Where Have I been?

I’ve slowed down with this blog; here are some reasons why:

1) As my regular readers know, I just published a book called The Church of Christ is Built on Rock, and that took some time. I believe it is a great book about the historical understanding of Jesus’ words found in Matthew 16, and I show how the Protestant understanding of the passage is flawed; I outline each of the Protestant Church of Christ’s best and most indicative arguments. I know of no other book that is equally easy-to-understand and thorough about this topic.

2) I am also writing a book called The Noble Bereans Were Catholic, and I hope to have it available around the middle of 2015. It will include my posts about the Protestant Rule of Faith (sola Scriptura), and I will show how the Protestant Rule conflicts with the Christian Rule of Faith (Church + Scripture). Much of the content of that book (some is already available on this blog) has already been referred to by leading apologists such as Dave Armstrong, Nickolas Hardesty, and Bryan Cross. Of course, the book will include some goodies not found on this blog.

3) A specifically Catholic idea – that we are to “tend the garden” that God has given us – has been on my mind. It is true that this blog and my books have helped hundreds of Protestant Church of Christ members (and other “Restoration” Christians) become Catholic (they contact me), but my garden is bigger than that! I’m a small business owner. Actually, I own several companies, and I am a leader in one small niche that is in need of direction. I build mobile dog grooming trailers for entrepreneurs, and I have helped hundreds of people in three countries start their businesses. I want to serve my customers better, I want to give them more value, and I want to do it in a specifically Christian way. So what I’ve been doing is writing “the industry’s textbook” and I’m developing a YouTube channel that will provide valuable insight into the Christian way of doing business. Basically, I want to share with my garden what St. Benedict taught:

He who labors as he prays lifts his heart to God with his hands.

But I will be back to writing for this blog probably on a monthly basis. Thank you for your time.

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Wonder Woman Selfie

My almost perfect looking wife ready for Halloween–all selfied up with her homemade costume.

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This Year’s Halloween Prop

I made a demon-possessed mailbox. It has a motion sensor and comes alive right when the kids walk by! (Very productive day.)

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New Book: The Church of Christ Is Built on Rock

Built on rockI’m very excited about my latest book! The Church of Christ Is Built on Rock is my best attempt to explain the historical / Christian understanding of Jesus’ words,

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church . . . .”

It is written to Stone-Campbellite / Restorationist Christians, but it is easily adaptable for other kinds of non-Catholic Christians. It shares many posts found in this blog, but it organizes the data into an easy-to-follow format.

The Church of Christ Is Built on Rock: A Defense of the Sound Pattern of Catholic Authority against Restorationism’s Pursuit of Independence is written for members of Restorationist communities, primarily those who understand that the Lord’s Church is found within groups that descend from the nineteenth century Stone-Campbell movement. Many non-Catholic Christians begin their protest against the Catholic Church’s legitimacy and authority by firstly arguing against her understanding of Jesus’ words, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church . . .” (Matthew 16:18); this book is a response to such arguments. 110 pages / 22,000 words

•Does the Bible support the papacy?
•What are the keys to the kingdom?
•Did Jesus build His Church on a confession of faith?
•Are elders selected by local congregations?
•Are autonomous Church plantings Jesus’ intent?
•Is apostolic succession biblical?

These and other questions are answered in this book. Vandapool presents the Protestant Church of Christ’s most common arguments against the Catholic Church of Christ’s understanding of the passage and then shows how none of them stand up to scrutiny. He explains the cultural context of Jesus’ statement and the paradigmatic structure that Jesus alluded to when calling St. Peter to the office of prime minister. In doing so, Vandapool arranges the importance of the subject as it pertains to orthodoxy, authority, and the forgiveness of sins.

NOTE: This book shares a lot of the same content as my first book Traditions of Men

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A Headline I’ve Never Read

Satanists to Hold Controversial Black Protestant Lord’s Supper

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My Almost Perfect Looking Wife Has a Cool Hobby

poe-altered-altoid-tinKim’s latest altered Altoid tin is dark and creepy, but it could be better than any tin before! (Click here for more, for more!)

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A Different Way of Understanding How 2 Timothy 3:16 Is Not about Sola Scripura

“Bible-only” friends,

In my experience, your groups refer to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 more than any other Bible passage as a proof for sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity. This passage, you think, is the silver bullet, the cleanup hitter, the biblical proof of all proofs! The passage reads:

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

You interpret the passage as, essentially, “The Bible is all Scripture, and the Bible alone contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness.” And as your most often-used proof for sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity, I will give it more attention than your others. (I’ve addressed your lesser-used passages here, here, and here.) Let us begin by addressing the full passage beginning from verse 14 through verse 17.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 

To properly understand the passage, you will need to sedate your Protestant individualism; please try to think “Catholic-ly” and not “Private-ly”, contextually and not proof-textually, and with an open mind. The passage (vs. 14-17), not the proof-text that your group focuses on (vs. 16-17 only), is a literary unit that is comprised of seven parts. I will review each part of the passage, show how its very structure presupposes Catholic ecclesiastical order, show how the subject of the passage is not about Scripture, but salvation in Christ Jesus, and how it in no way supports sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity. I will then bring all of the passage’s parts back together, and hope that you are able to understand St. Paul’s message for the beauty that it truly is, and for the beauty that it truly reflects: that together, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition act in concert for the salvation of souls. And to best illustrate the passage, I will assign to each part a symbol (A through AA), which will expose the passage’s chiastic (symmetrical) structure of St. Paul’s words to St. Timothy, and which I think is a useful way to illustrate the elements and the apex of the passage. Continue reading

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Home Gym Happiness

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a “happiness” post. So here’s what has brought me “happiness” (however superficial) this week.

I’ve been working on my home gym, and I’d like to share two links that home gym enthusiasts should appreciate.

I’m casting pearls here!

FLOOR: A good gym floor (like what you would see at a good gym – duh) is made of rubber. Rubber protects your equipment and your joints. Most home gyms are in garages or basements, and people usually just work on the concrete or a rug. I’ve played around with home gyms for twenty years, and the easiest and cheapest flooring solution that I’ve found is from an industry that isn’t even related to gyms! Horse stall mats from Tractor Supply co. are 4′ by 6′, 3/4″ thick. They’re heavy (about 100 lb.), so they stay put, and you can trim them with a jigsaw or a utility knife. They only cost about $40 each, which is a fraction of what rubber flooring tiles would cost that are made specifically for gyms. Its low price allows you to spend a little more on good equipment… such as a power rack.

POWER RACK: I just bought my second power rack, and chose one from Rogue Fitness. I’ve found Rouge to be the best equipment for gyms, period. I have some background in metal fabrication, so trust me when I tell you these things are tough! If you want to be a serious athlete, don’t buy the stuff from [big box store]; get something that will last you a long time.

Now go, work out, and be happy!

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Popular Fundamentalist Proofs for a Self-Authenticating Canon Actually Support Catholic Inspiration and Authority

Scott Shifferd jr.Fundamentalist preacher Scott Shifferd jr. insists that the Christian canon of Scripture is self-authenticating.

Shifferd thinks I “struggle” with this topic and that I’m a “son of Satan” because I acknowledge the fact that human beings were intrinsically involved with the Bible’s formation, and he set out to prove that I’m stooopid by sending me Fundamentalism’s often-used list of verses that, in their own minds, prove how the Bible established the Bible’s contents. (I know. That makes no sense, but he reeeaaallly gave it a shot here: godsbreath.net/2014/08/01/how-to-establish-the-canonicity/ …bless his heart.)

The following essay is a response to what I’ve found to be Fundamentalism’s favorite proof-texts for its theory of a self-authenticating Christian canon. This essay is addressed to “Bible-only” Christians (not only Shifferd and others in his sect). If you are in dialogue with Fundamentalists, this might be a worthwhile read for you. Continue reading

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The Berean/Catholic Model Is More Noble Than the Thessalonian/Protestant Model

This is a re-post. I recently learned that apologist superstar Dr. Bryan Cross linked to one of my [unfortunately] deleted articles over at his holy grail of apologetics websites Called to Communion. This, to me, is just about the best endorsement of my work that I can imagine. In comment #69 Dr. Cross grouped my article with articles by apologist superstars Steve Ray and Jimmy Akin! Thank you, Bryan!

Continue reading

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