Thursday, March 19, 2009

Books by Dave Armstrong: Bible Proofs for Catholic Truths: A Source Book for Apologists and Inquirers




[completed on 18 April 2009; 445 pages; published on 15 August 2009 by Sophia Institute Press]

--- To purchase, go to the bottom of the page ---

[in final version: 2051 Bible Passages entirely written out: KJV with RSV alternate versions added where necessary to clarify meaning]


Doubtless, were only the Scripture allowed its own authority, there are none of these things respecting which our adversaries would not be constrained to be mute. . . . Though they may kiss the closed copies of the Scripture as a kind of worship, . . . they allow it no more authority than if no part of it existed in writing.

--- John Calvin, dedication of his Commentary on the General Epistles, January 1551



TABLE OF CONTENTS

(follow linked words for online excerpts; most excerpts use RSV rather than KJV and several are somewhat different from the final version in the book)


Dedication

Introduction [see below]

1. The Authority of Apostolic Tradition
(295 Passages)

Authoritative sacred tradition
Authoritative oral tradition / “word of God” [50 Passages]
Authoritative oral teaching not recorded in scripture
New Testament citations of older non-biblical oral traditions
“The Faith” is synonymous with sacred tradition
“The truth” is synonymous with sacred tradition
“The commandment” is synonymous with sacred tradition
“The doctrine” is synonymous with sacred tradition
“Teaching” is synonymous with sacred tradition
“Gospel” or “good news” is synonymous with sacred tradition
“The message” is synonymous with sacred tradition
The New Covenant is synonymous with sacred tradition
Authoritative interpretation / scripture is not always self-interpreting
Doctrine develops over time
Christianity has developed out of Judaism

2. The Authority of the Catholic Church
(377 Passages)

Jesus deliberately established a visible, institutional, universal Church
Priests are called by Jesus or the Holy Spirit
Priests are given authority by Jesus or the Holy Spirit
The Church calls and commissions men for the work of ministry
Men are ordained through the laying on of hands
Priests are direct representatives of Jesus
Priests are God's fellow workers for the Kingdom
Jesus' followers are God's servants
Priests preside over the Eucharist and the Mass
Priests' authority to forgive sins, grant indulgences, and impose penances
Priests administer the sacraments
Ministry calls for sacrifice
Celibacy fosters undistracted devotion to the Lord
God's ministers are entitled to pay
Priests are appropriately called “Father”
Priests are successors to the Apostles
Bishops have special authority
The authority of the Church and its councils is infallible
The Church has authority to excommunicate and to pronounce anathemas
Priests have authority to cast out demons (exorcism)
Unity is vital to the Church/ denominationalism and divisiveness
Sinners are part of the Church in an imperfect fashion
Sacred buildings of worship are worthy of extravagant beauty
Churches and sacred sites are “holy places”
Sacred items are part of worship

3. The Authority of Popes
(84 Passages)

Peter was the first pope
Peter's letters are like papal encyclicals
St. Peter acted as a pope
Scripture offers examples of the infallibility of individuals

4. The Theology of Salvation
(473 Passages)

We are saved through grace
Salvation is not by faith alone
Salvation is not by works alone
Grace, faith, works, action, and obedience lead to salvation [50 Passages]
Final judgment is always associated with works [50 Passages]
Some sins are more serious than others
Quantifiable differences in grace
Our merit is based on our response to God’s grace
We are God's coworkers
We can participate in the distribution of grace and in the salvation of others
The Psalms proclaim God's righteousness
God enables and establishes human righteousness (Psalms) [50 Passages]
The Psalms speak of human righteousness
God's grace enables us to be righteous (prophets)
Sanctification is part of salvation [50 Passages]
Faith shows itself in obedience and in good works
Salvation is a process and not absolutely assured
We may have a vigilant moral assurance of salvation with perseverance, in hope

5. Purgatory
(58 Passages)

Perfect holiness requires purification [50 Passages]
We should pray for the dead

6. The Holy Eucharist and the Sacrifice of the Mass
(47 Passages)

The Last Supper was the first Mass
Jesus teaches us about the Eucharist
The Mass is a sacrifice

7. The Sacrament of Baptism
(46 Passages)

Our sins are washed away in Baptism
Infants were baptized even in the early Church
Infants are part of the covenant and salvation

8. The Sacrament of Confirmation
(59 Passages)

The Holy Spirit descends upon persons
Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit
Persons may be “filled” with the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit comes through the laying on of hands
We are "sealed” with the Holy Spirit
Persons are anointed with oil for a sacred purpose or to receive the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit received through authoritative persons

9. The Sacrament of Anointing
(18 Passages)

Priests anoint with oil to heal
The laying on of hands can bring healing
Some who touched Christ were healed
Spiritual benefit in healing (demoniacs)

10. Sacramentals, Liturgy, and Devotional Practice
(235 Passages)

Formal prayer is not “vain repetition”
Holy water
Candles and incense
Fasting, abstinence, and Lent [50 Passages]
We use ashes to show our penitence
We must examine our consciences
Almsgiving is more than mere tithing
We show reverence by genuflecting and kneeling in God's presence
Priests may impart blessings
Relics can be channels of grace and healing
Physical objects can aid us in worship

11. Penance, Redemptive Suffering, and Atonement on Behalf of Others
(37 Passages)

We may make atonement
Our sufferings can be penitential and redemptive

12. Angels and the Communion of Saints
(66 Passages)

Dead saints have returned to earth
We should venerate saints and angels
Saints and angels intercede for us
Guardian angels watch over us
Men have spoken to angels (analogy to intercession of the saints)

13. The Blessed Virgin Mary
(54 Passages)

Jesus was Mary's only child
Mary was free from sin from the moment of conception
Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven

14. Marriage and Sexuality
(115 Passages)

Matrimony reflects the relationship between Christ and his Church
Marriage is indissoluble
Premarital sex and cohabitation are not permissible
Annulment is not Catholic divorce
Homosexual acts are not permissible
Contraception is not permissible

15. Abortion
(87 Passages)

The child in the womb is fully a person
Killing the innocent is forbidden
Child sacrifice is an abomination
It is sinful to perform or even to support abortion
We must rescue children being led to slaughter


INTRODUCTION

The aim of this book is very simple (hence the short introduction), and it reflects much of the emphasis in my Catholic apologetic efforts for the last 18 years. I want to provide the biblical rationale for Catholic beliefs. The subject matter is as endless as the riches, wisdom, and depths of the Bible itself.

My immediate goal is to simply present categorized Bible passages. My own commentary will be kept to a minimum and used only in instances where I am straightforwardly reiterating what Holy Scripture itself states, noting relevant contextual considerations, Greek or Hebrew meanings of words (as explicated by linguistic scholars), or scriptural cross-references.

I have, of course, selected the passages and classified them. Insofar as I did that, I was engaging in “systematic theology.” Human input (something beyond God’s own words) is necessary as soon as one goes beyond simply placing a Bible on a table in front of someone and saying, “read all of this: it completely supports what Catholics teach.” In all reasonable argumentation whatever, selective presentation takes place, and in systematic theology, it is necessary to locate the relevant biblical texts and to collect them for the purpose of illustrating that “the Bible teaches thus and so about this particular topic.” And that involves judgment, which in turn includes a bias.

In that sense, this book is not just the Bible. My input and editing and orthodox Catholic presuppositions are present. But the central, essential focus is “just the Bible.” Holy, Sacred Scripture is thoroughly “Catholic,” as I hope to demonstrate in great detail. Praise God for His wonderful, materially sufficient revelation and His aid in helping us to understand and live by it.

Some Catholic teachings are less well-attested by direct scriptural indications than others. Yet I believe that those doctrines are also “soaked” in the spirit of the Bible. The comprehensive selection of texts herein repeatedly demonstrates this, in my opinion. A multitude of pointers can be as compelling as a single unambiguous signpost, to show us our way. Readers are free to decide the relative strength of individual textual evidence.

Reading these extracts in their full context is even more rewarding and illuminating. The Bible is a harmonious whole: “living and active”, and should be interpreted as such, rather than picked apart into fragments. For the purpose of systematic doctrinal study, however, it is quite helpful to categorize texts. Moreover, Catholics emphasize that the Bible is organically related to the tradition and the Church in which it is received and interpreted. If this book helps readers to move beyond arguments into a deeper appreciation of the Word of God, in which lies our salvation, I will be more than happy.

For my purposes in this work, I’ve chosen the Authorised (King James Version) of the Bible, due to its familiarity among Protestants. Its lofty, poetic prose is deeply embedded in the heritage of English literature and thinking, and Catholic readers will also find it inspiring. In cases of archaic expression, I have clarified in parentheses with the Revised Standard Version: one of the most accurate and beloved modern translations.

Lastly, Catholics and Protestants notoriously disagree as to which books constitute the biblical canon. The number of the inspired books accepted by the universal Church prior to the onset of Protestantism was disputed by Martin Luther and other non-Catholic Christians, and seven books were eventually omitted altogether in most Protestant editions of the Bible, or included separately as sub-canonical “apocryphal” texts. Some of these refer directly to distinctively Catholic doctrines (most notably, purgatory). I’ve included relatively few citations from these “disputed” books, but for the Catholic, they are Scripture, too, and ought not be excluded. If the non-Catholic reader wishes to pass over them, more than ample texts remain as “evidences.”


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Last updated on 17 April 2014.


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2 comments:

siouxieooxie said...

Hello, I just wanted to say thank you for that. I am an aspiring Missionary of Charity, 20 yrs old, and even when in college ... i was constantly looking for books like this one, and I've found yours. Its wonderful and brief .. yet intensely everlasting ... Thanks and God Bless.
I hope the Holy Spirit keep enlightening you to have more people consider the catholic faith.
all the best
suzette e. z. neri

Dave Armstrong said...

Thank you very much, Suzette, for your kind words.