In the modern age, it's easy to assume that Christians always studied Scripture by reading their personal Bible, or that theological questions always settled by the believer looking through his Bible at home, alone. But none of that is true. As St. Augustine and Scripture itself confirm, the Bible was originally intended to be proclaimed to the community. Which is why I'm happy to be part of a project that seeks to do just that.
On Easter Sunday, why does Jesus say to Mary Magdalene, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father"? And why does He then invite St. Thomas to touch His hands and side?
How important is it that all Christians operate from the exact same Bible? You may be surprised to learn that for most of Church history, the (implicit) Christian answer was "not that important." Why was this the case? And why isn’t it the case today? Because of a major shift in how Christians approached Scripture and doctrinal orthodoxy...
Contemporary Christian groups are fond of producing "Statements of Belief" (SoBs) that serve as sort of imitation Creeds. That's a bigger problem than it might seem.
Did the early Christians believe in "sola Scriptura" (Scripture alone)? Or did they also believe in Apostolic Tradition? Keith Mathison, in his book "The Shape of Sola Scriptura," claimed that the Catholic view wasn't found in the first centuries of the Church, and that the earliest Church Fathers believed in sola Scriptura. Mathison's views are thoroughly debunked by (of all people) Karl Barth, the Reformed theologian Christianity Today called "the most important theologian of the twentieth century." And Barth capably proved the Catholic Patristic case... even though he personally believed in sola Scriptura!
The Catholic Church teaches that the Apostles were given the ability to forgive penitents of their sins. One of the frequent objections to this is that "It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7). Ironically, that objection originally comes from the Scribes and Pharisees, and Jesus' response explains precisely how we can know that the Apostles were given authority to forgive sins.
Partly, this is a post about St. Peter, and why he's the "Rock" in Matthew 16. Partly, it's a post about the connection between the Cross and Jesus' Messiahship. Mostly, though, it's a post about Jesus Christ, and the continual need to grow in our understanding of Him.
This is really two short posts rolled into one: (1) is the Catholic Church the origin of the Bible? and (2) What's the Gospel message of salvation, according to the Catholic Church?
St. John says that "there are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree." Why does he limit it to three witnesses? And why *these* three? What can the waters of Baptism, the Blood of Christ, and the Third Person of the Holy Trinity do that no other witnesses can do?
In its rush to enter "the Christmas season," the world has forgotten about the holy season of Advent. That's a pity, because if we're going to welcome Christ into our hearts this Christmas, we need to take the time to make room for Him. Here are 6 ways that you can reclaim Advent.