Does God owe us salvation? Yes, if Protestant theologians (from the Reformation down to today) are right. No, if salvation is a free gift, as the Bible says.
The weirdest and most troubling of Jesus' parables is almost certainly the parable of the dishonest manager in Luke 16, in which Jesus presents a parable of a manager who, upon being fired, exploits his position to cut deals with his master's clients so that he can try to leverage this into a job with them. Rather than being justly furious, the master *praises him* for his ingenuity. What on earth is going on? Three things to keep in mind with this parable.
Pope Pius XI, G.K. Chesterton, and Pope Francis have all warned about the danger of a sort of "False Francis of Assisi," of loving a sort of distorted vision of the great Saint of Assisi. The truth is, all of those things that the world (rightly) loves about St. Francis are, in fact, simply the natural result of St. Francis' love of God. If you ignore that root of sanctity, you end up with these false Francises: Francis the Hippie, Francis the Italian Nationalist, Francis the poet, etc. The true Francis is Francis the Lover, which is to say, Francis the Saint.
A surprisingly common objection raised by atheists against the idea of God is "who created the Creator?" The argument asks, essentially, why theists think that creation needs a Creator, but the Creator doesn't. For example, Lawrence Krauss asks, "the declaration of a First Cause still leaves open the question, 'Who created the creator?' After all, what is the difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one?"
Are you interested in sharing the faith more? Are you worried that you don't know how to answer your co-workers' and friends' questions? 1 Peter 3:15 calls us to "always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame." That's a tall order. Here are ten tips that might help.
Was sola Scriptura true during the time of the Apostles?Were the Apostles and the first-century Christians bound to follow Scripture alone? These are the two options. You can claim, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, that the Apostles and early Christians believed in Scripture alone. But doing so both undermines John's faith in the Resurrection and renders the New Testament irrelevant. Or you can concede that the Apostles and early Christians didn't believe in Scripture alone. But then you have to throw out all of the alleged "Scriptural proofs" for sola Scriptura, and concede that it's a post-Apostolic man-made tradition that contradicts the written word of God.
If Protestants held every book of the Bible to the standards that they hold the books that they reject, they would end up missing a huge number of their books. And conversely, if they approach the Deuterocanon with the same charitable reading with which they approach (say) Judges, there would be no reason not to include it as part of the Scriptures. We can see that clearly by looking at 5 alleged "Biblical contradictions" in the Deuterocanon.
There's a spiritual malady afflicting our homes, our workplaces, our political conversations, and how we speak to (and of) one another, both on- and offline. A major part of the cure is learning to recognize that those who are hardest to stand are often the ones closest to us, and that the call to charity is often in the little things of daily life.
Let’s talk about the Bread of Life discourse in John 6:22-70. The Catholic interpretation makes sense, but it's a shocking one. We think that this lengthy passage is about the Eucharist, and that Jesus Christ literally means that we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood in Communion. This teaching, radical to twenty first-century ears, was no less radical to first-century ears, and even many of Jesus’ own disciples stopped following Him upon hearing it. Protestants typically disagree with this interpretation, arguing that Jesus’ commands that we should eat His Flesh and drink His Blood are just metaphors. Often, both sides are so busy debating the credibility of the Catholic interpretation that neither stop to seriously ask, “Does the Protestant interpretation make any sense?” The obvious question is if Jesus is speaking metaphorically, what’s it a metaphor for? What is Jesus actually saying?
Protestants frequently claim that there are only 66 books in the Bible. This isn't the Bible used by early Christians, by Luther, by Calvin, or by the Catholic, Orthodox, or Coptic Churches. So where do they draw support? Strangely, they cite a single fourth century Church Father: St. Jerome. But there's a problem with that approach. Or more accurately: four problems.