Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith

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9780232527131: Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith

Bestselling author Scott Hahn explains the 'how and why' of the Catholic faith, drawing from Scripture, his own struggles and those of other converts, as well as from everyday life and natural science. Hahn shows that reason and revelation, nature and the supernatural, are not opposed to one another; rather they offer complementary evidence that God exists. Reasons to Believe unravels mysteries, corrects misunderstandings, and offers thoughtful, straightforward responses to common objections about the Catholic faith. It is the ideal book both for Christians who want to grow stronger in their faith and to share it with others, and for enquirers in search of a belief that satisfies both the mind and the heart.

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About the Author:

SCOTT HAHN is a professor of theology and Scripture at the Franciscan University of Steubenville and was recently appointed to the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation of Saint Vincent Seminary (Latrobe, Pennsylvania). He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Lamb’s Supper; Hail, Holy Queen; Swear to God; and Understanding the Scriptures. He lives in Steubenville, Ohio.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

One

More than a Feeling

On the Love of Learning and the Desire for Dunking
I was the freshest of freshmen.

Like almost everyone in that incoming class, I was living away from my home and family for the first time, and I was hungry for everything that Grove City College had promised us. Indeed, I'm sure that I wanted it more than most of my classmates. I had been an academically inclined high school student, the type who was tempted to capitalize the word “Learning” when it was used as a noun. I was a relatively new Christian, but already steeped in theology, and there at Grove City College I could study with noted thinkers of the evangelical and Calvinist worlds.

What’s more, Grove City was not an isolated Christian institution. It was part of a cultural movement. Two other evangelical Calvinist campuses sprawled nearby, Westminster College and Geneva College, and all the lands in between those campuses and ours—mostly small towns and farming communities—were dotted with pastoral and communal experiments that drew inspiration, energy, and even members from the colleges.

So, as I took my first steps away from home and into the wider world, I had a true freshman’s openness to new experiences and ideas. And the college and its orbit had plenty to occupy my mind and senses. Still, it wasn’t an easy transition for me. The college couldn’t fit all the first–year men in the freshmen dorms, so some were dispersed to live with the upperclassmen. I was among the dispersed.

The upperclassmen were kind and welcoming; but, I have to admit, I felt isolated. Some of this feeling, I’m sure, was just garden–variety homesickness. Some of it, too, was the sense of being the “odd man out” among a horde of old buddies—the guy to whom they had to explain all their inside jokes. But a big part of it was a mismatch of interests and ideals: here I was, eager for Learning and intellectual companionship—maybe even a disputation or two. And there they were, world–weary juniors and seniors, for whom college had long been demystified and its professors demythologized.

Gradually, though, I reached out across the gulf that separated me from my fellow freshmen. I got to know two guys, Doug and Ron, especially well, as they shared my interests and my longing for like–minded—but, even more, like–hearted—Christian fellowship. Those two were easily the most popular first–year men on campus. Getting to know them over the opening weeks of the semester, I heard a lot about the church they attended. In fact, Doug and Ron were so enthusiastic about it, they talked about little else; and all other subjects seemed to lead them back to the main theme of their conversation, which was their newfound church.
“Dunked for Real”
The place was more than ten miles away, between our campus and Westminster’s. Every Sunday its worship service was standing–room–only. The singing raised the roof; the preaching was electric. The congregation was a mix of local farmers and students and professors from the colleges. They had built up a network of social services, including adoption, foster care, and programs for troubled youth. Every service ended with a “laying on of hands,” at which people were apparently healed of ailments ranging from depression to cancer. Every month or so, after the service, many new members would be baptized by total immersion in the nearby creek.

These events were the favored topic of conversation on the way to and from classes, and they were the inevitable destination of our table talk in the dining hall. A few weeks into the semester, I finally agreed to join my newfound friends for their Sunday worship.

Our anticipation grew during the long ride out to church. And the service itself didn’t disappoint us. There was exuberant singing, powerful preaching, and the laying on of hands. I found myself wondering why my Presbyterian worship couldn’t be this way. My church generated excitement in special programs like Young Life, but we could accomplish it only by segregating teens from the staid older folks and the distraction of small children. Yet here was a true cross–section of local life, and it was alive and engaged.

On the drive back to campus, Doug and Ron began talking about how soon they might make their own trip to the creek for baptism. There was no question whether this would be the next step. The only question was when.

And it was only then—when they began speaking in terms of baptism—that my own mind stopped racing with excitement. Indeed, the racing vehicle screeched to halt. The conversation continued back on campus, where a number of students were talking about getting “dunked for real.”

We had all been baptized as infants, but now my friends were repudiating the very idea of infant baptism. When I raised a caution, they replied, “Scott, what do you remember from your baptism?” On the other hand, they pointed out, we all could vividly remember what we had seen, heard, and felt at our newfound country church that very day—a church whose truth was evidenced in apparent miracles.

I still hesitated. “But is it biblical to get baptized again? And are you sure that infant baptism is unbiblical?”

One of the guys answered my question with a question: “Okay, Scott, where do you see infant baptism in the New Testament?”

I had no ready answer.
Rebaptism and Research
My friends weren’t ridiculing me. They were merely discouraging what they saw as my “overly intellectual hang–ups.” Don’t get me wrong: they were very intelligent kids. They just felt they didn’t need further reasons after the continued experience of such exalted worship. They felt that their experience was reason enough for them to take action.

The problem occupied my mind. These new friends meant a lot to me, and their church excited me. But the prospect of rebaptism troubled me, and I wasn’t sure why. I decided to mention it to a professor I deeply respected, Dr. Robert VandeKappelle. I was taking his course titled Biblical Ideas, and I was loving it. The ink wasn’t yet dry on Dr. VandeKappelle’s doctorate from Princeton, and his love for scholarship shone in his lectures and in his smiling eyes. With his wire–rimmed glasses and conservative neckties, he even looked the part of the prof. Gently inquisitive, he fostered the kind of Learning I’d dreamt about when I first applied to Grove City College.

In his office one afternoon, I mentioned, as casually as I could, that some friends and I were planning to get rebaptized.

He raised an eyebrow above the wire rims, but his eyes kept smiling, and he spoke gently as always. “Rebaptized? Why?”

He knew, of course, about the church we were attending. Everybody knew about it.

I said, “I was baptized as a baby, and it didn’t mean anything to me.”

He kept smiling. “So?”

“Besides,” I said, “where is it in the New Testament?”

Still smiling, he asked, “Have you looked into it?”

My silence answered him well enough. He said, “Well, maybe you should,” and then the clincher: “Scott, why not make infant baptism the topic for your research paper in my class?”

The next Sunday my friends got “dunked,” but I stayed back and worshiped closer to campus. Meanwhile, I had checked out all the books the college library had to offer on the subject of infant baptism, a contentious issue from the earliest days of the Protestant Reformation, dividing the classic Reformed strains (Lutheran and Calvinist) from the Anabaptist (Baptist and Mennonite). I loaded the volumes onto my library card, into my backpack, and into my dorm room, where I pored over them late into the night.

What did I learn? I learned that the custom of infant baptism was very ancient indeed, and those who held on to it had good scriptural reasons for doing so. Jesus Himself had said: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:14). The Lord made clear that the kingdom belongs to those children, and baptism is somehow the sign of the kingdom’s coming (see Mt 28:18-19). When Peter preached the Gospel for the first time on the first Pentecost, he put the matter in the same terms: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children” (Acts 2:38-39).

These New Testament passages made the case for infant baptism plausible to me, if not quite as explicit as I would have preferred. But when I read the reasons that scholars and sages had marshaled from the whole Bible—both testaments—the case was overwhelming. When I considered Jesus’ “New Covenant” in light of the history of God’s covenants with His people, I saw that provision was always made for the inclusion of infants. If God welcomed newborns into Israel by means of ritual circumcision for two thousand years, why would He suddenly close the kingdom to babies because they could not understand ritual baptism? And if He had intended to make such a radical change in the terms of the covenant, wouldn’t He have said so explicitly?

When I read the New Testament in light of the Old, the New became more luminously clear. And I knew what course I should take—and what course I should not take—in my life as a Christian. I had reasons to believe what my Calvinist ancestors and teachers had believed about infant baptism.
I will not bore you with a det...

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Descripción Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd. Paperback. Estado de conservación: new. BRAND NEW, Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith, Scott W. Hahn, Bestselling author Scott Hahn explains the 'how and why' of the Catholic faith, drawing from Scripture, his own struggles and those of other converts, as well as from everyday life and natural science. Hahn shows that reason and revelation, nature and the supernatural, are not opposed to one another; rather they offer complementary evidence that God exists. Reasons to Believe unravels mysteries, corrects misunderstandings, and offers thoughtful, straightforward responses to common objections about the Catholic faith. It is the ideal book both for Christians who want to grow stronger in their faith and to share it with others, and for enquirers in search of a belief that satisfies both the mind and the heart. Nº de ref. de la librería B9780232527131

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