What did the Gospel writers know?

01/14/2014 Comments (17)

Some Bible scholars are quick to say that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John simply didn't know a particular tradition about Jesus. How likely is this?

Some biblical scholars are too quick to say that, because a particular Gospel doesn’t include a given story or saying of Jesus, the Evangelist who wrote it must not have known about it.


What would cause a person to think this?


The Infodump Hypothesis

One thing that might motivate such a view is the idea that the Gospels represent total infodumps of everything that a particular Evangelist knew about Jesus.

But if that were the case then they wouldn’t ready the way that they do.

They hang together as narratives and display too much literary artistry for that.

If they were frantic attempts to record everything the author knew about Jesus, there would be too many...READ MORE

Filed under apologetics, bible, evangelists, gospels, john, luke, mark, matthew, scripture, scriptures

Did Pope Francis baptize a baby whose parents aren’t married? 12 things to know and share

01/12/2014 Comments (75)

Pope Francis recently baptized a baby whose parents may not be married in the eyes of the Church. What should we make of this?

Press reports are claiming that Pope Francis recently baptized the child whose parents were not married in the eyes of the Church.

Since many priests in America have refused to baptize such children, it raised some eyebrows.

What are the real facts in this case?

Here are 12 things to know and share . . .


1) What was the occasion of the baptism?

Every year the pope baptizes people on the commemoration of Christ’s baptism.

This takes place in the Sistine Chapel at St. Peter’s basilica.

This is an entirely normal practice.

For example, here’s a piece about Pope Benedict baptizing twenty babies on the Baptism of Our Lord in 2013.


2) What happened in this case?


Filed under baptism, francis, infant baptism, pope francis

Why was Jesus baptized?

01/11/2014 Comments (18)

Jesus--who was completely without sin--insisted on being baptized. Why?

This Sunday, the Church celebrates the baptism of Jesus Christ.

It's an event that is recorded in all four gospels, so we know it's important.

But there's a question that has puzzled Christians all down through the ages.

It even puzzled John the Baptist, who performed the baptism.

Why was Jesus baptized?


The Problem

We all know what baptism does.

According to the Catechism:

The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes:

  • forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins,
  • birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit.


By this very fact the person...READ MORE

Filed under baptism, baptism of jesus, jesus

What did Pope Francis say about the children of homosexual couples? 8 things to know and share

01/04/2014 Comments (347)

Has Pope Francis called for a dramatic re-think of the way the Church treats the children of homosexual couples?

Matt Drudge recently linked a story with the headline “Pope calls for fresh Church approach to children of gay parents.”

Does this mean that Pope Francis is insisting on a sweeping revision of the Church’s policy on how to handle such children?

Here are 8 things to know and share . . .


1) What did the news report say?

The original story, published by the Agence Frances-Presse (French Press Agency), stated:

Pope Francis has called for a rethink in the way the Catholic Church deals with the children of gay couples and divorced parents, warning against "administering a vaccine against faith". . . .

"I remember a case in which a sad little girl confessed to her teacher: 'my...READ MORE

Filed under children, divorce, gay, gay marriage, homosexual marriage, homosexuality, pope francis, same-sex marriage

Don’t fall for this Pope Francis hoax: 5 things to know and share

01/02/2014 Comments (258)

There is an Internet hoax claiming Pope Francis has said "All religions are true." Here are 5 things to know and share . . .

Some Internet sites are reporting that Pope Francis has declared that “all religions are true,” that there is no hell, and other provocative things.

But the whole thing is an Internet hoax.

Here are 5 things to know and share . . .


1) What is being attributed to Pope Francis?

Among other things, he is claimed to have said:

“Through humility, soul searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace. Like the...READ MORE

Filed under hoax, pope francis

Pope Francis on the “parable” of the loaves and fishes: 11 things to know and share

01/01/2014 Comments (126)

Does Pope Francis think that the miracle of the loaves and the fishes wasn't a miracle at all? 11 things to know and share.

Recently Pope Francis has said a few things about the miracle of the loaves and the fishes that have concerned a few people.

They’ve thought he might be denying that it was an actual, physical miracle.

What’s more, the press can’t be blamed, because these statements weren’t the subject of media-distorting headlines or news stories.

They’re right there in the pope’s own words!

So what should we make of these?

Here are 11 things to know and share . . .


1) What, precisely, did Pope Francis say?

He has said two things. One was in a Sunday Angelus he gave on June 2, where he stated:

This is the miracle: rather than a multiplication it is a sharing, inspired by faith and...READ MORE

Filed under fishes, francis, loaves, miracles, pope francis

9 Things You Should Know About How the Church Celebrates January 1

12/31/2013 Comments (13)

On January 1, the Church celebrates several things connected with Mary and Jesus. What are they? And why do we celebrate them now?

January 1 is an important day in the Church's liturgy.

There is a lot that we commemorate on this day!

What we are celebrating, and why we are celebrating it now, can be a little confusing.

Here are nine things you should know . . .


1. What exactly are we celebrating on January 1?

According to the Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar [.pdf]:

1 January, the octave day of the Nativity of the Lord, is the Solemnity of Mary, the holy Mother of God, and also the commemoration of the conferral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus [Norms, 35f].

However, there has been a change since the Universal Norms were released (see below).


2. Didn't this day used to...READ MORE

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4th Sunday of Advent: 10 things to know and share

12/19/2013 Comments (5)

This Sunday's readings include the prophecy of Immanuel and Matthew's account of the birth of Jesus. Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

This Sunday the readings include the famous prophecy of Immanuel.

They proclaim God’s supremacy and our call to holiness.

They review the basics of the gospel message.

And they record the birth of Jesus and how it came about.

Here are 10 things to know and share . . .


1) What does the first reading say?

The first reading is Isaiah 7:10-14. (You can read it here.)

In this reading the prophet Isaiah confronts Ahaz, the king of Judea. He demands that Ahaz name a sign to show that the Lord will protect his kingdom. The sign can be as “high as heaven” or “as deep as sh’ol” (Hebrew, “the grave,” “the underworld”; pronounced “sh’OL”).

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