Friday, February 04, 2005

Published Articles in "This Rock" / Comic Tracts / Internet Ministry in the Overall Scheme of Things

This Rock (the preeminent Catholic apologetics magazine) published four of my articles in the year 2004. Here they are, linked directly to the online version of the magazine, on the Catholic Answers website. The most recent one (from the November issue) now appears for the first time on my blog or website, as a link:

"Catholics Need to Read Their Bibles," This Rock, February 2004, 20-22.

"On Sinners in the Church: How Could it be Otherwise?," This Rock, April 2004, 25-27.

"A Quick Ten-Step Refutation of Sola Scriptura," This Rock, September 2004.

"The Pleasures and Perils of a Catholic Apologetics Apostolate," This Rock, November 2004.

Also, my conversion story was published, way back in 1993:

"A Church Shopper's Road to Catholicism," This Rock, September 1993, 14-16.

[I should note that this was a very heavily-edited and modified version of my story, which was to be included in the bestseller Surprised by Truth the next year. That version was also edited, with some additions (but far less than this one). My own, unedited version is posted on my website]

Another paper of mine is also to be published in This Rock, about the "pleasures and perils" of Internet evangelism and apologetics (I could write a book on that! Those who have followed my activities lately, know the nonsense I have had to endure from misguided critics).

Also mentioned in the pages of this prestigious magazine, was the Catholic Information League, which was an effort by my good friends Dan Grajek (a skilled cartoonist), Joe Polgar, and myself, to do some "comic tracts" in order to counter Jack Chick and to provide some attractive, quick evangelistic tools. Dan and I had actually started writing these in 1985, when I was a Protestant campus missionary. One of our first ones, The Resurrection: Hoax or History?, was actually reproduced in This Rock in its much-appreciated write-up of the ministry in February 1994 (but unfortunately, it is not posted in the online version). CIL was also mentioned briefly in October 1993. Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. was the adviser and final editor of these tracts, and rumor has it that he once showed some of them to Pope John Paul II.

The front page of The Resurrection: Hoax or History? can be seen on the publisher's page. I wrote the entire text for this tract, as well as the following ones:

The Cloud of Witnesses
The Class Struggle
Mary: Do Catholics Have a Biblical View?
Joe Hardhat, the Quintessential Catholic: On Justification
 
Note that the conversion story and the comic tracts date from 1993 and 1994, two to two-and-a-half years before I ever went online (March 1996). I had also had articles published in the apologetics magazine, The Catholic Answer (then edited by Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas) three times, another similar magazine, Hands-On Apologetics, six times, and The Coming Home Newsletter (edited by Marcus Grodi), five times, before I had my own website (March 1997). So for those who think that the Internet "defines" me, and has been the more or less sole cause for my work being known at all, it's not true. I had also finished the initial 750-page version of my first book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, in 1994, and even the revised version in May 1996, only two months after I started doing apologetics on the Internet, and ten months before I had a website.

Don't get me wrong: I thank God for the Internet, I love the tremendous potential of it, and it has played a crucial role in my apostolate (beyond my wildest dreams), but my work has also extended beyond that venue. In fact, if you count Protestant apologetics activity, I had been very active in apologetics, evangelism of all kinds (sometimes in the streets), pro-life activism, and counter-cult research and evangelism (even including a radio appearance as a Protestant apologist) for more than sixteen years before I ever had a website.

I mention this partially to counter ridiculous claims from some quarters that I haven't "paid my dues" as an apologist, or that I shouldn't get paid anything for doing this (more than once I have been told to "get a real job"), or that I am insufficiently trained and "credentialed," or that I am only known at all because of Internet exposure (that anyone could achieve, etc.). None of that is true. It's just an effort to attack the Catholic Church and what we believe by means of going after one of its messengers, folks.

Anyway, thanks again from the bottom of my heart to all of you out there reading this, and especially to those who have encouraged me through the years, contributed financially, bought any of my books, and prayed for this work. I couldn't have done it without you, and without all three of those emotional, spiritual, and financial aids.

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