Islam Will Destroy Itself By Creating Christian Martyrs!

Nero did not understand it. Diocletian did not understand it.

God’s greatest love is unleashed into creation through martyrdom.

When a believer in Jesus Christ surrenders his life in death for witness of Christ, suddenly and immediately the power of the crucified Lord enters into the world.

Two “citizens” of the Islamic State beheaded the 86-year-old priest Father Jacques Hamel. Like Nero and Diocletian, the Islamic State does not comprehend the power they are fighting.

Fr Jacques Hamel pray for us!

Rome molested the Church. And Rome was overcome through martyrdom. Islam has been molesting Christianity for 1,400 years. And Islam will be defeated through martyrdom. It’s easy to day, but the difficult questions are these:

  1. Do I believe that God would give me the grace to die as faithfully as a martyr?
  2. Would I be willing for my children to demonstrate the witness of a martyr in the future?
  3. Would I rejoice to be a martyr as so many thousands of martyrs have in previous centuries?

It is helpful to remember that from AD 60 till AD 313, receiving sacramental baptism meant that you were enrolled for martyrdom. Every parish and every diocese on the planet during those years could name martyrs from their midst. Every Christian community possessed martyrs: Jerusalem, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Carthage, Lyons, etc.

Martyrdom was so common that Christianity underwent a crisis of identity after Constantine legalized Christianity: Can Christians truly be Christian without the reality of impending martyrdom?

The monastic revolution of the 4th and 5th centuries was a response to this identity crisis – the monastics sought to regain the danger and asceticism of carrying the cross.

For me personally, this is a moment of personal crisis. I wrote books about Christ. I record podcasts and videos about Christ. I talk about Christ frequently. But am I ready for this to happen to me:

…two Islamic State knifemen who cut the priest’s throat after bursting into a French church and taking nuns and worshippers hostage before being shot dead by police.

Question: What about you? Do you feel ready? What if it comes to this in the West? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Father Jacques Hamel, pray for us.

Elijah as a Type of Triple Baptism and Pentecost

Triple baptism and Pentecost’s baptism of fire are prefigured in Elijah’s challenge by fire to the 450 prophets of Baal. Here’s the account from 1 King 18 and I’ll note the important features as you read through it:

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30 Then Eli′jah said to all the people, “Come near to me”; and all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down; 31 Eli′jah took twelve stones [prefigures the 12 Apostles], according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name”; 32 and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed [2 measures of seed comes again with Elisha as a prophetic sign in 2 Kings 7]. 33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the burnt offering, and on the wood.” 34 And he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time [triple pouring on the sacrifice with water – as a kind of baptism]. 35 And the water ran round about the altar, and filled the trench also with water.

36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that thou, O Lord, art God, and that thou hast turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. [here we have a prefigurement of Pentecost with the fire coming down from Heaven upon the “baptized sacrifice”] 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” 40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Ba′al; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there.

The Church East and West conforms to a triple affusion (pouring) or triple immersion (dunking) with the recognition of the three Divine Persons of the Trinity. Prophetically, Elijah has the attendants pour water on the slaughtered sacrifice three times. It’s also no accident that Saint John the Baptist was the “new Elijah” teaching a new baptism.

Elijah poured water on the sacrifice to show that God’s fire is so hot and powerful that water cannot prevent it from burning the sacrifice.

I recently spoke of the life of the follower of Jesus as “being on sacrificial fire” (click here to read “Do you have fire in your soul?”). You may also want to listen to my presentation on on the apocryphal 1 Enoch and Tongues of fire here.

There is a connection between the mystery of water (baptism in Christ) and the mystery of fire (confirmation or chrismation in Christ), as Saint John the Baptist relates in his speaking of baptism by water and fire.

We do this every day. We wash our food and then we place it in the fire. When you slaughter animals, you wash the meat and then cook it. The many mikvehs of the Old Covenant were washings to prepare the believer for becoming a burnt sacrifice for God.

Hence, Christ’s baptism is a preparation for His burnt sacrifice (crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, pentecost).

The priest washes his hands ceremonially because his hands are about to hold the burning coal of the sacrificial body of Christ.

In the Solemn High Mass (pre 1970), the priest sprinkled the faithful in the pews – to prepare them to become a burning sacrifice.

And of course, we will all be “salted with fire” when we die. It’s just a matter of whether we burn in this life (as sacrificial love) or burn some in the next age (in the purgatorial fires of 1 Cor 3:15).

Make your life into a bonfire.

Godspeed,

Taylor

PS: If you want to learn more about Old Testament and Jewish origins of Catholic sacraments and Catholic theology, check out my book The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholicism.

Video Class: St Justin Martyr and Tatian the Heretic

Today is the feast day of the Saint Justin Martyr of Rome. Below is a sample lesson video from the New Saint Thomas Institute featuring a brief bio of Saint Justin Martyr, an analysis of his contribution to Catholic Theology and a brief intro to one of his students named Tatian who became a heretic. Saint Justin Martyr, pray for us!

Question: Do you have questions about Saint Justin Martyr? If so leave a comment. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The 3 Kinds of Faith? Which do you have?

The Latin Church Fathers (beginning with Augustine) speak of three levels of faith in God:

  1. credere Deum (“to believe that God is”): This is simply to believe that God exists. The devils have this kind of faith, as Saint James explains in James 2.
  2. credere Deo (“to believe toward God”): This is to trust God. If God says, “Jesus is God’s Son,” then you believe it. If God says, “I am your shepherd. I will take care of you.” You believe it.
  3. credere in Deum (in Latin, literally: “to believe into God”): This is more difficult to translate but it implies motion into God. This is placing faith, trust, even yourself into God. This is the highest form of faith.

Saint Augustine says that credere in Deum (level 3) is actually placing “yourself into God.” In the moments and seasons of tragedy, depression, dark nights, betrayal, confusion, bankruptcy, divorce, cancer, and death, this highest form of faith transcends simply believing that God exists or believing His statements.

Pain and Believing into God

“Believing into God” or “credere in Deum” (not “in Deo” – a huge difference in Latin) is what I often teach to myself and to others who are hurt so deeply.

In the moments and seasons of tragedy, you have to push everything and your own pain and soul into the bleeding side wound of Jesus and just camp out there. That spiritual movement of going into the Heart of Jesus is the highest form of faith. It is the only thing that can restore peace, sanity, and joy. I’ve been there. It’s true.

Caravaggio Thomas Wound Christ

Explore the three levels of faith. Where are you? Honestly I have moved up and down the ladder. Sometimes we can be satisfied with level 2 (credere Deo). Even if life is good, try to move beyond this daily and pray for the faith credere in Deum – to believe into God.

Godspeed,

Taylor Marshall

Is St George Still a Saint? What about the Dragon?

April 23 is the feast of Saint George. So I put together a super post on Saint George:

Saint George

Saint George Podcast

Have you ever debated whether Saint George is real or historical? If so, then this Catholic podcast is for you: Is Saint George (and Saint Christopher) still a Saint?.mp3

Sword and Serpent: My Best-Selling Novel about Saint George is on sale this weekend

Looking for a Catholic fiction page-turner? I published a #1 best-selling historical fiction novel about Saint George and the Dragon (plus St Christopher, Emperor Constantine, Diocletian, et al.) titled Sword and Serpent

Father Dwight Longenecker wrote a glowing review of Sword and Serpent here.

Here’s the book trailer for Sword and Serpent on YouTube:

The novel is now on sale for this April 23 weekend on Kindle and in paperback. Click here to get a copy:

sword and serpent look inside

You can also download the free “Sword and Serpent Study Guide” (an explanation of the historical features of the book and its saints) at swordandserpent.com.

Troops of Saint George: Outdoor Adventure for Catholic Men and Sons

Looking for a Catholic alternative to scouting? In 2013 I founded a Catholic outdoor adventure fraternity for priests, deacons, fathers and sons – and dedicated it to Saint George. We have 40 active troops. Please visit our website and consider starting a Troop of Saint George at your parish. We have a starter kit for dads and for priests to help you get started:

TSG group photo

Click here to visit the Troops of Saint George website.

Saint George’s Skull in Rome

Saint George’s skull is in Rome and I visited him last summer in Rome. If you’d like to go on pilgrimage with me for a NSTI Catholic Theology Pilgrimage to Rome and Italy this summer, please click here to reserve your spot.

Happy feast of Saint George!!!

Saint George pray for us,

Taylor Marshall

Free Catholic Webinar Class: Catholic Rome and Papacy 101

You’re invited to this week’s NSTI Catholic Webinar class on Rome and the Early Papacy 101.

This webinar is a “mini-version” of the class that I teach to Catholic Seminarians in Rome. This class is complimentary; however, space is limited and you must reserve your spot before Wednesday. You can register (reserve your spot) by clicking here.

Early Papacy 101 Class with Dr Marshall

YOU WILL DISCOVER INFO ABOUT:

  • The Old Testament and Rome
  • Tradition of Peter in Rome
  • Popes after Peter in Rome
  • Importance of St Clement of Rome
  • The Power of the Bishop of Rome in 2nd Century
  • EVERYONE THAT ATTENDS WILL RECEIVE a pdf Handout on these Catholic topics.

This webinar is a “mini-version” of the class that I teach to Catholic Seminarians in Rome. Space is limited and you must reserve your spot before Wednesday. You can register (reserve your spot) by clicking here.

Register here button

10 Reasons to Study Thomas Aquinas in 2016

I heard a priest say in his homily: “I do not recommend that you read Thomas Aquinas.” He had praised the great patron of theology, education, and scholar, but then implied that Saint Thomas was “too difficult.”

“Thomas Aquinas is too hard,” is a common myth and it derives from decades of teachers who were not enthusiastic and skilled in making Catholic Theology via Thomas Aquinas accessible to the ordinary person.

So here are 10 Reasons to Study Thomas Aquinas for 2016. Below you also find resources to help you:

Thomas Aquinas resized

Did You Know Saint Paul was a Catholic Priest?

To celebrate the conversion of Saint Paul (Jan 25), we wanted to send you some Catholic Saint Paul theological resources: 1 video and 11 audio mp3 podcasts on Saint Paul by Dr. Taylor Marshall.

Free Video: Catholic Theological Core of Saint Paul as “en Christo”

Free audio mp3s: Catholic Perspective on Paul (11 presentations)

If you are looking for a concise book proving that Saint Paul and the New Testament is Catholic, my book The Catholic Perspective on Paul has become a go-to resource for seminaries and apologists. Today it is on sale today for 50% off on Kindle and on sale in paperback:

Catholic Perspective on Paul Open Inside

GK Chesterton once observed that the Catholic Church has been “attacked on all sides and for all contradictory reasons. No sooner had one rationalist demonstrated that it was too far to the east than another demonstrated with equal clearness that it was much too far to the west.” The same may be said of Saint Paul. The history of heresy is essentially a series of contradictory positions, each claiming the authority of the Apostle Paul.

In today’s video I explain how understanding Paul’s “core theology” can help you explain and defend EVERY Catholic teaching and doctrine:

According to some heretics, Paul was the first corrupter of the life and doctrines of Jesus Christ. To others Paul alone preserved the true message of Christ that had been corrupted by the Twelve. Some consider Paul to have been the champion of grace, while others accuse him of yielding to the so-called Jewish legalism of Peter and James. Paul has since been accused of being too Greek, too Jewish, too gnostic, and too orthodox.

Paul faith and works

Catholic Perspective on Paul Open InsideIn his own day, he was held by some to be an apostle and by others to be a heretic. Martin Luther claimed Paul’s authority, as did the Catholic Council of Trent. He has been called both a misogynist and a liberator of women. Some hail him as a proponent of freedom and others revile him for imposing rules against sexual freedom and social progress. Always and everywhere, Paul is pulled and tugged in opposite directions. Paul has been stretched out so thinly that his features have become faint, almost forgotten. Prophetically, Saint Peter aptly described the controversial nature of Paul’s epistles:

Also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction (2 Pet 3:15-16).

All the detractors of Paul stand united in their conviction that the historical Paul is certainly not the same Paul revered by the Catholic Church. There is today a deep prejudice against the so-called “Saint Paul” of the Catholic Church. They will grant that Paul was a rabbi, missionary, mystic, polemicist, author, and apostle. However, they will not grant that the man enshrined in the mosaics, statues, and stained glass of a thousand Catholic cathedrals is the Paul of history. The critics are convinced that the Catholic religion as we know it today has little to do with the historic Paul of Tarsus.

Paul is none other than a saint of the Holy Roman and Catholic Church. He spent his life wishing to bring his feet within the walls of Rome and he surrendered his head to the sword outside those very walls. Within his writings, we find the primitive and pristine doctrines of the Catholic Faith. We discover a Paul who is Catholic, a theologian who is sacramental, a churchman who is hierarchical, a mystic who is orthodox.

Please watch this video to learn more about Saint Paul:

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Merry Christmas OR Happy Advent – How should Catholics Respond?

Everybody is already wishing me “Merry Christmas” and I’m responding: “Thank you, we’re getting ready for Advent first, though. Happy Advent!”

90% of the time, the other person will ask, “What’s Advent?” and that’s your cue to “be salty” (Mt 5:13) and papistically practice the New Evangelization!

Join us for a Live Catholic Event on “Advent”:

So to help you answer the question: “What is Advent?” I’m inviting you to a live, online 30 minute Webinar this coming Thursday on: “The History and Theology of Advent (Plus Tips for Catholic Families)”:

  1. Did you know that Catholics used to celebrate 5 (not just 4) Sundays of Advent?
  2. Did you know that there is an ancient theological and “40 day” connection between Advent and Lent?
  3. Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 12.27.01 PMDid you know that the Advent Wreath may have started with Lutherans?
  4. Did you know that Taylor will be sharing personal recommendations based on how his family and children celebrate Advent?
  5. Did you know that everyone who attends this webinar will get a free ebook copy of my book God’s Birthday: The Evidence for Christ’s Birth on December 25:

What are you waiting for? Let’s learn about Catholic Advent.

Sign up for the Live Advent Webinar Event this Thursday. Register by clicking here:

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If you don’t see the sign up button in your email or feed, click here to register.

Where are the Skulls of Saints Peter and Paul?

In the video below I give a brief history and tour of one of my favorite places in Rome: the Pope’s Cathedral and Basilica of Saint John Lateran.

Although many people have forgotten, the heads of Peter and Paul are situated in the baldacchino which you can see in this video (click here to watch):

You can leave a comment by clicking here.