Thursday, March 30, 2006

Catholic Underemphasis on Justification by Faith: My Theory on Why This Is

By Dave Armstrong (3-30-06)

It's true that Catholics have heard this message of justification by faith relatively less than Protestants (a lot less, in fact). I think this is because of the natural human tendency (which I've often noted) of dichotomizing things and going to extremes in overreaction to opponents. Why this happened in history is obvious:

1) Protestants went too far and adopted faith alone (sola fide), so Catholics - in practice - tended to go too far in the other direction and overemphasize the importance of works and merit (while underemphasizing the true aspects of justification by faith). Some in both camps, in their ignorance, actually taught or practiced Pelagianism or antinomianism.

2) Protestants went too far and adopted Scripture alone (sola Scriptura) as its rule of faith, so Catholics - in practice - tended to go too far in the other direction and overemphasize the importance of Church and Tradition. Thus, many Protestants have virtually ditched the latter, while many Catholics wouldn't know the Bible from a hole in the ground (which I have also written about, in a published article; chiding and rebuking my fellow Catholics a bit). Catholics are as ignorant of the Bible as Protestants are ignorant of Church history. Of course, both should be familiar with both. The ignorance on both sides (in different ways) stinks to high heaven. But we can help each other.

3) Protestants (i.e., Luther in his Babylonian Captivity) got radical and radically innovative and threw out five sacraments, so Catholics tended to emphasize the sacraments relatively more than gospel proclamation, evangelization, etc. Of course, in the 16th century, the early Protestants did little missionary work, while Catholics were all over North and South America, so these things ebb and flow.

There are many other similar dichotomies . . .

In my ecumenical emphasis, I like to think that Catholics and Protestants complement each other and "need" each other in this practical, philosophical way, precisely because both sides - in practice - tended to go too far in one direction and to dichotomize what was always intended by God to be together. So we can help each other out a lot, and ecumenism has a crucial function in God's purposes in the Kingdom. We can explain to each other our own emphases and try to achieve a consensus insofar as possible and to avoid even more tragic misunderstanding and disunity than we already have.

Hence, my attempts to persuade Chris Jones (and any other Protestants reading) that Catholic merit is essentially the same as Lutheran cooperation and sola gratia. I've also made many attempts to try to deliberately find common ground (as you may know), e.g., in many of my papers.

I think it is senseless to wrangle over areas where we essentially agree. There are enough real differences to dispute, heaven knows.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

50 Ways In Which Luther Had Departed From Catholic Orthodoxy by 1520 (and Why He Was Excommunicated)

By Dave Armstrong (3-29-06)

Martin Luther's words will be in green.

* * * * *

Chris Jones (Lutheran) asked: "So why was Dr Luther excommunicated? In what way was he heterodox?"

. . . I must confess that that subject is quite ambitious . . ., but nevertheless I will reply because I'm sick and tired of this canard, and it is high time to decisively refute it. This I will do below.

How about, for starters, separating justification from sanctification, adopting an extrinsic, forensic, imputed notion of justification (a radical departure from precedent, as McGrath and Geisler have noted), championing the novelty of fiduciary faith, changing the ancient rule of faith of Church, Tradition, and Bible to sola Scriptura, adopting private judgment over against ecclesial infallibility (Luther denied that even ecumenical councils possess this; going beyond the conciliarist position of some nominalists), throwing out the Sacrifice of the Mass and seven books of the Bible, and ditching five sacraments? Is that enough to be heretical by Catholic standards?

In his Commentary on Romans (1516), Luther wrote:

It is clear that according to substance and nature venial sin does not exist, and that there is no such thing as merit.

Two more Catholic doctrines denied. Now, you may think he was right, but the question at hand concerns why he was excommunicated as a "heterodox" Catholic. This is more than enough evidence to convict him of this "shortcoming," wouldn't you agree?

It gets even more bizarre than that, for those who are interested in the history of doctrine and theology. Luther thought that men should have an "ineffable joy" if they discovered that they were damned, because they were resigned to God's will:

If men willed what God wills, even though He should will to damn and reject them, they would see no evil in that [in the predestination to hell which he teaches]; for, as they will what God wills, they have, owing to their resignation, the will of God in them.

Luther asserts (I think, blasphemously), during this same period, long before 1521, that Jesus Christ offered to go to hell for the sake of the salvation of mankind (a heresy picked up today by the hyperfaith teachers such as Kenneth Copeland):

He actually and in truth offered Himself to the eternal Father to be consigned to eternal damnation for us. His human nature did not behave differently from that of a man who is to be condemned eternally to hell. On account of this love of God, God at once raised Him from death and hell, and so He overcame hell.

In the Heidelberg Disputation (1518), Luther stated:

The mercy of God consists in this, that He has patience with us in spite of our sins and graciously accepts our works and our life notwithstanding their complete worthlessness . . . All that a man does is the work of the devil, of sin, of darkness and foolishness.

The radical nature of Luther's so-called "reform" is clearly evident in the three great treatises of 1520. Let's make a survey of [two of] them, since there seems to be so much ignorance in this matter of how far Luther had departed from the received Catholic faith by 1520. I cite from the book Three Treatises, taken from Luther's Works, revised edition, 1970 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press):

1) To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation

A) ". . . we are all consecrated priests through baptism . . . The consecration by pope or bishop would never make a priest, and if we had no higher consecration than that which pope or bishop gives, no one could say mass or preach a sermon or give absolution . . . the whole community, all of whom have like power . . ." (p. 12)

B) ". . . a priest in Christendom is nothing else but an officeholder . . . a priest is never a priest when he is deposed . . . there is no true, basic difference between laymen and priests . . ." (p. 14)

[denial of ordination, the special status of the priesthood, and in effect, apostolic succession; going back to the mentality of the Donatist heresy; on p. 13 Luther claims that a group of laymen in a desert could "elect" one of themselves to say mass and give absolution; cf. p. 70]

C) ". . . since the temporal power is ordained by God to punish the wicked and protect the good, it should be left free to perform its office in the whole body of Christendom without restriction and without respect to persons, whether it affects pope, bishops, priests, monks, nuns, or anyone else . . .

"All that canon law has said to the contrary is the invention of Romanist presumption." (pp. 15-16; cf. pp. 45-46, and p. 53: "The pope should have no authority over the emperor")

[radical overthrow of the entire Catholic medieval understanding of the relationship of Church and state]

D) ". . . they play about with words before our very eyes, trying to persuade us that the pope cannot err in matters of faith, regardless of whether he is righteous or wicked." (p. 19)

[denial of papal infallibility, which was widely believed; also adoption of the schismatic ancient Donatist mentality of righteousness nullifying an office or sacramental efficacy]

E) ". . . the keys were not given to Peter alone but to the whole community." (p. 20)

[this is untrue; the "keys of the kingdom" were only given to Peter in Scripture, and to no one else.]

F) ". . . if we are all priests . . . why should we not also have the power to test and judge what is right or wrong in matters of faith?" (p. 21)

[private judgment and sola Scriptura: radical innovations concerning Christian authority]

G) "The Romanists have no basis in Scripture for their claim that the pope alone has the right to call or confirm a council." (p. 22)

[overthrows the long-established principle of governance of ecumenical councils; on p. 23 he states that when the pope is "an offense to Christendom, the first man who is able should . . . do what he can to bring about a truly free council" and on p. 24 says that "we" can "excommunicate" the pope if he has gone astray]

H) ". . . restore freedom to everybody and leave every man free to marry or not marry." (p. 65)

[denial of the ancient practice of celibate priests, nuns, and monks]

I) ". . . . popes, bishops, canons, and monks. God has not instituted these offices." (p. 66)


J) "Furthermore, I advise anyone henceforth being ordained a priest or anything else that he in no wise vow to the bishop that he will remain celibate."

". . . the pope has as little power to command this as he has to forbid eating, drinking, the natural movement of the bowels, or growing fat." (pp. 66, 68)

[denial of vows of celibacy, and the institutional right to demand same as a matter of discipline, contrary to Jesus' statement about eunuchs and Paul's teaching that celibacy is preferable for the purposes of serving God more fully in an undistracted manner]

K) "All festivals should be abolished, and Sunday alone retained. If it were desired, however, to retain the festivals of Our Lady, and of the major saints, they should be transferred to Sunday, or observed only by a morning mass." (pp. 72-73)

[radical revision of the liturgical calendar]

L) ". . . fasts should be left to individuals and every kind of food left optional . . . " (p. 74)

[overthrow of the Church's prerogative to prescribe penitential practices in commemoration of our Lord's suffering, such as on Fridays and during Lent]

M) "What spirit gave the pope authority to canonize saints? . . . My advice is to let the saints canonize themselves. Indeed, it is God alone who should canonize them.

". . . Although the canonization of saints may have been a good thing in former days, it is certainly never good practice now." (pp. 77-78)

[So much for saints . . . throw the baby out with the bath water, as usual with Luther . . .]

N) "The brotherhoods, and for that matter, letters of indulgence . . . dispensations, and everything of that kind, should be snuffed out and brought to an end." (p. 84)

[Indulgences are an expressly biblical practice. St. Paul issued a penitential punishment, or "binding" (1 Cor 5:3-5 ) and then relaxed or "loosed" it, which is all that an indulgence is (2 Cor 2:6-11). ]

O) Luther goes after Aristotle (and by extension, all philosophy), on pp. 92-94, calling him a "blind, heathen teacher" and "damned, conceited, rascally heathen . . . wretched fellow" and recommending discarding his books because "nothing can be learned from them either about nature or the Spirit . . . nobody has yet understood him." He then claims that "I understand him better than St. Thomas or Duns Scotus did."

. . . I do agree with one thing Luther wrote, however (except the last sentence):

"I know full well that I have been very outspoken. I have made many suggestions that will be considered impractical. I have attacked many things too severely. But how else ought I to do it?" (p. 111)

2) The Babylonian Captivity of the Church

A) ". . . transubstantiation (a monstrous word and a monstrous idea) . . . " (p. 147)

[denial of a defined dogma]

B) "The third captivity of this sacrament is by far the most wicked of all, in consequence of which there is no opinion more generally held or more firmly believed in the church today than this, that the mass is a good work and a sacrifice." (p. 152)

". . . monstrous and wicked doctrines, as they have done who have made of the sacrament an opus operatum and a sacrifice." (p. 154)

". . . the gospel does not sanction the idea that the mass is a sacrifice . . . " (p. 174)

[denial of the central aspect of the Christian liturgy, as had been practiced for 1500 years]

C) ". . . the sacrament of penance . . . The first and chief abuse of this sacrament is that they have completely abolished it. Not a vestige of the sacrament remains." (p. 206)

". . . this Babylon of ours has so completely extinguished faith that it insolently denies its necessity in this sacrament." (p. 209)

[I see! Who am I to quibble with the opinions of the illustrious "reformer"?! Seriously, though, this is simply untrue. For any confession to be efficacious, the penitent must be sincerely repentant, and exercise faith that the priest has the power to absolve, by God's design. On p. 212, Luther is "heartily in favor of" private confession and "would not have it abolished." But he thinks "it cannot be proved from the Scriptures" and denies that it is a sacrament]

D) "For Christ has given to every one of his believers the power to absolve even open sins." (p. 214)

[subversive of ordination and apostolic succession]

E) "For these monstrous things we are indebted to you, O Roman See, and to your murderous laws and ceremonies, with which you have corrupted all mankind, so that they believe they can with works make satisfaction for sin to God, when he can be satisfied only by the faith of a contrite heart!" (pp. 216-217)

[Penance, more generally construed as penitential acts, is denied]

F) "I do not say this because I condemn the seven sacraments, but because I deny that they can be proved from Scriptures." (p. 218)

[Interesting comment. In any event, Protestantism generally held to two sacraments, and the denial that there was any proof in Scripture is radically contrary to the Catholic position, making Luther "heretical" again insofar as he has denied yet another received Catholic teaching: that Jesus instituted all seven sacraments and that the Bible sufficiently indicates this]

G) "Not only is marriage regarded as a sacrament without the least warrant of Scripture, . . . " (p. 220)

[Yet another sacrament goes down the drain . . . ]

H) "Among endless other monstrosities, there are enumerated in this book eighteen impediments to marriage . . . snares in order to prevent people from marrying, or, if they are married, to annul their marriage? Who gave this power to men?" (p. 225)

[denial of the Catholic belief in an invalid marriage and annulments]

I) "As to divorce, it is still a question for debate whether it is allowable . . . whether it is allowable I do not venture to decide . . . Christ, then, permits divorce, but only on the ground of unchastity . . . it is still a greater wonder to me why they compel a man to remain unmarried after being separated from his wife by divorce." (p. 236)

[contrary to centuries-long Catholic moral theology]

J) "Ordination - Of this sacrament the church of Christ knows nothing; it is an invention of the church of the pope . . . there is not a single word said about it in the whole New Testament. Now it is ridiculous to put forth as a sacrament of God something that cannot be proved to have been instituted by God." (p. 237)

[radical innovation again; not even followed by many later Protestants, in this radical form]

K) "The church can give no promise of grace; that is the work of God alone. Therefore, she cannot institute a sacrament." (p. 238)

[radical anti-sacramentarian view]

L) ". . . mumbling the vain repetitions of his prescribed prayers . . . " (p. 245)

[mocking of the priest's daily office]

M) "We do not deny, therefore, that forgiveness and peace are granted through extreme unction; not because it is a sacrament divinely instituted, but because he who receives it believes that those blessings are granted to him." (p. 256)

[denial of another sacrament]

N) ". . . it has seemed proper to restrict the name of sacrament to those promises which have signs attached to them. The remainder, not being bound to signs, are bare promises. Hence there are, strictly speaking, but two sacraments in the church of God - baptism and the bread. For only in these two do we find both the divinely instituted sign and the promise of forgiveness of sins." (p. 258)

[definitive statement of the number of sacraments being reduced from five to two]

O) "To the godless, on the other hand, and those who in obstinate tyranny force on us their own teachings instead of God's I confidently and freely oppose these pages. I shall be completely indifferent to their senseless fury. Yet I wish even them a right understanding. And I do not despise their efforts; I only distinguish them from what is sound and truly Christian.

"I hear a rumor that new bulls and papal maledictions are being prepared against me, in which I am urged to recant or be declared a heretic. If that is true, I desire this little book to be part of the recantation that I shall make; so that the arrogant despots might not complain of having acted in vain." (p. 260)

[as usual, anyone who disagrees with Luther, be it individual or pope or entire Church, must be wrong and unbiblical, and indeed, not even "truly Christian"]

* * * * *

Okay; to revisit the original query, Chris Jones asked: "So why was Dr Luther excommunicated? In what way was he heterodox?" I have summarized how he was heterodox by 1520, by virtually indisputable, unarguable Catholic standards. Remember again: this is not a discussion of whether Catholic teaching is right or wrong, but rather, whether Luther was "heterodox" or "heretical" by that same teaching (i.e., whether the Church was at least self-consistent in excommunicating him, or whether it was a power play unrelated to truth or Luther's actual - or falsely-imagined - heresy).

It is absolutely evident that Luther was heretical and that the Church was under no obligation to even contend with him at the Diet of Worms in 1521. Since it was obvious that he was teaching heresy, it was equally obvious that the Church should demand that he recant, renounce, and cease doing so. He refused, because he knew more than the Church (as he in effect implied, many times). But no Protestant body would have acted any differently, then or now, in the face of dozens of rejections of its own stated dogmas. Here is what Luther believed contrary to the Church (without even delving too much into the finer points of soteriology):

1. Separation of justification from sanctification.
2. Extrinsic, forensic, imputed notion of justification.
3. Fiduciary faith.
4. Private judgment over against ecclesial infallibility.
5. Tossing out seven books of the Bible.
6. Denial of venial sin.
7. Denial of merit.
8. The damned should be happy that they are damned and accept God's will.
9. Jesus offered Himself for damnation and possible hellfire.
10. No good work can be done except by a justified man.
11. All baptized men are priests (denial of the sacrament of ordination).
12. All baptized men can give absolution.
13. Bishops do not truly hold that office; God has not instituted it.
14. Popes do not truly hold that office; God has not instituted it.
15. Priests have no special, indelible character.
16. Temporal authorities have power over the Church; even bishops and popes; to assert the contrary was a mere presumptuous invention.
17. Vows of celibacy are wrong and should be abolished.
18. Denial of papal infallibility.
19. Belief that unrighteous priests or popes lose their authority (contrary to Augustine's rationale against the Donatists).
20. The keys of the kingdom were not just given to Peter.
21. Private judgment of every individual to determine matters of faith.
22. Denial that the pope has the right to call or confirm a council.
23. Denial that the Church has the right to demand celibacy of certain callings.
24. There is no such vocation as a monk; God has not instituted it.
25. Feast days should be abolished, and all church celebrations confined to Sundays.
26. Fasts should be strictly optional.
27. Canonization of saints is thoroughly corrupt and should stop.
28. Confirmation is not a sacrament.
29. Indulgences should be abolished.
30. Dispensations should be abolished.
31. Philosophy (Aristotle as prime example) is an unsavory, detrimental influence on Christianity.
32. Transubstantiation is "a monstrous idea."
33. The Church cannot institute sacraments.
34. Denial of the "wicked" belief that the mass is a good work.
35. Denial of the "wicked" belief that the mass is a true sacrifice.
36. Denial of the sacramental notion of ex opere operato.
37. Denial that penance is a sacrament.
38. Assertion that the Catholic Church had "completely abolished" even the practice of penance.
39. Claim that the Church had abolished faith as an aspect of penance.
40. Denial of apostolic succession.
41. Any layman who can should call a general council.
42. Penitential works are worthless.
43. None of what Catholics believe to be the seven sacraments have any biblical proof.
44. Marriage is not a sacrament.
45. Annulments are a senseless concept and the Church has no right to determine or grant annulments.
46. Whether divorce is allowable is an open question.
47. Divorced persons should be allowed to remarry.
48. Jesus allowed divorce when one partner committed adultery.
49. The priest's daily office is "vain repetition."
50. Extreme unction is not a sacrament (there are only two sacraments: baptism and the Eucharist).

So that is 50 ways in which Luther was a heretic, heterodox, a schismatic, or believed things which were clearly contrary to the Catholic Church's teaching or practice, up to and including truly radical departures (even societally radical in some cases). Is that enough to justify his excommunication from Catholic ranks? Or was the Church supposed to say, "yeah, Luther, you know, you're right about these fifty issues. You know better than the entire Church, the entire history of the Church, and all the wisdom of the saints in past ages who have believed these things. So we will bow to your heaven-sent wisdom, change all fifty beliefs or practices, so we can proceed in a godly direction. Thanks so much! We are forever indebted to you for having informed us of all these errors!!"

Is that not patently ridiculous? What Church would change 50 things in its doctrines because one person feels himself to be some sort of oracle from God or pseudo-prophet: God's man for the age? Yet we are led to believe that it is self-evident that Luther was a good, obedient Catholic who only wanted to reform the Church, not overturn or leave it, let alone start a new sect. He may have been naive or silly enough to believe that himself, but objectively-speaking, it is clear and plain to one and all that what he offered - even prior to 1520 - was a radical program; a revolution. This is not reform. And the so-called "Protestant Reformation" was not that, either (considered as a whole). It was a Revolt or a Revolution. I have just shown why that is.

No sane, conscious person who had read any of his three radical treatises of 1520 could doubt that he had already ceased to be an orthodox Catholic. He did not reluctantly become so because he was unfairly kicked out of the Church by men who would not listen to manifest Scripture and reason (as the Protestant myth and perpetual propaganda would have it) but because he had chosen himself to accept heretical teachings, by the standard of Catholic orthodoxy, and had become a radical, intent also on spreading his (sincerely and passionately held) errors across the land with slanderous, mocking, propagandistic tracts and even vulgar woodcuts, if needs be.

Therefore, the Church was entirely sensible, reasonable, within her rights, logical, self-consistent, and not hypocritical or "threatened" in the slightest to simply demand Luther's recantation of his errors at the Diet of Worms in 1521, and to refuse to argue with him (having already tried on several occasions, anyway), because to do so would have granted his ridiculous presumption that he was in a position to singlehandedly dispute and debate what had been the accumulated doctrinal and theological wisdom of the Church for almost 1500 years.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Does "Catholic Christian" Indicate a Sub-Catholic Ecclesiology and Understanding?

By Dave Armstrong (3-23-06)

Background: the claim was made in a previous discussion on the validity of the apostolate of Scott Hahn (link) that the use of the descriptive phrase Catholic Christian is improper. I vigorously denied this, arguing that it is a matter of the English language and category distinctions, and a way to linguistically counter the common anti-Catholic assumption that Catholics call themselves Catholics rather than (if one word must be chosen) Christians because they are not Christians in the first place, and wish to deliberately dissociate themselves from that description or category. 

In other words, it is inadvertently falling into their false ecclesiology (at least in effect, or in their minds). We are urged in Vatican II to speak in language that our separated brethren can understand and relate to, with the aim of sharing the fullness of our faith more effectively.

* * * * * 

David Jones recommended the following article:

In regards to this whole conversation of the use of the term "Catholic Christians," I refer you to Douglas Bushman's article entitled The Catholic on the Church - To Be Catholic is to be Christian, Period. Go to my April Archives to view and print it. It's provided to you over six posts [they are jpg files; enlarge by clicking on the scanned photos].

Here is my reply:

I agree with virtually all of the Bushman article. But any conclusion drawn from it that Catholic Christian is impermissible terminology is illogical and unfounded, in my opinion.

If the objection is, as he argues, that Catholicism is seen as something "added to" being a Christian, I reply by saying that this is not how I have ever regarded it (i.e., since my conversion). To me it is the fullness of Christianity, while Protestantism is a truncated, abbreviated, skeletal, least-common-denominator type of Christianity.

Christianity rightly understood in all its fullness, colors and multi-faceted nature is Catholicism, of course. How it somehow follows that saying Catholic Christian is an implicit acceptance of [C.S.] Lewisian "mere Christianity" (which I have been relentlessly critical of for fifteen years, though Lewis remains my favorite author) I know not. Perhaps Bushman himself isn't even arguing this, and his opinions are wrongly being used to draw this erroneous conclusion.

There are all sorts of words which are misunderstood. But it doesn't follow that we therefore cease using them. We need to carefully define and explain our terms.

I no more need to refrain from saying Catholic Christian than I have to refrain from saying Socratic philosophy or Thomist philosophy on the grounds that no other type of philosophy can pass muster with those, so we need to simpy say Socratic method or Thomism as identical with philosophy, with all the other philosophies being mere pretenders. It simply doesn't follow.

Bushman is obviously reacting to certain liberal outlooks which retire from an enthusiastic, confident presentation of the Catholic faith as the fullness of faith. Alas, it's not a problem I have ever had. :-) I get accused of being a "triumphalist" all the time, and my insistence on the Newmanian requirement of accepting the entire faith or bust does not exactly endear me to Protestant dialogue opponents either. So he is preaching to the choir on this. But I don't see why I would have to stop saying Catholic Christian in order to speak about these other things.

Certainly it is tomfoolery to suggest (as the inimitable John Lowell did) that to merely use the term suggests a terribly deficient ecclesiology. As just described, I don't have that! So at least in my case, there is no truth to the charge at all.

Most of the article is not about this terminology. Since he allows for the latitude of speaking of other Christians, the contention that Catholic Christian either must mean or even imply some non-Catholic ecclesiology, collapses.

In fact, he is not even internally consistent if in fact he were to take a strict position himself that the phrase must mean what Mr. Lowell claims it intrinsically means, by his use of the term non-Catholic Christians. It's real simple: if there are non-Catholic Christians, then there must be Catholic Christians, on the basis of the comparison and contrast, and the English language. Non-Catholic Christians are those who are Christians without being Catholics. They are a type of Christian distinguished by not being Catholic.

Therefore, the group they are being linguistically contrasted with must be Catholic Christians. There are more than one type of Christian, so it follows inexorably through the function of language and logic that Catholic Christian must be permissible as simply an instance of indicating a smaller sub-group of the larger sociological/religious group, which the author freely concedes (and indeed must, if he is to follow the teaching of Vatican II).

That being the case, this contention collapses in a heap. The only way it can succeed is to assert something which the author didn't do: that Catholics are the only Christians, period. In that case, one could only describe Protestants as non-Catholics, since Catholic and Christian are absolutely identical. It would be nonsensical to describe them in that hypothetical situation as non-Catholic Christians. So this view must be discarded as internally incoherent and illogical.

At best one can only say that the phrase Catholic Christian may be misunderstood. But since that is true of almost any word these days, especially in the vexed world of religious controversies, it really isn't saying much at all.

And note that this is coming from a person who fights "wars" about terminology all the time, and indeed, thinks it is important to do so. I refuse to use Reformation without quotes because I reject the description. I reject it because it was not what that word implies at all. Rather, it was a revolution or revolt. So I use those terms. I reject Enlightenment on similar grounds, because it presupposes that the spiritual and intellectual and cultural heritage of the highly Christian Middle Ages was a "darkness" from which "progressive" 18th-century man joyfully escaped.

I just don't see any problem here, though. Christianity is a rather large group. There are different kinds of Christians. Catholicism is one of these. One then (hopefully) proceeds to defend and proclaim it as quintessential Christianity and the best kind. But classifying it as part of the larger group of Christianity does not undermine that endeavor in the least.

* * *

John Lowell wrote:

I'm terribly sorry, but the simile you offer us is in no way apt, Chris. In your illustration, Roman is an adjective and Catholic is a noun, much like Melkite Catholic might be. The unmistakable meaning of Catholic, used as it is in Hahnspeak, "Catholic Christian", misrepresents our teaching. "Catholic" is improperly used as an adjective in this case.

This is thoroughly wrongheaded once again. I deny that there is a "grammatical" argument in the sense in which John intends this, at all. He implies that it is intrinsically indicative of an inferior brand of Christianity or Catholicism, if one simply uses Catholic Christian in the sense that Catholic functions grammatically as an adjective.

This doesn't fly because John is apparently overlooking crucial category distinctions and different possibilities of relationships between ideas (thus, it is again, at bottom, I think, a logical or thinking problem here).

In our present case, Christianity is an umbrella term. As such, it necessarily contains less information than sub-groups contained "under" it (as strictly a matter of classification). It does not follow that describing a form of x Christianity makes x less than Christianity as if Christianity were the qualitatively greater concept of the two.

This follows, not only logically and grammatically, but also theologically, since, in fact, the Catholic Church recognizes other forms of Christianity beside itself, though it regards them as less full manifestations of same.

After all, Orthodoxy arose in the 11th century. Unless someone asserts that it is a less than Christian faith, then one must be able to distinguish Orthodoxy from Catholicism, as two different forms of Christianity. Thus: Catholic Christianity and Orthodox Christianity.

In other words, from a Catholic perspective, there is a form of Christianity beside itself, but not as full and complete as itself. Catholicism remains the fullest expression of Christianity (thus greater than [mere] Christianity) and so Catholic is the greater concept than Christianity, while it still remains perfectly permissible and proper to say Catholic Christianity.

In fact, it should also be noted that even C.S. Lewis's own notion of "mere Christianity" presupposed this. His analogy to the house held that "mere Christianity" was the common hall in the house that all shared. Yet the fullest expressions of anyone's particular Christianity remained in individual rooms.

Thus, you have "rooms of the house" yet the rooms are in a real sense greater than the house. They are the sub-category in one sense, but the greater notion of the two in another. The rooms are greater than the hall where all Christians met in the context of common beliefs. The hall is generic Christianity, but the rooms are fuller expressions of particular Christian belief-systems.

If that is insufficient to reveal the fallacies and category mistakes entertained by John in his analysis, then we may suggest various analogies.

For example, there is the umbrella category of "music," which is, of course, almost unimaginably huge. Yet it contains less "content" than the categories underneath it. Classical music or gospel music immediately brings forth in one's mind rich images and sounds. Is classical music somehow inferior to music because it is more specific and merely because in the phrase classical is an adjective describing a particular kind of music? Of course not.

We could take that analogy a step further, making a reductio ad absurdum:

Mozartian classical music is a deficient form of music because, after all, the Mozartian aspect is inferior to the classical category, since it is an adjective describing the latter, and classical is inferior to music because it describes that.
Is the fallacy here evident and obvious yet? I should think so!

There are also, of course, qualitative distinctions in the "adjectival" categories. If we were to compare Mozart's classical music to Armstrong's classical music (I toyed with some written and electronic "compositions" right after high school, as I had majored in music), it would be obvious immediately which thing was the vastly superior of the two.

How about filmmaking? There is that large umbrella category, which would encompass anything, even up to crude home movies or even pornography (if we are referring strictly to the process of making movies which can be played back).

So if we say Hitchcockian filmmaking or Kubrickian filmmaking are Stanley Kubrick or Alfred Hitchcock somehow "inferior" to the concept of "filmmaking"? Again, no. It doesn't even make sense to say that. Rather, they are two directors who produced excellent manifestations of film, and examples of that art. The Kubrick film is an infinitely fuller expression of film than home movies of our kids made in the Armstrong household (no matter how cute and endearing we think they are).

How about art? You have sculpture as a larger category. Then you have Rodin's sculpture and Michelangelo's sculpture. Are we to say that no other sculpture exists because Michelangelo made his glorious David and Pieta? No, of course not. Does it degrade Michelangelo or imply that someone else was a greater sculptor to simply say that his work was a species of sculpture? Again, no, of course not.

Likewise, the fact that Catholic describes a type of Christianity and is an adjective in the phrase Catholic Christian has no bearing whatsoever on the supposed proposition which allegedly follows from this, that it makes Catholicism subservient to Christianity and somehow compromises the fullness of Catholic ecclesiology.

The only possible compromise in ecclesiology in this scenario is the tacit assumption in Lowell's "argument" that there are no other forms of Christianity rightly so-called besides Catholicism. That clearly clashes with Vatican II ecclesiology, therefore is a deficient ecclesiology.

He wants to argue that he doesn't assume this presupposition? I hope he does so, but then his whole contention about "Catholic Christian" will collapse. As far as I am concerned, it already has, based on logic, grammar, and Catholic magisterial teaching. No one has to use this terminology (just like no one has to pray the Rosary or believe in Fatima and Lourdes), but it is not in the slightest un-Catholic or sub-Catholic or theologically-questionable to do so.

Those Weird Catholic Apologists and the "Real Jobs" They Oughtta Get!

By Dave Armstrong (3-23-06)

This is loosely based on an exchange with a Catholic. The words of the usual criticisms heard in this regard will be in green.

* * * * *

Apologists shouldn't be a full-time profession or primary wage-earning income.

Why should the apologetic profession be any different than any other? Does anyone poke their nose into anyone else's business, asking what they do for a living, and what they do with all their money? I don't know what anyone else doe, and I really don't care, as long as it is worthy and honorable work (as most work is).

It's not a real job. You could do it on the side, though, as a supplement.

An apologist doesn't have a "real job"? On what basis does someone come to that conclusion? A "real job," seems to me, is something someone does (as long as it is not immoral, of course) which brings in recompense, on which they can live. Period. End of sentence. If Scott Hahn or Karl Keating or Pat Madrid or any other apologist (including myself) have important information to offer, in terms of education and helping Catholics better understand and defend (and perhaps also live) their faith, why should they not do this full-time?

Every other profession expects people to work full-time. But suddenly, when it comes to this, it is somehow a bad thing for someone to devote their full attention and energies to it? Why??!! We are simply exercising the gifts and the calling that God gave us. If we do it full-time then we have to make a living somehow. So we write books and give talks. Why anyone would have a problem with that truly mystifies me.

It's as if we have to be ashamed and embarrassed doing what we do, as if it is of little importance and only a last resort. I'm not ashamed at all; not in the slightest. But I am ashamed to see that so many Catholics have an irrational, groundless hostility to apologetics. I've seen the reasons given for this over and over, but I don't believe I have ever come across one that made any sense or could hold any water under even mild scrutiny.

It's an ego-driven mentality.

LOL Again, why must it be "ego" and what is this "mentality," pray tell? A "mentality" of doing what God calls one to do is a bad thing? A "mentality" of desiring to better equip Catholics with the intellectual aspect of the faith and to help them defend what they believe is a bad thing? A "mentality" that is happy to assist people in becoming convinced of the truth of Catholicism and to enter joyfully into the Church is a bad thing and undoubtedly indicative of a huge ego?

If a conversion story helps others convert and grow in their faith, and a person is willing to share it over and over, why is that wrong? I really don't get this. I have a friend, Alex Jones, who was a pastor (from Detroit, where I am from). He became convinced of Catholicism, and so he lost his job. He had to make a living. This is no small problem for pastors who convert. It so happens he was able to give his conversion story and put it out on tapes, to enable him to bring home the bacon. Now he is a deacon (or soon to be).

Why is this wrong? Some folks act as if it is a Faustian bargain to tell one's conversion story or (heaven forbid) write a book. I get about $1.75 per book that I sell. So how many books do I have to sell to become greedy?

The Catholic market is very small. The other day I saw three of my books in the Catholic Theology Top 50 at amazon, but I can't live off the royalties I get for those books. One of them doesn't even pay royalties. I received a one-time fee. I didn't get one red cent for my story in Surprised by Truth, either. I agreed to it; that was fine (and I got a lot of "name recognition" from it), but I use that as an example to show that one doesn't get rich doing apologetics.

Catholic apologist speakers make outrageous demands on their fees,

How does one determine what is outrageous? Are, e.g., athletes' salaries are outrageous too? 15 million dollars a year to play a boy's game? So maybe we should stop watching. But a Catholic sharing their faith and giving testimony making maybe $1000-2000 for a talk is unconscionable and scandalous?

The numbers of people who hear or read are unimportant. If we make an impact on just one person, it's worth it.

Agreed. I suppose it has to do with making it worth one's while, if one has to travel across the country, etc. We may all like to think that we would travel to Alaska or something to talk to two people in an audience, but if we are honest with ourselves, we would want to be able to feel that we are having a bit more influence than that. It may also have to do with selling more books at the book table (which is not wrong and some damnable sin, either). But if the fee is set beforehand it would be less of a factor.

Apologetics only goes so far . . .

It's not like it is either/or. Apologetics aims to give people the tools to be confident in what they believe, because they can fully accept it with their mind and rational faculties, as well as with their heart, and in faith. This is invaluable. It prevents people from being vulnerable to spiritual or theological attack and possibly falling away from the faith. After all, where are folks most likely to lose their faith? In college, of course. Part of that is peer pressure and hormones, but it is also in large part because of the unyielding hostile ideas being taught and soaked up like a sponge.

All of us can always grow more in this respect; there is no reason to stop. But different folks like different things. In any event, it isn't an either/or scenario. Apologetics need not be counter at all to spirituality, various devotions, love of the liturgy and the liturgical calendar, reading about saints and miracles, acts of mercy and charity, prayer, fasting, a wholesome family life, etc.

No one said apologetics was the be-all and end-all. In fact, I challenge anyone to find even ONE real apologist (published, credentialed) who ever stated such a foolish thing. It's elementary, after all, for anyone to figure out that "apologetics isn't everything." I often find that people argue things because of projection, based on their own odyssey, thinking that everyone else needs to learn the same lessons that they did. Just speculation, . . .

A healthy religious view does need an accompanying apologetics, because that provides the crucial rationale for why the thing is believed, and the basis for it to speak truth to culture, so that the Church can build it up and bring about spiritual revival.

Evangelization is greater than apologetics.

I don't feel a need to classify everything, better or worse. All these things are important aspects of the Catholic faith, and interconnected. I do both of these. It just depends on the situation.

In order to effectively evangelize today, however, more times than not one will need to be pretty well acquainted with apologetics, because it'll be necessary with the first "hard question" one is asked. Not everyone will jump for joy at having heard the Catholic message, and embrace it, no questions asked. They will want answers to many questions. That's where we come in.
Apologetics precedes conversion many times.

I know relatively little about the lecture-circuit because I don't do speaking, but I did do some research a while back after anti-Catholic Eric Svendsen made the charge that we Catholic apologists are so greedy because we charge speaking fees, whereas he does that for free. Of course, he didn't mention the fact (that he had stated elsewhere) that he was so independently wealthy that he could easily fork out $100,000 for a silly challenge he made to Catholics one time. So I made a comparison of speaking fees. It was most enlightening.

If proper catechesis was being done, apologists would not be so popular.

Probably so (as a matter of overlap in causality), yet this exhibits a confusion of category. Catechesis teaches the "what" of faith; apologetics deals with "why we believe what we believe". So it doesn't follow that apologetics would be less needed as good catechetics increased, any more than we should eat less apples in direct proportion to how many more oranges we eat.

If parents were doing a better job teaching the faith, we wouldn't need as many apologists, either.

This doesn't follow. Not every parent can teach decent apologetic skills (and my wife home-schools our four children). It is a specialized field. Therefore, most obviously it is good to have people who specialize in it, so that they can share what they have learned with others, saving them the trouble of doing it.

So, for example, anyone could go to a free paper of mine on the Internet (I have posted over 2100), and find some elaborate information that could literally save them hours of research. This very day I spent about four hours writing two pages on the deuterocanon for my next book. It's packed with information, itself drawn from several papers of mine that, combined, would represent probably 40-50 hours of work.

When someone reads this and takes in the information, they are better equipped in that regard. My 50 hours of labor can save them a bunch of time. Division of labor . . . this is how the world works. Now the trick is to obtain the time to spend 50 hours studying the issue of the deuterocanon.

Here's a news flash for critics of apologists!: it takes TIME. And it does even for one like myself who is known (in some circles, notoriously so) for being prolific and a very fast writer. And time is money. The time I spend doing that takes away time I could be at some other job making money. If folks think an apologist is doing helpful work, then they think it is worth it to support him financially, so he can devote himself more so to the important work. But our "product" has no monetary value; it has only spiritual value. Our society doesn't value things other than products and wealth-producing techniques, and so the type of work I do is not considered "real" work. Hence, many pick up that secular mentality, saying we should get a "real job."

I could have done anything I wanted in my life. I had a 3.5 GPA in college. I could have learned anything and gone into any number of lucrative fields. But I chose to do this because I felt God's calling to do so (way back in 1981). It's a sacrifice, and there are many trials and tribulations. Most folks have never seen one-tenth of the lies and smears and epithets I put up with from critics. This isn't easy work. Not everyone can do it. So it is beyond silly to see people making an argument that we do this for greed and fame and pride purposes.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Reply to a Smear Campaign Against Scott Hahn and Lay Apologetics

By Dave Armstrong (3-19-06)

One John Lowell (a professed Catholic) has kept up his harangue (on another blog; post since removed by the owner, with an apology to Scott Hahn), which previously had been taking place on the Ressourcement: Restoration in Catholic Theology blog, prior to March 3rd, when I posted my reply to it. I shall respond to his latest charges, and also some general motifs which come up too frequently on the Internet (the words of the fictional "skeptic of apologetics" will be in red).

* * * * *

Strangely enough, Mr. Lowell (his words will be in green) wrote the following very near the end of that earlier pathetic thread:

Why might it be that the Hahn claque just can't leave this question alone? Have they been made all that insecure by what I've said? If so, their's is a rather considerable fragility. Might there be financial or some other such questions on the line for them? I mean at one point we approach the tedious, eh?

Justin [Nickelsen; blog owner],

There's a point past which self-expression passes into harrassment and, at this juncture, I think we're all too close to it. As should be evident above, I've done my level best to discourage further interchange on this question. But not unlike the Evangelicals these birds would seem to want to mimic, you're going to hear from them repeatedly whether you want to or not. Now if my participation here is to continue - and you've assured me that it is valued - then I'm going to have to look to you for relief at this point.

Yet, oddly enough, shortly after March 9th, Mr. Lowell reversed his ostensible position of the topic having long since reached and exceeded the point of tedium and "harassment". Having done his "best to discourage further interchange on this question" he nonetheless found himself unable to "leave this question alone" and so it is our misfortune to hear from Mr. Lowell on another similar blog "repeatedly whether [we] want to or not," since this Catholic gentleman enthusiastically took up the exact same question over there a mere week or so following his previous exhaustion (of course, for no "financial" reason).

And so it was off to the dog races again, with the illustrious and energetic Mr. Lowell. Excellent rebuttals were offered by my friend Christopher Blosser, and also Deacon Barth E. Bracy.

* * * * *

Drumroll followed by cymbal crash ...

Here's Scottie ...

I mean can there be even one aspect of his life that Scott Hahn feels isn't deserving of book length attention? What's next, for heaven sake, the Sex Life of Scott Hahn or Scott Hahn Meets Frankenstein? How many members of Opus Dei might you imagine don't feel their membership so notable that they can't resist the beakoning of self-importance? This guy is really quite the entreprenuer, what could be more clear?

Well, for one thing, that you like to judge hearts and motives?

* * *

Many apologists have an evangelical mentality and make lots of money from books.

Cardinal Newman or G.K. Chesterton never made a penny . . . 

* * *

He really never had the humility to leave Evangelicalism and take the time to adjust himself to the social and spiritual reality that is Catholicism.

As I recall, there was about a three-year gap, which is plenty of time.

He came in guns blazing, cock sure he knew just what we needed - a Catholic version of the Evangelicalism he'd just left - and started at the top with all the answers, like the son-in-law of the owner that gets placed in charge of the local glass factory. He repeatedly describes himself as a "Catholic Christian" as though there were some larger reality, Christianity, of which the Catholic Church is just one variety. Some ecclesiology, that. And he writes books? Oy!

I dealt with this ridiculous charge in my last reply (and in a subsequent paper). The only way the charge of a heterodox ecclesiology can fly at all is to deny that there are any Christians besides Catholics. If so, then the qualifier is a function of the English language, pure and simple. If not, then you are quite in discord with Vatican II.

* * *

Some apologists seem to go overboard seeking opportunities for financial gain: sort of like the Protestant televangelists.

. . . as if the profit motive or almighty Dollar is what drives and motivates apologists. I would say, rather, that we look for opportunities for ministry and that we earn wages for this work, just as any other laborer is worthy of his wages.

This is not a "Protestant" mentality at all, but a very biblical one (more on that later). What is off here is the unspoken acceptance of the secularist, non-biblical sacred-secular dichotomy, which would hold that spiritual work is no work at all, and thus not due any remuneration (thus those who receive it are intrinsically corrupt; having received wages for no work). Speakers' fees are determined by market
forces. Book royalties are determined by the publisher. But of course, if one has a problem with capitalism per se (any form of it), then that would be another issue. Apologists shouldn't be the unfortunate targets and scapegoats for anti-capitalist mentalities.

Apologists (those who are full-time) make a living based on hard work and vigilance in doing the work of the Kingdom which God called them to do. Writing a book is worthy work; giving lectures is also. The market determines the wages. Why must Christian lay workers be condemned? If this is some evil thing, then how much more evil (i.e., by this fallacious reasoning) are those who make a profit by merely producing items for mass consumption? At least apologists are communicating Catholic truth; doing evangelism, teaching, and apologetics.

Apologists (usually) aren't academics, and write too much in a popular vein.

So what!!!??? What in the world is wrong with that? The same was true of both G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis: widely considered the two greatest and most influential Christian apologetics in the 20th century (Chesterton had no college degree at all and Lewis was an Oxford don). Does this come down to ivory tower elitism? Must we think that folks have to be interested in academic work or else they can read nothing of worth with regard to Catholicism?

[Christopher Blosser] "... but if he's going to criticize Hahn, he may as well do the same for every other contemporary Catholic convert/apologist who's published an account of why and how they were led to the embrace of our Holy Catholic Church".

Well, I suppose you're right about that. You might remember Thomas Merton who it is said was criticised roundly by the other monks of his order for what they considered his publicity seeking and justly so in my view. Until I read of the Opus Dei business, I would have been willing to restrict my criticism of Hahn to a charge of self-importance. But much as David points out, with this new offering even the most generous treatment would find an attempt to capitalize financially from the earlier publicity surrounding his conversion.

As pertains to the books you cite, yes, to the extent that they offer similar testimony to Hahn's I feel they deserve censure. But again, here, Hahn set the tone. If there is any mitigation to be seen in the cases of these follow-on conversion stories it is in their monkey-see-monkey-do quality.

You gave no answer to my questions last time about the usefulness of classic conversion stories such as those by Newman, Knox, Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, or Dorothy Day (preferring snide personal insults instead). Obviously, you haven't pondered that question, as you go right on with the same astonishing, vapid criticisms.

In any case, one gets the impression with all of this business that Catholicism is being reduced to a kind of AA meeting, the difference being, of course, that those testifying in AA have at least the humilty to remain anonymous - even when their stories have been published - so as to guard against the very self-importance and entrepreneurship so evident in Hahn. Hahn, and others, would have done well to have considered this far more Marian example, rather than the sordid kind of revival tent exhibitionism so typical of the biblicist Evangelicalism from which he came. The more I learn of Hahn the less I like.

Yeah, right; like Cardinal Newman was really anonymous when he wrote his Apologia pro vita sua? Perhaps, according to you, he should rather have not done so, so as to maintain his humility? It's embarrassing to have to even point out such things.
You should cease the mindless slander and speculation of ill internal motivations. It's a wicked sin, and one not regarded lightly in Holy Scripture. When will these ludicrous smears cease?

Capitalism can corrupt people, including apologists.

It can do so, yes, absolutely. I have always thought that myself. But it is not an absolute. It is your unproven assumption that this is inevitably the case which causes problems. It isn't self-evident that when one looks at a Catholic apologist today, that they see a profound example of a person corrupted by capitalism, greed, and so forth. We can't read mens' hearts. We don't know what they do with the money they make. We have no idea what struggles another person has to deal with and what worries him as he lies in bed at night. 

* * *

A couple of comments ago, I pointed to the example of the members of Alcoholics Anonymous as having a more suitable claim to the Marian spirituality to which I would hope we all aspire than would the egoism all too perceptible in Hahn and his acolytes.

I suppose any public expression of a conversion story or otherwise helpful teaching (especially if one actually makes money from it!) must be absolutely forbidden, lest we fall into the trap of "egoism." But where does either the Church or the Bible teach this, pray tell?

The book, Alcoholics Anonymous, the bible of the AA program, offers any number of stories of dramatic religious experiences, most of them far more impressive than anything Scott Hahn has reported of himself, yet the writers manage to set aside the temptation to self-importance and the possibility of financial gain by keeping their names to themselves. And they maintain this anonymity precisely to avoid the occasion of sin.

St. Augustine and Venerable Cardinal Newman as rank sinners and egoists . . . right-o!

Now God has prospered Alcoholics Anonymous in ways that make Scott Hahn's conversion express look like a Sunday school picnic, yet no one in AA has ever gotten on a platform of any kind. Frankly, I can't think of anything more possibly instructive than this example. Hahn would have been wise to have considered it.

* * *

At no time or at any official level did the community that is the Church, either solicit Hahn's writing of his experience or see in it a service so essential, so vital to Herself or to the external culture, that She would have compensated him for it.

He made his living by other means. So what? What business is that of yours, or anyone else?

Had She, there would be an analogy, Greg, but She hadn't. To the contrary, very much unlike Bill W., Hahn, either wholly on his own initiative or in unison with his handlers, embarked upon the project of his conversion story in a way that was both presumptuous and, inevitably therefore, egoistic. To say that his book somehow represents a community service is no more true of it than it would be of Wayne Dyer's Your Erroneous Zones.

A Catholic can write a book just like anyone else can write a book. Conversion stories are valuable because they directly challenge Protestant assumptions and help to build up confidence among Catholics (who already have somewhat of an inferiority complex in dealing with Protestants). If people want to read it, then the author is entitled to his due royalties (the economic aspect). If such a story helps others convert, then that is God's working through the book and a sure confirmation of its value (the spiritual aspect). But of course, you frown upon that. It's unimportant to you, I guess, that God may be using a testimony to bring others into His Church (since I haven't seen you say one positive thing yet about that). All you see is unbridled pride and egoism and greed.

* * *

In offering purely non-personal output, I find nothing particularly offensive about Hahn. It's the holding-himself-out-as-exemplar, personal writing that I find objectionable.

The man wrote his conversion story! Why must you always condemn others' interior motivations? Look at your own heart, for heaven's sake, as Jesus says: the beam in your own eye, not the speck in Scott Hahn's eye.

I should add that I'm no cradle Catholic, either.

Yes, I've seen that you have expressed repeatedly how humble you are because you never wrote your story.

My concern with the prominence he achieved so soon after converting is that he gave himself no time to adjust himself to and accomodate the new
Catholic environment at all, he just started out at the top with all of the answers and went on from there. There was no restraint whatsoever. And, with the Opus Dei book, still none. I mean ask yourself, how important do you think it is really either to yourself or to the Church that Hahn is a member of Opus Dei. What short of the most incredible ego would convince him that it is. I think David hit the nail on the head with the financial gain charge. It can't be escaped.

What rational soul could possibly overcome your facts-filled, firsthand knowledge critique? 

* * *

The objection has to do with the fact that he makes money at all this way, not that he makes too much of it. . . . I'd have to say that its just as much our business as it would be if any other huckster sought to exploit his Catholic identity the way Hahn has. I mean at one point, there's an obligation both to self and to one's brother.

This is simply amazing. Again, there is not one thing wrong with making money from speaking or writing books. You have simply assumed this; you haven't proven it in the least. Having irrationally assumed it, you then go on (as usual) to make a charge of hucksterism and exploitation.

* * *

St. Paul never made a profit from his apostolate, nor did St. Augustine.

St. Augustine had to beg on the street? I assume he was provided at least food and shelter and clothing by the Church? St. Paul taught that Christian workers were worthy of their wages, and had a "right" to them, as he explains at length in 1 Corinthians 9. Paul was an apostle but he wasn't functioning as much as a priest, as he was as an itinerant evangelist and apologist. His teaching in this chapter obviously has general application. Paul himself renounced the "right" to receive wages for his work (1 Cor 9:12 - cf. 9:15,18 -, but note that in the same verse he mentions "rights" twice). He renounced his right (going above and beyond the call of duty), but it doesn't follow that the right does not exist. The heroic or the extraordinary is not the norm for the ordinary. Thus, priests and religious are to receive a living wage; so are missionaries (which is why the Church supports missions). You may wish to argue that only priests and religious ever receive any funding from the Church. I would like to see you prove that no lay organization or individual in ministry ever does.
When one starts from erroneous assumptions, pretty soon the bad thinking gets into judgments of others' characters.

* * *

[responding to Deacon Bracy]

You presuppose that anyone has asked for the tracts that you judge to be so compensable, Deacon.

They asked for them by buying them! How silly is this!?

Is there some reason that they can't be made available as a personal sacrifice?

Sure. But again, you don't know what he has done with the money. One could make money and then give it away, which is just as much a sacrifice as doing something for free, because you have contributed free labor. But sacrifice isn't everything. One can help advance the Church and Kingdom in many ways. Conversion stories, evangelism, apologetics, and teaching are some of the ways.

The Church provides for the needs of our professional class, our priests and bishops. Why the need to justify compensation for the heads of self-appointed ministries?

He is a professional theologian. He was already a pastor before he converted. You have no right to question his calling as a Protestant. That is not "self-appointed" at all. I've been accused of the same thing because I am a layman. But what my accusers neglect in every case is the fact that I was personally received into the Church by the late Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., who said my writings were "very Catholic" (even back in 1991) and who wrote the Foreword of my first book. Since he was considered one of the leading catechists in the world, and was a close advisor to both Pope Paul VI and Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity, I would say that is a strong sanction from the Church, wouldn't you? These types of things happen all the time with lay apologists. What do I need to do: get a personal letter from the pope, lest I be accused of being "self-appointed"? Scott has plenty of episcopal support. Only a relentless critic like yourself could fail to see that.

The concept and most of the language you use here, muzzling oxes, workman's keep and the like, has an all-too- Evangelical smell to it for my tastes. Much like the style of Hahn it carries all the earmarks of a poorly assimilated Protestantism. You may wish to give some thought to that.

It's biblical; not exclusively Protestant at all. Do you think Protestants made all those terms up??!! The Church highly encourages lay evangelization and apologetics; even on the Internet, as I wrote about recently. Sometimes that will occur in situations where the person gets paid to do it, just like any other work. I'm sure you will now go out and demonstrate how superior your way is to Scott Hahn's. As my friend Al Kresta likes to say when he might not agree with every jot and tittle of someone's method in some kind of apostolate: "his way of doing it is better than my way of not doing it." Perhaps you can beg door-to-door in rags, as St. Francis (who was not a priest) did. God will honor that and much fruit will come of it. But don't act like you know what everyone else should do.

Not everyone in the Church must live exactly the same. Was Abraham rich? Were Solomon and David rich? Did not God call them? After all, God only made two major covenants with Abraham and David. He didn't require them to be dirt-poor. But he called others to live a life of poverty. You can't make one rule, as if that is all there is. We know that Jesus and the disciples were supported financially by some women. They had to eat, after all. Abraham, great philanthropists who have given millions of dollars to help the work of the Church. Are you seriously arguing that every Catholic is called to a life of poverty?

Other (better) models of ministry besides apologists are people like, for example, Jean Vanier, Fr. Thierry de Roucy, and Fr. Philip Scott, who live radical lives for Christ.

I see that Jean Vanier has written at least twelve books (see link). He doesn't make a penny from any of them? The L'Arche Communities, which he founded, solicit funds (here's an example). They also ask for volunteers (same page). That's free labor for their cause and work. I would love to get free labor to help me too. As it is, I have done every last bit of work on my blog, website, and in my books, and the vast majority of it, by the way, was for not one thin dime, and free to the reading public.

I had and have other jobs, too: on top of my apologetics done free of charge. Time is money. Labor is sacrifice. I have a family of six to provide for. I manage to do that and also write apologetics and share my conversion story once in a while. That's my life. How apologists have chosen to go about their lives is no one else's business unless they can demonstrate some terrible sin committed or breach of trust with contributors, etc.

Are you saying that it is better to solicit funds, so as to be sufficiently "radical" for Christ, rather than work? Or are you contending that helping people with physical disabilities is worthy and honorable work, sufficient to be supported by donations, whereas evangelism and apologetics and helping people with spiritual or education disabilities is not?

Fr. Thierry de Roucy's Heart's Home USA also solicits funds (and also volunteers). Indeed, it "mostly relies on private donations as a funding source for its activities." I rely on donations, by contrast, for only one-third of my income (and that is only in the best-case scenario, which is usually not the case). The rest comes from book royalties and additional part-time jobs. So they mostly beg for their money, while I mostly work for mine. Is solicitation is somehow more godly and meritorious than earning one's money through their own labor? Let's be clear: I don't look down on solicitation in the least, if it is for a good cause. But some folks want to look down on selling books and giving talks, and on lay apologists and evangelists (from the looks of it) getting paid at all for their work.

How much do apologists make for their talks? How many do they give? How many books have they written? How much is enough? It's unbridled capitalism.

How many unwarranted accusations have been made? How many times have apologists' hearts and also that of many lay Catholic workers been judged? How much do the people who make such accusations make at their jobs? Have they ever spent five dollars above subsistence level? Have they ever engaged in any recreation or luxury or gone on a vacation? Have they ever eat en a banana split, when people were starving in other parts of the world or bought a new set of clothes or a vehicle? And why is it any of their business if someone else does? 

Charity for the poor is a more important work than apologetics.

If the Catholic worker can raise money for charity purposes, why not an apologist for those purposes? Or must we believe that the Social Gospel is far more weighty and important and thus worthy of financial support than teaching, sharing, and defending the faith? I say both are, and that trying to divide them is the devil's game.

* * *

Capitalism can pervert the Gospel.

Sure; absolutely. So can Marxism and the Social Gospel and political liberalism and the sort of Pharisaical, judgmental, condescending legalism that John Lowell is spouting.

* * *

When the very egoism we've been criticising here is allowed to metastasize sufficiently, charity is seen only to consist in approval.

How fascinating: we must accept your view (with no compelling evidence at all offered for it: just naked judgmental opinion and judging of hearts) as self-evident, or else we are reduced to a mindless, clone-like "claque."

I don't know how you feel but there would seem to be a whole coterie of camp followers here and elsewhere, a kind of claque as it were, that appears whenever Scott Hahn is submitted to criticism. One is reminded of the style of invective so typical of political operatives in the Clinton and Bush White Houses where every criticism was and is met with the hurling of personal sludge. Perhaps these folks have been influenced by an all-too-close proximitity to the all-too-close proximity of Fr. Neuhaus, Fr. Pavone, and William Donnelly to the Republican Party aparatus, maybe that's the source of this infection.

That's right. I'm an apparatchik of "W" Bush Republicanism; hence my inability to comprehend your substanceless, irrational charges. Who could deny it?

I do know one thing for sure: That at another site my criticisms were met almost programatically by many who, not unlike Hahn, had published their conversion stories. It was as though the criticism had triggered a kind of mass guilt, that by merely poking at the abscess, the whole of it's contents had been released.

Absolutely. It goes without saying that whoever disagreed with you was undeniably burdened by an intolerable guilt at having shared their conversion, rather than having remained in the back pews and soup kitchens of sublime humility and service to our Lord and fellow man, as you obviously have done (so that no one has even heard of your name).

That notwithstanding, you should have comfort in knowing that it sometimes takes about three weeks before the hate mail begins.

* * *

. . . there really isn't much of a difference to be perceived in the egoism underlying the publication of the details of the Hahn conversion and those in any of the others that have taken this path. They differ only in their monkey-see-monkey-do character. Perhaps there's mitigation to that extent.

* * *

You be the judge of what is right and wrong here, dear reader . . .

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Biblical Reasons for Suffering and Encouragement and Hope in the Midst of It

By Dave Armstrong (early 1980s)

[all verses: RSV]

* * * * * 

Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Deuteronomy 8:5,16 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you . . . that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.

2 Samuel 22:7 In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I called. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears.

1 Chronicles 5:20 and when they received help against them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried to God in the battle, and he granted their entreaty because they trusted in him.

1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually!

2 Chronicles 33:12 And when he was in distress he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.

Nehemiah 8:10 . . . do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

Job 5:17-18 "Behold, happy is the man whom God reproves; therefore despise not the chastening of the Almighty. 18 For he wounds, but he binds up; he smites, but his hands heal.

Job 23:10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Psalm 9:9-10 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know thy name put their trust in thee, for thou, O LORD, hast not forsaken those who seek thee.

Psalm 23 (all)

1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want;
2 he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 27:5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent, he will set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!

Psalm 30:5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 31

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. In thee, O LORD, do I seek refuge; let me never be put to shame; in thy righteousness deliver me!
2 Incline thy ear to me, rescue me speedily! Be thou a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
3 Yea, thou art my rock and my fortress; for thy name's sake lead me and guide me,
4 take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for thou art my refuge.
5 Into thy hand I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
6 Thou hatest those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the LORD.
7 I will rejoice and be glad for thy steadfast love, because thou hast seen my affliction, thou hast taken heed of my adversities,
8 and hast not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; thou hast set my feet in a broad place.

Psalm 33:20 Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield.

Psalm 34 (all)

1 A Psalm of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away. I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad.
3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 O fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no want!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11 Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 What man is there who desires life, and covets many days, that he may enjoy good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked; and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Psalm 37

1 A Psalm of David. Fret not yourself because of the wicked, be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your vindication as the light, and your right as the noonday.
7 Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over him who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

Psalm 40

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods!

Psalm 41:1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. Blessed is he who considers the poor! The LORD delivers him in the day of trouble;

Psalm 46

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. [Selah]

10 "Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth!"
11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. [Selah]

Psalm 50:15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 59:9 O my Strength, I will sing praises to thee; for thou, O God, art my fortress.

Psalm 62

5 For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 71:20 Thou who hast made me see many sore troubles wilt revive me again; from the depths of the earth thou wilt bring me up again.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

Psalm 94

12 Blessed is the man whom thou dost chasten, O LORD, and whom thou dost teach out of thy law
13 to give him respite from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked.
14 For the LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage;
15 for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.
16 Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers?
17 If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the land of silence.
18 When I thought, "My foot slips," thy steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.
19 When the cares of my heart are many, thy consolations cheer my soul.

Psalm 119

50 This is my comfort in my affliction that thy promise gives me life.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I keep thy word.
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.
75 I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that in faithfulness thou hast afflicted me.
93 I will never forget thy precepts; for by them thou hast given me life.

Psalm 126:5 May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy!

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

Psalm 138

3 On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me.

Psalm 145

14 The LORD upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.
16 Thou openest thy hand, thou satisfiest the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.

Proverbs 3

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

Ecclesiastes 7

3 Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of countenance the heart is made glad.
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.

Isaiah 25

4 For thou hast been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the blast of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
8 He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 26

3 Thou dost keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee.
4 Trust in the LORD for ever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

Isaiah 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 40

29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

Isaiah 49:23 ". . . those who wait for me shall not be put to shame."

Isaiah 50

7 For the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been confounded; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
8 he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me.

Isaiah 66:13 As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in

Jeremiah 31:25 For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish."

Lamentations 3

24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.
32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33 for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men.
57 Thou didst come near when I called on thee; thou didst say, 'Do not fear!'

Hosea 12:6 "So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God."

Micah 7

7 But as for me, I will look to the LORD, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
8 Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.

Matthew 5

3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 6

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.

Matthew 10

22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."

Luke 6

21 "Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. "Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.
22 "Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!

Luke 21:19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.

John 14

16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever,
18 "I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 15:18 "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

John 16

20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.
22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
33 I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Acts 5:41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.

Acts 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

Romans 5

2 Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

Romans 8

18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
28 We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.

Romans 16:20 then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

2 Corinthians 1

4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
9 Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead;

2 Corinthians 4:17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

2 Corinthians 7

4 I have great confidence in you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. With all our affliction, I am overjoyed.
6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work.

2 Corinthians 12

7 And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated.
8 Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me;
9 but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.

Ephesians 6

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
16 besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.

Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

Philippians 3

7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
8 Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ
10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
11 that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
20 But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Philippians 4

6 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
11 Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.
13 I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1

11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

1 Thessalonians 3:3 that no one be moved by these afflictions. You yourselves know that this is to be our lot.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from evil.

Hebrews 2:18 For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

Hebrews 4

15 For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 5:8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered;

Hebrews 12

2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before himendured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
10 For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruitof righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 13:6 Hence we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?"

James 1

2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials,
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
12 Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

James 5

10 As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
11 Behold, we call those happy who were steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
13 Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise.

2 Timothy 1:8 Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God,

2 Timothy 2

3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.
11 The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him;
12 if we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful--for he cannot deny himself.

2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

1 Peter 1

6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials,
7 so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2

20 For what credit is it, if when you do wrong and are beaten for it you take it patiently? But if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God's approval.
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

1 Peter 3

14 But even if you do suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
17 For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God's will, than for doing wrong.

1 Peter 4

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you.
13 But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a wrongdoer, or a mischief-maker;
16 yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God.
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18 And "If the righteous man is scarcely saved, where will the impious and sinner appear?"
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator.

1 Peter 5

7 Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.
8 Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.
9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.
10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.

2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,

Revelation 2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Revelation 3

10 Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.
21 He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

Revelation 21

4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away."
5 And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6 And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment.
7 He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son.