July 30, 2013

Breaking News: the Pope is still Catholic

by Jesse Johnson

The Pope just returned from his visit to Brazil, and three different stories from the trip dominated the religious news last week. First, he declared that retweeting his updates about World Youth Day would help merit an indulgence. Then he led Mass for 3 million people in Brazil, and finally he declared that it is “not my role to judge gay priests.”

Pope on a plane

That’s quite a news cycle, but hardly news.

If you are not familiar with the differences between Catholicism and the gospel, here is a one paragraph theology lesson followed by a one paragraph history lesson: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that people can be saved from hell through a combination of faith and works (works energized by faith, if you will). Of course, salvation from hell is only part of the story, because according to the RCC, at death your soul goes to purgatory where the remaining sin is purged through suffering and torment. The difference between purgatory and hell is one of duration, and clearly the doctrine of purgatory is not compatible with even a rudimentary understanding of the New Testament.  

In the 1500’s, a Catholic Priest named Martin Luther learned Greek, got his hands on a New Testament (the church had forbidden the translation of the Scriptures into any language people used), and compared what he found there with the practices of the Catholic Church. He saw the differences, and in the process of enumerating them, he was confronted with an indulgence salesman. It was the practice of the Catholic Church then (and now, mind you) to sell indulgences—in other words, to reduce the time you would spend in purgatory based on how many Catholic Certificates you purchase. Luther was appalled at the concept of indulgences, wrote 95 reasons why they were false, and why the Catholic Church had left the gospel. With that, the reformation was launched.

Five hundred years later, not a lot has changed inside of Catholicism. In the 1500’s you could buy an indulgence for someone who had already died (imagine that sales pitch: “you loved your grandma, didn’t you?”). Now it is limited to the living, but the concept is the same.

If you accept the basic tenants of Catholicism—that you earn your salvation through works, the Pope is infallible in matters of doctrine, and that the sacraments are the essence of spiritual life—then indulgences make perfect sense. And once you accept the concept of work being meritorious, how absurd is an indulgence, really? If you can buy an indulgence for your son (I have a friend who got one as a graduation gift), they why shouldn’t you get one for yourself? And if you can get one for yourself through your money, why shouldn’t you be able to get one through other works as well? Like, say, praying for the Pope? And if they come that way, then certainly retweeting the Pope’s status is more or less the same.

 

After the story about retweets and indulgences broke last week (AP headline: “Pope OK’s Indulgences for the Tweeting Masses“), the Vatican was quick to point out some of the fine print. Time out purgatory via social media only applies if the retweet was accompanied by faith, and the initial tweet was about The World Youth Day. Which leads to the second news item. At the end of his time in Brazil, the Pope led a Mass for 3 million people on World Youth Day. Here the sacramental system was in full view. The Pope offered indulgences for those who attended the event (or for those unable to attend who retweeted his status about it, and I’m not making that up).

This was a confluence of all things Catholic: the opportunity to pray for the Pope, to celebrate the Mass, and to participate in World Youth Day, all three of which are meritorious and can reduce time in purgatory. With the promise of time out of purgatory for those who attended, 3 million participated. On the flight back from Brazil, the Pope was asked for his thoughts on the scandal that has been breaking in the European Press (not a lot of coverage in the US) about openly homosexual priests forming a gay lobby inside of the Vatican. While the Pope’s comments were treated as news worthy (USA Today called it “a new statement” that would “impact church policy”), the truth is it is the same thing the Catholic Church has always taught. Namely, that it is fine for priests to be gay. The Catholic Church has historically made a distinction between gay priests and homosexual priests, the former being kosher and the latter simply being inconvenient.

I, for one, am thankful for the news out of Brazil last week. When Francis became Pope, it resuscitated some of the latent ecumenicism in the US. I heard from people who were confused about what the differences are between Catholicism and the gospel, and many were wondering if the new Pope would bridge the divide between Protestants and Catholics.

But his Brazil trip showed that the divide is still there. On one side is a system of sacraments, works, indulgences, and Papal authority. The other side features repenting from confidence in works—regardless of how infused they may be—and instead trusting the finished work of Jesus. Salvation is for those who turn from their works and turn to the Lord. Purgatory is a lie because Jesus offers complete forgiveness from sins, and you don’t have to retweet it to receive it.

 

In other words, the head line should have been, Breaking News: The Pope is Still Catholic.

 

Jesse Johnson

Posts Twitter Facebook

Jesse is the Teaching Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA. He also leads The Master's Seminary Washington DC location.
  • Andrew

    Very helpful and eye-opening post about the consistency of Catholic teaching and practice up to the present (and how it varies so profoundly from the gospel). However, not sure Catholic doctrine says ‘it is fine for priests to be gay’ as you say above. Rather, they maintain a distinction between homosexual orientation/inclination and practice. I know several Christian brothers in the former category who faithfully resist temptation and walk with Christ – I took the pope to be saying that we do not oppose such people (i.e., we don’t tell them they are going to hell because of their struggle/orientation). I actually think the distinction he is making here is quite helpful. Thanks again.

  • Larry

    Unfortunately, the “Biblical” church arguably at times may struggle with being steadfast and unmoveable. However, when it comes to the cross, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and the finished work at Calvary, there can be no compromises, relative to Biblical doctrine. There is nothing right or rite about the RCC. Sincerity in a belief is not the litmus test for peace with God. The current pope is after wordly acclaim, rather than foundational,. Biblical truth. Very clever he is to say, “Who am I to judge?” which relieves him from accountability to the scriptures. Romans 1 is nowhere to be found in his religious portfolio. It is sad, the homosexual agenda is so strong and connected, that, “men of God” dare not speak against it. Thank God for those who will and do. Homosexuality is idolatry and idolatry just may be the most vile sin there is. Idolatry is repulsive, because it strikes at the very character of God. Idolatry is a perversion about who God is. It is selfish and selfmade. In the beginning God made male and female and the male is to join with the female and the two become one. Selfishness, turns the truth of God into a lie and demands not male and female, but rather male-male. Female-female. And for this reason, God turns them over to a mindset and behavior that is rejected by Him.

    • Andrew

      Larry, I think it might be helpful for you to read the entirety of the pope’s comments about homosexuality in the interview under discussion and not just the US news reports about what he said (see Juan Cole’s blog post from this morning for a more accurate treatment of what the pope was saying). It’s important for us as evangelicals to accurately identify what separates biblical Christianity from Roman Catholicism: just to be clear, RCC is biblical in its view on the immoral status of homosexual practice. Also, the point of Romans 1 is not that homosexuality is the most terrible sin and uniquely connected to idolatry…the upshot of that chapter (continuing into Romans 2) is that we are all caught in sin!

      • Larry

        Thank you Andrew. At end of the day we are all broken in our sexuality. Heterosexual and homosexual. And if my heterosexual brokenness causes me to seek satisfaction outside of what God has ordained, I am behaving in an idolatrous manner. My satisfaction becomes selfish, self-made and a perversion of what God has designed. Much, much separates Biblical Christianity, from the RCC. Islam is Biblical in its view on the immoral status of homosexuality as well, but that is not an argument for a muslim to validate Islam in any way, relative to my Christ alone,grace alone and canonized scripture alone stance. I hope I didnt imply Romans 1 refers to homosexuality as the “most terrible sin,” because it doesn’t. However, a culture has “lost its way” when it becomes pornographic and homosexual (as a standard) The next sweeping agenda will be pedophilia as a sexual orientation. The pope, since arguably considered the global spiritual leader, is a mere puppet in a global agenda. And if he “softens” toward it, certainly its a “go” culturally. (First pope to publically tolerate it) I mention homosexuality as idolatry because it is a practice that is selfish and a perversion of who God is and what He has said. Idolatry is not a mere relic or “thing,” but rather a mindset. Lastly, Jesse can always be counted on for a provocative post.

        • Andrew

          Thanks, Larry – we’re on the same page! Blessings, Andrew

    • Eon

      I am sorry, but you are drawing conclusions too fast from (very) incomplete information.

      The Pope was asked about homosexuality in the context of the wikileaks reports about the supposed gay scandal in Vatican, then he replied those words you mentioned. But after that he was questioned about other themes which are also considered sensitive for secular media like abortion, drugs, etc.

      His reply to all of that was very simple: “The church has already taught very clearly on all those subjects. The position of the Pope is the position of the Church, for I am just one the sons of the Church”.

      How much more would you like him to be clear? The catechism is very clear about the sin of homosexuality, there is really no way around it and the Pope completely closed the door to anyone trying to say the contrary. There is a clear distinction between make your self clear and kicking a dead horse. Kicking dead horses is useless and you know, it will make people hate you if they really like horses. It happens that the purpose of the motto of the Gospel is not hate, but love. There is nothing wrong about drawing people’s sympathy by behaving in a charitable manner, as the Pope did, as long as you make no moral concessions, as the Pope certainly didn’t. He pointed in the right direction.

      And also, while I understand what you said about idolatry and homosexuality, and cannot agree for even a second that homosexuality is as particularly dangerous type of idolatry. Homosexuality it, to say the least, very obvious and people are aware of it.

      In my opinion the worst idols are those who people cannot identify easily in their lives, for example the idolatry of the self. Or the idolatry of someone else. Or the idolatry o money. Or the idolatry of science. People often put all their faith in things that cannot bring them salvation or full satisfaction, without knowing they are doing it.

      The worst type of idolatry is the one disguised as something apparently harmless. There is no defense against an enemy you can’t see.

  • Thanks Jesse. Your “RCC 101” is helpful. Looking back on Luther’s engagement of RCC is proof of Proverbs 12:3 “No one is established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will never by moved.” Praise God, though Luther is dead, he still speaks. By the way, Jerry Wragg recommended R.C. Sproul’s book “Are We Together?” as a good read for those seeking to know the “non-negotiable” differences between RCC and true Christian faith. Believe such a book is needed these days as we seek to witness to our Catholic friends and relatives.

    • Angie Jáuregui

      Strange that you thank someone who is not an expert in Catholic belief, in fact the opposite is true of this gentleman since he clearly does not know anything about it or believe anything good comes from it. It’s a good thing scientists in their search for scientific fact don’t go to, let’s say a stay at home mom. It’s most common for non-Catholics to hate the Catholic Church for what they believe it teaches rather than for what it actually teaches. personally would not sign up for Spanish 101 being taught by the non-Spanish speaking PE teacher. Just saying, weird, and totally illogical!

  • I praise God for you and your consistent stand the Jesus.

  • Melissa Collins

    I am always thrilled to see when you post on The Cripplegate. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy all the contributors however you are always on point, current with issues which are truly “in the face” of the follower of Christ. It strengthens my resolve to continue to stand up for the cross and Christ and gives me researched information – I don’t have the time nor the depth needed to research to the extent you do. You are always consistent with the gospel as I know it and was raised to understand it. Thank you!

  • METOWNSEND Townsend

    But sadly, millions would rather swallow and follow than search the scriptures and see if the things they are being taught are true. The path is wide and many millions there be who are traveling it.
    I have catholic family and friends and witnessing to them is like talking to a brick wall. I pray for them that the Holy Spirit will shine light into their darkness and open their hearts to His truth.

  • elainebitt

    “I heard from people who were confused about what the differences are
    between Catholicism and the gospel, and many were wondering if the new
    Pope would bridge the divide between Protestants and Catholics.”

    The only way for that to happen it would be for the Pope to reject most (if not all) of the Catholic teachings and make a complete makeover (reformation) and finally embrace biblical teaching.

    That is a fictional scenario, of course.

    On another note. I was not surprised by the huge support Brazilians gave to the pope. Catholicism is the “official” religion, if you are born Brazilian you are born a Catholic. The sad thing about all of it is that a LOT of evangelicals were in the streets, not spreading the news about the true Gospel, but supporting the pope. That is, sadly, the kind of “Christianity” that has spread throughout that land. “Confuse” doesn’t even begin to explain it.

    Thank you for writing Jesse!

    • Eon

      What you said about Brasil is just plain wrong. I live in Brazil.

      There is no “official” religion here. There is a majority of catholics (about 65% of the population) and a growing number of protestants, mostly pentecostals and evangelicals, with a small number of more “traditional” chuches like Lutheran, Baptist, etc.

      Before you start making judgments about the “sadness” of a protestant supporting the Pope, let me tell you about something about the situation of Christianity in Brasil: we are under attack.

      Is that news for you, I mean, in your country as well? I guess not. But lets keep talking about Brazil.

      We are one step away from widespread abortion, gay marriage was already approved (no really, judges put it down everybody’s throats as they intend to do it with abortion) and drug liberalization is already on the way. Most of the media is anti-catholic. Oh, but don’t be happy too fast: they are anti-protestant as well. In fact, they are anti-Christ in general, with 100% support from the Federal Government (which is socialist) although the Government is not yet capable of challenging Church’s authority openly, the do try to undermine it every way they can, all the time.

      So here comes the “protestant against catholic” rant again. We are in the middle of a spiritual war, and christians should be worried about things like:

      – PRAYING EVERYWHERE AND EVERY TIME FOR EACH OTHER

      – PRAYING FOR THE SAINTS, FOR THE SINNERS, FOR THE POLITICIANS,

      – AND YES, PRAYING FOR THE POPE

      And then you come and say that the only way of uniting the Christians is if the Pope drops all Catholic teachings… oh really? Pause for a big laugh.

      As if all the protestants were perfectly united under the same doctrine, not only in Brazil but everywhere in the world! You must be kidding me.

      Dude, do you have any idea how many different protestant churches, with actual DIFFERENT DOCTRINES, exist in Brazil nowadays???

      It is impossible to count.

      There are cities here where you will find 5 ou 6 different churches, one beside the other, in a row. Each of them will have something like 100 christians inside, praising God in their particular way, believing whatever they believe (it is impossible to know all of the beliefs because it is impossible to know all of the churches) and each of them will claim that they hold the true doctrine of Christ, whatever it is they actually hold.

      Some will teach people that if they do everything God wants, they will have all their problems solved. Just like that. Do the will of God, and you won’t suffer anymore, you will have a better job, better car, more money, whatever. Some will teach you the opposite.

      Some will baptize your kids only if they are more than 12 years old. Some will not. Some will baptize ex-catholics again, claiming the their baptism was “invalid”, while others will say it is a universal sacrament, thus valid.

      Some will require will to speak tongues in order to be a member! Yes, you heard it right. If you get baptized in this particular church and you don’t start speaking tongues immediately… then the holy spirit will not be with you. Others of course will teach this is nonsense.

      Some will teach that abortion is acceptable in some cases. Really. And I am not talking about a single pastor in a minor church, I am talking about the founder of one of the biggest pentecostal churches in the country.

      All that, a much more, and I am talking about Protestant churches only. So, what can I say? In good conscience it is impossible to argue that without the Catholic Church the people of Christ would be more united around the world, in any way.

      As a matter of fact, it is quite obvious that without the catholic church we would be more fragmented and vulnerable as we have never been in history. We christians are natural targets of evil forces. Rest assured that without the unity of the Roman Catholic faith under the leadership of a (quite popular) Pope, some people would stop thinking twice before harming you and me just because we seek Christ while they don’t.

  • Pingback: News of Note: “Pope Open to Gay Priests?” (UPDATED: Commentary from Al Mohler; Fox News and Washington Times Commentaries on San Antonio’s Proposed Ordinance Punishing Citizens Who Oppose Homosexuality) | Santa Monica Church Blog()

  • eon

    How can anyone even suggest that Luther denied the doctrine of purgatory, indulgences, and even the authority of the Pope by actually reading his 95 theses?

    You must be kidding me.

    Luther was an AUGUSTINIAN MONK. He was a STILL A CATHOLIC HIMSELF when he wrote the theses, and each word of it confirms that, that is, provided you take some time to actually read them instead of recreating them from your imagination.

    And more, Catholic and Lutherans actually share the same doctrine about faith and works.

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html

    CATHOLIC OR LUTHERAN, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE WHEN IT COMES TO DOCTRINE OF SALVATION. PERIOD.

    It is time for both catholics and protestants to change their attitudes towards each other.

    Did your newspapers talked about the protestant woman that actually CRIED OF HAPPINESS because her child was blessed and kissed by the pope? And what about the evangelicals that waited for hours under the rain just to have the opportunity to see him in person? Did they talk about the Popes visit to God’s Assembly in Rio de Janeiro, where he actually WENT INSIDE THE TEMPLE, GREETED THE PASTORS, SHOOK THEIR HANDS AND PRAYED THE LORD’S PRAYER WITH THEM?

    Wanna hear something funny? Not a long ago in Brazil, a group of evangelicals decided to unite all the churches in a single event in the capital of the country: 50.000 showed up. It was great. It sent a message to many, many people in the country.

    I was proud for them. It doesn’t matter if they were few (compared to catholics) or even if they were all united under the exact same doctrine (certainly not) the point is that in a world as bad as ours is nowadays every Christian should be proud when any perceptible number of people gather IN THE NAME OF CHRIST TO PRAY.

    3 million people at a single mass? Dude, hate and envy are dangerous things. Drop them.

    Get over the fact that nobody owns God, it is God that owns us all.

    Peace of Christ.

    • Was that before or after the Pope gave what the AP called a “bristling and stinging rebuke” of those in Brazil who have left RCC for protestant Christianity?

  • Angie Jáuregui

    What provision the Christ make for the transmission of the faith? (Hint: its NOT the Bible.) Jesus never commanded that a book be written. He gave us the Church’s liturgy and Sacred Tradition, handed on by oral tradition and overseen by the authority of the apostles that Christ had authorized in Matthew 28 giving them divine authority to preach, and teach, and baptize, and carry out the sacraments. (2 Thess 2:15) Just thought I would bring this up in response to the point about the “Biblical” church. The Catholic Church gave the world the Bible, a collection of the teaching that Jesus left to the 12 apostles and commanded them to take to all the world. (Matthew 28:19-20) There was no Bible for well over 200 years after Christ’s Death and Resurrection.

    The Roman Catholic Church does not teach the doctrine of “works righteousness,” that through good works one can earn salvation. The Catholic Church has never taught such a doctrine and, in fact, has constantly condemned the notion that men can earn or merit salvation. Catholic soteriology (salvation theology) is rooted in apostolic Tradition and Scripture and says that it is only by God’s grace–completely unmerited by works–that one is saved.

    The Church teaches that it’s God’s grace from beginning to end which justifies, sanctifies, and saves us. As Paul explains in Philippians 2:13, “God is the one, who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.”

    Notice that Paul’s words presuppose that the faithful Christian is not just desiring to be righteous, but is actively working toward it. This is the second half of the justification equation, and Protestants either miss or ignore it.

    James 2:17 reminds us that “faith of itself, if it does not have work, is dead.” In verse 24 James says, “See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” And later: “For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (2:26). Its a ‘both’ ‘and.’

    “In the 1500’s, a Catholic Priest named Martin Luther learned Greek, got his hands on a New Testament (the church had forbidden the translation of the Scriptures into any language people used)..” This charge, besides being flat-out false, fails to take into account the historical situations that were happening. These include the fact that most people were illiterate, and that there were no printing presses. Consequently, translation and copying of the scriptures into the vernacular languages was costly endeavor, in terms of time and money. And once the translation was made, barely anyone could read it anyway. This argument also fails to take into account that the initial translation of the scriptures into Latin was a translation from an unknown language to the vernacular…which was Latin. OK. But having said all of this, it nevertheless remains a patently false assertion that the Reformers (Wycliff et al.) were the first to translate the scriptures into the vernacular. In fact, the Church most responsible for said translation was…the Catholic Church. The following quotations are taken from Henry G. Graham’s book, “Where We Got the Bible”, and in his chapter entitled, “Vernacular Scriptures Before Wycliff”.

    “We know from history that there were popular translations of the bible and Gospels in Spanish, Italian, French, Danish, Norwegian, Polish, Bohemian, and Hungarian for the Catholics of those lands before the days of printing, but we shall confine ourselves to England to refuter once more the common fallacy that John Wycliff was the first to place to place an English translation of the Scriptures in the hands of the English people in 1382…

    We may safely assert, and we can prove, that there were actually in existence among the people many copies of the scriptures in the English tongue of that day. To begin far back, we have a copy of the work of Caedmon, a monk of Whitby, at the end of the 7th century, consisting of great portions of the bible in the common tongue.

    The first mention of Purgatory in the Bible is in 2 Maccabees 12:46: “Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from sin.”

    Some people do not accept Maccabees as book of the Bible. This is unfortunate since it is that their Bibles have been edited and are missing books. Even if a person does not accept the book of Maccabees, it at least has historical value for we can learn what the pre-Christian community believed.

    In Matthew 5:26 and Luke 12:59 Christ is condemning sin and speaks of liberation only after expiation. “Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” Now we know that no last penny needs to be paid in Heaven and from Hell there is no liberation at all; hence the reference must apply to a third place.

    Matthew 12:32 says, “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Here Jesus speaks of sin against the Holy Spirit. The implication is that some sins can be forgiven in the world to come. We know that in Hell there is no liberation and in Heaven nothing imperfect can enter it as we see in the next part. Sin is not forgiven when a soul reaches its final destination because in heaven there is no need for forgiveness of sin and in hell the choice to go there is already made.

    Revelation 21:27: “…but nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who does abominable things or tells lies.” The place that is to be entered (the place to which this passage refers) is heaven (read the text around it for context).

    The Bible clearly implies a place for an intermediate state of purification after we die in the many passages which tell that God will reward or punish according to a person’s life.

    The pious use of indulgences dates back into the early days of the Church, and the principles underlying indulgences extend back into the Bible itself. Catholics who are uncomfortable with indulgences do not realize how biblical they are. The principles behind indulgences are as clear in Scripture as those behind more familiar doctrines, such as the Trinity, which is also not specifically named in Sacred Scripture.

    FYI–The Church has never taught that one can even buy indulgences; the instances of this happening were abuses perpetrated by individual clerics actually going against Catholic teaching. Those abuses were addressed and cleaned up many centuries ago…

    Principle 1: Sin Results in Guilt and Punishment (Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 51:4, 9, Isaiah 13:11, Eccl. 12:14)

    Principle 2: Punishments are Both Temporal and Eternal (Daniel 12:2)
    We normally focus on the eternal penalties of sin, because they are the most important, but Scripture indicates temporal penalties are real and go back to the first sin humans committed: “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children (Gen. 3:16)

    Principle 3: Temporal Penalties May Remain When a Sin is Forgiven (Isaiah 1:18, Rom. 5:9, 2 Samuel 12, 2 Sam. 12:13-14, 2 Sam. 12:7-12, Numbers 14:13-23; 20:12; 27:12-14)

    Protestants realize that, while Jesus paid the price for our sins before God, he did not relieve our obligation to repair what we have done. They fully acknowledge that if you steal someone’s car, you have to give it back; it isn’t enough just to repent. God’s forgiveness (and man’s!) does not include letting you keep the stolen car.

    Principle 4: God Blesses Some People As a Reward to Others (Matthew 9:1-8, Rom. 11:28, Gen. 18:16-33; 1 Kgs. 11:11-13; Rom. 11:28-29)

    Principle 5: God Remits Temporal Punishments through the Church (John 20:21-23) If Christ gave his ministers the ability to forgive the eternal penalty of sin, how much more would they be able to remit the temporal penalties of sin! (Matt. 18:18).

    Principle 6: God Blesses Dead Christians As a Reward to Living Christians
    From the beginning the Church recognized the validity of praying for the dead so that their transition into heaven (via purgatory) might be swift and smooth. This meant praying for the lessening or removal of temporal penalties holding them back from the full glory of heaven. The custom of praying for the dead is not restricted to the Catholic faith. When a Jewish person’s loved one dies, he prays a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddishfor eleven months after the death for the loved one’s purification.

    In the Old Testament, Judah Maccabee finds the bodies of soldiers who died wearing superstitious amulets during one of the Lord’s battles. Judah and his men “turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out” (2 Macc. 12:42).

    Some criticize indulgences, saying they involve our making “expiation” for our sins, something which only Christ can do. While this sounds like a noble defense of Christ’s sufficiency, this criticism is unfounded, and most who make it do not know what the word “expiation” means or how indulgences work.

    Protestant Scripture scholar Leon Morris comments on the confusion around the word “expiate”: “[M]ost of us . . . don’t understand ‘expiation’ very well. . . . [E]xpiation is . . . making amends for a wrong. . . . Expiation is an impersonal word; one expiates a sin or a crime”

    Certainly when it comes to the eternal effects of our sins, only Christ can make amends or reparation. Only he was able to pay the infinite price necessary to cover our sins. We are completely unable to do so, not only because we are finite creatures incapable of making an infinite satisfaction, but because everything we have was given to us by God.

    An excellent biblical illustration of this principle is given in Proverbs 16:6, which states: “By loving kindness and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil” (cf. Lev. 6:1-7; Num. 5:5-8). Here we are told that a person makes temporal atonement (though never eternal atonement, which only Christ is capable of doing) for his sins through acts of loving kindness and faithfulness.

    One last thought, don’t leave Jesus because of Judas…

    The peace of Christ be with all of you! Remember to investigate all claims thoroughly from all angles before you believe anything or come to your conclusions, and remember anything you read, was written by mere mortals. Who are you going to believe? Pray and entrust yourselves to our Divine Savior, specifically ask him to guide you in all truth, to all truth, and through all truth.

    Catholic Convert from Church of Christ (25 years ago)

    • Barbara

      Your reply is wholely misguided and very sad. I’m glad you would take so much time to point out what you think of theRCC , but though you are sincere, you are sincerely wrong. Most Converts to RCC usually are, as noted by many observant bloggers I have read. Best to you, may you be regenerated by God. Sincerely, a Protestant convert FROM the RCC after 35 years, thank you LORD

      • Eon

        Well, let me see.

        The catholic convert who respectfully took a long time to write and properly defend the reason of his faith based on scripture and verifiable historical facts is “misguided”, while your 6 line paragraph and 35 years of failure as a Roman Catholic are supposed to serve as proof that not only he is wrong, but every one of the catholics in the world is wrong are “sincerely wrong” and thus not regenerated.

        Oh, boy. That’s exactly the kind of attitude that needs to be changed.

        If you are not ready to admit that you might need just as much God’s mercy and grace to achieve salvation as you “misguided” catholic brother, then there will be probably no place for you in heaven.

        Do you want to be the first before God? Put yourself in the last place. Do you want to be the greater before God? Be humble and serve everyone else. Including catholics.

  • Blogueiros do Brasil

    does he must to become what?

  • Angie: I deleted yoru comment for a few reasons: 1. It was longer than the actual post above, which is fine were it not for 2. It was pretty much a long attempt to defend teh RCC teaching on salvation. I’d encourage you to check out this post here:

    http://thecripplegate.com/reprise-the-gospel-according-to-rome/

    Where we have compiled several official RCC statements on that topic. Thanks for reading,

    Jesse