Questions I Challenge Christians
to Pray About, Ask Themselves, & Research (using different sources ---
including Orthodox, Catholic and purely secular scholarly ones). Please,
consider this exercise. Write out your answers as you go along to look at
them at the end. All I ask is that you are honest, open-minded, and prayerful:
Where did the Bible
come from? When was it codified? What books were first listed as belonging
in the Christian canon? How has the canon changed over time in various groups?
What books were included in the first edition of the King James Bible? When
did the Council of Jamnia take place, who were its members, and what did
Before the Books of the Bible were canonized, how was the Gospel spread?
Before the printing press was invented some one-thousand and five hundred
years after Christ, how was the Gospel spread? How do the answers to these
questions apply to the concept of "sola scriptura," or the "Bible alone"
as the rule of faith? What does 2 Peter 3:16 warn against? 2 Peter 1:20-21
says Scripture is of ___ ____________ _____________? What does the word
"profitable" mean? In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, what does the word "profitable"
mean? Does "profitable" mean "is sufficient for" in any dictionary?
What do 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Thessalonians 3:6 and 1 Corinthians 11:2
say about tradition?
What does 1 Timothy 3:15 indicate is the rule of faith? What do you believe
is the rule of faith, and why?
Did the New Testament Church have bishops, elders (presbyteros, priests),
and deacons or was it non-hierarchical?
The man to whom Jesus is speaking in Matthew 16:18-19: what was his name
before those verses? What was his name after those verses? What does that
name mean? What language did Jesus speak? What is the name given to this
man in Jesus' original language? What does that word mean? What other people
in the Bible were given name changes? What did name changes signify in Hebrew
life? What metaphoric object does Jesus give the man in Matthew 16:18-19?
What does this symbolize? What did they symbolize in Isaiah 22? What are
"binding and loosing"?
If Christ is a High Priest, and we are members of His royal priesthood, what
are the offerings of each? If Christ is a High Priest forever, can his offerings
have stopped? Did the fact that the Israelites were members of the royal
priesthood negate the ordained Levite priesthood? What does it mean that
Jesus is a "High Priest after the order of Melchizedek"? In John 6:52-58,
what is the meaning of the word "is"? In I Corinthians 11:23-30, why does
Paul say some people become sick -- and what does that indicate to you? Since
Messiah has come, where today are the incense and "pure offering" offered
up as predicted in Malachi 1:10-11? What is the root word of the word "priest"?
What is the root word of the word "presbyter"?
How does Paul refer to himself in 1 Corinthians 4:14-15? In what way do the
Apostles treat new Christians according to 1 Thessalonians 2:11? How does
Paul refer to Isaac in Romans 9:10? How does John address his audience in
1 John 2:13?
What does Acts 2:38-39 say that baptism is for? Whom does it indicate the
promise of baptism is for? What does Colossians 2:11-12 compare baptism with?
When were people circumcized to enter into the Old Covenant (i.e., at what
age)? Did or did not Paul baptize entire households? In John 3:1-7, it says
we are to be baptized in the Spirit and _______? In Whose name are we to
be baptized according to Matthew 28:19? Do you believe something different
about Baptism than what these verses teach? If so, why? How did the earliest
Christians baptize according to the non-canonical writings of the earliest
Christians (e.g., the Didache, the writings of Irenaeas, Origen, Augustine,
John Chyrostom, etc.)?
According to Acts 8:14-17 and Acts 19:5-6, what did Peter, Paul and John
do in addition to baptizing? Do you believe that what they did is unimportant?
If so, why?
What do Proverbs 28:13 and 1 John 1:9 say we should do with our sins? What
authority was given to the twelve who were with Jesus in the Upper Room in
John 20:21-23? What power was given speficially to Simon Peter in Matthew
16:19? What sort of ministry is described in 2 Corinthians 5:18? Do you believe
something different than what these verses teach? If so, why?
How does James 5:14 describe how the elders (presbyters, priests) dealt with
the sick? What did they use to help the sick? Does the ecclesial community
you're involved with do this? If not, why not?
What does Matthew 19:6 say about marriages that are put together by God?
Does your ecclesial community teach something different? If so, why?
Mark 12:26-27 says that God is the God of what three people? What does it
say about these three people (i.e., what condition are they in)? What does
Revelation 6:9-10 say about what the "souls of them that were slain" are
doing? Where are those souls? What does Hebrews 12:1 say we are surrounded
by? Who are they? What does this say about those who die in Christ? Does
your ecclesial community teach something different? If so, why?
What woman in Scripture gave birth to the man who was to rule all nations?
Where does Revelation 12 say this woman is? What does the word "magnify"
mean? In Luke 1:46-49, what does "magnify" mean?
What is the Jewish "Mourner's Kaddish" (or "Quaddish") and why is it prayed?
What is the meaning of 1 Corinthians 3:13-15? What does Revelation 21:27
say about the unclean? If you were to die right now, today, would you be
clean enough to stand before Almighty God? For whom was Paul praying in 2
Timothy 1:16-18 and what was his condition at that time?
What does James 2:24 say about how we are justified? What kind of faith is
mentioned in Galatians 5:6? Whom does Jesus say will enter the Kingdom of
Heaven in Matthew 7:21? What does Ephesians 2:8-9 say about the possibility
of saving ourselves through works? What does that verse say we are saved
by? Does your ecclesial community teach either salvation by faith alone or
by works alone? If so, why?
What does Hebrews 3:12-14 indicate about the possibility of departing from
God? Under what conditions does it say we can be "partakers of Christ"? In
what way does Philippians 2:12 say we should approach salvation? Do you approach
salvation in this way? If not, why not? Are babies saved? Are 5 year olds
saved? 19 year olds? At what point, if any, do the conditions for salvation
change and how do your answers affect the concept of "once saved, always
What does Acts 7:51 say about the ability to resist the Holy Spirit? What
does this mean in terms of the existence of free will? Does your ecclesial
community teach something different about free will? If so, why?
What does Luke 23:24 indicate about those who act in ignorance? What does
Romans 9:15 indicate about the ultimate sovereignty of God?
Why does Jesus say He came according to John 12:25-27? What is the nature
of the Kingdom according to John 18:36? How long has this been the nature
of the Kingdom according to Matthew 25:34? What do those three verses say
to those who might believe Jesus came (and will come again) to set up an
earthly kingdom? Does Galatians 3:7-29 differentiate between the "seed of
Abraham" and the Church? Who is a Jew according to Romans 2:28-29?
What are the Talmud and Kabbalah? What does the Talmud say about Jesus Christ
and Mary? How is modern Judaism different from Biblical Judaism?
What objects are described in 1 Kings 6:29? What about in Ezekiel 41:17-19?
What does this mean in light of Exodus 20:4?
Did Biblical Old Testament Judaism have a sense of sacred time, sacred space,
and sacred objects? Is there anything in the New Testament that indicates
the concept of consecrated things/places/times has changed? What media does
God use to effect miracles in:
Joshua 3:15; 1
Samuel 4-6; and 2 Samuel 11-1?
2nd Kings 13:21?
The word "Easter" is an English word that comes from the name "Estre," a
Teutonic godess, and it became a nickname for the Christian Passover in
Anglo-Saxon areas because April was known as "easter-monadh" in those areas.
What is "Easter" called in Latin? In Italy, France and Spain? What is it
called in Germany, Sweden, and Denmark? What do Byzantine Catholics call
it? What is the common root word for all these names? What does that root
word indicate about the origins of the holy day known in English speaking
countries as "Easter"?
Everyone wants to be part of a "New Testament-style Church" -- but few are
the people who read what the earliest Christians wrote! If worshipping and
believing like the Apostles did are, indeed, what you want, then why haven't
you read thoroughly read Sacred Scripture, the Didache (the first century
"Teachings of the Twelve Apostles"), Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome,
Origen, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, John Chrysostom, Augustine (all of him,
not just the parts that, pulled out of context, seem to support various modern
positions!), Hippolytus, even Tertullian! How can you know what the earliest
Church was like if you don't look? What is holding you back? If you read
these early Christians' writings, ask yourself: what Church today is like
the Church they described? What Church today teaches Bible-based answers
to the questions above?
For Those Who Hate the Catholic Church
Ask yourself: why
do I hate the Catholic Church? Who taught me what I think I know about the
Catholic Church? Is what I was taught true? Have I looked at what the Catholic
Church has to say about itself, using official resources such as the
Catechism of the Catholic Church and papal encyclicals? Could my opinion
of the Catholic Church possibly be based on bias, bigotry, bad history,
propaganda from the secular media, or the bad priests who get publicity (i.e.,
the sick, and sickening, pedophile priests or those certain heretical modernist
priests the secular media love to give press to)? Is it fair to judge
doctrine by such things? Is any group with human beings in it free
from sin and scandal? If I am wrong about the Catholic Church, what does
Here are some
common myths about the Catholic Church:
reject the tradition of "sola fide" ("faith alone"), they think they can
work their way into Heaven and believe they are saved by works
the pope does not sin
re-crucify Christ at their Masses (or at least think they do)
Mary is part of the Godhead and is to be worshipped
they can't pray to God directly but have to go through saints
people can be saved after they die
Church teaches that one who isn't formally a Catholic is damned to Hell
are an example of Catholic aggression
killed hundreds of thousands of people and targeted Jews
||Pope Pius XII
was "Hitler's Pope" and didn't do a thing to help Jews during WWII
Church wasn't around until the time of Constantine, a pagan who controlled
the Church. The Catholic Church did more than baptize pagan calendar days
for the good of Christ, it is pagan in its very roots.
If you believe
any of the above myths, I implore you to research. For doctrinal questions,
ask the Church what it teaches; it's the only fair thing to do. For
historical questions, look at balanced and objective scholarly research
from a variety of sources (including Catholic ones).
And as you research, keep in mind the common logical fallacies that are often
used in attacks against Catholicism:
"I knew a Catholic/ex-Catholic (or I was a Catholic) who was (mean, a drunk,
not holy, didn't like the Church, was superstitious, didn't know the Bible,
didn't have a deep relationship with Jesus, etc.), so therefore, the teachings
of the Catholic Church are wrong." (Ignores the fact that bad catechesis,
miunderstandings, or other shortcomings of a few Catholics do not reflect
on what the Catholic Church teaches)
"If the Catholic Church doesn't teach that it's faith alone that saves, then
it must teach that men are saved by their own works." (Ignores that we teach
that we are saved by Grace alone -- a Grace with which we must cooperate
through "faith that works in love")
Cum hoc ergo propter hoc:
"Winter Solstice is on 21 December; Christmas is 25 December. Therefore,
Christmas is a pagan holiday. (Ignores that fact that there are only 365
days to choose from in a year and that the early Church Fathers had good
reasons to choose the date they did. It also ignores that Protestants'
"Reformation Day" is celebrated on 31 October, the pagan festival of
Post hoc ergo propter hoc:
"Constantine must have been the real source of the Catholic Church's teachings
because after his reign the Church grew tremendously, and before his reign
it wasn't as well-known" (Ignores the simple fact that Constantine merely
stopped the persecution of Christians with the Edict of Milan and allowed
Christianity to spread. It also ignores the writings of the Church Fathers
who lived before Constantine -- and who were Catholic.)
"You guys worship statues, and that's evil. Therefore, your religion is Satanic."
(Ignores that fact that we don't worship statues)
Meanwhile: The Final Challenge
... and now I
challenge my brothers and sisters in Christ to take two hours of your life
to listen to theologian and former Presbyterian minister Scott Hahn and to
Rosalind Moss, who was raised Jewish and later became Evangelical. Both are
now 100% Catholic; don't you want to know why? Truly, I challenge
you to listen and pray and think about what you hear, all with an open
heart to God's will.
Real Audio: Listen to Scott Hahn tell his
Audio: Listen to Rosalind Moss tell her story