Apologetics for the Masses #376 - Hunter Street Baptist Church (Part 2)

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Minister Brady Tarr's Anti-Catholic Presentation - The Eucharist



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General Comments

Hey folks,

     Two big announcements:

     1) I've talked about it for a few years now, but it looks like it is finally going to become a reality.  EWTN Publishing has agreed to publish my book - Blue Collar Apologetics (How to Explain and Defend Catholic Teaching Using Common Sense, Simple Logic, and the Bible).  They're giving me one year to get the manuscript to them, but I am hoping to have it done within three months and, hopefully, get it published sometime in early 2021.  So, please keep that in your prayers.

     2) Beginning the first week of October, I will have a one hour weekly television program - doing Catholic apologetics and commentary - on HTV10 in Houma, Louisiana. The plan is to have the hourly show air 7 times a week, from 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM, and to also take the 1st half hour of the show and turn it into it's own program that will air 14 times a week at all different days and times during the week.  Now, you might be thinking, "What good does that do me since I don't live in Houma?"  Well, if you have a smart TV, just download the HTV10 app onto your TV and - voila! - you can watch the Houma station no matter where you are in the country.  So, while the program will be broadcast on a local station in Houma, it is, essentially, a national TV program.

     Please keep that in your prayers as well.  There's a lot going on...

     3) One more thing - the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Fr. Michael McGivney, will be beatified in October.  Here is a short video on the miracle behind his beatification.  I highly encourage you to watch it.  It's only a few minutes long and it is well worth the time. 




     This week I am continuing with my refutation of the points that Minister Brady Tarr made in a presentation on Catholicism at the Hunter Street Baptist Church here in Birmingham a couple of years ago.  The topic this time around: the Eucharist.

     Oh, and just so you know, I have contacted Minister Tarr to let him know I am publishing, and then refuting, his comments in these newsletters and offered him the opportunity to respond - which is an opportunity his church denied to Catholics - but, as of yet, I have heard no response from him.



Minister Brady Tarr of the Hunter Street Baptist Church

     [Minister Tarr gave selected quotes from both the Council of Trent (Decree Concerning the  Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist) and from the Catechism (paragraphs #1325, 1366, 1392-93)]

     After quoting from the Council of Trent and the Catechism, Minister Tarr then presented several slides to his audience that all began with, "What Does the Bible Say?" and which included a number of comments and questions from him along with quotes of certain Bible passages.  Here is a sampling of what he said:

     Hebrews 10:10-18, "We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.  But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God...For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being saanctified...Where there is forgiveness of these [sins], there is no longer any offering for sin."

     "Does the Bible teach that Jesus' body and blood are offered up over and over for sins or does it teach exactly the opposite? Jesus' sacrifice was offered once for all.  Since the New Testament is crystal clear on the fact that Jesus' sacrifice of himself was a once-for-all thing, it is wrong for Rome to claim that in her Mass the same sacrifice is offered over and over.  Hebrews 7:27: 'He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself.' The Catholic teaching that the body and blood of Christ are offered up each day in Mass is contrary to Scripture."

     "The idea that Christ is called down from heaven, made into bread, and then sacrificed as a victim again as the same sacrifice contradicts the plain position of Scripture that Jesus suffered once for sins.  1 Peter 3:18 explicitly says, 'Christ also suffered once for sins.'  [Also see Hebrews 9:26, 28 about Jesus being offered once to bear the sins of many.]  As these verses show, the Bible teaches that Jesus' one time sacrifice was fully sufficient to satisfy the wrath of God for everyone who repents of their sin and puts their faith in Jesus Christ. 


My Comments

     All of these comments, and the ones of his to follow, show a profound ignorance of Catholic teaching on the part of Minister Tarr, not to mention a profound misunderstanding of Scripture.  

     First, and very importantly, we need to remember that Minister Brady Tarr is claiming “it is wrong for Rome” to teach what it teaches based solely on what?  Based solely on his personal, non-authoritative, and quite fallible interpretation of Scripture.  There is no authority - none whatsoever - other than his private opinion, that Minister Tarr cites.  So, “Rome is wrong” because Minister Brady Tarr declares it to be so.  He has a really bad habit of doing things like that. He tries to claim that the Catholic Church's teachings run contrary to the Bible, but what he is actually claiming is that the Catholic Church's teaching runs contrary to Minister Brady Tarr's personal fallible interpretation of the Bible. 

     Next, let’s look at Jesus being sacrificed “once and for all”.  Jesus was indeed sacrificed once and for all.  For all people and for all time.  Jesus was offered once, and only once, in a bloody manner on the Cross.  That bloody sacrifice is not repeated in the Eucharist.  Jesus is not nailed again to the Cross.  He does not suffer again and again and again every time we offer Mass.  So, 1 Peter 3:18 is spot on - “Christ also suffered once for sins.”  That is what the “once” is referring to...the bloody sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.  Again, He is no longer suffering...no longer bleeding.  

     “Wait a minute,” Minister Tarr will object, “Scripture says there is no need to offer sacrifices daily and that Jesus’ sacrifice was offered once for all time.”  Context is so crucial to understanding.  The immediate context of that passage is that the priests of the Old Covenant had to offer - on a daily basis - bloody sacrifices...plural.  They had to offer bullock after bullock.  Turtle dove after turtle dove.  Lamb after lamb after lamb.  As opposed to those daily sacrifices...those daily bloody sacrifices...offered over and over and over again, Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, was offered once.  Once for ALL time.  Once for ALL people.  So, in the Mass, we do not offer sacrifices, we offer a sacrifice.  We offer the single sacrifice that was offered by Christ.  The same one that was offered two thousand years ago.  It is that single sacrifice that we re-present to the Father for all time.  So, yes, there is no need to offer sacrifices - to shed more blood - daily since the once forever sacrifice has been offered.  

     But, for an even broader context, let’s look at some more Scripture.  Jesus, at the Last Supper, what does He do?  He offers His body and blood as a sacrifice.  The bread is broken, and then He gives it to the Apostles and says, “This is my body which is given up for you.”  His broken body is offered as a sacrifice for them.  Then He gives them the cup and says, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”  His blood, offered as a sacrifice, is poured out for them.  And what does He say after He makes the sacrificial offering of His body and His blood?  “Do this in remembrance of Me.”  Jesus commands us to repeat this sacrificial offering of His body and blood.  And we see in 1 Cor 11:23-29 that the early Christians were indeed offering up the body and blood of the Lord over and over again.  

     Minister Tarr says, “No!  We no longer have need to offer any sacrifice.  Jesus’ sacrifice was offered once.”  In other words, Minister Brady Tarr says, “No, do not do that in remembrance of Him.”  So, I’m presented with two choices: 1) Listening to the Word of Tarr, or 2) Listening to the Word of God.  Hmmm....

     Also, the Word of Tarr contradicts another very prominent passage that is speaking of the offering of sacrifice - Malachi 1:11.  "For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts."  This is a prophecy about the time after Christ's death and resurrection.  We know that because it says God's name is great among the nations, aka the Gentiles.  This didn't happen until after the time of Jesus.  And what does it say is going to be happening?  A pure offering will be made to God in every nation from the rising of the sun to its setting.  An offering...a sacrifice...will be offered to God all day long in every nation, according to Malachi.  According to Minister Brady Tarr, nothing is to be offered to God anywhere at any time.  He rejects this prophecy from Malachi.  And, what is this "pure" offering Malachi is speaking of?  Well, what is the only true "pure" offering ever made to the Father?  The offering of the Son...on the Cross.  Minister Tarr's prejudices against the Catholic faith result in him being unable to truly understand the depth of Scripture.  Again: Word of Tarr or Word of God?

     And it is absolutely ridiculous for Minister Tarr to say we no longer need to offer any sacrifice to God.  I would ask Minister Tarr, if ever given the opportunity: “Why should God forgive you of your sins?”  I believe he would answer, “Because I have faith that Jesus died for the forgiveness of my sins.”  Which means, in essence, that Minister Brady Tarr, who has nothing of his own to offer to God for the forgiveness of his sins, has to turn to the Father and say, “See...see what your Son did for me,” in order to have his sins forgiven.  He has to offer the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross to the Father for the forgiveness of his own sins.  But, if there is no longer any offering for sins, if Jesus’ sacrifice has been offered once and only once, and that was 2000 years ago, then Minister Brady Tarr has nothing to offer to the Father for the forgiveness of his sins, now does he?  I don’t think Minister Tarr has fully thought through what he is saying.

     Finally, this thing he says about Jesus being "called down from heaven and made into bread," is about as ridiculous a thing he could say on the subject.  I can see it now, God the Father is in Heaven talking to Jesus and all of a sudden Jesus disappears right in mid-sentence.  The Father turns to one of the seraphim and says, "It is so hard to have a conversation with Him when He keeps getting called down for all those Masses and turned into bread."  That is, essentially, what Minister Tarr is putting out there. 

     No, Minister Tarr, Jesus is not made into bread.  The bread becomes Jesus in its substance.  And we don't call Him down from Heaven as if He is subject to every whim of the priest and as if He can only be in one place at a time.  Again, ignorance of Catholic teaching on full display.


Minister Brady Tarr

     [Minister Tarr then quotes John 6:52-56 where Jesus says we must eat His body and drink His blood and says it is one of the "main passages that Catholics base their belief that the bread and wine/juice turn into the literal body and blood of Jesus at the Eucharist/Lord's Supper."] 

     Argument #1 to refute the Catholic claim of Transubstantiation: The Eucharist/Lord's Supper was instituted before the crucifixion. The Mass is supposed to be a reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ.  Therefore, according to Roman Catholic theology, the bread and wine become the broken body and shed blood of Christ and are, somehow, the crucified body and blood of Christ.  But how can this be since Jesus instituted the Supper before He was crucified?  Are we to conclude that at the Last Supper...when Jesus broke the bread, it actually became His sacrificial body - even though the sacrifice had not yet happened?...the wine became His actual sacrificial blood - even though the sacrifice had not yet happened?  That would make no sense at all." 


My Comments

     You mean...the Last Supper was before the Crucifixion? Gee, why hadn't Catholic theologians ever realized that? Here's the thing...it makes no sense at all to Minister Brady Tarr because he apparently does not believe God could do something like that.  As Catholics, however, we believe God could indeed offer His sacrificial body and blood on the night before His crucifixion.  Doesn't the Book say that our faith should "not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God?" (1 Cor 2:5) and "Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Cor 1:20).  So, yes, I can see how it wouldn't make much sense to someone who puts limits on the power of God.  But for those who believe that with God all things are possible, then it could indeed have happened just that way.


Minister Brady Tarr

     Argument #2 to refute the Catholic claim of Transubstantiation: After the institution of the communion supper, both the elements were still referred to as bread and wine [he cites Matt 26:26-29].  After Jesus said, "This is my blood," he said, "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now one until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."  Why would Jesus speak figuratively of His blood as "the fruit of the vine" if it was his literal blood?  If the elements were changed and were really the body and blood, then why does Paul refer to the element of bread as bread and not the literal body of Christ [citing 1 Cor 11:23-28]?


My Comments

     This is a rather weak argument.  Catholics today will still sometimes refer to the "bread" and the "wine" even after the consecration.  But everyone knows - all Catholics anyway - that the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ are being referred to in those instances.  And that is because Jesus is truly present; yet, He is present under the appearance of bread and wine.  Furthermore, Jesus Himself says He is the "bread" of life (John 6:35).  And that He is the "true bread which came down from heaven" (John 6:32,41). And that He is the living "bread" that if anyone eats of this "bread" he will live forever and that the "bread" which He shall give for the life of the world is His flesh (John 6:51).  Jesus' flesh is the true "bread," so to call the Eucharist "bread" is in no way an argument against the Real Presence.  Just so for referring to His blood as wine or as the fruit of the vine.  After all, Jesus tells us that He is the "true vine" (John 15:1).  So, He is the "true bread" and the "true vine". 

     Besides, in the passage from 1 Cor 11 that Minister Tarr points to, Paul states that people who eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner are "guilty of the body and blood of the Lord".  Well, how can you be "guilty" of the body and blood of the Lord by eating bread or drinking wine (or grape juice) if they aren't the body and blood of the Lord?  You would be "guilty," rather, of the bread and the grape juice.  And then in verses 29 and 30, which Minister Tarr did not quote, it says that "anyone who eats or drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."  How can you "discern" the body, if it's not the body?  If it's just bread and grape juice?  And the penalty is rather severe for unworthily eating some bread and drinking some grape juice, don't you think?  Talk about something that doesn't make much sense, it's his interpretation that doesn't make much sense. 

     One last point: the water that turned to wine, in the 2nd chapter of John (verses 7-9), is referred to as water even after it has been changed to wine.  So, it appears there is scriptural precedent for calling something by what it used to be, even though it has been changed in its substance.

     All of which confirms, once again, that what we are presented with here, is Minister Brady Tarr's opinion of what should and should not be.  Of what the Scriptures should or should not say if this is true or that is not true.  It is pure speculation, based on his private, non-authoritative, non-binding, fallible interpretation of the Bible.  Period!


Minister Brady Tarr

     Argument #3 to refute the Catholic claim of Transubstantiation: Based on the tenor of the Gospel of John [chapter 6:52-56], it is clear that Catholics are, like the Jews, mistakenly taking Jesus' comments about eating and drinking his body and blood literally when the context shows that Jesus was speaking spritually. 

     [He then goes on to quote from one Russell D. Moore about several of the times that Jesus was misunderstood by the people and even by His own disciples - John 2, John 3, John 4, John 8, John 9, and John 10 - to show that we Catholics also misunderstand what Jesus said in John 6.]

     The problem with the Catholic view of the Eucharist is not that it seeks to answer the grumbling question of the crowds by the seashore [John 6], but that it seeks to answer it on the same mistaken terms.  In other words, the Catholics are guilty of the same blind literalism as the Jews in these stories in regards to their literal view of actually eating the body and blood of Jesus in John 6.


My Comments

     Ah, yes...the "tenor" of John, chapter 6.  We Catholics, of course, get it wrong.  But, Minister Brady Tarr, in his own personal opinion, gets it right.  Again, by what authority does he claim to have THE infallible interpretation of Scripture?  None. 

     One thing, however, that Minister Tarr - and Russell D. Moore - failed to mention, is that in every instance they cite of Jesus being misunderstood, Jesus offered more explanation.  And it was made very clear that the Jews and/or the disciples misunderstood Jesus. The one exception being in John 2, where the people and disciples didn't realize that when He was talking about rebuilding the Temple in 3 days, He was actually talking about His body.  But, the author - John - adds in a verse that says Jesus was talking about His body.  But, in John 6, there was no further explanation forthcoming from Jesus, or from John, about this whole thing of Jesus saying we have to eat His body and drink His blood.  And nowhere in John 6 is it made clear that the Jews and the disciples and even the Apostles misunderstood Jesus.  If explanation was offered in the other instances, why not here?  Hmmm...maybe because they didn't misunderstand Him?

     Furthermore, the context clearly shows that Jesus was speaking literally, not spiritually, or metaphorically.  All the people who heard Him that day - the Jewish leaders, His disciples, and even His Apostles - took Him to be speaking literally, not metaphorically.  And everything He said simply reinforced their interpretation of what He was saying.  Why, 2000 years after the fact, when there is nothing in the passage that says, "Jesus was misunderstood," or "Jesus was speaking symbolically, or spiritually" or any such thing, do people come up with a "spiritual" context for His words?  I'll tell you why: Because it is indeed a hard saying.  And many walk away from Him because of it. 

     Finally, one really big problem with this "spiritual" interpretation that Minister Tarr comes up with is found in John 6:51.  Jesus says that the bread which He gives us to eat is the flesh that He will give for the life of the world.  When did He give His flesh for the life of the world?  On the Cross.  The question is: Was the flesh that Jesus gave for the life of the world real, or only spiritual?  I mean, if Jesus is speaking spiritually about His flesh and blood in John 6:52-56, then He must also be speaking spiritually about the flesh He will give for the life of the world in John 6:51.  A "spiritual" rendering of John 6:52-56, results in Jesus not really dying on the Cross.  It was His spiritual flesh that was nailed to the Cross and His spiritual blood that was shed on the Cross.  You can't have it both ways, Minister Tarr.

     All in all, Minister Brady Tarr, as I stated earlier, displays a severe lack of knowledge of not just Catholic teaching, but of the Bible, in general.


Closing Comments

     I hope all of you have a great week.  Again, please pray for these new initiatives - the Blue Collar Apologetics book and the television program.  More fun with Minister Brady Tarr in the next issue.



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Apologetics for the Masses