The Catholic Defender: Go John

Posted by John Benko - August 31st, 2013

Please tune in for the debate between John Benko and Brenda Johnson on the doctrine Sola Scriptura.  This will take place this October 3rd at 7:00 Eastern, 6:00 Central, 5:00 Mountain, 4:00 West Coast.  Marked to be an event of the year.  (646) 595-2071 is the call in number. The debates can be heard live on our BlogtalkRadio show.

 “Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.” - Tony Robbins

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”

 
  Isaiah 41:10
‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.


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The Sola Scriptura smackdown

Posted by John Benko - August 31st, 2013

Mark you calendars, folks. October 3rd is the day and Blogtalkradio is the venue. This is going to be the big one. Protestant Brenda Johnson will debate Catholic John Benko on the single most foundational doctrine of Protestant thought- Sola Scriptura (The Bible alone).

The debate can be heard live, starting at 7:00 PM Eastern time. The show will be hosted live on the Deeper Truth show but will also be live fed on As the day approaches.

Agenda

Moderator

At 7:00 PM, the show will begin with the debate announcement and introduction of the moderator.

It is the agreed upon intention of both sides that the moderator not affect the outcome of the debate one way or the other. To this end, we are determined to keep his involvement to a bare minimum.

The moderators role is to enforce the rules and the rules are few.

  • No Ad hominem attacks, vulgar, profane or abusive language.
  • No talkover or filibustering.
  • Respect time limits.
  • No deliberate avoidance of direct relevant questions.

The moderator will introduce himself and then, the contestants who will each have a few minutes to speak about themselves personally. Note: This is not an opportunity for either contestant to take any preemptive shots.

Opening Statements & Rebuttals

After these introductions, Brenda Johnson will offer an opening statement affirming the doctrine of Sola Scriptura as enunciated in her own words;

I believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as verbally inspired of God, and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are the supreme and final authority in faith and life.

 We do not disagree on either the inspiration of Scripture or their innerantce. So, for purposes of this debate, only the statement they are the supreme and final authority in faith and life is being contested.

Brenda Johnson’s 10 minute opening state is to deal directly in support of that premise.

Following, Brenda Johnson’s open, John Benko will have up to 5 minutes to rebut the arguments made in the open.

Following this, we will take a brief commercial break.

After the commercial break, John Benko will offer a 10 minute opening statement directly challenging the premise stated above. Brenda Johnson will have 5 minutes to rebut.

The second break will follow.

Questions and answers.

There will be 8 questions, 4 from each side. Brenda will have the odd numbered questions, John will have the evens.

They will proceed in this fashion;

  • Question stated. Questions may not be more than 1 or two part questions.
  • Other side has up to 2 minutes to answer.
  • Questioner has an optional 1 minute rebuttal.

After all 8 questions have been completed, we will take our third break.

Closing remarks

 Brenda Johnson will go first. Closing statements are 3 minutes in length and are intend to conclude and summarize points. Links to supplemental info are allowed.

Audience questions may follow if applicable.


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The Catholic Defender: Hell is for Children

Posted by John Benko - August 30th, 2013

I have written about fatherless families and the problems associated there along with problems of women being made as objects as opposed to being truly liberated as a child of God.

The results are what is happening to the children. There is the loss of spiritual direction and leadership by their Fathers.

There is the lack of respect many of them have for their Mothers because many of them struggle trying to work, be Mother, and play father as well.

Many children are being raised without much parental supervision or love. Many children find gangs that give them a sense of “family” which digs them deep into drugs, sexual promiscuity, and rebellion.

The attack on the family is so strong that people’s lives are disenfranchised from God, his Church, and the true family. This is the purpose of the “Progressive”.

President Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free”
President Reagan also had said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are… I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”


The Importance of religion and family, President George Washington said:“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports… And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion… reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” 

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
 

Since we decided to through the bible out of the public schools along with the Ten Commandments, all hell has broken loose. Matthew 18:6-7 states, Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come”!

Planned Parenthood seems to have been caught with an undercover tape showing a nurse teaching young teenagers to lie promoting an underground sex trade as shown on Bill O’Reilly 1 Feb, 2011.

Recently, the Florida State Director of Child Protective Services was arrested for child porn. The very services designed to protect children end up helping in many cases, the monsters they are sworn to stop.

Working in the Emergency Room, being in charge of an Emergency Room, to see physical sexual abuse of children was one of the most difficult things to have to respond to. This is being seen in Emergency Centers all across America. 

The family is still the most important stable foundation for all children. To have loving parents, both father and mother is the Lord Jesus Christ’s intent to raise children.


I prefer that children remain children throughout their formative years so that their foundations will not only give them the better hope for tomorrow, but also our Country.

You have to wonder where the parents were when their teenagers (16 year old Demetrius Glen) went out and killed an 88 year old WWII War Hero Delbert Belton.

Mr. Belton was simply waiting for someone to come out of the store ensuring that they would be safe at night when two teenagers attacked him.

They said they killed him because he fought back defending himself? Where were these teenagers Fathers? I’ve not heard anything reporting on the status of the parents.

Where were the parents when three Oklahoma teens killed an Australian baseball player because they were “bored” and thought it would be “fun” to kill someone.

Christopher Lane was visiting Duncan, Oklahoma with his girlfriend when he passed a home where the boys were staying.

He was simply out jogging at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Where was the parents who should have had some authority within that home? Three teenagers kill at random, where were the Parents?

The family is under assault and lives are being destroyed.


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The Catholic Defender: Jeff Hutchins joins Deepertruth Radio

Posted by John Benko - August 29th, 2013

Jeff Hutchins, a team member of St. Paul’s Street Evangelization from Dallas, will co-host Deepertruth’s Friday evening show.

This show will focus on Evangelization as a Catholic outreach.  Jeff is a convert to the Catholic Faith from the Church of Christ.

Jeff has appeared on Deepertruth giving testimony of his conversion to the Catholic Faith and he has been a regular on Facebook.

The Friday Show will focus on Evangelization which really is part of all things Catholic.  Look for Fridays at 8:00 Eastern, 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, and 5:00 West Coast all P.M.

Come and greet Jeff as he brings his talents of street witnessing to Blogtalkradio.


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Peter is the Rock (Reused show notes)

Posted by John Benko - August 29th, 2013




 The show notes for tonight’s debate are on our blog at deepertruthblog.com

 The email address is email@deepertruthblog.com
The premise of tonight’s debate boils down to 7 verses of Scripture- Matthew 16:13-19, with special emphasis on the last 3.

The entire Catholic religion stands or falls on these 7 verses of Scripture. If Catholic exegesis of these 7 verses is wrong, the claim to the authority of Catholicism cannot stand. If we are right, however, that Peter is the Rock of Matthew 16, then it cannot be denied.

These are the 7 verses as read from the RSV Bible.

The location of this discourse is Caesaria Phillipi, a place known for the huge Rock that is it’s backdrop. A little dramatic effect, if you will. A picture is in the show notes.

The discussion points directly to Peter. As if to manifest this to excess, Jesus says “YOU”  in addressing Peter, a total of 7 times in the last 3 verses. 7 times in 3 verses, folks. Count them.

Opponents try a little linguistic slight of hand. They will tell you that YOU really means ME or IT and that Petros and Petra are two different words when they are, in fact masculine and feminine versions of the very same word.

After arriving at this carefully chosen location, Jesus poses a question to all 12 disciples. Who do men say that I am?

Who is translated from the Greek tina ( τίνα Strong 5101) which can actually be translated who?, which? or what? Men is translated from anthrōpoi (ἄνθρωποι 444 ) which means mankind. and Son of Man uses the word Uion for Son and a variant of anthrōpoi that specifies a particular man. So, paraphrasing, Jesus is actually saying Who do all men say that this particular son of men is?

They answer. Some say Elijah, Some say Jeremiah, Some say John the Baptist, others say one of the prophets. Notice that there are only 4 options;

    All of these people had two things in common. First, they were all prophets. Second, they were all long gone. It is very interesting that no one saw Jesus as the Messiah at this point but no one saw Him as a fraud, either. A Prophet is one who speaks for God, who speaks by Divine authority. They all recognized Jesus as speaking by that authority but didn’t recognize Him AS that authority. All of them thought He was a resurrected Prophet which proves, contrary to what my opponent says, all the Jews believed in the Resurrection.

    The reason they thought Jesus was a Prophet is because it was well understood in Scripture and tradition that the Messiah’s coming would be preceded by a return of one of the Prophets. Most people assumed it would be Elijah.

    Malachi 4: 5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

    So the Jews were still awaiting the return of Elijah but Elijah’s return was symbolic and had already been fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist. Proof texts for this in the show notes.

    Matthew 17:9-13

    10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come? 
    11 And he answered and said, Elijah indeed cometh, and shall restore all things: 
    12 but I say into you, that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they would.
     Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them.
    13 Then understood the disciples that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

    Matthew 11:13-15

    American Standard Version (ASV)
     13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
     14 And if ye are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, that is to come.
     15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

    To this day, Jews leave a chair out for Elijah when they celebrate the Passover, anticipating that he will precede the Messiah.

     Jesus then challenges the 12,  Who do YOU say that I am?  Peter, alone said “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. Peter was the only one who stepped forward and Jesus tells us why.

    “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah” Blessed is translated from the Greek word Makarios (μακάριος 3107 Strong’s ) and conveys being very fortunate, very favored, placed in an enviable position. Simon bar-Jonah is the Aramaic rendering of Simon, Son of John. Demonstrating that Jesus spoke Aramaic comes into play later.


    For flesh and blood did not reveal this to you. 
    but My Father who is in Heaven
    Flesh and Blood from the Greek words Sarx and Aima are meant to convey human nature. This is not revealed through human faculties, in other words. Reveal is from apekalupsen which conveys revealing something that is hidden or covered. The passage is clearly conveying that Peter alone has come to this knowledge by direct revelation from the Father according to a singular privilege denied to, not only all the other Jews but to even all the other Disciples.

    and I tell you, you are Peter

    and I tell you is translated from Kai Dei Soi Lego hoti (καὶ λέγω 2532 and 3004) signifying and, moreover, I tell you that or and, more than that, I tell you. You are Peter. Petros, a huge foundational stone, suitable for building. (Πέτρος 4074). George will try to tell you that it means a smaller stone but that is complete nonsense. The word for this kind of smaller stone is Lithos.

    For example, in Matthew 24:2,  Matthew uses the word Lithos where Jesus says, referring to the Jewish Temple, not one stone will be left upon another. The address to Peter in Matthew 16:18 chooses the Masculine Petros over the Feminine Petra because Jesus here is giving Simon a new name. Actually Petros is not that name, the name is actually Kephas. John 1:42 tells us that Jesus calls Peter by the Aramaic Kephas, which is translated to the Greek Petros. The Aramaic Kephas ( Κηφᾶς 2786) cannot be translated as small stone. That would be Enva. Nor is there a feminine form of Kephas.

    Calling Peter Petros is necessitated by the translation of Kephas to Koine Greek and the fact that Peter is be named and is a man.

    and upon this rock, I will build my church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.

    And upon this rock is translated from kai epi taute te petra (καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ ) Literally translated it means and on this very rock. The notion of a contrast is untenable.

    Matt Slick tries to infer a contrast on his CARM website, arguing the difference between the masculine Petros and the Feminine Petra but it simply cannot be supported.

    Let’s go word by word. Kai (2532) means and or moreover. It affirms a thought and then emphasizes it. Yes, the car is blue and it’s the very same blue I chose. It is absurd to suggest the word Kai as a contrast conjunction and the translator to English always affirms the translation to and, not but, or however, or rather or nevertheless- conjunctions of contrast. It is suggesting, to paraphrase, that someone might say-Yes, the car is blue and it’s the very same red I chose. It is absurd.
     

    If a contrast were the author’s intent, the word used would be alla (ἀλλὰ 235 ) meaning but.

    Alla can be shown for example in Luke 5:32

    I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    As if this were not enough, Matthew follows Kai with epi taute te meaning on this very. Taute te is used in Matthew 26:34-

     Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”
     

    Finally, the word Petra.  (πέτρᾳ 4073 ). From the exact same root as Petros, it’s only difference is gender. It is not being used in the second part of the sentence as a proper name and, in this case, the use is feminine.

    Kai epi tautee te (and on this very same) shows clearly that the rock used in the second part of the sentence refers to exactly the same rock in the first.

    Jesus first says YOU are Rock and then THIS is the Rock. Thus, the change in Gender. You are the rock and this is the rock upon which I will build my church. It is the same rock.

    Those who suggest that Jesus is calling Peter Petros and Himself Petra fail on another ground. If Jesus is Petra, He is calling Himself a woman.

    Clearly, the Petros / Petra argument collapses under it’s own weight.

     It is Peter who is blessed with direct revelation, it is Peter who is called Rock and it is Peter who is that very same Rock upon which Jesus built a church that the power of death, literally pylai hadou, the gates of hell cannot overcome.

    In verse 19, Jesus gives Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and the power to bind and loose on earth that which will be bound and loosed in heaven.

    The keys to the kingdom of heaven from the Greek Kleis (2807: κλείς ) hearkens back to Isaiah 22 and the Chief Steward. It is to hand over control, literally to give the keys. Jesus is saying nothing less than telling Peter that He will give him the keys to the the authority of God’s Heavenly Kingdom on earth.

    Finally, Jesus makes a last, extraordinary claim. What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

    Literally deses (δήσῃς 1210) meaning to tie or bind and luses (λύσῃς 3089) meaning to loose or dissolve, it refers explicitly to the exercise of authority. These are legal terms under Jewish law that were used, for example in binding someone to a debt or dissolving a contract. The claim should be a revelation to any non-catholic.

    For Jesus actually says that for whatever Peter were to bind and loose, it has already been bound or loosed in heaven!

    The words used are dedemenon  (δεδεμένον ) and lelumenon (λελυμένον), past tense variants of the previous words.

    Here, Jesus is not only giving Peter authority, but absolute, plenary authority. We call that authority infallibility but that is next week’s debate.

    That Peter is the Rock is undeniable.

    1. If Peter is not first among the disciples, why is he mentioned 155 times in the New Testament when all the other disciples are mentioned 130 times combined?
    2. If Peter is not the Rock, why was his name changed to Rock? In every other occurrence in the Bible, of God changing a person’s name, it was for a significant reason. Abram to Abraham- the Father of many nations. Jacob to Israel. Now, God changes Simon to Rock for apparently no reason?
    3. If Peter is not the head of the Disciples, by what authority does He rule in the Council of Jerusalem? The Judaizers actually made the Biblical case for Circumcision but Peter answered 10 Now therefore, why tempt you God to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? Here, Peter is clearly exercising His power to loose.

    4. In Mark 16:7, the Angel says to Mary Magdalene and to Mary, the mother of James and Salome  But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, as he told you. If even the Angel recognizes Peter as distinct from the others, why don’t you?
    5. Why, in John 21:15-17 does Jesus ask Peter if He loves Him more than the other disciples do? Why does He charge on Peter “feed my lambs, feed my sheep”? 



    Argument: There are many verses saying that only God is the Rock. For example     1  Samuel 2:2

    There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

    Answer: Strong’s concordance lists 60 different Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words that are translated to the english word Rock. Obviously, they do not all hold the same exact meaning. For example, the passage in 1 Samuel is translated from the Hebrew word Tsur which indicates a cliff. This word is actually considered a proper name for God in it’s use in verses like Deuteronomy 32:31.Kephas, on the other hand, suggests a foundation on which to be built and, though it is of Hebrew/Aramaic origin, it is never used as a name for God, only for Peter.

    In the same way, Jesus says “call no man father” in Matthew 23:9, yet He, Himself, calls Abraham our father in John 8:56. Jesus says “I am the Good Shepherd” yet we have the shepherds in the field watching their flock by night. We have Jesus saying He is the true bread. Does this mean the manna was fake? Of course not. It is context that is key.

    Argument: How could Jesus have called Peter the Rock in Matthew 16:18 then called him Satan?
    23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

    Answer: This is actually a perverse and twisted translation of this passage. Are we to believe that Satan received direct revelation from the Father as well as the keys to the kingdom and the power to bind and loose? No. Jesus was talking to Satan who He recognized behind Peter’s temptation. 

    Argument: 1 Timothy 2:5 says there is only one mediator between God and man and the Book of Acts says there is only one name by which men must be saved. 

    Answer: Peter is not a mediator between God a man because He is not God. Neither, is He the one by which we must be saved, and for the same reason. Peter is a minister, called by the Divine office (Colossians 1:24), entrusted with the dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:2) and a Priest to reign on earth (Revelation 5:10)


    This material gleaned from Scripture Catholic. Proper credit given to John Salza. 

    Matt. to Rev. – Peter is mentioned 155 times and the rest of apostles combined are only mentioned 130 times. Peter is also always listed first except in 1 Cor. 3:22 and Gal. 2:9 (which are obvious exceptions to the rule).

    Matt. 10:2; Mark 1:36; 3:16; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:3; 2:37; 5:29 – these are some of many examples where Peter is mentioned first among the apostles.

    Matt. 14:28-29 – only Peter has the faith to walk on water. No other man in Scripture is said to have the faith to walk on water. This faith ultimately did not fail.

    Matt. 16:16, Mark 8:29; John 6:69 – Peter is first among the apostles to confess the divinity of Christ.

    Matt. 16:17 – Peter alone is told he has received divine knowledge by a special revelation from God the Father.

    Matt. 16:18 – Jesus builds the Church only on Peter, the rock, with the other apostles as the foundation and Jesus as the Head.

    Matt. 16:19 – only Peter receives the keys, which represent authority over the Church and facilitate dynastic succession to his authority.

    Matt. 17:24-25 – the tax collector approaches Peter for Jesus’ tax. Peter is the spokesman for Jesus. He is the Vicar of Christ.

    Matt. 17:26-27 – Jesus pays the half-shekel tax with one shekel, for both Jesus and Peter. Peter is Christ’s representative on earth.

    Matt. 18:21 – in the presence of the disciples, Peter asks Jesus about the rule of forgiveness. One of many examples where Peter takes a leadership role among the apostles in understanding Jesus’ teachings.

    Matt. 19:27 – Peter speaks on behalf of the apostles by telling Jesus that they have left everything to follow Him.

    Mark 10:28 – here also, Peter speaks on behalf of the disciples by declaring that they have left everything to follow Him.

    Mark 11:21 – Peter speaks on behalf of the disciples in remembering Jesus’ curse on the fig tree.

    Mark 14:37 – at Gethsemane, Jesus asks Peter, and no one else, why he was asleep. Peter is accountable to Jesus for his actions on behalf of the apostles because he has been appointed by Jesus as their leader.

    Mark 16:7 – Peter is specified by an angel as the leader of the apostles as the angel confirms the resurrection of Christ.

    Luke 5:3 – Jesus teaches from Peter’s boat which is metaphor for the Church. Jesus guides Peter and the Church into all truth.

    Luke 5:4,10 – Jesus instructs Peter to let down the nets for a catch, and the miraculous catch follows. Peter, the Pope, is the “fisher of men.”

    Luke 7:40-50- Jesus addresses Peter regarding the rule of forgiveness and Peter answers on behalf of the disciples. Jesus also singles Peter out and judges his conduct vis-à-vis the conduct of the woman who anointed Him.

    Luke 8:45 – when Jesus asked who touched His garment, it is Peter who answers on behalf of the disciples.

    Luke 8:51; 9:28; 22:8; Acts 1:13; 3:1,3,11; 4:13,19; 8:14 – Peter is always mentioned before John, the disciple whom Jesus loved.

    Luke 9:28;33 – Peter is mentioned first as going to mountain of transfiguration and the only one to speak at the transfiguration.

    Luke 12:41 – Peter seeks clarification of a parable on behalf on the disciples. This is part of Peter’s formation as the chief shepherd of the flock after Jesus ascended into heaven.

    Luke 22:31-32 – Jesus prays for Peter alone, that his faith may not fail, and charges him to strengthen the rest of the apostles.

    Luke 24:12, John 20:4-6 – John arrived at the tomb first but stopped and waited for Peter. Peter then arrived and entered the tomb first.

    Luke 24:34 – the two disciples distinguish Peter even though they both had seen the risen Jesus the previous hour. See Luke 24:33.

    John 6:68 – after the disciples leave, Peter is the first to speak and confess his belief in Christ after the Eucharistic discourse.

    John 13:6-9 – Peter speaks out to the Lord in front of the apostles concerning the washing of feet.

    John 13:36; 21:18 – Jesus predicts Peter’s death. Peter was martyred at Rome in 67 A.D. Several hundred years of papal successors were also martyred.

    John 21:2-3,11 – Peter leads the fishing and his net does not break. The boat (the “barque of Peter”) is a metaphor for the Church.

    John 21:7 – only Peter got out of the boat and ran to the shore to meet Jesus. Peter is the earthly shepherd leading us to God.

    John 21:15 – in front of the apostles, Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus “more than these,” which refers to the other apostles. Peter is the head of the apostolic see.

    John 21:15-17 – Jesus charges Peter to “feed my lambs,” “tend my sheep,” “feed my sheep.” Sheep means all people, even the apostles.

    Acts 1:13 – Peter is first when entering upper room after our Lord’s ascension. The first Eucharist and Pentecost were given in this room.

    Acts 1:15 – Peter initiates the selection of a successor to Judas right after Jesus ascended into heaven, and no one questions him. Further, if the Church needed a successor to Judas, wouldn’t it need one to Peter? Of course.

    Acts 2:14 – Peter is first to speak for the apostles after the Holy Spirit descended upon them at Pentecost. Peter is the first to preach the Gospel.

    Acts 2:38 – Peter gives first preaching in the early Church on repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.
    Acts 3:1,3,4 – Peter is mentioned first as going to the Temple to pray.

    Acts 3:6-7 – Peter works the first healing of the apostles. 

    Acts 3:12-26, 4:8-12 – Peter teaches the early Church the healing through Jesus and that there is no salvation other than Christ.

    Acts 5:3 – Peter declares the first anathema of Ananias and Sapphira which is ratified by God, and brings about their death. Peter exercises his binding authority. 

    Acts 5:15 – Peter’s shadow has healing power. No other apostle is said to have this power. 

    Acts 8:14 – Peter is mentioned first in conferring the sacrament of confirmation.

    Acts 8:20-23 – Peter casts judgment on Simon’s quest for gaining authority through the laying on of hands. Peter exercises his binding and loosing authority.

    Acts 9:32-34 – Peter is mentioned first among the apostles and works the healing of Aeneas.

    Acts 9:38-40 – Peter is mentioned first among the apostles and raises Tabitha from the dead. 

    Acts 10:5 – Cornelius is told by an angel to call upon Peter. Angels are messengers of God. Peter was granted this divine vision. 

    Acts 10:34-48, 11:1-18 – Peter is first to teach about salvation for all (Jews and Gentiles).

    Acts 12:5 – this verse implies that the “whole Church” offered “earnest prayers” for Peter, their leader, during his imprisonment.

    Acts 12:6-11 – Peter is freed from jail by an angel. He is the first object of divine intervention in the early Church. 

    Acts 15:7-12 – Peter resolves the first doctrinal issue on circumcision at the Church’s first council at Jerusalem, and no one questions him. After Peter the Papa spoke, all were kept silent. 

    Acts 15:12 – only after Peter (the Pope) speaks do Paul and Barnabas (bishops) speak in support of Peter’s definitive teaching.

    Acts 15:13-14 – then James speaks to further acknowledge Peter’s definitive teaching. “Simeon (Peter) has related how God first visited…” 

    Rom. 15:20 – Paul says he doesn’t want to build on “another man’s foundation” referring to Peter, who built the Church in Rome.

    1 Cor. 9:5 – Peter is distinguished from the rest of the apostles and brethren of the Lord.

    1 Cor. 15:4-8 – Paul distinguishes Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to Peter from those of the other apostles. Christ appeared “to Cephas, then to the twelve.” 

    Gal.1:18 – Paul spends fifteen days with Peter privately before beginning his ministry, even after Christ’s Revelation to Paul.

    1 Peter 5:1 – Peter acts as the chief bishop by “exhorting” all the other bishops and elders of the Church.

    1 Peter 5:13 – Some Protestants argue against the Papacy by trying to prove Peter was never in Rome. First, this argument is irrelevant to whether Jesus instituted the Papacy. Secondly, this verse demonstrates that Peter was in fact in Rome. Peter writes from “Babylon” which was a code name for Rome during these days of persecution. See, for example, Rev. 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2,10,21, which show that “Babylon” meant Rome. Rome was the “great city” of the New Testament period. Because Rome during this age was considered the center of the world, the Lord wanted His Church to be established in Rome.

    2 Peter 1:14 – Peter writes about Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s death, embracing the eventual martyrdom that he would suffer.

    2 Peter 3:16 – Peter is making a judgment on the proper interpretation of Paul’s letters. Peter is the chief shepherd of the flock.

    Matt. 23:11; Mark 9:35; 10:44 – yet Peter, as the first, humbled himself to be the last and servant of all servants.



    In dealing with the issue of whether Peter is the Rock upon which the Church is built, in Matthew 16,
    one has to actually deal with the words Jesus speaks in the passage. Even the Greek verbiage that is Matthew’s translation of the actual conversation, clearly shows that Peter is the Rock. The so-called Petros/Petra controversy is no controversy at all since he addresses Peter as the Rock. In English, it would sound substantially as it is translated-YOU are the Rock and upon THIS very same Rock will I build my Church. You receives the masculine form of the noun while This receives the feminine version. This, even though they both refer, as the text clearly shows, to the very same rock.

    In dealing with this passage, anti-Catholics refuse to….well…..deal with this passage and bring up various and other sundry passages in an attempt to rebut.

    2 Samuel is but one example-

    2 And he said: The Lord is my rock, and my strength, and my saviour. 

    Another is Luke 20:17: But he looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner’?

    Detractors point to these passages to insist that, in the mind of Catholics, the Pope, the successor of Peter, is a replacement for Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Consider these earthly models, A Father and a Son, a husband and his bride, a servant and his master, a shepherd and his sheep, an employer and his laborer. All of these, and more, are real world examples that are also types of God’s relationship to us and to His church, as expressed in Scripture.

    Yes, Jesus is the Messiah and the Rock of our salvation and Peter says so. However, it is Jesus who says to Peter, You are the rock upon which the church will be built. These are two different rocks, one being the source of salvation and one being the means. One being an eternal rock, one being a temporal rock. One being God, one being human.

    Yes, Jesus calls Himself the cornerstone, but Paul says that that cornerstone is laid in the foundation of a church built on Apostles and Prophets (Ephesians 4:20).

    This week’s debate sets the foundation for next week’s- the debate on Papal Infallibility. That one should be fun. Infallibility is not Divinity.Just be ready. George will surely be telling you that we are making Peter into a god or a replacement Jesus. That is so much mush.

    In Acts 5:15 we are told that they laid the sick in the street that even Peter’s shadow might fall on them, In Acts Chapter 9, Peter raises a girl from the dead. In Acts 1,Peter resolves the replacement of Judas, in Acts 15, He resolves the Issue of Circumcision. In Acts 5:3, Peter issues the first Anathema, striking Ananias and Sapphira dead by the power of God.

    Peter not Christ’s representative on earth? Peter not prime among the Apostles?

    Give me a break.


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    The Catholic Defender: The Father in heaven and earth

    Posted by John Benko - August 29th, 2013

    I reported to my first duty assignment in the spring of 1985. I was attached with the 1st Support Unit, 24th Mechanized Infantry.

    I was in a medical company which supported other units in the field.

    My first night there, my roommate took me around the post to show me where the gym was and other places to go.

    While standing on a sidewalk next to the gym, a group of black guys walked towards us yelling obscenities at us. I did not pay them much attention as they called us “white trash” and “honkies”. One of them hit me in the mouth as they taunted us.

    It totally surprised me. He knocked my hat right off my head. I had a bloody lip but kept my cool. They taunted and threatened us some more. They laughed at me because I had a bloody lip. It became a tense moment. They challenged my roommate wanting to fight him.

    They used vulgar and vile language at us. As the night went on, other people began to gather and wanted us to win the fight. There was a crowd that gathered who recognized these individuals as trouble makers.

    When it was all said and done, I walked through the crowd and went up to the one who punched me in the mouth and told him, “I forgive you in the name of Jesus Christ” and reached out to shake his hand. With the crowd looking on he shook my hand and I left the scene.

    There would be many times that the Lord would place me in situations where he would have to be with me in times of hardship.

    On 10 April 1986, a terrible training accident happened late at night when a Black Hawk helicopter collided with a Chinook over the swamps of Fort Stewart Georgia.

    It was not far from the on post housing complex where we lived. The wreckage was spread out over a fairly large area in the woods. JP 4 fuel had leaked out all over the place. You could have lit a match and the whole place would have blown up.

    Just wading the swamp my boots had to be thrown away, my BDU bottoms had to be thrown away, and I had sores on my legs that lasted for months. As Medics, I was among the first on the scene in retrieving the bodies of those who had lost their lives in this tragic accident.

    We had to carry them at least 100 yards out of that swamp to where we could take them to the ambulances. As we carried them, all I could do was pray for them. I was praying the ‘Rosary” and the rosary for them as we carried them. There were 8 of them who died in this accident. May the Lord shine his perpetual light upon them and may they rest in his peace.

    A continuation of this story takes place while I was in Iraq during OIF 06-08 deployment. Another friend of mine, Steve Ray, a Catholic Apologist, convert to the Catholic Faith, asked me to send him a story of my conversion (reversion) to the Catholic Faith.

    The Diocese of New Orleans had encouraged me to write an autobiography so I have the rough draft of this story on Steve’s web-site, “Defenders of the Catholic Faith”. One day, Steve’s message board sent out flags trying to get my attention on the board.

    A gentleman was reading through Steve’s conversion stories and found my story. Now, my story is more than 200 pages and when he reached page 80 he read this story about the helicopter crash. Upon reading this he reached Steve Ray wanting to get a hold of me.

    He relayed the story that his Brother was one of the Soldiers who had died that day. Even though it was more than 20 years after the incident, it meant something to him to know that someone was praying for his brother at the scene of the accident.

    That was very humbling to me that this meant that much to someone. I guess it would be like reading from a magazine to find an article that spoke about a loved one. My faith has always been very important to me. I have been challenged many times in 25 years of Military service and I have been graced to have played a part with many conversions.

    Going back to Germany, 1987, I was given a lateral promotion to Corporal. I was now an NCO with my first squad. After nearly two years in two different units, I was finally leader of the Track Pack! I was someone that my Commands loved when it came to going to the field. I could set up and tear down a GP small or medium and help set up a defensive position.

    Camouflage was always a challenge, but we always set up well after arriving to new sites. Those all night operations were always a challenge. When we were set up, the war games were always fun. We would always look to steal the guide arm (flag) from the opposing units.

    I remember staying up 72 hours straight because I was having so much fun capturing opposing Soldiers. I particularly loved tying young officers to trees or dunking them in the creek! One thing about being in the field, people were more than willing to be philosophers.

    I was able to witness the Faith daily with those we met. It was great and I’ll always cherish those times. I received a new Soldier in my squad who would become very important to me. He was drawn to me because of my apparent love for God. He was confused because I was Catholic. He thought that this situation was a contradiction. One night he and a friend of his came to visit me. They wanted to challenge me with this question?

    “What about the contradiction that you call your leaders ‘Father’ and the fact that the bible states in Matthew 23:9 ‘and call no man your Father upon the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven’. Surly you can not defend this command of the Lord, can you?”

    I responded, “Yes I can”! As it was in much of the bible, you must look into the context in which Jesus stated this. This is why Jesus left an authority as a teaching Church, to handle these kinds of questions. 2 Peter 1:20 states, “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of Scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the Holy Spirit under the influence of God”.

    If the Apostles would have taken Matthew23:9 literally, you would see by their example and teaching an obedience to that fact. However, when St. Paul writes to the Corinthians (1 Cor 4:15) he describes himself as a “Father” to his followers. St. Stephen referred to those who persecuted him as his brothers and Father’s “(Acts 7:2). St. John refers “Fathers” as those knowing Jesus from the beginning, the leadership (1 John 2:14).


    St. Paul writes about “Fathers” as heads of households. I love this picture of the Prodigal Son. The image of the Father is really God the Father receiving all of us home!

    St Paul writes, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named”.

    Jesus referred to Abraham as “Father” Abraham. Abraham’s original name means “Father”, Abraham means “Father” of many nations.

    The question you might want to ask is , “What did Jesus mean with Matthew 23:9″?

    What Jesus was addressing here was the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Jesus at this time really lowers the boom on the Pharisees calling them hypocrites, blind guides, blind fools, and whitewashed tombs.

    They did acts in public for all to see, wore titles of honor to demonstrate how important they were.

    In comparison to God in heaven by contrast, this would be an insult. Jesus saw them as hollow shells without substance.

    What I find interesting is why you do not apply the same standard to Matthew 23:8? which states, Do not be called rabbi (teacher), and verse 10 says, “Do not be called Master.” 

    If you try to justify calling any of your leaders anything that refers to “teacher”, you have broken your standard.

    The problem is that your standard was not the ruler or gauge the Lord used. This is the problem with Sola Scripturabecause things get taken out of context. My Soldier would be received into the Catholic Church before the end of the year! Praise the Lord!

    A new take on the Seven Headed Dragon with 10 horns.

    Posted by John Benko - August 28th, 2013

    Revelation Chapter 12 describes the Devil/Satan as a beast with 7 heads and 10 horns. Fully admitting that I am take full creative license, here is a way that we can understand how he wages war against us.

    The heads

    It is not hard to imagine the seven heads being the seven deadly sins, each head snapping at us that it might devour us.

    Pride, Envy, Lust, Greed, Wrath, Sloth and Gluttony. All seven of these heads have taken a bite out me. How about you?

    The Horns

    Pride has three horns- Arrogance or Narcissism, Un-forgiveness and Regret and Despair. How many people do you know that have been mortally wounded by these horns?

    Envy we have to give two horns, associated with the two commandments against coveting thy neighbors goods and theirs spouses. The first horn is loving things too much, as though they are persons. The second is loving persons too little, as though they are things.

    Lust possesses the most dangerous horn of all- the horn that looks like sweet fruit. It is the hardest to escape and the one that kills the most souls. This horn draws us in until we are trapped in the web. Flee! As fast as you can.

    Greed. We were all taught to share when we were little. The horn of greed head is the evil taskmaster known as ‘never enough’. This tyrant is the horn that kills you slowly, by making you it’s slave.

    Wrath. This horn has the sting of a scorpion. This horn kills you by injecting venom into you. Forgiveness is the only antidote.

    Sloth. This is the horn called ‘victim’. It convinces you that world owes you and promises you that it will pay. This horn kills your dignity before it kills you. It makes you bitter for receiving what you didn’t earn.

    Gluttony has a horn that offers you death on the payment plan- junk, processed food. A slow, methodical crawl towards diabetes, heart disease, cancer. You actually destroy yourself, this horn just hands you the weapon.

    The point of this little exercise?

    The Devil combats us in so many ways.


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    Deeper Truth Debates

    Posted by John Benko - August 28th, 2013

    John Benko will be engaging in two more debates this week. Tomorrow at 7:00 PM, Carlos Harris will be debating on the issue of “Peter as the Rock”. On Saturday at 9:00 PM, it will be Kohl Nelson on the issue of Sola Scriptura. (646) 595-2071 is the call in number. The debates can be heard live on our Blogtalk Radio show.


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    The Catholic Defender Riding At Fort Campbell

    Posted by John Benko - August 27th, 2013

    This past week I had the opportunity to visit family at Fort Campbell Ky that had several highlights.

    Obviously, taking a group out on the trail on horseback was a lot of fun.

    Fort Campbell is a very special place to go horseback riding, there are lots of sites to see along the trail.

    There were deer that had no fear for humans in this area.  They just kind of lay there as we pass by.  It is as if they are thinking, “humans” and shrug their shoulders.

    Riding horseback really has a therapeutic feel to it, it is a lot of fun if you have this kind of interest.  These horses are very well trained and they do this every day.

    Clare is my three year old birthday girl here cheering on the local high school team right after scoring a touchdown.

    We would win this game 42 to 0 in a complete rout.  As a spectator in the stands with my Granddaughter, that was good.

    We are breaking her in right watching football.  This was a lot of fun.  Now, she had her birthday party at Chucky-Cheeze, that was good to.

    Visiting the Grandchildren was very important to me and I think we created a lot of memories that were positive.

    We certainly made the most of each day.  We did watch some TV at night, they loved the movie, “Secretariat” that I brought with me.  I also brought a good movie called “Home Run” about a baseball player who overcomes a lot of serious addictions.  I fully recommend these two movies.

    It is always great when we get together for music and remember the “good ole days”.

    These two began playing together in 1998 when they were 16 and 11 years old.  They continue to play to this day.

    They both are in other bands but it is really good to see them continue to have fun putting music together.  What I really like is when they do this for me!

    The past few days beginning early August when I went to Colorado to see my Wife Gigi, this has been a very blessed vacation.  I was graced to speak at a Church dedicated in 1913 still in use today.  I loved going on horseback in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and at Fort Campbell and I loved visiting my family at Fort Campbell.

    I think that it is very important that we build up the family unit because the attack is growing stronger.  Watching the news just point to this all the time.  Teenagers bored go out to kill someone who happens to be a baseball player from Australia.  Please pray for our Country.


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    The Catholic Defender: Deepertruth

    Posted by John Benko - August 26th, 2013

    The following we written, arranged and composed by Nathan Hartley for Deepertruth:

    We will take a stand

    To uphold the truth

    We’ll cast our nets

    As Fishers of men

    To show the world

    Our Father’s Love

                                                                DEEPER-TRUTH


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