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On Debating Catholics - Part 1

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A number of years ago, on a now defunct blog, I posted an entry on the topic of debating Catholics. It was born out of numerous frustrating conversations with Catholics in regard to their faith. If it is not known, I am a former Catholic. I was very devout. I was educated in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia under the auspices of John Cardinal Krol. I went on to be be active in high school, college and eventually serving as an acolyte and Religious Education teacher and youth conference speaker.

I do not list these things to present myself as an expert, but rather to show that my knowledge of both the doctrines and culture of the Catholic Church (CC) come, in part, from inside. I also readily note that my experiences in the CC were almost universally positive. I have very fond memories of my years in a CC school: serving as an altar boy, being active in the youth group and as part of the Newman Center in college. Certainly, personal relationships with Catholic family and friends was ove…

Sermon on the Mount (Lord's Prayer) - Part 2

This is part 2 of our look at the Sermon on the Mount. 
In part 1 we saw that this section of scripture was:
1. concerned with "the gospel of the kingdom"
2. given to the disciples and not the multitudes
3. meant for Israel and her future kingdom The most-oft quoted section of the sermon is the so-called "Lord's Prayer" in Chapter 6:9-12
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
We've included it here in the context of the parables of the kingdom and the parables on the Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24-25 (the last part of the series).

On the Lord's calendar for Israel is "the great and dreadful day of the Lord." This is seen in the OT prophets and connected to the events and expectation in the Acts Age (such as Peter referencing …

Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) - Part 1

We have finished with the eight parables of Matthew 13 and will be moving on to the ten remaining parables in Matthew. But for a moment I'd like to take what we've seen in Matthew 13 and apply these things to the setting of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 (which includes what we call "the Lord's Prayer").

Here is how Matthew 4 ends:
And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And GREAT CROWDS followed him from Galilee and the Decap′olis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.
-Matthew 4:23-25
We see the setting: preaching "the gospel of the kingdom" which we know does not mention the Lord's death, burial and resurrection (when he annou…

Parable of the Scribe

We have finally come to the last parable of "the kingdom of heaven" in Matthew 13. Now, your bible probably only lists seven, but the wording in verse 52 is clearly parabolic (there's a 50 cent word!).

Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
-Matthew 13:52

This is the balance to the Parable of the Sower.

A THE SOWER
- B Wheat and Tares
-- C Mustard Seed
--- D Leaven
--- D Treasure
-- C Pearl
- B Drag Net
A THE SCRIBE

This is at the end, in the house. The treasure is brought out by the householder (Gk: oikodespótēs, "master of the House"). This final note is Israel finally taking to her calling in the "great commission" to the Gentile nations. The good seed is bearing fruit.

We know that the "whole world" was promised to be blessed through Abraham (Gen 18:17-18; Gal 3:8-9; etc). That is via two ways: Jesus as the Christ and Israel as…