My highlights and comments
"The more I studied the commentaries on Revelation, the more I came to understand selected details, but the less I seemed to understand the whole of the book. Then, while researching other matters, I happened upon a hidden treasure -hidden, that is, from someone studying the Scriptures in a tradition that reaches back only four hundred years.
I began reading the Church Fathers, the Christian writers and teachers of the first eight centuries, and especially their commentaries on the Bible. I kept bumping up against my ignorance as the Fathers frequently referred to something I knew nothing about: the liturgy. Interestingly, however, I discovered that this ancient liturgy seemed to incorporate many of the small details of the Apocalypse -in a context in which they made sense! Then, as I pressed on to read the Fathers' exegetical studies of the Apocalypse, I found that many of the men had made the explicit connection between the Mass and the Book of Revelation. In fact, for most of the early Christians it was a given: the Book of Revelation was incomprehensible apart from the liturgy." (Part 2 Section 1)
Traditions and teachings of some of the first-century Christians are not necessarily good doctrine. I believe that Mr. Scott Hahn is using a fallacy. He underestimates the value of doctrinal teachings when they are the result of "studying the Scriptures in a tradition that reaches back only four hundred years." He says "only four hundred years", as if a greater number such as two thousand years could be the reason to give value to an argument or in this case, a doctrine.
Later Mr. Scott Hahn talks about the "Church Fathers, the Christian writers and teachers of the first eight centuries". He is making a contrast between "a tradition that reaches back only four hundred years" and "the Christian writers and teachers of the first eight centuries, and especially their commentaries on the Bible." To me Mr. Scott Hahn is using an extremely weak argument, even though he seemed to be trying to present it as a strong one. Think about the Pharisees. They were contemporary to Jesus and they had misinterpretations of the Scriptures, as Jesus exposed it during several debates between Himself and the Pharisees.
Think about the Israelites. They were the direct descendants of the patriarch Jacob. It is clear that they had countless doctrinal misinterpretations. In fact, John 1:11-12 NIV says: "11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—". Those are just a few examples that support my argument that being contemporary of Jesus Christ does not necessarily correlate to good doctrine.
Think about the Sadducees. They did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. How can that be good doctrine? And guess what! According to the latest version of the Wikipedia article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadducees, the Sadducees "were active in Judea during the Second Temple period, starting from the second century BC through the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE." I think my point is clear.
I find it unfortunate that Mr. Scott Hahn uses this fallacy to try to somehow give a greater value to the doctrine of Christians from the first eight centuries, trying to reduce the value of doctrine from "a tradition that reaches back only four hundred years." If in the last four hundred years people have studied the Scriptures, what was written in the Bible recorded as the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, why should we underestimate those studies? Anyone can, even starting from 2020, start to investigate and read the Bible, study it profoundly guided by the Holy Spirit, and understand correctly the gospel of Jesus Christ, the doctrine of salvation, and many other fundamental doctrines found in the Bible.
The fallacy Mr. Scott Hahn uses sounds to me as if we said that being older makes me right and being younger makes you wrong. Why don't we study the doctrinal arguments themselves and analyze the value of each of them, instead of jumping into conclusions simply because a doctrine was developed before another? If we rely on chronology that way, we could conclude that Isaac Newton was right and Albert Einstein was wrong, in scientific points where they contradicted each other's theories. That would be a fallacy. I believe that is the fallacy that Mr. Scott Hahn is also using.
Created: 2020-07-06 02:48:21 Last updated: 2020-07-06 02:48:21
'HOOKED ON A FAILING
Well, yes, and that is a dreadful manifestation of the wrath of God. We might think that the pleasures of sin are prefereable to suffering and calamity, but they're not.
We have to recognize sin as the action that destroys our family bond with God and keeps us from life and freedom. How does that happen?
We have an obligation, first, to resist temptation. If we fail then and we sin, we have an obligation to repent immediately. If we do not repent, then God lets us have our way: He allows us to experience the natural consequences of our sins, the illicit pleasures. If we still fail to repent —through self-denial and acts of penance- God allows us to continue in sin, thereby forming a habit, a vice, which darkens our intellect and weakens our will.
Once we're hooked on a sin, our values are turned upside down. Evil becomes our most urgent "good," our deepest longing; good stands as an "evil" because it threatens to keep us from satisfying our illicit desires. At that point, repentance becomes almost impossible, because repentance is, by definition, a turning away from evil and toward the good; but, by now, the sinner has thoroughly redefined both good and evil. Isaiah said of such sinners: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil" (Is 5:20).
Once we have embraced sin in this way and rejected our covenant with God, only a calamity can save us. Sometimes, the most merciful thing that God can do to a drunk, for example, may be to allow him to wreck his car or be abandoned by his wife -whatever will force him to accept responsibility for his actions.
What happens, though, when an entire nation has fallen into serious and habitual sin? The same principle is at work. God intervenes by allowing economic depression, foreign conquest, or natural catastrophe. Often enough, a nation brings on these disasters by its sins. But, in any case, they are the most merciful of wake-up calls. Sometimes, disaster means that the world the sinners knew must fade away. But, as Jesus said, "What does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" (Mk 8:36). It's better to bid farewell to a world of sin than to be lost without hope of repentance.
When people read the Apocalypse, they get frightened by the earthquakes and locusts and famines and scorpions. But the only reason God would allow these things is because He loves us. The world is good -make no mistake about that- but the world is not God. If we've allowed the world and its pleasures to rule us as a god, the best thing the real God can do is to start taking away the stones that make up the foundation of our world.' (Part 2 Section 4)
I had made this world my priority and forgotten about God and His kingdom. God destroyed my life and rebuilt it with new purpose and clarity about how I am a Christian and not just a human in this world trying to succeed and achieve my personal, oftentimes self-centered and egotistical goals.
I think that passage is a powerful message to help us understand somehow, why sometimes God allows horrible things to happen in our lives such as failure, calamity, a crisis of any type (in our finances, health, family, job, etc.) It brings to my mind this verse of the Bible: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 NIV). Hebrews 12:7-11 NIV says: "7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
Obviously this does not mean that all problems we face in this life are the result or consequence of a sinful life and the subsequent discipline of God. But maybe sometimes, that might be an explanation that we should not ignore.
Created: 2020-07-05 08:25:36 Last updated: 2020-07-05 20:31:18