Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Books by Dave Armstrong: Biblical Catholic Apologetics: A Collection of Essays


[completed on 22 March 2013: 236 pages; published by Lulu on the same day]

--- for information on purchasing a paperback or e-book, go to the bottom of the page ---

INTRODUCTION


As anyone who has followed my apologetics work through the years knows (I've been published in print since 1993 and online since 1996), I have a great number of posts on my blog (2,483, as of writing). Periodically, I collect many of these and re-read and re-edit them, for use in my books. The previous effort most similar to this volume was More Biblical Evidence for Catholicism (Lulu, 2002), since it included multiple topics: sort of similar to a collection of newspaper articles from political commentators, compiled into a book. Several other books of mine, devoted to one general area, were mostly or wholly composed of existing blog papers as well.

The carefully selected "essays" presented here were originally written and posted on my blog between the years of 2000 and  2013. I consider them to be some of my best: the "cream of the crop" of what has not yet been published in a book. A few have been condensed down from their original dialogue formats. Per the subtitle, I'd like this collection to be more along the lines of essays per se, with less written-out Bible verses: a bit more readable and flowing, so to speak. A good deal of my apologetics writing or research is more for the purpose of reference / documentation rather than "straight reading" .
 
The 23 chapters will be organized under seven broad topics. In order, they are: 1) Observations on Catholic Apologetics, 2) Bible and Tradition / Rule of Faith, 3) Justification and Salvation, 4) Sacramentalism, 5) Purgatory, 6) Prayer and the Communion of Saints, and 7)  The Blessed Virgin Mary.

I make no attempt to be systematic, and no necessary relation exists between one chapter and the next. This is, after all, a collection of diverse articles. But I think each one stands up on its own and has enough specific content and substance to warrant being included. Throughout, I presuppose in readers an above-average interest in apologetics and a certain amount of basic theological knowledge. Some particular chapters may not interest individual  readers, and can be skipped over.


As always, my goal is to present writing that is characterized by the "three E's": edifying, educational, and enjoyable. By God's grace, I hope I succeed, and I'd like to thank each reader from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me the privilege of sharing and defending the truths of the Catholic faith. Thanks especially to those who have followed my work for some time, and have purchased and read one or more of my books. You'll never know how much I appreciate that, but rest assured that I do, very much so. All glory to God!


DEDICATION


For all those who would be greatly blessed and made more confident in their faith, if they could only come into contact with Catholic apologetics. I pray that they will realize this, first of all, and then find the appropriate orthodox Catholic material to read. Knowledge is power. As someone stated, "the heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false." Nor can we appreciate and benefit from doctrines that we don't even yet understand. Apologetics is, therefore, crucial in the attainment and maintenance of a solid and robust faith.



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

 

Dedication (p. 3) [read above]

Introduction (p. 5) [read above] 


OBSERVATIONS ON CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS


 1. Internet Apologetics and Practical Advice Regarding Evangelism (p. 11)

 2. A Defense of Lay Catholic Apologetics a la Chesterton and Lewis (p. 39)


BIBLE AND TRADITION / RULE OF FAITH


 3. Luther's Lie:  Was the Bible Utterly Obscure Before His Translation? (p. 67) [read online] 

 4. Did St. Athanasius Believe in Sola Scriptura? (p. 79)

 5. Does Extensive Use of Biblical Arguments Reduce to Sola Scriptura? (p. 89)

 6. Private Judgment vs. Catholic Epistemology (p. 101)

 7. Is Private Judgment Inconsistently Applied in Accepting Catholicism? (p. 111)



JUSTIFICATION AND SALVATION


8. Justification is Not by Faith Alone and is Ongoing (p. 119) [read similar and expanded version online]

9. St. Paul's Use of "Gift" and Infused Justification (p. 129)


SACRAMENTALISM


10. St. Augustine's Acceptance of Seven Sacraments (p. 139) [read online] 

11. Sacramentalism, Relics, and the Pious Use of Physical Items in Worship (p. 147) 

12. Does the Catholic Mass Re-Sacrifice Jesus? (p. 155) [read longer original dialogue version online]
 

PURGATORY


13. John Wesley's View of Purgatory: a Classic Case of Ironic and Inadvertent Approximation of the Very Catholic Teaching Ostensibly Being Opposed (p. 161)

14. Martin Luther's Assertion That Purgatory is "Quite Plain" in 2 Maccabees (p. 173) [read online]


PRAYER AND THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS

15. Biblical Evidence for Prayers of the Righteous Having More Effect and Power (p. 179) [read online]

16. Does the Bible Forbid All "Talking to Dead Men"? Lazarus and the Rich Man as a Counter-Argument (p. 189)

17. "Vain, Repetitious Prayer": Jesus Illustrates What This Does Not Mean (p. 195) [read online]

18Should we Invoke Mary at Our Death, and Does This Minimize Jesus? (p. 201)


THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

19. Catholic Mariology and its Biblical Basis: Reply to a Lutheran Scholar (p. 209) [read original dialogue]

20. The Annunciation: Proof that Mary was Already in a Sublime State of Grace? (p. 219) [read original dialogue]

21. The Perpetual Virginity of Mary: Argument from the Analogy to "Holy Ground" (p. 223)

22. A Biblical Defense of the "Our Lady of Perpetual Help" Devotion (p. 227)

23. Theosis and God's Role for the Blessed Virgin Mary (p. 231)


* * * * *

BACK COVER




PURCHASE INFORMATION





Paperback (List: $20.95 / 20% Lulu Discount: $16.76)

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http://biblicalcatholicism.com/products/a-biblical-defense-of-catholicism
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Updated on 17 April 2014.


***** 



9 comments:

Fernando said...

Hi dave,

I imagine you're very busy, but here is the links for Sam Shamoun's 4 part text named "Are the Jewish Apocrypha Inspired Scripture?".

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/apocrypha1.html

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/apocrypha2.html

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/apocrypha3.html

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/apocrypha4.html

It would be important to present, at least, some words on his claims.

Thanks.

Shawn H. said...

Dave, I just bought your book on iTunes , Biblical Evidence for Catholicism! I must say thank you!!! You helped me with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and now understand Marys Role!!! I'm a convert of 4 years, baptist for 25, and never could truly understand Mary's role ... Now I do!!!' :) many thanks! God Bless you!

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks so much, Shawn. I'm delighted that it was an aid to you.

Timotheos said...

So I picked up a copy of this book for the Wesley essay. I have to say that you get him almost 100% correct, but I actually think that you slightly misread him against your case! (And I’m speaking as a lifelong Methodist who has believed in Purgatory for quite some time now, so this is no “Catholic bias”, even though I am currently going Catholic, thanks in no small part to rummaging through your website and reading ALOT of Aquinas, Chesterton, and Newman. But I digress…)

As far as what I think you misread, you seemed to imply in the essay that Wesley taught that his “dying in a state of perfection in love” is exactly equal to full sanctification in the Catholic sense. It’s actually more parallel to what St. Thomas believed, that one is set in their act of charity at death, and therefore cannot “change their minds”, so to speak. (One must remember that traditionally, the heart was considered the seat of the will, not the emotions, and thus, when one is set in their love, they are set in their will)

So Wesley’s mostly considered here with ensuring that we cannot “change our minds” after death, which would introduce all that he found horrid in that “Romanish doctrine concerning Purgatory”. Thus, Wesley’s belief here is concerned with ensuring that we have no mortal sin in our hearts and we are filled with faith, hope, and charity in our souls at the last instant of death, since these are what he considers the requirements for salvation.

Nowhere here discussed is what happens to one’s “faults”, which is a technical term for Wesley that runs parallel to venial sins. Presumably for him, these are driven out either at the general resurrections of one’s bodies, or sometime before the resurrection but after death, or some mixture thereof. In any of these cases, we have a belief that could be considered compatible with catholic doctrine, since nowhere has the temporal character of Purgatory been defined (AFAIK at least), and thus, the instant of the resurrection could be the instant of Purgation.

And Wesley would have no problem with a metaphorical sense of fire, since the Bible refers to the Holy Spirit and God’s love in this way all over the place, and these both can cause “pain”. And purgatory in no way diminishes the happiness of one’s soul; anymore than the pains that a runner feels after a race diminishes his happiness with winning first place.

So I think ultimately what is the problem here is that we’re playing a giant word game; the terminologies may be incompatible, but ultimately there doesn't seem to be any real as opposed to nominal differences between Wesley and Catholicism as regards Soteriology.

Timotheos said...

And as a slight side discussion, what is your take on Wesley’s view of Sola Scriptura. Despite what he seems to say in some points, I don’t believe he accepted formal sufficiency of scripture; his views on other things seem to require him to believe something more like the material sufficiency of scripture.

For instance, he accepts the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, and takes the time to interpret all the “difficult” Marian passages accordingly in his Explanatory Notes, yet nowhere appears to take this view from Scripture. And when he confronts the issue of the Deuterocanonicals , he has no qualms with saying that he doesn’t accept them on the grounds that neither the early church nor did the Jews accept them, apparently allowing that he would accept them if they had.

And he also stated at one point: "Can any who spend several years in those seats of learning, be excused if they do not add to that reading of the Fathers? the most authentic commentators on Scripture, as being both nearest the fountain, eminently endued with that Spirit by whom all Scripture was given. It will be easily perceived, I speak chiefly of those who wrote before the council of Nicea. But who could not likewise desire to have some acquaintance with those that followed them? with St. Chrysostom, Basil, Augustine, and above all, the man of a broken heart, Ephraim Syrus?"

None of this appears to be very compatible with a view of formal sufficiency, and seems much more in line with a material view, but what are your thoughts?

Timotheos said...

(And I should add to my earlier post that we know for a fact that he didn't believe faults were normally removed in this life because he says this in his work "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection":

"To explain myself a little farther on this head: (1.) Not only sin, properly so called, (that is, a voluntary transgression of a known law,) but sin, improperly so called, (that is, an involuntary transgression of a divine law, known or unknown,) needs the atoning blood. (2.) I believe there is no such perfection in this life as excludes these involuntary transgressions which I apprehend to be naturally consequent on the ignorance and mistakes inseparable from mortality. (3.) Therefore sinless perfection is a phrase I never use, lest I should seem to contradict myself. (4.) I believe, a person filled with the love of God is still liable to these involuntary transgressions. (5.) Such transgressions you may call sins, if you please: I do not, for the reasons above-mentioned.)

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks for your purgatory comments. You're probably right, there.

I think Wesley wasn't a strict sola Scriptura adherent, because of the strong place he allows for tradition. Material sufficiency? Sure: just like Catholics.

Timotheos said...

Cool, thanks for the response!

And btw, if you ever get the time, check out Wesley's commentary on Romans; he beats N.T. Wright's supposedly "new" perspective on Paul about 200 years to the punch! (And I believe at one point notes a curious use of "Justified" by Paul that he bluntly states includes both Justification and Sanctification, so that could be good polemical ammo for you)

Dave Armstrong said...

That would be fascinating to read!