I have seen many apologetic resources regarding scripture, however I have found that discussion on the forums is a better way to get all kinds of insights that aren’t found in a Q&A apologetics webpage. I want to start posting on scripture here regarding (especially) protestant objections to Catholicism.
The first I want to talk about is baptism. In Matthew 3:11 John the baptist says that while he baptizes with water, Jesus will come and baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. I have heard a lot of protestants make the claim that this baptism of the Holy Spirit is different from the external sign that comes from water baptism, that the two are separate things with the former being an internal change that comes about from the Holy Spirit inspiring faith and repentance. The way evangelicals understand baptism of the Holy Spirit is kind of the way we understand a conversion of the heart. It is what they call being saved. I am wondering how Catholics can explain this separation of baptism with water versus baptism of the Holy Spirit as John the Baptist presents it here.
The second thing I am wondering about is devotion to Mary. I myself am very devoted to Mary. But I have a hard time responding when certain scriptures are brought up concerning her. First I want to address the wedding feast at Cana. My wife was reading Hail Holy Queen the other day, and Scott Hahn had said that the wording of the passage when Jesus says “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” is better translated as “What would you have me to do?” But I don’t understand how this can be if you read the entire quote: “Woman, what have I to do with thee? My hour has not yet come.” This sounds as if Jesus is rebuking Mary for asking for a miracle when it is apparently not yet time for his ministry to begin. I have also heard Catholics say that this verse proves that Jesus will do whatever Mary asks of Him, so therefore it is wise to ask for Mary’s intercession. But if I recall correctly, there are times when Jesus does miracles based on people’s reactions to his words, basically at times to prove a point, as with the healing of the paralytic or with the healing of the Roman centurion’s servant. There are times in the gospel that it seems Jesus performs miracles even when it seems like he would rather not. I do not see an obvious special place for Mary’s request versus anyone else’s requests in the gospels. Am I missing something?
Secondly, on the Marian front, I want to address scripture that my brother pointed out. As Catholics we are taught to honor Mary because she is the mother of Jesus Christ. But my brother Zach showed me an example in the scripture where a woman does exactly this and is rebuked by Jesus:
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
This is hard for me to figure out. It totally sounds like Jesus is saying that Mary is no more special than any of His followers. Another example scripture that seems to prove this point further is the following:
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
"Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Forgive me if it sounds sacrilegious, because that is not how I mean it. But it really sounds as if Jesus is not placing Mary in any special place, and is discouraging His followers to do so as well, saying that anyone who does God’s will and obey God’s word is just as much an equal to Mary and is one of His brothers, and sisters, and mother.
What is your explanation?