A few final thoughts about Scott Hahn’s Answering Common Objections series, which I have been listening to on my .mp3 player for the last week-and-a-half while driving around for work. (The first part of this can be read here.)

In the last session, about the Eucharist, Hahn opens with a brief history of sacrifice types for which Christ is the antitype  from the Old Testament, and then plunges headfirst into an examination of passover images in St. John’s account of the crucifixion. I thought his connections there were interesting, if nothing else. In the second part of the session, he makes the standard case for real presence with the usual Roman flavor — nothing too striking, and he doesn’t really address Trent’s exact dogmatic definition.

The last part of the session is where he derails. It starts with the observation that Melchizedek presented Abram with bread and wine. From there, he attempts to build a case that the fact that the Eucharist is not explicitly mentioned in the epistle to the Hebrews demands that you should read the Eucharist into every mention of the word “covenant” in the epistle. I paraphrase, but he says in essence the once-for-all sacrifice that Christ made is the Eucharist, and it is because of the Eucharist that we can approach the throne of God with confidence. Sigh.

Hahn’s intended audience is those who are already Catholic, and he approaches them as those who are already convinced of what he is trying to teach.

He also uses a trick many Catholic apologists use that drives me bananas — he quotes a protestant scholar who agrees with his position, and then says, “Hey, even honest Protestants admit this!” But as a former protestant, he should know that evangelicals will shrug their shoulders and say, “Huh, how about that? Well, everyone is entitled to be wrong.” Non-Catholics don’t have the magisterium, and don’t treat scholars — or even protestant forefathers such as Luther and Calvin — as such. (Well, some Reformed folks treat the Westminster Confession like it’s scripture, or at least Holy Tradition, but I’ll leave that alone…)

Hahn’s a good public speaker, and he speaks as one who is honestly, truly convinced of what he is saying. But, alas, finesse is not enough. I give the entire thing a B for effort, B for presentation (I thought about a B-minus for the annoying theme music, but I let that slide) and a C-minus for actual content.

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