Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Logical Case for Catholicism

A new on-line presentation suitable for RCIA, Catholic Studies and Homeschooling (ages 14 and up) is now available. Go to: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/logicalcasecatholicism. Play the trailer below. A content outline follows.



Designed for delivery in parishes, this is a 7-Part screencast course on how Catholicism (and Christianity) is validated by Logic and Natural Law. Contains 75 graphic slides and 6 videos. Total Length about 2 hr. 47 min. [Program: Copyright © 2016, Stanley D. Williams. All Rights Reserved.]

CONTENT OUTLINE

Introduction Starts: 00:00 (Length: 11 min)
1. LOGIC TERMS (Define Terms) Starts: 10:45 (Length 27 min)
• Logos
• Argument
• Opinion
• Validity
• Fallacy
2. NATURAL LAW (Logic’s Best Friend) Starts: 37:16 (Length 11 min)
• Physical
• Psychological
3. NATURAL LAW (Logical Short Cuts) Starts: 48:38 (Length 25 min)
• Biblical Precepts
• Catholic Precepts
• Social Research
4.LAW AND ORDER (Logic’s Best Evidence) Starts: 1:13:40 (Length 32 min)
• Logical Order
• Human Genome
• Free Will
5. LOGICAL CONTRADICTIONS (Logic’s Demise Pt 1) Starts: 1:45:33 (Length 21 min)
• Contradiction vs. Paradox
• The Dominant Contradiction
6. TWO LOGICAL FALLACIES (Logic’s Demise Pt 2) Starts: 2:06:34 (Length 14 min)
• Equivocation
• Difvocation
7. FOUR ESSENTIALS OF A GOOD ARGUMENT (Logic’s Solution) Starts: 2:20:24 (Length 27 min)
• Relevancy
• Acceptability
• Sufficient
• Rebuttal Proof

Friday, November 18, 2016

Alpha - The New Videos

by Stan Williams


Out of respect for Fr. John Riccardo, our pastor, and curiosity I've been attending the ALPHA (Introduction to Christianity) Course (http://alphausa.org/) at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, MI. 

The course is excellent and I encourage all Christians and non Christians who are interested in understanding  the basics of Christianity to search out a course in your area (they're presented in multiple denominations) and attend. (11 weeks, I think.)

As a video producer of hundreds of projects over the decades, I have been impressed with the production quality of the film series that is featured in each session. And as a Christian apologist all my life, and now a part-time Catholic apologist, the content in these videos is the best I have ever experienced. The brain behind these is Nicky Gumbel, an Anglican Vicar, who used to be a British barrister (attorney).

Here are links to the NEW ALPHA FILM SERIES. In my mind, these are benchmarks for all Christian didactic form teaching films. Wonderfully, they also contain strong narrative elements with incredible stories.



Video links:
Week 1 - Is There More to Life Than This?: https://youtu.be/CmeSw6KVweU



Week 4 - How Can I have Faith? https://youtu.be/4KCmLE4fTkc

Week 5 - How Can I pray? https://youtu.be/qSqLif_vKP8

Week 6 - The Bible: https://youtu.be/YSRFba_Zh2w

Retreat Videos
Video 1 Who is the Holy Spirit?: https://youtu.be/8-OZfBbuF7E

Video 2 What does the Holy Spirit Do?: https://youtu.be/SQgW36QFdSA


Video 3 How Can I be Filled with the Holy Spirit?: https://youtu.be/FnQ_8vcWreg

Week 7 Does God Heal Today?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_ECe-5EZzE&feature=youtu.be


stan

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Would Adam Have Been Happier Single? (or, The Git of Singleness)

Stanley D. Williams, PhD


Adam, when he was single, was walking around the Garden of Eden feeling very lonely, so God asked him, “What’s wrong?”
Adam said he didn’t have anyone to talk to.
So God said he was going to give him a companion and it would be a woman. God said, “This woman will cook for you and wash your clothes. She will always agree with every decision you make. She will bear you children and never ask you to get up in the middle of the night to take care of them. She will not nag you, and you will always be the first to admit she was wrong when you’ve had a disagreement. She will never have a headache, and will freely give you love and compassion, whenever needed.
Adam thought about this for a moment, then asked God, “What would a woman like this cost?”
God answered, “An arm and a leg.”
Adam thought about that for a while. Then he asked God, “What can I get for just a rib?”
The rest is history. And toward the end of this, I’ll tell you the rest of the story.
So, the theological question might be, "Would Adam have been happier single?" Some of you who remember the trails that Adam went through might be quick to answer, “Yes!” I wonder how that would that have made the rest of us feel?

10 Objections to Mary

With Scripture and Reason's Response
with a tad of common sense

Stan Williams, Ph.D.

Objection 1
Mary was just a regular girl with nothing special about her.
Don't make more of her than God did.

Mary is not the only person in Christ's lineage.
She shouldn't be considered more important THAN say the incestuous Judah,
the prostitute Rahab, or the adulterer David.

In Scripture, Mary is proclaimed as part of God's salvation plan before the world was created.
Rev. 12:1-6; 13-19

In Scripture, Mary is found as the only human being consistently mentioned and associated with the incarnation and the eternal plan of salvation from Genesis to Revelation.

n     Rev: 12 (what we just read) - the woman is part of God's plan.  21 references to the woman.
n     Gen 3;15 - the woman is not a spur of the moment concept. God sees time as we see space, all at once.
n     Note: These two references are perhaps not coincidence to Jesus' use of the term to his mother in John 2
n     Is 7:14
n     Micah 5:2-3
n     Matt (Mark?) Luke, John
n     John 19:26-27 - Mary the mother of the church
n     Galatians 4:4 - fullness of time - born of a woman


Objection 2
Mary was born in sin and she sinned throughout her life
just like everyone else.

This objection uses Romans 3:23 that says "all have sinned." and 1 John 1:8 says "If we say, 'We are without sin,' we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."  "ALL" means just what it says "ALL, everyone, without exception…except Jesus of course."

The problem we face here is that there are other Scriptures that imply the opposite and

Corpus Christi - A Commentary on John 6

The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist as revealed in St. John's Gospel, Chapter 6

by Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
·       Preface
·       John 6 Commentary
·       St. Paul's Perspective on the Real Presence
·       Early Church Fathers and the Real Presence

Preface

It was May 1997 when, as a searching Evangelical, I visited St. James Catholic Church near my home. After visiting a few times, I approached the priest, Fr. James Cronk, after Mass and asked if I might take communion with the rest of the congregation. "I've been a Christian most of my life, I explained." Fr. Cronk looked me in the eye and said, "Well, let me ask you something. Do you believe that The Eucharist is the real body and blood of our Lord?" Although I was stunned by the ludicrousness of the question I didn't hesitate, "Of course not. That's ridiculous!" He didn't hesitate either. He smiled quietly and said simply, "Then we'd prefer you not."

Arrogant Catholicism

Here's a dialogue about the Catholic Church's claim to know the truth. This took placed by e-mail during the third and fourth weeks of Lent, 2004 with my friend, John Ritland. John left the Lutheran Church along with another friend during a home Bible study us three families held on Infant Baptism. Our first child was about to be born (Trudy) and we were all attending the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church outside the gates of the Manned Spacecraft Center  southeast of Houston, TX where we all worked. Pam and I were the "unofficial" Youth Minister, and the Ritlands and Roeh's were baptized Lutheran. The story is told in some  detail in GrowingUpChristian.

Preface
The purpose of posting this is to defend Christ's words to Peter and the Apostles when he said that the Holy Spirit would lead the church into all truth. He didn't say some truth, but

A Lutheran Historian Looks at Sola Scritpura

Is the Bible Really all you Need to Determine Christian Doctrine?

That is the central question surrounding much of the Protestant Reformation. Here is what one respected, contemporary, Lutheran historian and theologian has to say about it. It is the Catholic position, clear and simple. Why are not more Lutherans and other Protestants as honest and truthful as this?  (Stan Williams)

Perhaps the Reformers were somewhat naive in the way they isolated the apostolic witness, in their belief that they could determine this by simple reference to the Scriptures. They did not always realize how bound they were by their own past, their outlook on life, their schooling in philosophy, their personal predilections. They were somewhat unrealistic about the ease with which one could slice through the complications of centuries to an original witness. "The Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) is fraught with the difficulty that the Scriptura has never been sola!" (1) We can still observe this: "Give a basic New Testament passage to an Orthodox, a Lutheran, a Calvinist, an Anglican, and a Congregationalist to interpret and the discrepancies in their interpretations will correlate much too closely with the various historically conditioned traditions in which they stand to justify any claim that they did no more than reproduce the original meaning." (2) History, liturgy, tradition, psychic make-up, the experiences of life color the interpretation of Scriptura.

--Martin E. Marty, pp 164-165

Quoted from: A Short History of Christianity (Second Edition) by Martin E. Marty a well-respected Lutheran historian, theologian, author, Senior Editor of The Christian Century, and Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Modern Christianity at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.

Marty quotes:
(1) Jaroslav Pelikan in More About Luther. Luther College Press, 1958, p. 50.

(2) Albert C. Outler in The Christian Tradition and the Unity We Seek. Oxford University Press, 1957, p. 36.


Confess My Sins to a Priest? Heavens, NO!

by Pam Williams

Upon discovering we were Catholic and were now going to confession with a priest, a friend wrote me.
Dear Pam, 
I would never confess my sins to a mere man when I can go straight to the Lord. N.D.
-----

Dear N.D.,

The truth is that I felt the same way before becoming Catholic.

In terms of confession, may I suggest that you begin with the Scripture

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Best Practices of Faith Formation

A Modest Television Documentary Proposal

Rather than forming their consciences around the infallible teachings of Catholicism in order to be salt and light to the culture, too many Christians in general and Catholics in particular have wallowed in the spice and shadows of self-indulgence that has led society in general into the shallows of immorality, greed, and pride. Without spiritual revival, conversion of hearts, and an incessant renewal, the destruction of life will continue and the destruction of America is inevitable. The problem and the solution has been well documented by Catholic Bishops... (To READ MORE Click Here to Download Document.)

More of this at the Nineveh's Crossing subsite BEST PRACTICES OF FAITH FORMATION.

How to Get Catholics to Read the Bible

Daily Bible reading and memorization will change a person's life for this life and for eternity. One of the first verses I memorized as a 4-year old was "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee." (Ps 119:11 - KJV).

Here are some ideas I presented during a panel discussion at a Catholic Conference on New Evangelization back in 2008. One of the topics was how to get Catholics to read their Bible more often than simply to listen to the readings during Mass once a week.

The ideas grew out of a television documentary project I had proposed titled "BEST PRACTICES OF FAITH FORMATION."



Because humans learn best through experience and action, these ideas are rooted in role modeling and physical activity.

1. The Mass rubrics should allow for a real Bible to be used during the Mass Readings.   Role Model what you want people to do. Simulate. Congregants do not have The Lectionary or a separate gold trimmed book of the Gospels at home. And age old rule of communication is SHOW THEM, don't just TELL THEM. So, if Catholics are serious about people reading the BIBLE, model it.

2. Instruct people to bring their Bibles to Mass, or put Bibles in the pews. Do both. When it comes time for the Mass Readings ask congregants to pick up their Bibles and turn to the passage about to be read. Wait for and give instructions to the  people to help them find the passage. Don't just say "A reading from the book of Genesis," but rather, "Pick up your Bibles and turn with me to Genesis 1:1. We will read through verse 8." Then wait for people to find the passage before reading continuing:  "A reading from the book of Genesis, chapter 1, verses 1-8. (Pause) 'In the beginning..."

3. Structure Sunday mornings so that while Mass is celebrated in the church, Sunday School Bible Classes are being held elsewhere in the facility. Platoon Mass and Sunday School. Get families in the habit of coming to church and attending both Mass and Sunday School, EVERY SUNDAY THROUGHOUT THE  YEAR. There's more to this suggestion that Evangelicals have perfected. But for the sake of promoting Bible reading, many of the Sunday School classes should be classes taught on a particular book in the Bible, or Biblical theme, led by instructors who are interesting, prepared and are good speakers.   There should be Sunday School Bible classes for every age group.

Small group Bible studies are good and should be encouraged. Such small groups can meet at anytime during the week that is CONVENIENT for those attending. But because of the difficulties of adjusting schedules around work and school, few can commit to a regular time, unless they are retired. Consequently, such short (or even long term) Bible study groups are minimally attended.

SUNDAY MORNINGS however, do not have general conflict with school or work. The family can come together and attend Sunday School classes and then Mass, or the other way around. Sunday School Bible classes also establish relationships, since Sunday School classes become the small group and personal connections necessary for a vibrant Christiana life, which Mass does not provide.

4. Use Bible Sword Drills in Sunday School and Religious Education classes. Here's a starter document I found on the Internet. It will be enthusiastically embraced by young and old alike:
SWORD DRILL ACTIVITY. Pam and I grew up with Sword Drills every week as small kids. As a result, by the time we were teens we could find any Bible reference quickly and the Bible became to us well known and familiar.

5. Start an inter-parish-diocese Teen Bible Quiz program. Bible Quiz is a discipleship ministry geared for teens in sixth through 12th grade. Each year a different book or books of the New Testament are memorized by students. Several times during the year students attend meets within their district in order to test their ability to memorize and understand God's Word. District and Regional meets take place in the Spring of each year with the top teams advancing to Nationals. Each year thousands of dollars in scholarships are awarded to students for their hard work. There are many Internet sites to help a diocese get started. Here's a general description at Wikipedia.

6. From the pulpit, priests should remind congregants EVERY WEEK of the importance of Family Devotions where the Daily Bible Readings are read by a family member, some short discussion about the reading is conducted, and prayers are offered. The term "DEVOTIONS" to many Catholics may denote something different from what I mean here. I do not mean a person's or a family's devotion to a saint or a member of the trinity. To some the term "QUIET TIME" might be better, but that is poor as well. Perhaps FAMILY WORSHIP. Whatever you call it, it should be a STRUCTURED time with the WHOLE family for Bible reading, exhortation, and prayer...and the responsibility for all three of those things should rotate between members of the family.

7. Start a parish Bible Memorization Program with different age divisions and difficulties.  Offer certificates of achievement and public recognition for those that succeed. The programs should be a  year long with weekly recitation standards to encourage habit forming life.

Some of this is described in my Faith Memoir GROWING UP CHRISTIAN: Searching for a Reasonable Faith in the Heartland of America.  While I left Evangelicalism to become Catholic, these foundations in Biblical literacy were critical to my Christian faith, and I have NOT found them in Catholicism. And, I believe their absence in Catholicism is one reason so many young Catholics leave the Church. Thus, while Protestant Evangelical theology is lacking, their faith formation practices and instructional methods should be benchmarked by Catholics. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

FAITH in Action

When Christians say we are saved by "faith alone" (as if 'faith' is simply mental ascent) I'm reminded of two scripture passages that claim otherwise. This is one of them. Faith and Works are two sides of the same coin. You can't have one without the other.

Hebrews 11 (NIV)


 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  


What Does That Mean Anyway?

Words taken from the book,
WHAT CATHOLICS REALLY BELIEVE
Dr. Ray Guarendi & Fr. Kevin Fete 
  

 Incarnation
The greatest proof of God's desire to work through the physical world to give us grace, was the Incarnation- God taking on the form of man in Jesus Christ.

Venerate
To pay honor to someone or something, which does not detract from God's glory, but adds to God's glory. Veneration is not "adoration" or "worship" which are activities, within Catholicism, reserved for God alone.

The Great Schism
The formal split between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy in 1054.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A "woman" walks into a bathroom...

 (Dr. Stan Williams is on the road for a few weeks. 
This is his daughter, Mrs. April Thrasher, filling in.)


The latest craze of "us versus them" debate seems to be the controversy of transgender people and bathrooms, but it is not. This goes beyond the comfort status of having men in women's bathrooms. It has to do with the fact that any man can dress up as a woman and enter a woman's bathroom. But, there are bathroom stalls for privacy, right? Yes. However, you have to come out and wash your hands at some point, right? I am not saying that transgender people are pedophiles.  But now, the law has given pedophiles a "secret door" to walk through, right into the bathroom with my child.


I read something today that said.  “We have been using public restrooms for years with transgender people and no one has ever had a problem with it until now." I am not concerned about transgender people using bathrooms, I am concerned about

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mary and the Saints - Excerpt from Common Ground

Common Ground 

- What Protestants and Catholics Can Learn From Each Other

Pastor Steve Andrews & Father John Riccardo

Published and Distributed by Nineveh's Crossing. www.NinevehsCrossing.com

http://ninevehscrossing.com/CommonGround/CGOrder.php



Chapter 15 - Mary and the Saints

FR. JOHN: So, we do not worship her, we worship God alone. We do honor her, just like you honor your two friends who are back in Kenya.

PR. STEVE: Yes.

FR. JOHN: That's what we do as persons. Unfortunately you see it all too often in sports or entertainment. You know, we're going to honor people who made movies that none of us would ever go see, but somehow we're going to tell them that they were great works of art. We honor them. We honor somebody who's 6'9" who can dunk. I mean if we honor those people for doing things which have nothing to do with character, then how much more do we honor the saints, both alive and dead?

PR STEVE: For a Protestant to say I have a relationship with Jesus, that's normal. But to have a relationship with Mary, that'd be unusual. I'm really looking to understand this too. Is it to have a relationship with Peter as well? To be engaged with the history of our faith, with the people of our history?

FR. JOHN: Yeah, because our claim would be

Friday, February 12, 2016

Al Kresta Interviews Stan Williams for EWTN Radio

Al in his Ann Arbor Studio
Tuesday,  April 16, 2016
4 PM - 5 PM ET


AL KRESTA, my long time friend from our Evangelical days and now CEO of the Ave Maria Radio Network, recorded an interview with me yesterday about my Memoir Growing Up Christian. It was part of his daily talk show Kresta in the Afternoon: Conversations of Consequence. 
Stan on the Catholic Channel in NYC

Al wrote the Foreword to Growing Up Christian for which I was very grateful. During our pre-recording, he graciously set me up nicely to tell a few stories, after he told one that sets up the adventurous premise of the book...my tolerance for risk. That's probably why I was able to become Catholic after years of not thinking Catholics were even Christians.

I hope you can tune in.

If you're not already set up with the player, you'll have to prepare your computer beforehand.

The interview may not start until 4:15 as the first part of the program is a summary current events.

In the meantime I've updated several of my websites and put everything under my main business shingle SWC Films. Hope you can check it out. The Growing Up Christian site is HERE.