Questions I Challenge Christians to Pray About,
Ask Themselves, & Research (using different sources --- including
Orthodox, Catholic and purely secular scholarly ones). Please, consider
this exercise. Write out your answers as you go along to look at them
at the end. All I ask is that you are honest, open-minded, and
prayerful. Grab your King James Bible and let's begin:
Where did the
Bible come from? When was it codified? What books were first listed as
belonging in the Christian canon? How has the canon changed over time
in various groups? What books were included in the first edition of the
King James Bible? When did the Council of Jamnia take place, who were
its members, and what did it do?
Before the Books of the Bible were canonized, how was the Gospel
spread? Before the printing press was invented some one-thousand and
five hundred years after Christ, how was the Gospel spread? How do the
answers to these questions apply to the concept of "sola scriptura," or
the "Bible alone" as the rule of faith? What does 2 Peter 3:16 warn
against? 2 Peter 1:20-21 says Scripture is of ___ ____________
_____________? What does the word "profitable" mean? In 2 Timothy
3:16-17, what does the word "profitable" mean? Does "profitable" mean
"is sufficient for" in any dictionary? Was there a New Testament canon
at the time Paul wrote that verse? If not, then what Scripture was he
What do 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Thessalonians 3:6 and 1 Corinthians
11:2 say about Tradition? When did this Tradition stop being in effect?
What did Jesus mean when He told his followers to heed those who sat on
the Chair of Moses in Matthew 23:2? What does that say about Jesus'
expectations for his followers to obey earthly authority?
What does 1 Timothy 3:15 indicate is the rule of faith? What do you
believe is the rule of faith, and why?
The man to whom Jesus is speaking in Matthew 16:18-19: what was his
name before those verses? What was his name after those verses? What
does that name mean? What language did Jesus speak? What is the name
given to this man in Jesus' original language? What does that word
mean? What other people in the Bible were given name changes? What did
name changes signify in Hebrew life? What metaphoric object does Jesus
give the man in Matthew 16:18-19? What does this symbolize? What did
they symbolize in Isaiah 22? What are "binding and loosing"?
If Christ is a High Priest, and we are members of His royal priesthood,
what are the offerings of each? If Christ is a High Priest forever, can
his offerings have stopped? Did the fact that the Israelites were
members of the royal priesthood negate the ordained Levite priesthood?
Did the New Testament Church have bishops, elders (presbyteros,
priests), and deacons or was it non-hierarchical? What is the rebellion
of Korah mentioned in Jude 1:11? (hint: see Numbers 16:3) What does it
mean that Jesus is a "High Priest after the order of Melchizedek"? In
John 6:52-58, what is the meaning of the word "is"? In I Corinthians
11:23-30, why does Paul say some people become sick -- and what does
that indicate to you? Since Messiah has come, where today are the
incense and "pure offering" offered up as predicted in Malachi 1:10-11?
What is the root word of the word "priest"? What is the root word of
the word "presbyter"?
How does Paul refer to himself in 1 Corinthians 4:14-15? In what way do
the Apostles treat new Christians according to 1 Thessalonians 2:11?
How does Paul refer to Isaac in Romans 9:10? How does John address his
audience in 1 John 2:13?
What does I Peter 3:18-21 say baptism does? Whom does Acts 2:38-39 say
that baptism is for? Whom does it indicate the promise of baptism is
for? What does Colossians 2:11-12 compare baptism with? When were
people circumcized to enter into the Old Covenant (i.e., at what age)?
Did or did not Paul baptize entire households? In John 3:1-7, it says
we are to be baptized in the Spirit and _______? In Whose name are we
to be baptized according to Matthew 28:19? Do you believe something
different about Baptism than what these verses teach? If so, why? How
did the earliest Christians baptize according to the non-canonical
writings of the earliest Christians (e.g., the Didache)?
According to Acts 8:14-17 and Acts 19:5-6, what did Peter, Paul and
John do in addition to baptizing? Do you believe that what they did is
unimportant? If so, why?
What do Proverbs 28:13 and 1 John 1:9 say we should do with our sins?
What authority was given to the twelve who were with Jesus in the Upper
Room in John 20:21-23? What power was given speficially to Simon Peter
in Matthew 16:19? What sort of ministry is described in 2 Corinthians
5:18? Do you believe something different than what these verses teach?
If so, why?
How does James 5:14 describe how the elders (presbyters, priests) dealt
with the sick? What did they use to help the sick? Does the faith
community you're involved with do this? If not, why not?
What does Matthew 19:6 say about marriages that are put together by
God? Does your faith community teach something different? If so, why?
Mark 12:26-27 says that God is the God of what three people? What does
it say about these three people (i.e., what condition are they in)? Is
God the God of Abraham? Is God the God of the dead? How can he be both
the God of Abraham but not the God of the dead but the living? What
does Revelation 6:9-10 say about what the "souls of them that were
slain" are doing? Where are those souls? What does Hebrews 12:1 say we
are surrounded by? Who are they? What does this say about those who die
in Christ? Does your faith community teach something different? If so,
What woman in Scripture gave birth to the man who was to rule all
nations? Where does Revelation 12 say this woman is? What does the word
"magnify" mean? In Luke 1:46-49, what does "magnify" mean? Who is the
"Queen in Gold" of Psalm 45:10-17? In what ways does this Psalm make
Luke 1:48 clear?
If Christ is the New Adam (Romans 5:14-15, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 1
Corinthians 15:45), who is the New Eve? Who are the only two people in
the Old Testament to have been without original sin from their first
What three things did the Ark of the Covenant have within it (hint: see
Hebrews 9:4)? What did Mary carry within her and in what ways are the
contents of the Ark similar? Compare Luke 1:39-56 and 2 Samuel 6:2-16:
in what ways are the Ark of the Covenant and Mary similar? How holy was
the Ark of the Covenant considered to be? What happened
to a person who touched it?
What is the Jewish "Mourner's Kaddish" (or "Quaddish") and why is it
prayed? What is the meaning of 1 Corinthians 3:13-15? What does
Revelation 21:27 say about the unclean? If you were to die right now,
today, would you be clean enough to stand before Almighty God? For whom
was Paul praying in 2 Timothy 1:16-18 and what was his condition at
that time? Does your faith community pray for the dead? If not, why not?
What does James 2:24 say about how we are justified? What kind of faith
is mentioned in Galatians 5:6? Whom does Jesus say will enter the
Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 7:21? What does Ephesians 2:8-9 say about
the possibility of saving ourselves through works? What does that verse
say we are saved by? Does your faith community teach either salvation
by faith alone or by works alone? If so, why?
What does Hebrews 3:12-14 indicate about the possibility of a person
who knows Christ departing from God? Under what conditions does it say
we can be "partakers of Christ"? In what way does Philippians 2:12 say
we should approach salvation? Do you approach salvation in this way? If
not, why not? Are babies saved? Are 5 year olds saved? 19 year olds? At
what point, if any, do the conditions for salvation change and how do
your answers affect the concept of "once saved, always saved"?
What does Acts 7:51 say about the ability to resist the Holy Spirit?
What does this mean in terms of the existence of free will? Does your
faith community teach something different about free will? If so, why?
What does Luke 23:34 indicate about those who act in ignorance? What
does Romans 9:15 indicate about the ultimate sovereignty of God?
Revelation 17:15-18 speaks of a whore which is "that great city." What
is this city according to Revelation 11:8? Where was Christ crucified?
How did the Jewish historian, Josephus, describe the Temple in
Jerusalem that was destroyed in A.D. 70?
Why does Jesus say He came according to John 12:25-27? What is the
nature of the Kingdom according to John 18:36? How long has this been
the nature of the Kingdom according to Matthew 25:34? What do those
three verses say to those who might believe Jesus came (and will come
again) to set up an earthly kingdom? Does Galatians 3:7-29
differentiate between the "seed of Abraham" and the Church? Who is a
Jew according to Romans 2:28-29? With whom is the New Covenant made
according to Jeremiah 31:31-34? Are there people who say they are Jews
but are not according to Revelation 2:9 and 3:9? Given these verses,
are people properly referred to as "Gentiles" when they enter the New
Covenant? Did God keep His promises to the ancient Israelites
concerning the Holy Land according to Joshua 21: 43-45, 1 Kings 8: 56,
Nehemiah 9: 7-8? Why did they lose their rights to the Holy Land
according to Deuteronomy 28: 58-68?
What are the Talmud and Kabbalah? What does the Talmud say about Jesus
Christ and Mary? How is modern Judaism different from the religion of
the Old Testament? How has the rite of circumcision changed from the
Old Testament version of the rite to what rabbis and medical doctors in
the West do today?
What objects are described in 1 Kings 6:29? What about in Ezekiel
41:17-19? What does this mean in light of Exodus 20:4?
Did the religion of the Old Testament have a sense of sacred time,
sacred space, and sacred objects? Is there anything in the New
Testament that indicates the concept of consecrated things/places/times
has changed? What media does God use to effect miracles in:
Joshua 3:15; 1
Samuel 4-6; and 2 Samuel 11-1?
2nd Kings 13:21?
What is the true relationship of the people described as "brothers" in:
Genesis 11:26-28 and Genesis 14:14? In Genesis 29:15? In 1 Chronicles
23:21-22? In 2 Kings 10:13-14? In Deuteronomy 23:7 and Jeremiah 34:9?
In Matthew 23:8? In John 20:17-18 and Matthew 12:49? In 1 Corinthians
15:6? Who is the real mother of "James, the brother of Jesus" according
to your view of these verses: Matthew 27: 55-56, Mark 3:18, Mark 15:40,
John 19:25, and Jude 1? What does "firstborn" mean (hint: see Exodus
13:2, Exodus 13:14-15, Numbers 18:15)?
What is "Easter" called in Latin? In Italy, France and Spain? What is
it called in Germany, Sweden, and Denmark? What do Byzantine Catholics
call it? What is the common root word for all these names? What does
that root word indicate about the origins of the holy day known in
English speaking countries as "Easter"?
Everyone wants to be part of a "New Testament-style Church" -- but few
are the people who read what the earliest Christians wrote! If
worshipping and believing like the Apostles did are, indeed, what you
want, then why haven't you read thoroughly Sacred Scripture, the
Didache (the first century "Teachings of the Twelve Apostles"),
Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, John
Chrysostom, Augustine (all of him, not just the parts that, pulled out
of context, seem to support various modern positions!), Hippolytus,
etc. Even Origen and Tertullian give witness to what the early
Christians believed... How can you know what the earliest Church was
like if you don't look? What is holding you back? If you read these
early Christians' writings, ask yourself: what Church today is like the
Church they described? What Church today teaches Bible-based answers to
the questions above?
For Those Who Hate the Catholic
why do I hate the Catholic Church? Who taught me what I think I know
about the Catholic Church? Is what I was taught true? Have I looked at
what the Catholic Church has to say about itself, using official
resources such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church and papal
encyclicals? Could my opinion of the Catholic Church possibly be based
on bias, bigotry, bad history, propaganda from the secular media, or
the bad priests who get publicity (i.e., the sick, and sickening,
ephebophile priests or those certain heretical modernist priests the
secular media love to give press to)? Is it fair to judge doctrine
by such things? Is any group with human beings in it free from sin and
scandal? If I am wrong about the Catholic Church, what does that mean?
Here are some
common myths about the Catholic Church:
Catholics reject the tradition of "sola fide" ("faith alone"), they
think they can work their way into Heaven and believe they are saved by
the pope does not sin
re-crucify Christ at their Masses (or at least think they do)
Mary is part of the Godhead and is to be worshipped
they can't pray to God directly but have to go through saints
conjure the dead
believe people can be saved after they die
Church teaches that one who isn't formally a Catholic is damned to Hell
||The Crusades are
an example of Catholic aggression
Inquisition(s) killed hundreds of thousands of people and targeted Jews
||Pope Pius XII
was "Hitler's Pope" and didn't do a thing to help Jews during WWII
Church wasn't around until the time of Constantine, a pagan who
controlled the Church. The Catholic Church did more than baptize pagan
calendar days for the good of Christ, it is pagan in its very roots.
If you believe
any of the above myths, I implore you to research. For doctrinal
questions, ask the Church what it teaches; it's the only fair thing
to do. For historical questions, look at balanced
and objective scholarly research from a variety of sources
(including Catholic ones).
And as you research, keep in mind the common logical fallacies that are
often used in attacks against Catholicism:
"I knew a Catholic/ex-Catholic (or I was a Catholic) who was (mean, a
drunk, not holy, didn't like the Church, was superstitious, didn't know
the Bible, didn't have a deep relationship with Jesus, etc.), so
therefore, the teachings of the Catholic Church are wrong." (Ignores
the fact that bad catechesis, misunderstandings, or other shortcomings
of a few Catholics do not reflect on what the Catholic Church teaches)
"If the Catholic Church doesn't teach that it's faith alone that saves,
then it must teach that men are saved by their own works." (Ignores
that we teach that we are saved by Grace alone -- a Grace with which we
must cooperate through "faith that works in love")
Cum hoc ergo propter hoc:
"Winter Solstice is on 21 December; Christmas is 25 December.
Therefore, Christmas is a pagan holiday. (Ignores that fact that there
are only 365 days to choose from in a year and that the early Church
Fathers had good reasons to choose the date they did. It also ignores
that Protestants' "Reformation Day" is celebrated on 31 October, the
pagan festival of Samhain.)
Post hoc ergo propter hoc:
"Constantine must have been the real source of the Catholic Church's
teachings because after his reign the Church grew tremendously, and
before his reign it wasn't as well-known" (Ignores the simple fact that
Constantine merely stopped the persecution of Christians with the Edict
of Milan and allowed Christianity to spread. It also ignores the
writings of the Church Fathers who lived before Constantine -- and who
"You guys worship statues, and that's evil. Therefore, your religion is
Satanic." (Ignores that fact that we don't worship statues)