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December 9, 2016

CHALLENGE

“The Catholic Church has too many rules.”

DEFENSE

This is a cliché and does not stand up to examination.

*  *  *

First, how many rules is “too many”? People never propose a number for how many would be appropriate. They just repeat a stock claim to criticize the Church.

Second, the rules the Church has are much fewer than those of any group of comparable size.

The Church has a billion members, the large...

December 8, 2016

1. Why does the Church teach that Mary was immaculately conceived? Her conception is never even mentioned in Scripture. 

Before presenting the scriptural foundations for the Church’s belief in Mary’s Immaculate Conception, know that the person who is posing this question to you is probably operating with the three following misconceptions: (1) The doctrine infringes upon the universality of...

December 7, 2016

The Catholic Church has always looked to the good thief as an example par excellence of conversion (see Luke 23:39-43). This is why he is called good. But for some Protestants, the good thief, traditionally named St. Dismas, is good for a different reason than his last-minute conversion.

It would seem that his story justifies doctrines held by many Protestants. For example, Dismas was saved without baptism, which at first glance could give reason to believe that...

December 6, 2016

Man is an expert self-deceiver. A wise British journalist once mused rightly that “a man’s soul is as full of voices as a forest . . . fancies, follies, memories, madnesses, mysterious fears, and more mysterious hopes. All settlement and sane government of life consists in coming to the conclusion that some of those voices have authority and others not” (G.K. Chesterton, “The Language of Eternity,” The Illustrated London News, July 2, 1910). The prophet Jeremiah observed that “the...

December 5, 2016

In this series we’re asking one of the most fundamental questions a Christian can ask: how do I know that what I have come to accept as the “teaching of Christianity” is true?

I look about and I see the Roman Catholic Church. But then there’s also the Coptic Church, resulting from a split in the fifth century. There are the Eastern Orthodox churches. There are the Lutherans and Presbyterians and Baptists and Anglicans and Methodists and Congregationalists and so forth. And then,...