Did God Prevent the Rebuilding of the Jewish Temple?

I recently discovered an extremely fascinating historical event I had never heard about: apparently, there was a serious attempt to rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem after it was destroyed in AD 70.  Not only that, but the attempt was thwarted by an odd series of seemingly cataclysmic events: fire burst forth from the foundations, along with a great earthquake, preventing the workers from completing their work.  The project was abandoned.  Some accounts include assertions that the sign of the cross appeared in the sky, as well as on the garments of the workers.

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Faith of the Founders #5: Jefferson, God and Inaugurals

While Thomas Jefferson’s religious beliefs are the subject of ongoing and fierce debate, it is nonetheless surprising how religious his two most public statements as President of the United States were.  They acknowledge God; they invoke His aid; they compare the United States with ancient Israel; they appeal to an overruling Providence; and they assert religious liberty, all at the same time.

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Becoming Catholic #11: Vexing Verses, Part 1

The two meta-questions that framed all my other questions about the “vexing verses” were: what is actually “the gospel,” and what is actually “biblical”?  I was haunted by these questions for more than a decade before I read a single word by a Catholic.  But my love of the Bible, my burning desire to understand it, my inability to make sense of so much of it within a protestant framework, alongside the appeals made to it as the authority behind wildly divergent and contradictory theologies, compelled me to dig deeper.

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Was John Adams a Zionist?

So what was Adams? Philo-Semitic? Anti-Semitic?  Zionist?  Most historical figures don’t fit neatly into our present categories, and the same is true of John Adams.  But there can be no doubt that he was a great admirer of the Jews, and that he looked forward to the day when they would be re-established as a nation in their ancient homeland of Judea.

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Becoming Catholic #10: Church Authority, and Saint Ignatius the Red Pill, Part 5—Roman Finale

It is beyond doubt that Ignatius speaks of the Roman church in ways he simply does not speak of any church.  Most significantly, he speaks of her as one who teaches, confirms, instructs, and enjoins other churches, and as one not only deserving of, but indeed gifted with, unique honors and graces both from God, and the other churches. Ignatius thus serves as one of the earliest witnesses to the primacy of the Roman church.

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Becoming Catholic #9: The Church Fathers, and the Christian Sacrifice of the Eucharist

One of the things that comes through so clearly, so universally in the Church Fathers, is the idea that at the center of Christian worship is a sacrifice—the Eucharist, the bread and wine that has become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In the ultimate picture of grace, God Himself has made it possible for us to offer Him to Him, and doing so cleanses us, in some mysterious way.  This basic belief was present from the very beginning of Christianity.

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Joshua Charles
Becoming Catholic #8: Church Authority, and Saint Ignatius the Red Pill, Part 4

In short, this Ignatian epistle, like the others, shows that he had a high view of Church authority; he considers obedience to a hierarchical structure of bishops, priests, and deacons to be obedience to Christ; he believes that this obedience is an inherent part of eucharistic communion; and that he believed obedience to these ministers provided strong protection against falling into heresy.

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Becoming Catholic #7: The Day of Judgment, and Works, Part 1

Ever since I’ve been a Christian, these examples always caused me great consternation—they do so still.  I cannot get around Jesus’ words: my deeds are inextricably linked with the Day of Judgment, upon whose outcome I will enter eternal paradise, or eternal damnation.  Either Jesus is right, or “faith alone” is wrong.  He could not be clearer—first century peasants could not have been in doubt as to what He was saying, nor can we.

And we’re not even done with Matthew.

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Becoming Catholic #6: Church Authority, and Saint Ignatius the Red Pill, Part 3

In short, in this epistle, like the others, Ignatius of Antioch, a man who knew and was discipled by some of the Apostles himself, and barely 75 years after the death and Resurrection of Christ, took the authority of the Church very seriously, and took the tri-partite structure of Bishop, priests, and deacons for granted within the Catholic Church.

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Lincoln's Advice for Lawyers

[Lincoln’s] success was notable enough to induce various people to ask him for his advice on not only becoming a lawyer, but the practice of law.  His answers epitomize the homespun, down-to-earth, and common-sense way in which Lincoln famously expressed himself, even as President.  Baked into his answers was a healthy dose of life experience which anyone intent on a successful career in any field could benefit from.

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Becoming Catholic #4: A Comedy, on Why a Medieval Jew Became a Medieval Catholic—The Story of Abraham

This amusing story shows how the worst of things prompted the best of decisions. It expresses, in a satirical manner, one of the great reasons I myself decided to become a Catholic—because the Church continued to stand athwart history, tenaciously consistent and stable despite the best efforts of Her clergy. My hope is that as this series continues, this assertion will become increasingly convincing. In the meantime, it’s time for a good—and instructive—laugh.

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Joshua Charles
The Forgotten Warnings of the Founders on Luxury/Materialism

For the Founders, the issue of luxury was intimately connected with liberty. They firmly believed that liberty was man’s birthright, but they also knew that opposed to his birthright was his predilection for preferring the proverbial bowl of stew—our desire for creaturely comforts tend to overwhelm our adherence to principles and ideals, causing us to lose our taste for liberty.

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Joshua Charles
Faith of the Founders #3: Washington's God-Saturated Inaugural Address

[T]he first Inaugural Address of our first President acknowledged, addressed, and supplicated God in the most reverent terms. Biblical concepts of God’s rule over the nations, His blessings for righteous behavior, and His continuing guidance of the new nation are emphatically asserted. It is undeniable that in his first great act as President, Washington intended to involve not just his countrymen, but God, in the event.

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Faith of the Founders #1: George Washington and America's Divine Shot at Glory

Many are familiar with the Farewell Address of President George Washington.  But fewer people are familiar with Washington’s first “farewell address,” namely the farewell he thought would be his final public one. I refer to his 1783 Circular to the State Governments…In general, while Washington gave his advice on specific policies, the Circular is full of admonition for Americans to recognize that they had been given a truly unique opportunity by God, and they best not waste it.

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