New Books Just Arrived!-Continuing the Temple Theme

So as I probably mentioned, I love reading.  When I’m not studying for school or work, I try to fit in reading in addition to being a “normal” 20-something.  A couple of books just arrived from Amazon, and while I haven’t started reading them (time to enjoy the holiday weekend outside), I did read something interesting on the back of one of them that I thought I’d share, since it briefly mentions the temple theme that I brought up in the last post.

In addition to Angels of God-The Bible, The Church and the Heavenly Hosts by Mike Aquilina (can’t wait for Scott Hahn’s Angels and Saints: The Power and Glory of our Heavenly Hosts to come out next year), The Kingdom of God as Liturgical Empire: A Theological Commentary on 1-2 Chronicles by Scott Hahn, Queen Mother: A Biblical Theology  of Mary’s Queenship (which naturally complements Hahn’s Hail Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God) by Edward Sri, I also purchased two companion books by Mike Aquilina and Cardinal Donald Wuerl (Archbishop of Washington DC): The Mass-The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition, and the book I’m specifically pointing out briefly in this post, The Church-Unlocking The Secrets To the Places Catholics Call Home.

“The Church” was published in March 2013, and I remember seeing it in Barnes and Noble around then, but still being actively Mormon, I ignored it.  Now, as a reverted Catholic, I’m pretty excited to read it, since it talks about a concept that I love, as mentioned in my previous post: Catholic churches, cathedrals, and basilicas as continuing Biblical temple concepts and practices, and for the readers of this blog, a continuity that demonstrates their temple character is more prominent and clear than the LDS temples.  When I was a Latter-day Saint, I attended the temple frequently.  Before I was Endowed, I attended the temple with my ward congregation for baptisms for the dead every other month.  After I was Endowed, I attended once a week, then once I was familiar with the Endowment ordinance, I attended at least once a month.  When I traveled, I made a point to visit the temple in the area, not always for an Endowment session, but at least to go inside, since being in the presence of God on sacred ground is something that has always been of interest to me.  I remember going to the Los Angeles Temple and just walking around with a friend, then watching the youth do proxy baptisms.  I even wanted to be a temple ordinance worker!  But there was always something…missing, especially when I read LDS apologetics on ancient temples.  Many of the things that went on in the Biblical temple complex that they point out, such as singing psalms, Bread of the Presence, incense, candles, sacrificial

priesthood, etc don’t occur in LDS temples.  But they do occur in Catholic and Orthodox churches, cathedrals, and basilicas (in the East, church buildings are specifically called temples as well).  Concepts like washing, anointing, “initiation”, new names, sacred clothing, making covenants,

entering the presence of God, etc, while certainly present in the LDS temples in some fashion, are also present in Catholic churches as well, along with the other things mentioned that aren’t found in the LDS temples.  So, when I reverted back to Catholicism, I was happy to know that the temple concept isn’t lost in traditional Christianity, and sacred space where God dwells is very much an important reality in the Catholic Church.  As mentioned in my last post, Latter-day Saints curious about Catholicism can rest assured that the temple is still found in ancient Christianity, specifically Catholicism and Orthodoxy to this day.

For those interested in some of what goes on in LDS temples and what they look like inside (rememb

Temple de Sagrat Cor (Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) in Spain

er, Mormons have meetinghouses, where they worship on Sundays, and temples, where special ordinances, including baptism for the dead, Endowment, and eternal marriage, are done), these two videos may be of interest.  The first was just released by the LDS Church a two days ago:

Anyway, a longer post on LDS temples and my thoughts will be provided later on.  I just want to point out a quote by Scott Hahn on the back cover of “The Church” that captures my viewpoint:

“”What the Temple was to the Israelites, our churches are for us Catholics. They are sanctuaries of God’s presence — the meeting place of heaven and earth. This is apparent, however, only to eyes of faith. This book trains our eyes to see the domes and spires, tabernacles and votive candles, pews and altars as they really are. As good guides, the authors take us beyond the visible to the invisible, beyond the material to the spiritual, beyond the human to the divine.  Highly recommended.”
-Scott Hahn, author of The Lamb’s Supper and Signs of Life”

I’m pretty excited to read this book and learn more about the different appointments found in Catholic church buildings, and how they relate to the mysteries taught and experienced there.  The authors discuss things like the shape of the church, the sanctuary, the altar, holy water fonts, candles, relics, the baptismal font, the tabernacle, and sacred images.  Knowing more about the rich symbolism found in Catholic sacred buildings that point us to Heavenly realities certainly makes going to church and participating in the various devotions and liturgical rites that take place there a higher experience.  Can’t wait to actually read this!

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

One of my favorite topics to study is how ancient Judaism relates to Christianity.  As a Latter-day Saint, I was attracted to the writings of various LDS apologists and scholars attempting to connect ancient Israelite beliefs and practices with current LDS beliefs and practices, in areas such as a plurality of gods, God the Father married to Heavenly Mother, priesthood, and temple worship.  While some arguments seemed more tenable than others (for example, I never was convinced by the arguments about the Old Testament peoples believing in multiple gods.  While they may have fallen into false beliefs in worshipping more than one deity, the Old Testament records are clear on God always chastising them and calling them back to worshipping the one God), the area that I specifically was interested in was how the ancient Israelite temple practices compare to the LDS temple practices.  I think I’ll devote a separate post to that topic specifically later on, but for now, I’d just say that after awhile, the LDS apologetics on that topic seemed less convincing.  Indeed, when I read the works of non-LDS temple scholar Margaret Barker (praised by many LDS apologists and scholars), I actually became more convinced of the ancient Israelite temple origins and connections of the Catholic and Orthodox liturgical rites and church architecture.  For more on that from Barker, I highly suggest reading her Temple Themes in Christian Worship.  Her website also has various papers she’s written on related matters.   Catholic and Orthodox readers may be interested in: Our Great High Priest: The Church as the New Temple, Temple and Liturgy, The Holy Anointing Oil, Belonging in the Temple, and Temple Roots of the Liturgy, if you don’t read all of the articles (there are a lot!).  It is clear to me, and many others, that Catholic and Orthodox churches, cathedrals, basilicas, etc not only carry on architecture and practices related to the Jewish synagogue, but also architecture and rites associated with the temple.  Eastern Catholics and Orthodox even refer to their churches as “temples”.

One practice that relates to the temple quite explicitly is the Eucharist, the consecrated bread and wine.  Catholics and Orthodox believe that their church buildings are sacred ground.  Each church is regarded as a literal House of God, where His presence literally dwells.  This is typified in the Eucharist, which is reserved in a tabernacle.  Catholics and Orthodox believe that during the liturgical rites of the church, we join with the Heavenly angels, as well as the deceased saints, in worshipping God.  They worship God in the Heavenly liturgy (as we see in Revelation.  For more on that, please see Dr. Scott Hahn’s popular book The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth).  In the church, Heaven and Earth join together, and we are in the presence of God, clearly tying to the Old Testament temples.

One book that is relevant to this topic, and which I highly recommend, is Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper, by Dr. Brant Pitre (Professor of Sacred Scripture at Notre Dame Seminary, PhD in New Testament and Ancient Judaism from University of Notre Dame).  Quite often, Evangelical Protestants, as well as Mormons, who do not share the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist with the most ancient Christian churches (i.e. Catholic, Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, etc), attempt to demonstrate that it is not only contra-Biblical, but is not found anciently, and goes against the Jewish context that Christianity developed in.  Dr. Pitre not only demonstrates that this is false (and countless Catholic/Orthodox apologists and scholars have demonstrated not only its ancient origins, but how it comports with the Biblical record as well, for centuries), but connects the Eucharist to three ancient Jewish practices:

  1. The Passover
  2. The Manna
  3. The Bread of the Presence in the Temple

I highly recommend this book to all Catholics, Orthodox, and LDS readers interested in understanding how the belief in the Real Presence not only is Biblical, but is tied quite significantly to ancient Jewish beliefs and practices, including temple practices, and that it was not invented centuries after Christ, after corruption by Greek philosophy, as some LDS and Evangelical apologists would have us believe.  Here is some information about the book:

In recent years, Christians everywhere are rediscovering the Jewish roots of their faith. Every year at Easter time, many believers now celebrate Passover meals (known as Seders) seeking to understand exactly what happened at Jesus’ final Passover, the night before he was crucified.
  
Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist shines fresh light on the Last Supper by looking at it through Jewish eyes. Using his in-depth knowledge of the Bible and ancient Judaism, Dr. Brant Pitre answers questions such as: What was the Passover like at the time of Jesus? What were the Jewish hopes for the Messiah? What was Jesus’ purpose in instituting the Eucharist during the feast of Passover? And, most important of all, what did Jesus mean when he said, “This is my body… This is my blood”?

To answer these questions, Pitre explores ancient Jewish beliefs about the Passover of the Messiah, the miraculous Manna from heaven, and the mysterious Bread of the Presence. As he shows, these three keys—the Passover, the Manna, and the Bread of the Presence—have the power to unlock the original meaning of the Eucharistic words of Jesus. Along the way, Pitre also explains how Jesus united the Last Supper to his death on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.           

Inspiring and informative, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist is a groundbreaking work that is sure to illuminate one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith: the mystery of Jesus’ presence in “the breaking of the bread.”

You can also view a lecture Dr. Pitre gave on the same subject.

Discovering the temple nature of Catholic and Orthodox sacraments, liturgies, devotions, beliefs, etc helped me realize that an apostasy of the Church didn’t happen, at least as related to understanding the Eucharist/Communion/the Sacrament.  The most ancient Christian churches did not invent this belief, and instead find continuity with the Judaism it fulfilled.  Further, Catholics and Orthodox continue offering to God bread and wine, just like Melchizedek did (having the same priesthood that he did), but they also have a sacrificial priesthood, just like we read about in the Old Testament, and just like the priesthood that functioned in the ancient temples (which LDS do not have).  Today, they re-present (not re-do) the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the Father, in the Sacrifice of the Mass and Divine Liturgy.

Latter-day Saints considering Catholicism or Orthodoxy don’t have to be worried about losing the temple.  The temple is found in Catholicism and Orthodoxy, was never lost, and you can join in many of the same practices found anciently, together with the angels and saints worshipping God in the Heavenly temple, in the presence of God on the sacred ground of the church.  The Eucharist is manna from Heaven, and God is waiting to feed you with Himself through His holy mysteries.

A later post will explore the concept of a temple further.

Holy Envy? Things I Appreciate About Mormonism

Oftentimes, over at Catholic Answers Forum in the LDS-related threads, there can be a heavy emphasis on pointing out the issues that non-LDS have with the LDS faith.  Some posters seem to always bring up negative issues, and seem to be incapable of not making emotional arguments and vilifying Latter-day Saints.  For them, there is always some negative, ulterior motive behind LDS participants there, things that the LDS Church does and says, etc.  If someone says something admirable or appreciative about Mormonism, they will quickly insert something negative into it.

So, in this post, I thought it would be nice to talk about things that I appreciate about the LDS faith.  While doctrinally I find nothing that I wish the Catholic Church had (and I find that my time as a Latter-day Saint helped me to appreciate Catholic teachings more, and actually understand things that I didn’t understand when I left Catholicism for Mormonism, such as revelation and prophets), there are certain practical matters that I think many Catholics could learn from.  With that said, many of these items are not limited to Latter-day Saints; it’s merely the example I use as it comes from personal experience.

“Holy envy” comes from Krister Stendahl, former Bishop of Stockholm in the Church of Sweden, Professor of New Testament, and Dean of Harvard Divinity School.  He died in 2008.  To him, “holy envy” meant that we can look at other faiths and find things that are admirable and meaningful that may not necessarily be found in your own faith.  There are five main areas of Mormonism that I appreciate:

  • Emphasis on Scripture Study– LDS leaders heavily emphasis reading the scriptures (which of course includes, in addition to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants).  Whether in General Conferences, in the Ensign Church Magazine (the latest issue has an article on the matter-“Scripture Study for Family Strength“, local leaders, etc, Latter-day Saints are encouraged to read and study their scriptures every day.   Practically every LDS congregation has a Sunday School hour where members read from and learn principles from their scriptures (each year is devoted to a specific volume of scripture).  I’d venture to guess that LDS tend to read their personal copies of their scriptures more than Catholics do.

 

  • Emphasis on Personal Revelation-Revelation is a concept that is very important in Mormonism.  While I think that there are misunderstandings with how LDS view the Catholic understanding of revelation, both faiths believe that God still speaks, and that He can speak to us individually.  However, Latter-day Saints are well known for their emphasis on personal revelation and finding answers for oneself through prayer.  LDS missionaries encourage “investigators” to read the Book of Mormon and pray to God to know whether it is true.  Mormons go to the temple to receive guidance from God on difficult or important matters in their lives.  Practically every General Conference includes a talk or two about how to receive personal revelation.  The latest issue of the Ensign Church Magazine has three articles on the topic: “Opening Our Hearts to Revelation“, “In His Own Time, in His Own Way“, and “The Leader’s Road to Revelation“.  Mormons quite frequently talk about how they prayed about something and believe that they received an answer from God to help them.

 

  • Young Adults in Church-As someone in their 20s, I really appreciated the “Young Single Adult” (YSA) scene in the LDS faith.  It was nice to be around young people that not only attended church every Sunday, but were active participants and leaders in the running of the congregation (I was a member of a YSA ward, or congregation, which is comprised solely of single adults between the ages of 18 and 31.  Once you turn 31, you are asked to attend the conventional, or “family” ward).  Seeing young adults go to church for 3 hours, many times more (such as for ward council, “linger longers” after, etc) was great.  Now, Catholic parishes on university campuses, or near universities also tend to have large numbers of young adults attending and participating in the life of the parish.

 

  • Religious Education and Activities-Formal Catholic religious education many times tends to end in the teenage years, after Confirmation.  While most Catholic parishes and cathedrals have a host of liturgies and devotions, which are indeed a form of religious education (I’m sure LDS that have attended the temple understand the concept of learning through ritual), there tends to be a lack of formal religious education classes for adults, excluding of course the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), which is for “investigators” of the Catholic faith.  Most LDS congregations on Sundays have Sunday School for about an hour, as well as Priesthood/Relief Society meetings for about another hour where further religious education is received.  During the week, many areas, especially those with many young adults that are “college-aged” (i.e. 20s), have “Institute”, classes on specific topics offered either on a college campus or at a church building.  For example, in my area this summer, there are classes on Teachings of the Living Prophets, the New Testament, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Book of Mormon, Old Testament Minor Prophets, and Doctrines of the Gospel.  These are opportunities for more in-depth study than would be found in Sunday School, as well as a social opportunity.  I loved having these ways to study my religion with others, especially people around my age, in formal church settings.  In addition, I loved all the activities that are available to socialize with members of the congregation, as well as other members in the area.  Whether it’s stake conference, YSA regional conferences (oh the church dances…), barbecue or ice cream after church (“linger longer”), Family Home Evening activities every Monday, monthly ward temple trips, etc, there is always something to do if you’d like.
  • Missionary Work-Mormons are well known for their missionary work.  Young men (and, less often, young women, as well as senior couples) going around with their characteristic name tags are a well known sight, at least in the United States.  Young men are strongly encouraged to serve a full-time, 2 year mission.  It is admirable that young people give up part of their youth to preach their faith, full time, instead of doing what many other young people would be doing at that time.  Further, all members are strongly encouraged to participate in missionary work, and are taught to be “member missionaries“.  Whether it’s sharing a Mormon.org profile, giving a friend a Book of Mormon, going out with the full-time missionaries, trying to help an inactive member come to church, etc, Latter-day Saints emphasize the importance of helping all come to their faith.  While the Catholic Church certainly has converted much of the world, and various Church-affiliated organizations aim to bring people to Catholicism, such as Catholics Come Home, there is something that can be appreciated by Latter-day Saints going out two by two to convert people, as well as the culture surrounding missionary work and how all members participate in it.

Origins of Catholic Christianity-Great Book Series

I collect books.  A lot of them.  In addition to the books I need for school, and books in my favorite genres of fiction (dystopian fiction and science fiction) I have practically a library of books on topics related to religion, including Mormonism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Evangelical Christianity, Islam, Neo-Paganism, and general historical-scholarly Christian works.  Sometimes I peruse Amazon in what little spare time I have to see what books I can buy.  What can I say, I’m a nerd!

So as I was browsing through the offerings on Amazon, I happened upon the “Origins of Catholic Christianity” book series by Taylor Marshall, PhD, a former Episcopal Church (the American branch of the 85 million member Anglican Communion) priest that converted to the Catholic Church.  He gives his academic credentials as:

“I earned a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Dallas. I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation titled: “Thomas Aquinas on Natural Law and the Twofold Beatitude of Humanity.” (I’m looking for a publisher for it, if you know anyone.) I’m a rocked-ribbed Thomist and I believe that Thomism is at the heart of everything great in Catholic culture.

I am also a graduate of Texas A&M University (BA, Philosophy – Whooop!), Westminster Theological Seminary (MAR, Systematic Theology), Nashotah Theological House (Certificate in Anglican Studies), and the University of Dallas (MA, Philosophy)”

The first of his books in the Series that I found was “The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity“.  This is a topic that is always fascinating to me.  Many Latter-day Saint apologists and scholars seek to connect the unique aspects of Mormonism to ancient Israelite beliefs and practices.  Whether it’s the temple and the temple Endowment, events in the Book of Mormon, an embodied God (i.e. the LDS belief that God the Father has a body of flesh and bone), the importance of covenants, Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, etc, they seek to point out where Mormonism is in direct continuity with ancient Judaism, which is especially important when we understand how Latter-day Saints view the concept of Apostasy and Restoration, believing that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is as old as Adam, and that Jesus Christ in the New Testament wasn’t necessarily establishing something new, but was re-establishing His Church and Gospel.

So, when I looked at the Table of Contents of The Crucified Rabbi, I knew I immediately had to purchase the book for Kindle (I blame the invention of Kindle for my lack of productivity).  Dr. Marshall clearly aims to demonstrate the continuity of the Catholic faith, and many of its unique beliefs and practices, with ancient Judaism, including the knowledge that we gain from the Deuterocanonical texts that are part of the Catholic/Orthodox Bibles, and not found in the Protestant versions (including the King James Version read by Latter-day Saints) nor the latest Jewish canon, as well as other ancient Judeo-Christian sources.

In the Introduction to the book, titled “How I Discovered the Jewish Origins of Catholicism”, essentially giving an overview of his conversion to Catholicism after being a priest in another faith, Dr. Marshall recounts an experience he had talking with a Rabbi in a hospital waiting room (Dr. Marshall was visiting someone as a priest), who told him that Jews believe that “if someone is suffering and you invoke the name of his or her mother in prayer, God will be more merciful in granting your prayer for that person“.  Dr. Marshall then goes on to make a connection with the Catholic veneration of the Virgin Mary, and goes on from there:

If Jews believed that invoking the mother of someone caused God to be more gracious in answering an intercession, then wouldn’t the name of Mary be worth invoking?  Even more, Mary wasn’t just an ordinary mother.  She was the only person ever created who could speak to God about our Son.  That’s when it hit me.  Catholic devotion to Mary is not merely based on sound Christological arguments.  Veneration for the Blessed Mother is not just only in the writings of the early Church.  Reaching back even further, the Church reveres and invokes the Blessed Mother because it inherited the Jewish custom of showing profound reverence for the spiritual role of the mother in a family.  The rabbi’s answer was a surprising confirmation that Catholic customs are rooted in a Jewish understanding of reality.

This experience opened up an entirely new way of appreciating Christianity, that is to say Catholic Christianity.  I soon learned that Orthodox Jews pray for the dead-as do Catholics.  Jews have a special ark in their synagogues to house the Word of God.  Catholics have a special tabernacle in their churches to house the Word of God made flesh in the Eucharist.  All of the fascinating elements of the Old Testament-the liturgies, the holy days, the vestments, the lamps, the vows, the rituals-all of these were preserved or transformed in the sacramental economy of the Catholic Church. 

The following year I renounced the ordination that I had received in the Episcopal Church after a considerable amount of prayer, study, and counsel.  The Episcopal Church possessed many ancient elements and practices, but I came to see that the Anglican schism of the sixteenth century, and the Protestant Reformation in general, did not reflect the original trajectory of the New Testament.  I came to believe that the Church is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the People of God.  In the Old Testament, the People of Israel were not free to create a “new Israel” or to form a new denomination of “Protestant Israelites.”  No matter how corrupt the priests, the high priests, and the kings of Judah became, the covenant of God remained in effect.

My wife and I entered into full communion with the Catholic Church on May 23, 2006, along with our four children.  I became a Catholic Christian because I realized that the Catholic Church alone could trace her doctrine, liturgy, customs, and morality back to those Jewish beginnings when a rabbi named Jesus roamed the Holy Land with a band of Jewish disciples.  As a Catholic Christian, I am linked not only to the early Church, but also to the ancient tradition of the Old Testament.  I can now say with the Apostle Paul (who was once Rabbi Saul): I share the faith of Abraham, for he is the father of us all.-Romans 4:16.”

Talk about a powerful testimony!  Looking at his other books, I see that they similarly aim to demonstrate the authenticity of the Catholic faith as the fulness of true Christianity, consistent with not only the Biblical records, but with history (and therefore his books are great for those looking to see how an Apostasy is simply untenable, not supported by the Bible nor history, and that the Catholic Church is in continuity not only with the New Testament Church, since it is that Church, but also with ancient Judaism).  I encourage anyone interested in this topic to take a look at his books!  Here they are:

The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity

Praise for The Crucified Rabbi:

 

“Taylor Marshall helps us to be more Catholic by taking our faith to its most profound depths – its ancient roots in the religion of Israel, the Judaism beloved by the Apostles, the religion of the Temple and Synagogue, the Torah and the sacrifice. Jesus said he came not to abolish that faith but to fulfill it. In this book, we see that fullness down to the smallest details. I treasure this book.” -Mike Aquilina, author of The Fathers of the Church 
 
“Such sparkling insights appear on almost every page, as Taylor Marshall deftly compares various features of Judaism to their Catholic counterparts: the priesthood, vestments, holy days, marriage, and saints, to name but a few. Saint Augustine’s dictum, “The New Covenant is in the Old, concealed; the Old Covenant is in the New, revealed” is on full display inThe Crucified Rabbi.” -Cale Clarke, Catholic Insight Magazine 
“This is a fascinating book full of interesting details. The Crucified Rabbi should be required reading for every student of the Catholic faith.” -Father Dwight Longenecker, author of Mary: A Catholic/Evangelical Debate 
  • How does Jesus fulfill over three hundred Old Testament Prophecies? {over 300 Hebrew prophecies of Christ and the Church listed inside this book}
  • Is Catholicism inherently Anti-Semitic? Do the Hebrew Scriptures accurately predict Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah?
  • How does Jewish thinking presuppose devotion to Mary?
  • Is the Catholic Church a fulfillment of historic Israel?
  • How do Jewish water rituals relate to Catholic baptism?
  • Is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass a Passover meal?
  • Should the Catholic priesthood conform to the priesthood established by Moses?
  • How has the Jewish Temple influenced traditional Christian architecture?
  • Does the Pope wear a yarmulke?

Chapters and Sub-Chapters I find interesting:

  • Does the Pope Wear a Yarmulke?
  • Jewish Messiah, Catholic Christ (The Old Covenant “Proto-Gospel”)
  • Jewish Kingdom, Catholic Church (Mary as the Queen Mother of Jerusalem, The Pope as the King’s Royal Steward)
  • Jewish Tevilah, Catholic Baptism (all Sub-Chapters, especially Is Baptism a Ceremonial Washing, and Catholic Baptism as the Tevilah for Original Sin
  • Jewish Passover, Catholic Mass (all Sub-Chapters, especially What is Manna? and The Bread of Life, the Eucharist)
  • Jewish Kohenim, Catholic Priests (all Sub-Chapters, especially Christ the High Priest, The Order of Melchizedek (obviously interesting for those following this blog!), The Catholic Priesthood of the New Covenant, Is the Pope a High Priest?)
  • Jewish Vestments, Catholic Vestments
  • Jewish Temple, Catholic Cathedral (all Sub-Chapters, demonstrating how Catholic cathedrals are in continuity with the OT Temples)
  • Jewish Synagogue, Catholic Parish (Structure of the Synagogue, Structure of the Catholic Parish)
  • Jewish Nazirites, Catholic Monastics (The Nazirite Vow, Christian Monasticism, Liturgy of the Hours and Jewish Prayer, Was Jesus a Nazirite?)
  • Jewish Marriage, Catholic Marriage
  • Jewish Holy Days, Catholic Holy Days
  • Jewish Tzaddikim, Catholic Saints (Heavenly Intercession of the Saints)
  • Jewish Afterlife, Catholic Afterlife

The Catholic Perspective on Paul: Paul and the Origins of Catholic Christianity

“If you’re looking for a complete and simple Catholic resource to equip you to answer your Protestant friends about salvation, faith and works, baptism, the Eucharist, the sacraments, the priesthood, celibacy, and redemptive suffering, then this new book is for you.

This book intends to show once and for all that Saint Paul was thoroughly Catholic, and that Protestant and liberal prejudices against the Catholic perspective on Paul are unwarranted. If we read Paul in his own words, we find none other than the great Catholic Apostle of Rome. “
  • How did Paul’s background as a Jewish rabbi inform his message?
  • Did Paul hold that we are justified by faith alone?
  • Did Paul teach baptismal regeneration?
  • Did Paul hold that one might “fall from grace”?
  • Did Paul consider himself to be a “priest”?
  • Did Paul believe that the Church was one, holy, catholic, and apostolic?

Chapters and Sub-chapters I find interesting:

  • Rabbi Saul and the Apostle Paul (Paul’s Doctrine of Participation in Christ, How Are We Saved by Grace?)
  • Paul on the Catholic Church (The Church is One, The Church is Holy, The Church is Catholic, The Church is Apostolic)
  • Paul on Justification, Faith, and Works (all sub-chapters)
  • Paul on Baptism and Regeneration (Infant Baptism)
  • Paul on Falling from Grace and Reconciliation (Confession as the Ministry of Reconciliation)
  • Paul on Purgatory And Prayer for the Dead (Post-mortem Purgation, Eternal Punishment and Temporal Punishment, Praying for the Dead)
  • Paul on the Eucharistic Sacrifice (What Does Eucharist Mean?, Eucharistic Sacrifice, The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Christ Our Passover)
  • Paul on the Priesthood (The One Priesthood of Christ: Two Participations, The Sacrament of Holy Orders, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, Calling Priests “Father”, Spiritual Fatherhood, Paul and Celibacy)
  • Paul on Holy Matrimony as Sacrament (Marriage as an Icon of Christ with the Church)
  • Paul on Human Sexuality
  • Paul on the Communion of Saints (Mystic Sweet Communion, One Body, Many Members, Veneration of the Saints and Relics, What About the Virgin Mary?)
  • The Martyrdom and Death of Paul (The Problem of Pain, Knowing Christ Crucified, Saint Paul’s Martyrdom in Rome)

The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholic Christianity

“Read this book if you have ever wondered why the Catholic Church specifically claims to be Roman? It would seem that the Church of Jesus Christ would be centered in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jews, since Christ died and rose again in Jerusalem. Catholic theologian Taylor Marshall, Ph.D. provides a layman’s account of how Christ chose the Rome as an instrument of redemption for the nations. Beginning with the Old Testament prophets, Dr. Marshall explains how the Messiah would come and assume reign over the nations through the Roman Empire. This book provides an exciting and popular account establishing Rome as ‘the Eternal City’ of Christ the King.”

  • If Christ was crucified and rose again in Jerusalem, why is the Kingdom of God manifested as the Roman Catholic Church?
  • How does the Bible foretell the Roman Catholic Church?
  • Was Christ truly born on December 25?
  • What is the significance of Christ being crucified on a Roman cross?
  • Was Saint Peter the first Pope of Rome?
  • Has Saint Peter’s body been found underneath the Vatican?
  • How does the Book of Revelation relate to Rome and the Antichrist?

What are the Biblical and theological reasons for the Church being Roman?  Dr. Taylor Marshall explains why the Jewish prophets and apostles expected Christ to vanquish Rome and recast Rome as the Eternal City-the earthly seat for the Vicar of Christ.

Chapters and Sub-Chapters I find interesting:

  • Daniel Foretells the Roman Church (The Four Kingdoms in Detail, The Fourth Beast and the Son of Man)
  • Hanukkah and the Jewish-Roman Alliance
  • The Birth of Christ under Caesar
  • Crucified Under Pontius Pilate
  • Did Peter Establish the Church of Rome? (The Church Infiltrates Rome, The Church Fathers on Peter in Rome)
  • The Tomb of Saint Peter in Rome (The City of the Dead, Did They Find Saint Peter Beneath the High Altar?)
  • The First Five Popes of Rome
  • Rome Destroys Jerusalem
  • Constantine as Caesar Rendered Unto God (Constantine the Great or Not-So-Great?, The Catacombs)
  • City of Man or City of God? (The Fall of Rome, St. Augustine’s The City of God, Jerusalem vs Hierosolym, Is Rome Now Irrelevant?)