Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Books by Dave Armstrong: Revelation!: 1001 Bible Answers to Theological Questions



[completed on 3 October 2013. 250 pages. Published at Lulu on the same day]

---for purchase info., go to the bottom of the page ---


Dedication

To all lovers of Holy Scripture: God's inspired, infallible Word and revelation. May its infinite wisdom and knowledge fill you up and satisfy your grace-originated yearnings for truth, spiritual wholeness, and union with our Lord and Savior.

Introduction

The Bible is a complex, lengthy collection of 73 books. My aim – simple in concept but far more difficult in organization and execution -- is to make it easier to quickly find biblical answers to theological questions that are of perennial importance. I presuppose the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible, and this book is for Christians who accept those notions. 
 
This effort is more “catechetical” (what we Catholics believe) than “apologetical” (why we believe it); though to some extent it is the latter, too, insofar as “biblical prooftexts” constitute data in favor of one position over another. Apologetics appears in the way I select and categorize the topics. More often than not, these are what are called “Catholic distinctives”: topics that are regarded as “controversial” by non-Catholic Christians. I make no pretense to “proving” Catholic doctrines herein. I'm merely providing a quick reference source and food for thought.

One of my specialties as a Catholic apologist is “biblical evidence for Catholicism” (the name of my blog). The idea for the present volume came to me in a flash. I was trying to conceive of a fresh way to present “biblical evidence” not only for Catholicism but for Christian theology in general. It's sort of a summation of the best of the hundreds of examples of “biblical evidence” that I've presented in my 40 books (as of this writing).

The notion that arose in my mind was to simply provide Bible passages (usually one verse; sometimes a few together) that would be (in my humble opinion, anyway) the very best “answers” to a large number of one-sentence questions. 

The format might remind one of the popular TV game show Jeopardy, where the contestants are given a piece of information and have to come up with a question that it is the “answer” to. While compiling it, I looked at Bible passages and devised questions that the passages “answered”. 

I readily confess that the questions themselves introduce an element of subjectivity: my own conception of both the questions and the “best” Bible passages that could be construed as an “answer” to them. That was the fun aspect of the project, and what makes this book different and unusual. 

I think somewhere in the back of my mind, I was also perhaps vaguely recalling, particularly, The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism (New York: Doubleday Image, 1981), by my mentor, the late great Fr. John A. Hardon, S. J. He divided his book into major categories, then subcategories, and finally into 1,701 individual questions. His answers were relatively simple “catechetical” replies that present the basic Catholic teachings or “answers.”

Likewise, my book consists of 18 broad categories (Roman numerals), and 200 numbered subcategories, under which the 1,001 particular questions are found, with each answer being a Bible passage.

The numerical format is simple. It is the section number (of 200), followed by a dash and then the number of the individual question in the section (e.g., 32-13). I suppose one could also add the larger category number, leading to a (St. Thomas Aquinas') Summa Theologica-like reference: III, 32-13.

All questions presuppose that the answer will come from the Bible; hence, no need to keep repeating over and over, “Where in the Bible . . . ?” or “What does Scripture teach about . . .?,” etc. I shall try to keep the questions as simple and direct (and on one specific topic) as I possibly can.

One objection that will certainly be aimed at this volume, is that it is mere “prooftexting”: a word that has a largely negative connotation of “citing Scripture in isolation and out of context to bolster positions already held on other grounds.” My reply to that charge, however, is as follows:

1) All systematic theology (indeed, even papal encyclicals or conciliar documents) entail citation of Bible verses (usually single ones, as in this book): and these can always be quibbled with by someone, because in citing a passage, it is presupposed that it has relevance to the topic at hand (and sometimes there can be honest disagreement about that).

2) Works that are trying to simplify theology as much as possible for the masses (including catechisms or like-minded literature) will tend to be of this "summary" nature. The question is whether simplification is a good thing overall or a bad thing. I think there is no question that it's good.

There is always time to go more into depth on issues, as a student or inquirer progresses in theological understanding. In my own collection of 40 books, I devote entire volumes to individual topics (for example, Eucharist, soteriology, Mary, the communion of saints). I've written two entire books and lengthy sections of several others, just on the topic of the falsity of sola Scriptura ("Scripture is the only infallible authority"). One can always consult those or other similar books, articles, etc., too. 

3) A "prooftext" can be cited properly or improperly, and that is a discussion in and of itself. An improper citation would be something taken out of context or interpreted wrongly, with regard to other relevant passages on the same topic, or historic and/or Church teaching (a heterodox or non-orthodox interpretation). That has to be -- or could be -- argued, which is beyond the purview of this particular book. Of course, I claim that I have done it properly and in line with the teachings of Holy Mother Church.

4) Here is an example of improper "prooftexting." Protestants (especially evangelicals) notoriously, and almost ubiquitously, cite the following passage as a supposed "proof" of sola Scriptura:

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

It's a long discussion, but in summary (and I've written more on this general topic than any other), nowhere in this passage do we find a notion that only Scripture is infallible or that it is the sole theological norm or standard for doctrine (the exclusive claim). Scripture itself also plainly asserts the authoritative, binding nature of apostolic tradition and the Church (as I document in this very book and several others). 

Therefore, the Catholic argues that to use this passage as an alleged "proof" of sola Scriptura is "prooftexting" in the very worst sense of the word: it is yanked out of the context of the entire Bible and what it teaches on the topic of the rule of faith, and it violates historic orthodoxy: what was taught all along, up until Protestantism in the 16th century introduced something far different. Things are read into the passage that simply aren't there, and we call this, "eisegesis" (reading in things rather than getting things out of Bible passages: "exegesis").

Now, in this volume, I submit that I have properly cited 2 Timothy 3:16, because I do so in line with historic Christian, apostolic teaching, and not in contradiction to what the Bible teaches in other passages. I don't read anything into it that isn't present. Thus, it is classified as follows:

I. Bible and Tradition (Authority)

4. Infallible Authority of Holy Scripture

4-6. Is Scripture inspired, or “God-breathed”?

The passage clearly teaches inspiration of Scripture: a thing that all serious Christians readily agree with. But it does not teach sola Scriptura: a notion that is improperly eisegeted into it, out of a prior bias and predisposition formed by Protestant premises. 

I hope readers find this work enjoyable, educational, and edifying: the “three E's” that I strive to achieve as a constant goal in all of my theological writing. The marvelous treasures in the Bible await all of us: inspired revelation from the Mind of God, via the human biblical writers.

Table of Contents

Dedication (p. 3)

Introduction (p. 5)


I. Bible and Tradition (Authority) [76 questions]

1. Tradition, Apostolic (p. 17) [12]
2. Tradition, Oral (p. 19) [6]
3. Older Oral Traditions Cited in the New Testament (p. 20) [6]
4. Infallible Authority of Holy Scripture (p. 21) [9]
5. Private Judgment (p. 22) [3]
6. Perspicuity (Clearness) of Scripture (p. 23) [2]
7. Hermeneutics / Interpretation of Scripture (p. 24) [3]
8. Traditions of Men (p. 25) [4]
9. The Jewish Background of Christianity (p. 26) [15]
10. Deuterocanonical Books (p. 29) [10] [read on my Facebook page]
11. Development of Doctrine (p. 31) [6]

II. Doctrine of the Church (Ecclesiology) [152 questions]

12. Oneness / Unity of (p. 33) [6]
13. Holiness / Teacher of Righteousness (p. 34) [6]
14. Catholic (Universal) (p. 35) [10]
15. Apostolic Succession (p. 38) [5]
16. Authority to Make Binding Decisions (p. 39) [6]
17. Visible (p. 40) [4]
18. Infallible (p. 41) [4]
19. Indefectible (p. 42) [7]
20. Authoritative Councils (p. 44) [4]
21. Priests / Sacrament of Holy Orders (p. 45) [13]
22. Bishops (p. 47) [9]
23. Dispenses Forgiveness (Sacrament of Penance) (p. 49) [5]
24. Authority to Impose Penance (p. 50) [5]
25. Indulgences (Relaxation of Temporal Punishment) (p. 51) [1]
26. Celibacy: Heroic Calling with Less Distraction (p. 52) [3]
27. Excommunication and Anathemas (p. 53) [4]
28. The Papacy (p. 54) [24]
29. Denominationalism and Sectarianism; Division (p. 59) [15]
30. Sinners in the Church (p. 62) [16]
31. Beautiful and/or Expensive Church Buildings (p. 67) [5]

III. Theology of Salvation (Soteriology) [198 questions]

32. Salvation is Ultimately by Grace Alone (p. 68) [4]
33. Salvation is Not by Faith Alone (p. 69) [9]
34. Salvation is Not by Works Alone (Pelagianism) (p. 71) [2]
35. Grace + Faith + Works + Obedience = Salvation (p. 71) [4]
36. The Central Place of Works in the Final Judgment (p. 72) [6]
37. Mortal and Venial Sin (p. 73) [6]
38. Quantifiable Differences in Grace (p. 75) [3]
39. Meritorious Action Enabled by God's Grace (p. 75) [9]
40. Co-Workers with God / Synergy (p. 77) [5]
41. Participation in Distribution of Grace and Salvation (p. 78) [7]
42. God Enables True Human Righteousness (p. 79) [4]
43. Human Beings Are Portrayed as “Righteous” (p. 80) [6]
44. Initial Justification by Faith Alone (p. 81) [2]
45. Infused Justification / Sanctification (p. 81) [18]
46. Faith and Works: Two Sides of One Coin (p. 84) [5]
47. Salvation as a Process (p. 85) [10]
48. Moral Assurance of Salvation (p. 87) [2]
49. God's Election of the Saved (p. 88) [7]
50. Falsity of the Calvinist Doctrine of Total Depravity (p. 89) [10]
51. Falsity of the Calvinist Doctrine of Limited Atonement (p. 92) [12]
52. Falsity of the Calvinist Doctrine of Irresistible Grace (p. 94) [7]
53. Falsity of the Absolute Assurance of Salvation (p. 95) [5]
54. Apostasy (Falling Away from Grace and Salvation) (p. 97) [9]
55. Salvation Made Possible by Jesus' Death on the Cross (p. 99) [10]
56. Theosis (p. 101) [5] [read on my Facebook page]
57. Indwelling of the Holy Spirit (p. 102) [7] [read on my Facebook page]
58. Personal Relationship with Jesus (p. 103) [9] [read on my Facebook page]
59. The Nature of the Gospel (p. 104) [4]
60. Falsity of Predestination to Hell (p. 106) [6]
61. Original Sin (p. 108) [5]

IV. Purgatory [40 questions]

62. Indications of Purgatorial Process After Death (p. 109) [6]
63. Analogous Purgatorial Processes on the Earth (p. 111) [13]
64. Prayer for the Dead (p. 113) [3]
65. Necessity of Actual Holiness in Order to Enter Heaven (p. 115) [5]
66. Analogy to Sheol / Hades (Third State After Death) (p. 116) [13]

V. Penance [35 questions]

67. Temporal Punishment / Expiation for Sin (p. 119) [3]
68. Atonement for Others (p. 120) [3]
69. Fasting and Abstinence (p. 120) [5]
70. Bodily Mortification (p. 122) [4]
71. Sharing the Sufferings of Christ (p. 123) [7]
72. Redemptive Suffering on Behalf of Others (p. 124) [13]

VI. Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist [16 questions]

73. Initiation at the Last Supper (p. 127) [4]
74. Transubstantiation (p. 129) [2]
75. The Eucharistic Realism of John 6 (p. 130) [1]
76. Eucharistic Adoration (p. 130) [6]
77. Communion in One Kind (p. 132) [3]

VII. Sacrifice of the Mass [27 questions]

78. Timeless Nature of the Mass (Jesus Died Once) (p. 133) [4]
79. Analogies to the OT Sacrificial, Priestly System (p. 134) [8]
80. St. Paul's Use of Priestly and Sacerdotal Categories (p. 136) [2]
81. Jesus as the Sacrificial Passover Lamb (p. 136) [3]
82. The Book of Hebrews (p. 137) [2]
83. The Altar in Heaven (p. 138) [5]
84. Christian Participation in the Death of Jesus (p. 139) [3]

VIII. Sacrament of Baptism [18 questions]

85. Baptismal Regeneration / Baptism and Salvation (p. 140) [10]
86. Infant Baptism (p. 142) [4]
87. Baptism and Being “Born Again” (p. 143) [1]
88. Infants as Part of the Kingdom and Covenant (p. 143) [3]

IX. Sacrament of Confirmation [22 questions]

89. Descent of the Holy Spirit Upon Persons (p. 144) [6]
90. Jesus' Baptizing with the Holy Spirit (p. 145) [3]
91. Being “Filled” with the Holy Spirit (p. 146) [5]
92. Holy Spirit and the Laying on of Hands (p. 146) [2]
93. “Sealed” with the Holy Spirit (p. 147) [3]
94. Anointing with Oil in Order to Receive the Holy Spirit (p. 147) [1]
95. Holy Spirit Received Via Authoritative Persons (p. 148) [2]

X. Sacrament of Anointing [6 questions]

96. Priests Anoint with Oil to Heal Recipients (p. 148) [2]
97. Laying on of Hands for Healing (p. 149) [1]
98. Spiritual Benefit in Healing (e.g., Demoniacs) (p. 149) [3]

XI. Sacramentals, Devotions, and Worship [55 questions]

99. Wholehearted Formal Prayer and Worship (p. 150) [4]
100. The Rosary (p. 151) [3]
101. Holy Water (p. 152) [3]
102. Candles and Incense (p. 153) [5]
103. Holy Places / Sacred Ground (p. 154) [6]
104. Holy and Sacred Items (p. 155) [5]
105. Music in Worship (p. 156) [5]
106. Priestly Blessings (p. 157) [3]
107. Examination of Conscience (p. 158) [2]
108. Almsgiving (p. 159) [2]
109. Genuflection and Kneeling (p. 159) [4]
110. Physical Items as Aids in Worship of God (p. 160) [3]
111. Special Presence of God in Physical Objects (p. 161) [4]
112. Holy Days (p. 162) [2]
113. Mass Obligation (p. 162) [2]
114. Sunday worship / Sabbath Principle (p. 163) [2]

XII. Angels and the Communion of Saints / Eschatology [57 questions]

115. Dead Saints Returning to Earth (p. 163) [4]
116. Communication from God in Dreams (p. 165) [4]
117. Invocation of Saints (Asking them to Intercede) (p. 166) [2]
118. Invocation of Angels (Asking them to Intercede) (p. 166) [1]
119. Veneration of Saints and Imitation of Holy Persons (p. 167) [6]
120. Veneration of Angels & Men as God's Representatives (p. 168) [2]
121. Intercession of the Saints (p. 168) [7]
122. Intercession of Angels (p. 170) [4]
123. Guardian Angels (p. 171) [2]
124. Veneration of Images (p. 171) [3]
125. Worshiping God, Kneeling Before Man-Made Statues (p. 172) [1]
126. Worship of God Via an Image (p. 173) [2]
127. Crucifixes (p. 173) [4]
128. Relics (p. 174) [4]
129. Hell (p. 176) [4]
130. Falsity of Universalism (p. 177) [7]

XIII. The Blessed Virgin Mary (Mariology) [25 questions]

131. Sinlessness (p. 179) [3]
132. Immaculate Conception (p. 179) [4]
133. Perpetual Virginity (p. 180) [3]
134. “Mother of God” (Theotokos) (p. 181) [4]
135. “Spouse of the Holy Spirit” (p. 182) [2]
136. Analogies of Bodily Assumption Into Heaven (p. 182) [3]
137. Queen of Heaven (p. 183) [1]
138. Spiritual Mother of Men (p. 183) [1]
139. Mediatrix and Intercessor (p. 184) [4]

XIV. Jesus Christ (Christology) [80 questions]

140. Equality with the Father (p. 185) [4]
141. Creator (p. 186) [5]
142. Eternal and Uncreated (p. 187) [6]
143. Worshiped (p. 188) [6]
144. Omnipotent (All-Powerful) (p. 189) [1]
145. Omniscient (All-Knowing) (p. 189) [1]
146. Omnipresent (Present Everywhere) (p. 189) [1]
147. Forgives Sins in His Own Name (p. 190) [3]
148. Receives Prayer (p. 190) [5]
149. Sinlessness / Impeccability (p. 191) [5]
150. Called Lord (Kurios) (p. 192) [4]
151. Called God (Theos) (p. 192) [7]
152. Called Many Things Also Applied to the Father (p. 194) [15]
153. Image (Icon) of the Invisible Father (p. 196) [1]
154. Primacy of the Name of Jesus (p. 196) [5]
155. Claimed to be the Messiah (p. 197) [1]
156. Claimed to be God (p. 197) [1]
157. Claimed to be the Savior of the World (p. 198) [7]
158. Judge of the World (p. 199) [1]
159. Willing Subjection as Messiah (p. 199) [1]

XV. God the Father (Theology Proper) [31 questions]

160. God is One (Monotheism) (p. 200) [2]
161. Creator (p. 200) [3]
162. Eternal (p. 201) [1]
163. Non-Material (Invisible Spirit) (p. 201) [2]
164. Exclusively Worshiped and Adored (p. 201) [1]
165. Omnipotent (All-Powerful) (p. 201) [1]
166. Omniscient (All-Knowing) (p. 202) [1]
167. Omnipresent (Present Everywhere) (p. 202) [1]
168. Outside of Time (p. 202) [2] [read on my Facebook page]
169. Sovereign (p. 202) [4]
170. Thoughts Are Beyond Human Comprehension (p. 203) [2]
171. Anthropomorphism and Anthropopathism (p. 204) [2] [read on my Facebook page]
172. Immutable (p. 204) [3] [read on my Facebook page]
173. Impassible (Without “Passion” or Emotion) (p. 204) [1] [read on my Facebook page]
174. Self-Existent and Simple (Not Composite) (p. 205) [2] [read on my Facebook page]
175. Monarchia / Principatus (Unbegotten) (p. 205) [3]

XVI. The Holy Spirit (Pneumatology) and Trinitarianism 
[28 questions]

176. Passages with All Three Divine Persons (p. 206) [4]
177. Personal Attributes of the Holy Spirit (p. 207) [10]
178. Divinity / Divine Attributes of the Holy Spirit (p. 208) [6]
179. Holy Spirit's Procession from the Father and Son (p. 210) [3]
180. Circumincession: Divine Persons “In” Each Other (p. 210) [5]

XVII. Sacrament of Marriage [47 questions]

181. Analogy of Marriage to Christ and His Church (p. 211) [5]
182. Valid Marriage is Indissoluble / No Divorce (p. 212) [5]
183. Annulment (Declaration of Non-Marriage) (p. 214) [3]
184. Extramarital Sex Prohibited (p. 215) [8]
185. The Sin of Contraception (p. 217) [8]
186. Many Children Are a Blessing (p. 219) [4]
187. Preborn Children Are Persons (p. 220) [7]
188. Abortion is Murder and Forbidden (p. 221) [4]
189. Child Sacrifice is an Abomination (p. 222) [3]

XVIII. Miscellaneous [88 questions]

190. Apologetics (Rational Defense of Christianity) (p. 223) [13]
191. Ecumenism (p. 226) [7]
192. Invincible Ignorance (p. 229) [4]
193. Vegetarianism (p. 230) [6]
194. Atheism (p. 232) [2]
195. Use of Alcohol (p. 233) [13]
196. Permissibility of Just War (p. 236) [10] [read online]
197. Permissibility of Capital Punishment (p. 238) [13]
198. Judgment of Nations (p. 243) [12]
199. God's Middle Knowledge (p. 247) [5]
200. “Baptizing” Pagan Practices and Truth (p. 249) [3]


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Last revised on 17 April 2014.
 
 

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