The Immaculate Conception of Mary – What Difference Does It Make Anyway?

Simple Catholic Snapshots

  • Many Protestants question the dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
  • To them, belief in Jesus’ loving redemptive work on the cross is the only item of import for the modern Christian.
  • Catholics celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary on December 8th, not coincidentally during the first week of Advent.
  • Advent prepares us for the birth of Christ, and a fuller understanding of the Incarnation of the Son of God.
  • Without understanding the Incarnate nature of Christ, a Christian really can’t fully understand the Savior or our salvation.

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Making Babies and Salvation – There Really is a Connection

Simple Catholic Snapshots

  • Catholic theology recognizes that salvation is an unearned, undeserved gift from God.
  • Catholic theology also includes the fact that we must “participate” in our own salvation.
  • Non-Catholics theology emphasizes that salvation is the work of God only .
  • Non-Catholics deny a role of mankind in his/her salvation.
  • Babies, those divine miracles of life, is an example useful in resolving tensions between these Catholic and non-Catholic positions.

 

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I Love Jesus…Because I’m Muslim?

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a woman pull up in the adjacent left turn lane and stop slightly ahead. The light turned before I got a good look, but her stature and the habit she was wearing was a tip-off that this was a Catholic nun on the move. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to completely read her yellow and green bumper sticker but the ‘heart’ symbol and the word “Jesus” confirmed my fleeting conclusion.

At the next stop light we were once again together and imagine my surprise when I was able to read the entire bumper sticker:

Wow, first impressions can be so wrong. Hijab, not a habit. Muslim, not Catholic. But Loving Jesus?

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Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura? Not so says St. Paul

Martin Luther once said that justification by Faith Alone (Sola Fide) is the article on which the Church stands or falls. lutherThe word justification simply means to become in a right relationship with God that leads to eternal salvation. Along side Sola Fide, the notion of Bible Alone (Sola Scriptura) served as the fuel and spark of the Protestant Revolt that tried to tear apart the Church 500 years ago.

Recently I have been having an interesting discussion with some Protestant friends regarding, in particular, Luther’s proposition of salvation by Sola Fide.  With this as the backdrop, yesterday’s daily Mass readings really caught my attention. To me these reading just screamed as compelling biblical proof against both the notion of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide.

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God’s Power and Man’s Free Will – Part 5 – Predestination

In this series I’ve explored what some see to be a conflict between God’s Power and Man’s Free Will. From a Catholic perspective there is no conflict at all. For a Catholic, God’s free grace empowers mankind to use his free will to “cooperate” with God’s will that desires all mankind to eternal salvation. God desires all of His children to return to Him for eternity, but God does not force His will on us. God does not force mankind to love Him.

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Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible

Hello SCT followers. I just wanted to let you know that there is a fantastic Bible Study course about to start at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church.

unlockingbibleThe study is called Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible and is produced by Jeff Cavins and the folks at Ascension Press.

If you have ever struggled to see the “Big Picture” of the Bible story then this is the class for you.

The course begins Wednesday, September 28th and meets for 8 consecutive Wednesdays.

Each meeting is very short – only about 1 hour and 20 minutes long. Each class starts with a 30-35 minute DVD video presentation by Jeff Cavins as he explains the 12 color coded periods of the entire Bible story. We then continue for another 35 minutes where I’ll lead a light discussion on the DVD we just viewed, what we learned and the things we need to remember.

If you’re new to the Bible or just need a fantastic “Big Picture” refresher on God’s Word then make plans and join us as we Unlock the Mystery of the Bible.

There’s only two things you need to do:

First: sign up and register for the class.
You can do that by visiting the St. Martin de Porres Bible Study website (click HERE) and follow the instructions for registration.
OR,
you can go directly to Ascension Press (click HERE) and register.

In either case, after you register and purchase your student book (only ~$20), it will be mailed directly to your mailing address. Allow about 1 week for delivery so don’t delay if you want to receive your book before the first class.

Second: Clear your calendar and join us.
Stop by beginning Wednesday September 28th at 7:00 pm at St. Marin De Porres Catholic Church in Yorba Linda, CA. We will meet in the St. Elizabeth classroom for 8 consecutive Wednesdays – Sept 28th through November 16.

 
Any questions? email us at:

tom@simplecatholictruth.com
or
garyp@smdpyl.org

 

God’s Power and Man’s Free Will – Part 3 – Graphical TULIPs

In this post we will continue to explore that age-old dilemma of reconciling the infinite power of God with the existence of man’s free will as it pertains to man’s Salvation.

In my last post I presented in written form a summary of the Calvinist position on Salvation. [These beliefs are often referred to with the acronym TULIPtulip-pic which stands for Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints.]

I believe that TULIP represents an unreasonable theological position because if you believe TULIP, then you must also believe some rather uncomfortable ideas about the nature of God and man (which we’ll discuss later). It’s certainly true that discussions about Salvation can get very complicated very quickly and TULIP is no exception. Here at SimpleCatholicTruth we strive to explain the complicated in simple terms. Therefore, I thought we’d have some fun and look at TULIP in cartoon/graphical form.  Let’s get started:

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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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God’s Power and Man’s Free Will – Part 1

One of the great dilemmas in the history of Christianity has been the role of man’s free will in his eternal relationship with God. free will stringsSome hold that to even admit the existence of man’s free will in some way detract from the providence or omnipotence
of God.     This thinking about free will is not just an exercise in academic theology, the results have critical implications in our daily lives as followers of Jesus Christ. Our understanding of free will frames how we view the purpose of our lives, helps us to understand the existence of evil and even lets us appreciate the justice of Hell.

With that as the lead in, I thought I’d start a series of blog posts that address the idea of our free will including some of the controversies, conclusions and consequences. I really don’t know how many posts there might be or what the exact content will involve. I will follow the Holy Spirit wherever he leads. For now, however, the intent will be to simply ask questions and explore. With a little luck, or should I say, with the grace of God, we will learn a little about ourselves, our Father and our Savior.

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