“In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine, shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity” (Titus 2:7)
A statement and affirmation of the Christian doctrine, and in particular, Southern Baptist confessions of faith, In Doctrine, Uncorrupt is a compilation of twenty five articles: featuring topics such as abortion, homosexuality, religious liberty, theology, notable clergy/lay people, and numerous others. Written with an ecumenical spirit in mind, the ideals of Catholic truth are layered within traditional evangelical arrangement. May God bless your heart with an interest to uncover truths of the Bible through sound teaching, discover the fruitful lives/movements by others in the Christian Faith, and see the proper responses to issues in Christendom. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Good morning EPIC Radio listener and blog reader! We wanted to let you know about an important change to our website. Those of you that have been with us long enough may recall we used to use a different address. Up until now that old address has still worked. We wanted to let you know we are discontinuing that address and asking you to bookmark WeAreEPIC.org whenever you need to use our site. We apologize for any confusion and be on the lookout for more updates on our new radio station! Thank you for your prayers and support!
The following is a quick message from one of EPIC Radio’s supporters. Many of our volunteers here at EPIC Radio attended St. Thomas More Academy and continue to have a relationship with the instructors long after they graduate.
St. Thomas More Academy’s fall production of The Importance of Being Earnest is coming up quickly. This vintage comedy, written by Oscar Wilde, tells the story of two men, driven by love, who take on false identities in earnest to impress the girls of their dreams. Confusion unfolds among their friends and family. The hilarious plot is filled with British wit, forbidden romance, and lots of muffins.
The performances are at 7pm on November 15-17. Tickets will be sold every day this week for $10 each. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-878-7640 for information about how to purchase tickets. You won’t want to miss this!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”
November 7th may resemble another day to honor The Saints in the Roman Catholic Communion, and this is good. Our brethren need not be forgotten. But, for a many a Catholic, and for even Christians as a whole, some neglect the meaning of today, not to their displeasure or ignorance. That, on this date, one hundred years ago, on November 7, 1918, a man of complete renown, who would bring in a unity Catholics and Protestants, while also ministering in crowded venues, sold out seating, and lines of hungry souls miles long, would be born to this nation. He would not be considered much as a youth, merely rising through the various tent meetings and causing a stir among Evangelicals primarily. Although, he would eventually storm the spiritual gates and introduce himself through preaching The Holy Gospel, for which men of the cloth in all sequences would raise their eyes to him, looking on him (Acts 10:4). Perhaps we even state that God looked on him, and so the favor was imparted to him (Matthew 3:17). This man was a preacher at heart, a pastor in the soul, and an evangelist by calling. He loved his wife, Ruth, with an everlasting love, akin to his messages on God as a Person, an Entity, choosing us before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4). He would provide support to fellow Christians, whom he would have speak in locations where his massive Crusades were held in honor of Christ Jesus, by which he echoed of times’ past where prophets brought to the masses a delivery from Heaven (Romans 10:15). He so did the same. And, when priests of whatever nature, and those disposed to their respective denominations came to hear him, he heralded of The Sheepfold, prospective believers to their individual rites, their churches, their congregations. He fed the world with a generation of new neophytes to an always burgeoning Faith (Isaiah 40:11).
The Reverend Billy Graham, America’s Pastor, God’s Ambassador, as he is often referred to, was the son of a dairy farmer, who learned early of the grueling hours of a worker, a laborer, as he grew on his Charlotte, NC homestead. He understood the value of hard work, having to milk the cows every morning before school, right at the break of dawn. And what a dawn that would come through as God would choose him to be an angelic voice with power to drive back the demons of this age, and to instruct the manner of men to all ages of Who Jesus was and His plan of salvation. For Catholics during the twentieth century, Billy Graham was a friend of The Church. His zeal for The Gospel linked together with the Papal Chairs, that whatever was being professed, agreed with Rome, and those shepherding appreciated Graham’s sermons. To a surprise of some, bishops would often encourage their clergy to attend his events, to listen to The Word of God be sown (Matthew 13:18-23), and to see the reaping of a harvest whited for the picking (Joel 3:13). Even at Belmont Abbey College, the sole Catholic college in the Carolinas, Billy Graham was awarded an honorary degree, and the monks of the Abbey gave hospitality toward him. This was the first of its kind for the ecumenical movement, a brave and brazen act of charity between the two dominant sectors of religion in the United States. A showing of a One Church union in motion (Ephesians 4:5).
The special character of Billy was expressed through more than mere words from a pulpit, but more so relied on his vision. It was inspired by The Holy Ghost, and he never once thanked himself for this (1 Thessalonians 1:5). His infectious humility proved that God dwelled with him (Matthew 1:23), and that he wasn’t for the infamy of his own evangelism. He often said that if God’s hand were ever taken from his head, he would fail. God was the glory and the praise and the efficacy (Matthew 6:13). When the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte broke ground, he did not appraise it by his standards, but even the architecture reflected the pertinent cost of every human life: The Cross. We cannot abandon the symbolism and the mainstay of Our Christian Faith, which was Jesus’ Crucifixion (1 Corinthians 15:3). So related was this to his ministry, that whenever he taught behind the podium to eager spirits awaiting judgment, he incurred the teaching points with “The Bible says.” It was forever not about him, a reduction that was likened to St. John the Baptist (John 3:30). Even while on the campus of Belmont Abbey, he reportedly said, “I am not worthy to unlatch the shoes of St. Francis.” St. Francis of Assisi, who was undoubtedly the Saintly Father of public preaching, was a prefiguration of what was to arrive in Rev. Graham.
It may be difficult to assume that a Protestant can be compared to Catholic nobles who have spanned the course of this planet, treading upon every land, remote or nearby, to effectively share hope found in Jesus Christ. There lies resentment, animosity, and sometimes ambivalence toward what the other Christian sect does or has done. It is a point of contention for some. But, let us call to remembrance the underlying truth which is God’s Word, breathed out by every individual word (1 Timothy 3:16), and thus consummated in Christ (John 1:1; 1 John 1:1), Who became flesh for our benefit (John 1:14), but did not despise becoming as God (Philippians 2:6), suffering (Matthew 17:12), living (Mark 12:27), and dying for us (Luke 24:7), then rising for our restoration (John 20:9), so did and ascended (Acts 1:1-2), thus to eventually return (1 Thessalonians 3:13), translating us to The Kingdom (Colossians 1:13), whereby we shall judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3) and live on high (Job 16:19), unto eternity’s end (Revelation 21:4), for which there is no end (Luke 1:33), and there is no darkness (1 John 1:5), in Whom there remains none either (Judith 9:14). The whole matter, as Solomon said, is this (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Reverend Graham’s likeness to Catholic theology, where he mentioned that when he passed he would be praying from Heaven, for example, is what gave a general consensus for future interdenominational relations. His long penmanship with St. John Paul II, where the two corresponded in letters for a number of years, his visits to St. Peter’s, his fiery promotion of both Catholics and Protestant churches, peoples, and accomplishments, these were affirmative. He had no conspiracy for those in Italy, or those in Avignon, or those in South America. He didn’t despair with the hospitals, educational systems, and the like that were Catholic based and influenced. Indeed, the congeniality among it all, the cohesive bond, was that The Son of God was in it all, through all, and around all (1 Corinthians 12:6), as according to The Scriptures (John 5:39), for which he did not veer (2 Timothy 3:15).
This is but a brief overture of the recollection of what William Graham fulfilled in his ninety-nine years of life that he lived. Passing on to The Bosom of Abraham (Luke 16:22) on February 21st, 2018, he left an indelible mark (Catechism of the Catholic Church (1272-1274) on The People of God (Hebrews 4:9). From presidents, to colleagues, to every walk of life, he consented to lecture for the sake of God’s Gospel, for the sake of man to be saved, for the sake of a personal relationship with God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit. For that, we must recognize and applaud. For the lack of anti-Catholic rhetoric, for there was none. Ever. And, for the burden he received for even being noticed with Catholics, the steam of indignation by anti-Catholics touted that he was an apostate and false prophet. We reject their heresies and know that God appointed Graham’s voice and leadership throughout the multiple centuries for which Gospelling was desired and required, and through the Iron Curtain, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11, and types of tragedy that were wanton for address, he served this country well. To his sons and daughters, who have honored their names, and for the continual perpetuation of Christlikeness by virtue of his countless books, radio broadcasts, television appearances, and recorded homiletics, we are thankful in this month of Thanksgiving.
Billy Graham, pray for us!
“Thanksgiving is recognition of a debt that cannot be paid. We express thanks, whether or not we are able otherwise to reimburse the giver”- Billy Graham
The Salvation Poem, courtesy of The Billy Graham Library
I’ll keep this short because I’ve said all of this before on previous posts here on EPIC Radio. As Catholics we have an obligation to vote and have our say in the public sphere. Today that opportunity has again come for us to make sure we can change our country to something we are proud of and a place where Catholics can call home.
Here is what the Catechism says on voting:
Those subject to authority should regard those in authority as representatives of God, who has made them stewards of his gifts: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution. . . . Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.” Their loyal collaboration includes the right, and at times the duty, to voice their just criticisms of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons and to the good of the community.
It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.
Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country:
Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners. . . . They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws. . . . So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.
The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.” (CCC 2238 to 2240)
Please, go out and vote today if you have not already done so. Vote pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious liberty. These are the values that the Catholic Church teaches and holds dear. Your voice does count, your voice is heard, and your voice does make a difference.
Thou knowest, Lord, that I am pure from all sin with man (Tobit 3:14)
To be of a sound mind, one must exude a purified state of being. This appears strictly philosophical, but God has appointed us as holy heirs to the promise (Galatians 3:29), and this is not withstanding pure thinking. So we think, then we do. This is philosophy. And though we act without consequence in mind: this is rebellion. We have each rebelled against God, and we have heard from the beginning how man was born of iniquity, even from his mother’s womb, and was destined for Hell (Job 14:1). But it was the grace of the appearance of The Lord Who retired us to glory, meeting us in our destitution, and causing resurrection in our hearts, to which our world to come was mercifully changed. So, our thoughts have then been transformed. Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and be not conformed to the world (Romans 12:2). Grandeur and God are together as lovely as our body and soul, and we deign to be as Him. If any one will deny Himself, let him go and sell all that he has, and come and follow me (Matthew 19:21). Take up the cross (Matthew 16:24). Jesus did not delay to take away our selfish motivation, and herein if we are to live purely, especially in orientation, then we are to live remotely from ourself. Us and our desires.
To be pure is a consciousness to a multitude of ideas. We can be pure in deed, where we do tasks because of goodness and not for gain or to be satisfied. We can be pure in word, where we only speak that which edifies and builds up, not giving into filthy talk, censored, and only saying yes or no, for anything more than this is condemnable (Matthew 5:37). But our purity is spiritual. While we are to be sanctified, to be made holy, in what we do and say, we also must be pure in all things. Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are true, these we shall meditate on (Philippians 4:8). Psalm 1 boasts of the man whose meditation was the Law of God, and he meditated on it day and night. Blessed is he that does so (Psalm 1:1-2). And we know to whatever things are pure they are pure, but whatever things are defiled, they defile (Titus 1:5). Our eyes receive the pride of life we dwell in (1 John 2:16). Our present world is something conforming. For, we are engrafted into that which holds our attention, and the astonishment thereof is those things more decrepit, more obscene, and more pleasure-based. We would rather be engrafted by The Word (James 1:21). But, when our thought process is solid waste, we have lowered our own standards as to what we shall do and say. Crude remarks become easier. And this leads to personal advantages over another. Liberties taken with them in our imagination soon become real as we violate others. It’s no surprise a conjured fantasy has been realized on many a victim, as we have desensitized ourselves to what God deems appropriate. We have outlawed His standards.
In this entry, of a particular behest to the single life, but what can be attributed to any life, let us be purely motivated. Not to merely mask our hedonistic tendencies, but to ask God for shed blood and a purification by faith, that we would be transfigured as He. If we remember the days of purification as constituted by Mosaic Law for Mary, Jesus was presented in the temple (Luke 2:22). While this was meant for the Judaistic culture, of that time as well, we are to model ourselves by Christ and conventionally by His Mother. For, the way to Jesus is through Mary, and She is The Mother of Purity, The Wisdom Seat. We would do well to reenact this by our commitments, setting aside a series of days to refine our trust no more in the delights of the flesh, or vain conversation, or putrid imageries of the brain, but to be healed, renewed, and wholesomely inspired as a new creature, readied for community, not consuming, or being consumed, but actively praising and worshiping Our Father, Our Son, and Our Holy Spirit chiefly in this temple period.
The final segment in this series details the modern adaptations of peace in the Catholic Church including the recent writings of Pope Francis. A detailed bibliography has been append to the end of this post. I hope you enjoyed this series and found it educational and informational. May the dogma of the Catholic Church always live loudly from within you,
Pope John Paul II’s messages on peace given to the United Nations General Assembly and Pope John XXIII’s messages before that are very similar to Rome’s modern-day discussion of peace and justice. The moral argument of “do not commit murder” is still highly utilized, but it has been joined with a new argument of justice among men and women.
Pope Francis referred to the Sacred Scripture in his first World Peace Day Celebration when he detailed that humans must go beyond the idea that “peace is an absence of war.” Humans must treat everyone with dignity and respect for it is written in the Gospels: “you must not be called ‘Teacher,’ because you are all equal and have only one Teacher,” And it is written in the Acts of the Apostles: “from one human being he created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth,” and because “God has shown me that I must not consider any person ritually unclean or defiled.” These commandments show that we cannot rank people based off income, race, sex, or creed.
This has been the argument of Pope Francis, and it is like that of the Catholic Worker Movement: if there is no justice, there is no peace. Even though war is still highly prevalent throughout the world, there is a larger issue in the debate of peace: the issue of inequality. As Americans, we live in a time where people are more equal than at any other point in history, but there is still more to be done. Pope Francis has criticized the capitalist system, particularly the American version of the system, as the “dung of the devil” and has called for a new economic order for the “sacred rights” of the poor. This criticism is part of the development of his version of “just peace,” a relatively new concept which means that the peace is only exists when everyone is treated as equal and justice has been served.
Pope Francis strongly believes governments have the responsibility to bring about this “just peace.” He said in his encyclical Lumen Fidei that “faith is concretely placed at the service of justice, law and peace.” However, as we have seen here, the lay ministries of the Church seem to have more influence in bringing about changes in policy. The Catholic Association for International Peace and the Catholic Worker Movement had major influences on the USCCB’s pastoral letter.
Even now, both lay Catholics and bishops are arguing about the Church’s stance on peace. Most recently, the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has called for a new debate on just war theory and non-violence. Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of that council, has called on Pope Francis to renounce the Church’s teaching on just war doctrine and asked Pope Francis to write an encyclical on non-violence and “just peace.”
Whether Pope Francis or any future pontificates choose to do this is left up to debate by theologians, historians, and philosophers. In the meantime, we can establish the move of Catholic peace theory from Saint Augustine to Pope Francis. Much like the Church itself, it is a living institution, open to scientific advancements and historical movements. It is likely that in the future we will see a move towards non-violence and “just peace” as Cardinal Turkson has called for. However, just war theory has been called upon and cited in many papal documents and the USCCB letter regarding nuclear weapons. It will likely continue to be the foundation of Catholic peace theory, but overall, there will be a move towards the use of war and conflict as a last resort. However, there will always be at least two sides to a debate. Just as CAIP and CWM had differing ideas, the American Bishops and other organizations and peoples will have opposing views.
Related to modern international relations, the idea of justice as peace is still developing. When Pope Francis’ was elected as the new pontificate there began a new push equality and a new realization of the power that mankind has to take life. The new positions on equality is very similar to the positions of the Catholic Worker Movement: non-violence and poverty. It is said in Proverbs: “The rich and poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all.” Pope Francis, and to same extent previous pontificates before him such as Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II, have addressed the problems of the times. Pope Benedict XVI criticised capitalistic ideas and how they hurt the world’s most vulnerable.
Cardinal Turkson is heading in the wrong direction when he says we should reject just war theory. Pope Francis’ views on justice and inequality are very compatible with just war theory, specifically jus post bellum. After the two most devastating wars ever on this planet, mankind seems to be stuck in a jus post bellum. If jus post bellum truly means “justice after the war” we should always be in this stage until a “just peace” exists. War crimes tribunals, truth and reconciliation committees, and evolution of the laws of war are some examples of staying in a just society.
I’ll end with a paragraph from Gaudium et Spes speaking on the future of mankind. Recall that this encyclical was written after World War II.
That while human progress is a great advantage to man, it brings with it a strong temptation. For when the order of values is jumbled and bad is mixed with the good, individuals and groups pay heed solely to their own interests, and not to those of others. Thus it happens that the world ceases to be a place of true brotherhood. In our own day, the magnified power of humanity threatens to destroy the race itself.
All of the pontificates have said something similar to this; we must be wary of evil and work for the good of another, love one another.