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A paper written in response to the mission and ministry of
FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students).

This exposé was compiled after listening to three FOCUS lectures and subsequently
by reviewing three books written by FOCUS members,
books used as primary teaching tools.

Prepared by

Roberta M. Meehan, Ph.D.

FOCUS is the university outreach ministry originating in Greeley, Colorado, influenced by the theology of Steubenville and presently being propagated at colleges and universities throughout the country with the blessing of several prominent clergymen as well as members of the Curia and Pope John Paul II himself.  ALL prominent apologists and teachers are graduates of Steubenville.  ALL major works emanating from FOCUS are published in Steubenville. 

This paper is written in expanded outline format.

Summary Outline of this Paper

I. Overriding Concerns  (Listed in order of awareness, rather than in order of importance.)
A. Misleading Advertising
B. Translation of Scripture
C. Use of Catechism
D. Focus on Baptism
E. Theology of Atonement
F. Connections with Secret Organizations
G. Doctrinal concerns noted in written materials

II. Specific Lectures
A. Tim Gray – 31 May 2000
B. Edward Sri – 7 June 2000
C. Curtis Martin – 14 June 2000

III. Transition

IV. Written Materials – Theological and otherwise contradictory materials from
A. Mission of the Messiah (by Tim Gray)
B. Mystery of the Kingdom (by Edward Sri)
C. Catholic for a Reason (edited by Scott Hahn & Leon J. Supernant, Jr.) 

 I. Overriding Concerns (Listed in order of awareness, rather than in order of importance.)

 A. Misleading Advertising

  Two major points of concern –

  FIRST – the FOCUS literature is misleading at best.  The front of the introductory FOCUS pamphlet states “College Students Deserve the Truth” and “Know the Truth.”  The problem is not with these statements.  The problem is that FOCUS does NOT teach what is accepted as Catholic Truth.

  The inside of the same introductory FOCUS pamphlet says:  “FOCUS will give them the one thing they need most; the abundant life of Jesus Christ.”  This is incorrect because FOCUS does not give anyone the abundant life of Jesus Christ.  That is a gift from God – not from FOCUS.  FOCUS may “teach about” or “help direct” but FOCUS cannot give what is God’s alone to give.

  Additional FOCUS documents are dealt with later in this paper.

  SECOND – the credentials listed on the books and pamphlets (including the promotions for the lecture series) are misleading because these credentials do not match the information to be found on the internet.  Also, the credentials listed purport to make non-academic credentials sound academic.  For the most part, the true academic credentials of the speakers and writers are neither listed nor discussed in the introductions.

  An example of misrepresentation is to claim that a person is a co-author of a book when that person is actually only a contributor (writer of one of the essays included in the book). 

 B. Translation of Scripture

  FOCUS does not use a presently accepted translation of Scripture.  FOCUS uses what is known as the “RSV – Catholic Edition” – a translation that is not accepted by the church for either liturgy or for catechesis.  This edition, copyright 1965, was accepted at that time because no sound Catholic translations existed.  This “RSV – Catholic Edition” is the old Revised Standard Edition to which has been added the seven books that Catholics accept that Protestants do not accept.  The RSV was taken directly from the KJV (King James Version) and, for the most part, is not considered to be a particularly accurate translation.  In Protestant circles, the RSV was replaced by the NRSV, which is considered to be far more accurate and exact than its predecessor.

  The point is that FOCUS uses a basically Protestant translation of Scripture – and not a very good one at that.

  The NCCB (National Council of Catholic Bishops) has decreed and determined that for catechesis and exegesis the NAB (New American Bible – St. Joseph Edition) should be used.  The St. Joseph Edition includes the expanded footnotes and commentaries.  The NAB first came out in 1970.

  IF FOCUS is going to be involved in Catholic catechesis and exegesis, THEN FOCUS should be using an approved catechetical and exegetical translation of the Bible. 

 C. Use of Catechism

  FOCUS uses the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) as the deposit of Tradition.  However, the Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II (found at the beginning of the CCC) specifically calls the CCC a reference book and a catechetical work.  In the CCC, the Pope encourages the study of the original documents.  FOCUS does NOT use original documents.  In the materials reviewed in this paper, not one mention of original documents can be found.  This includes both past and present documents and encyclical.

  FOCUS uses the CCC in a selective manner and tends to take items out of context.  For instance, FOCUS takes prayer material from the CCC and applies it to doctrinal material.

  It should also be noted that FOCUS material includes no quotations from the PROFESSION OF FAITH from the CCC.

 D. Focus on Baptism

  The focus of FOCUS seems to be Baptism.  This is strange because the outreach is to baptized Catholics (as well as to mainline Protestants) – all of whom have already been validly baptized.

  If the outreach is to Catholics (the already baptized), the outreach should logically be toward reconciliation – toward bringing these university Catholics BACK into the fold.  These students do not need baptism; they have already been baptized.  They need the fullness of the sacramental life.

  Additional points on this topic are discussed later in this paper – under the examination of the Curtis Martin talk.

 E. Theology of Atonement

  The problems with the Theology of Atonement as presented by Focus are discussed in the examinations of Gray’s and Sri’s lectures.

  Even so, it is interesting to note that not one of the speakers talked about the Resurrection.  According to Catholic/Christian doctrine, the Resurrection is the focal point of our belief.

 F. Connections with Secret Organizations

  The problems with the connections with Secret Organizations are discussed in the examination of the books in Part IV.

  At this point, however, it should be noted that organizations that specifically work against the Body of the Church are in violation of Canon Law.  Canon 1374 states:  “A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty – one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict."

 G. Doctrinal concerns noted in written materials

  This concern is addressed in Part IV below.

II. Specific Lectures

 This section is an examination of three lectures.  The Gray lecture was given at St. Peter’s Church in Greeley, Colorado.  The other two lectures were presented at St. Mary’s Church in Greeley Colorado.

  A. Tim Gray – 31 May 2000

  The title of Tim Gray’s talk was “Why did Jesus Live?”  The major problem with this title is that Gray maintained that the mission of the messiah was to call sinners.  If calling sinners was all there was to the mission, there would have been no need for Jesus because John the Baptist was doing just that – calling sinners.

  The problems with Gray’s talk are enumerated below.

  1. “More and more dark and pagan society”

  Gray began his talk by stressing that we live in a “more and more dark and pagan society.”  This is incorrect for several reasons.  First, we are not a pagan society.  Statistics show that we live in a Christian or Judeo-Christian society.

  Gray equated paganism with atheism.  This is blatantly false.  Paganism may be non-Christian; but it is not atheistic.  Paganism is essentially an indigenous or “folk” religion, a local religion or religion of the land.

  Also, the implication was that pagans were murderers and rapists.  Statistics today show that as a society we do NOT murder and rape to the extent our ancestors did.

  Gray read a quotation from a letter allegedly written by a Roman soldier to his wife advocating infanticide if their expected baby was a girl.  This was NOT a Roman practice and Gray’s use of this example demonstrates his misuse of history.  Infanticide was a practice in Sparta – 400 years before Rome.  This was actually one of the problems Rome had with Sparta as the Roman Empire spread.  Rome was against infanticide, despite Gray’s premise.  Check the history books.

  While it is entirely possible that a given Roman soldier did write such a letter to his wife, Gray’s equating of infanticide with modern abortion is a distortion of history.  Gray’s purpose in doing so – as his talk progressed – seems to have been to build a mindset on the evils of the Roman Empire and to equate those evils with modern abortion.

  2. Misquote Stanley Hauerwas

  Stanley Hauerwas is a noted Protestant ethicist.  Gray uses a quote from Hauerwas totally out of context.  By reading or listening to Hauerwas one would know that he was saying exactly the opposite of what Gray was using the quote for.  This type of selective scholarship is always suspect.

  3. Jesus at Capernaum and Nazareth

  Gray stresses that Jesus began preaching his first homily at Nazareth.  However, the other gospels tell us that Jesus was already preaching at Capernaum.  It is not acceptable Biblical scholarship to focus on one gospel to the exclusion of others.  It is not a correct use of Scripture to insist – as Gray does – that Jesus’ preaching began at Nazareth.

  4. Jesus avoids death

  Gray talks repeatedly about Jesus avoiding death, that he had to avoid death until he accomplished his mission.  There is absolutely no Biblical documentation for this.  There is no documentation that Jesus was deliberately avoiding death.

  Gray’s premise is that Jesus could not be put to death until after he had passed on the keys.  While the chronology is true, there is absolutely no Biblical documentation for this allegation. 

  5. Misuse of Matthew’s genealogy

  Gray’s treatment of Matthew’s genealogy presents a major problem.  The Gospel according to Matthew traces the lineage of Jesus back to Abraham.  This is to establish lineal credibility.  Gray ignores the genealogy in Luke.  In order to establish the Ecclesial validity of one lineage, the other must also be considered and points of differentiation must be reconciled.  Gray assumes Matthew was written first.  Most scholars – including those approving the NAB – do not agree with this assessment.  Gray offers no proof that his assumptions are correct.

  6. Historical inaccuracies in Davidic lineage

  Gray is in line with most Biblical scholars as he divides the genealogy into three parts:  Abraham to David, David to the Exile, Exile to Jesus.

  The problem is what Gray does with the third section.  Check Nehemiah.  After Zerubbabel, the names cannot be documented.

  Gray claims the Davidic lineage went underground after the Exile and that it did not emerge again until Jesus.  This is blatantly false.  Gray offers no proof.  Furthermore, the Bible offers explicit proof to the contrary.  Check the books of Nehemiah and Ezra.

  Also, check Isaiah 45:1ff.  Cyrus of Persia was anointed to bring the people home.  Isaiah is very specific about this.  Gray ignores it.

  7. Historical inaccuracies about the Exile

  Gray states that the Exile continued until the time of Jesus.  This is blatantly false.  As stated above, Cyrus of Persia was anointed to bring the people home.  It is true that only about 10% of the people chose to return home.  This, however, was their choice; they were free to do so.  The Restoration was begun in 538 BC, a fact Gray completely ignores.

  Gray spoke continuously about the monarchy.  However, there was no unified Davidic monarchy after Solomon.  (God did not want a king in the first place – 1 Sam 6:1ff.)  Why does Gray emphasize an earthy kingdom?

  Gray ignores the split of the Kingdom and the wiping out of the Northern Kingdom in 721 BC.  It was at this point that the North ceased to exist!  David was originally only King of the South.

  The last Davidic king was Zedekiah who was carried off to exile in 587 BC.  The captivity (exile) lasted from 587 to 538 BC.  The restoration began in 538 BC.

  Zerubbabel (as mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy) is recognized as being of the Davidic line.  He was appointed GOVERNOR of Judah by Cyrus.  No northern kingdom existed – as it had not existed for almost 200 years.

  Two NON-Davidic Jewish dynasties controlled the Holy Land – the Maccabees from 167-134 BC and the Hamsoneans from 135-36 BC.  Antigonus was the last of these rulers.

  Gray ignores this information completely.  Of course, this history is found in 1 & 2 Maccabees, two of the books found in the Catholic Bible but NOT in the Protestant Bible.  (Consider that FOCUS uses a Protestant Bible for study purposes.)

  8. Historical inaccuracies about the continuation of the Davidic line

  The Davidic line did not continue underground.  Gray offers no internal documentation for this.  No internal documentation exists to show that an underground Davidic line ever existed.

  9. Statement that Joseph should be king

  Gray states that JOSEPH should have been king because he was of the Davidic line.  Gray fails to realize that everybody in Judah was of the Davidic line.  Gray offers no proof whatsoever that Joseph was in line to be king.

  It is impossible to prove the kingship of Jesus based on the genealogy given in Matthew.

  10. Statement that Jesus was anointed to be king

  Gray states that Jesus was anointed to be king.  This is simply not true.
FOCUS – as explained by Gray – stresses the political kingdom of Jesus.  This is simply not true.

  Jesus NEVER claimed to be a political king.  His statement was that his kingdom was not of this world.  Even at his trial, Jesus did not claim an earthly kingdom.  Check Mat 4:17 and Mat 27:11ff.

  FOCUS/Gray stresses that Jesus’ mission was to hand over the keys of the kingdom.  But, Jesus’ kingdom was NOT a political kingdom so he could not hand over keys in a political sense.

  11. Errors about the first words of Jesus

  Gray repeatedly misrepresents Jesus’ first words.

  First of all, if we are going to be technical, the first words of Jesus are found in Lk 2:49 – when he was found in the temple.  (In Luke’s gospel, Jesus does not speak at all at his baptism.)

  Suppose, however, that Gray is referring only to Jesus’ adult ministry.  Gray is still in error.

  Gray said several times that the first words of Jesus can be found in Mat 4:17.  In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus’ first words are found in 3:15.  Jesus spoke again at 4:4, 4:7, 4:10.  Why did Gray ignore all of those words of Jesus?  These are important words about the temptation of Jesus.

  Interestingly, the words that Gray attributes to Jesus, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” are first attributed to John (not Jesus) in Mat 3:2.  Jesus’ statement in 4:17 (according to Catholic scholars) is a repetition of John’s statement.

  Furthermore, Gray uses this phrase of Jesus as if it were a part of Jesus’ baptism.  It is NOT a part of the baptism; it is a part of his Galillean ministry.  Gray should read more carefully.

  12. Errors about Jesus calling people to repentance

  Gray repeatedly says that Jesus was calling the people to repentance from sin.  Gray obviously has no understanding of the original Greek.  The original (Greek) word used by Jesus in its verb form is METANOEO (????????).  This word quite literally means to change one’s mind or to change one’s heart.  This may or may not include sin.

  Gray stresses that Jesus is calling people to repentance from sin.  This is certainly one side, or one view, of atonement.

  Jesus’ teaching is about far more than the sinfulness of people.  John the Baptist stressed sin.  Jesus Christ stressed unconditional love.  The true mission of Jesus was to inaugurate the NEW COVENANT.  See Jeremiah 31:31.

  13. Factual errors about Pagans and Paganism

  Gray stressed that Paganism equals atheism.  This is NOT TRUE.  Pagans are not necessarily atheists at all.  Pagans are non-Christians (or non-Judeo-Christians, depending on the inclusiveness of a person’s definition).

  Gray states that Pagans deny sinfulness. This is NOT TRUE.  Furthermore, the code of Paganism is to “Harm None.”  This is a statement of avoiding what we as Christians would call sinfulness.

  Gray equates Paganism with secular humanism or atheism.  This is shoddy scholarship at best since the terms cannot even be equated in the dictionary.

  14. Factual errors about tax collectors and sinners

  Gray implies that it was a sin for the Jews to collect taxes for Rome.  This is contrary to what Jesus said – Mt 22:15ff.  There was nothing wrong with Jews collecting taxes for Rome.  The gospel also does NOT say that Levi was a sinner – merely that he was a tax collector.  And he may have been collecting the Temple Tax rather than the Roman tax. 

  Gray equates tax collectors and sinners and uses this as a way of showing Jesus’ call of sinners.  BUT this is not what the text says.  The Pharisees also called tax collectors and sinners.  Tax collectors were not necessarily sinners in the eyes of anyone (although in Mt 22 it is explained that the Pharisees did not approve of paying taxes to Caesar).  The Pharisees did not approve of tax paying or tax collecting of any kind.  However, to equate tax collecting with sinning is not what Jesus would accept.  Jesus called for the payment of both temple tax (Mt 17:24-27) and Roman tax.   However, the point is that MORE than just sinners were being called.  Therefore, the call was for more than just sinners to repent.

  The word in the original Greek for sinner is AMARTOLOS (?????????) which means an irreligious or unobservant people.  The word is used for those who did not observe the law (therefore sinners).  The sin being defined by AMARTOLOS was non-observance of the law.  AMARTOLOS was a favorite term for heathens.

  Furthermore, Jesus says in Lk 15 that he has come to call the lost children of Israel; Jesus does not say he has come ONLY to call sinners.  Jesus did want to call sinners, he also wanted others to have a change of heart.  Check Mt 23.

15. Scriptural error about “God’s Honor”

  In jumping back to Luke 15, Gray makes an overarching statement that Jesus Christ seeks the lost because of the need to restore God’s damaged honor.

  This is simply not true.  Reference Ez 34:11, which says nothing about God’s honor.

  This is actually ONE of the four classical atonement theories.  This is Anselm’s 11th Century Theory [per Locman, 1980].

  If Gray is going to examine Luke 15, he should look at all three parables because the three parables (Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Prodigal Son) present an ascending trilogy.  Gray does not bother with the first two parables and therefore takes the third parable (Prodigal Son) out of context.

  In the Prodigal Son story, the son though he had sinned; the father did not.  It must be remembered that the in original Greek the specific word used here for sinner (verb form, ????????) means change of heart.

  Gray states that the son SOLD his property and goes on to state that this property is land.  Not so.  Property does not mean land in the original.  Furthermore, the younger son would not have inherited land; land inheritance was reserved for the elder son.  His property must have been goods other than land.

  Gray states that this story is about restoring God’s honor.  Not so.  This story states nothing about God’s honor.

  Gray states that this story indicates a broken Jewish identity.  Not so.  A person was considered Jewish no matter where that person was.  Jesus went all over and was not tied to the land.  In addition, there are numerous references in Scripture to Jews living in other lands.

  Gray states that a person who left with a broken Jewish identity was excommunicated from Judaism.  Not so.  This was not true in the time of Jesus; it is not true today.  Ask any practicing Jew.

  Gray states that bringing back the Prodigal Son represented Jesus bringing the Jews back and that Jesus had been necessary to end the Babylonian exile.  Not so.  As stated previously in this paper, the Jews had been back for 600 years.  Gray totally ignores evidence in 1 & 2 Maccabees, Ezra, and Nehemiah.

  Gray ignores the fact that the temple was built under Cyrus the Great.  The Prodigal Son story can be used only as a symbol of independent Jews coming back to the practice of the faith.

  16. Blatant attack on present day Protestants

  Gray’s vicious attack on modern day Protestants is uncalled for.  Gray (as do ALL other speakers and writers mentioned in this paper) specifically denies Protestants salvation, claiming that there is no salvation outside the Church.

  Even the old Baltimore Catechism allowed salvation for Protestants even in their own faith.  The Vatican II Documents, as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, all state that salvation is not limited to those within the Church.  Check CCC 846-848 regarding non-Protestants and CCC 838 regarding Protestants.  The CCC references Lumen Gentium 15.

  Gray stresses that Protestants focus mostly on death.  This may be true of some Evangelical Protestant churches.  It is certainly not true of all main line Protestant churches.  This shows Grays basic misunderstanding of Protestantism.

  17. Doctrinal error about Jesus preaching an earthly kingdom

  Gray maintains that Jesus came to establish an earthly kingdom – based on 1 Chron 28:5.  But, reading this references clearly shows that the citation is an if/then proposition.  If Solomon keeps the commandments….  Solomon didn’t and therefore the Kingdom was destroyed.

  Furthermore, despite Gray’s claims to the contrary, the Northern Kingdom was never found.  There is no evidence for the Northern Kingdom having been found and this is further documented by most reputable Biblical scholarship.

  18. More doctrinal errors about the Roman Catholic Church being the earthly kingdom

  Gray uses Mt 16 to demonstrate that the Kingdom is on earth and identified as the Roman Catholic Church.

  BUT, Jesus, by his own admission, is NOT an earthly king and did not have the power to pass on earthly keys.

  Furthermore, Jesus was not enthroned until AFTER the ascension and certainly NOT in Mt 16.

  The Footnotes in the Catholic Teaching Bible – the Bible FOCUS disregards – clearly state repeatedly that they keys represent the teaching authority of the church and NOT an earthly kingdom.

  Gray uses Isaiah 22:15-22 to demonstrate the earthly kingdom of the church, or, as Gray mentions, the “Prime Ministership” of the kingdom.  However, the key mentioned in this passage is the Key of the House of David.

  Gray tries to compare the Political Keys mentioned in 2 Kings 15:1-7 with the modern church kingdom.  This argument falls because in the Scripture passage the King is afflicted and the son ruled.  Jesus always stressed that God was King.  God is not afflicted.  It should once again be noted that the list of kings does not compare and shows a corruption of text that is not reconcilable with genealogy.

  Gray repeats and repeats that Jesus was on earth to re-establish the Davidic Kingdom.  This parallel does not work because the Church is not and never was meant to be (by Jesus’ own words) a Political Authority.

  19. Doctrinal error about the Papacy being the Heart of Jesus’ mission

  Gray states that the Heart of Jesus’ Mission is the Papacy.  He equated this with the Papacy being the Prime Minister.  This is blatantly not so.

  The Heart of Jesus Mission is the Kingdom of God – and, by extension, God’s unconditional love.  This is repeated throughout the New Testament.  Gray ignores this.

  B. Edward Sri – 7 June 2000

  The title of Sri’s talk was, “Why did Jesus Die?”  The major problem with the title is that Sri did not talk about death at all, he talked about why Jesus lived and did not make the correlation between his title and his topic.  Doctrinally, Sri was less offensive than Gray.  Nevertheless, his talk was misleading and at times doctrinally incorrect.  Specific theological and historical problems with Sri’s lecture are discussed below.

  1. Historical error about the Northern Kingdom

  Sri apparently forgets that the Northern Kingdom was destroyed.  All of Palestine was part of the Province of Syria.

  Sri states that In Mt 16 Jesus is in Northern Israel.  BUT, there was no Israel.  (There hadn’t been an Israel since 722 B.C.  Israel did not again exist until the partition of Palestine after World War II.)  Jesus was in Galilee and Galilee was NOT Israel.  Galilee was a separate entity under Herod Antipas.

  Sri further tries to establish the political importance of Caesarea Philippi.  But, Philip was far to the north and does not enter into this political framework.  Sri definitely needs to understand political geography.

  Mt 16:19-20 states ONLY the Kingdom of Heaven.  The OFFICIAL CATHOLIC STUDY NOTES clearly state that the church has teaching authority but NOT political authority – despite Sri’s statements to the contrary.

  Mk 8:27-30 states clearly that Jesus was not a political Messiah.  This is the interpretation approved for catechesis.  Sri states that this passage indicates a few of the Romans.  No such indication exists.  At most this passage indicates an ambiguous contemporary idea of the nature of the office.

  Also, the approved catechetical notes state that the community of Jesus was not a political entity.  Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church as such did not exist until the 11th century.

  2. The cross is NOT the climax.

  Sri mentions repeatedly that the cross is the climax and that the cross is the throne of Christ.  There is no Scriptural or traditional reference for this.  Christ was not enthroned until after the ascension – Hb 2, 5:7-9.

  The cross is not the climax.  This is an evangelical point of view; it is not the Catholic point of view.  To teach that the cross is the climax is heretical.  According to Catholic teaching, the RESURRECTION IS THE CLIMAX.  Check 1 Cor 15:17.  Also CCC 2606.

  3. Death is NOT the climax.

  Sri further states that death is the climax because of the death of the new passover lamb.  Sri forgets that Jesus was an observant Jew.

  Sri stresses that there was no lamb at the Passover meal because Jesus is the new Paschal lamb.  BUT, Jesus Christ was an observant Jew.  Therefore he would not have celebrated the Passover without a lamb.  Mt 26:19 indicates that the meal was a regular Passover meal.

  Sri also exhibits a major misunderstanding about redemption from sin.  The Passover is about salvation from the power of death.  Ex 12 clearly states that the Passover was to save the people from the death of the First Born.  Salvation is from DEATH and not from sin.

  4. Cup of Elijah

  Sri has a basic misunderstanding of the Cup of Elijah.  According to tradition, when the Cup of Elijah is consumed, the Messiah has come.  Tradition states that Jesus Christ picked up this cup.

  5. Passover Lamb

  Sri confuses the Passover Lamb with the Scapegoat of Yom Kippur.  Jesus became the Passover Lamb – but not at the Last Supper.  CCC 606  Jesus became the Passover Lamb ON THE CROSS.

  6. Misinterpretation of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon

  Sri misrepresents Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “Sinner in the Hand of an Angry God” to imply that all there is is Jesus Christ taking our punishment.  BUT Edwards’ sermon was about response – to bring about conversion or change of heart – metanoia.

  Sri has taken Edwards’ sermon totally out of context.  Edwards is talking about spiritual awakening.  Sri talks about the depravity of the human condition.  Sri maintains that Edwards portrays a false view of God.  According to Catholic tradition, Edwards does not portray a false view of God.

  7. Misleading view of God and wrath

  Sri says a view of God as God pouring out wrath is a false view of God.  However, this is one Atonement Theory.  It is also accepted by the Church as an Atonement Theory.  It is a theory that is incomplete in view of our understanding today.  Nevertheless, it is accepted.  Sri’s statement of this being a false view of God contradicts what Gray says on the same subject.  This is misleading if nothing else.

  (Also, how can Sri’s view be reconciled with the Passover Lamb concept?)

  8. Old Testament/Trinity references made without linguistic accuracy

  Sri reads Trinity back into the Old Testament without proper linguistic references.  Apparently Sri is unaware that Elohim is a plural word form.  He further denies that Gen 1:26 includes a plural form of the word.

  9. Misleading Atonement Cross References

  Sri makes misleading statements about the Atonement Theory.  His statements are misleading because they are incomplete.  Check CCC 616,

  10. Catechism out of context

  Sri cites Catechism statements 2605 and 2606.  However, he does this as a part of his atonement theory.  These catechism cites are about prayer and not about atonement.  If Sri is going to use Atonement Theory, he should stick to the profession of faith and not use Catechism statements out of context.

  11. Stress on earthly, political kingdom

  Sri (like Gray) ended his discussion by emphasizing the earthly, political kingdom of Jesus.  This is blatantly false.  Jesus did not preach an earthly, political kingdom.  To back up his claims, Sri compares 1 Sam 8 with Ex 19.  This comparison cannot be extrapolated to Jesus.

 C. Curtis Martin – 14 June 2000

  Curtis Martin’s talk was entitled, “What Difference does Jesus Make Today?”  The major problems were: (1) he was a half hour late without an explanation; (2) he used extremely poor pedagogy by jumping from one topic to the other, making it extremely difficult for the audience to follow his train of thought; and (3) he didn’t speak on the subject advertised as his topic.

  The entire talk was very poorly organized and very poorly presented.  The talk was also very short (probably because Martin was late).  Therefore, it is difficult to delve too deeply into what he did and did not say.  Nevertheless, some major problems did exist.  Specific theological and catechetical points are listed below.

  1. Campus crusade – Vatican Style – Introduction

  The introduction to Martin’s talk was given by a FOCUS missionary.  This missionary explained the fund raising tactics of the FOCUS people.  Why do individual missionaries have to do their own fund raising?  If they are church supported, the church should support them.  Furthermore, missionaries doing their own individual fund raising is contrary to the mandate of Jesus.

  It should be noted that the fund raising methods employed by FOCUS are identical to those of CAMPUS CRUSADE.  CAMPUS CRUSADE is an independent entity, not supported by any Protestant church.  If FOCUS is preaching a sect-like separatism within the Church, then FOCUS is acting contrary to the mission of the church. 

  2. Hit and miss approach to Trinity

  Martin talks about the Trinity as a community of love.  This is not a problem.  However, as documentation for this, Martin cites CCC 2566.  CCC 2566 does not fit.  Therefore, Martin offers no documentation for his statement.  Martin’s hit and miss approach to quoting the CCC demonstrates that he himself does not understand the basic precepts of the CCC and that he is further trying to “snowball” those who may be listening to him.

  3. Incorrect theology on the human nature of Christ

  Martin stresses that we are all enslaved to sin.  The way out of sin is God’s coming in.  He states that we have the image of God but have lost the likeness.  And then he says that in Christ, his Christ’s human nature (and our) is restored.

  NOT SO!  Christ’s human nature is NOT lost.  Scripture clearly states that Jesus is like us in all things except sin.  So, how could he LOSE his human nature???

  4. Switch themes

  Martin switches themes to something about generosity, but offers no documentation for this.  Since Martin makes so many other incorrect statements, why should the listener believe what is said without documentation?

  5. Incorrect approach to Baptism

  This is a MAJOR problem from several different angles.  First of all, Martin was supposed to be talking about how Jesus matters.  So, it is out of place for him to be spending time discussing Baptism.

  Martin has a major stress on Baptism and de-emphasizes the other six sacraments, particularly Reconciliation.  If FOCUS is supposed to be for those already Catholic, then the emphasis should not be on Baptism, but should rather be on Reconciliation.  Martin says nothing about Reconciliation.  Why not?  Reconciliation is the door for lapsed Catholics – not Baptism.  Why does FOCUS focus on Baptism for the already baptized?

  It is also interesting to note that in a talk apparently on why Jesus matters today, the EUCHARIST is not mentioned.  Martin talks about Baptism being the key to faith and life.  But, for Catholics, the EUCHARIST is the Key.  This is the Grace of transformed life.

  It should be noted that RCIA is an in-place vehicle for bringing the non-baptized into the church.  RCIA works in the local churches.  FOCUS is not an outreach of the local churches.

  6. Misuse of the word AMEN

  Martin is insistent that in Jn 14:12 the word used should be “Truly, Truly.”  He was adamant that “Amen, Amen” is incorrect.  Although this may seem like a minor point (because the words are very close in meaning), it does point to a non-Catholic approach to translation.  The words “Truly, Truly” come from the old RSV (Revised Standard Version).  This was taken from the “Truly, Truly” in the KJV (King James Version).  The KJV is a misquote.  The NAB (which is the approved Catholic version) also says “Amen, Amen.”

  It should be further noted that the original Greek uses the word AMEN, AMEN.  Why does Martin insist on using a translation other than the original Greek and other than the version approved for Catholic catechesis?

III. Transition

 A. This section is a transitory section whose purposes are to comment on some of the points made in the previous two sections and to connect those ideas with some of the fact brought out in the next section. 

 B. It must be remembered that the brochure advertising FOCUS is a concern.  That brochure, “Catholic Students Deserve to know the Truth,”  is misleading because what FOCUS is teaching is not the truth.  The whole FOCUS whole approach is Protestant – sin first!  FOCUS focuses on Scripture at the expense of Tradition.   FOCUS makes no distinction as to which parties in First Century Judaism that Jesus was responding to.  Scriptural applications, whether today or 2000 years ago, are all the same.

 C. FOCUS preaches evangelization, but not in the Catholic sense.  If FOCUS is preaching catechesis,  why is FOCUS not focusing on the Catechism and using the available catechical materials to work through the Catechism?  (Because they can’t be selective if they do!)

 FOCUS says, “Let’s use the catechism.”  But FOCUS uses the catechism very selectively.  This is called proof texting.  FOCUS proof texts the Catechism, proof texts the Bible, and proof texts Catholic tradition.

 FOCUS further preaches major historical inaccuracies about the Protestant Reformation.  It should be remembered that during the Reformation  mainline Protestants never considered themselves other than devout Catholics trying to reform their church.

 D. FOCUS never make the point about “Why be a Catholic?”  In the three lectures and the three books, there is no reference to what difference it makes whether one is a Catholic or a Protestant.  There is no reference to why Catholic is the one true church or what makes Catholic different than Protestant in a meaningful way.  Why does it matter? 

  FOCUS comes across as one more main line Protestants church.  Why is it important to be Catholic and how does FOCUS relate to being CATHOLIC?  What makes Catholic different – and what makes Catholic better?

 E. Interestingly, in all three books examined below only there is only ONE chapter on the EUCHARIST.  And the EUCHARIST is the center of our belief.

IV. Publications from Emmaus Road Publishing

 This section is written in annotated critique style.

 A. Mission of the Messiah – Tim Gray – Study of the Gospel of Luke

 Forward – Jeff Cavins – Cavins hosts a television program on EWTN, which is an arm of Opus Dei.  Cavins’ style assumes reader is stupid.

 p. 19 – “The context is the key for Isaiah has two very distinct parts, so much so that some scholars believe there must have been two different authors of Isaiah.”

 Contemporary biblical scholarship has demonstrated at least 3 authors.

 p. 20 – “The first half of Isaiah had already come true...still lived in virtual exile….All the Jews of John’s day knew that the first half of Isaiah had tragically taken place so they were all patiently waiting for the good news of the second half to unfold.  This, according to Luke, is exactly what is happening with John’s mission in the wilderness….”

 Footnote:  “While many Jews had returned from Babylon by Jesus’ day, the exile had by no means ended….”  MIScontext OF NEHEMIAH 9:36-7.

 What he is quoting as evidence of the exile is something that Nehemiah is quoting and is part of an exhortation 

 The Book of Consolation was opened under Cyrus of Persia.  Gray ignored 600 years of history and all the times the Jews were independent.  How does Gray deal with Isaiah 41-45 – the Lord’s anointed.  This is a statement of the vocation and victory of Cyrus.

 Gray ignores 1 & 2 Maccabees 

 p. 23 Gray says John the Baptist is prophetic protégé of Elijah.  But, he is actually the prophesied return of Elijah (Malachi 3:23).  This is a basic misquote.  John is not said to be the protégé but rather the real Elijah.

 p. 25 The Lord’s anointed – 

 Where does it say God’s anointed would necessarily be a king?

 p. 35 Historical inaccuracy – no acknowledgement of the restoration.

 Jubilee year – This is not what Jesus was inaugurating.  The Jews HAD control of the land.  The Jews sold out to Rome – in Maccabees.  Jews made deal with Rome for protection.

 p. 59  Claim that Jesus defeated devil in desert in Luke 4.

 Not true.  Satan departed from him for a time.  Luke 4:13.  Devil appears numerous times.  Not completely defeated until resurrection.  (Peter – “Get thee behind me Satan.”  Mt 16:23.)  And Satan entered Judas at Last Supper.

 p. 64 The seeds of revolution – Luke 6.  Gray – Jesus is new David.  See below.

 p. 70 Inaccuracies in descriptions of Pharisees.  These seem to be Essenes described here.

 p. 73  Samaritans NOT remnant!!!  They were brought in by the Assyrians.  This is a major misrepresentation.

 pp. 84-5  Misleading statements about eating grain on Sabbath. 

 David is political.  Gray is saying Messianic leader has to be an earthly king to vanquish the Sauls of his time.  BUT, Jesus says he is not an earthly king.

 What proof is there that apostles were continent?  Several were married.  We don’t know that the wives weren’t traveling with them.  Major put down on women.

 Gray says disciples were picking heads of grain.  Since the term is “disciple” how do we know these were just the 12 or even that they were all men?

 Point of the story – the rules could be broken if the people were hungry.

 Gray says free from Sabbath regulations by virtue of priestly privilege.  Compare to OT.  Cannot compare David’s army that traveled alone with Jesus’ band who we know included women.

 p. 97 Jesus is the new Moses.  Confusion between the embodiment of the law and the lawgiver.

 p. 99 Parallel between Jesus and Ezekiel.  Prophetic mission.  Confusing.  No one ever said Ezekiel was coming back.  It is interesting they both foretold the fall of a Temple.

 p. 128  No Passover lamb.  You can’t read post resurrection back into the gospels.  He was the Paschal lamb after the resurrection – after he conquered death.

 Gray’s argument – it’s not mentioned.  But, text says, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”  (Luke 22:7-13).  They prepared the Passover.  Observant Jews would have had a lamb.  “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”  22:15.

 In NAB study notes (St. Joseph edition) – “This is clearly identified as a Passover meal.”  Jesus’ blood will be spilled.  He becomes Paschal lamb at crucifixion.  “…in the blood that will be shed.”  Note future tense.

 This would be the last time the band would celebrate Passover.  We don’t celebrate Passover today.

 p. 131 “Not from slavery to Egypt but from slavery to sin.”  Not Passover imagery.  Passover not about sin.

 “…which is a sacrifice which atones for sin and brings about redemption.”  Not so.  Goat on Day of Atonement.

 Liberation from Egypt.  Liberation from power of death.

 B. Mystery of the Kingdom – Edward Sri

 Foreword by Scott Hahn – identifying Kingdom and Roman Catholic Church.

 p. 23 Time line ignores restoration under Cyrus and independence under Maccabees. 

 All the way through – Still living in Exile

 p. 118 2nd Temple built under Cyrus  (Ezra 3:7 ff)

 p. 143 No Paschal lamb.  Just when the lamb should be served, Jesus does something strange – Takes bread and blesses….

 Mt 26:19 – Disciples prepared Passover

 Mt 26:26-28 – While they were eating

 Jesus doesn’t say he is like the Passover lamb.  They are interpreting.

 “Just as the Passover lamb was offered up in sacrifice in order to free the Israelite firstborn sons in Egypt, Jesus will be offered in order to free God’s first born son, the nation of Israel.”

 Free Israelite firstborn sons from what?  Answer:  Death.

 Ex  4:22

 Jesus becoming the Paschal lamb was not just for Israel – but for everyone.

 p. 143-4 Cross being climax.  See Notes.

 C. Catholic for a Reason – Misrepresentation on back of other two as co-authors.

 Subtitle:  Scripture and the Mystery of the Family of God.  Problem:  The only mystery dealt with in this book is the “Mystery of the Sacraments – Baptism and Eucharist – with almost a total disregard for the other 5.”  For this reason the emphasis on selected CCC points.

  This book includes a foreword by Archbishop Chaput.  Perhaps Chaput did not read this book carefully or surely he would have noticed the errors in both doctrine and scripture. 

 This is supposed to be an apologetics of the Catholic Faith but – very Protestant in approach and content.

 No mention of history of church that has gone before.

 Apologetics – weak essays.

 Even chapter on the sacraments of healing focuses entirely on baptism and penance – NOTHING on sacrament of physical healing.  One comment on sacrament of anointing – but only tied to forgiving sin and not to power of healing.  Misleading at best.

 Problems with some but not all.

 [Preface – New Evangelization – New fire, etc. – different than the concept of evangelization as presented by stressing baptism.]

 1. Scott Hahn – 2 problems (introduction)

 p. 9 Discussion of Trinity misleading and confusing.  Never proves why it is wrong to use/substitute Creator/Redeemer/Sanctifier.  Could have picked up CCC and referred people to 232 through 267.

 Using the terms Creator/Redeemer/Sanctifier does not impune the essence of God because God does co-exist as such.

 We encounter God as Creator of all life in the beauty of the creation which surrounds us.  God the redeemer we come to know in the life death and resurrection of Jesus, who is our savior, and in the love we experience with others in the Christian community.  God the Sanctifier we encounter in prayer and where ever the power of God is manifest in human transformation, encouraged to withstand suffering and temptation and in healing and reconciliation.

 Hahn has trouble seeing God in anything other than traditional patriarchal terms. 

 Hahn – CRS is critique of what God does rather than what God is.  The problem he has is that he doesn’t see that those words express the ongoing nature of God.  By critiquing them, he puts CRS all in past tense – rather than ongoing present tense.  This is a basic Catholic/Protestant difference.  Hahn’s view appears to be very protestant.  Protestants (in general) do not have a concept of natural law theology/ethics that says God is continually active in creation.  They believe world is intrinsically fallen.  This is exactly what FOCUS teaches!  Not good Catholic teaching.  Catholicism does NOT teach that the world is vale of sin and that we need to escape it!

 Economic trinity/Essential trinity.  Who God is and What God does cannot be split.

 Why doesn’t Hahn refer people to the catechism?

 p. 11 No salvation outside the Catholic Church.  Major – even Baltimore Catechism teaches otherwise.  Says family of God is only the Roman Catholics.  Not true.

 2. Jeffrey Cavins  (identified above)

 p. 35 View of catechism.  The catechism is a reference book – not the full deposit of Sacred Tradition.  Even so, the selective use is unacceptable.

 3. Curtis Mitch

 p. 50 Plenary verbal inspiration – HS authored every book.

 p. 51 Duty of the church’s Magisterium to interpret properly and definitively the meaning of God’s written word.

 This means no one but the Magisterium can know and interpret.  (Logical extension:  even priests shouldn’t be preaching homilies!)

 Direct contradiction to CCC 109.

 p. 52 Plenary verbal inspiration of scripture – misunderstanding of the canonization process of scripture. 

 Direct contradiction to CCC 106, 107, and 108.

 p. 56 Interesting interpretation of infallibility

 Inerrant scripture 
Bible inspired in 1st C

 Cf. Above.

 4. Fr. Pablo Gadenz

 p. 62  Open admission to Opus Dei.  (Only members were invited to this.)

 p. 80 Proof texting and pulling out context.

 p. 81 Contradicts Scott Hahn.  Talks about separated brethren.

 5. Kim Hahn

 p. 129 Discussion incomplete.  Needs to look at catechism.

 6. Sean Innerst – 

 p. 137 “The family that learns together, yearns together”  Subtitle:  The liturgy as family pedagogy.  Neo-Catechumenate – provost of Archdiocesan Seminary in Denver

 p. 141 “In these two things really consist the whole of the catechism.  The creed, the sacraments themselves, the moral life, and prayer—the traditional four pillars of the catechism—all express in different modes these two things: the God of the Covenant and Covenant keeping.”

 p. 141 “With all the talk we hear about justice today, we have forgotten that the virtue of religion is a species of justice.  We owe God worship; it is His due.  As an act of worship, the liturgy is for God.  Not that He needs it in any necessary sense, but our intent should be to conduct it for him as a gift, however insufficient it appears to be.”

 Micah 6:6-8

 7. Ted Sri

 p. 167 Scripture says future tense on shedding blood for forgiveness of sins; Sri puts it in present tense at last supper.

 p. 170 Passover lamb – shift on 6th hour.  Sri is trying to say that crucifixion occurred at the same hour the lambs were being sacrificed in the Temple.  According to the Synaptics, Jesus was not crucified before dinner!  The Lambs had already been sacrificed, prepared, and eaten – the day before.

 8. Tim Gray

 p. 195 Mary as Queen.  In view of Davidic Kingdom.  Trying to prove she is queen because she is mother of Davidic king.

 Jesus is not Davidic king in political sense.  His mother does not earn Queenship in that way.

 All chapter on Mary is misleading because it is based on Jesus as political king – which he is not.

 9. Fr. Pablo Gadenz – Priest as Spiritual Father

 p. 214 Misleading – this is NOT the prophet Micah, but rather a Micah from the days of Judges. 17:10.   Also, misleading,  read Judges 17:11-13.  Priest and Father are NOT the same – Two separate roles!

 p. 215 Interpretation of Genesis 27 – there was no priesthood!!!!

 p. 218-9  Understanding of Melchesidek does not match present Biblical Scholarship – including approved Catholic study notes in NAB.  (10,000 year problem.)

 p. 222 Twisting Fitzmyer, Ray Brown.  Plays games with the people he is citing – leading to confusion.

 Being a priest by virtue of being first born son.  Stretching it!  Established ALL ISRAEL is FIRST BORN SON – therefore, all Israel is priest.

 p. 224 Hebrews 7:3 – stretching it.

 p. 227  Disregard for history of celibacy.

 Disregard for sociobiology of male/female.

 10. Curtis Martin – begin p. 287

 Fallen away Catholic and Evangelical Protestant.  Campus Crusader.  Quotes Josh McDowell – protestant evangelical.

 Does NOT refer to Catechism.  If he couldn’t prove it in Scripture, why not turn to Catechism?  He wasn’t RC.  OK, why doesn’t he refer to it after the fact?  Doesn’t use catechism correctly anyway.

  Problem with him proving anything using an evangelical scholar when ALL of them have been bashing Protestants.


Evangelization on college campuses is important.  However, such evangelization must be done with integrity.  The FOCUS program does not use approved catechetical materials.  Furthermore, FOCUS teaches concepts and ideas contrary to the teachings of Biblical Scholarship, the CCC, and basic Roman Catholic understanding.  FOCUS is not a group that should be evangelizing on the college campuses today.

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

Ingrid H. Shafer, Ph.D.
e-mail address: ihs@ionet.net
Posted 27 August 2000
Last updated 10 March 2001
Electronic version copyright © 2001 Ingrid H. Shafer
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