Did the Gospel Writers Feel Free to Make Stuff Up?

Friday, October 19, 2012 9:05 AM Comments (20)

Did the gospel writers feel free to make stuff up?

Some people hold the view that the writers of the four gospels felt free to basically make stuff up, to freely shape the narratives they were writing about Jesus' life by either manufacturing stories about his deeds or making up teachings and putting them on his lips.

The idea is that they used the figure of Jesus as a vehicle for their own ideas, and they made up material to serve the perceived needs of their local Christian communities.

It's easy to show that by the second century there were a lot of people identifying themselves as Christians who did exactly this. That's why there were so many Gnostic gospels dating from the second to the fourth century.

But what about the first...READ MORE

Filed under apologetics, bible, evangelists, gospels, history

If the Number of the Beast is 666, what is the Number of Jesus?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:54 AM Comments (6)

The number of the beast is 666, but what is the number of Jesus?

We've all heard that, in the book of Revelation, the number of the Beast is 666.

Whatever does this mean?

And if the Beast has a number, do others?

Does the name of Jesus have a number?

Does the name of God have a number?

Here's the story. . . .

 

Modern Numbers

Today we are used to having a different set of characters to represent letters and numbers.

Our alphabet of letters runs from A to Z, and our system of numbers--or basic numbers--runs from 0 to 9.

But in the ancient world they didn't have two sets of characters for these. Instead, the letters of their alphabets doubled as characters representing numbers.

 

Latin Numbers

That's why, for example, Roman...READ MORE

Filed under apocalypse, beast, bible, eschatology, gematria, jesus, number, revelation, yhwh

Was St. Peter the Greatest Disciple?

Sunday, October 14, 2012 8:58 PM Comments (9)

"And an argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest" (Luke 9:46).

Was it St. Peter the greatest of Jesus' original Twelve disciples?

St. Peter is certainly the most commonly mentioned of the original Twelve. He always stands at the head of the list whenever the names of the Twelve apostles are listed in the Bible. And he was clearly part of Jesus' inner circle, even within the Twelve. He is, unquestionably, the most prominent of the Twelve.

But did Jesus give him a special role among the Twelve, a special position, or was he just more active than the others?

Jesus gives us an answer to this question, and in an unexpected place . . .

 

Who Is the Greatest? Round 1

Jesus took three disciples with him to the Transfiguration: Peter, James, and...READ MORE

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Did the Catholic Church "Change the Sabbath"?

Thursday, October 11, 2012 10:17 PM Comments (69)

Did the Catholic Church "Change the Sabbath"?

You sometimes encounter the charge that the Catholic Church wrongly "changed the sabbath" from Saturday to Sunday. This claim is often made by Seventh-Day Adventists, for example. But even if one isn't accusing the Church of wrongdoing, the question can still arise: Why do Catholics worship on Sunday rather than Saturday? Here's the story . . .

 

What Day the Sabbath Is

First, let's clear away a potential source of confusion. While it's true that people sometimes speak of Sunday as "the Christian sabbath," this is a loose way of speaking. Strictly speaking, the sabbath is the day it always was--Saturday--though it should be noted that traditionally Jewish people have celebrated the...READ MORE

Filed under sabbath, saturday, sunday

Vatican: Stop Messing with the Lamb of God

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 10:01 PM Comments (125)

Can parishes add tropes to the Lamb of God?

In many parishes it has been common for the cantor or choir to extend the Lamb of God by adding additional statements, known as tropes, to it.

The Holy See has been taking an increasingly firm line against this, and now they've issued a clear mandate that it stop.

Here's the story . . .

 

What's Supposed to Happen

According to the Order of Mass, after the sign of peace,

129. Then [the priest] takes the host, breaks it over the paten, and places a small piece in the chalice, saying quietly:

May this mingling of the Body and Blood

of our Lord Jesus Christ

bring eternal life to us who receive it.

130. Meanwhile the following is sung or said:

Lamb of God, you take away the...READ MORE

Filed under committee on divine worship, congregation for divine worship, holy see, lamb of god, liturgy, mass, music

Science Proves the Unborn Are Human Beings

Monday, October 08, 2012 8:47 PM Comments (51)

An unborn child at 16 weeks. Is it just a "religious matter" whether you can kill this little guy?

Abortion is a controversial issue, and at the center of the controversy is the question of whether the unborn are human beings. If they are, then abortion kills a human being.

Many people think that this is somehow a religious issue and involves religious questions like when the soul arrives.

Some people deliberately try to frame the issue this way in order to shut down rational discussion of the subject.

So let's set the question of religious aside entirely.

Instead, let's look at something we should all be able to agree upon: science.

What does science say about whether the unborn are human beings?

 

The "Don't Kill Humans" Rule

It's a fair question.

After all, if somebody...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, apologetics, pro-choice, pro-life, science, unborn

Is St. Peter the Rock on which Jesus built his Church?

Sunday, October 07, 2012 7:33 AM Comments (20)

Is St. Peter the Rock on which Jesus built his Church?

One of the most controversial passages in the Bible is Matthew 16:18, where Jesus tells Peter, "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church."

Catholics see this passage as evidence that Jesus made Peter the first pope.

Many Evangelicals look at it as just the opposite.

Who is right?

It's an interesting question, and I've been on both sides of the question. In fact, this passage played a pivotal role in my conversion to the Catholic Church.

You may think you've heard all the arguments about whether Peter is the rock, but I'm going to show you the one that convinced me, and you probably haven't heard it anywhere else . . .

The Basic Argument

A common claim in Protestant...READ MORE

Filed under apologetics, church, jesus, peter, protestantism, protestants, rock

One of the Most Beautiful Stories I Know . . .

Thursday, October 04, 2012 9:00 PM Comments (6)

St. John: Apostle of Love

There are many gems in the writings of the Church Fathers. Some are valuable because of their insight into faith, others are valuable because they fill in things not mentioned in the Bible, and some are valuable because of their spiritual beauty.

Here is one about the Apostle John, who is sometimes called the Apostle of Love. This story alone would earn him that nickname.

It records an incident late in his life, and it is found in the writings of Clement of Alexandria, who wrote only a hundred years afterward and who obtained it from earlier sources.

It may well be true, but whatever degree of historical reliability it has, it touches on powerful human emotions, and it is undeniably...READ MORE

Filed under apostle, apostle john, church fathers, clement of alexandria, forgiveness, grace, john, redemption, sin

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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 a Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to This Rock magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."