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!

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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?)