Non-Catholics or Non-Christians?.......26Should Laymen Have a Working Knowledge of Apologetics?...26How is Faith Related to Apologetic Inquiry?..............................29How is Grace Related to Apologetics and Rational Argument?.30Is Logical Demonstration All There is to Apologetics?..............30How Are Faith and Reason Related?...........................................30Is Apologetics the Same as Proselytyzing?.................................33Is “Controversy” in Apologetics a Good Thing?........................34Should a Person Exercise Faith if Still Plagued by Difficulties?Should we Avoid Ad Hominem Attacks in Argument?................36What is the Reward of Apologetics?...........................................37Should we Know People Before Trying to Persuade Them?......37Does Proclaiming Theological Truth Offend Some People?......37Are There Times When Trying to Argue with People is Futile?.37Does the “Argument from Longing” Suggest that Heaven Ex[...]

Introduction to "Cardinal Newman: Q & A in Theology, Church History, and Conversion" (Edited by Dave Armstrong)


By Dave Armstrong (5-23-15)Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote in a letter dated 10 February 1869:I am not a theologian. A theologian is one who has mastered theology – who can say how many opinions there are on every point, what authors have taken which, and which is the best – who can discriminate exactly between proposition and proposition, argument and argument, who can pronounce which are safe, which allowable, which dangerous – who can trace the history of doctrines in successive centuries, and apply the principles of former times to the conditions of the present. This it is to be a theologian – this and a hundred things besides – which I am not, and never shall be. He stated “I am not a theologian” many times in his letters. He often qualified any theological instruction he gave, making sure to note that it was not cast in stone, and subject to correction by the Church or credentialed theologians. In the above, strict “academic” or “scholarly” sense, indeed he was not a theologian. Yet in another broader (and in my opinion, far more important) sense, he certainly was one.Whether Newman was a theologian or not, he wrote exquisitely on theology. The very fact that he was seeking to write (especially in his personal letters) on a popular, non-technical level, makes his work in this regard so important. In effect, he becomes a catechist, and in part, an apologist, in these informal remarks in his voluminous correspondence. Scholars – for the most part – write to and for other scholars, whereas the goal of Catholic catechists, apologists, and evangelists is to reach the masses (and Catholics) with the joyous good news of the glorious fullness of the Catholic Christian faith.Furthermore, in Cardinal Newman's writing we find (always and everywhere) extraordinary prose almost unequaled in its eloquence: a feast of 19th century English style. Lastly – of supreme relevance and importance – we encounter a saintly (as of this writing, beatified) man, who will most likely one day be canonized as a saint. I personally firmly believe that he will also be honored as a Doctor of the Church in due course.This is the third book of Newman quotations that I have compiled. I do so partly out of obligation for the central role that he played in my own spiritual and theological odyssey, but primarily to widen the availability of his lesser-known writings, and to share his profound thought and insights with as wide an audience as possible. My present goal (and what makes this book different from the previous two) is to create almost a “systematic theology” from Cardinal Newman. By use of categories, I have sought to arrange his thoughts in such a way that they can be accessed all the more quickly.Cardinal Newman (as one can see in the Table of Contents) covered a very wide range of topics in his correspondence. I have sought to collect the “cream” of his theological thoughts therein. As such, this volume might be regarded as Newman's “catch-all” book, in which he deals with many theological subjects; very unlike most of his books, which are devoted to a single topic.May you enjoy this treasure-trove of wonderful theology, as well as Newman's ruminations on Church history and the complexities of the conversion process. In conversion, often theology, Church history, personal experience, and apologetics are all merged together. No one exemplified this mixture and the process of conversion more than Blessed Cardinal Newman.Thus, this volume may be of particular usefulness for possible converts, as well as Catholics seeking to revive an uncertain or tentative personal Catholic faith. In these fabulous quotations, in any event, there is much precious treasure for anyone who loves theology and God, W[...]

Dialogue with a Baptist Philosophy Professor on Catholic-Protestant Ecumenical Relations (vs. Dr. Jerry Walls)


By Dave Armstrong (5-13-15)Jerry Walls is a philosophy professor at Houston Baptist University, and received his doctorate from Notre Dame. He will be shortly publishing a book which is a critique of Catholicism. He is not an anti-Catholic. This exchange took place on my (public) Facebook wall. His words will be in blue.* * * * *I knew you would not convert me, and I did not see a reasonable hope of my converting you. I believe what you do – but I believe more. I rejoice to think that you with all your heart and soul believe our Lord Jesus Christ to be the Saviour of the world, and of every soul who comes to Him for salvation; and the sole Saviour. I wish you believed the whole counsel of God. But in this bad time, when there are so many unbelievers, I rejoice to think you are not one of them.(Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, Letters & Diaries, v. 25; To J. F. Lloyd, 14 April 1870)All I claimed was that he showed disdain for them in "Development," in order to bolster his "Rome or nothing claim," which is true. He also shows similar disdain for the Eastern church in that book. My only interest in Newman pertains to his celebrated argument in that book, which I found wanting in several respects, many of which are shown in Mozley's reply. And if he did not really believe it's "Rome or nothing" he should have refrained from that rhetoric. I was frankly even less impressed with his charity in that book than his arguments.You also made a remark about Newman quite possibly rejecting Protestantism as a Christian tradition altogether. Newman treats individuals with extreme charity, regardless of affiliation. He has hard words for Anglicanism and Protestantism, but they have to be interpreted within the framework of many "ecumenical" statements like the one above. Well it all depends on how serious he is about the "Rome or nothing line," whether it is just rhetorical exaggeration or he really believes it.As I already stated (on your wall), that is an argument concerning logical consistency, which all thoughtful Christians make. If we believe our communion is the best or truest one, we will necessarily think that others are less logically consistent.Newman simply extends that thought all the way, believing that only Catholicism is perfectly consistent. It doesn't follow that he denies that any non-Catholic Christian group (and esp. individuals) is Christian at all. All the evidence is against such an alleged denial.I've done the same thing myself for 25 years, holding that any form of Protestantism is viciously circular and unable to be consistently maintained under scrutiny, in terms of logic and its relation to historical facts and the Bible.At the same time, I have very warm, affectionate relations with many Protestants, whom I consider my esteemed brethren in Christ, and have written dozens of ecumenical posts and book chapters.  Yes, he seems to recognize incoherent Protestants as in some sense Christians in his other writings. But in "Development" his comments about other Christians are not only dismissive but also comical caricatures. I have already agreed that he broad-brushes. He has a deep contempt in particular for Wesley and Methodism that I have never understood. Yet even there he recognizes the good qualities found therein.Yeah, too bad all of us Protestant Christian philosophers can't see how incoherent we are.You say Catholicism is incoherent and inconsistent. That's inherent in any strong critique of another view. What the Hades is the difference? I see none. Insofar as we say x, y, and z in another view are incorrect, we are alleging inconsistency: more so, the more examples we submit.No, I'm inclined to think it is possibl[...]

What I LIKE About Calvinism and Calvinists


By Dave Armstrong (June 2009)

I have a rather high view of Calvinism and many Calvinists. I state this in several places on my website. I "hate" certain beliefs or strands of Calvinism (particularly supralapsarianism) - as I hate all error -, but other aspects I highly admire (the scholarly approach, the more historically oriented view, the retention of sacramentalism, the appreciation for Covenant theology, a superior ecclesiology to many evangelicals, a concern for self-consistency, a high view of the majesty and Providence of God, an exceptional and praiseworthy interest in theology and apologetics, the Lordship salvation view, emphasis on cultural and political aspects of Christianity, etc., etc.).

Francis Schaeffer was and is a huge influence on me, as was Charles Colson,  J. I. Packer, Berkouwer and many other Calvinists. I often listen to R. C. Sproul on the radio and receive much benefit from him (I think he is a wonderful teacher). I have two friends now who attend John Piper's church. I visited a Calvinist pastor and his wife in another state in 1997. I have a very good Baptist Calvinist pastor friend who runs a Christian bookstore and thinks highly of me (I worked for him for a while). I have many cordial debates with Calvinists on my site. I could go on and on.

I can seek to understand something better if I basically disagree with it (at least in the sense that it is not superior to Catholicism). Otherwise I couldn't have ever converted to Catholicism. I used to think it was much inferior to evangelicalism (though I never hated Catholicism either), but I actually took the time to learn more about it, and I was persuaded.

Dialogue with a Baptist Pastor on Whether Infant Baptism is Indicated in the New Testament


 By Dave Armstrong (4-29-15)This occurred on a public Facebook page, that shared a post I had shared, having to do with a Baptist pastor baptizing an infant. The pastor's words will be in blue. I made a dumb and unnecessary remark (though not intended as a personal attack) that offended the pastor. I later apologized for it, and explained exactly what I meant (and he decided to return and continue the discussion), but here I include only the theological exchanges.* * * * *I do Baby Dedications, which is really more about Parent Dedication than anything else. Jesus told us to "Go... make and baptizo (not really the proper tense but it'll have to do for now) Disciples..." (baptizo = submerge... same word used for the process of dying cloth... same word for describing a capsized or sunken fishing boat)... Jesus didn't give us an example of baptizing infants, he gave us an example of Baptism as the first act of obedience of a believer. an infant cannot change his mind about sin and self determination, or believe that Jesus died for them.I'll just go with what Jesus said...Yeah, me, too; and with what the Bible says about infant baptism:Acts 16:15 (RSV) . . . she was baptized, with her household, . . . Acts 16:33 . . . he was baptized at once, with all his family.Acts 18:8 Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.1 Corinthians 1:16 (I did baptize also the household of Steph'anas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.) Many biblical passages connect household and children (if indeed such a demonstration is necessary, so obvious is it: especially for that culture and time):Genesis 18:19 No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice . . . (cf. 31:41)Genesis 36:6 Then Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the members of his household, . . . Genesis 47:12 And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father's household with food, according to the number of their dependents.Numbers 18:11 . . . I have given them to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due; every one who is clean in your house may eat of it.1 Chronicles 10:6 Thus Saul died; he and his three sons and all his house died together.Matthew 19:29 And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. (cf. Mk 10:30)1 Timothy 3:12 Let deacons be the husband of one wife, and let them manage their children and their households well;In other biblical passages, entire households are referred to as being saved:Luke 19:9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.”Acts 11:14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.Acts 16:31 And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household. That's a pretty long leap if you are going to be honest with the text.Do you want to actually make arguments against these passages or be content with one sweeping proclamation that is no argument?Then of course there is also the analogy of infant baptism to circumcision: an argument that John Calvin makes at great length. You might want to do a little diagramming of the acts passages you partially quoted and include the entire passage not simply lifting a word or two.Okay, cool, Pastor [Name]. Show us how all those passages are out-of-[...]

Broad Exchange with a Former Catholic, Bible-Only Protestant (vs. John Hallman)


By Dave Armstrong (4-13-15) This occurred in the combox of an article I did at Catholic365: What to Do About Mediocre, Milky Homilies at Mass (4-11-15). John Hallman's words will be in blue.* * * * *Read the Bible, and teach it, and you can't go wrong.I agree! And teach it within the framework of approved Catholic apostolic tradition, so there is no error, since the devil is the father of lies.Dave Armstrong LOL! Approved by the church fathers. Men, in other words, who still to this day create new "scripture"? Er, no thanks. I understand that to Catholics, the church takes precedence and must be obeyed but as a non-Catholic, I take my authority from God rather than men. That way, I can avoid those sticky things like purgatory, holy water, Mary as a co-Redemtrix and assumed into heaven. these kinds of things require some pretty agile Bible gymnastics, and my back just isn't into it. Carry on, though Dave!I feel like a mosquito in a crowded locker room: where to begin?1. No new Scripture has been created. Where you got such a silly notion, would be fun to find out. Only Holy Scripture is inspired. No dif there.Apologies, just seems like it with the seeming hierarchy of beliefs that are non-Biblical.Thanks for the apology, but "seems like it" is inadequate to make such a charge. You must document such [outlandish] charges. Once I called you on it, you realized you couldn't, and retracted it, which is admirable. 2. The Church doesn't take "precedence'; rather, we believe in a "three-legged stool" rule of faith: Bible - Church-Tradition. None is "above" the other, and all harmonize with each other. In Protestantism, it is a free-for-all, with hundreds of denominations (a completely unbiblical concept) offering contradictory interpretations and doctrines: including several that can't be traced back to the early Church or the Bible.Apart from the (false) slam at Protestantism (great try, you're very funny!), you are entitled to equating the church men with the Bible, but I would politely disagree that there is basis for equivalency there. Not to be trite, but when you equate "God says it", with "man says it" and "we've always done it this way", it just seems like something is a wee bit amiss."Nothing I said about Protestantism above is false. It's all demonstrably true. No Protestant can deny that there are massive internal contradictions, causing confusion among the flock and (logically necessary) error, in cases of contradiction. Falsehood is not from God; it's from the devil. You have yet to prove falsehood in Catholicism. But everyone knows that falsehood is present in Protestantism somewhere -- simply from the presence of contradiction. It's there, and it has a bad effect, as all untruths do. I merely noted that in our thinking, the Church isn't above the Bible. That is the standard false stereotype. We believe that the Church and tradition are necessary as frameworks for the proper, unified interpretation of the Bible. You're the one who claimed you were simply following "God rather than men" (standard Protestant boilerplate rhetoric). I showed that it is not as simple as it sounds: that you still must interpret, and when Protestants do that, they invariably disagree with each other, and so someone is therefore wrong. 3. God gave men authority in His Church to represent Him, starting with Peter. False dichotomy, but a very typical one.I've read those manly interpretations of the Bible verses, and feel that they are still wrong. There is no apostolic succession if you understand what an apostle was. False assumption to justify the popes, but a very typical one. Really? S[...]

Can We Honor Jesus Christ Through His Mother Mary? (vs. John Cranman)


By Dave Armstrong (4-9-15)The following dialogue took place on my Facebook author page. I posted a meme which read: "We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek -- Jesus, her Son." [St. Louis Marie de Montfort]This led to the exchange below with one John Cranman (apparently Protestant Reformed). His words will be in blue.* * * * *This is literally vacuous.Catholics think in terms of "both/and" rather than making false and unnecessary dichotomies ("either/or"). This is also the Hebrew and biblical outlook.The best way to honor Jesus is to simply do what He says. If we are talking about a hierarchy of ways to honor Christ, I can imagine that living out the Great Commission is way further up there than honoring Mary. So obviously, honoring Mary isn't the "best" way to honor Christ.You're still thinking in either/or terms. There is no necessity to do that. Doing Jesus' will honors Jesus; so does honoring His mother, which (as it says above) is always intended as primarily honor and glory to the Son, Who made His very mother, as He willed. Okay; is honoring Mary the primary way to honor Christ, or is it not? Because, the former is what this meme is claiming.No it's not. It's saying it is up at the top of honoring Jesus, without ruling out other ways of doing that. Both/and. Honoring His mother is honoring Him, in Catholic / biblical both/and thinking. The problem in Protestant thinking (esp. Reformed) is persistent false dichotomies. It can't comprehend honor of anyone besides God, as if such honor detracts from His honor and is necessarily idolatry. Catholics recognize distinctions between adoration and veneration, and also follow the notion of worshiping God through His creation. Thus, Paul writes:Romans 1:20 (RSV) Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. . . .Analogously, we can say, "Jesus' eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things [in this instance, Mary] that have been made." That's both/and thinking.Dave, this is just sophistry then. Why not just speak plainly here? It doesn't say that it's "up at the top". It says that "we never give more honor" than when we honor Mary. I would even argue that it's nowhere near required, nor at the top.You have to see it as "sophistry" because you are restricted by your own false premises (either/or thinking). I am speaking plainly (and biblically and logically and apostolically). But to you it is sophistry because you don't yet comprehend the biblical both/and outlook. You are too beholden to the traditions of men (either/or dichotomies).Stating "we never give more honor" is not saying that it is the highest or only form of honoring Christ; only that no other form could give more honor. Technically, then, one could also say, in line with the meme, that "we never give more honor to Christ than simply do what He says." They could both be on the highest level. And indeed they are!Moreover, the saint makes the following equation: "we honour her simply and solely to honour him." But there's your "both/and" outlook again, which Protestants rarely can conceptualize, because they've relentlessly been taught either/or thinking in their own circles. Thus, they see it as "sophistry" or (also commonly) "idolatry".These aren't false premises. It has to do with clear communication. The meme communicates an idea. Now if the meme doesn't actua[...]

How to Talk About the Papacy Without Offending Catholics


By Dave Armstrong (6-3-09) Sometimes Protestant apologists argue to the effect that it is some inherently terrible and inconceivable thing for Catholics to believe as they do vis-a-vis ecclesiology and the papacy, so that ecumenism is scarcely even possible. When one side is forced from the outset to make one of its non-negotiable tenets negotiable, or else be accused of outrageous intolerance and arrogance and hubris (which also occurred in proposed talks in the 16th century), then it is unfair to that position from the get-go (and, I would argue, most uncharitable).We won't stop believing in the papacy, anymore than a Protestant will yield up sola Scriptura. These are bedrock principles, having to do with the Rule of faith on both sides. But I disagree that this is either "triumphalistic" or fatal to ecumenism.Only someone who foolishly thinks that we will literally unite in some Hegelian synthesis-church would think that. Ecumenism is the effort to find common ground, rejoice in that, clear up misunderstandings and hostilities, and an effort to respect others who differ from us, and who will in all likelihood continue to do so. It is not some attempt to create hybrid-churches which will please no one.That's not fair, and -- in my mind - it is not ecumenism. It's holding a group hostage and assuming they are inferior and not even seriously dialoguing with them until they become like "us" -- because "our" position is so reasonable and moderate and nuanced and biblical, etc., etc.All Christians believe that their views are derived from, and/or harmonious with, the Bible. To make this sort of argument, I should think that at the very least, some familiarity with actual Catholic arguments ought to be exhibited, before launching off into the hyper-polemics. How does a rational, honest, committed Catholic possibly respond to such a charge? "Yes! Wow! You know, my friend, you have a good point there! It is a profound realization. Now that I have finally faced the fact that I am inherently dishonest, and that this is a ubiquitous shortcoming of 'RC apologists,' we can get into a good discussion. Now we can get somewhere." This is the logical fallacy of poisoning the well. It begins with the false assumption that dishonesty is so widespread in Catholic ranks as to be epidemic and fatal to all ecumenical discourse and other joint endeavors.What offends Catholics is the insinuation that we are less-than-fair-minded or rational or charitable people by simple virtue of the fact that we are Catholics and believe in outrageous, outlandish, self-evidently false doctrines like the papacy or various Marian doctrines or what-have-you. It's the old "triumphalism" charge, writ large.If those who criticize Catholicism argue from the Bible and history and avoid making the hostile meta-assertions about internal attitudes and supposed pagan background of Catholic tenets, or "ubiquitous dishonesty," we would have no objection. We have the Bible in common. That's the whole point of my emphasis on "biblical evidence for Catholicism" on my website and in my books and articles. We can all go to Holy Scripture and make our arguments.I would challenge Protestant apologists to overturn the biblical arguments we can produce and show us what the biblical ecclesiology is, if not papacy and episcopacy, a visible church which has councils and priests, etc. They need to deal with apostolic succession. Dialogical opponents need to back up their statements. They shouldn't have the luxury of simply making them and letting them hang there, unsupp[...]

First Video Ever of Me Teaching Apologetics


  [selfie from January 2013]By Dave Armstrong (3-31-15)I did an informal Q & A teaching session (1 hr, 17 min. total, in two parts) with a Catholic high school youth group, called ROCK (Relying On Christ our King), in Southgate, Michigan (3-22-15), answering 30 or so questions, completely unprepared and "off the cuff." We managed to upload the footage to You Tube.Links: Part One / Part Two I hardly ever do this, whether filmed or not. I did an actual talk / lecture a year or two ago to another high school group. That's even more rare than what I did here, which was almost totally a Q & A session. Blessedly, I wasn't really aware that I was being filmed the whole time. That would have made my perfectionism hit the roof and make me worry too much about what I was saying.This is me! People are always talking about how the Internet doesn't convey body language, tone, and all the rest that we see visually, or what we hear (inflection and so forth). So now you can see what I'm really like (rather than what the myths of my detractors claim): laid-back, informal, given often to witty remarks and one-liners (sometimes dry humor), unassuming, easy-going. This is exactly what I would be like (so my family and some friends who have met me say), if you were in my living room talking to me about apologetics. Hopefully, this can overcome the curious stereotype that makes out that apologists are these mean, overbearing, arrogant types who love to tell everyone they are wrong and how stupid they are. I have my faults like anyone else, but those things are not among my besetting sins or shortcomings.No! I'm here to share with joy, the Good News and the fullness of spiritual and theological truth that is found in the Catholic Church.What's cool is that in the second part you see a lot of my second-oldest son Michael (almost 22) who was reading the questions and making some comments. You hear my youngest son Matthew (baritone voice just like myself and Michael) with a few questions, but don't see him, because he was filming it. You also see the back of my wife Judy's head in Part 2 (dark, curly hair). I wish she had turned around!I think it's fun because it is so informal and a sort of group discussion. Part 2 is as informal as can be imagined, in a separate room with everyone feeding their face and walking around, while I answered the questions from index cards. Though I don't do stuff like this much, I immensely enjoyed it. The most fun in apologetics that I ever had in my life was when it was just me and 16 atheists in a room, 3 or 4 years ago. That was a Q & A session, too. I wrote about that but I don't have a transcript of it.So, enjoy and please let me hear your feedback and what you think. Did your impression of me change too?* * * * *[...]

The Raising of Tabitha as a Compelling Indicator of Purgatory (Guest Post by Tony Gerring)


By Tony Gerring [see Facebook page]If you are a non-Catholic Christian, can you provide some insight on how you understand this story in Scripture? In Acts 9:36-42, Peter raises the disciple Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-42).Where did Tabitha's soul go after she died?Did Tabitha's soul leave heaven and return to earth?What about Hebrews 9:27?: “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”How do you understand this story?In the New Testament, there are several occurrences of the dead being raised to life after Jesus’ resurrection. In Acts 9:36-42, we read about how Peter raised Tabitha from the dead. Note that Tabitha is specifically called a disciple of Jesus who did good works and gave alms. In verse 37, the Bible tells us she died. According to Protestant understanding, after her death, Tabitha's soul must have gone directly to heaven.Now if Tabitha had received her heavenly reward and her soul was in heaven with God, then God must have stripped Tabitha of her heavenly reward in order to send her soul back to a sinful, bodily existence on earth. But how could this be? This would violate God's own love and justice: “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” Hebrews 9:27.In Catholic eschatology, there exists another option – that which is called purgatory. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. (CCC 1030). Furthermore, the “Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.” (CCC 1031)If Tabitha was among the elect and her soul was undergoing this final purification in order “to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” her earthly resurrection would not violate God’s eternal justice, for her soul would not yet have entered into the heavenly reward promised by God.However, if, as non-Catholic Christians assert, there is no purgatory, then immediately after her death her soul would have entered its heavenly reward. And, in order for Tabitha to be raised from the dead, God must have cast her soul out of heaven in order to return to a sinful, bodily existence on earth. The problem with this explanation is that it defies everything that Christians understand about God and his love and justice.It is simply not possible for a soul once received into heaven to leave heaven and return to a sinful, earthly existence. This is an impossible theological difficulty for non-Catholic Christians.However, the raising of Tabitha by Peter as recounted in the book of Acts fits perfectly within Catholic theology, maintains God's love and justice, and still manifest's God power over death on earth as a witness to eternal life in heaven. This story is also one of the strongest and clearest Biblical evidences for the reality of the final purification of the elect after death and before entering heaven. * * * * *[...]

Cardinal Newman's Conversion Odyssey, in His Own Words (September 1839 to December 1845)


By Dave Armstrong (3-19-15)  The following chronological documentation is drawn from entries in my two books:  The Quotable Newman (Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 2012) Section: "Conversion (His Own)"  Cardinal Newman: Q & A on Theology, Church History, and Conversion (Lulu, 2015; currently in progress, with the sections relevant here, completed) Section: Ch. 6: "Conversion (to Catholicism)" Sometimes different portions of the same letter are in the two different books, which will be noted. I note to whom letters were written, and also indicate primary sources or secondary sources where I obtained the letters.My two books also contain Newman's thoughts on Catholic conversion in general, his hindsight reflections on his own conversion from after 1845, and his criticisms of Anglicanism; as well as related remarks on development and other aspects of Church history. But those citations will not be included in this list (minus ten noted exceptions).Bibliography and Abbreviations QN  The Quotable Newman (Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 2012)Q&A Cardinal Newman: Q & A on Theology, Church History, and Conversion (Lulu, 2015)* * * * * Apo. Apologia pro Vita Sua(1865; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1908)Ble.[Vincent Ferrer Blehl] Pilgrim Journey: John Henry Newman: 1801-1845(New York: Paulist Press, 2001) Keb., Correspondence of John Henry Newman with John Keble and Others, 1839-45(edited at the Birmingham Oratory, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1917)LDvii The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. VII:  Editing theBritish Critic: January 1839 – December 1840 (edited by Gerard Tracey;  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995)LDviii The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. VIII: Tract 90 and the Jerusalem Bishopric: January 1841 – April 1842(edited by Gerard Tracey, Oxford University Press, USA, 2000)LD ix The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. IX: Littlemore and the Parting of Friends: May 1842-October 1843 (edited by Francis J. McGrath, F.M.S. and Gerard Tracey;  Oxford University Press, 2006)LD x The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. X: The Final Step: 1 November I843 – 6 October 1845 (edited by Francis J. McGrath, F.M.S.; Oxford University Press, 2006)LDxi The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. XI: Littlemore to Rome: October 1845 to December 1846 (edited by Charles Stephen Dessain, London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1961)Moz.ii Letters and Correspondence of John Henry Newman During His Life in the English Church, vol. 2 [starting from December 1833] (edited by Anne Mozley; 1891; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1903)POL A Packet of Letters: A Selection from the Correspondence of John Henry Newman; edited by Joyce Sugg (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983)SDSermons Bearing on Subjects of the Day (1831-1843 / 1869; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1902)Chronological List of Letters and Other SourcesTo Frederic Rogers, 22 Sep. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii + QN / Moz. ii)To S. F. Wood, 29 Sep. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)To J. W. Bowden, 4 Nov. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)To Robert Williams, 10 Nov. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 29 Nov. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)To J. W. Bowden, 5 Jan. 1840 (QN / Keb.)To Edward B. Pusey, 15 Jan. 1840 (Q&A / LD vii)To J. W. Bowden, 21 Feb. 1840 (QN / Keb.)To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 25 Feb. 1840 (QN / Moz. ii)To John Keble, 26 Oct. 1840 (Q&A / LD vii) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]To Frederick Rogers, 25 Nov. 184[...]

Books by Dave Armstrong: "The 'Catholic' Luther: An Ecumenical Collection of His 'Traditional' Utterances"


[completed on 28 December 2014 and published at Lulu (PDF) on the same day. 166 pages][cover design by Dave Armstrong]--- For purchase information, scroll to the bottom ---   LULU / E-BOOKSITE BLURBMy goal in the present volume is to give “balance” and greater overall accuracy to the Catholic treatment of Luther. He obviously wrote a lot of things that Catholics vigorously disagree with. I have dealt at length with those, elsewhere. But if we are to fully understand him, we also need to discover the orthodox and traditional aspects of his teaching (from the Catholic point of view). We owe it to Luther, to present his views in their fullness and broadness; in their totality. I shall be citing the portions of Luther's writings that Catholics would agree with. The ecumenical endeavor is devoted to finding things that Christians have in common. This book will do exactly that. If I can persuade a few people that Catholics and Lutherans have more in common than either side (for the most part) imagined, I'll be more than happy and fulfilled, having accomplished my goal. The topics are divided into nine broad sections and 113 individual categories, and arranged chronologically within each category. MISC.Introductory Facebook post [10-10-14 ] "Why Bring Up the Marian Views of the Early Protestant Leaders At All? Of What Relevance is It?" [Facebook, 10-16-14] Review by Matthew Celestis (2-17-15)  TABLE OF CONTENTSDedication Introduction [read online]Sources and AbbreviationsI. Bible and Tradition (Authority)1.The Bible2. Tradition, Apostolic3. Fathers of the Church 4. Deuterocanon / “Apocrypha”5. The Bible: Complex and Difficult to Master6. The Bible: Eisegesis7. The Bible: Proof from / Harmony with II. Doctrine of the Church (Ecclesiology)1. Catholicism2. Apostolic Succession3. Binding, Dogmatic Authority 4. The Infallible Church 5. Indefectibility of the Church 6. Church Councils 7. Ordination / Clergy 8. Bishops9. Celibacy 10. Denominationalism, Sectarianism, Fanaticism11. Sinners in the Church12. Papal Supremacy and Headship13. Authority: Obedience to14. Holy Mother Church / Wrongness of Schism15. Excommunication16. Pope, Reverence for17. Heresy18. Rome: The Apostolic See19. Monks and Monastic Vows20. No Salvation Outside the ChurchIII.Theology of Salvation (Soteriology)1. Necessity of Good Works in the Christian Life2. Faith and Works3. Works and Salvation 4. Co-Workers with God / Synergy5. Justification6. Sanctification 7. Salvation as a Process8. Denial of Absolute Instant Assurance of Salvation9. Original Sin10. Theosis / Deification11. Antinomianism or “Cheap Grace”: Falsity of12. Grace, Degrees and Increase of13. Discipleship / Personal Relationship with Jesus14. Atonement, UniversalIV. Penance and Mortification1. Confession2. Absolution / Sacrament of Penance / Power of the “Keys”3. Merit 4. Suffering and Sanctification5. Fasting and Abstinence 6. Bodily Mortification 7. Sharing the Sufferings of Christ8. Indulgences 9. Indulgences, Abuse of 10. Contrition 11. Satisfaction / Penance 12. Sin, Mortal 13. Sin, Venial14. Chastity, MaritalV. Holy Eucharist and the Mass1. Real, Substantial Presence 2. Consubstantiation3. Consecration: Proper Words of4. Eucharistic Adoration5. Jesus' One Sacrifice, Memorialized at the Mass 6. Grace and Strength Received from Holy Communion7. Eucharist and Salvation8. Ex opere operato9. Liturgy and Rites10. Eucharist and Forgiveness of Sins11. Transubstantiation12. Elevation of the Consecrated[...]

Books by Dave Armstrong: "Footsteps that Echo Forever: My Holy Land Pilgrimage"


The front cover photograph was taken by Margie Prox Sindelar on 23 October 2014 at Caesarea Philippi: the stunning location where Jesus designated St. Peter as the “rock” upon which He would build His Church, and gave Him the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:13-19).  [completed on 8 November 2014; 165 pages. Published at Lulu on the same day]* * * * * for purchase information, go to the bottom  * * * * *  [Note: many hundreds of photographs taken on this pilgrimage by Margie Prox Sindelar will be offered on DVDs and CDs in due course. These will serve as fine supplements to this book. I'll add appropriate posts when they are available]"PERSONAL" INTRODUCTIONI've written 47 books so far, and this one is my honest-to-God favorite. It's special and unique, due to the subject matter, and because it was the result of a dream trip of a lifetime. Secondly, I like it because it's thoroughly soaked in the Bible, and that is my specialty as an apologist. This is a book for Bible lovers: a feast! Thirdly, I am thrilled to be able to present some sections of my wife Judy (a very spiritual and "deep" person) explaining her intensely spiritual experiences at holy sites in Israel, as well similar expressions from Margie Prox Sindelar. These I consider (far and away) the best portions of the book, because they are extraordinarily descriptive: akin to the great Catholic mystics (whose works I recently compiled into a quotes book). This was a central goal for me in this volume: to convey to readers exactly what it felt like at these holy places. The ladies did a far better job at that than I did, which is fine: as long as the goal is met (I love working with a "team")! You can read examples of that in the online content for "Day Three," but their reports / comments for Day Eight and Nine in Bethlehem and Jerusalem are (trust me) astonishing beyond words. They send a chill up and down my spine every time I read them.This is also the book above all my other ones, where I really want to reach and touch readers' hearts and souls. MISC.Introductory Facebook post about the pilgrimage and my conception of this book. [8-11-14]Highly related paper: "My Wedding Ring: Now an Extraordinary Third-Class Relic (and an Examination of Fine Distinctions of Relic Classes)" [Facebook, 4 November 2014]Dave Armstrong, Ross Earl Hoffman, and Margie Prox Sindelar discuss the pilgrimage and book on a two-hour episode of Deeper Truth, on Blog Talk Radio (11-7-14), with Donald Hartley. [play show at the very top of the page]TABLE OF CONTENTS Dedication (p. 3) Introduction: Anticipating and Reflecting Upon the Pilgrimage Three Months Ahead of Time (p. 7) [read online] Day One: 18 October 2014 [The “lay of the land”] (p. 15) Day Two: 19 October [Mt. Carmel (Elijah) / Caesarea] (p. 21) Day Three: 20 October [Transfiguration / Cana / Nazareth] (p. 23)  [excerpt on Facebook, featuring Judy and Margie's profound spiritual experiences at Mt. Tabor and in Nazareth] Day Four: 21 October [Sermon on the Mount / Feeding of the 5,000 / Capernaum] (p. 33) ["Striking Topographical and Acoustic Facts About the Sermon on the Mount": book excerpt, Facebook] Archaeological Interlude No. 1: Has St. Peter's House in Capernaum Been Discovered? (p. 37) [read online] Day Five: 22 October [River Jordan / Mount of Temptation / Ancient Road from Jericho to Jerusalem] (p. 43)Archaeological Interlude No. 2: “B[...]

"Live Chat" Exchange with Mark Shea on Waterboarding


By Dave Armstrong (1-30-15)I tried, folks. I mightily tried. I summoned (only by God's grace, believe me) every last fiber and nerve in me of patience, and was willing to be a punching bag for two hours, in order to achieve rational dialogue with Mark. You be the judge. This took place in the wee hours of 1-30-15 and was about 75 minutes in duration. Mark's words will be in blue.* * * * *The huge irony in all this insofar as I have been attacked is that I am agnostic on waterboarding (as to whether it is torture or not), not an advocate of it, let alone for torture. I have moved closer to thinking that waterboarding may be torture, based on an excellent article I read on the Unam Sanctam Catholicam website, and by dialoguing with a certain person who is able to talk about the issue minus the gratuitous and juvenile epithets. I sure ain't gonna change my mind through the tactics of being compared to Holocaust deniers, Nazis, and Americanists. As always, I change my mind by rational persuasion and being shown either compelling biblical or magisterial data.I don't enjoy being an agnostic about anything. It's not my nature. But I'd rather be that than intellectually dishonest. So here I am. Insult away, or else try to use reason, that I am altogether willing to hear and interact with. Mark Shea said that anyone holding my position [agnostic on whether waterboarding is torture and intrinsically evil] is "insane". . .]Moi aussi. I've had almost no conversation with you, Dave, but somehow you've decided to apply stuff I've said in other contexts to yourself. If the shoe fits wear it, I guess. But I have no idea if the shoe fits you. You decided that for yourself. So I don't even know what I'm supposed to apologize for.You said that anyone who held this position was "insane" during the short time you visited my Facebook page (which is quite in "my context"). It's a simple logical deduction:1. "Anyone who believes y is insane."2. x believes y.3, Therefore, x must be insane.Surely you can grasp this logic. It has nothing to do with whether I decided if the shoe fit or not. I have never believed that I was insane. You decided that all of us who disagree wear this "shoe" of "insanity" (and a host of other things). Then when called on it, this is the lame response you invariably make, as if we are paranoid and illogically applying what you said yourself.I didn't ask you to apologize. I merely mentioned you in connection with my observation that those of your position have come up with "a very colorful collection of epithets."Another prime example of the ridiculous sophistry that you regularly bring to this topic is to say that folks are advocating "drowning" when they think waterboarding is permissible. Newsflash: it ain't drowning: which results in a dead person. It's not even attempted drowning. But that doesn't stop you from your sophistry. And the weirdest thing about it is your assumption that your readers are too stupid to not know that waterboarding is not drowning . . . It sounds great as a magnificent insult, I guess, so it is used repeatedly, no matter how inane and vacuous it is. Waterboarding is an attempt to make a person in his fright and fear (and based on the normal reaction of the instinctual portions of the brain) think he may be drowning. But as I have said, if soldiers are routinely trained in it, then they know going in that they ain't gon[...]

Condemnation of Slanderous Lies About My Position Regarding Torture and Waterboarding + Removal of My Post Dealing With Matthew 18:34


By Dave Armstrong (1-26-15)I have removed a blog post of mine  (and two related Facebook discussion posts) that deal with Matthew 18:34, as related to the vexed "waterboarding / torture" issue. I have done so because in the present hysterical, fanatical, anti-rational, "us vs. them" climate that prevails online when it comes to discussion of this issue, my reasoning cannot possibly be grasped (i.e., by those people who are acting hysterically and judgmentally).I love the Bible; love to engage in amateur exegesis and to discuss (like all lovers of the Bible) what various passages mean. This has been ridiculously distorted to mean (in this instance, given the atrocious mentality that prevails) that I am supposedly equating my thoughts with dogma or the magisterium.My actual position has been incredibly distorted in certain quarters. This is my position:1. Torture is intrinsically wrong. The church has made this very clear.2. I am agnostic as to whether the practice of waterboarding is a species of torture.My true position  has been distorted and caricatured by my critics as the following:1. I [supposedly] am "pro-torture" and defend torture and am a "torture apologist."2. I [supposedly] claim (in this paper) that Jesus was "pro-torture" [in the sense that the Church has condemned].Woe unto me, that I dared to look at a Scripture passage that mentioned "torment" or "torture" (defined as interrogatory practices). It wasn't my initial argument or speculation. I first saw it in the context of a very elaborate presentation of the scriptural data concerning corporal punishment by Australian moral theologian Fr. Brian Harrison.It's important to note that Fr. Harrison is Australian because it is charged that any doubt whatsoever as to the status of waterboarding as torture is strictly an "American" and "Neo-conservative" position, and inevitably drawn therefrom. Likewise, it is important to note that he is a moral theologian, because I am being accused of setting myself up (as an apologist) as some sort of pseudo-magisterium. Fr. Harrison wrote in his paper:Jesus clearly builds on this Old Testament foundation of a nascent, minimal recognition of the need for moderation in chastising one’s fellow men made in God’s image. The New Testament data furnishing some kind of basis for a moral evaluation of such penal practices are not abundant, but significant. On the one hand, we find no direct or outright condemnation of the aforesaid Mosaic punishments as being intrinsically unjust or evil. It would be implausible to try reading any ethical censure into Jesus’ mention of temporal torture in the parable of the unforgiving debtor (Mt 18: 34), in view of his immediate comparison of this treatment with that to be meted out in eternity by "my heavenly Father" (cf. B2 above). The same can be said of the floggings referred to in the parable of the wicked servant (Lk 12: 47-48, cf. B3), particularly in the light of our Lord’s own action narrated in Jn 2: 15 (cf. B6). It seems plain from the text that his "whip" was used to strike the money changers themselves, not only the animals – and with considerable force.Fr. Harrison, since the time of this paper (July 2005) has clarified that he fully accepts the Church definition of torture as intrinsically immoral (on 11 March 2010). He and others have also noted that there must sensibly be more than one meaning of "torture" insofar as hi[...]