Friday, July 21, 2006

The One Thing You Can Say

Few things stir the warrior juices in any red-blooded human more than an attack on one’s mother. The relatively meek person who may be willing to endure many wounds to his or her personal pride can become Attila the Hun when the same injuries or even much lesser ones are directed at his mother.

At least this is how I’ve been able to explain to myself the overwhelming hostility I feel towards the detractors of my Catholic Faith. The Church is my Mother. And when you mess with my Church you mess with my Mom, and “me and you have a problem!”

For us Catholics the injury is usually multiplied by the fact that not only are they picking on “Holy Mother Church”, the assault often comes as a slight against our Blessed Mother Mary. Now we REALLY have a problem!! Assaults against the Blessed Mother just send me through the roof!

But dangling by your neck from a hole in the roof is not the best place to defend your faith…or your Mother. So let’s see what we can do to keep our feet on the ground, save money on roof repairs, and maybe even bring our wayward brother “home to Rome” and to the Mother he or she has just (most of the time unknowingly) insulted.

My friend and noted Catholic Apologist, Dr. Robert Morgan, used to tell us at our Catholic Evidence Guild training sessions that there was “no slam dunk”, meaning that there isn’t just one scripture that we can lift out of the Bible that proves the truth of the Catholic Church and use to beat our detractors over the head with. Obviously, if there was, then someone much smarter than you or me surely would have used it in the 500 years since Luther nailed his 95 gripes to the door of a German church.

But there IS one thing that we Catholics can ask that (in my experience) will stop any detractor cold in his tracks. Now, remember from our last article, that the idea is not to just win the debate, but win the person, i.e. to 1) make a friend, and 2) make a Catholic. And to do that we have to buy time and prepare. So I offer this suggestion in that context.

All of us should practice the following question over and over so that we have it ready when needed. With this question you will be able to buy time AND cause the other person to question his own presuppositions which is a prelude to opening him up to hearing the truth about the Catholic Faith.

Here’s the question: “Did Jesus write anything?” Now here’s the context. Usually assaults upon the faith come from “Bible wavers”: “you Catholics... (fill in the blank) and that’s not in the Bible”, or “the Bible says… (fill in the blank) and you Catholics (fill in the blank).

“Wait a minute. Can I ask you a question?” (What?) “Did Jesus write anything? Did Jesus ever tell anybody to write anything? Don't you think that if Jesus intended us to base our faith on the Bible alone He would have left us one? From what I read, Jesus didn't leave us a Bible but He did leave us a Church and a teaching authority for that Church! What does your Bible say?”

Well space does not permit further development of the conversation, but you get the idea. Now of course, we believe that the Bible is the Word of God, but the only way we know that is because our Catholic Church says so. Jesus gave us the Church. The Church gave us the Bible.

The problem with our non-Catholic challengers is their own rigid adherence to “sola scriptura” (everything has to be in the Bible). This view proves too much. If everything has to be in the Bible then there is no Bible because the Bible is not in the Bible. As Catholics we can appreciate the Holy Scriptures even more because we do not divorce the Sacred Writings from the Church that gave us them, nor from Him who gave us the Church.

For further reading on this topic see “Where We Got the Bible- Our Debt to the Catholic Church” by Henry Graham (a protestant minister who became Catholic and ultimately a priest and a bishop). It’s due in our store sometime this week.

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