Biblical Defense of Catholicism

My wife and I have just entered RCIA at a local parish. We’re coming from an evangelical (Baptist, non-denominational) background, and would like to leave our pastor with a few words of explanation as we leave. I’ve read several books, including “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” by Karl Keating, “Where We Got the Bible” by Henry Graham, “One Shepherd, One Flock” by Oliver Barres, “Rome Sweet Home” by Scott & Kimberly Hahn and “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic” by David Currie (and I’m sure I’ve missed a few more).

Anyways, I’d like to know if anyone has read “A Biblical Defense of Catholicism” by Dave Armstrong, and if so, would it be helpful in finding the relevant scripture passages to give a good explanation to my pastor?

Thanks in advance,
Dan

davidmacd.com/catholic/bible_catholics.htm

This may help

If you are looking for scripture to use in defense of Catholicisim. Scripture Catholic is excellent resource: www.scripturecatholic.com

You’ll find all the verses you need and then some.

God bless you on your journey.

You may want to explain why you are doing this.

I know in our RCIA program we do provide the candidates with a booklet of script references, but we don’t tend to dwell on the biblical proof, or try to “prove” our beliefs with them. Our RCIA lady takes care not to come across that way.

As a Catholic, I don’t see a need to prove to someone else what I believe- non-Catholics, it seems, many times try to justify what they believe/don’t believe based on what is or is not in the Bible. The bible is part of the deposit of faith left for us to learn and grow from, but I’ve never understood the need to prove everything from it. I mean, you can’t even prove itself from it.

sorry, I’ didn’t mean this as a rant or anything- and I’m sure the pastor will love some book reccomendations.

This is a good book, so good I gave mine away, yet when I think about it I am not sure if only giving a letter is a good idea. It is easy to dismiss letters, so if you can give him something more, such as a book in addition to the letter. That way he can read the letter and reference the book, which will give some substance to your message.

I am only saying this because when I announced that I was coming back to the Catholic Church from an Evangelical Church I gave my reasons verbally. I was pretty much dismissed without being able to give explanation and then no-one really wanted to talk about it. I was very eager to share what I knew about the Catholic Church, but I was pretty much brushed off.

I do have a lot of friends who I am in contact with and attend gatherings with from Calvary Chapel, unfortunately we rarely discuss the faith. I will always bring books with me, for the off chance one will ask to share the faith with them.

So there is the chance that this might be the one and only chance to do this, so you might want to consider more than just a letter. Just my humble suggestion, not to be pushy, but to make sure your message gets across.

Anyways from what I remember this book is a great reference and should resonate well with someone from a non-denominational church, since it references the Bible. Many people outside the Church think it has no Biblical basis for belief.

God Bless
Scylla

I would suggest after thinking about it for about 1 minute that maybe you can get a copy of Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words by Rod Bennett.

Now I will get back to my eggs and hashbrowns, waiting for me.

God Bless
Scylla

I fully plan on explaining why I’m doing this. That’s why I want to write a letter that includes Biblical and historical reasons I’ve decided I can no longer remain outside of the Catholic Church. So where it may be appropriate in certain circumstances to avoid using too much scripture, it is necessary when speaking with an individual who has a PhD in Biblical and pastoral studies. Sure, you can’t prove everythingfrom the Bible, but you can certainly prove that sola scriptura is non-scriptural! Also, I’m not interested in giving him a book, but rather in using a book to gather some Biblical references that may not have already occured to me. Furthermore, though I am under no obligation to justify my actions, this man is someone I love and respect dearly, who has mentored me through some of the toughest trials in my life, and I don’t want to simply walk away from him.

Thanks for the suggestions,
Dan

[quote=sententia]You may want to explain why you are doing this.

I know in our RCIA program we do provide the candidates with a booklet of script references, but we don’t tend to dwell on the biblical proof, or try to “prove” our beliefs with them. Our RCIA lady takes care not to come across that way.

As a Catholic, I don’t see a need to prove to someone else what I believe- non-Catholics, it seems, many times try to justify what they believe/don’t believe based on what is or is not in the Bible. The bible is part of the deposit of faith left for us to learn and grow from, but I’ve never understood the need to prove everything from it. I mean, you can’t even prove itself from it.

sorry, I’ didn’t mean this as a rant or anything- and I’m sure the pastor will love some book reccomendations.
[/quote]

[quote=scylla]This is a good book, so good I gave mine away, yet when I think about it I am not sure if only giving a letter is a good idea. It is easy to dismiss letters, so if you can give him something more, such as a book in addition to the letter. That way he can read the letter and reference the book, which will give some substance to your message.
[/quote]

Knowing the personality of this gentleman, I won’t be giving him a book. He will be more impressed that I’ve come to this decision based upon a careful synthesis of the available evidence. I will write a letter that includes quotes from a number of the resources I’ve read. I really do think, based on his personality, that this approach will be more impactful.

[quote=scylla]Anyways from what I remember this book is a great reference and should resonate well with someone from a non-denominational church, since it references the Bible. Many people outside the Church think it has no Biblical basis for belief.
[/quote]

That’s the type of person I’m approaching, so this book will most likely be of great help. Thanks for the suggestion.

Dan

[quote=scylla]I would suggest after thinking about it for about 1 minute that maybe you can get a copy of Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words by Rod Bennett.
[/quote]

Thanks for the suggestion. The title makes it sound like a nice summary of some early church history, which is something I’ve been wanting for quite some time.

[quote=scylla]Now I will get back to my eggs and hashbrowns, waiting for me.
[/quote]

Now you’ve got me jealous :slight_smile:

Thanks again for your help,
Dan

I have Biblical Defense by Armstrong, and I think it’s a pretty good book, though I don’t recall being blown away by any of the things he had written.

Frankly, I think it’s impossible to give a short Biblical defense of the Church, certainly not one that a Baptist pastor would buy as legitimate.

I think, were I you, that I would try to keep it short and sweet, something like:

“I realize that this decision might come across to you as being somewhat insane, or at least wrongheaded, but I assure you I have wrestled over this decision, and I have come to the conclusion that Christ was speaking literally when He spoke of his Real Presence (John ch6) I desire to have that life in me. There are many other reasons returning to Catholicism, Biblical and historical, that I could give you, if you should ever want to ask about it. But I want to let you know that none of those reasons are meant to reflect poorly on you or the people of this congregation. You’ve been there for me in some of the darkest hours of my life, and I will always remember that.”

You may be correct in reasoning that a short response, such as the one you included below, would be appropriate in many circumstances. I failed to mention something in my earlier post, though. Late last year, I asked this pastor if he would recommend any books about Catholicism. He mentioned that, although he hadn’t done much study in this area, the infamous “Roman Catholicism” by Loraine Boettner was the ‘classic.’ He also asked me to provide him with anything I could find that was either better or more up-to-date (I’m sure neither of us expected this to be the outcome!)

Thanks for your input,
Dan

[quote=bengeorge]I have Biblical Defense by Armstrong, and I think it’s a pretty good book, though I don’t recall being blown away by any of the things he had written.

Frankly, I think it’s impossible to give a short Biblical defense of the Church, certainly not one that a Baptist pastor would buy as legitimate.

I think, were I you, that I would try to keep it short and sweet, something like:

“I realize that this decision might come across to you as being somewhat insane, or at least wrongheaded, but I assure you I have wrestled over this decision, and I have come to the conclusion that Christ was speaking literally when He spoke of his Real Presence (John ch6) I desire to have that life in me. There are many other reasons returning to Catholicism, Biblical and historical, that I could give you, if you should ever want to ask about it. But I want to let you know that none of those reasons are meant to reflect poorly on you or the people of this congregation. You’ve been there for me in some of the darkest hours of my life, and I will always remember that.”
[/quote]

Many Evangelical people, pastors and laity, really have no idea how the Bible came into being, who compiled it and why, nor how the Bible was viewed for centuries (and still is) by the Church that gave it to the world. This ignorance, which is usually not intentional but cultural, needs to be addressed if you want your Baptist pastor to understand. I know what a broad topic it is, so I thought I would boil it down to one single explanation that is the core of the whole thing.

The Church does not view the Bible as a proof-text for anything. I know Evangelicals are not used to this idea, but it is true nonetheless. The Bible is the witness to the forming of Israel (OT), of the life of Christ (Gospels), and the early Church (NT, including the Gospels). It is not a theological treatise nor a verse by verse proof-text nor the only source for theology and the development of doctrine and dogma.

A rather long “short” explanation, I know, but it’s as boiled down as I can make it (others might be able to pithier than me). I’ve written all this not because I don’t think you have come to understand these things, but to give you a bit of help in writing up your explanation of why you are being reconciled to the Catholic Church.

God bless you and your family. You will be in my prayers! :slight_smile:

[quote=djrakowski]. He also asked me to provide him with anything I could find that was either better or more up-to-date (I’m sure neither of us expected this to be the outcome!)

[/quote]

You have a real chance to minister to this minister, and enlighten him to the Truth.

Four Witnesses by Bennett is interesting.

You also might want to check in with the Coming Home network and see what they have.

chnetwork.org/

[quote=Della]The Church does not view the Bible as a proof-text for anything. I know Evangelicals are not used to this idea, but it is true nonetheless. The Bible is the witness to the forming of Israel (OT), of the life of Christ (Gospels), and the early Church (NT, including the Gospels). It is not a theological treatise nor a verse by verse proof-text nor the only source for theology and the development of doctrine and dogma.
[/quote]

Della, this is a very good explanation, and you are right in assuming that my wife and I have already come to this conclusion. However, at the beginning of my study of Catholicism, I wouldn’t have been impressed with extra-Biblical evidences. I had to see reasons from the Bible that it isn’t the sole rule of faith (and there are several references from it to illustrate this point). Then, a whole lot else fell neatly into place. Since my attitudes about the Bible were formed largely by this pastor and his preaching, I suspect I’ll have to approach him in the same way.

So, whereas the Catholic Church doesn’t view the Bible as a standalone prooftext for anything, my pastor does, and will need to hear evidence from the Bible itself. Only after I’ve established that will I be able to move into sacred tradition.

[quote=Della]God bless you and your family. You will be in my prayers! :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Thanks!

[quote=bengeorge]You have a real chance to minister to this minister, and enlighten him to the Truth.

Four Witnesses by Bennett is interesting.

You also might want to check in with the Coming Home network and see what they have.

chnetwork.org/
[/quote]

Ben, my thoughts exactly. I wouldn’t be living out the love I have for him if I neglected this opportunity to witness. Thanks for the resources, too!

Dan

Something also to consider if the discussion of who actually compiled the bible comes up…

first, ask if the deutorocannonical (sp) books are inspired

the answer you will probably get will be no. they are catholic books

where the first people that compiled the bible inspired by god?

Answer) yes

Where they catholic?

Answer) NO!!!

Then ask why then did they include the deutorocannonical books if the first people were inspired, and those books are not inspired…

Doesnt make sense in that view

How do you make sense of it then?

The Duetorocannonical books based on that view MUST be inspired as the early christians were inspired to compile it.

Finally ask, what is the only “denomonation” that consideres those books inspired…

the Catholic Church…

hmmm…

Maybe the CC did compile it after all…
The Nature of the bible itself is proof…

Just something to chew on…

Regardless, I dont know if this issue will help or not, but I wish you well on your journey and prayfully your former paster will atleast accept your transition with little to no ridicule

In Christ

[quote=jjoshjl]Something also to consider if the discussion of who actually compiled the bible comes up…
[/quote]

A solid argument - thanks for the suggestion. There’s a really great argument along similar lines in “One Shepherd, One Flock” (I think - I can’t remember for sure). Basically, if the arugment is that these books were disputed, then there are significant chunkc of the New Testament that would need to be excluded as well, including (but not limited to) James and Revelation, since they were also disputed.

Dan

Three points:

A) Dave Armstrong’s book is pretty good. I enjoyed it, and use it sometimes when I’m in “friendly” discussions with our separated brethren, specifically because it doesn’t go too deep, and it’s not too dry.

B) I’d put your friend on the mailing list for the “Coming Home” Network! :smiley:

C) If you really want to tweak him, discuss his arguments against “vain, repetitous prayer”, and then tell him you’re going to say a rosary for him!

NotWorthy

You’re a sneaky individual, NotWorthy :slight_smile: I would only use this strategy with someone who’s particularly belligerent, which doesn’t include my pastor. It made for a fun read, though :smiley:

[quote=NotWorthy]Three points:

A) Dave Armstrong’s book is pretty good. I enjoyed it, and use it sometimes when I’m in “friendly” discussions with our separated brethren, specifically because it doesn’t go too deep, and it’s not too dry.

B) I’d put your friend on the mailing list for the “Coming Home” Network! :smiley:

C) If you really want to tweak him, discuss his arguments against “vain, repetitous prayer”, and then tell him you’re going to say a rosary for him!
[/quote]

Are there specific topics you’d like to address with him? A few months ago, I printed off some excellent scriptural info. about Mary. I could provide the link if you’d like. I’m sure if you have any other specific topics, others here could provide some links about those topics also.

I think in addition to your letter, you should go through and thoroughly highlight the verses in a Bible, and even use some little post-it notes to find certain topics really fast and make notations. Take that Bible with you when you go to talk to your pastor so you have a good reference.

Good luck! :thumbsup:

Here’s one of them:
catholic-convert.com/Portals/57ad7180-c5e7-49f5-b282-c6475cdb7ee7/Documents/MaryArkCovenant.doc

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