December 15, 2014

Catholic apologist Tim Staples used to love stumping Catholics with Bible verses when he was a Pentecostal. Then he met a Catholic who stumped him.

Speaking in Ottawa Dec. 6, the director of apologetics and evangelization for Catholic Answers said he used to think, "You have to be brain dead to be Catholic."

Raised a Southern Baptist, Staples joined the Assemblies of God as an adult.

He became especially fond of Bible verses he called "zingers" that he believed proved the Catholic faith was wrong.

One of those verses concerned Jesus' command in Matthew 23.9 to "call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven," he said.

So certain was he of the truth of this Bible verse, he questioned whether the pope was "saved" and whether he really knew about Jesus. "If he knew about Jesus, he wouldn't go around calling himself the Holy Father," Staples said.

Staples said he took his "zingers" and used them on Catholics he met. They could not answer him and often seemed speechless. That changed the first time he met a Catholic who knew both the Bible and his faith.

This Catholic was a sergeant in the Marines in which Staples served for four years. Staples tried out his zinger about calling no man your father on him, expecting it would "stop him in his tracks."

Instead, the sergeant replied, "Did you know there's more than one verse in the Bible?" He then explained, "You can make that Bible say anything you want if you only look at one verse at a time."


Then the sergeant showed him other places in the Bible where people on earth were referred to as "father," from the Ten Commandments' call to honour one's father and mother to references to "father Abraham."

"Is God confused?" the sergeant asked him, when he pointed out these other verses.

"It was the first time I had a Catholic make sense and show me by the Bible," Staples said. He came to see that a priest represents God the Father, and "brings fatherhood to us."

This began two years during which Staples tried to prove his sergeant wrong, but ended up being convinced the Catholic faith is right.


He argued about statues, Mary, "praying to dead folks" and the papacy. Sometimes he did stump the sergeant, who would respond, "I don't know, but I will find out."

Staples later learned the sergeant was offering Mass and the rosary for him every day. "I was a goner. I just didn't know it."

When Staples became a Catholic, his family thought he was crazy. But now they are all Catholic, and his brother is a priest.

Staples urged those attending the event to learn more about the Catholic faith by turning off the TV and reading a good book, watching a DVD or joining a Bible study group.

Doing something every day will change your life "and that's going to change the world."