Thursday, August 11, 2005

"How Does One Decide Which Church is True?"

By Dave Armstrong (8-11-05)

BWL attends a Lutheran church. This was drawn (slightly-edited, with typos removed) from comments threads below. His words will be in blue. My old words will be in green.

* * * * * 

The argument you are making is that sola Scriptura doesn't work because of the divisions among those who claim to adhere to it and the absence of any way (and especially any authority) to end said divisions. But churches who deny sola Scriptura and claim to adhere to Tradition are also in the same boat.

First of all, let everyone note what was done here (which is usually done): rather than deny the assertion and show that Protestantism does indeed have a way out of the dilemma, you immediately switch the matter back to Catholicism. That's fine in and of itself. Fire away! But it is no answer to an internal suggested problem of Protestantism to simply point out a possible internal problem of Catholicism. This is a variation of the old "your dad's uglier [or just as ugly] as mine" approach."

And that's part of what I mean when I say that Protestants never address the thorny problems of sola Scriptura head on. Almost always it is a diversionary tactic, or recourse to Honorius or the sexual scandal or some such ploy to avoid dealing with severe problems inherent in sola Scriptura. Just look at how the Protestants in this forum are acting when the topic comes up: they're all squirming: even outwardly so (don't get me wrong: I greatly appreciate the honesty of admitting that one is troubled by something). In any event, there is no doubt that it remains a huge problem for Protestants to resolve for themselves.

That said, I strongly deny that we are all "in the same boat" in this regard.

So the same question could be asked of you: how do non-Protestant Christians decide between Catholicism, Orthodoxy, the Coptic church, the Old Catholics, etc.?

The arguments are long, complex, and elaborate. There are no simple answers to be given that anyone should be convinced by. But I think that with proper study of all sides, one can be given enough information to make a good comparison of competing viewpoints and make the most plausible choice. I've shown, I believe, that the papacy is explicitly biblically-grounded, and that it developed in a consistent, sensible manner throughout Church history. It was part of Church policy and organization and the bulwark of orthodoxy. So to simply cut it out and separate from it doesn't make sense to me because it is not a consistent development of what was before. The same holds true of ecumenical councils. Orthodox and Protestants (to differing degrees) value the early Church councils.

Everyone speaks of one Church in those days, yet later on it somehow gets split. Well, who is it that continues to have a pope and ecumenical councils, just as in the first millennium? It ain't the Orthodox or the Protestants! So, although it might still be argued that something fundamental changed so that Vatican II is a completely different species than Nicaea, at least we HAVE councils. A group that doesn't has to explained why they were normative before but not now (except in Catholicism).

I don't know much about the Copts, and so I can't speak about them. The Old Catholics refused to accept papal infallibility, which wasn't invented in 1870, but rather, was in place (practically-speaking) for a long time, and was a perfectly consistent development of papal supremacy. The Council decided that this was to be a de fide dogma (just like the early councils). The Church spoke. The Old Catholics didn't like it and split, just as all the heretics through the centuries had done: they knew better than the Church. It's rather obvious, then, that they are not the "mainstream" because (again) they changed what had been received Tradition. Continuity is the key. That's apostolic succession and development of doctrine. It's how we know what the Church and True Christian Tradition is. Thus taught St. Paul and the Fathers, and the Catholic Church today.

Etc., etc., etc.

And it's worth pointing out that at least for the RC, EO and Copts, they all were around before the Reformation (meaning divisions were not new before then) and all claim to be "the church" as well.

I think the Orthodox are certainly part of the Church. They don't have a correct view of the papacy, from our perspective, but they are part of us. There are other issues — many of which are highly abstract or merely cultural — but that is the basic difference.

In addition, if Protestantism is wrong, how is a Protestant suppose to decide between these churches who are all ancient and all claim Tradition?

I've given a "nutshell" answer. The long answer is found in many many of my papers. Like I said, it is too serious an issue to trivialize by trying to give short, pat answers to it.

I don't think that I would have the time to engage all of your arguments. I do have a job after all and this is just something I do on the side.

That's fine, but it remains true that in order to decide vexing, complex issues, we all have to devote considerable time, just as we went to school for thousands of hours to learn things. Theology, Bible study, and historical study are no different. It's irrelevant to me whether you work through all these things with me or not, but I contend that you must work through them in depth in some fashion if you hope to resolve these difficulties that you frankly admit exist in your viewpoint.

I really don't know how you write as much as you do sometimes. Honestly it's quite impressive. Maybe you just drink more coffee than I do:)

Actually no: it gives me a headache. I take bee pollen and eat naturally-sweetened stuff. I write very fast. Most subjects I've dealt with before, so the thoughts are already floating around in my head. I do this full-time (I do my second part-time job on top of the full-time hours). I can cut-and-paste many times. I love what I do, which makes it easier and faster. I get stimulated by opposing arguments, and that motivates me to write and brings up new thoughts and ideas.

That is the bottom-line issue that both sides need to address, but if one side refuses to engage the most serious critiques of its fundamental principle and rule of faith, then what does that tell us? To me, it indicates that it is an indefensible system, with false premises, and that is not something I would want to be a part of. I would either seek to defend and uphold it or get out and adopt a more feasible and plausible position.

Well, I'm not so sure about this. James White frequently goes around crowing about how Catholics haven't properly addressed his critiques, etc.

Except with me (and several others I know of). In my case, he flees for the hills and tries to pretend that I haven't refuted him time and again. It remains a simple, indisputable, easily-documented fact that no Protestant has sustained a defense of sola Scriptura in the face of one of my critiques. This includes at least two people who wrote master's theses on the topic, one who was the editor of the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (brother of a good Baptist friend of mine), folks like Keith Mathison (who has a doctorate), and others of like education (though that was recent; frankly, I don't expect him to be any different; maybe he'll pleasantly surprise me. I hope so).

They were in the position to give the best answer. But even they couldn't do so. That's not because they are ill-equipped. It's because you can only get so much mileage out of something that isn't TRUE. When you have to make a case out of something so incoherent, it is extremely hard work. I don't blame anyone for not wanting to do so. But I eventually blame them if they refuse to acknowledge the problem and don't try to rectify it in their own spiritual life and theological outlook.

Granted, he is a real blowhard, but this is what a lot of people on both sides say.

Yes, they do. I can document everything I say. Many people have learned this the hard way. :-) Like Dizzy Dean used to say, "it ain't braggin' if you can DO it!"

My case, however, is a bit more complicated. My wife and family aren't too thrilled with Lutheranism, much less Catholicism. So part of the reason I'm Protestant is not simply because of certain doubts about Catholicism (which are much fewer than about Baptistic Evangelicalism), but because of worries about maritial/family problems that would ensue if I ever left Protestantism.

That's between you and God, and your family. Speaking for myself only, I would always maintain that an individual must follow his conscience, no matter what, and should convince others that he or she ought to be allowed to do so, but there are many situations, and wisdom and prudence dictate different responses or speeds of certain "moves" in different circumstances (also I didn't have to face these difficulties in my conversion, and so don't feel that it is my place to "lecture" others about it). May God bless you as you seek God in deciding what is best for your family. Only God knows all the variables and factors. No one else does. I'm just an apologist making my defense of what I believe. Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit and cannot be coerced or forced or made to happen "before its time," so to speak.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha"): 1 Peter Through Revelation (RSV)

By Dave Armstrong (8-10-05)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine), published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]



1a) 1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1b) Sirach 16:12
As great as his mercy, so great is also his reproof; he judges a man according to his deeds.

2a) 1 Peter 1:7

so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2b) Sirach 2:5

For gold is tested in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.


1a) 2 Peter 2:7
and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked

1b) Wisdom 10:6

Wisdom rescued a righteous man when the ungodly were perishing; he escaped the fire that descended on the Five Cities.

2a) 2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

2b) Sirach 35:19

till he repays the man according to his deeds, and the works of men according to their devices; till he judges the case of his people and makes them rejoice in his mercy.


1a) Revelation 1:18
and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

1b) Sirach 18:1

He who lives for ever created the whole universe;

2a) Revelation 2:12
"And to the angel of the church in Per'gamum write: `The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

2b) Wisdom 18:16

carrying the sharp sword of thy authentic command, and stood and filled all things with death, and touched heaven while standing on the earth.

3a) Revelation 7:9
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

3b) 2 Maccabees 10:7

Therefore bearing ivy-wreathed wands and beautiful branches and also fronds of palm, they offered hymns of thanksgiving to him who had given success to the purifying of his own holy place.

4a) Revelation 8:2
Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

4b) Tobit 12:15

I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One."

5a) Revelation 8:3
And another angel came and stood at the altar 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;

5b) Tobit 12:12

And so, when you and your daughter-in-law Sarah prayed, I brought a reminder of your prayer before the Holy One; and when you buried the dead, I was likewise present with you.

6a) Revelation 8:7
The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, which fell on the earth; and a third of the earth was burnt up, and a third of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

6b) Sirach 39:29

Fire and hail and famine and pestilence, all these have been created for vengeance;

6c) Wisdom 16:22

Snow and ice withstood fire without melting, so that they might know that the crops of their enemies were being destroyed by the fire that blazed in the hail and flashed in the showers of rain;

7a) Revelation 9:3
Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth;

7b) Wisdom 16:9

For they were killed by the bites of locusts and flies, and no healing was found for them, because they deserved to be punished by such things;

8a) Revelation 9:4
they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads;

8b) Sirach 44:18 etc.

Everlasting covenants were made with him that all flesh should not be blotted out by a flood.

9a) Revelation 11:19
Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

9b) 2 Maccabees 2:4-8

It was also in the writing that the prophet, having received an oracle, ordered that the tent and the ark should follow with him, and that he went out to the mountain where Moses had gone up and had seen the inheritance of God. 5: And Jeremiah came and found a cave, and he brought there the tent and the ark and the altar of incense, and he sealed up the entrance. 6: Some of those who followed him came up to mark the way, but could not find it. 7: When Jeremiah learned of it, he rebuked them and declared: "The place shall be unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy. 8: And then the Lord will disclose these things, and the glory of the Lord and the cloud will appear, as they were shown in the case of Moses, and as Solomon asked that the place should be specially consecrated."

10a) Revelation 18:2
And he called out with a mighty voice, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird;

10b) Baruch 4:35

For fire will come upon her from the Everlasting for many days, and for a long time she will be inhabited by demons.

11a) Revelation 19:1
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

11b) Tobit 13:18

all her lanes will cry `Hallelujah!' and will give praise, saying, `Blessed is God, who has exalted you for ever.'"

12a) Revelation 19:11
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

12b) 2 Maccabees 3:25

For there appeared to them a magnificently caparisoned horse, with a rider of frightening mien, and it rushed furiously at Heliodorus and struck at him with its front hoofs. Its rider was seen to have armor and weapons of gold.

12c) 2 Maccabees 11:8

And there, while they were still near Jerusalem, a horseman appeared at their head, clothed in white and brandishing weapons of gold.

13a) Revelation 20:12-13
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. 13: And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done.

13b) Sirach 16:12

As great as his mercy, so great is also his reproof; he judges a man according to his deeds.

14a) Revelation 21:19-20
The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20: the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.
14b) Tobit 13:17

The streets of Jerusalem will be paved with beryl and ruby and stones of Ophir;

See also:

1 Peter 2:25 and Wisdom 1:6
1 Peter 4:19 and 2 Maccabees 1:24 etc.
1 Peter 5:7 and Wisdom 12:13

2 Peter 2:2 and Wisdom 5:6
2 Peter 3:18 and Sirach 18:10

1 John 5:21 and Baruch 6:72

Jude 13 and Wisdom 14:1

Revelation 2:10 and 2 Maccabees 13:14
Revelation 2:17 and 2 Maccabees 2:4-8
Revelation 4:11 and Sirach 18:1 and Wisdom 1:14
Revelation 5:7 and Sirach 1:8-9
Revelation 8:1 and Wisdom 18:14
Revelation 17:14 and 2 Maccabees 13:4
Revelation 19:16 and 2 Maccabees 13:4

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"NeoCaths" and Old Liberal Nonsense: Challenges to Fr. Joseph O'Leary's Trashing of Catholic Apologetics

By Dave Armstrong (8-9-05)

Once again we have witnessed the spectacle of a liberal Catholic (this time, sadly, a priest: Fr. Joseph O'Leary) trashing the apologetics movement ("The Rise of the Neocaths"), complete with the obligatory use of the term fundamentalist ("They argue by proof texts, in complete contempt of biblical scholarship and hermeneutics. Their ingenuity in defending their fundamentalist stances is extreme"), mocking of established Catholic sexual morality ("They insist that masturbation is mortally sinful, and have an especial enthusiasm for the teaching that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered and that homosexual acts can never be countenanced"), and use of a semi-novel pejorative descriptive: Neocaths.

The term Neo-Catholic is (somewhat ironically) normally used by "traditionalists" (equally improperly, as I have written about). This disdain for orthodox Catholicism and the sort of condescending, patronizing attitude shown, is a disturbingly frequent occurrence. One paper of mine along these lines was "Apologia for Apologists and Apologetics." It was my meager addition to the response of several Catholic writers and apologists, including Mark Shea, Patrick Madrid, and Amy Welborn, to the article, "Do We Need a New(er) Apologetics?," by Richard A. Gaillardetz, Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo, Ohio. Note his similar charge of "fundamentalism":

The apologetical refutations of fundamentalist assaults on Catholicism often mirror the very methodology they condemn in their opponents. Many of the new apologists enter too willingly into “Bible wars,” in which Protestant biblical proof-texts are simply parried with a Catholic proof-text in support of a particular Catholic teaching or practice.
But this overlooks crucial, fundamental distinctions (pun intended) between the Protestant methodology of sola Scriptura, and the Catholic apologetic and/or exegetical use of Scripture within the overall framework of Sacred Tradition and the Church's teaching. I explained how engaging a Protestant's proof texts and offering counter-textual evidence, is not merely or necessarily a descent into that which we oppose (sola Scriptura and Protestant hyper-proof-texting), in my paper: Dialogue on Whether Extensive Use of Biblical Arguments Reduces to a Quasi-Sola Scriptura Position?

In 1997, Karl Keating firmly dealt with similar criticisms from Fr. Thomas P. Rausch, S.J. (see his book, Reconciling Faith and Reason: Apologists, Evangelists, and Theologians in a Divided Church, and also his 2002 article, "Another Generation Gap") in his "No Apology From the New Apologists" (see also his related paper, "No Apology Necessary: Vatican II and the New Apologetics"). Fr. Rausch, to his credit, had softened a bit through the years:

I have come to be more sympathetic to some of the new apologists’ concerns. There is no question that they are addressing some real needs for a considerable number of contemporary Catholics, for example evangelization and religious illiteracy. I too have become increasingly interested in evangelization, partly as a result of my involvement over the last 15 years with Evangelical Protestants and partly because I have long had a sense that Catholics are not very evangelical as a church—in spite of the great efforts of Pope John Paul II since the beginning of his pontificate to call the church to a greater sense of its evangelical mission. And after almost 30 years of teaching in a Catholic university, I have become increasingly concerned about the enormous religious and theological illiteracy of so many young Catholics today, something many of us experience even in our own families . . . The great popularity of the new apologists among conservative Catholics is evidence that they are addressing some very real needs. Many people have come back to the church through their influence.

Related to this general outlook is the fashionable false antithesis between scholars and apologists, which I dealt with in my paper: "A Defense of Amateur Apologetics a la C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton." So this mentality is alive and well, and shows up every now and then. It needs to be vigorously opposed.

My friend Pedro Vega has done that in his six-part series, in response to Fr. O'Leary: A Neocatholic Strikes Back (Parts two / three / four / five / six). Kudos, Pedro!

My friend Christopher Blosser also has provided a penetrating critique: "The Perplexing Sayings of Fr. O'Leary."

His father, Dr. Phillip Blosser (what a powerhouse father and son Internet team, huh?), has written several papers documenting and opposing Fr. O'Leary's theological liberalism and heterodoxy:

Fr. O'Leary's unorthodox "hot tub" Christology (Part I)
O'Leary in the dock ...

Fr. O'Leary on the Resurrection

Friday, August 05, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha"): Hebrews and James (RSV)

By Dave Armstrong (8-5-05)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine), published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]

* * * * * 


1a) Hebrews 1:3

He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

1b) Wisdom 7:26

For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.

2a) Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

2b) Wisdom 18:16 (see also Wisdom 7:22-30)

carrying the sharp sword of thy authentic command, and stood and filled all things with death, and touched heaven while standing on the earth.

3a) Hebrews 5:6

as he says also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchiz'edek."

3b) 1 Maccabees 14:41

"And the Jews and their priests decided that Simon should be their leader and high priest for ever, until a trustworthy prophet should arise,

4a) Hebrews 7:22
This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant.

4b) Sirach 29:14-19

A good man will be surety for his neighbor, but a man who has lost his sense of shame will fail him. 15: Do not forget all the kindness of your surety, for he has given his life for you. 16: A sinner will overthrow the prosperity of his surety, 17: and one who does not feel grateful will abandon his rescuer. 18: Being surety has ruined many men who were prosperous, and has shaken them like a wave of the sea; it has driven men of power into exile, and they have wandered among foreign nations. 19: The sinner who has fallen into suretyship and pursues gain will fall into lawsuits.

5a) Hebrews 11:5
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God.

5b) Sirach 44:16

Enoch pleased the Lord, and was taken up; he was an example of repentance to all generations.

5c) Wisdom 4:10

There was one who pleased God and was loved by him, and while living among sinners he was taken up.

6a) Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

6b) Wisdom 10:17

She gave holy men the reward of their labors; she guided them along a marvelous way, and became a shelter to them by day, and a starry flame through the night.

7a) Hebrews 11:10
For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

7b) Wisdom 13:1

For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works;

8a) Hebrews 11:17

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son,

8b) 1 Maccabees 2:52

Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness?

8c) Sirach 44:20

he kept the law of the Most High, and was taken into covenant with him; he established the covenant in his flesh, and when he was tested he was found faithful.

9a) Hebrews 11:28
By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the first-born might not touch them.

9b) Wisdom 18:25

To these the destroyer yielded, these he feared; for merely to test the wrath was enough.

10a) Hebrews 11:35

Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life.

10b) 2 Maccabees 7:20-29 ( see entire passage: 6:18-7:42)

The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. 21: She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she fired her woman's reasoning with a man's courage, and said to them, 22: "I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23: Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws." 24: Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. 25: Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. 26: After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. 27: But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native tongue as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: "My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you. 28: I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. 29: Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers."

11a) Hebrews 12:9
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

11b) 2 Maccabees 3:24

But when he arrived at the treasury with his bodyguard, then and there the Sovereign of spirits and of all authority caused so great a manifestation that all who had been so bold as to accompany him were astounded by the power of God, and became faint with terror.

12a) Hebrews 12:12
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,

12b) Sirach 25:23

A dejected mind, a gloomy face, and a wounded heart are caused by an evil wife. Drooping hands and weak knees are caused by the wife who does not make her husband happy.

13a) Hebrews 13:7
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.

13b) Wisdom 2:17

Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;


1a) James 1:1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting.

1b) 2 Maccabees 1:27

Gather together our scattered people, set free those who are slaves among the Gentiles, look upon those who are rejected and despised, and let the Gentiles know that thou art our God.

2a) James 1:2
Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials,

2b) Sirach 2:1

My son, if you come forward to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for temptation.

2c) Wisdom 3:5

Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;

3a) James 1:13
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one;

3b) Sirach 15:11-20

Do not say, "Because of the Lord I left the right way"; for he will not do what he hates. 12: Do not say, "It was he who led me astray"; for he had no need of a sinful man. 13: The Lord hates all abominations, and they are not loved by those who fear him. 14: It was he who created man in the beginning, and he left him in the power of his own inclination. 15: If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. 16: He has placed before you fire and water: stretch out your hand for whichever you wish. 17: Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him. 18: For great is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power and sees everything; 19: his eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows every deed of man. 20: He has not commanded any one to be ungodly, and he has not given any one permission to sin.

4a) James 1:19
Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,

4b) Sirach 5:11

Be quick to hear, and be deliberate in answering.

5a) James 1:21
Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

5b) Sirach 3:17

My son, perform your tasks in meekness; then you will be loved by those whom God accepts.

6a) James 2:13
For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment.

6b) Tobit 4:10

For charity delivers from death and keeps you from entering the darkness;

7a) James 2:23
and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God.

7b) Wisdom 7:27

Though she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets;

8a) James 3:2

For we all make many mistakes, and if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.

8b) Sirach 14:1

Blessed is the man who does not blunder with his lips and need not suffer grief for sin.

9a) James 3:6
And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell.

9b) Sirach 5:13

Glory and dishonor come from speaking, and a man's tongue is his downfall.

10a) James 3:10
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so.

10b) Sirach 5:13

Glory and dishonor come from speaking, and a man's tongue is his downfall.

10c) Sirach 28:12

If you blow on a spark, it will glow; if you spit on it, it will be put out; and both come out of your mouth.

11a) James 3:13
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

11b) Sirach 3:17

My son, perform your tasks in meekness; then you will be loved by those whom God accepts

12a) James 4:11
Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

12b) Wisdom 1:11

Beware then of useless murmuring, and keep your tongue from slander; because no secret word is without result, and a lying mouth destroys the soul.

13a) James 5:3
Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.

13b) Judith 16:17

Woe to the nations that rise up against my people! The Lord Almighty will take vengeance on them in the day of judgment; fire and worms he will give to their flesh; they shall weep in pain for ever.

13c) Sirach 29:10

Lose your silver for the sake of a brother or a friend, and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost.

14a) James 5:4
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

14b) Tobit 4:14

Do not hold over till the next day the wages of any man who works for you, but pay him at once; and if you serve God you will receive payment. "Watch yourself, my son, in everything you do, and be disciplined in all your conduct.

15a) James 5:6

You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.

15b) Wisdom 2:10

Let us oppress the righteous poor man; let us not spare the widow nor regard the gray hairs of the aged.

15c) Wisdom 2:12

"Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.

15d) Wisdom 2:19

Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance.

See also:

Hebrews 2:5 and Sirach 17:17
Hebrews 11:10 and 2 Maccabees 4:1
Hebrews 11:27 and Sirach 2:2
Hebrews 12:4 and 2 Maccabees 13:14
Hebrews 12:17 and Wisdom 12:10
Hebrews 12:21 and 1 Maccabees 13:2
Hebrews 13:7 and Sirach 33:19

James 3:9 and Sirach 23:1, 4
James 4:2 and 1 Maccabees 8:16

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha"): Philippians Through Titus (RSV)

By Dave Armstrong (7-30-05)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine), published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]

* * * * * 


1a) Philippians 4:13
I can do all things in him who strengthens me.

1b) Wisdom 7:23

beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent and pure and most subtle.

2a) Philippians 4:18
I have received full payment, and more; I am filled, having received from Epaphrodi'tus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God

2b) Sirach 35:6

The offering of a righteous man anoints the altar, and its pleasing odor rises before the Most High.


1a) Colossians 2:3
in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

1b) Sirach 1:25

In the treasuries of wisdom are wise sayings, but godliness is an abomination to a sinner.


1a) 1 Thessalonians 3:11

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you;

1b) Judith 12:8

When she came up from the spring she prayed the Lord God of Israel to direct her way for the raising up of her people.

2a) 1 Thessalonians 4:13

But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

2b) Wisdom 3:18

If they die young, they will have no hope and no consolation in the day of decision.

3a) 1 Thessalonians 5:1

But as to the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need to have anything written to you.

3b) Wisdom 8:8

And if any one longs for wide experience, she knows the things of old, and infers the things to come; she understands turns of speech and the solutions of riddles; she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders and of the outcome of seasons and times.

4a) 1 Thessalonians 5:3
When people say, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as travail comes upon a woman with child, and there will be no escape.

4b) Wisdom 17:14-15

But throughout the night, which was really powerless, and which beset them from the recesses of powerless Hades, they all slept the same sleep, 15: and now were driven by monstrous specters, and now were paralyzed by their souls' surrender, for sudden and unexpected fear overwhelmed them.

5a) 1 Thessalonians 5:8
But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

5b) Wisdom 5:18

he will put on righteousness as a breastplate, and wear impartial justice as a helmet;


1a) 2 Thessalonians 2:1
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren,

1b) 2 Maccabees 2:7

When Jeremiah learned of it, he rebuked them and declared: "The place shall be unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy.


1a) 1 Timothy 1:17
To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1b) Tobit 13:7, 11

I exalt my God; my soul exalts the King of heaven, and will rejoice in his majesty. . . . Many nations will come from afar to the name of the Lord God, bearing gifts in their hands, gifts for the King of heaven. Generations of generations will give you joyful praise.

2a) 1 Timothy 6:15
and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

2b) 2 Maccabees 12:15

But Judas and his men, calling upon the great Sovereign of the world, who without battering-rams or engines of war overthrew Jericho in the days of Joshua, rushed furiously upon the walls.

2c) 2 Maccabees 13:4

But the King of kings aroused the anger of Antiochus against the scoundrel; and when Lysias informed him that this man was to blame for all the trouble, he ordered them to take him to Beroea and to put him to death by the method which is the custom in that place.


1a) 2 Timothy 2:19
But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity."

1b) Sirach 17:26

Return to the Most High and turn away from iniquity, and hate abominations intensely.

2a) 2 Timothy 4:8
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

2b) Wisdom 5:15-16

But the righteous live for ever, and their reward is with the Lord; the Most High takes care of them. 16: Therefore they will receive a glorious crown and a beautiful diadem from the hand of the Lord, because with his right hand he will cover them, and with his arm he will shield them.

3a) 2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the message fully, that all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth.

3b) 1 Maccabees 2:60

Daniel because of his innocence was delivered from the mouth of the lions.

See also:

Philippians 4:5 and Wisdom 2:19

1 Thessalonians 4:6 and Sirach 5:3
1 Thessalonians 5:2 and Wisdom 18:14s

1 Timothy 2:2 and 2 Maccabees 3:11 / Baruch 1:12
1 Timothy 6:15 and Sirach 46:5

2 Timothy 2:19 and Sirach 23:10 / Sirach 35:3

Titus 2:11 and 2 Maccabees 3:30
Titus 3:4 and Wisdom 1:6

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Novel and Unbiblical Doctrine of Sola Scriptura (vs. Lutheran Steve Parks)

By Dave Armstrong (7-28-05)

Steve is a student at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, seeking a Master of Divinity degree, with plans to become a Lutheran pastor. He runs a blog called Sceleratissimus Lutheranus.

Steve (whose words will be in blue) is, of course, most welcome to come to this blog to defend his arguments, any time. I strongly urge everyone to welcome him and treat him with the utmost respect as a Christian brother and future clergyman, should he decide to do so. We've had very pleasant private correspondence.

* * * * * 

While the doctrine of justification has always been the primary issue over which confessional Lutheran and Roman opponents have spilled the majority of their ink, a gradual shift has occurred in contemporary debates, and a growing number of Roman Catholic apologists (many of whom are themselves converts from Protestantism) are increasingly targeting the Protestant principle of sola Scriptura . . .

This is true. The reason for that was alluded to above: sola Scriptura is central to the huge difference in the rule of faith of Protestants and Catholics. The 16th-century sea change to sola Scriptura was a far greater and potentially wide-ranging difference between the two broad Christian outlooks than justification has ever been (where the differences are actually far less than is usually imagined, because of widespread misunderstanding of Catholic soteriology). To be a Protestant, clearly one must fully comprehend and be able to defend sola Scriptura; and to be a Catholic, one must understand it equally well and be able to explain why it is rejected, on biblical, historical, logical, and practical grounds.

Catholics are not "against" the Bible; nor are most Protestants "against" tradition or historical precedent per se. That needs to be established up front (and I think Steve would join me in granting this "premise"). But there is plenty to critique in sola Scriptura, no matter how subtle and sophisticated its defense may be, from any given individual proponent of it. I've written more about this topic as a Catholic apologist for now 15 years, than any other, so I think I am in a good position to make a halfway decent response to Steve's critiques of Catholic apologetic method and defenses of sola Scriptura. I think both sides can greatly benefit from an exchange between two able defenders of the respective positions. If nothing else, at least both parties can better understand the other, and that is always a good thing and an important goal.

The doctrine of sola Scriptura, which is a Latin ablative for “through Scripture alone” (The ablative case in the Lutheran principle of sola Scriptura must not be overlooked. Scripture is not an autonomous authority crudely detached from Jesus, but is rather authoritative only because it is the living Word of Christ.

So far we agree.

However, since there are no prophets and apostles extant today, we may only know what Christ has said through His written Word. Thus, the ablative through retains its proper force. Christ is the only authority in the church, but He exercises His infallible authority through the Scriptures alone)

This begs the question. That's alright, since it is still early in the discussion, but all of this will have to be able to withstand scrutiny, as we continue on. Steve (at least at first glance) seems to simply assume that there is no infallible tradition or infallible Church. The Bible itself doesn't teach this, and it also never asserts the principle of sola Scriptura, which is quite strange and ironic, seeing that the doctrine under consideration has to do with the nature of biblical authority, and is made to be the centerpiece of Protestant authority and theology.

was elucidated by the sixteenth century Lutheran Reformers as follows: “We believe, teach, and confess that the only rule and guiding principle according to which all teachings and teachers are to be evaluated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testament alone” (The Formula of Concord, I.I, as found in Robert Kolb and Timothy Wengert, eds., The Book of Concord [Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000], 486).

The way in which the authority of the Church and Tradition was demoted or discounted by the first Protestants is fascinating (not to mention tragic in result), and not at all invulnerable to massive criticism and skepticism.

A century later, the Reformed divines defined the doctrine in a similar fashion: “The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures” (The Westminster Confession of Faith, I.X, as found in Philip Schaff, ed., The Creeds of Christendom with a History and Critical Notes, vol. 3: The Evangelical Protestant Creeds, rev. David S. Schaff [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1931], reprint, 1993, 605-606).

How (in a very important practical sense) can a "Judge" be a book? As soon as two Protestants or two Protestant sects disagree on something, and each appeal to the Bible -- the "Supreme [Doctrinal] Judge" -- then the problem in this approach can be readily observed. Someone has to decide who is rightly interpreting the Bible and who is not. Because Protestantism ultimately has no principle by which to do this, it is helpless in the face of ever-proliferating denominations. It has no sufficient principle of unity and authority. Simply appealing to the infallible authority of "the Bible" (which Christians of all stripes agree with in the first place) in super-pious language just won't do. Human beings also have to decide things, and to have a true, binding authority in the Church, not merely ceremonial or symbolic, such as that of the Queen of England.

Surprisingly, many Protestant converts to Roman Catholicism cite the doctrine of sola Scriptura as the primary reason for their defection.

This is true (but I don't find it "surprising" at all, seeing that sola Scriptura -- after a thorough examination -- is such an utterly incoherent and inconsistent theory). For the record, however, this was not at all a major cause in my own conversion. My main reasons were:

1) Moral theology: particularly contraception.
2) An increasing recognition, after historical study, of the revolutionary, rather than reformatory nature of many (not all) aspects of the Protestant revolt.
3) A much better understanding of development of doctrine (with the help of Cardinal Newman).

It is true, though, that all three factors had to do with the authority of the Christian Church, whatever that may be. Insofar as that authority runs counter to the principle of sola Scriptura, rejection of the latter influenced my conversion. In any event, I thought it was uncontroversial during my conversion process, that there was such a thing as a "Church" and that this "Church" had authority and continuity, even if not infallible (at first I fiercely resisted infallibility; more than any other Catholic doctrine). I had always been "historically-minded" as a Protestant (more than most of my Protestant friends seemed to be), so that factor played a key role (another huge discussion in and of itself).

Reportedly, after careful consideration, many died-in-the-wool Protestants have come to the conclusion that sola Scriptura is unbiblical, unhistorical, and just plain unworkable.

I hope to demonstrate that all of this is true, in due course. Protestants, proceed at your own peril! If you don't like having one of your most fundamental premises scrutinized, critiqued, and rejected, then stop reading now. Rest assured that you'll be quite miserable if you don't stop. But if something is true (or untrue), then it is, and we must conform ourselves to it if we claim to be seeking truth and following God. And we must do that no matter how painful and unpleasant the journey to certain unexpected conclusions may be.

As a result, many have jumped ship and hazarded the perilous waters of the Tiber (See for example Patrick Madrid, Surprised by Truth : 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic [San Diego, CA: Basilica Press, 1994]).

My story is the second-to-last in that book. My longtime friend, fellow Michigander, and (for a time) pastor Al Kresta wrote the last conversion story. I didn't find the Tiber's waters perilous at all, and I have found the "country" on the other side of it quite fulfilling in every way. I'm delighted to be where I am, and I would urge my Protestant friends to consider making the same move if you feel the Spirit leading you in this direction. Let everything I write here (and anywhere else) be tested by the Bible, Church history, and your own Christian reason and conscience. Then if it all seems true to you, have the courage to make the jump into the "Tiber." You won't regret it. But enough of my "preaching" . . .

I can't resist pursuing the metaphor of "jumping ship" a bit. What, pray tell, is the Protestant "ship" in the first place? There is no such ship, because the doctrine of the Church has been changed. There is no authoritative, binding Church; therefore, it is inappropriate to talk of jumping one "ship" for another. Rather, Protestantism is more like thousands of individual one-man rafts or even logs, floating around in the ocean, each with one person in or hanging onto it. Everyone is ultimately on their own. The "ship" is the Catholic Church, which has been sailing through the seas of Church history intact (whatever one may think of her). The convert from Protestantism decides that he has had enough of being his own sailor, and gets aboard the ship where there is real authority, and a real captain, and a solid, established way of doing things. The mutineers against such authority left 500 years ago, and established their new rule of sola Scriptura, but the Catholic ship sails on and can more than hold her own in rough seas.

For example, Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian pastor dubbed “Luther in reverse” (Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism [San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1993], 48), notes that in his own conversion to Catholicism, the issue of sola Scriptura “was larger than all others, and nobody had an answer” (Hahn, 54).

Although this was not my own reason to convert, certainly in the many dozens of dialogues on this topic that I have engaged in for almost 15 years, I, too, have found that "nobody had an answer." In my universal experience (no exceptions), the Protestant argument with regard to sola Scriptura always broke down, if analyzed closely enough, and Protestant defenders (even -- in my dialogical history -- authors of books or master's theses on the subject or related ones) eventually (usually pretty soon) ceased defending what can no longer be defended. If one keeps asking the necessary, hard questions, it seems that the Protestant champion of sola Scriptura eventually recognizes (whether he openly admits it or not) that there is nowhere else to go but to exit the discussion. That's how weak the case is. The Catholic simply needs to know where the considerable vulnerabilities of the position lie, and vigorously go after them. The "pail" of sola Scriptura cannot hold water. No pail with 20 holes in it can.

David Currie, another convert from Protestantism, contends that “The Protestant problem with scriptural authority showed me why I could never remain a Protestant, Evangelical or no” (David Currie, Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic [San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1996], 51). Tim Staples, a former Assemblies of God pastor, likewise cites sola Scriptura as his primary reason for abandoning Protestantism: “I think the key was the idea of the authority of the Church and sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura was a given for me…The authority of the Church I would say was the biggest, but after that I would say that justification was an issue” (Tim Staples, “The White Horse Inn,” 24 November 1996. Christians United for Reformation). All of the above men, and many others not mentioned here, all cite a lack of biblical, historical, and logical evidence for the doctrine of sola Scriptura, leading them to conclude that “Protestant theologians…take the Protestant view concerning Scripture by faith” (Currie, 56).

There is a reason for all these people rejecting sola Scriptura. It becomes more clear the more one deeply examines the position. As an admirer of defenders of lost causes, however, I must say that Steve has made a valiant attempt to defend the indefensible. It's too bad that he doesn't have a better case to argue. Someone's gotta do it, though, since sola Scriptura has been taking such a tremendous beating as of late.

Are such criticisms valid?


Can sola Scriptura stand up to rigorous biblical, historical, and rational scrutiny?


The Reformers certainly believed it could.

They were wrong, and they provided even worse rationales for accepting this false doctrine than its defenders today do. Basically, most of these revolutionaries merely assumed its truth, because it was the only practical alternative to the Catholic Church, which they so despised. This was particularly true of Martin Luther, who was more or less forced to adopt the position under the pressure of being debated into an inescapable corner. But "anything but the dreaded x" is, of course, no legitimate reason for being "anything but the dreaded x." There has to be something beyond reactionary, desperate measures for avoiding another position; some positive argument or defense for one's own position.

These questions and related issues will be considered in this series of posts.

I eagerly look forward to it. I hope open-minded, inquisitive, thoughtful readers will, too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha") in 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians (RSV)

By Dave Armstrong (7-27-05)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine), published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]



1a) 1 Corinthians 1:24
but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1b) Wisdom 7:24-25

For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. 25: For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her.

2a) 1 Corinthians 2:16

"For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

2b) Wisdom 9:13

For what man can learn the counsel of God? Or who can discern what the Lord wills?

3a) 1 Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23

"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything.

"All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up.

3b) Sirach 37:28

For not everything is good for every one, and not every person enjoys everything.

4a) 1 Corinthians 10:20
No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.

4b) Baruch 4:7

For you provoked him who made you, by sacrificing to demons and not to God.

5a) 1 Corinthians 15:29
Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

5b) 2 Maccabees 12:44-45

For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45: But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

6a) 1 Corinthians 15:32
What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

6b) Wisdom 2:5-6

For our allotted time is the passing of a shadow, and there is no return from our death, because it is sealed up and no one turns back. 6: "Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist, and make use of the creation to the full as in youth.


1a) 2 Corinthians 5:1, 4

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens . . . For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

1b) Wisdom 9:15

for a perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind.

2a) 2 Corinthians 12:12
The signs of a true apostle were performed among you in all patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.

2b) Wisdom 10:16

She entered the soul of a servant of the Lord, and withstood dread kings with wonders and signs.


1a) Galatians 2:6
And from those who were reputed to be something (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) -- those, I say, who were of repute added nothing to me;

1b) Sirach 35:13

He will not show partiality in the case of a poor man; and he will listen to the prayer of one who is wronged.


1a) Ephesians 1:16-17

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,

1b) Wisdom 7:7

Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.

2a) Ephesians 4:14
so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.

2b) Sirach 5:9

Do not winnow with every wind, nor follow every path: the double-tongued sinner does that.

3a) Ephesians 6:14
Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

3b) Wisdom 5:18

he will put on righteousness as a breastplate, and wear impartial justice as a helmet;

See also:

1 Corinthians 2:9 and Sirach 1:10
1 Corinthians 4:13 and Tobit 5:19
1 Corinthians 4:14 and Wisdom 11:10
1 Corinthians 6:2 and Wisdom 3:8
1 Corinthians 6:13 and Sirach 36:18
1 Corinthians 6:18 and Sirach 23:17
1 Corinthians 7:19 and Sirach 32:23
1 Corinthians 9:19 and Sirach 6:19
1 Corinthians 9:25 and Wisdom 4:2
1 Corinthians 10:1 and Wisdom 19:7
1 Corinthians 11:7 Sirach 17:3 and Wisdom 2:23
1 Corinthians 11:24 and Wisdom 16:6
1 Corinthians 15:34 and Wisdom 13:1

Galatians 4:4 and Tobit 14:5
Galatians 6:1 and Wisdom 17:17

Ephesians 1:6 and Sirach 45:1 and 46:13
Ephesians 4:24 and Wisdom 9:3
Ephesians 6:12 and Wisdom 5:17
Ephesians 6:16 and Wisdom 5:19, 21

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sam Cooke: The Greatest Singer of All Time: Chronological Discography

By Dave Armstrong (7-23-05)

* = Written by Sam Cooke

Dates = recording dates
Major singles (A-sides) [titles] are in red
Top Ten singles (pop) [chart position] are in blue
Top Ten singles (R&B) are in green
Top Twenty singles (pop) are in purple

Album Guide

The Rhythm And The Blues RCA 1995
Greatest Hits RCA 1998
The Man Who Invented Soul (4 CD box set) RCA 2000
[includes the complete albums Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963 and Night Beat]Keep Movin' On ABKCO 2001
Night Beat RCA 2001
Sam Cooke With The Soul Stirrers, The Complete Specialty Recordings Specialty 2002
Sam Cooke's SAR Records Story ABKCO 2003
Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 ABKCO 2003


*I'll Come Running Back To You / August 21, 1956 / #1 R&B, #18 pop / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*I Need You Now / August 21, 1956 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers
Forever / December 12, 1956 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers
*Lovable / December 12, 1956 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*That's All I Need To Know / December 12, 1956 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers
*I Don't Want To Cry / December 12, 1956 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers
That's Heaven To Me / April 19, 1957 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers

Mean Old World / April 19, 1957 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers

*You Send Me / June 1, 1957 / #1 pop, #1 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*You Were Made For Me / June 1, 1957 / #7 R&B, #39 Pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
Summertime / June 1, 1957 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
Win Your Love For Me / June 6, 1957 / #4 R&B, #33 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Just For You / 1957 / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
For Sentimental Reasons / 1957 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
Lonely Island / February 1958 / The Man Who Invented Soul

*Love You Most Of All / June 1958 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Greatest Hits
*If I Had You / 1958 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Desire Me / 1958 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Danny Boy / 1958 / The Man Who Invented Soul

Let's Go Steady Again / December 1958 (?) / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Only Sixteen / December 1958 (?) / #28, #13 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*When A Boy Falls In Love / Early 1959 / Keep Movin' On / The Man Who Invented Soul

*Try A Little Love / Early 1959 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Keep Movin' On
Ain't Nobody's Bizzness If I Do / February 1959 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*No One (Can Ever Take Your Place) / February 1959 / The Man Who Invented Soul
I've Got A Right To Sing A Blues / February 1959 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Everybody Loves To Cha Cha Cha / before March 1959 / #31 pop and #2 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
Little Things You Do / 1959 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Chain Gang / January 25, 1960 / #2 pop and #2 R&B / Greatest Hits / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
The Great Pretender / January 25, 1960 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Teenage Sonata / January 25, 1960 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Wonderful World / Early 1960 / #12 pop, #2 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Sad Mood / April 1960 / #29 pop, #23 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Love Me / April 13, 1960 / The Man Who Invented Soul

*You Belong To Me / September 9, 1960 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Tenderness / October 1, 1960 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*One More Time / December 1960 (?) / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Hold On / January 30, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
That's It - I Quit - I'm Moving On / January 30, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Greatest Hits
*Cupid / April 14, 1961 / #20 R&B, #17 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
Baby Won't You Please Come Home / May 19, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Don't Get Around Much Anymore / May 19, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Trouble In Mind / May 19, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues

Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out / May 19, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
You're Always On My Mind / May 20, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Little Girl Blue / May 20, 1961 / The Rhythm and the Blues
I'm Just A Lucky So And So / May 20, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Exactly Like You / May 20, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
But Not For Me / May 20, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Out In The Cold Again / May 20, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Since I Met You Baby / May 20th, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
*Somewhere There's A Girl / June 28, 1961 / The SAR Records Story

*Feel It / August 9, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*It's All Right / August 9, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Frankie And Johnny / August 9, 1961 / #4 R&B, #14 Pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Greatest Hits
*Twistin' The Night Away / December 18, 1961 / #9 pop, #1 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
Somebody's Gonna Miss Me / December 19, 1961 / #3 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul

*Somebody Have Mercy / February 15, 1962 / #3 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Greatest Hits
*Talkin' Trash / February 16, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Movin' And A Groovin' / February 19, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul

A Whole Lotta Woman / February 19, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul

*Soothe Me / February 19, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul

*Bring It On Home To Me / April 26, 1962 / #11 pop and #2 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Having A Party / April 26, 1962 / #4 R&B, #17 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Nothing Can Change This Love / August 23, 1962 / #2 R&B, #12 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Baby, Baby, Baby / November 29, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Send Me Some Lovin' / November 29, 1962 / # 2 R&B, #13 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Greatest Hits
Chains of Love / December 14, 1962 / The Rhythm and the Blues
Smoke Rings / December 14, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues

Driftin' Blues / December 16, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Cry Me A River / December 16, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm and the Blues
These Foolish Things / December 16, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Little Girl / 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul
I Lost Everything / February 22nd, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm and the Blues / Night Beat
Trouble Blues / February 22, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues / Night Beat
*Laughin' And A Clownin' / February 23, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat

Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen / February 23, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat
Mean Old World / February 23, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat
Little Red Rooster / February 23, 1963 / #7 R&B and #11 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm and the Blues / Night Beat / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits

Shake, Rattle And Roll / February 23, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat
*You Gotta Move / February 25, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat

Lost And Lookin' / February 25, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat

Fool's Paradise / February 25, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues / Night Beat
Please Don't Drive Me Away / February 25, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues / Night Beat
Get Yourself Another Fool / February 26, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues / Night Beat
*Another Saturday Night / February 28, 1963 / #1 R&B and #10 pop / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*Love Will Find A Way / February 28, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Cool Train / June 15, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul
I Wish You Love / 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Willow Weep For Me / 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Sugar Dumpling / September 11, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
I'm Just A Country Boy / September 11, 1963 / Keep Movin' On
*Ain't That Good News / December 20, 1963 / #11 pop / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*Keep Movin' On / December 21, 1963 / Keep Movin' On
There'll Be No Second Time / December 21, 1963 / Keep Movin' On

Basin Street Blues / December 21, 1963 / Keep Movin' On
The Riddle Song / December 21, 1963 / Keep Movin' On

*Meet Me At Mary's Place / January 28, 1964 / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
Rome Wasn't Built In A Day / January 28, 1964 / Keep Movin' On
Tennessee Waltz / January 28, 1964 / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
Falling In Love / January 30, 1964 / Keep Movin' On / The Man Who Invented Soul
*A Change Is Gonna Come / January 30, 1964 / #9 R&B and #31 Pop / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*Good Times / February 2, 1964 / #11 pop / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*Yeah Man / March 25, 1964 / Keep Movin' On
*(Somebody) Ease My Troubled Mind / April 9, 1964 / Keep Movin' On / The Man Who Invented Soul
You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You / April 9, 1964 / Keep Movin' On
Cousin of Mine / August 12, 1964 / Keep Movin' On
*That's Where It's At / August 20, 1964 / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*It's Got the Whole World Shaking / November 16, 1964 / Keep Movin' On
*Shake / November 16, 1964 / #7 pop, #2 R&B / Keep Movin' On / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964

*I'm Gonna Forget About You / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
I Ain't Gonna Cheat On You No More / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
With You / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
Ain't Misbehavin' / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
All The Way / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
Crazy She Calls Me / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
Don't Cry (On My Shoulder) / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
I Belong To Your Heart / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Harry Potter Series: Literary Magic or Magical Mystery Sewer?

By Dave Armstrong (7-19-05)

What is my own opinion on the matter of Harry Potter? I think there are good points on both sides of the argument, and able, thoughtful, committed, respectable Christian proponents of both the pro and con positions. My wife and I both enjoyed the three movies a lot (qua movies and qua fantasy), but I don't read fiction, so I can't comment on the books themselves. I don't see a huge amount of difference between Harry Potter and Lewis and Tolkien, in terms of use of fantasy, though undeniably the latter two write from a far more explicitly Christian perspective (Anglican and Catholic, respectively).

That doesn't, however, necessarily mean that Harry Potter is a completely evil thing, though. Neither a mountain nor a sunset are "explicitly Christian" in terms of "ideological content," so to speak, but does that make them "bad"? Of course not. For what it's worth, J. K. Rowling is a member of the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland. Presumably, her Christianity, then, would have some kind of presuppositional influence even in her constructed fantasy-world.

I would say that ultimately it comes down to individual choice and discernment. One should guide one's children in this matter in much the same way as they would be guided with regard to the time to start dating, or whether to home-school or perhaps allow them into public school, despite the potential dangers to faith there. It's simply too individual of an issue to make an ironclad rule.

If a child is prone to being led off in a million directions, irregardless of their ostensibly Christian belief-system, then chances are that danger might lurk in reading these books or watching the films (as in much other "non-Christian" material). If, on the other hand, the child is strong and persistently able to withstand any competing ideas, contrary to Christianity, then likely no particular danger would be present.

Watching the films didn't harm my Christian faith in the slightest. On the other hand, at an earlier point in my life, when my faith was not yet strong or fully-formed (to put it mildly), the movies quite possibly could have helped lead me astray, since I did, in fact, get involved to a considerable degree in occultic pursuits. The supernatural held a strong fascination for me (thankfully channeled later on into Christian supernaturalism). C.S. Lewis himself was also seriously involved in the occult in the period just before his encounter with the music and romanticism of Richard Wagner and a mythological sort of contemplation which he described as "Northernness":

Now, for the first time, there burst upon me the idea that there might be real marvels all about us, that the visible world might only be a curtain to conceal huge realms uncharted by my very simple theology. And that started in me something with which, on and off, I have had plenty of trouble since -- the desire for the preternatural, simply as such, the passion for the Occult. Not everyone has this disease; those who have will know what I mean [I do, very well] . . . It is a spiritual lust; and like the lust of the body it has the fatal power of making everything else in the world seem uninteresting while it lasts.

(Surprised by Joy, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955, 60)

At times as I watched these movies, I must admit that for fleeting moments I felt precisely this "desire" that Lewis refers to. It's very difficult to describe without getting very heavy and mystical and philosophical, but it is a definite kind of coercion. I'm able to push it down because of strong Christian faith, but short of that, I can easily imagine (given my own background) someone with a similar bent being drawn into things which are harmful to their souls: true sorcery, witchcraft, Wicca, etc.: things which are definitely wrong and condemned in the Bible.

And that gets back to our main issue. Witchcraft or sorcery (everyone agrees) is portrayed in these books and movies. The side of "good" is chosen and ultimately triumphant, so there is little question of an advocacy of evil things. But on the other hand, overt hints of Christianity or God are missing (as far as I can see; perhaps the books are different). If parents allow their children to take part in this craze, then it must be with caution and discussion about the relationship of these stories to Christian doctrine and the ontology of the real, spiritual world that we live in. Fantasy is just that, but we know that the devil can use all things to lead people astray: especially if they are not vigilant.

Ultimately, then, I am not "against" Harry Potter, yet (similar to even many proponents) I would strongly urge a sharp watchful eye for potential spiritual danger, due to the nature of the subject matter, in proportion to the extent that one is prone to following non-Christian modes of thought and behavior, contra proper Christian boundaries and mature spiritual discernment. My view is very close to that expressed by the British Evangelical Alliance.