Why do Catholics and Protestants have different Bibles, and how are they different? There's a lot of misinformation out there, so let me give a basic primer. This isn't so much looking to convince anyone as just to establish some of the basic facts. So here are 19 points about how we ended up with two different Bibles. I don't believe that there's anything in here to which a well-informed Protestant could object...
Can Protestants be saved, given that they don't have the Eucharist? In John 6:53-55, Jesus speaks about the Eucharist in a way that seems to suggest that, without it, you cannot be saved: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." So should we conclude from this that the Eucharist is strictly necessary for salvation?
Protestants tend to view Baptism as a symbol that doesn't actually do anything, whereas Catholics view Baptism as a Sacrament that truly saves us. Strangely, both sides are right... it just depends upon which Baptisms we're referring to.
One of the tragedies of the Protestant Reformation is that it resulted in a lot of Protestants squeamish about talking about the Virgin Mary, and a lot of Catholics squeamish about talking about grace and predestination (in both cases, out of a fear of the other side's perceived excesses). In reality, if you want to know what God's predestination looks like, look to the Virgin Mary. And you can't understand Mary without understanding predestination.
A recent Facebook commenter claimed that "To be a Christian American, you must believe in the separation of Church and State. The Will of God has no place in superseding a rule of law. By living a Christian Life and not judging others, we show our ability to follow in the footsteps of Christ." Here are five reasons that's a dangerous position to hold as either a Christian or an American.
The world is ending this weekend. Is that good news or bad news?
The idea of the "Kingdom of God" is absolutely central to the Christian Gospel. The first words out of the mouth of Jesus in St. Mark's Gospel are “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). St. Matthew says that Jesus "went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people" (Mt. 4:23). And we pray for the coming of this Kingdom every time that we pray the Lord's Prayer. So what do we mean by the "Kingdom of God," and how should it impact our approach to the Church, to civil society, and to our own responsibilities?
Why do Catholics call their Church the "Catholic" Church? Why not just call it the Christian Church? Is the Catholicity of the Church important? Is it Biblical? What does it even mean to say that the Church is "Catholic"?
This year, in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I've decided to do another round of "Reformation Day Ironies." This year's theme is "Luther against the Reformation," looking at the various ways that Martin Luther spoke against the Reformation he helped to spark, including what he had to say on the papacy, teaching authority, and schism.
Do embryos and fetuses count as human "persons"? And why can't we abort in those cases in which NOT aborting means that both the mother and the baby will die?