The Book of Hebrews is Catholic

Just ask Shane Kapler.

Hebrews is one of the most interesting and challenging books of the New Testament.

  • Protestants use it to claim Catholicism is disproven
  • The book’s authorship has been debated for thousands of years
  • The book was not accepted as Scripture in many places for hundreds of years
  • Martin Luther, while thinking it a fine book, put it in his infamous appendix to the “truly inspired” books of the NT

Hebrews Is Catholic

Shane Kapler has done us a great service that rebuts the first bullet point. In his new book, The Epistle to the Hebrews and the Seven Core Beliefs of Catholics, Kapler illuminates this challenging book and demonstrates how it actually supports the distinctive doctrines of the Catholic Church!

Specifically, Kapler shows how the book is harmoniously interpreted to support the doctrines of:

  1. The Holy Trinity
  2. Jesus’ full humanity
  3. The Word of God (both written and unwritten)
  4. Salvation
  5. The communion of saints
  6. The Eucharist
  7. The authority of the Church’s ordained leaders

For example, taking the seventh doctrine of authority of Church leaders, Hebrews 13:17 says:

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing—for that would be harmful to you.

What’s fascinating about this passage is the problem it presents for Protestants.

corebelWho, exactly, are the Church leaders under Protestantism that should be obeyed and submitted to? This is far from an idle question: it is instead a dilemma for Protestants that is unanswerable.

Is the pastor at First Baptist someone I must submit to? What if I leave because I think he’s wrong about X doctrine, and instead I go to Second Baptist?

Or is the Methodist pastor the legitimate authority the Bible commands me to submit to? Or the Presbyterian one? Which Presbyterian denomination? Or maybe it’s the Anglicans, or one of the splits from the Anglicans? Or maybe you start your own church and now you are a leader people have to submit to!

This passage alone from Hebrews demonstrates the impossibility of Protestantism to be God’s design, for there is no way to follow this clear directive found in Scripture.

Deep Learning

I am always amazed by the scholarship and insights that Shane Kapler has in his books. He has done powerful research and made it accessible to the Catholic layman by explaining in plain language how Hebrews is Catholic.

In particular Kapler delves into the deep Jewish roots that lie beneath the teachings of Hebrews and shows how they perfectly square with Catholicism’s teachings. I’ve been dimly aware of some of these connections but, like a book by Scott Hahn, Kapler maps them all out with great clarity and depth.

Just this week I was asked a series of questions by one of my readers about the book of Hebrews and the often confusing study notes in the New American Bible on key passages. The answer was simple: buy Kapler’s new book on the Epistle to the Hebrews and all those questions are solved. Done, son!

Proven Catholic: Evangelize Protestants Is Live!

The cart is open and you can finally enroll in Proven Catholic: Evangelize Protestants.

Proven Catholic Evangelize ProtestantsThis is my brand new course that distills down hundreds of hours of real world experience, dialogues, books, and debates on how to lead Protestants into the Catholic Church.

If you’re looking to buy it asap, simply:
* Go here
* Click Enroll

I’m excited to join YOU and in a personal way help you become a Proven Catholic apologist.

Check out the video here to get a quick overview of what is included in the course.

What’s In It?

After taking this course, you are going to be able to:
* Rebut a renowned Protestant pastor and his many followers
* Rebut a Protestant scholar on the most fundamental issue of authority regarding the canon of Scripture
* Understand the reasons Protestant reject Catholicism and how to show them their errors
* Understand the truth of the Catholic Faith and be able to share it with others

Bring those Protestants friends home! It’s time.

I’m going to give a sneak preview of what’s in the video portion of the course:

  • The Church!
    • The Early Church
    • Christ Founded a Visible Church
    • The Church Has Three Attributes
    • Heresies and Ecumenical Councils
    • The Four Marks of the Catholic Church
    • The Early Church Was Catholic
  • Scripture and Tradition
    • Scripture and Tradition Overview
    • Scripture in the Church
    • Tradition and Apostolic Succession
    • Making a Cannon Out of the Canon of Scripture
  • Catholicism vs. Protestantism
    • Overview of Catholicism vs. Protestantism
    • Origins of the Protestant Schisms: The Reformers
    • Core Protestant Heresies: The Bible Alone and Faith Alone
    • Defending the Papacy!
    • God Chose Mary, and We Do Too
    • Sacraments: Baptism and Eucharist
    • Sacraments: Anointing of the Sick, Confession, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders
    • Why the Catholic Canon is True
    • Explaining Indulgences and Purgatory

I cover all these topics, the essentials, demonstrating the shortest, most powerful path to leading your Protestant friends to Catholicism using the arguments.

Testimonials, Timeframe

The course will only be open for six days, then I will close it to signups. I am doing this so that I can go through the course with this first batch of students.

ProvenCatholicLogoP.S. Several months ago, while I was still building the course, I invited a handful of people to go through it and give me their feedback.

Here is what one student said:

What I found most valuable in this course is the fact that its creator, Devin Rose, has made it very accessible to the average Catholic. Devin has brought to this course his experience of laying down the case for our faith in a way that’s amiable but firm in its presentation of the truth. The choice of topics, the accompanying videos and ebook and the discussion group that come with this course also make it a course I wholeheartedly recommend.

He has provided a foundation to allow us to continue to grow in our love and knowledge of the Faith. If you want to learn and become a better witness of the Catholic faith to our fallen world, allow Devin Rose to be that guide that leads you to a deeper love for our Lord Jesus Christ in the Church that He has established, His Catholic Church.

Sign up today!

Bishop Demands Obedience of Catholic Blogger

And other fantastical thoughts.

Reflecting on the recent brouhaha regarding public Catholic personalities and the growing tribalism within the Church, I had an idea about what is lacking in our current tumultuous situation.

Accountability and obedience from rightful Church authorities.

Now now, before you run screaming away in shock and dread, humor me for a moment.

The Wild West of Catholic New Media

Some years back when blogs exploded in popularity and self-publishing in general grew exponentially, a new world was opened up for all people, including Catholics, to be able to have an instant, publicly available podium for teaching.

medi2Prior to this, writing options were more limited: print media primarily; hence the importance of the nihil obstat and imprimatur from the Church’s bishops. The gatekeepers were more important as they controlled who and what got published. Now, that didn’t stop some heterodox publications from seeing the light of day, but it was (and is) pretty clear which ones those were and where they stood.

Fast forward to this time of new media, and everyone is writing blog posts and books, as well as building platforms on social media sites like facebook, which also act as microphones to spread one’s thoughts widely across the world.

The problem with this is that we public Catholic personalities have very little accountability in terms of what we write. Is it orthodox? Is it prudent? Are we authorized to teach such-and-such topic?

While gatekeepers at Catholic media organizations still exist and can control what flows onto their online properties from Catholic writers and speakers, these media outlets are no longer the dominant and exclusive force they once were.

A Lesson From Eastern Orthodoxy

I recently finished Rod Dreher’s book on life lessons from Dante’s Divine Comedy, and one fascinating part of his story was his interaction with his Eastern Orthodox priest.

Dreher left Catholicism and became Orthodox in response to the priestly sexual abuse scandal. His local priest at their small Orthodox church is also a convert to Orthodoxy, and this priest became Dreher’s spiritual director, confessor, and pastor.

Well, we have that in the Catholic Church, too, but what’s different is the level of pastoral care that his priest could give him. Dreher’s priest put him under obedience to pray 500 Jesus prayers each day.

Now think about that: has a Catholic priest ever put you under obedience to do any spiritual discipline, beyond a few Hail Marys for a penance after Confession? I’ve never experienced that, nor even heard of it happening.

One Catholic friend of mine has actually begged his priest to put him under obedience! “Please, as pastor of my soul, demand I do something!”

Sounds medieval, doesn’t it? And I would say, medieval times were pretty good! Let’s bring this practice back.

No one thinks twice of following a sports coach’s directives to train: eat this, work out in that way, X times per week. If a coach didn’t do that, we would think he was doing a poor job!

Priests and bishops are our spiritual coaches: we need them to train us, to push us to go beyond our comfort zones. Yet this rarely happens.

A Blogger Obeys His Bishop

Now imagine if we public Catholic personalities were meeting with our priest and local bishop and receiving spiritual direction from them regularly. Imagine we were as close with them as Dreher is with his priest.

medi3The priest has been reading your facebook posts, your blog posts, your other works and he calls you to account for your behavior and words. What a revelation that would be!

And I don’t just mean this for those Catholics I disagree with; I need this too. We all need it. Left to our own devices–and to the affirming sounds emanating from our own online echo chambers–we will all fall astray into error in one way or another, in big or in small ways.

Imagine a bishop telling me or another public Catholic to “can it”. “Stop writing blog posts or posting on facebook for two months, or until you can demonstrate you’ll act with sense, charity, and prudence for at least two days in a row.”

I submitted my credentials to my bishop some years back, along with a copy of my book. I told him I was under his direction, to send me where I needed to go, to call upon me if ever he had a need, to correct me if I went wrong. Bishop Vasquez sent me a kind letter back, appreciating my message. But I have not received a call from him in praise or in censure for my public writings and words.

Granted, he is too busy. He has hundreds of thousands of Catholics under his care and cannot spend hours reading through my blog posts. And even my local priest is too busy: he has ten thousand souls under his care. Dreher’s situation works because Orthodoxy in Louisiana is a tiny minority and they have a good priest to lay person ratio.

So requiring such obedience of every Catholic is too much, but a good start would be focusing on the most well known public Catholics in the area. Start with the big Catholic politicians then move to the notable speakers and writers. If they are posting problematic content, correct them!

Under obedience, require us to pray a Rosary before writing anything on facebook or a blog each day. Under obedience, require us to send any potentially inflammatory post to our priest or bishop ahead of time for vetting. Imagine how different things would be.

As it is now, we public Catholics are renegades in the wild west, posting whatever we want with impunity. Most bishops and priests I wager have no idea who the prominent Catholic personalities in their area are and what they are writing.

The only time I have been asked for credentials by anyone is with my video course on conquering pornography. For some reason that topic brings out the demands for a nihil obstat when few others do. I am happy to answer that I have the endorsement of my local priest on the subject of helping Catholic men grow in purity, and the endorsement of my bishop for defending the Catholic Faith in general.

Obedience! Demands! Humble submission to rightful authority! Sounds great to me, let’s get medieval.