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

4.7 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Image; 4/18/04 edition (May 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385509316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385509312
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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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