Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rahab and her Mighty Works of Faith

I hope everyone had a nice Ash Wednesday. I am ready for Lent this year, I need this. I am planning on ditching some really bad habits. Right now I'm hungry. We just got back from 7 pm Mass. It is always tough to take the little ones to a late Mass...

Something good happened to me last week. I was invited by somebody that I don't know all that well, although he is a devout Catholic, and knows that I am too. (This all happened 3 years ago when I was walking by his cubicle, and I saw a Saint calendar, a crucifix, and a small statue of Our Lady tucked away behind a large plant.) This guy is supper quiet, and I am pretty extroverted, I just walked up to him and said, "Wow, you have a very Catholic cubicle..." And we had a nice one-time conversation about Our Faith. I really didn't see or talk to him after that... but apparently, here a few years later, he is moved to my floor of the building, and I noticed him so stopped by again to say "Hello"... He then asked me if I had heard about the "Spiritual Encouragement" meeting that is being put on by a group of men during the lunch hour. This is a group open to any denomination of  Christian to meet together to talk about faith, the Bible, and to pray. And he asked me to come to the meeting. (A few years ago, there is no way I would have said Yes to something like this. I would never have "put myself out there" at work like this... and I would have been intimidated by any "sola scriptura" protestants in the group who may not agree with Catholic thinking.) But my CATHOLIC  bible study is giving me a little bit of confidence.... Maybe I can do something like this? So, I said YES!

Tomorrow my friend is leading the group (everyone is taking turns) and I know he is going to talk about Grace, and Our Sacraments... and I have a feeling there is going to be a debate ensuing.

What does all this have to do with Rahab, and Session 9 of the Bible Timeline Great Adventure? Well, while I was doing my homework last week, I learned who Rahab was while reading Chapter 2 of the Book of Joshua. Rahab was a cult prostitute in Jericho. She helped the Jewish spies when they came to hide and instead of turning them in, she professed her faith in the One True God, and asked to be saved. The red cord she hung out of her window in Joshua 2:24 is symbolic of the Passover and indeed what allowed her life to be spared when Joshua's warriors would destroy the city.

Rahab later marries into the tribe of Judah and becomes an ancestor of Jesus! She is heralded later in the bible, in Psalm 87:4 "I will be mindful of Rahab". And again in Hebrews 11:31 "BY FAITH Rahab the harlot perished not with the unbelievers". And once again in James 2:25 "And in like manner also Rahab the harlot, was not she justified by WORKS, receiving the messengers and sending them out another way?"

This is interesting and I'm stuffing this into my arsenal for when the Faith vs. Works argument comes up, as I'm sure it will. Some Christians will quote Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God. Not of works, that no man may glory." They will interpret this passage that WE ARE SAVED THROUGH FAITH (ALONE). The "Alone" addition was a Martin Luther interpretation that stuck.

However, our Catholic understanding of the matter, is that we are saved by grace through faith AND works. This can be clearly seen by the entire 2nd Chapter of James. "Faith without Works is Dead!" (See James 2:17, 2:20, 2:26, well go ahead and just read the entire Chapter, it is good!)  I may not be eloquent in expressing it, but I hope I can adequately defend Our Faith in a discussion on this matter. Maybe Rahab will help me. (I need it.) God bless everyone. 


  1. Remember Protestant bibles do not have James in it. luther took it out for the exact quote you used. Be careful in a group like that. As you now, always speak the truth...with charity.

    1. Thank Goodness you told me this. I had no idea James was one of the 7 "Catholic" books. (I have so much to learn.) Woah.. Glad I decided to keep my mouth shut today and just listen. It was hard to be in the room. (Even though the Catholics were 2 to 1.. I was rather quiet.) One gentleman was pretty anti-Catholic and kept saying how we made up "full of Grace" in the Bible, and the KJV is "highly favored" and how Mary is a sinner. I felt very unequipped to rebut him. He was quoting too much Greek, and knew more scripture than I. I am horrible in apologetics. I know with all my heart that The Catholic Church is the fullness of faith and all truth stems from her! I just need to be able to explain it better to a Protestant. He was also going on and on about "sprinkling" baptism, and how that is unscriptural and not a real baptism because it is not full water adult immersion. We kept speaking of tradition, but I know nobody was buying it. I was trying to focus the attention on things we agreed on, biblically, as to not get into an argument. But it was like walking on eggshells. There is a lot of anti-Catholicism out there and I will definitely be reading, praying and doing everything I can to be able to answer these types of questions better in the future. It's intimidating though for sure.

    2. Hi Again, I just looked this up and James *IS* in the King James Version of the Bible. The 7 original "Catholic Books" that appeared in the first bible and were later removed, are from the Old Testament: Sirach, Tobit, Wisdom, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees and Baruch. (As well as longer versions of Esther and Daniel.)

  2. Thank yo sooooo much for correcting me!
    I found this to clarify probably why I made the mistake:

    The Protestant New Testament contains the same books as the Catholic New Testament. Although Luther showed great hostility to St. James's Epistle because of its doctrine of the necessity of good works and contemptuously called it an "epistle of straw," he clearly saw that he had no more reason for excluding that book than he had for rejecting the other books of the New Testament. The differences between the Protestant and Catholic New Testament arise from changes in specific passages in various books of the New Testament.

    Also, I had a little thought this morning, if I asked my son to do a chore and he said, "yeh, Mom!" But did not go do it, then his words mean nothing. So too with faith and works.

    As far as making up the Full of Grace...alls the man has to do is go to the original text and he will see the true meaning.

    Thanks for your blog! Have a good day!

    1. Hi Susan, This has been a great discussion and I am thankful for this dialogue. I am fascinated by this "epistle of straw" comment. To me there is absolutely no contradiction between "faith and works". It is all God's grace...we just choose to cooperate with it, right? (I like your thought you had regarding your son this morning.)
      And for the "Full of Grace" comment... for some reason, this guy was convinced that he DID have the original text and said he was translating from the original Greek. (A classic "he said" "she said"...) How do you "convince" someone when they already "know" they are right? And you are showing them the same "original text" ? At that point it is a scholarly debate, but you bet I'm going to look further into this. Oh, and I have already started reading my dusty copy of True Devotion to Mary ;-) Have a great day!

  3. Ciao!
    My name is Paola, I'm Italian and Catholic.
    I was randomly browsing searching for us catholic blogs and I found yours! I really like your adventures and point of you about the Faith.. :)
    I added your blog in my list of favorite blogs! English is not my mother language but I try to express myself the best way I can!
    Are you there in the us praying for the Church and the Pope? We do and I hope the Holy Spirit leads us trough this big transition!


  4. Wow, I sure wish our work place had something like this. I would really like to be a part of something like that. (except when the debates start) - I don't like confrontation - LOL Hope you'll post a review on how things went.


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