God’s Power and Man’s Free Will – Part 2 – Calvin’s TULIP

So much can be said about God’s power in relation to man’s free will that our simple collective heads might just explode. It’s true, this topic has been debated by geniuses for thousands of years and there remains controversy and misunderstandings. In hope of any Simple Catholic (Truth) progress, I would like to constrain the discussion to that of Salvation. Ha, you might say, that really isn’t limiting the topic much and to a point you are correct.

However, unless we try to “divide and conquer” we won’t be able to make any progress at all.  So, with that said, I’d like to continue Part 2 of the series of God’s Power vs. Man’s Free Will by taking a look at what I would hold as the extreme limit of the debate, and that is the Calvinistic interpretation of God’s Power in relation to man’s free will. Calvin concluded in his TULIP theology that as far as salvation was concerned, man had no free will at all.

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Greater – Where is God in a World of Tragedy?

Last weekend Michele and I stumbled on Greater – a very good Christian movie now showing in local theaters.greater

Now, I have to admit that I’ve not been a real fan of the Christian based movies of the past few years. Yes, Fireproof, Courageous and even God’s not Dead were wonderful expose’s trying to project the ideals of Christian morality, commitment and livelihood. As good as they were, however, I found them all to be a bit “syrup-ee” when it came to the message of truth and trust in the Gospel. In each of these movies, the stress of the real life situation was just too conveniently and instantly resolved with an “Alleluia”, “Amen” and “Praise Jesus”. They were good movies don’t get me wrong, but they left me less than convinced – and I’m a believer!

We have to face the fact that many people are challenged today with understanding His precious Word. This is particularly evident when people face trials in life. If we want to use movies to reach out and minister to people then the stories must relate to people’s lives and the stories must be believable. We found the movie Greater to do a very good job in both regards.

The movie Greater is framed around the story of Brandon Burlsworth, a walk-on football player for the University of Arkansas. It’s a little bit like the movie “Rudy” in that both Rudy and Brandon struggle at great odds to make the football team. However, in Greater the real story is not about Brandon, rather it is the story about his older brother Marty and his struggle of faith. In particular, this movie takes head on the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people. Naturally, the movie ends with a positive Christian message of hope and encouragement but I did not find it too over the top. Greater made me face again the question of good and evil and God, but instead of thinking for me, I left the movie thinking.

I recommend that you try to go see this movie. Unfortunately, the promotion has been weak and the distribution limited. We found it playing last weekend in Brea and also out in Corona. Don’t wait or you might miss it altogether.

Here is the trailer from U-Tube:

Click here to read a review by Steven Greydanus recently published at National Catholic Register.

Click here to read a story about Neal McDonough, the Catholic actor that played Marty.

Don’t wait… go see the move and let me know what you thought.

Blessings
Tom

 

 

The Eucharist Truly “IS” the Body of Christ

Dinner conversations can be tricky. Its difficult and rude to talk with a mouth full of chili relleno you know. dinner conversationThankfully, most of the conversations these days include an ample dose of opinions on the ongoing presidential election circus. It’s easy therefore to just keep eating with only an occasional need to inject political pleasantries. So it was last week when I had a nice dinner with some friends I had not seen in a few years.

The meal was going splendidly when all of a sudden the conversation shifted to faith and religion. Somehow we started talking about to the Creation account of Genesis. gen 1Normally this would not be an issue. How God created the universe from nothing is not that important, only that He did. However, in this case one of my friends is what some refer to as a young-earth creationist. He interprets the Bible very literally to the point of believing that God created the world about 10,000 years ago in exactly 6 24-hour days. I deeply respect his Christian faith and his love of Jesus in his life. That said, having just swallowed a bite of chili relleno my mouth was empty and there was plenty of room for me to stick my foot.

When the conversation rotated around to me I simply asked him if he believed that the earth was created in 6 days. He responded with a simple “yes, that’s what the Bible says.” I asked him then how he reconciled the enormous amount of scientific evidence (such as Carbon-14 dating) that indicates the earth and plants and animal species are millions and millions of years old.

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An Ultrasound of Life – A Spark of Hope

I was out shopping at a local mall a couple of days ago and I ran across this poster outside of Walmart.20160729_102953_resized
I’m a sucker for pictures of cute babies so I had to go have a closer look. What I found was an ultrasound image and a small spark of hope for the Pro-Life message.

 

 

 

 

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Seeking the Truth? Choose your news wisely.

Most of the time I find following politics to be a complete waste of time. First of all, I’m not sure there is much difference anymore between the good guys and the bad guys inside the beltway. Confused ManSecond, when I consult the modern media trying to sort out fact from fiction,  I often get completely different summaries of the same event. Not just different summaries, but contradictory summaries.
Seeking the truth often makes my head hurt!

I’d like to just throw up my hands up in frustration and ignore the news but during this presidential election there is too much at stake. Let’s face it, like it or not early next year either Hillary or Trump will be our next president.

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Breaking News! – “Roadtrip” is available

I have exciting news to share with everyone! My first book entitled Roadtrip – A Journey to Forever,  is finally complete and rolling off the printing press. It will be available in just two short weeks.

RT_Final_converted

Roadtrip is a story about a young man’s personal discovery of God, the fullness of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and the Sacramental life that leads to true happiness.

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Catholics: We must stay FOCUS-ed

It’s certainly true that the Church is struggling in many places throughout the world. Look at Europe for example. From 1910 to the present the percent of the population that claimed to be Christian declined from 68% to about 25%! Christian EuropeThese data includes all Christian denominations but the implications of Catholicism in Europe is equally clear. This staggering free-fall is expected to continue.

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Emmy is Perfect

I just ran across this blog posting about mom Courtney Baker and her daughter Emersyn Faith who is 15 months old. Normally this wouldn’t have caught my eye but this article is different. You see, Emersyn has Down Syndrome and the article is focused on the letter Courtney wrote to her doctor who was once strongly recommending and encouraging abortion. I was deeply moved by the faith and strength of this woman and I just wanted to share. An extract of the article is pasted here:

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“This is Emmy, mailing our letter to the prenatal specialist who didn’t want her to live.emmy1 He repeatedly suggested we abort. He said her and our quality of life would be horrible.” Emmy’s mother Courtney Baker says, “He was so unbelievably wrong. I want to do something to advocate, but other than my letter to him, I don’t know what yet.”

Emmy was diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome.

 

 

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Baptism, Babies and Limbo

This past weekend we stayed after Mass to share in the celebration as a new baby was being baptized. baby baptismNot being directly involved as a parent or grand parent allowed me to sit back and reflect on the Sacrament of Baptism. This new life was being regenerated and filled with the Spirit of the Holy Trinity. Original Sin was being washed away and this child was adopted into the family of God. It was a joyful moment but it made me think – what about those little ones that die before being baptized…

The Simple Catholic Snapshots:

  • God is Perfect Love and Desires All His Children to Heaven
  • The Bible tells us that Baptism is Necessary for Eternal Life
  • Theologians have Struggled with the Paradox of God’s Love vs. the Death of Unbaptized Innocents
  • Limbo is a concept that was once considered a solution but has now been discarded.
  • God has not Revealed His Plan for the Unbaptized Innocents so we must Simply Trust in His Perfect Mercy

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Become Like Children of God

In my last post, I shared a few pictures of Tim playing ‘catch’ with his son Aaron.  Trust the FatherThat post was a reminder of the total trust we must have in God our Father. Sounds simple enough, but I began to wonder what the Bible had to say about such perfect faith. Once again, it turns out that pride can undermine our relationship with the Father.

 

The Simple Catholic Snapshots:

  • God the Father Revealed Jesus as His Son and Redeemer
  • Peter Trusted the Father’s Revelation
  • Christ Established Peter as the Head of His Church
  • The Apostles Struggled with Pride
  • Pride can be a Great Obstacle to a Total Trust in God
  • We Must be Humble Like Children to Enter the Kingdom of Heaven

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