Good discussion on how “merit” is defined and understood by the Catholic Church. Many misconceptions are cleared up. *** This exchange was originally from the Pontifications blog. Chris Jones’ words will be in green; Nathan’s in blue. * * * * * To distinguish is not to separate, and Sola Fide does not separate justification and sanctification. It does distinguish them, precisely in order to clarify that it is the work of Christ that is the sole ground of our salvation – not any of our… Read more

I used to love David Brinkley, Ted Koppel (Nightline), MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour, and above all, Tim Russert. I also liked Jeff Greenfield a lot. That’s how [the 90% or more who are] liberal journalists used to be: calling it straight: not being deliberate agents of propaganda for the Democrat Party and far left ideology. In other words, they were engaged in classical journalism, the way it was in the past: seeking the facts, being fair-minded and accurate.   They could be… Read more

The Problem of Evil is NOT a Disproof of God’s Existence, Goodness, or Omnipotence Alvin Plantinga (who was born in 1932 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and started his teaching career at my alma mater, Wayne State University) is considered — by his Christian or theist admirers and atheists alike — to be the greatest living Christian philosopher and philosopher of religion. He wrote a very influential book in 1974, called God, Freedom, and Evil (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans / New York: Harper & Row),… Read more

This came about in my combox after I posted a critique of a paper by John W. Loftus: The Census, Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem, & History: Reply to Atheist John W. Loftus’ Irrational Criticisms of the Biblical Accounts.  Loftus’ words will be in blue. * * * * *   Dave, have you read any of my books yet? You should. [Here they are: Why I Rejected Christianity: A Former Apologist Explains (2006) Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity (2008) Why… Read more

This comment from “Ash” was underneath my National Catholic Register article, “Did Luther Rescue the Bible in German from Utter Obscurity?”:   The historical record is very clear on the fact that the Catholic Church very pointedly did not want people to read the Bible in the vernacular. Before the printing press, this was not a huge problem, as it was the work of years to make a copy of the Bible. However, even then the church was opposed to… Read more

My article, “Catholics Need to Read Their Bibles” was published in This Rock (now Catholic Answers Magazine) on 1 February 2004. See also my original, longer version from 6-26-02. The Catholic Answers site has published a letter about this article from one Ann Roth. Here it is in its entirety: Scolding and Uncharitable Comments I agree with Dave Armstrong’s basic premise that Catholics should read the Bible more because it will bring them closer to God, and a better familiarity… Read more

I Corinthians 13:8-11 (RSV) Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. [9] For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;  [10] but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. [11] When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. These verses are often… Read more

This is one of my “apologetics inserts” from The Catholic Answer Bible (2002, OSV; you can purchase my 44 inserts only, for $2.99: PDF); later expanded as The New Catholic Answer Bible (2005): my biggest-selling book ever, which is a shame insofar as I receive no ongoing royalties. I was paid a one-time fee (ah, the life of full-time theological authors . . . please pray for me, to pay my bills!). I have cut-and-pasted the “Related Scripture” (i.e., entire… Read more

Patrick is a Catholic graduate student in philosophy. He wrote to me, asking if I would like to discuss the Ontological Argument, which is one of the classic theistic arguments (for God’s existence), first developed by St. Anselm. He was replying to my section of my paper (most of it was a compilation of philosophers’ writing): Ontological Argument for God’s Existence: A Survey: Including the “Armstrong Ontological Argument” (First Tentative Attempt) His words will be in blue. When portions of my… Read more

Including the “Armstrong Ontological Argument” (First Tentative Attempt) The ontological argument, originally formulated by the 11th-century Christian philosopher St. Anselm, is fascinating and ingenious, has a long and illustrious history, and involves more than might be apparent at first sight. This paper collects some materials favoring the ontological argument — which I (as a Catholic apologist) now respect to a far greater degree than when I began this research –, including a tentative presentation of my own version of it…. Read more

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