Bart Ehrman Botches a Source

01/17/2016 Comments (9)

It pays to check your sources!--a lesson Bart Ehrman should take to heart.

Bart Ehrman is a smart guy, but he sometimes handles his sources in the most frustrating and misleading manner.

For example, in his book Did Jesus Exist? (where he is on the right side for once), he writes:

Several significant studies of literacy have appeared in recent years showing just how low literacy rates were in antiquity.

The most frequently cited study is by Columbia professor William Harris in a book titled Ancient Literacy (footnote 6).

By thoroughly examining all the surviving evidence, Harris draws the compelling though surprising conclusion that in the very best of times in the ancient world, only about 10 percent of the population could read at all and possibly copy out...READ MORE

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Pope Francis on God’s Universal Fatherhood

01/14/2016 Comments (47)

Pope Francis recently said all people have God as their Father. Is that true?

Pope Francis has a new video out in which he offers a prayer intention for the month of January.

And some people are freaking out about it.

Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

 

1) Where can I watch the video?

Right here:

Also, you can use this link.

 

2) What does Pope Francis say in the video?

He says:

Most of the planet’s inhabitants declare themselves believers.

This should lead to dialogue among religions.

We should not stop praying for it [i.e., dialogue] and collaborating with those who think differently.

Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways.

In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty...READ MORE

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How the New Testament Authors Said Mass and Prayed

01/12/2016 Comments (7)

Clues in the New Testament reveal how its authors said Mass and prayed.

Today we have standardized versions of the words of institution at Mass and of the Lord’s Prayer.

At least within a given language group and rite of the Church, you’ll find priests saying the words of institution and the faithful saying the Lord’s Prayer the same way.

But in the first century, things were not fully standardized.

Originally, the Christian community passed on the Jesus traditions orally, and this oral transmission gave rise to slightly different wordings that are preserved by the New Testament authors.

An interesting result is that we can tell something both about how the New Testament authors said Mass and prayed.

 

How First Century Christians Said Mass

The New...READ MORE

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Why the Holy See Issues Non-Magisterial Statements

12/15/2015 Comments (22)

Why does the Holy See sometimes issue "non-magisterial" statements?

In a recent post, canonist Dr. Edward Peters offers some interesting reflections on a puzzling phenomenon: Why are there statements issued by the pope and by offices at the Vatican that are expressly flagged as being “non-magisterial”?

The Magisterium of the Church is its teaching office, which consists of the pope and the bishops of the world in union with him (CCC 85).

It can be surprising, therefore, when comments made by the pope or by Vatican offices deal with matters of faith and morals and yet are expressly identified as non-magisterial.

How does that work?

Dr. Peters seems skeptical that it does work. In his post, he seems to entertain the idea that such statements are...READ MORE

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New Vatican Document on Jews, Salvation, and Evangelization

12/13/2015 Comments (51)

The Holy See has released a new document on the Jewish people, salvation, and evangelization. Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

The Holy See has released a new document dealing with the Jewish people, salvation, and evangelization.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

 

1) What is the new document?

It’s titled The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable (GCGI), and it was released by the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.

The title is a quotation from St. Paul, who refers to how the Jewish people “are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:28-29).

The document itself commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II’s decree Nostra Aetate, which dealt with the Church’s relations with other religions and, in particular,...READ MORE

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Good News from the Synod—9 things to know and share

10/05/2015 Comments (8)

A key Vatican official has just made remarks at the Synod of Bishops that cool speculation on a change in the Church's practice regarding Communion for divorced and civilly remarried people. Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

Remarks made by a key official at the opening of the current Synod of Bishops seem cool to the idea that there will be a change in the Church’s doctrine and practice regarding the divorced and civilly remarried.

This comes as heartening news to supporters of the Church’s historic doctrine and discipline.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

 

1) What is at issue here?

Jesus Christ taught that marriage is indissoluble. Consequently, a civil divorce does not free one from the commitments one made to be faithful to one’s spouse.

To obtain a civil divorce and then marry someone else, without establishing that the first marriage was null, is thus to enter a state of ongoing adultery....READ MORE

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The New Testament authors you rarely hear about

09/28/2015 Comments (2)

Can you name all of the authors of the New Testament? There are three *named* authors you may have trouble with . . .

Who wrote the New Testament?

Let’s see . . . there was Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul.

Those are the easy ones.

Anybody else?

If you think about it for a moment, you’ll likely come up with James, Peter, and Jude.

Good. Now, who else was there?

 

Harder Cases

At this point, your mind might flash to the book of Hebrews, which doesn’t list its author. Some have proposed that it was written by Apollos, Barnabas, Luke, or another member of the Pauline circle, but I’m not talking about it’s unnamed author. I’m looking for named authors.

Depending on how much you read the Church Fathers and some modern authors (like Benedict XVI), you might know that there is a question of whether...READ MORE

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Did Paul Know He Was Writing Scripture?

09/16/2015 Comments (9)

Some people argue that Paul didn't think he was writing Scripture, but there's a reason hiding in plain sight which argues that he did.

Some folks have the idea that the authors of the New Testament did not know that they were writing Scripture.

According to this view, they just thought they were writing Christian literature, and the Church gradually—even a century or more later—recognized that it was Scripture.

Some time ago, I wrote about this issue, and I argued that the authors of several books in the New Testament clearly knew that they were writing Scripture, right from the get-go.

These books were Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and Revelation.

That’s everything in the New Testament except the letters.

So what about them?

 

The Case Against

If any authors of the New Testament weren’t aware or weren’t clear...READ MORE

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About Jimmy Akin

Jimmy Akin
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Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, "A Triumph and a Tragedy," is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."