Sunday, July 22, 2007

When Did the Title, Catholic Church Begin?

St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. c. 107-110) used the term catholic (Gk. katholikos) in his letter to the Christians of Smyrna in about 107 A.D.

I found a very helpful treatment of this topic in the Old Catholic Encyclopedia (c. 1910): available online (article, "Catholic"). It points out, however, that St. Ignatius' use is not the technical meaning of the term as used today. For that specific usage it states (my bolding added):
[T]his sense undoubtedly occurs more than once in the Muratorian Fragment (c. 180), where, for example, it is said of certain heretical writings that they "cannot be received in the Catholic Church". A little later, Clement of Alexandria [c. 150 - c. 215] speaks very clearly. "We say", he declares, "that both in substance and in seeming, both in origin and in development, the primitive and Catholic Church is the only one, agreeing as it does in the unity of one faith" (Stromata, VII, xvii; P. G., IX, 552). From this and other passages which might be quoted, the technical use seems to have been clearly established by the beginning of the third century. In this sense of the word it implies sound doctrine as opposed to heresy, and unity of organization as opposed to schism (Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, Part II, vol. I, 414 sqq. and 621 sqq.; II, 310-312).
I looked up the Stromata, book VII. Here are the two occurrences of Catholic Church (chapter 17; color and bolding added):
For that the human assemblies which they held were posterior to the Catholic Church requires not many words to show.

For the teaching of our Lord at His advent, beginning with Augustus and Tiberius, was completed in the middle of the times of Tiberius.

And that of the apostles, embracing the ministry of Paul, ends with Nero. It was later, in the times of Adrian the king, that those who invented the heresies arose; and they extended to the age of Antoninus the eider, as, for instance, Basilides, though he claims (as they boast) for his master, Glaucias, the interpreter of Peter.

Likewise they allege that Valentinus was a hearer of Theudas. And he was the pupil of Paul. For Marcion, who arose in the same age with them, lived as an old man with the younger [heretics]. And after him Simon heard for a little the preaching of Peter.
Such being the case, it is evident, from the high antiquity and perfect truth of the Church, that these later heresies, and those yet subsequent to them in time, were new inventions falsified [from the truth].

From what has been said, then, it is my opinion that the true Church, that which is really ancient, is one, and that in it those who according to God's purpose are just, are enrolled. For from the very reason that God is one, and the Lord one, that which is in the highest degree honourable is lauded in consequence of its singleness, being an imitation of the one first principle. In the nature of the One, then, is associated in a joint heritage the one Church, which they strive to cut asunder into many sects.

Therefore in substance and idea, in origin, in pre-eminence, we say that the ancient and Catholic Church is alone, collecting as it does into the unity of the one faith -- which results from the peculiar Testaments, or rather the one Testament in different times by the will of the one God, through one Lord -- those already ordained, whom God predestinated, knowing before the foundation of the world that they would be righteous.

But the pre-eminence of the Church, as the principle of union, is, in its oneness, in this surpassing all things else, and having nothing like or equal to itself. But of this afterwards.
Since Clement died around 215, this use of the word was clearly established by that time, and quickly became widespread, and standard usage by the fourth century.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Irrational Protestant Derision Towards Pope Benedict XVI as Supposedly Fundamentally Different From John Paul II: My Spot-On Predictions in 2005

Protestants come up with many and varied ways of opposing the Catholic Church. One of the recurring methodologies is to pit popes against each other and to play the game of characterizing popes a certain way, depending on the agenda of the person doing the "sizing up." The usual fashion in which this manifests itself is in the oft-stated perennial hope, wish, and prayer of Protestants and secularists alike, for the "next pope" to be a good pseudo-liberal or a good quasi-Protestant. They dream in vain that he will (finally!) wake up, come to his senses, and see how silly and outdated various Catholic dogmas are, and overturn them (as if such a thing is possible or within his purview in the first place).

The flip side of this altogether wrongheaded mentality (that reveals itself clueless as to how Catholic dogma and the papacy function) is to heap derision on popes who appear to directly counter this pipe dream, hallucinatory vision of how Catholicism "ought" to reform itself. Hence, due to a few of the actions and pronouncements of Pope Benedict XVI (notably, dealing with the Tridentine Mass and approval of a document reiterating that -- surprise! -- the Catholic Church is the one true Church), he now is being tarred and feathered as an "ultramontanist" and a throwback to the Middle Ages.

All sorts of nonsense is being spouted along these lines, at present. For the Catholic who knows his faith (and who is familiar with the beliefs of this pope and his magnificent predecessor), it is quite comical indeed to observe, but we must exercise patience and forbearance and attempt once again to explain how this thinking is far wide of the mark, and ultimately irrational. Protestants vociferously object to their own particular brands of Christianity being misrepresented and caricatured; Catholics (I can assure one and all) are no different in that regard.

I predicted all this in a lengthy commentary on what I perceived to be the "Mind of the Church" when Pope Benedict XVI first became pope, in April 2005. Readers who are at all interested in this topic are strongly urged to read that entire paper, but to sum up, here are portions particularly relevant to the present analysis:
Pope Benedict XVI['s] . . . emphasis will likely be more so as a "doctrinal watchdog" and a more stern disciplinarian, since that has been his role in the past 20 years or so. As Pope St. Pius X dealt with the modernists, who were just then trying to make serious inroads into the Church, at a time when Europe and Western Civilization was starting to forsake the Catholic and Christian worldview for the pottage of secularism (with the result being Naziism, Communism, the sexual revolution, the abortion holocaust, and the bloodiest century in history), so Pope Benedict XVI (I imagine) will decisively deal with the postmodernists in the Church, at a time when even the cultural remnants of Christianity are being ditched by Europe and Western Civilization (as he himself has written much about). Pope John Paul II laid the fundamental groundwork for the defeat of the liberal dissidents and their nefarious goals for the Church; Pope Benedict XVI may very well deliver the death-blow.

. . . I also believe that Pope Benedict XVI will probably be one of the most persecuted and even hated men in the world (the most hated since President Ronald Reagan). The liberals and secularists already take a very dim view of the man, because he is strongly orthodox and stands up for the truth. There is a place for this. All the early popes were martyrs. There is also a martyrdom of sorts which comes through slander and lying and severe opposition from the waves and currents of the presently fashionable zeitgeist.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger is precisely the sort of man, I think, who is willing to suffer in that way, in order to strongly assert doctrinal, theological truth. It is good to be loved by the world, as Pope John Paul II was, if it is for the right reasons. The world saw the goodness and holiness in John Paul II. But it is also good to be willing to be persecuted for His name's sake, and to draw clear lines and boundaries. That is the other motif in the Bible, . . .

Ecumenism: reaching out to those of other faiths with a broader message (not to deny Catholic distinctives, but to emphasize common ground) will obviously hold more appeal to those outside of the Catholic faith. It's just human nature. Hence, Blessed Pope John XXIII was such a beloved figure among non-Catholics, just as Pope John Paul II was.

But if a pope's emphasis is on Catholic dictinctives and orthodox Catholic theology, in his words and speeches and so forth, in more direct contradiction of the world and non-Catholic Christianity, then he will have to take a great deal more heat, and be accused of being divisive or "triumphalistic" and so forth (which is equally human nature; people don't like disagreement, and they seem to think it is arrogant to ever say that anyone else is wrong).

Note, for example, how Pope Paul VI's famous 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reiterated Catholic opposition to contraception, was received. It caused almost a wholesale revolution in the Church (at least in America), from those who had hoped to remake Catholicism into American Episcopalianism (which has excelled at following the spirit of the times and compromising historic Christianity again and again). But Pope Paul VI has turned out to be a virtual prophet. All his dire cultural predictions have come to pass, and then some.

. . . I've often noted through the years, how people assume that there is a huge dichotomy or contradiction between apologetics and ecumenism. This is untrue. They are perfectly compatible. One endeavor seeks to defend what one believes; the other seeks common ground with other Christian and even non-Christians, and seeks as much unity as is possible to achieve, without compromising one's own belief-system and principles. But the strong tendency is for "liberals" to despise apologetics (fundamentally misunderstanding it), and for so-called "traditionalists" to despise ecumenism (fundamentally misunderstanding it). Post-Vatican II Catholicism (which is the same Church it ever was; only more developed) fully embraces both.

Both the late great pope and this present one are in full agreement with both endeavors (as they are men of Vatican II). That said: there is a time to emphasize one or the other thing (while not denying the other). As Pope John Paul II was such a superb ambassador of the faith, an evangelist, even a "diplomat," if you will (in the very best sense of that word), so Pope Benedict XVI may very well be the upholder and champion (in a more direct, "disciplinary" way) of theological orthodoxy over against all the currents of error that we have to deal with in the modern world and (sadly) among certain rebellious sectors of the Church.

. . . Both things are good: ecumenism and doctrinal orthodoxy and/or apologetics (which seeks to defend same), but (broadly speaking) folks love one and despise the other. They seem to think that one person with one coherent belief-system cannot do both. Well, this is untrue. Pope John Paul II did both; Pope Benedict XVI will continue to do both. But as the former pope emphasized one, and that was his "image," so to speak, so this present pope will likely emphasize the other, and his "image" will have to take a lot of hits, and he will undergo much persecution for doing so.

That will not be because he is somehow more "orthodox" or "conservative" or less ecumenical than Pope John Paul II, but it will be because his emphasis clashes more with the world and other Christian belief-systems than ecumenism does. And he may be more personally assertive or "disciplinarian," as a matter of style, resolve, temperament, or other factors.

It doesn't make him "bad" and John Paul II "good" or vice versa (wrongheaded, sinful stereotypes according to the heterodox / liberal and quasi-schismatic "traditional" fringes of the Church and nutty, goofy, ignorant media analyses by folks who don't have a clue). All this is, is a balance: one good thing being empahsized, and then another good thing being emphasized, at particular periods of time.
All this has come to pass, in almost precisely the manner that I describe above, and in entirely predictable quarters (from those who labor under false preconceptions of how Catholicism works). For example, false premises are repeatedly expressed by Rev. Michael Pahls in a discussion thread on the ReformedCatholicism blog, entitled, The Latin Mass (7-14-07):

One may speculate that the present pontificate of Benedict XVI represents an attempt to reassert an older, ultramontanist model of Roman Catholic identity, . . .

. . . the present [implied; deficient] pontificate is not a prima facia bellweather for the state of every Roman Catholic theological question.

I’m on record and will be in print, God willing, as being no friend of Ultramontanism. J23 was a better pope and better man than B16.

[O]ne can go a long way understanding Ratzinger the theologian by seeing his work as an attempt to establish an ultramontanist reading of Vatican 2. This is, of course, not the only possible reading and the eventual sense of the faithful will ultimately adjudicate that question. Ratzinger’s ultramontanism is presently in ascendancy, but ultramontanism has been driven back to the margins before.

Reformed Protestant (and so-called "Reformed Catholic") Kevin Johnson, heartbroken that Pope Benedict XVI approved a CDF document asserting the ancient Catholic doctrine (sanctioned again by Vatican II) that the Catholic Church is the one true Church, ignorantly implied (in a thread of 7-10-07) that this doctrine could change (the converse notion being that Benedict XVI is a hopeless triumphalistic reactionary for preserving it; note his polemical use of the description "hardened traditionalists"):

I by no means think the cause is lost for Rome to change here. Of course, hardened traditionalists will say otherwise but the record of history is clear to point out that the Church though slow to change does move in the warp and woof of history and as such is certainly capable of change. Add to that the sovereign will of God and the power of the Holy Spirit and revival could sweep the halls of such a broken communion.
There are those within Rome of course that feel equal need to see such a change take place. Just today, I read a fantastic appeal to the Pope by Aloysius Pieris, S.J. forwarded to me by a dear friend and brother in the Lord. So, even with this announcement we refer to above and a continued attitude of exclusivity there is still hope that God will change the hearts of men for His glory and their better in His mercy and grace.

Elsewhere, I have noted the sort of things that Fr. Pieris believes, and the silliness of appeal to Catholic dissident liberals as the "great hope" of Catholic "reform" (i.e., invariably, "Protestantization"). Earlier (2-2-06), Kevin had noted the sunny ecumenism of Pope Benedict XVI: in a post entitled "Five Point Ecumenism . . . or why Pope Benedict XVI holds great promise for evangelicals and Catholics alike . . .", citing ecumenical Baptist scholar Timothy George (who, coincidentally, endorses the ecumenical venture / video I am involved with, called Common Ground). Kevin had commended the new pope also in posts dated 10-7-05, 10-8-05, 10-25-05 and 11-4-05. And again, Kevin cynically pitted the pope against Catholic apologists and apologetics, as if the latter is on a different wavelength:

However, I believe in large part this sort of Christlike use of her authority is happening especially with the advent of Pope Benedict XVI and other men committed to a proper ecumenism devoid of the old partisan apologetic intent. I believe it signals that popular Roman Catholic apologetics is in serious need of an update (as well as corresponding evangelical and Reformed apologetics towards Rome) and that the days of the validity and usefulness of Mark Shea’s and similar approaches are certainly numbered.

Of course, the most ironic thing to me about this book is that it doesn’t fit with what the current crop of leaders from the top down are doing in terms of ecumenism and their work with other Christian groups. In large part, in my view it works against the current authority in place in today’s Roman Catholic Church and it makes me wonder just how important legitimate ecclesial authority is to the author and the other Roman Catholic apologists on the Internet or elsewhere that make similar claims.

All this, yet let the pope dare to assert some time-honored Catholic doctrine that Kevin doesn't care for, and then Kevin will talk like this:

[I] denounce the continued arrogance of the communion of Rome in asserting herself as the ‘one holy catholic and apostolic church’. White quotes the document in full that of late makes it clear that neither Pope Benedict XVI nor the Roman Church is backing down on this point.
This is the one barrier that exists that keeps any real ecumenical progress from happening between Rome and the Protestant communions. Sad and terrible at the same time. May Rome repent of her arrogance!

To top off the ludicrous folly, in comments for the same post, Kevin tries to separate Pope Benedict XVI from his approval of the monstrous CDF document that reasserted Vatican II and Tridentine ecclesiology (as if this makes any sense):

I didn’t call the Pope arrogant. I called the Roman communion arrogant.

Let's see if we can grasp this "reasoning":
1) To assert that the Catholic Church headed by the pope in Rome is the one holy catholic and apostolic church is "arrogance" and "sad and terrible".

2) But when, however, the leader of that Church affirms the same exact teaching, he is somehow excused from these negative characterizations.

3) Ergo, you have the following contradiction:
A) The Catholic Church [but who exactly does one mean by that, since the Church is comprised of people?] claiming it is the one holy catholic and apostolic church is "arrogance" and "sad and terrible".

B) The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, expressly affirming the claim that the Catholic Church is the one holy catholic and apostolic church is NOT "arrogant" and [implied, by analogy] "sad and terrible".
What gives? Why is one thing arrogant and fit for derision and condescending blog posts, and the other identical thing not arrogant (not that I am at all surprised by radical inconsistency in one of Kevin Johnson's positions)?

C. Michael Patton, a Reformed Protestant (in a dialogue mentioned above), makes the same false dichotomy between John Paul II and Benedict XVI:

He is more hard-line than John Paul II was and demonstrated this yesterday . . . the supreme bishop of Rome does not want progression in the way it was seeming to head. This lack of recognition from the Pope does not reflect the spirit of either Evangelical or Catholic scholarship. It is a move backward into the darker ages. . . . My proposal has been that within the ranks of Catholic and Evangelical scholarship, attitudes have begun to change over the last 15 years. Doors were beginning to be opened. This proclamation is a strong attempt to shut these doors. . . . I put forth Peter Kreeft as a good example of one who had laid many planks of wood on this bridge that the Pope just set fire to again.

Well-known Southern Baptist Albert Mohler, on the other hand, gets it right. He understands that nothing has changed at all (post of 7-13-07):

Aren't you offended? That is the question many Evangelicals are being asked in the wake of a recent document released by the Vatican. The document declares that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church -- or, in words the Vatican would prefer to use, the only institutional form in which the Church of Christ subsists.
No, I am not offended. In the first place, I am not offended because this is not an issue in which emotion should play a key role. This is a theological question, and our response should be theological, not emotional. Secondly, I am not offended because I am not surprised. No one familiar with the statements of the Roman Catholic Magisterium should be surprised by this development. This is not news in any genuine sense. It is news only in the current context of Vatican statements and ecumenical relations. Thirdly, I am not offended because this new document actually brings attention to the crucial issues of ecclesiology, and thus it presents us with an opportunity.

. . . Evangelicals should appreciate the candor reflected in this document. There is no effort here to confuse the issues. To the contrary, the document is an obvious attempt to set the record straight. The Roman Catholic Church does not deny that Christ is working redemptively through Protestant and evangelical churches, but it does deny that these churches which deny the authority of the papacy are true churches in the most important sense. The true church, in other words, is that church identified through the recognition of the papacy. Those churches that deny or fail to recognize the papacy are "ecclesial Communities," not churches "in the proper sense."I appreciate the document's clarity on this issue. It all comes down to this -- the claim of the Roman Catholic Church to the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and the Pope as the universal monarch of the church is the defining issue. Roman Catholics and Evangelicals should together recognize the importance of that claim. We should together realize and admit that this is an issue worthy of division.

. . . I do not see this new Vatican statement as an innovation or an insult. I see it as a clarification and a helpful demarcation of the issues at stake. 
I appreciate the Roman Catholic Church's candor on this issue, and I believe that Evangelical Christians, with equal respect and clarity, should respond in kind. This is a time to be respectfully candid -- not a time to be offended.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Martin Chemnitz is "The Man" for Lutherans; It's Time to Address His Arguments Directly

I've come in contact with so much ecstatic, almost hagiographical praise of early Lutheran theologian Martin Chemnitz (1522-1586) from Lutherans online (and urgings that I should interact with his work) that I have decided to fork out a few bucks to purchase his Examination of the Council of Trent, Vol. I. ($29; and that is about as low as these books get). I rarely spend that much for any book (apologetics not being a lucrative profession, and with four children to feed), but if he is "the man" in Lutheran circles, and this is what it takes to get into a substantive discussion of comparative theology with Lutherans, then I'm willing to do it, because I quite enjoy dialoguing with the more informed and congenial members of that denomination.

I'm also not nuts about taking hours of my increasingly limited time (having recently added on a second full-time job to my full-time apologetics work) typing up excerpts from a 16th-century tome in order to provide Catholic replies to it (seeing that many of Luther's works and almost all of Calvin's, including his Institutes are freely available online, along with most of the important Church Fathers' writings), but I'll make do citing as little as I can to make my point without being accused of warring with straw-men. Hopefully, some of these same Lutherans who keep telling me I gotta deal with Chemnitz, will be willing to counter-reply to my critiques. I'm following their advice; perhaps they will accept my friendly challenge in return.

Here is a sampling of the praise of Chemnitz from one admiring (almost fawning) Lutheran who is prominent in the Lutheran blogosphere: Josh Strodtbeck:
The way he just went for the whole theological pie was just...beautiful. It makes me weep.


The beauty of Chemnitz's theological disputation style is that he leaves no stone unturned; he seems to have known everything relevant to theology that it was possible for a man of the 16th century to know. Reading Chemnitz will make anyone feel just plain lazy. I know he makes me feel like a complete idiot.


Well, I finally finished Volume I. This work is absolutely incredible. Not only did I learn a lot about Chemnitz's theology (and the Bible, and Lutheranism), but I also learned a whole lot about Trent. One of the great things about Chemnitz is that he doesn't build up straw men. He's extremely careful to present his opponents' positions accurately, and goes a step further by avoiding logomachy in favor of discussing the actual substance of the doctrine at hand.

. . . Because he takes seriously the doctrine that the Church is all believers in Christ, he himself as in the same Church as all believers before him, and the jurists at Trent as simply pretenders to the faith. Chemnitz did not write as a Lutheran as we understand the term today, a member of one Christian denomination among many, seeking to defend its particular theological viewpoints against viewpoints that are equally Christian, but happen to be incorrect to varying degrees. He mentions Luther exactly twice in 663 pages. Compare that to Pieper! He wrote as man of the Church, that one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, the only Church that ever was and ever will be. There is no Christian doctrine other than the apostolic doctrine, and Chemnitz, like the other early Lutherans, sought to defend no other.


I am gradually coming under the opinion that 90% of anything theological you will ever think has already been thought by Martin Chemnitz.

It's interesting to note how Josh treats a Catholic scholar and defender of the Catholic Church of great renown (somewhat analogous to Chemnitz's position within Lutheranism: the "great defender" status): Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman (my own great intellectual hero, just as Chemnitz seems to be Josh's):

Decree From On High

Newman is a clown. Don't seriously recommend his books on this site. If you wish to point someone to something or other to prove that scapulars and purgatory and whatnot are in fact the purest incarnation of the Church that Christ established, recommend something that I wouldn't classify with the Uncanny X-Men comic series. Seriously. Newman? Give me a real Catholic theologian, not someone who's constantly trying to preach down his inner Protestant and lacks the integrity to call a spade a spade.

Edit: I should add that there are three kinds of people who find Newman convincing. There are people who already agree with his conclusions, there are people who want to be Roman Catholics and are looking for any kind of intellectual validation to grasp at, and there are Protestants with a hopelessly naïve view of Christian history who get absolutely steamrolled intellectually when someone presents them with a grand metanarrative. What you always read is an anecdote by some Baptist or another who was absolutely awed by how Newman's metanarrative is just so much aesthetically nicer than what's proffered by other Baptists. You don't read about guys who know Chemnitz backward and forward being beaten down by Newman, the supremely unanswerable intellectual giant of the Christian faith. The 19th century was all about grand, fanciful tales of evolution and synthesis continually reaching onward and upward. The 19th century is over.

( 1 August 2006 )

And in comments for this post:

I've read enough Newman. I can see why people took him seriously in 1895, sorta, but in 2006, the huge holes in his reasoning and revisionist approach to history are just artifacts of historical curiosity, not serious theology. I mean what do you have? Stacks of straw-men, repeatedly frontloading his assumptions with that which he wishes to prove, and accusations that anyone who offers a substantial argument against him suffers from pride and impiety. There's a reason nobody outside of the Catholic world cares about Newman. He's really just not that good. It's not that we don't know about him, it's that we're not impressed.

. . . It's Newman's constant appeals to circular logic that make him a real joker. . . . Liberal Jesuits wouldn't have been possible without Newman.

In nearly every argument, you will find that Newman simply assumes what he intends to prove and manipulates sources to fit his assumptions. And when his argument gets beaten, he appeals to the piety of submitting reason to the judgement of the Church and accuses his opponents of rationalism. So reason and historical argument are great until someone uses them against him, and then they're impious tools of the devil used to subvert the authority of the Church. It's a win-win situation.
Shades of the constant Newman-bashing of Kevin Johnson, and the good ol' boys at the Reformed Catholic blog . . . You'll never see me treating Martin Chemnitz in this ridiculous fashion, calling him a "clown" or contending that he lacks "integrity" and so forth. I will accept him as an important and influential (Lutheran) theologian and thinker, within a framework of honest (even if very passionate and vigorous) disagreement. Josh apparently can't bring himself to accord any such respect towards those with whom he disagrees (no matter how eminent). How sad. This is the fruit of mere prejudice and sophomoric pomposity ("a little knowledge is a bad thing"), as far as I am concerned.

On the other hand, such irrational vehemence in response does highly indicate (in my opinion) that someone is being made extremely uncomfortable by Newman's arguments (they're squirming): so much so that mockery and caricature are resorted to rather than objective, calm refutations. Again, you won't see that from me as I interact with Chemnitz's arguments, because my starting assumption is that a renowned thinker and theologian of the stature of Martin Chemnitz is neither a "clown" nor dishonest and lacking in integrity.

I start with the presumption of sincerity and desire for intellectual consistency and cogency on the part of the person I critique. In a word, I seek to approach theological opponents with charity, not a sneering cynicism, of the sort that we observe above, short of overwhelming and absolutely compelling evidence that a person is a dishonest liar and incompetent "clown." May God help me to always live by that goal.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Catholic Answers For Protestant Eucharist Questions (with Stanley Williams)

[ source ]

This is an extended excerpt from my DVD Study Guide for the EWTN television series What Catholics Really Believe. The questions (in
blue) were written by Stanley Williams.

* * * * *

Episode 4


Logical & Early Church Evidence

Objection to Catholicism

A -
Catholics cannot really believe that the bread and wine taken in communion are truly the
body of Jesus Christ; our physical senses tell us that it's flour and wine.

Physical objects that appear solid are mostly composed of what?

Space in between atoms, composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

Describe the motion of physical objects that appear to be still?

Electrons are always moving. The Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger, in the 1920s, contended (quite successfully) that electrons are three-dimensional waveforms, as opposed to particles.

How fast are parts of the atoms in a still object actually moving?

Electrons constantly move at velocities approaching the speed of light.

Do our physical senses give us an accurate or an inaccurate understanding of
an object's actual nature?

Physical senses (without the aid of sophisticated microscopes, accompanied by even more complicated theories of physics and mathematics) cannot enable us to comprehend the fundamental properties of matter.

How do Dr. Guarendi and Dr. Richard's explanation of the laws of physics
and our observations of a physical object apply to our understanding of the
nature of The Eucharist?

What “appears” to be so may not be that way at all. Objects that appear perfectly at rest are in fact, partially moving at velocities close to the speed of light. Likewise, what appears to us as bread and wine can in fact be the Body and Blood of Christ, made supernaturally present in the consecrated elements (formerly bread and wine), according to the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself: the same Jesus Who could travel through walls in His glorified body (John 20:26; cf. 1 Cor 15:51-53). According to modern physics and quantum mechanics, such things are literally possible, even in a purely physical realm. So how is there any inherent difficulty in believing in transubstantiation (“change of substance”)?

If our physical senses are incapable of accurately describing a natural object,
by what can we accurately describe a supernatural object?

The Bible describes supernatural objects with “phenomenological” language (the language of appearances and simple observation). For example, in the previous example of Jesus walking through walls, the Bible doesn’t attempt to delve into 20th century particle physics; it simply says “The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them . . .” (John 20:26). Likewise, the Bible refers to “this [what appears to be bread] is My Body” (Luke 22:19-20), and Paul equates bread and wine with the “body and blood of the Lord” that can be profaned in an irreverent receiving of the Eucharist (1 Cor 11:27-30; cf. 10:14-22).

Objection to Catholicism

B - Jesus was not God because he did not look like God. He looked just like man.

If we could have looked through a microscope at the embryo of Jesus Christ
in Mary's womb, would our senses have perceived God or just a human cell
reproducing? Why?

The attributes of the incarnate God cannot be ascertained by conventional methods of scientific observation. Jesus wanted people to accept Who He was by faith. Hence, Jesus says to “doubting Thomas” after the latter had put his hand in the wound in His side: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29).

When Jesus was a man did people generally see a man, or did they recognize
God? Why?

Those who did not have doubt or serious sin and spiritual “blindness” (John 9:39-41) often regarded Him as God, in faith; for example, the blind man healed by Jesus, who worshiped Him (John 9:35-38), and “doubting Thomas,” after Jesus appeared to him (John 20:28). The ones who were blind assumed that He was not only just a man, but also a quite sinful one (John 9:24; cf. Matt 12:22-27,38-42).

What prevents humans from recognizing God in any form, such as Jesus the
Man, or Jesus in the Eucharist?

Lack of faith, and excessive doubt and cynicism. Signs, wonders, and miracles (and by extension, “scientific proof”) do not suffice for many hard-hearted people anyway:

. . . If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.

(Luke 16:31)

In John 6, we see that unbelief and lack of faith and skepticism kept “many of his disciples” (6:60) from believing in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and actually forsaking the Lord (6:66), because it was a “hard saying” (6:60). Jesus appealed to His ascension, which was an even greater, and more visible miracle (6:62) thus seemingly implying: “if you can’t believe this miracle, how, then, will you be able to believe in that one; yet you will see that with your own eyes.”

If we cannot use our senses to determine if something is God or not, what
can we use? Why?

Faith and the sure word of revelation; also our internal God-given sense of the holiness that Jesus exhibited in His life, and the trustworthy reports of those who were eyewitnesses of His glory (Luke 1:1-2; Acts 1:1-3). See the previous three answers.

What is wrong with using natural law to explain the “super” natural?

Nothing whatsoever! We can utilize that which we know and understand, in order to comprehend (by analogy or parallel) supernatural things that are mysteries to us. Jesus did the same, by using agricultural metaphors in His parables, to reveal the truths of spirituality. Our Lord even compared the unwillingness of the Pharisees and Sadducees to use the same reasoning they use with regard to natural meteorological events of the weather, and apply it to spiritual matters:

Matthew 16:1-4: And the Pharisees and Sad'ducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, "When it is evening, you say, `It will be fair weather; for the sky is red.' And in the morning, `It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah." So he left them and departed.

Objection to Catholicism

C -
The Eucharist is just a memorial or symbolic meal. That it is the real body and blood of
Christ, is something made up by the Catholic Church over the centuries.

Explain how John 6 refutes this objection?

Jesus uses extremely literal language in John 6:51-58:

51: I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."
52: The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
53: So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
54: he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
55: For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56: He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
57: As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
58: This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."

If this were intended as mere symbolic or figurative language, it seems that it was the least likely to convey that meaning, of any language imaginable. How could it be any more literal than it is? How Jesus reacted to the doubts of the hearers (see related information above), also reinforces this interpretation.

How do the writings of the Early Church Fathers refute this objection?
(Research the writings of St. John Chrysostom, Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus,
Justin Martyr, and St. Augustine).

In the early second century (before 110 A.D.), St. Ignatius of Antioch held that "the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ." (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 7,1) In the middle of the same century, St. Justin Martyr distinguishes the Eucharist from "common" bread and drink and calls it "both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus." (First Apology, 66,2) A little later, St. Irenaeus writes, "The bread over which thanks have been given is the Body of (the) Lord, and the cup His Blood." (Against Heresies, 4,18,4 / 4,33,2; cf. 4,18,5) St. John Chrysostom speaks of the priest as the representative of God in the Mass, exercising solely His power and grace, in order to "transform the gifts" which "become the Body and Blood of Christ." (Homilies on Judas, 1,6) Elsewhere he equates the Eucharist with Christ's "blood-stained" Body, "pierced by a lance." (Homilies on 1 Corinthians, 24,) St. Augustine, the greatest of the Fathers, writes that "Christ was carried in His own hands, when, referring to His own Body, He said 'This is My Body.'" (Explanations of the Psalms, 33,1,10) He expressly sanctions adoration of the consecrated Host:

He took flesh from the flesh of Mary . . . and gave us the same flesh to be eaten unto salvation. But no one eats that flesh unless first he adores it . . . we do sin by not adoring. (Explanations of the Psalms, 98,9)

When Christ says "I will be with you always, even until the end of the
world," why do Catholics believe this promise to be the literal physical
presence of Jesus and not the Holy Spirit?

Because right before He said this (Matt 28:20) He also urged His disciples to “observe all that I have commanded you”. The Eucharist was precisely what Christians do (in obedience to the command at the Last Supper) to bring remembrance to Jesus’ presence on earth; and not only remembrance, but Real Presence. Paul said that in observing the Eucharist, we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26). John 6:53-54,58 intimately connects the Eucharist with both spiritual and eternal life. John 6:56 makes reception of the Eucharist a necessity for Jesus to “abide” in believers, and vice versa (cf. John 14:23, 15:4-7).

One of the objections against the early Christians was that during their
worship services they were practicing cannibalism. How does this historical
fact reinforce the Early Church belief in the true presence?

It shows that the early Christians were taking Jesus literally (John 6; Last Supper utterances about the bread and the wine being His Body and Blood). But the pagans (like the skeptics who disbelieved in John 6) did not understand the distinction between physical cannibalism and a spiritual, sacramental Real Presence.

Explain how John 1:1 ("In the beginning was the Word...") and John 1:14
("And The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us...") reflects the
Catholic Mass and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

This involves the intimate connection between the incarnation and the Eucharist (both entail physical presence of God Himself). Catholic convert Thomas Howard elaborates:

Sacrament, recalling and presenting the Incarnation itself, is not so much supernatural as quintessentially natural, because it restores to nature its true function of being full of God . . . Indeed heaven and earth are full of His glory. Nature is the God-bearer, so to speak . . . In the Sacrament, bread, which is already a metaphor, is taken and raised to a dignity beyond mere metaphor . . . one step away from the Incarnation itself . . . It is a scandal. God is not man, any more than bread is flesh. But faith overrides the implacable prudence of logic and chemistry . . .

This mystery . . . may be held only in faith, even though it, like the Incarnation, Resurrection, and Ascension, exists quite apart from faith. `out there' in the real world.

(Evangelical is Not Enough, Nashville: Nelson, 1984:110-112)

Objection to Catholicism

D -
Catholics just pick and choose the writings of the Early Church Fathers in an attempt to
prove that the early Christians believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
There were other writers who said it was only symbolic.

What is the best way to refute this objection?

By citing the judgment of Protestant Church historians, who themselves do not believe the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist (hence cannot be accused of bias in favor of patristic support for the doctrine), yet accurately report what the Fathers believed. For example, the well known Protestant historian Philip Schaff:

The doctrine of the sacrament of the Eucharist was not a subject of theological controversy . . . . till the time of Paschasius Radbert, in the ninth century . . .

In general, this period, . . . was already very strongly inclined toward the doctrine of transubstantiation, and toward the Greek and Roman sacrifice of the mass, which are inseparable in so far as a real sacrifice requires the real presence of the victim......

[Augustine] at the same time holds fast the real presence of Christ in the Supper . . . He was also inclined, with the Oriental fathers, to ascribe a saving virtue to the consecrated elements.

Augustine . . . on the other hand, he calls the celebration of the communion 'verissimum sacrificium' of the body of Christ. The church, he says, offers ('immolat') to God the sacrifice of thanks in the body of Christ. [City of God, 10,20]

(History of the Christian Church, v.3, A.D. 311-600, rev. 5th ed., Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, rep. 1974, orig. 1910, 492, 500, 507)

What did Luther say about the true presence of the Eucharist?

It is enough for me that Christ’s blood is present; let it be with the wine as God wills. Before I would drink mere wine with the Enthusiasts, I would rather have pure blood with the Pope.

(Early 1520s; in Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, translated by Robert C. Schultz, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966, 376; Luther’s Works, [edited by Jaroslav Pelikan] 37, 317)

The glory of our God is precisely that for our sakes he comes down to the very depths, into human flesh, into the bread, into our mouth, our heart, our body.

(in Althaus, ibid., 398; Luther’s Works , 37, 71 ff.)

. . . Zwingli, Karlstadt, Oecolampadius . . . called him a baked God, a God made of bread, a God made of wine, a roasted God, etc. They called us cannibals, blood-drinkers, man-eaters . . . even the papists have never taught such things, as they clearly know . . .

For this is . . . how it was accepted in the true, ancient Christian church of fifteen hundred years ago . . . When you receive the bread from the altar, . . . you are receiving the entire body of the Lord; . . .

(Brief Confession Concerning the Holy Sacrament, September 1544; Luther’s Works, 38, 291-292)
hat symbol in the catacombs and ancient churches reinforced the early
Church's belief in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist?

The famous symbol of the fish, and depictions of three of Jesus’ miracles related to food: the feeding of the 5,000 with fish and bread, the banquet of seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee with the raised Jesus, and the miracle of the wedding at Cana (changing water into wine).

Episode 5


Scriptural Evidence


Objection to Catholicism

A - The Catholic Church invented this crazy idea that Jesus' body and blood are really
present in the Eucharist. It's really nuts to think that a priest can pray over a wafer and
turn it miraculously into Jesus Christ.

If the Catholic claim that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist is true, who is
the only person that could be responsible for the miracle of it?

Jesus Himself! If that is how He decided to miraculously become physically present again, after His earthly sojourn, then we can hardly object, seeing that it is hardly any different in essence than the Incarnation itself: God becoming man. On the other hand, if it is false doctrine, no priest could “conjure” up Jesus’ presence, because they are dealing with the omnipotent God, and He is not to be trifled with or manipulated.

How early in the writings of the Early Church Fathers, and in what context,
can you find the concept of transubstantiation?

(Research: Justin Martyr's First Apology, Section 66:5) (The answer to this question is
implied but not given in Dr. Ray and Fr. Kevin's dialogue.)

St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, 66:5 (complete; emphasis added):

And this food is called among us [eucharistia] [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.

Objection to Catholicism

B -
The concept of the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not in the Bible.

With respect to the consecration of the Eucharist, what is the significance of
the Bible's mentioning Melchizedek? (Genesis 14:18, Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7)
Psalm 110:4: The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, "You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchiz'edek."

When we trace the origin of this back, we find some very interesting things:

Genesis 14:18: And Mel-chiz'edek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High.

Leviticus 23:12-14: And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD. And the cereal offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, to be offered by fire to the LORD, a pleasing odor; and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (cf. also Hebrews 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:1-28)

What was the function of the Old Testament priest?

The priest presided over and performed ritual sacrifices of bulls and other things, in order to atone for the sins of the people.

How did Christ's actions and words at the Last Supper parallel the Old
Testament priestly sacrifice for people's sins?

The Last Supper was actually a Passover meal, in which lamb and bread and wine were consumed, and was for the purpose of the people remembering how God had physically delivered them from bondage in Egypt. Jesus used this symbolism to introduce the notion of the Eucharist: now bread and wine were to be transubstantiated into His Body and Blood and His followers would be spiritually delivered by His sacrifice as the “lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). And they were to remember this in the Eucharist henceforth, just as the Jews observed the Passover rite in remembrance.

Although Christ lifts up the bread at the Last Supper what does he say the
bread is? (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22-23, Luke 22:19-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25)

“This is My body” – as opposed to “this represents My body” or “this contains my Body” or “My Body is present with, in, and under the bread”, or “this is a symbol to help you remember My Body,” etc.

When Christ prays over the bread and wine at the last supper, what words
does he use that can be implied to mean that the bread and wine are only
symbolic of his body and blood?

None can be reasonably interpreted that way. The closest (so some believe) is “do this in remembrance of me.” But in the Hebrew mind that didn‘t imply that it was a mere recollection or mental image or pleasing nostalgia; but rather, the reality being made present here and now, just as the Jews regarded Passover.

What did St. Augustine say Jesus held in his hands at the Last Supper?

His own Body: "Christ was carried in His own hands, when, referring to His own Body, He said 'This is My Body.'" (Explanations of the Psalms, 33,1,10)

At the Last Supper to what everlasting Old Testament concept did Jesus
relate the cup of wine? (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24)

The covenant between God and His people:

Matthew 26:28: for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark 14: 24: And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”

What Old Testament object of sacrifice did the blood of Christ represent?
(2 Chronicles 29:22, Revelation 7:14, Revelation 12:11)

Bulls, rams, and lambs, used in ritual sacrifice, for atonement. Revelation 7:14 and 12:11 refer to “the blood of the Lamb [Jesus].”

Jesus' words and actions at the Last Supper revisited the Jewish Passover
meal. What did those that celebrated the Passover meal have to eat --

The lamb, and bread and wine.

Explain the significance of the following Scripture in terms of the real
presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the Jewish community?
My name will be great among the gentiles, from the rising to the setting of
the sun. In every place, incense and pure offerings will be brought to my
name. (Malachi 1:11)

In the New Covenant, the Lamb of God and the cross represent the continuation and development of the Old Testament sacrificial system (which is no longer even being performed by the Jews). This passage refers to the Gentiles “in every place” making pure offerings. But since it is not animal sacrifices, it is reasonable to assume that what is referred to is the sacrifice of the Mass and re-presentation of the sacrifice of Jesus, who as once for all, offered at Calvary. The incense represents the prayers of the Mass.

In John 6:52-66, how many times does Jesus say or allude to His body or
blood as being true food?

Twice very directly (6:55) and eight more times speaking of “eating “and “drinking”.

Fr. Kevin makes the point that John 6:66 is the only place in the Gospels
where a group of believers walked away from Jesus and did not follow Him
again. What was Jesus teaching that was too hard for them to believe?

That His followers had to eat His flesh and drink His blood (sacramentally) in order to have spiritual and eternal life.

In terms of what Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote about the bread and wine
being the body and blood of Christ (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22-23, Luke
22:19-20) what is significant about when John wrote his Gospel and why?

By the time of John’s writing (later in the first century), the Gnostic heresy was starting to deny that Jesus had come in the flesh, and indeed, asserted that flesh itself was a bad thing. So John emphasized the physical and “realist” nature of the Eucharist over against that false teaching.

Non-Catholics might quote John 6:63 as evidence that Christ was speaking
symbolically and not literally about the bread and wine being his true body
and blood. Why is this not likely a good interpretation, and how does this
verse reinforce Catholic understanding of the Eucharist's reality?

Jesus was contrasting “flesh” in the sense of “flesh and blood” (or a merely natural human understanding; see, e.g., Matt 16:17 for a clear example of this meaning) to spiritual discernment. He wasn’t referring to the Eucharist, but rather to “the words that I have spoken”. “Spirit and life” refers back to His references to spiritual and eternal life as a result of partaking of the Eucharist (6:50-51,53-54,56-58).

In the Eucharistic consecration what does the "EPIKLESIS" prayer do, and
why is it significant in relation to John 6:63?

It reinforces the power of Jesus’ words. God’s words bring about what they refer to. So when the priest repeats the words of Jesus at the Last Supper (the consecration), they continue to achieve what they did then, and Jesus becomes present through the power of the Word. Hence the relation to John 6:63: “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

In Luke 22:19 Christ says during the Last Supper, "Do this in remembrance
of me." Non-Catholics believe that the word "remembrance" here means to
remember symbolically. But what does "remembrance", or "ANAMNESIS" in
Greek, really mean? Why does this mean the opposite of "symbolic?"
(1 Corinthians 11:23-24, 25)

It means “active re-presentation” according to Greek scholars. It is the opposite of symbolic just as “re-present” (the original thing again) is different from “represent” (one thing symbolizing another). Hence, Paul uses ultra-realistic language, even stating in 1 Cor 11:27 that partaking of the Eucharist unworthily is the same as profaning His Body and Blood.

Some non-Catholics interpret 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 -- which includes Paul's
admonition about not discerning the body of Christ -- as referencing the body
of believers and not the real flesh of Christ. Why does Fr. Kevin say this
makes no sense? (1 Corinthians 11:27-30)

Because the language is related to the Eucharist instituted at the Last Supper. Jesus referred to the bread and the wine as His Body and Blood. The “Body of Christ” (the Church) is a completely different sense. So Paul equates the bread and the cup with the Body and Blood of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 11:27. In the next verse, he urges Christians to do a self-examination before receiving Holy Communion.

In Luke 24 Jesus appears to Cleopas and another disciple on the road to
Emmaus. During their walk Jesus explains the Old Testament prophecies
about the Messiah. But the disciples do not recognize Jesus until when?
What does Jesus do that suddenly opens their eyes with understanding?
(Luke 24:13-35)

When Jesus broke bread (a gesture reminiscent of the Last Supper): “When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.” (Luke 24:30-31)

Explain how John 1:1, 14, 18 and Luke 24:30-31 can be related and apply to
the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

It is when “the Word became flesh” that God was most fully revealed (John 1:18). As the Incarnation revealed God visibly, so the Eucharist makes Jesus present again and gives us spiritual life, through the same principle of the Incarnation and matter conveying grace. In this instance, the eyes of the two disciples were blinded until the moment of the Eucharist, and “then they recognized him”. The knowledge is spiritually discerned, but made possible through the instrument of the grace-infused (John 1:14) matter (in the Eucharist, the actual Body and Blood of Jesus).

My Two New DVD Study Guides: for Common Ground and What Catholics Really Believe

I mentioned before my writing of the Study Guide for the ecumenical Common Ground DVD. It was edited by Stanley Williams and his wife Pam (mostly formatting issues). I am now an apologetic consultant for the Nineveh's Crossing apostolate. You can check out numerous articles by Stan, posted at Catholic Exchange.

For the second Study Guide (What Catholics Really Believe), my friend Stanley Williams wrote the questions and I provided the answers (except for a couple that I didn't know, that Stanley
filled in). Enjoy! Both are free to download whether you purchase the DVDs or not. Just follow the links below for downloads and/or purchase of the videos.

Newsletter - July 16, 2007
MC top banner - TOLL FREE 877-606-1370 --
STUDY GUIDE UPDATESCG SGThe Study Guide written by Dave Armstrong for the DVD COMMON GROUND is available on-line for free download on the Common Ground Order page or through the Study Guide Tab at the top any Nineveh's Crossing page.

Also, the
WHAT CATHOLICS REALLY BELIEVE Study Guide (WCRB-SG) for Dr. Ray Guarendi and Fr. Kevin Fete's 13-part DVD series, has been expanded by 40+ pages to include answers to the questions. The answers were also written by Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong.

Our review of the
WCRB-SG found a number of factual errors in the previous edition. Therefore, a new (and unfortunately expanded) Errata Page for the WCRB-SG has been posted on-line at the Study Guide Tab. If you have a study guide that was downloaded or printed prior to 7/16/07, please download these free errata pages. The current on-line WCRB-SG has been updated to include the corrections noted on the errata sheet.
Common Ground Airs on TBNCG CoverThe premiere of Kensington Community Church's program COMMON GROUND, What Protestants and Catholics Can Learn From Each Other distributed by Nineveh's Crossing, aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network Saturday afternoon, July 14, 2007

Our phones and web-site literally lit up as hundreds of people from all over the U.S. and as far away as Australia and New Zealand called and ordered the DVD and Study Guide. If you're one of them, please be patient as we work this week to fulfill the orders.

We are most thrilled with the emotional response to the program. Viewers are telling us that the program has revived their faith, answered questions they have had all their life about Catholicism and never understood, and generally has helped to unite Christians in the bond of faith that we have through Jesus Christ. We sense we are witnessing the work of the Holy Spirit from a front row seat, and it's pretty exciting.

Thank you for your prayers and support!


Lord, send your angels to guard us from the evil one, strengthen us in the one true faith, imbue your Word deep within our hearts, and please empower us to do your good work.

Sincerely,Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D.
Managing Director and Grand PooBah

God said: "Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you." So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the LORD'S bidding. Now Nineveh was an enormously large city; it took three days to go through it. (Jonah 3:2-3)

And Tobit gave thanks before them that God had been merciful to him. When Tobit came near to Sarah his daughter-in-law, he blessed her, saying, "Welcome, daughter! Blessed is God who has brought you to us, and blessed are your father and your mother." So there was rejoicing among all his brethren in Nineveh. (Tobit 11:17)