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Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments Hardcover – May 18, 2004


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Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments + The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth + Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Image (May 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385509316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385509312
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hahn, a convert to Catholicism who is professor of biblical theology at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, continues his popular expositions on various aspects of the Catholic faith in this treatise on the church's seven sacraments. Written in the easy style that has opened the depths of Catholic theology to scores of laypeople, Hahn shares how he once regarded sacraments as "boring," but reconsidered that view after a challenge from his wife, Kimberly, while both were still Protestants. In reading the works of the church fathers, Hahn came to see the sacraments as signs of God's covenant with humanity and thus more than mere rituals. When Catholics receive them, he writes, they make a covenant with God that has weighty implications. He explains how in ancient times, parties to covenants would swear a sacred oath, offer a sacrifice and share a meal, all elements contained in the sacraments today. Hahn insists sacraments are based in scripture and makes a convincing case that they were not late additions to Christianity, but were practiced by the early church. He offers personal testimony as well, crediting grace from the sacrament of matrimony with sustaining him and his wife through the difficult period in which he left the Protestant ministry and converted to Catholicism. Catholics in search of a fresh look at their faith will find Hahn's enthusiasm inviting. His frequent references to the Catechism also should make this a helpful resource.
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Review

“This book, easy to read but profound in its implications, draws on the Bible, on Catholic teaching, patristic wisdom, and rabbinical learning to explain the meaning and importance of sacraments. What the author tells of his own discovery and experience of sacramental life is illuminating and heartwarming. It will help Catholics grasp better the wonder and necessity of sacraments in God’s plan of salvation and allow other Christians to see their significance for the following of Christ.”
—Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago

“As one who has lived with a lifelong realistic understanding of the sacraments, especially of the Holy Eucharist, I found Scott Hahn’s journey from Calvin’s devout but symbolic understanding to the traditional realism of the Church Fathers most enlightening. This book will be a big help to Catholics confronted by careless and inaccurate teaching about the sacraments. It will also aid Protestants, who have often lost even the sacramental piety of the Reformation and who are beginning to rediscover the sacraments instituted by Christ.”
--Father Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., author of In the Presence of Our Lord

“Dr. Hahn has done it once again: he has given us a crisp, clear and compelling look at the very essence of Catholic life, the sacraments. Simply put, Scott believes the sacraments really do work. And he believes that the sacraments are God’s wok for us, not our work for God.”
--Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of Milwaukee

“In Swear to God, Dr. Scott Hahn provides his readers with a fresh, enthusiastic introduction to the theology of Sacraments. His readers will be rewarded not only with clear theological information but also with authentically Catholic inspiration. His pen continues to be a blessing for all who seek a deeper understanding of what the Lord has revealed.”
--Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York


More About the Author

Dr. Scott Hahn is the author (or editor) of over forty books, including best-selling titles like Rome Sweet Home, The Lamb's Supper, Hail Holy Queen, A Father Who Keeps His Promises, Lord Have Mercy, First Comes Love, Swear to God, Understanding Our Father, Scripture Matter, Spirit and Life, Understanding the Scripture, Catholic Bible Dictionary, Many Are Called, Signs of Life, Reasons to Believe, Answering the New Atheism, Ordinary Work Extraordinary Grace, and Living the Mysteries. His academic publications include Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises (Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library), The Kingdom of God as Liturgical Empire: A Theological Commentary on 1-2 Chronicles, Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI, Letter and Spirit: From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy, along with a forthcoming title, Politicizing the Bible: The Roots of Historical Criticism and the Secularization of Scripture (1300-1700). He is the editor of the academic periodical, Letter & Spirit: A Journal of Catholic Biblical Theology, and co-editor of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible.

An exceptionally popular speaker and teacher, Dr. Scott Hahn has delivered thousands of popular talks and academic lectures, nationally and internationally, on a wide range of topics related to Scripture, Theology and the Catholic faith. Hundreds of these presentations have been recorded and distributed by Catholic Lighthouse, The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and St. Joseph Communications. He has appeared on hundreds of television programs on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), where he has also been the regular host and presenter on several popular 13-week series (including Our Fathers Plan, The Lamb's Super, and Genesis to Jesus).

In 2012, Dr. Hahn was awarded the Fr. Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he has taught since 1990. He is the founder and president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. In 2005, he was awarded the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation at St. Vincent Seminary (Latrobe PA), which he held through 2011. In 2002, he was awarded Pio Cardinal Laghi Chair of Catholic Theology at the Pontifical Seminary Josephinum (Columbus OH), which he held through 2004.

Scott graduated from Grove City College in 1979 with his BA in Theology, Philosophy and Economics (magna cum laude). He graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1982 with his M.Div (summa cum laude). Scott received his Ph.D. in Theology from Marquette University in 1995 (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). He has ten years of youth and pastoral ministry experience in Protestant congregations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Kansas and Virginia (1975-85), and is a former Professor of Theology at the Dominion Theological Institute (Dominion, VA, now Chesapeake Theological Seminary). He was ordained in 1982 at Trinity Presbyterian Church (Fairfax VA). He entered the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, 1986.

Dr. Scott Hahn was born in 1957, and has been married to Kimberly since 1979. They live in Steubenville Ohio and have six children and seven grandchildren.

Customer Reviews

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Readers will find many valuable and inspiring points in this excellent book.
Carl Olson (National Catholic Register)
Every Catholic, regardless of how much you think you know about the faith, should read, ponder and contemplate this book.
Paul-Joseph Stines
The sacraments, you see, are the Christian's way of sharing in the very life of God.
HOSIM

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By NAVY78 on June 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a recent convert to Catholicism, I can say that we needed a book like this, that explains the truth and power of the Holy Sacraments. It couldn't come at a better time !
Now, I can help my Protestant brethren understand another deep aspect of our Catholic Faith.
Thanks to Dr. Scott Hahn for the work that he put into the book.
The book is excellent and precise. A great treasure of explanation on the Sacraments.
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Daniel M. Hixon on October 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I should say up front that I am a Protestant, and (despite Dr. Hahn's best efforts) I don't plan on converting to Roman Catholicism. But still I must say that this book was one of the best discussions of the biblical concept of covenant relationships that I have ever read. It was gripping from page 1. I (obviously) did not agree with all of Dr. Hahn's conclusions 100% (I did agree with many of them) but he makes a powerful case for sacramental practice that every Roman Catholic and Protestant (whether they are sacramental Protestants or not) would do well to read. This is a challenging book to any Protestant because it is so thoroughly biblical, and what else would we expect from a former Evangelical Presbyterian minister? This is a great book for anyone who wants to better understand the meaning of sacramental practice in any church, be it Roman/Protestant/Orthodox; and it is just a really fun read (which is not always the case with books of this type). I highly recommend this book to everyone who is ready for a challenging and engaging discussion about the meaning of the Biblical Christian faith and the life of covenant relationship with God.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By K. Schwartz on May 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Hahn has outdone himself yet again! Swear To God is a wonderful book that will transform your understanding of the sacraments (sacramentum) and oaths/covenants (sacramentum). This book shows, through Scripture, how sacraments are the physical signs that we enter in to, and renew our covenant with God through. It ties together a lot of Dr. Hahn's previous material on covenant. Ultimately you will come away from reading this book that much closer to understanding the "Big Picture". Dr. Hahn spends a good section of the book on the sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, and the Eucharist specifically. He makes the point to stress the fact that Marriage is indeed a sacrament and a covenant, not just a contract. The way he explained this in the book was extremely helpful for me because my father, as a Jewish man, claims that marriage is nothing more than a contract. By Dr. Hahn's guidance through Scripture, in this book, I have a much better understanding of marriage. Thus, I hope to have much more deep and productive discussions with my father over the sacrament of marriage in the future. Thank you for writing this book Dr. Hahn. It is your best one yet!
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Carl Olson (National Catholic Register) on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a former evangelical Protestant, I can readily identify with Scott Hahn's admission that prior to becoming Catholic, he had little use for sacraments and ritual. As he writes, "I saw rituals as mechanical procedures people used to manipulate God." The problem with that perspective, Hahn explains, is that everyone relies on ritual, even if they're not aware of it. "I came to recognize," he continues, " that those who try to do away with the Church's sacraments inevitably end up replacing them with rituals of their own making."
"Swear to God" is specifically concerned with explaining the covenantal nature and meaning of the seven sacraments. The essence of this accessible and often enlightening excursion into sacramental theology is captured in a quote from St. Augustine, referenced by Hahn: "There can be no religious society, whether the religion be true or false, without some sacrament or visible symbol to serve as a bond of union. The importance of the sacraments cannot be overstated, and only scoffers will treat them lightly."
Drawing from a mixture of Scripture, well-selected quotes from Church Fathers and the Catechism, historical references and personal anecdotes, Hahn reveals the covenantal, familial and juridical dimensions of the sacraments. For those not familiar with the concept of the covenant, Hahn provides ample explanations in both the main text and in the endnotes. (Although written for a popular audience, it's got more than 30 pages of detailed citations and references.) Hahn's interest is in the reality of the sacrament as a sacred oath, and the key role it plays in God's plan of salvation, the work of Christ, and the mission of the Church.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. on May 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As one who has lived with a lifelong realistic understanding of the sacraments, especially of the Holy Eucharist, I found Scott Hahn's journey from Calvin's devout but symbolic understanding to the traditional realism of the Church Fathers most enlightening. This book will be a big help to Catholics confronted by careless and inaccurate teaching about the sacraments. It will also aid Protestants, who have often lost even the sacramental piety of the Reformation and who are beginning to rediscover the sacraments instituted by Christ.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. (Archbishop of Chicago) on May 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book, easy to read but profound in its implications, draws on the Bible, on Catholic teaching, patristic wisdom, and rabbinical learning to explain the meaning and importance of sacraments. What the author tells of his own discovery and experience of sacramental life is illuminating and heartwarming. It will help Catholics grasp better the wonder and necessity of sacraments in God's plan of salvation and allow other Christians to see their significance for the following of Christ.
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