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Unlocking the Convert's Heart
Catholic Education ^ | November 2007 | Marcus Grodi

Posted on 11/09/2007 1:55:47 PM PST by NYer

I was recently asked to give a talk on the biblical defense of Catholicism.

Initially this seemed like an easy task, for the primary reason my Presbyterian heart was turned toward home was because the truthfulness of the Catholic Church was proved to me through the study of Scripture. Books upon books upon tapes upon CD s reiterate the sound biblical footing of our Catholic faith. Regardless, I encountered difficulties as I thought of my perceived audience.

Vincible Foes

First, I remembered that from which I came and the hoards of anti-Catholics who believe there is no biblical defense of Catholicism. They believe the Bible is their book and that if it defends anything, it defends their theological platforms. If this were true, my talk would have been very short and this article over.

But this isn’t true. The Bible is not their book. It exists today first because of the grace of God, but secondarily because of the Catholic bishops, priests, monks, and laity who preserved, protected, copied, and venerated the canon of inspired books we now call the Bible. The entire biblical canon from Genesis to Revelation is a defense of the Catholic Church. From this standpoint, one talk or brief article merely scratches the surface.

Second, I remembered the many people who have been so swayed by the opinions of biblical critics that any biblical defense of the faith is useless, for the Bible to them is at best a collection of myths and fables. Again, this makes for a short presentation.


How does a Catholic use the Word of God to unlock the heart of a friend or family member outside the faith? My approach is what I call "The Verses I Never Saw." This is what sparked my own conversion, as well as those of hundreds of others we have worked with through the Coming Home Network International.


Third, I remembered the many lifelong Catholics who believe a biblical defense of their faith is unnecessary. From birth and baptism they have believed it all, and though they greatly revere the Scriptures, they need no proof. Yet, I know from personal experience where this attitude leads: Thirty percent of my Protestant youth groups and churches were made up of ex-Catholics who could not defend their faith against our biblical onslaught. Eventually they not only became convinced that the Bible defended Protestantism, but that they had been saved from "the whore of Babylon." It is very important, especially in this day of high-tech Internet evangelization, that Catholics rediscover the biblical defense of their faith.

But there was a fourth difficulty. As in sports, there is no one simple defense against all attacks. For example, in football the defense changes with each play to address the changing offense. So with the defense of our faith, the challenges are as varied as Protestantism itself. The verses that might unlock a Presbyterian’s heart are radically different than those that might convince a Baptist or a Lutheran or a Pentecostal or Methodist or a Mormon. You get the idea.

So where does one begin? How does a Catholic use the Word of God to unlock the heart of a friend or family member outside the faith? My approach is what I call "The Verses I Never Saw." This is what sparked my own conversion, as well as those of hundreds of others we have worked with through the Coming Home Network International.

Scripture Says What?

Not unlike any average Evangelical Protestant minister, I loved my Lord Jesus Christ, I was committed to proclaiming and following His truth with abandon, and I believed in sola scriptura — that the Bible was the one inspired, infallible "firm foundation" of my life and faith. I also believed that I knew the Bible very well, from cover to cover, and that it held no surprises that could shatter my Protestant faith.

Then a long-lost seminary classmate introduced me to the first "verse I never saw." Scott Hahn pulled the same trick on me that someone had once pulled on him. He asked me, "What is the pillar and bulwark of your faith?"


Scott Hahn pulled the same trick on me that someone had once pulled on him. He asked me, "What is the pillar and bulwark of your faith?"


My knee-jerk response — as had been his — was, "Why, the Bible, of course!"

"But what does the Bible specifically say is ‘the pillar and bulwark of faith’?"

I was puzzled. I could not remember any place where this specific phrase was found in Scripture.

"Let’s look at 1 Timothy 3:14-15, then," he said. Now, I had studied and taught through 1 Timothy many times and expected no surprises, so I read aloud without hesitation, "I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth."

For a second, I wondered whether someone had somehow secretly inserted that never-before-noticed text into my Bible! The apostle Paul tells Timothy that the pillar and bulwark of the truth is somehow the Church. I had no mental file folder for this idea. As a Calvinist, I believed that the Church was an invisible fellowship of all true believers, not identifiable with any one institutional communion. How could this invisible, universal hodgepodge of opinions be the "pillar and bulwark" of anything? And could my Presbyterian denomination qualify as this trustworthy foundation for truth? Hardly — nor in my opinion could any other denomination I knew. So, what did Paul mean by "church"? This verse left me weak in the knees, not yet leaning toward Catholicism, but shaken in my confidence in sola scriptura.

Traditions to Contend With

Then I discovered another "verse I never saw": 2 Thessalonians 2:15, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter."

Oh, I had seen this verse before, but what I had not noticed before was that the traditions — or "teachings," as my Protestant Bible had translated this term — that Paul insisted the Thessalonian believers follow and adhere to were not merely the written documents that would one day make up the New Testament, but also oral traditions.

In fact, as I re-examined all of Paul’s letters, several things became very clear: First, Paul’s normal, preferred way of passing on the faith was through preaching and teaching; second, the only reason we have any letters at all was because he could not get to the people in person; and third, what he taught in his letters presumed upon the knowledge they had already received from him in person — much of which is never recorded in any New Testament document!


Whoa! Jesus abides in His followers and we abide in Him not just through our diligent obedience but through partaking of Him in the Eucharist! Again, as a Presbyterian, I had no mental file folder for this.


Then a third "verse I never saw" raised its ugly head: 2 Timothy 3:14-17, "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

I was certainly quite aware of this text, for it was upon the second half of this text that I taught and defended sola scripura. Whenever I quoted this text, I would hold up the Bible as the presumed equivalent of what Paul meant by "all Scripture." What I had not previously considered, however (already a bit wobbly from the first two surprise verses), was whether this was an accurate representation of what Paul understood as "Scripture." When he wrote this letter, the New Testament was not even entirely written, let alone collected into a book. The canon of Scripture would not be finalized for another 300-plus years by gatherings of Catholic bishops at the councils of Carthage, Rome, and Hippo. This meant that Paul could only have been referring to the Old Testament! Did I believe that only the Old Testament was "inspired by God and profitable for teaching"? No, of course not. So this verse not only did not teach sola scriptura, but the first half again taught the importance of oral tradition.

The Spirit of Unity

A fourth "verse I never saw" was John 14:26, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." Coupled with John 16:13 — "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come" — this verse made me painfully aware of a contradiction in my life and ministry.

These verses emphasize how the Holy Spirit will teach the followers of Christ so that they know and remember all that Jesus taught to be true. So what happened? Why was there so much confusion and contradiction between those who love Jesus, who have received the Holy Spirit, and who diligently study His inspired, infallible Bible? What I had not seen in these very familiar verses is that Jesus was not implying that every Christian throughout all time would have this guaranteed knowledge of the truth: He was speaking primarily to His hand-chosen Apostles! They would be the ones to receive this special gift of the Holy Spirit to give them a special infused knowledge and wisdom so that they could initiate and lead the Church in truth. All Christians would receive the Holy Spirit (through Baptism) at differing levels according to the gifting of God (cf. Eph. 4:7, 11–14).

In time, a fifth "verse I never saw" crept up on me: John 17:11, "And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one."

So where was this unity, especially among faithful Christians who accepted the Bible as the Word of God yet could not agree on what it said? In this prayer, Jesus was praying specifically for His Apostles, upon whom He would build His Church, and Scripture teaches that "the prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects" (Jas. 5:16). In other words, unity is something that therefore must already exist, but where and how?

"Catholic" Verses?

The sixth "verse I never saw" startled me in a familiar spot. My favorite, most-preached-upon portion of Scripture was the familiar metaphor of the vine and the branches. I especially emphasized to my congregations the truth of John 15:4, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me."


Few conversions come about primarily through biblical proof texts and arguments, though these texts can be used by the Holy Spirit. All conversions come about by grace, and so the most important thing we can do to unlock the hearts of potential converts is to pray for them and love them.


For years I had given my interpretation of what it meant to "abide in" Jesus and how He abides in us, but as far as I knew, there was no place where He specifically defines what this meant . . . until a friend drew my attention back to John 6:56, "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." Whoa! Jesus abides in His followers and we abide in Him not just through our diligent obedience but through partaking of Him in the Eucharist! Again, as a Presbyterian, I had no mental file folder for this.

The seventh "verse I never saw" was another one that I preached on often and assumed I had an adequate response to for any Catholic apologist: Matthew 16:17–19, "And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’"

There’s much to discuss here, but in short I had always assumed that pointing to the original Greek undercut any Catholic proof for Petrine authority. The Greek word here for Peter is Petros, which can mean "pebble" whereas the word for rock is petra, which means "large boulder." Like so many other Protestant pastors, I explained that Jesus was obviously not building His Church on this "pebble" called Simon Peter but upon the faith he had been given from God the Father.

But then someone pointed out what was truly obvious: Jesus didn’t speak Greek; He spoke Aramaic, and in both cases He would have used the same word, Kepha: "Thou art Kepha and upon this Kepha I will build my church." The differences in the Greek arose from the translators changing a feminine noun into a masculine name.

Unlocking Our Hearts First

These are only seven of the many "verses I never saw" that opened this convert’s heart to the Catholic Church. Are these verses "silver bullets"? Are they the guaranteed keys to unlock the mind and heart of any non-Catholic friend or relative? No, I’m afraid not. I know many faithful non-Catholics who see these verses and others, who know all the Catholic answers to them, yet are far from ready to come home. Few conversions come about primarily through biblical proof texts and arguments, though these texts can be used by the Holy Spirit. All conversions come about by grace, and so the most important thing we can do to unlock the hearts of potential converts is to pray for them and love them.

So why learn these verses? For this we need to take some advice from the airlines. Whenever we fly, what does the flight attendant tell us to do in the event of a loss of air pressure? Are we to first put the air mask on our children or on ourselves? Ourselves. We cannot adequately help anyone unless we first take care of ourselves. We need to know our faith and why we believe what we do, and we especially need to know the wonderful truths of the Bible so we can pass them on to others. But in all cases, the first heart that always needs to be unlocked by the Bible is our own.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Marcus Grodi. "Unlocking the Convert's Heart: The Bible as a Key to Conversion." Lay Witness (July/August, 2007).

This article is reprinted with permission from Lay Witness magazine.

Lay Witness is a publication of Catholic United for the Faith, Inc., an international lay apostolate founded in 1968 to support, defend, and advance the efforts of the teaching Church.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology
KEYWORDS: bible; convert; luther; scripture; solascriptura
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Marcus Grodi is host of the popular EWTN program The Journey Home and president of the Coming Home Network International, an organization that provides support for Christians from other traditions who are interested in converting to the Catholic Church. He is the author of How Firm a Foundation and Journeys Home. For more information about the Coming Home Network, please visit
1 posted on 11/09/2007 1:55:48 PM PST by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Some day we’ll be posting similar articles written by Alex Murphy and others in this forum ;-)


2 posted on 11/09/2007 1:56:31 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer
The Sacaraments give us vision to understanding the Mysteries of God's Love for us.




3 posted on 11/09/2007 2:32:40 PM PST by SaltyJoe (Lenin legalized abortion. Afterward, every life was fair game for Death.)
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To: NYer; Religion Moderator
Some day we’ll be posting similar articles written by Alex Murphy and others in this forum ;-)

Not likely. And next time, ping me when you talk about me behind my back.

4 posted on 11/09/2007 3:03:38 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time." - Amos 5:13)
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To: Alex Murphy

Alex,

It was well meaning joke, but I understand where you are coming from in your response.


5 posted on 11/09/2007 4:16:13 PM PST by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
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To: NYer
It exists today first because of the grace of God. Period. There fixed it for you.
6 posted on 11/09/2007 4:25:18 PM PST by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: Alex Murphy

A little thin-skinned today, Murph?


7 posted on 11/09/2007 4:44:49 PM PST by reagandemocrat
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To: Alex Murphy; StAthanasiustheGreat; reagandemocrat; Religion Moderator
And next time, ping me when you talk about me behind my back.

Given the volume of Catholic threads you post to the forum, we expected you were somewhere along the way on your journey into the Catholic Church. Not there yet? Not a problem. We'll continue to pray for you :-)

8 posted on 11/09/2007 4:56:06 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: WileyPink; MEGoody
The entire biblical canon from Genesis to Revelation is a defense of the Catholic Church.
9 posted on 11/09/2007 4:58:08 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Alex Murphy
All conversions come about by grace, and so the most important thing we can do to unlock the hearts of potential converts is to pray for them and love them.

So why learn these verses? For this we need to take some advice from the airlines. Whenever we fly, what does the flight attendant tell us to do in the event of a loss of air pressure? Are we to first put the air mask on our children or on ourselves? Ourselves. We cannot adequately help anyone unless we first take care of ourselves. We need to know our faith and why we believe what we do, and we especially need to know the wonderful truths of the Bible so we can pass them on to others. But in all cases, the first heart that always needs to be unlocked by the Bible is our own.

We love you, Alex, and are praying for you!

10 posted on 11/09/2007 5:16:12 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: BipolarBob
It exists today first because of the grace of God. Period. There fixed it for you.

Thank you! And now, a very simple question for you:

Can there be more than one interpretation of the Bible? 

11 posted on 11/09/2007 5:20:16 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer
Can there be more than one interpretation of the Bible?

There has to be for someone to come up with something like:The entire biblical canon from Genesis to Revelation is a defense of the Catholic Church. Now that doesn't mean there's more than one true interpretation but sure there's all kinds of denominations and theories floating around. But I'll bet you and your church think you have a lock on it. Am I right?

12 posted on 11/09/2007 5:47:04 PM PST by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: BipolarBob

Why do you think it needed fixing? Isn’t the author good enough for you? Curious minds want to know.


13 posted on 11/09/2007 7:55:07 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer; Alex Murphy

**We love you, Alex, and are praying for you!**

Amen, praying here too.


14 posted on 11/09/2007 7:57:10 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer

bump


15 posted on 11/09/2007 9:19:57 PM PST by LordBridey
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To: NYer

INTREP


16 posted on 11/10/2007 12:03:14 AM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: BipolarBob

Bob, I asked you a simple yet sincere question. “Can there be more than one interpretation of the Bible?” To which you replied: “There has to be.....” Do you truly believe that the Holy Spirit leads people to different interpretations of Scripture?


17 posted on 11/10/2007 5:22:06 AM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer
We need to know our faith and why we believe what we do, and we especially need to know the wonderful truths of the Bible so we can pass them on to others. But in all cases, the first heart that always needs to be unlocked by the Bible is our own.

Excellent summary.

I love listening to Marcus Grodi; he has such a pleasant voice and great diction.

18 posted on 11/10/2007 5:44:43 AM PST by Tax-chick ("How inscrutable are His judgments and how unsearchable His ways!")
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To: NYer
Bob, I asked you a simple yet sincere question.

The implication here is that you are a sincere person and I am not. I answered your question. There is but One Holy Spirit and still many people may view the same message/event and interpret what they see/hear differently. That makes us individuals not liars. The first four books of the NT cover the same period/persons/events. Why were there four? Why are they not word for word? Is one correct and three false? The Holy Spirit leads - people interpret.

19 posted on 11/10/2007 6:27:38 AM PST by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: Salvation
Isn’t the author good enough for you?

The author doesn't have to please me - only God. You are obviously quite mesmerized by the authors writings (which you each self-reinforce) and I am not. A difference of opinion exists. Go in peace.

20 posted on 11/10/2007 6:32:36 AM PST by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: BipolarBob
The Holy Spirit leads - people interpret.

To their own demise.

"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, brethren, knowing these things before, take heed, lest being led aside by the error of the unwise, you fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and unto the day of eternity. Amen." 2 Peter 3:16-18

21 posted on 11/10/2007 6:43:41 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham
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To: Alex Murphy

Rather difficult to talk about someone behind their back in an open forum.


22 posted on 11/10/2007 6:45:00 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham
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To: A.A. Cunningham

You therefore, brethren, knowing these things before, take heed, lest someone have their popes, cardinals and bishops do your thinking for you with your soul on the line. I say to you no thanks.


23 posted on 11/10/2007 6:54:59 AM PST by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: NYer
“Can there be more than one interpretation of the Bible?” To which you replied: “There has to be.....” Do you truly believe that the Holy Spirit leads people to different interpretations of Scripture?

And the earth was of one tongue, and of the same speech. And when they removed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Sennaar, and dwelt in it. And each one said to his neighbour: Come, let us make brick, and bake them with fire. And they had brick instead of stones, and slime instead of mortar. And they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven: and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of Adam were building.

And he said: Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue: and they have begun to do this, neither will they leave off from their designs, till they accomplish them in deed. Come ye, therefore, let us go down, and there confound their tongue, that they may not understand one another's speech. And so the Lord scattered them from that place into all lands, and they ceased to build the city. And therefore the name thereof was called Babel, ("Babel"... That is, confusion.) because there the language of the whole earth was confounded: and from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all countries. Genesis 11:1-9

24 posted on 11/10/2007 7:04:22 AM PST by GoLightly
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Rather difficult to talk about someone behind their back in an open forum.

It is poor form to attempt to do so. AM would have to read every posting and that is quite the burden you would load your fellow man up with when common courtesy would alleviate this. He has made his wishes known in the matter but you are led by ????

25 posted on 11/10/2007 7:05:10 AM PST by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: NYer; Alex Murphy
We'll continue to pray for you :-)

But to whom will you pray? Some saint or priest or dead pope?

I pray to God, in the Name of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit for all who believe that there is any way to salvation other than through Jesus Christ alone.

In Christ

26 posted on 11/10/2007 8:45:20 AM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: WileyPink

Oh my... this again?

Next time someone asks you to pray for them, tell them you can’t because apparently there are no intercessors according to this viewpoint.

Catholics do not pray TO saints they ask them to pray for us...just like people ask you to pray for them. We believe in the “communion of all holy people”, whether dead or alive.

“...pray for me to the Lord our God”


27 posted on 11/10/2007 8:51:43 AM PST by Krista33
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To: Krista33
Next time someone asks you to pray for them, tell them you can’t because apparently there are no intercessors according to this viewpoint.

I ask for LIVE people to pray for me, not DEAD people.

Hebrews 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

Surely you're not saying that your priest are on the same order as Jesus, our High Priest are you?

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Oh my... this again?

I didn't ask to be in this post, NYer pinged me so you can thank him/her.

28 posted on 11/10/2007 9:06:23 AM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: Tax-chick
We need to know our faith and why we believe what we do, and we especially need to know the wonderful truths of the Bible so we can pass them on to others. But in all cases, the first heart that always needs to be unlocked by the Bible is our own.

Excellent Summary.

As you already know, I was asked to direct the Religious Education program at our parish this year. Because of this ....

How I led Catholics Out of the Church

I have placed great emphasis on learning the roots of our faith, traveling back 4000 years to the Covenant made by God with Abraham up to the present, while focusing on Scripture in our classes. It's a struggle for the older kids but I am relentless in the pursuit of them reading the Bible.

29 posted on 11/10/2007 3:50:05 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: BipolarBob
There is but One Holy Spirit and still many people may view the same message/event and interpret what they see/hear differently.

Bob, I apologize for any misunderstanding you may have drawn from that simple question. It was sincere and I believe you are also sincere in your faith. That said, and looking at your response, I would appreciate your honest response to this. There is indeed only One Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity. As christians we believe there are 3 persons in one God, correct? Do we agree that God is perfect?

30 posted on 11/10/2007 3:56:31 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: WileyPink; Krista33
I ask for LIVE people to pray for me, not DEAD people.

"And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints." -
Revelations 5:8

"The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, [Cf. Heb 12:1 .] especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were 'put in charge of many things.' [Cf. Mt 25:21.] Their intercession is their most exalted service to God's plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world."
Catechism of the Catholic Church 2683

People ask people to "pray for me" all the time. Why not ask the Virgin Mary or any other saint to "pray for you?" Just because they are no longer "of this world" does not mean they don't "talk" to God. The saints in heaven are not "separated" by death from the community of the Church (Romans 8:38-39) as we are all one Body in Christ (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12) and Christ "abolished death" (2 Timothy 1:10 ). Therefore, the saints in Heaven can pray for us just as anyone here on Earth can. In fact, better, as they are presently in His Presence. The Virgin Mary asking God to help you should "carry more weight" so to speak than having your best friend on this earth praying for you. In fact, Christ's first public miracle was performed upon the "intercession" of His own mother (John 2:2-11).

The following is a prayer to St. Joseph that dates back to 50 A.D. - long before the last Apostle had died and less than 20 years after the death of Christ.  If the early Christians asked the "dead" foster father of Christ to intercede for them and it was "wrong," why is there no "documentation" from the Twelve Apostles "reprimanding" them for this?  Surely, the Apostles would have corrected the early Church had It been in err?

O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.

O St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of Fathers.

O St. Joseph I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.

St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.


31 posted on 11/10/2007 4:07:38 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: GoLightly; BipolarBob
And the earth was of one tongue...

So, you are saying there can be only one interpretation of Scripture?

32 posted on 11/10/2007 4:17:32 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer
As (C)christians we believe there are 3 persons in one God, correct? Do we agree that God is perfect?

Yes to a trinity Godhead. Each having a different task but with the same purpose and goal. God is indeed perfect. Man is not.

33 posted on 11/10/2007 4:38:28 PM PST by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: NYer
Why not ask the Virgin Mary or any other saint to "pray for you?" Just because they are no longer "of this world" does not mean they don't "talk" to God.

Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

34 posted on 11/10/2007 4:51:33 PM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: WileyPink
I ask for LIVE people to pray for me, not DEAD people.

God is not sitting in heaven surrounded by DEAD people.

Matthew 22:31: ... have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

35 posted on 11/10/2007 4:56:55 PM PST by Campion
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To: WileyPink
For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD

That's good. Please don't engage in any of the listed activities, and we promise we won't either. All of them are explicitly condemned by our faith anyway.

36 posted on 11/10/2007 4:58:39 PM PST by Campion
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To: Campion
That's good. Please don't engage in any of the listed activities, and we promise we won't either. All of them are explicitly condemned by our faith anyway.

You pray to your dead people and I'll pray to my risen Jesus.

I'm sure that none of your priest ever engage in activities of question, now do they?

37 posted on 11/10/2007 5:10:54 PM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: Campion
By the way, you're the third Catholic to try to gang up on me to attack me. Are you all that weak in your faith?

Salvation is simple. Acknowledge and repent of your sins, ask Jesus to forgive you of those sins, then accept that His substitutionary sacrifice made for you and me on the cross alone is sufficient for the atonement of our sins. You don't need to pray to a priest, or a dead sinner, or anybody else except to God, through the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus. Nor do you need to sprinkle babies, or whisper to other sinner through darkened screen partition. Jesus in the only intercessor necessary.

38 posted on 11/10/2007 5:20:20 PM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: NYer

I encourage my students to read the Bible, and tell them their parents have to get them a version that they can read easily. Boys can really get interested in Samuel and Kings!


39 posted on 11/10/2007 5:24:12 PM PST by Tax-chick ("How inscrutable are His judgments and how unsearchable His ways!")
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To: WileyPink
By the way, you're the third Catholic to try to gang up on me to attack me. Are you all that weak in your faith?

WileyPink, where have you been? This is not gang nor an attack. Believe me when when I say from experience that in more controversial topics that when they ping their "super" list and they come out of the woodwork from every direction attacking everything you have said , THEN you can say you have been assailed. No, this has been mild, civil and completely expected. They are well read but . . . firm in their teachings.

40 posted on 11/10/2007 5:34:52 PM PST by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: BipolarBob

Well said...maybe “attack” was a little harsh, huh?


41 posted on 11/10/2007 6:18:55 PM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: BipolarBob

I do like “assailed” better!


42 posted on 11/10/2007 6:20:11 PM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: NYer
So, you are saying there can be only one interpretation of Scripture?

So? Is that what you got out of my response? LOL While I believe there can be only one correct interpretation of Scripture, I don't think anyone or any organization has been led to having all of it.

43 posted on 11/10/2007 6:53:34 PM PST by GoLightly
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To: NYer; WileyPink
The entire biblical canon from Genesis to Revelation is a defense of the Catholic Church.

The Baptists say the same thing. So do the Methodists, Presbyterians, etc etc.

44 posted on 11/10/2007 7:27:27 PM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Reading the comments, it appears that somehow they are getting or you are creating the impression that you’re on the road to conversion to roman catholicism.

I doubt they are reading you correctly, but it’s also possible that the writing isn’t altogether clear.


45 posted on 11/11/2007 1:04:49 AM PST by xzins (If you'll just agree to the murdering of your children we can win the presidency!)
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To: xzins

“Reading the comments, it appears that somehow they are getting or you are creating the impression that you’re on the road to conversion to roman catholicism.

I doubt they are reading you correctly, but it’s also possible that the writing isn’t altogether clear.”

I am not sure who “they” are, but I think NYer made an attempt at humor that failed. He put the appropriate “-)” at the end but as with so many communications via the the written word, it is difficult to convey what is completely accurate. I was not misled.


46 posted on 11/11/2007 2:19:35 AM PST by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: WileyPink
Deuteronomy 18:10

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

It's very clear in this passage that God is referring to conjuring up the dead - such as in a seance. There's a big difference between seeking information from the dead and asking the saints in heaven to pray for us. In fact, God has not forbidden this, because he at times has given it—for example, when he had Moses and Elijah appear with Christ to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3).

The Bible directs us to invoke those in heaven and ask them to pray with us. Thus in Psalms 103, we pray, "Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!" (Ps. 103:20-21). And in Psalms 148 we pray, "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!" (Ps. 148:1-2).

Not only do those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. In the book of Revelation, we read: "[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3-4).

And those in heaven who offer to God our prayers aren’t just angels, but humans as well. John sees that "the twenty-four elders [the leaders of the people of God in heaven] fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (Rev. 5:8). The simple fact is, as this passage shows: The saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth.

47 posted on 11/11/2007 4:19:04 AM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: BipolarBob
Thank you, Bob, for your responses.

There cannot be more than one interpretation of the Bible. The word "truth" is used several times in the New Testament.  However, the plural version of the word "truth" never appears in Scripture.  Therefore, there can only be one Truth.  So how can there be over 20,000 non-Catholic Christian denominations all claiming to have the "Truth" (i.e., the correct interpretation of the Bible)?

If one were to put two persons of the "same" non-Catholic Christian denomination (i.e., two Presybterians, two Lutherans, two Baptists, etc.) in separate rooms with a Bible and a notepad and ask them to write down their "interpretation" of the Bible, passage for passage, shouldn't they then produce the exact same interpretation?  If guided by the Holy Spirit as Scripture states, the answer should be "Yes."  But would that really happen?  History has shown that the answer is "No."  Now, in the case of Catholics, the Church which Christ founded and is with forever (Matthew 28:20) interprets the Bible, as guided by the Holy Spirit, (Mark 13:11) for the "sheep" (the faithful).  The Church (not individuals) interpret Scripture.  In Catholicism, Scripture is there for meditation, prayer and inspiration, not for individual interpretation to formulate doctrine or dogma.

There is but One Holy Spirit and still many people may view the same message/event and interpret what they see/hear differently.

There ... you have just confirmed it. In fact, private interpretation of the Bible is not condoned in the Bible Itself (2 Peter 1:20). Individual interpretation of Scripture was not practiced by the early Christians or the Jews (Acts 8:29-35).

48 posted on 11/11/2007 4:31:24 AM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer
NYer, unless you are talking about me or one of my posts, PLEASE don't ping me about this false religion again. I choose not to discuss this heresy.

This past week I have been lead to shake your dust from my feet.

So, if you want to pray to dead people or if you want to pray to Rosie O'Donnell, I DON'T CARE!!! Just don't tell me about it!

In Christ...ALONE!

49 posted on 11/11/2007 4:33:39 AM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: GoLightly
While I believe there can be only one correct interpretation of Scripture, I don't think anyone or any organization has been led to having all of it.

Apologies for not including you in my post #48.

50 posted on 11/11/2007 4:36:17 AM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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