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7 Quick Takes Friday, No. 23

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Every so often we like to interview our Ink Slingers to provide you, our readers, a little insight into who we are. This time we are going to introduce you to one of our male writers, Devin Rose. Devin is the author of If Protestantism is True: The Reformation Meets Rome and he blogs at St. Joseph’s Vanguard.  We are honored to have him as a writer here at Catholic Sistas! We hope you enjoy reading this short interview with him and getting to know him a bit more.

–1–

Where is your dream vacation spot?

Assisi, Italy. My wife and I had our honeymoon there. The beauty of the land, the old walled town, the Franciscan’s monastery and St. Clare’s basilica, the olive trees, San Damiano, all of it. Downside is that food is pretty pricey. The few times we tried to “go native” and buy food for ourselves we ended up with a very pungent salami.

Devin-and-Katie-in-Assisi

–2–

What is your favorite movie of all time?

Pride & Prejudice, 5 hour A&E edition. The first time I watched it as a single guy, I thought it was the dumbest movie I had ever seen. To say it has grown on me would be an understatement. I am in awe of Jane Austen’s ability to capture human personalities.

–3–

What is your favorite animal and why?

Besides, I presume you mean, the liger? Which is pretty much my favorite animal ever. I would love to own an anteater and an echidna. Though apparently the jury is out on whether they would eat fire ants.

–4–

What is your favorite song or who is your favorite singer?

Gotta go with U2. Everyone loves them because they have had great songs and incredible longevity. None of them are great solo musicians, but together they often make powerful music. Favorite song? Too hard to pick. But I’d go with Zooropa.

–5–

Are you a cradle Catholic who never strayed, a poorly catechised Catholic and/or lukewarm Catholic who came to understand the faith later in life, a revert, or a convert?

Convert. Atheism to Southern Baptist to Catholic. I only spent about a year as a Southern Baptist before seeing that Protestantism could not be the fullness of the truth. Protestantism has no principled way to distinguish between the content of divine revelation and human opinion.

–6–

What do you wish everyone knew about the Church?

The Church is Christ’s. She is not merely an invisible collection of all believers but a visible institution, though no less supernatural because of her visibility. So many Christians still say “Jesus: yes! The church? No!” But that is the worst kind of false dichotomy. It’s Jesus: yes! The Church, yes!

Devin and his family
Devin and his family

–7–

Do you, or did you, play a sport and if so, which sport or sports?

One great gift my father gave to me was introducing me to just about every sport. He forced me to play each one at least once. Eventually I came to enjoy them and had the talent of being fairly good at all of them, but great at none of them. By high school I settled on soccer, and I could have played at a lower division college with a scholarship, possibly, but ultimately I realized that the sport wouldn’t be my ticket anywhere and went the academic route.

The upside is, I don’t look particularly coordinated, so when about to play a sport with people I don’t know, they underestimate me. Granted, now I’m old and slow and they rightly underestimate me.

For more Quick Takes, hop on over to Conversion Diary.

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Conversion Devin Rose Evangelization Guest Posts Perspective from the Head Pope

The Church Lumbers On

The Church’s umpteenth Lent–and my twelfth one–is drawing to a close. The Triduum, followed by the blessedly long season of Easter, approaches. The Church lumbers on.

We said “be seeing you,” to Pope Emeritus Benedict and welcomed, with surprise, Pope Francis. All the media stories, gossip, and conspiracy theories came to naught, and as the spotlight fades from our Catholic Church we are left with two gentle, wise successors of St. Peter. Benedict is beginning to enjoy a long-deserved rest. Pope Francis is facing the daunting task of balancing the world as the servant of the servants of God. But the Holy Spirit is with him, and the Church lumbers on.

The renewal of the liturgy and of sacred music continue (slowly) apace. Many traditionalists in our Church are worried about Pope Francis, but I am not. I have already seen signs of better liturgies and more sacred music, and every young priest that I know reverently celebrates the Mass. And I give credit to the traditionalists for their diligence through all these years in exhorting us to greater fidelity in the liturgy.

Blessedly, thousands upon thousands of new converts are joining the Church in full communion. Their zeal and joy will energize us old-timers and draw many more people to Christ’s Church. Meanwhile, thousands of nominal and cultural Catholics will fall away. Most of the latter never received the truth of the Catholic Faith, and now they will have to walk winding paths through the wilderness before finding their way home again. Hopefully we will have the lanterns burning brightly for them so they can see the way to go, when they are ready. And still the Church lumbers on.

I no longer have any fears or doubts about the promises that Christ made to His Church. I don’t fear that Pope Francis will substantially change dogma. I don’t fear that the Church will go belly up, as so many have predicted would happen for so long. No, the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. And thank God for it, because without that unmovable foundation, I don’t know where I’d be. I only need concern myself with being faithful to the people, duties, and vocation that God has given to me.

As Lent draws to a close, I lumber on, and to my great consolation, the Church lumbers on beside me.

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Apologetics Devin Rose Ecumenism Faith Formation Sacred Scripture Tiffany P

If Sola Scriptura Is True

In a popular apologetics book written by one Catholic Sistas’ guest contributors Devin Rose, entitled If Protestantism Is True, an approach is taken to addressing the contrast between Catholic and Protestant ideals by assuming that Protestantism is true and attempting to make sense of Church history and theology based on that assumption. Being that Sola Scriptura is one of my favorite apologetics topics, I often find myself speculating on the issue and the logic behind the line of thinking that states the Word of God is strictly present in the written form, and therefore the Scriptures are our sole source authority.  For this post, I decided to adopt the approach of Devin Rose, assuming that Sola Scriptura is true and how that would have changed the course of salvation history, Jesus’ ministry, and even the Sacred Scriptures themselves.

If Sola Scriptura Is True…

…Jesus would not have spent the entirety of his ministry orally teaching the faith to the apostles. If God willed for His Word to be present solely through inspired writings, He would have spent His ministry writing down all of His Teachings in the form of letters, perhaps similar to the format St. Paul used in his many letters.

Jesus then would have taken His completed set of writings—already compiled in a Book because there would be no authoritative, Holy Spirit guided Church to do so for Him—and presented it to His apostles prior to His ascension. He might have said, “You are Peter, and to this rock I give this Book…” (rather than, “You are Peter, and on this rock I build my Church). He then would have instructed Peter, along with His other apostles, to go forth and “make disciples, reading to them this book and Teaching them to do all that I have written within” (rather than “Teaching them to do all that I [orally] commanded you”).

It stands to reason that Jesus would do these things, because if Sola Scriptura is true, then God’s Word will only ever be preserved in the written form—we will not have had any other source of authority in which we can rely for Truth. Jesus, therefore, would not have ascended into Heaven leaving His followers to spend over three-hundred years waiting on their authoritative source. He would not have left Earth before leaving His people with something to sit in His seat and be His authority on Earth; since this authority will not be a Church, according to Sola Scriptura, then He would have left His book at some point before His departure.

History, however, confirms the opposite: for the first one-hundred years of Christianity there were no written accounts of Christ’s Teachings, as they were at this time in the process of being written. For the first three-hundred years (until the councils of Hippo and Carthrage) there was not a compiled collection of inspired Christian writings that were publicly known and recognized as the New Testament. Therefore, if Sola Scriptura is true, then our God is a God of disorder. He established a system in which His authority would be found only through written inspiration, leaving nearly twelve generations to attempt to worship and follow Christ without a final, authoritative source of Christian Truth.

God could further be classified as a God of chaos, confusion, and disorder, if sola scriptura is true, because there would be no accompanying, authoritative voice (such as a divinely guided Church, a central Teaching office) to infallibly interpret these writings. Christians who lived several centuries and even a millennia after Christ and the apostles would then have to read these writings and draw their own conclusions. Several different people, all feeling guided by the Holy Spirit in their convictions, would come to contradictory interpretations of the Scriptures. Those who were illiterate, a large group that encompasses most of our human history, would be forced to choose which man’s interpretation to follow. As a result, multiple Christian theologies would exist in complete disunion with one another. There would be no refuge of unity within the Body of Christ, as there would be no additional source of divinely guided authority to settle these disputes.

If Sola Scriptura is true, then the Bible would make it clear. All passages referring to the “Word of God” would not describe Jesus as the Word made flesh (John 1:14) or teachings that were “received” or “heard”. The “Word of God” in the Scriptures would be a phrase always accompanied by the words “written”, “read”, or “book”. In passages regarding the Scriptures infallibility and authoritative purposes, the word “alone” would be included to emphasize that the Scriptures alone are infallible and they alone hold the authority, the only pillar and foundation of truth. In reality, the Scriptures say or imply none of the aforementioned.  Therefore, if sola scriptura is true, then it fails by its own standards.

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. –I Thessalonians 2:15

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Sistas Weekly No. 5

 

Welcome to the recap of the Catholic Sistas blog for the week of September 24 – September 29! Hopefully you will find this new feature a helpful assist in keeping up with our wonderfully diverse posts. We wouldn’t want you to miss a thing!  😆

As part of our blogging schedule we have agreed, as a group, that we will not be doing individual blog posts on Sundays. Our week in review, Sistas Weekly, is set to auto-post so that we can keep holy the Sabbath and spend time with our families.

 

How to Change the World (Without Becoming a Missionary to Africa)

18-year-old Katie went on a mission trip to Uganda to minister to the poor there. Five years later, she has made Uganda her permanent residence. She runs a ministry that provides medical care and feeds 1200 children a day, which allows them to attend school rather than working in the fields or begging. She established… Read more »

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Fantasy’s Disturbing Turn

I love fantasy books. Tolkien, Lewis, Terry Brooks, Eddings, McKiernan, Robert Jordan. And I’m always looking out for some good new series to read. So I got on my Kindle and downloaded a free sample of Martin’s Game of Thrones. This is the best-selling series that HBO has now even made into TV shows. Much to… Read more »

 

Understanding Catholicism with Baptist Theology

The Baptist faith community where I grew up deserves most of the credit for making me into the Christian I am today. It was there that I was first introduced to God and His immense love for me, that I learned to faithfully commit myself to the study of Sacred Scripture, and it is where… Read more »

 

Service with a Smile

A few months ago, I visited a friend, a new mother with a four-month-old baby. She talked about how stressed she was and how much she would love to some time with her husband, who works two jobs. “Let me watch the baby for you this Sunday,” I offered. “That way, you can go spend… Read more »

 

Faithful Citizen: Vote with a Well Formed Conscience

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen seems to have been a prophet before his time. His quotes appear to resonate even more today than they did during his lifetime. They certainly belie an almost otherworldly understanding of what the citizens of today will be facing when they vote. We would do well to note that Sheen, like the Church… Read more »

 

Woman in Love: An Interview with Katie Hartfiel

Katie Hartfiel is a 29 year-old wife and mother of two.  She and her husband Mark live in Houston where they are both active in ministry.  The story of how they met and fell in love is chronicled in Katie’s new book, Woman In Love. In the book, Katie writes about the inner… Read more »

 

The Sorrowful Mysteries… Everyday Style

I will admit the Sorrowful Mysteries are the most difficult for me to pray.  I must contemplate my own sinfulness and meditate upon loss in my own life in order to really benefit from the Rosary on Tuesdays and Fridays.  No one really enjoys approaching these topics, but it is so essential to acknowledge our faults and failures, because it sweetens Christ’s resurrection for us and makes us truly appreciate His sacrifice… Read more »

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Books Devin Rose Perspective from the Head

Fantasy’s Disturbing Turn

I love fantasy books. Tolkien, Lewis, Terry Brooks, Eddings, McKiernan, Robert Jordan.

And I’m always looking out for some good new series to read. So I got on my Kindle and downloaded a free sample of Martin’s Game of Thrones. This is the best-selling series that HBO has now even made into TV shows.

Much to my dismay, just a few chapters in, Martin starts using the ugliest profanity to describe vicious and brutal sexual acts. If this is the way he begins the story, I knew that the rest would get even worse. I stopped reading, deleted the sample from my device, and went online to check out the reviews. Sure enough, they describe just how much worse he gets. I won’t go into any details, but it’s disturbing stuff. Stuff people shouldn’t read. Because it is bad for them. Garbage.

This isn’t the first series to try to go this route. The first fantasy series that I ever stopped reading, mid-book, was Terry Goodkind’s Wizards First Rule. It starts with some semi-promising characters and story ideas before devolving into sadistic sexual acts. No thanks.

I guess this is how authors think they’re being “modern” and “real” and “edgy.” But in fact they are just producing works that will leave violent and deforming images in the minds of readers. Instead of creating a world where the true, good, and beautiful can be found, as Tolkien and Lewis so masterly did, in their worlds there is nothing truly good or beautiful.

But there’s a upside to this situation, too. Because of all the base fantasy novels out there, many fans of the genre are starving for something worthy to read. And that need can be filled most powerfully by Catholic and other Christian authors, because our beliefs are true. And people want to read stories that reveal the deep truth in humanity and in existence itself. Catholic authors have largely ceded this field to secular writers, but it need not be so.

I add my voice to the many others that have been calling for a renaissance in fiction-written-by-Christians. Let’s write the next Lord of the Rings and Narnia series. Let’s learn how to tell stories that enrich people’s lives by showing to them the truth of who they are. The world is longing for it. Will we answer the call?