October 29, 2014

How Christians Will Know They Can Join Hands With Rome

by Eric Davis

Post Tenebras LuxWith Reformation Day coming up, this is a good time to recall why the Reformers departed from Roman Catholicism. In our day especially, it seems that many Christians have history-amnesia when it comes to the importance of what God did through the Reformers. During the Reformation, great confusion existed regarding what was, and was not, the true church of Christ. Rome had asserted itself as the true church for centuries, and continues to do so today. However, as the Reformers recognized then, Christians must follow in step today by recalling that joining hands with Rome is a departure from Christ.

To be clear, this is not to say that everyone who sits in a Roman Catholic church is not a Christian. What it is saying is that several changes must occur before Roman Catholicism, by the book, can be considered biblical Christianity. And the men and women of the Reformation understood this, hence their necessary break with Rome. In their case, and ours, joining Christ necessitates breaking with Rome and coming under Christ means coming out from under Rome.

Christians will know that it is time to join hands with Rome when it does the following:

1. Renounce the Papacy.

While there were many other issues, the papacy was the foremost which sparked the Reformation. The Reformers rightfully contested Rome’s erroneous claim that the pope is the head of the church. So, as the Reformers maintained, Christians joining hands with Rome starts here.

The pope is considered the holy father (the word “pope” meaning “father”) and Vicar of Christ. As such, he is seen as the highest ranking individual in the church (and world).

Emblem_of_the_Papacy“We teach, moreover, and declare that, by the disposition of God, the Roman Church possesses supreme ordinary authority over all Churches, and that the jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is true episcopal jurisdiction is immediate in its character” (Enchir., n. 1827).

“We declare, we say, we define, we promise that every being should be subject to the Roman Pontiff” (Catholic Encyclopedia).

When John Paul II died in April 2005, one Catholic bishop said, “We prayed for him and now we’re going to pray to him.”

“Rule independently on any matter without the consent of anyone else, he himself is judged by nobody because there is no higher judge on earth than he” (Ludwig Ott).

Rome claims that the papacy is an unbroken chain of succession going back to the Apostle Peter. And if you disagree then you are anathema’d:

“If…… anyone says that he, the blessed Apostle Peter, was not constituted by Christ our Lord, prince of all the Apostles and visible head of the Church, or that he directly, Peter, and immediately received from our Lord Jesus Christ a primacy of honor only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction, let him be anathema” (First Vatican Council, Session 4, Chpt 2).

And so based on this view of the papacy, it makes sense that there is the Roman Catholic doctrine called papal infallibility: “God in heaven will confirm the Pope’s judgment. In his capacity of supreme doctor of the faith, he is preserved from error,” when he speaks ex cathedra.

Again, from the Vatican 1 Council:

“Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable. So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema” (First Vatican Council, Session 4, Chpt 4)

As Vicar of Christ, it follows that Rome views recognition of the papacy as necessary to salvation:

“The Catholic Church alone is keeping the true worship. This is the font of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God; if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation…Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ, no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors” (Pope Pius XI).

supreme“Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff” (Pope Boniface VIII).

In putting himself in the place of head of the church, the pope has set himself in the place of Christ. But Jesus Christ alone is the head of the true church (Eph 1:22-23, 5:23).

In putting himself in the place of holy father and highest authority, the pope has set himself in the place of God the Father. But Scripture teaches that no individual should assume the ecclesiastical title “father” because we have God as our Father (Matt 23:9)

In putting himself in the place of necessity for salvation, the pope has put himself in the place of the Holy Spirit. But, by faith in Christ, not submission to the pope, sinners experience the miracle of the new birth and regeneration through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:8, Eph 1:13-14).

Furthermore, Scripture affirms that Peter was not a pope, nor was any such office instituted. It’s doubtful he ever went to Rome to lead any church. The Roman church was a Gentile church and Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, not Peter. According to Galatians 2 and Acts 15, the head of the Jerusalem church was James. If Peter went to Rome, it was only to get martyred, not to rule as pope. Peter asserted himself as a fellow elder and apostle, nothing more (1 Pet 5:1). Thus, he would be appalled if he knew he had been given the title, “father,” or, “Vicar off Christ.” And contrary to Rome’s papacy, legitimate church leadership is limited to elders and deacons (1 Tim 3:1, 8).

It would also be appropriate for Rome to renounce many of its popes based on moral violations alone (cf. 1 Tim 3:1-8). For the most part, Rome’s popes should have been the object of the church’s evangelism, not submission.

Finally, the church has recognized Rome’s need to renounce the papacy:

“There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ, nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition that exalted himself in the church against Christ and all that is called God” (Westminster Confession).

“Christ did not redeem His church with His blood so the Pope could come in and steal away the glory. He never came from heaven to earth. He never poured out his very heart that he might purchase his people. That a poor sinner, a mere man should be set upon high to be admired by all the nations and to call himself God’s representative on earth, Christ has always been the head of His church” (Charles Spurgeon).

2. Renounce the Current Teaching on Salvation.

The biblical message of salvation is the most exhilarating news in the universe. It is the message of divine accomplishment come down from heaven to save man because man’s achievement to rise up to heaven to save himself is impossible.

God is unspeakably holy and separate from sinful humanity. His standard for man’ s acceptance is utter perfection in nature and deed (Matt 5:48). But we are born dead in sin. We are unwilling and unable to please God. Therefore we are natural and willful enemies of God, being offensive and unacceptable to him, and thus, guilty and deserving of eternal punishment.

sola-fide1Our condition is not one that can be rendered acceptable before God through progressive purging, meritorious works, or a treasury of merit stored by Mary or other saints, as Rome teaches. There is only one way in which depraved humanity can stand acceptable to God: justification by faith alone in the Person and finished work of Christ alone.

What we could not do, God did through the perfect life, substitutionary death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ came to divert and absorb the full wrath of God that should fall on us for our sin. Through faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, any sinner is instantaneously, not progressively, declared righteous before holy God.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1).

The Reformers recognized Rome’s colossal error when it came to salvation. And even after the Reformation, instead of repenting of its false gospel, Rome hardened its heart by re-affirming its damning system of salvation at the Council of Trent:

“If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious [sinner] is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification … let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Chapter XVI, Canon 9)

“If any one saith, that, after the grace of Justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise, that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment to be discharged either in this world, or in the next in Purgatory, before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened (to him); let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Chapter XVI, Canon 30)

That difference between Rome’s salvation and the Bible’s could not be greater. The denial of justification by faith alone renders Rome an entirely different religion altogether. Therefore, it ironically anathemas itself:

“As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Gal 1:9)

In order for Rome to be Christian, it must tear down its system of salvation and rebuild it after that of Scripture.

3. Renounce the Veneration of Mary.

Pope John Paul II once said, “The history of Christian piety teaches that Mary is the way which leads to Christ.” And after his 1981 assassination attempt, he credited Mary with saving his life.

maryIn fact, his personal slogan which he embroidered into his Papal robes was, “Totus tuus ego sum maria,” which means, “I am totally yours, Mary.”

This doesn’t fit well with Christian mantras such as:

“…you belong to Christ…” (1 Cor 3:23).

“For to me, to live is Christ…” (Phil 1:21).

And Pope John Paul didn’t stop there. Near his death, he said, “Each of us has to keep in mind the prospect of death. I too take this into consideration constantly, entrusting that decisive moment to the mother of Christ and of the Church, to the mother of my hope.”

more maryRome suggests that Mary is a recipient of prayer and devotion. She is sinless, having bypassed receiving a sin nature. Therefore, she was not in need of Christ’s saving work, but assists him in saving others. She was supposedly a perpetual virgin who was received into heaven (Pope Pious XII declared that Mary did not die a physical death, but was “assumed” up to heaven).

As with Rome’s teaching about Peter, Mary would be appalled at such things. She considered Christ her Savior and herself a mere sinful individual in need of God’s justifying work by grace through faith just like everyone else.

Mariolatry furthers an unsavable gospel which needs to be renounced before Rome can be considered Christian.

4. Renounce the Roman Mass.

The Reformers rightly understood the Roman mass to be an idolatrous ceremony since, among other things, Christ is considered to be re-sacrificed for saving effect.

Consider Rome’s teaching on the mass:

“The priest brings Christ down from heaven and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal victim for the sins of man, not once but a thousand times” (John O’Brien).

“And inasmuch as in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass is contained and immolated in an un-bloody manner, the same Christ who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, the holy Council teaches that this is truly propitiatory and has this effect, that if we contrite and penitent with sincere heart and upright faith with fear and reverence draw nigh to God, we obtain mercy and fine grace in seasonable aid” (Council of Trent, “Doctrine Concerning the Sacrifice of the Mass”).

In other words, the mass involves summoning Christ down from heaven over and over, to be offered or sacrificed. And as a result of this, propitiation is achieved, and a measure of sin’s penalty is removed.

massThis is a contradiction to the Christian teaching of the sufficiency and finality of Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice:

“who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself” (Heb 7:27).

“but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb 10:12-14).

Rome will need to renounce the mass before it can be considered Christian.

5. Confess and Condemn Its History of Martyring Christians.

Rome has a lengthy history of martyring Christians. And if it could possess the authority today which it had at the time of the Reformation, it would likely continue doing so because Rome’s doctrine has not changed.

Consider a small fraction Christians martyred by Rome:

Michael-SattlerIn 1415 Jan Hus was imprisoned, tortured, and burned at the stake for preaching in the vernacular and departing from Rome’s teachings.

In 1527 Michael Sattler had his tongue ripped out, was forged to a wagon, had pieces of his body torn with hot tongs, then was burned for rejecting the mass, the worship of Mary, and Rome’s teaching on salvation.

In 1536 William Tyndale was burned at the stake after years of running from Rome for translating Scripture into English.

In 1555 Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were burned at the stake in Oxford for rejecting the papacy and the mass.

From 1553 to 1558 Bloody Mary, a Roman Catholic, had restored the pope’s authority in England. Immediately all Bibles were removed from the churches, all Bible printing ceased and was forbidden and became a capital crime. Eight hundred English ministers fled to Geneva. Three hundred Christians were burned at the stake. The first martyr to Mary was John Rogers, a London minister who helped translate the Bible into English.

Latimer_Ridley_Foxe_burningWe would be hard-pressed to convince faithful Christians from the past like Hus, Sattler, Tyndale, Ridley, Latimer, and Bloody Mary’s martyrs (not to mention others like the Waldensians, Wycliffe, Luther, John Knox, 20th century Christians in Roman Catholic Quebec, and many more) that Christians should be linking arms with Rome. In fact, doing so would be disrespectful to their faithful service to Christ and us, for we stand on their shoulders today.

Overall, it’s untenable for a system to consider itself a Christian entity while simultaneously possessing an atrocious history of martyring Christians.

6. Affirm the Necessity of the Reformation.

Rome sees the Reformation as a fracture of the true church, not a healing of it. For the aforementioned reasons, Rome would need to adjust its perspective on the Reformation towards being one of the best things to happen to Christ’s church. In doing so, it would need to renounce much of the doctrine affirmed in the Council of Trent, since it was Rome’s response to the Reformation.

In addition to these six, other issues could be added such as indulgences, relics, and purgatory.

In large part, the Reformation was that movement of God to create the greatest revival in church history. As Scripture was unleashed through the blood, sweat, and tears of faithful men and women, God lovingly brought clarification that Roman Catholicism is a false religion altogether with which Christians cannot join hands until major change occurs.

Until then, Christians must grieve and pray for Rome’s repentance. The gospel of grace through faith in Christ must be lovingly brought to Roman Catholics so that they would come out from a dark system and hear the words of the Savior: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30).

 

Eric Davis

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Eric is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Jackson Hole, WY. He and his team planted the church in 2008. Leslie is his wife of 14 years and mother of their 3 children.
  • Daryl Little

    I will be sharing this post. Very clear and well written.

    It’s always interesting to me how a variety of single issues can be raised to which so many people would say “yes, I suppose that’s a problem but…” and then when someone strings several key issues together it becomes so overwhelmingly clear what Rome is that I just don’t understand Christians who hold that the Roman church is Christian.

    Thanks for this.

    • Eric Davis

      Thank you Daryl. Agreed, the issue is so clear, here. Press on

    • De Maria

      The Catholic Church is the Church which Jesus Christ established. Protestant groups are traditions of men which contradict the Teachings of Jesus Christ.

      • Eric Davis

        De Maria-

        That is quite a large claim. Could you back it with some biblical proof for us?

        • De Maria

          Eric Davis De Maria • 21 hours ago

          De Maria-

          That is quite a large claim. Could you back it with some biblical proof for us?

          I believe so. I hope this isn’t too long:

          First, Jesus Christ appointed a Pastor as head of the entire Church:
          John 21:17
          He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

          I see only a few Churches with such a Pastor. Further, Jesus Christ said that the Pastor over His Church would be infallible:

          Matthew 16:17-19 (King James Version)
          17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

          The list of Churches accept this teaching gets smaller. Certainly, all Protestant denominations can now be eliminated.

          Jesus Christ not only said that the Pastor was infallible but Scripture describes the Church as infallible:
          Ephesians 3:10
          To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

          The list remains the same, but now I can certainly eliminate all Protestant denominations.

          Back to Matt 16:18, Scripture says that Jesus Christ established one Church. History shows that all the Churches sprang from the Church which is frequently described as the Mother Church. The Catholic Church.

          So, even using just a few verses we can eliminate the Protestants. None of their denominations even come close to being in Scripture. But we can continue to find Catholic indicators throughout the Bible:

          The Church which is infallible (1 Tim 3:15; Eph 3:10).
          The Church which is united (Eph 4:5).
          The doctrines of the Catholic Church which are distinctive from other churches:
          Purgatory (1 Cor 3:15).
          Eucharist (1 Cor 11:23-27).
          Communion of Saints (Rom 12:12-20).
          The Mass and the necessity to attend (Heb 10:25-31).
          The Sacrament of Confession (Heb 13:17).
          The Sacrament of Holy Orders (1 Tim 4:14).
          The Sacrament of Baptism (Titus 3:5).
          Justification and salvation by faith and works (Rom 2:1-13).

          I hope that helps.

      • bill80205

        As Al Mohler has said, just because you hear something from the pulpit or Papal “tradition” does not make it true. That is why reformed theology is founded on sola scriptura. Rome may claim Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church, among other things; however Scripture does not bear it out. In its many councils, Rome has always placed tradition on an equal or higher level with Scripture.

        • De Maria

          bill80205 De Maria • 3 hours ago

          As Al Mohler has said, just because you hear something from the pulpit or Papal “tradition” does not make it true. That is why reformed theology is founded on sola scriptura. Rome may claim Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church, among other things; however Scripture does not bear it out. In its many councils, Rome has always placed tradition on an equal or higher level with Scripture.

          How do you define Sola Scriptura? And where do I find Sola Scriptura mentioned in Scripture?

          • bill80205

            The phrasesola scripturais from the Latin:solahaving the idea of “alone,” “ground,” “base,” and the wordscripturameaning “writings”—referring to the Scriptures.Sola scripturameans that Scripture alone is authoritative for the faith and practice of the Christian. The Bible is complete, authoritative, and true. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

            Sola scripturawas the rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation. For centuries the Roman Catholic Church had made its traditions superior in authority to the Bible. This resulted in many practices that were in fact contradictory to the Bible.

            Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/sola-scriptura.html#ixzz3HfSuThIN

          • De Maria

            Hi bill80205,

            As I understand you’re saying that Sola Scriptura is taught in verse 2 Tim 3:16? Is that right?

            But I don’t see the word “sola” in there. I see the word “all”. And the Catholic Church wholeheartedly agrees that all Scripture is God breathed.

            “All Scripture is God-breathed

            That is Catholic Teaching. The Catholic Church Teaches that Scripture is inspired by God and contains no errors.

            and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”

            The Catholic Church also Teaches that the Word of God needs to be taught. This is confirmed in Scripture:

            Hebrews 13:7

            7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

            And further, that the official Teacher of the Word of God is the Church:

            Ephesians 3:10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,

            Note that 2 Tim 3:16 does not say that Scripture is “necessary for learning”, but that Scripture is “useful for teaching”. The assumption that St. Paul is making is that someone will be Teaching the Word of God and that the Teacher can avail himself of the Bible if he so chooses.

            So, I don’t think this teaches sola Scriptura. But maybe you can walk me through your understanding?

  • Agnia

    We are reformed, Presbyterian, and I agree with most of this article. Yet we have some good friends that are Catholic, and since we met them, we are continually being amazed at them, for their lives are “more Christian” than those of many of our evangelical friends. They speak a lot about Christ and they seem to magnify him in all they do, they are active pro-lifers and involved in many social areas, they homeschool their children, pray often, with their own words (like if you hear them, you would never guess they are not evangelical Christians), they read and study the Scripture, they know a lot of bible verses by heart, and they seem to have very elaborate arguments for their beliefs. Since we met them, our opinion about Catholics was kind of really shaken. They are probably not the average Catholic ,and they believe that not all popes were good, that the Catholic church has its flaws and you don’t necessarily have to be Catholic in order to be saved. But still, they pray to Mary, take part at the Mass and believe that each time Christ is being sacrificed, and believe the truth is to be found in within the Catholic church. Are they Christian or what? Honestly, they have made us to give a second thought to our opinion about Catholicism..

    • Tuba

      “But still, they pray to Mary, take part at the Mass and believe that each time Christ is being sacrificed, and believe the truth is to be found in within the Catholic church. Are they Christian or what? ”

      They are not christians but catholics, I means follower of traditions of man, rather than Biblical authority. God says He and His word must be our ultimate authority. If their ultimate authority have been Bible (Word of God= God) then they would never be catholic and in a catholic church.

      • Jeff Fox

        We don’t pray to Mary, we ask Mary to pray for us, just as we ask friends and family to pray for us. The only way to the Father is through the Son. Catholics are very much Christian, we are followers of Christ.
        They are not the traditions of man, they are traditions passed down from the apostles led by man, churches of the reformation are doctrines of man.

        • Eric Davis

          Jeff-

          Do you see the inconsistency of what you wrote, both with itself and with, for example John Paul II? And, whether you pray to Mary or pray to Mary to pray for you, then the idea is the same: trusting in sinful man as the way to God. If, as you say, you trust Christ as the way to the Father, then why not eliminate the middle-mother and middle-saints, and go straight to the “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5), both for prayer and righteous standing, instead of wafer, pope, purgatory, or a treasury of meritorious works? Your comments demonstrate the great error of Rome, friend.

          • Jeff Fox

            There has obviously been a misunderstanding here. I am defining that Catholics don’t pray to Mary as you pray to God, we ask Mary, or saints to pray for us as you ask a friend or family member to pray for you.

            We both believe the same thing, the only way to the Father is through the Son.

            Do you ask a friend or family member or a pastor to ever pray for you? Why not go directly to the one mediator between God and men?

            Asking for prayers from Mary or a saint is powerful, what a great member of the family of Christ to pray for you than one that is in constant Worship with God. However, I, and Catholics I know pray to Jesus. When you have a tough circumstance in life, you might ask a friend to pray for you as well as your prayers to God, as do we, but we also ask the saints for their prayers.

            Your comments still illustrate a misunderstanding. Wafer? It’s the Eucharist, Christ said, This is my body, this is my blood. That is reinforced many times as well, it is not clarified as being symbolic, butt he Eucharist is not worshiped, Christ is, His presence is worshiped.

            The pope is not worshiped either, the pope is an imperfect man being led by the Holy Spirit to lead the Catholic Church. not everything the pope does and says is infallible. It is decisions on faith that are infallible, for instance if a question came up that Jesus is the Divine Son of God and the Pope says yes He is, that would be an infallible statement, but the majority of what he says is not infallible.

            Purgatory? Purgatory is not a punishment and in no way contradicts the Mercy and Grace of God or Christ dying on the cross for us. It is a purification to enter Heaven. Our body is a vehicle which our soul is in, our sinful body.

            “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (1030).

            http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/apologetics/purgatory-holy-fire.html

          • Matt Mumma

            Jeff, you say that you do not pray to Mary but ask her to pray for you. So that is a form of mediation to God right? What about 1 Timothy 2:5 which states, “There is on God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” And no where in Scripture are we called to ask dead people to pray for us.

            You say the Eucharist is not clarified as a symbol. What about 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 where is says that is is done in remembrance of Christ? Is this not symbolic?

            And where are the bible verses for everything else you mentioned?

          • Jeff Fox

            Is asking a friend to pray for you a form of meditation to God? For instance the Rosary, the intent of reciting the Rosary is to meditate on different aspect of what Christ did for us. The Catholic Church fully supports 1 Timothy 2:5, again there is a misunderstanding here of what intercessory prayer is and what the Catholic Church actually teaches.

            Of course we are to do it in remembrance of him, but you’re leaving out 1 Cor 10:16-17, 11:23-19 and John 6:32-71. Also if you look back to any of the early Christians they professed it as it being the true body and blood of Christ and even died for being accused of being cannibals.

            Want to dive in on praying through saints and purgatory? If you are steadfast in your own faith and want to learn from a Catholic perspective, http://www.salvationhistory.com/audio-resources/purgatory_praying_to_saints

          • Matt Mumma

            Asking a friend who is alive to pray for me is different than asking someone who is dead. As was mentioned by Eric, “should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isa 8:19).

            Not seeing how those other verses you mentioned make me to see how it is the actual body and blood of Jesus that is spoken of. Plus if thats the case, (being the actual body and blood of Jesus) then is not Jesus being re-sacrificed which is a contradiction of Hebrews 10:10-12.

            I still do not see any verses about purgatory in Scripture. If the death of Christ is sufficient payment for my sin, why would I still need to purge sin after death?

            I am steadfast in my faith, which is why no amount of reading about a false doctrine will sway me from the truth of the Gospel of Christ.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            Asking a friend to pray for you is fine. We all do that. But your friend is only in one place at a time. He’s a mere mortal.

            Mary, on the other hand, must be all over the world at the same time, can somehow understand all the tongues spoken on Earth, and can keep up with hundreds of millions of prayer requests. Just how she acquired those abilities when she left Earth is a trick that has yet to be explained.

            Plus, why isn’t Elijah or Moses or Luther…or C.S. Lewis, for that matter…prayed to? Couldn’t they intercede for us, too? Presumably, they’re in the same place and were ushered into God’s presence when they died. Seems we could spread the requests out enough among all past believers so that no one of them has too much on his plate.

            See how ridiculous it becomes? Mary was a mere mortal, as was her husband and all other human beings of times past. They are not keeping up with matters of Earth any more than anyone else who has died.

          • Tuba

            There are many wrongs you have. First of all, according to law, you are not allowed to speak to dead people! When God commanded this, He did not make any separation among deads like saints ;like Abraham of other faith fathers of Jews and others. God said strictly thay you can not relation or communication with deads / spirits. You must also uunderstand and realize that Jews never had such a custom! Jews never thought their faith fathers as their intercessors (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmAY-vJGPhc watch this video and read Isısah 63:15-16). Any Apostle support such thing, accepting to ask prayers of deads. Dead people, saints can not pray! It is for this life on earth. It is like marriage, it is for this life, not for other life in heaven! There is no need to be married and multiply there. Like that saints will have the resting place in heaven, they will rest from all their works! İt is include faith and hope. All their doing is worshiping to God, exalting His Name day and night, and waiting the vengance/judgement day of Christ! In revelation when this time come, they will be witness to this. Those prayers are about same thing, it is one common desire and prayer of all christians, that is the Justice of Christ come to on earth and take vengance of his people. They will not pray for indivudauls. They can not hear the voices of any man who live in this earth. Only God can hear us! Since He is God, saints are not. When they go to other side, that does not change their human essence, they are still human! So they can not hear anyone, they can see the thing as long as God show them.
            And prayer is an act of faith. Did you think about meaning of faith and prayer lately? Did you understand the definiton of faith that is written Hebrew 11:1-2? For the prayer you need faith. You can do this only when you are living in this earth, not heaven. Because once you get in heaven, you will see the everything, God, the TRUTH as it is. As Paul wrote in Corinthians 13:12.

            By the way, when you ask the prayers of people who are alive, you are not asking them by spiritually talking, right? That is matter. You can not talk to anyone or communicate in spirit. When you ask the prayers of dead saints, you are doing exactly communicate and have relation with spirits which is forbidden. You can not intimate with any spirit than Holy Spirit, remember you are married to God in spirit! If you resist to have relation with other spirits or talk to this spiritst, lift up your voice in spirit to others, you are doing simply “spiritual adultary”.

          • Jeff Fox

            Actually, what the Bible is saying is speaking of conjuring
            up the dead through wizards and mediums, not praying through saints. The Catholic Church does and always has
            condemned conjuring of the dead.
            Conjurring the dead is different than intercesorry prayer. We don’t conjure up or manipulate anything in
            our prayer. If there is to be no
            communication with the living and the dead, where does this put Jesus? His earthly body is dead, he is in
            Heaven. Are you saying that once our
            earthly body dies, our soul is not alive in Heaven with God?

            What about in Luke 9:29-31 when Moses and Elijah appeared to
            Jesus while he was praying? Not by any
            means saying a saint has or ever will appear to any Catholic while praying.

            You are right, we don’t see the Jews in the Old Testament
            using intercessory prayer. Our
            understanding of the afterlife is much different after Christ, He gave us
            salvation, before Christ what did that look like?

            Also the Book of Revelation, 5:8-14 speaks of the golden
            bowls of incense which are the prayers of the saints.

            My faith? My faith is
            very strong, I love Christ, I follow Christ in my daily life. Just because you don’t understand my faith,
            is not a reason to question my faith.

            I understand when you ask people here on earth to pray for
            you, you are not asking them spiritually but verbally. I don’t have relationships with other
            spirits, my relationship is with Christ.
            It is not like Catholics go around talking to St. Luke all day, it is
            Christ I pray to, Christ is front and center.

            http://www.catholicbible101.com/thedead.htm

          • Tuba

            Why is it so difficult for you to see? Reall I can not understand how you are that much blind. It is all same, the thing is you can not talk to spirits!
            Jesus is God, remember? You are not Jesus, no one can be like Jesus Christ! He is God, especially when he talked to Elijah and Moses on the mountain. How I know, because his appearence changed, he illuminated, He was showing his being God and talking then as God to those deads! There is huge difference and how could you skip all these details! That’s why He is the head and main vine, you can not hold on to anyone else by asking anyone else’s help as if they can do anything for you, but only Jesus can hear and answer to the prayers! As I said before could you give me any example from bible that support the act of praying to deads please? Jews never asking dead fath father’s help and prayers. And any apostles couraged any believer of Jesus Christ to pray to them after they go to heaven. They never promised this. Any apostles or in book of act, we do not read people want prayers of first martyr, that was Stephan! Paul wrote he can help them, pray for them only when he was on this earth, but going to heaven meant to him to be with God and resting! Philp 1:21-26.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            Jeff, YOU are a saint if you believe in Christ. “Saints” aren’t some special category of super holy people, they’re YOU!

          • Eric Davis

            Jeff-

            Thank you for your reply. I do appreciate your willingness to interact here. I hear what you are saying.

            Regarding the eucharist and purgatory, the bottom line is that Rome sees Christ’s finished work as insufficient in and of itself for the justification of sinners, hence the existence of additional implements for right standing. I understand that many RC’ers say, “No, it is sufficient,” but they find themselves in a conundrum, especially with statements like this from Trent on the mass: “,,the holy Council teaches that this is truly propitiatory and has this effect, that if we contrite and penitent with sincere heart and upright faith with fear and reverence draw nigh to God, we obtain mercy and fine grace in seasonable aid.”

            And this on right standing with God: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious [sinner] is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification … let him be anathema.” Why does Trent condemn the idea that “nothing else is required …to the obtaining of the grace of justification”? B/c Christ’s sacrifice is insufficient in Rome’s eyes. Therefore, Rome’s gospel is unsavable b/c it depends, in part, on man’s actions for right standing with God. Man’s efforts participate in the grounds for justification, thus, again, rendering it a damning system entirely from which I encourage you to turn.

            Regarding the pope, I understand that Catholics do not suppose to worship him. However, as Boniface, and other RCC doctrine teaches, he is in an inappropriate place as Vicar of Christ and head of the church, as mentioned in the article. There’s not much more to say than what was quoted from RCC popes and councils above on the issue. For example, “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff” (Pope Boniface VIII).

            Lastly, regarding asking Mary and other dead people to pray for you, once again, “should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isa 8:19). There is this gravitation towards idols in RC b/c, bottom line, Christ is just not sufficient for Rome.

          • Jeff Fox

            Again, there are misunderstandings here or things you are not seeing that I am. I see a fullness in the Catholic Church that other churches are lacking (though not lacking the saving Grace of Christ).

            I don’t even know why I bother replying to things like this, to give an analogy, in these conversations I feel I could be telling someone of a new story saying it snowed, and them saying no it didn’t snow and me showing them pictures and them saying, nope it didn’t snow.

            For anything you are saying the Catholic Church is wrong on, you are missing other things. Just like Jesus says to love thy neighbor, that doesn’t negate where he states to walk away from someone where things can not be reconciled. You must take all scripture into account, and in Protestant denominations many things are left out, especially when judging the Catholic Church.

    • Eric Schneider

      “Are they Christian or what?”. If they are trusting in anything outside of Christ’s righteousness imputed to them ALONE for the complete forgiveness of sin then no, they are not Christians. The fact that they believe the Mass is a re-sacrifice, and if they believe that they must be purified in purgatory, then they do not believe the true Gospel (which is the real issue in determining if someone is a Christian).

      I sympathize with you. It can be confusing at times. I have friends and family and speak with Roman Catholics often enough who share many of the same values, and agree with many doctrinal points, yet when they are pressed on whether or not the ONE-TIME sacrifice of Christ ALONE will cleanse them of their sin entirely they cannot agree. This is the foundational issue. I have warned them lovingly and with scripture that this is a false gospel under the curse of God as laid out in Galatians and that if they die trusting the RC gospel they cannot be saved.

      • Eric Davis

        Eric-

        You bring up a great point, and strategic evangelism move, namely, encouraging Catholics to embrace the one-time, all-sufficient finished work of Christ. Much of the issue really comes down to that. Either “it is finished,” or it is not.

        • De Maria

          His sacrifice is finished. Our part in the Sacrifice of Christ is not:

          1 Corinthians 5:7

          Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

          • Eric Davis

            De Maria-

            Thank you for being willing to discuss, here.

            The understanding of this passage which you put forth is off, however. Consider the context: Paul is rebuking the Corinthian church for failing to do the loving thing of church disciplining a sinning member (cf. v. 2). The point is that the church should have considered the man as a Gentile and tax-collector, and put him out of the local body, as Christ commanded in Matt 18:15-17. It is not one’s personal sacrificing in order to further purge ourselves for right standing with God, but the purging of the sinning individual out of the local church which is the issue.

            And, as mentioned elsewhere in the comments, consider the words of Hebrews 7:27

            “who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself”

            Do you see that? Before Rome’s system was invented, Scripture clearly affirms the finality and sufficiency of Christ’s finished work on the cross as the acceptable atoning sacrifice for sinners. For all who put faith in this Jesus, ALL their sins are imputed to Christ whereby there remains no condemnation for them ever (cf. Romans 8:1). No purgatory. No meritorious works, nothing. That is wonderful news! No more purging needs to take place b/c Christ received our full, just penalty when he offered up himself once and for all. Praise God! Our right standing is achieved through the substitute work of Christ, not our works. Our works then become consequential of justification, not effectual for it. For this reason, we cry out with Paul, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!…There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 7:25, 8:1).

          • De Maria

            Eric Davis De Maria • a day ago

            De Maria-

            Thank you for being willing to discuss, here.

            You’re welcome. Thanks for your reply

            The understanding of this passage which you put forth is off, however. Consider the context: Paul is rebuking the Corinthian church for failing to do the loving thing of church disciplining a sinning member (cf. v. 2).

            Agreed.

            The point is that the church should have considered the man as a Gentile and tax-collector, and put him out of the local body, as Christ commanded in Matt 18:15-17.

            Agreed.

            It is not one’s personal sacrificing in order to further purge ourselves for right standing with God,

            I disagree. It is also that. Scripture interprets Scripture. And in another verse to the Corinthians, St. Paul says:

            1 Corinthians 11:28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

            Therefore, although St. Paul is mainly concerned about putting out the wicked person (i.e. leaven), he is also concerned about putting the wicked deed (i.e. sin), because of the dignity of the Person whom the congregation will encounter in the Christian Passover.

            but the purging of the sinning individual out of the local church which is the issue.

            Agreed.

            And, as mentioned elsewhere in the comments, consider the words of Hebrews 7:27

            “who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself”

            Do you see that?

            Yes. And we understand it very differently.

            “who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people,

            What that means is that He doesn’t need to offer any sacrifices at all for His own sins. Since He is without sin.

            because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself”

            Yes, He offered Himself once for all in the Sacrifice upon the Cross. We now participate in that Sacrifice by eating His Body and drinking His Blood. That is why the Mass is the Christian Passover.

            Before Rome’s system was invented,

            If the Catholic system was invented, it was invented by Jesus Christ. For we see it practiced in Scripture:

            Hebrews 10:25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

            26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenantthat sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[b] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

            Verse 29 and 30 are a clear reference to the Eucharist.

            Scripture clearly affirms the finality and sufficiency of Christ’s finished work on the cross as the acceptable atoning sacrifice for sinners.

            True. But He atoned for our sins in order that we could atone for our sins. As the Scripture says:

            1 Peter 2:21

            To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

            And again:

            Matthew 10:38

            Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

            For all who put faith in this Jesus, ALL their sins are imputed to Christ whereby there remains no condemnation for them ever (cf. Romans 8:1).

            IF they walk according to the Spirit. But if they walk according to the flesh, they are at enmity with God:

            Romans 8:1-8New International Version (NIV)

            Life Through the Spirit

            1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

            5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

            Those who have faith in Jesus will approach Him in the Sacraments, believing His promises and have their sins washed away calling on His name.

            No purgatory.

            ‘Fraid so. Purgatory is God’s mercy poured upon those believers in God, who have not been perfectly cleansed of their sins before they die.

            1 Corinthians 3:10-15

            No meritorious works, nothing.

            Anyone who has no meritorious works will be condemned. As the Scripture says:

            2 Corinthians 5:10

            For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the thingsdone while in the body, whether good or bad.

            That is wonderful news! No more purging needs to take place b/c Christ received our full, just penalty when he offered up himself once and for all. Praise God! Our right standing is achieved through the substitute work of Christ, not our works. Our works then become consequential of justification, not effectual for it. For this reason, we cry out with Paul, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!…There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 7:25, 8:1).

            Except that is a twisting of the Scripture. Scripture says that God only justifies those who do the works of the law. Not those who don’t.

            Romans 2:13

            13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

            James 2:24

            24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

            That is directly from Scripture.

    • David Leland

      Many Protestants are surprised that RC’s do believe in the necessity of God’s grace. But here’s a question for your friends that might be illuminating: do they believe in the /sufficiency/ of God’s grace for salvation? We both believe in the necessity of grace but at the end of the day, RC dogma says grace is NOT sufficient. We must add to it (sacraments, works, indulgences, purgatory, etc.). The Bible (our authority, alone) says otherwise – we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. If you’re seriously considering Catholicism, PLEASE read the book of Hebrews, and then ask yourself, “how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Heb 2:3)

      • De Maria

        David Leland Agnia • 6 minutes ago

        Many Protestants are surprised that RC’s do believe in the necessity of God’s grace. But here’s a question for your friends that might be illuminating: do they believe in the /sufficiency/ of God’s grace for salvation?

        Yes, we believe that “all is grace” as opposed to the Reformed idea that “grace alone saves”.

        We both believe in the necessity of grace but at the end of the day, RC dogma says grace is NOT sufficient. We must add to it (sacraments, works, indulgences, purgatory, etc.).

        All of those are by God’s grace.

        The Bible (our authority, alone) says otherwise – we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.

        Could you produce the quote? Because the Bible says that the Church is our authority:

        Matthew 18:17King James Version (KJV)

        17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

        As to faith alone, the Bible explicitly says:

        James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

        As to works, the Bible explicity says:

        James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

        As to Christ alone, the Bible says:

        1 Timothy 4:16

        Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

        And as to grace alone, the Bible says:

        Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

        If you’re seriously considering Catholicism, PLEASE read the book of Hebrews, and then ask yourself, “how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Heb 2:3)

        If you are seriously considering Catholicism, that is good advice. The Book of Hebrews is probably the most explicitly Catholic of St. Paul’s epistles.

        What does it say about faith alone? Nothing. In fact, it recommends works:

        Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

        What does it say about Sola Scriptura? Nothing. In fact it recommends learning from our Priests:

        Hebrews 13:7King James Version (KJV)

        7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

        What does it say about salvation by Christ alone? Nothing, in fact it recommends submitting to our priests in the Sacraments:

        Hebrews 13:17King James Version (KJV)

        17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

        And in no uncertain terms, commands us to attend the Mass:

        Hebrews 10:25-31King James Version (KJV)

        25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

        26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

        27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

        28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

        29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

        30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

        31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

        Sincerely,

        De Maria

        • DisipleOf Christ

          De Maria

          —What does it (Bible) say about salvation by Christ alone? Nothing, in fact it recommends submitting to our priests in the Sacraments: —

          Acts 4:12 NIV

          “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name
          under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

          -No other name whether it be the pope or an object of any kind.

          —What does it say about faith alone? Nothing. In fact, it recommends works: —

          Unless of course you happen to look in Ephesians

          EPH 2:8-9 NIV (1984)

          “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one may boast.”

          -Your works will not save you. They are evidence that you have been saved. The book of James says

          JAMES 2:18 NIV (1984)

          But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
          Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

          • De Maria

            Thanks for your reply:

            DisipleOf Christ 2 hours ago

            Acts 4:12 NIV

            “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name
            under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

            -No other name whether it be the pope or an object of any kind.

            Does this verse contradict Acts 4:12?

            1 Timothy 4:16

            Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

            —What does it say about faith alone? Nothing. In fact, it recommends works: —

            Unless of course you happen to look in Ephesians

            EPH 2:8-9 NIV (1984)

            “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one may boast.”

            Understood correctly, that says that we are conceived, in the womb, in order to accomplish the works of God. All you need to do is read one more verse:

            Ephesians 2:10New International Version (NIV)

            10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

            But leaving that aside, do you think that Eph 2:8-9 contradicts this verse:

            Romans 2:13New International Version (NIV)

            13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

            -Your works will not save you. They are evidence that you have been saved. The book of James says

            JAMES 2:18 NIV (1984)

            But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
            Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

            That says that works are evidence of faith. If you read further, St. James says that without works one is not justified.

            20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

            and this is in line with all of Scripture.

            2 Corinthians 5:10

            For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the thingsdone while in the body, whether good or bad.

            Galatians 6:8

            Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reapdestruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

          • Jeff Fox

            The Catholic Church itself does not save people, the Grace of Christ saves people, the Church is a guide. The Church does not teach that works save, however if you are truly connected with Christ you will do His will, works are an outpouring of the spirit, not a saving factor.

          • De Maria

            Agreed. But although the works themselves do not save, God only saves those who do good works. An example is in order.

            Lets say that this group of people do nothing good, but only do wicked things. Will God save them? I say, no.

            Lets say this other group of people do many good things and do their best to keep the Commandments. Will God save them? I say, yes.

            The Scripture then, is fulfilled, God sheds His mercy upon those who do His will (Exodus 20:6; Matt 7:21).

          • chuck kutchera

            De Maria Guest • 8 hours ago

            Agreed. But although the works themselves do not save, God only saves those who do good works. An example is in order.

            What about the thief being crucified next to JESUS? He being a thief broke the commandment ” thou shall not steal” and possibly “thou shall not covet”

            Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

            40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

            Lets say that this group of people do nothing good, but only do wicked things. Will God save them? I say, no.

            Luke 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]”

            43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
            Sounds like the thief was saved, by faith, with no apparent good works to show for it.

            Lets say this other group of people do many good things and do their best to keep the Commandments. Will God save them? I say, yes.

          • De Maria

            chuck kutchera De Maria • 13 hours ago

            What about the thief being crucified next to JESUS? He being a thief broke the commandment ” thou shall not steal” and possibly “thou shall not covet”

            Sounds like the thief was saved, by faith, with no apparent good works to show for it.

            Thanks for the question. As Providence would have it, I was thinking about that very thing this morning on my way to Mass.

            The Good Thief, whom we know as St. Dismas, did many good works. Let me enumerate them for you:

            For St. Dismas, that is true that there was no lobby. But there are many reasons for that. All Catholic:

            1st. Note that St. Dismas didn’t die immediately upon Christ’s word. But continued to suffer even after Christ died. Why?

            1 Peter 4:1
            Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

            Therefore, St. Dismas had to expiate his sin before he went to heaven. Jesus knew this, therefore He did not permit St. Dismas to die before he suffered sufficiently upon his cross (John 19:31-33).

            So, the first work which St. Dismas performed was to suffer for his sins. For most people, this normally happens in Purgatory, but by the grace of God, St. Dismas did it before he died.

            2. Scripture also says:

            Romans 8:17
            And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

            Note that St. Dismas died in union with Christ. Compare him to the other thief who died in disunion with Christ.

            3. Scripture continues:

            Matthew 10:32
            Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

            Note that St. Dismas also confessed Jesus before men (Luke 23:39-41).

            4. Note also, that St. Dismas did a work of gold (1 Cor 3:10-15). His confession is memorialized in Scripture for eternity and has converted many men to the Faith of our Lord, Jesus Christ (James 5:19-20).

            And St. Dismas went straight to heaven, in accordance with all the Teachings of the Catholic Church.

            Including this one, which is little known by non-Catholics:

            CHAPTER XII
            RASH PRESUMPTION OF PREDESTINATION IS TO BE AVOIDED

            No one, moreover, so long as he lives this mortal life, ought in regard to the sacred mystery of divine predestination, so far presume as to state with absolute certainty that he is among the number of the predestined,[74] as if it were true that the one justified either cannot sin any more, or, if he does sin, that he ought to promise himself an assured repentance.

            For except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God has chosen to Himself.

            Jesus’ decree from the Cross that St. Dismas would be in paradise falls under this category. Notice that Providence ensured that St. Dismas would meet all criteria in order that this pronouncement would come true.

            I hope that helps.

        • Alex

          De Maria,

          Does not Hebrews 9:12 & 24-28 more explicitly explain the one-time nature and finality of Jesus’ sacrifice than the recurrent sacrifice of the Mass?

          Heb 9:12 – “…but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”

          Heb 9:24-28 – “(24) For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; (25) nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. (26) Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (27) And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (28) so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”

          Shouldn’t the more explicit passage concerning the totality, finality, perfection of the sacrifice of Christ be used to explain the more implicit passage you mentioned concerning the sacraments (Heb 13:17)?

          Also, as has been mentioned by others, Scripture must be understood holistically as one, complete revelation of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16 “ALL Scripture is inspired by God…”). The interpretation that can be reconciled for both Ephesians 2 AND James 2 must be superior, over the interpretation that only fits one.

          Thank you for taking the time to express and explain your positions using Scriptural arguments. Let us work together to understand Scripture accurately – which I hope we are doing.

          • De Maria

            Hi Alex,

            Not if you take into account that the Mass is the Christian Passover.

            The OT Passover was a continuing sacrifice, wherein a lamb was sacrificed and the nation of priests participated in that sacrifice by eating the lamb.

            The NT Passover is the sacrifice of the Lamb of God wherein Jesus Christ sacrificed himself, a pure offering to God. And the nation of Priests which is the Christian Assembly, the Church of God, participates in that sacrifice by eating the Lamb of God in the Holy Eucharist. That is why Scripture says:

            John 6:54

            Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

          • Alex

            That is an interesting comparison to the Passover. Especially when we consider that the Passover was simply an annual remembrance of a one time event. The partaking of the Lord’s Table is likewise the regular remembrance of a one time event.

            I think this is why Paul, in the book of Hebrews, compares the sacrifice of Christ, not to the Passover, but to the regular sacrifice on the altar in the temple. And unlike those insufficient sacrifices, which pointed toward Christ and required frequent activity, the sacrifice of Christ was complete and total at the moment of its completion, because this sacrificial lamb was perfect.

            Thanks!

          • De Maria

            Alex De Maria • 16 hours ago

            That is an interesting comparison to the Passover. Especially when we consider that the Passover was simply an annual remembrance of a one time event. The partaking of the Lord’s Table is likewise the regular remembrance of a one time event.

            It is St. Paul who connects the Passover to the Mass. And it is he who enjoins us to “keep the feast”.

            The celebrating of the Passover was an annual commemoration in the Old Testament. But this is a New Dispensation and we celebrate the Mass, daily. Or did you not read in the Scriptures:

            Acts 2:46-47New International Version (NIV)

            46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

            I think this is why Paul, in the book of Hebrews, compares the sacrifice of Christ, not to the Passover, but to the regular sacrifice on the altar in the temple. And unlike those insufficient sacrifices, which pointed toward Christ and required frequent activity, the sacrifice of Christ was complete and total at the moment of its completion, because this sacrificial lamb was perfect.

            It is St. Paul who referred to Christ as “our Passover”. But it is true that he also compared Christ’s sacrifice to the daily sacrifice of the Jews. Which can only mean that in the New Dispensation of Jesus Christ, there remains only one sacrifice for sins. That sacrifice is the once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. And it is the sacrifice in which we participate when we “do this in remembrance of Him”.

            That is why we celebrate the Mass daily.

    • Eric Davis

      Agnia-

      Thanks for commenting. You bring up a great question. First, I think it’s great that you make it a point to have a relationship with them. I trust that they will be encouraged by your lives of salt and light, as well as your faithfulness to bring the true gospel.

      Second, we just have to be careful with these kinds of things. The bottom line of salvation is not, “Who is nicer, more moral, and does the most religious and charitable deeds?” but, “Who trusts in the biblical Person and finished work of Jesus Christ”? Granted, when one does trust in the biblical Christ, they will experience progress sanctification. However, I want to encourage you to rethink rethinking about Catholicism based upon the outward morality of an individual. Why? B/c, again, it is not the morality of an individual which saves, but the biblical Person and finished work of Christ. We must believe in the correct Christ to be saved.

      If your friends still pray to Mary, participate in mass, believe in the re-sacrifice of Christ, and “believe the truth…within the Catholic church,” then Scripture would tell us that it is doubtful that they are converted to Christ. When the power of the true gospel of Christ converts an individual, it does not leave them trusting in Mary, priests, popes, eucharist crackers, a treasure of merit, or additional after-life-purging in order to stand right before holy God. When an individual trusts in the biblical Person and finished work of Christ, we have peace with God (Rom 5:1, 8:1), and consequently turn from those vain aforementioned, man-made means for acceptance with God. We must trust in the Person of Jesus Christ, and him alone, for right standing with God. Otherwise, we are committing, for example, the error of the Galatians, who trusted in “Christ and…..,” thus subjected themselves to a false gospel (cf. Gal 1:9). An 85% gospel is 100% unsavable.

      I would encourage you to pray for your friends and lovingly discuss/study the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone w/o focusing much on the necessity to leave the Catholic church at this time. They probably need to be converted to Christ first.

      Then, how do we explain their moral lives? Well, a survey of biblical history demonstrates that it is possible for very moral people to be unregenerate (the Pharisees for example, also, the Mormons today).

      • Agnia

        Thanks! I did not say I am considering RC, but I said that my opinion on RC (which was something like: I can’t believe that someone of good conscience can be a Catholic and really believe what the RC church teaches!!!) was questioned through these people.. I am not looking only at their very moral life, but at the fact that they speak alot about Christ and say that there is no salvation outside him, they seem to love him dearly and have a personal relationship with him, and still believe and do all the rest that Catholicism teaches. The fact that they are not ignorant, they give reasons for what they believe and seem to know scripture very well, their passion for God’s glory and for Christ, all these made me reconsider my opinion and ask myself: ok, how many wrong things can a man believe and still be christian? Because these people believe many awkward things, yet Christ seem to be their love and treasure..

        • I can appreciate what you’re saying here. But you need to realize that it’s not just about how many wrong things someone can believe and still be saved, but which wrong things. In other words, the errors have to be weighed, and not just counted.

          For example, I could have the perfect theology on everything else, but believe that Jesus is not God, and no matter how nice or how sincere I was, I would still not know Jesus.

          The issue of whether we are justified (a) by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, or (b) by grace through faith and our good works, is one of those deal-breaking issues. I’d encourage you to read more about why from these two posts:

          http://thecripplegate.com/a-tale-of-two-gospels-2/
          http://thecripplegate.com/the-gospel-according-to-rome/

          • De Maria

            Mike Riccardi Mod Agnia • 16 hours ago

            The issue of whether we are justified (a) by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, or (b) by grace through faith and our good works, is one of those deal-breaking issues. I’d encourage you to read more about why from these two posts:

            http://thecripplegate.com/a-ta
            http://thecripplegate.com/the-…

            Can we go to Scripture instead?

            (a) by grace alone

            Scripture says:

            2 Corinthians 5:10

            For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the thingsdone while in the body, whether good or bad.

            through faith alone

            Scripture says,

            James 2:24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

            in Christ alone,

            Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

            (b) by grace through faith

            Romans 5:2

            through whom we have gained access by faith into thisgrace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

            and our good works,

            Romans 2:13New International Version (NIV)

            13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

          • As I read your comment here, I can’t help but be reminded of 2 Peter 3:16, which tells us that the ignorant and the unstable distort the Scriptures unto their own destruction. You take each of these verses out of their context, and do not consider the context in which it is proclaimed that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone.

            2 Corinthians 5:10 is speaking of the judgment that believers will undergo at the bema seat, the result of which is to confer rewards upon them according to their works which were the result of their justification.

            James 2:24 uses the root word dikaioo, which is often translated “justified.” But another sense of the term is “vindicated.” See 1 Timothy 3:16 (or was Christ in need of forensic justification because of sin?). In Romans 3, Paul is speaking about forensic justification before God as a result of sin, which he emphatically states is “by faith apart from works.” In James 2, James is speaking about the reality that while we’re saved by faith alone, we are not saved by faith that is alone, for that is not true faith. True faith is vindicated by its works. But those works are the evidence and result of our justification, not the ground of our justification. And here again I refer you to the posts I linked to for Scriptural explanations as to why to say otherwise is inimical to Gospel of Christ.

            Regarding Hebrews 13:7, certainly no one denies that we are to imitate the faith of our leaders. But to suggest that that in any way contradicts the proclamation that salvation is in Christ alone is preposterous and blasphemous.

            By quoting Romans 5:2, do you simply mean to quibble with the relationship of grace and faith? I refer you to Ephesians 2:8-9, which says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” So if your point is that sometimes Scripture presents the relationship of grace and faith as “by faith into grace” and not “by grace through faith,” you’ll get no argument from me. But to suggest that that somehow means that we’re not saved by grace through faith requires you to abandon Ephesians 2:8-9 and admit Scripture is contradictory.

            In Romans 2:13, Paul’s entire point is there is no one who is a “doer of the law.” He is proving his point that there is no partiality with God (2:11), but that He will judge all those who have broken the law — “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (3:20), and so his purpose is “that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God” (3:19). He is saying to self-righteous Jews, who trust in obedience for salvation (2:17, 23), that only perfect obedience will suffice for justification (cf. James 2:10), and that is something that they have not done (Rom 2:1).

            You need to repent of your idolatry, De Maria. You need to turn from your self-righteousness — trusting in your own works accomplish your acceptance with God — and abandon yourself to the fully sufficient merits of Christ alone. Trust in His righteousness to avail for you before God, for there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Then you would have a righteousness that is not your own, deriving from law, but the righteousness of God which comes through faith in Jesus Christ (Phil 3:9). For the true circumcision are they who glory in Christ Jesus alone, and put no confidence in the flesh (Phil 3:3).

    • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

      Agnia, it is interesting that when I read your description of your catholic friends it sounded just like many Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons that I know.

      • De Maria

        And also many Protestants, actually. Most people are good and God fearing. Most people are seeking God. As the Scripture says:

        Romans 2:11-13 New International Version (NIV)

        11 For God does not show favoritism.

        12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

        Those Protestants who do the works of God, can be saved:

        Matthew 7:21-25New International Version (NIV)

        True and False Disciples

        21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

        The Wise and Foolish Builders

        24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

  • Pingback: How Christians Will Know They Can Join Hands With Rome | Christian Heritage News()

  • Kevin

    Awesome, I will be telling everyone about this post!

  • Kevin

    Rome considers itself a continuing incarnation and atonement thru the acts of the church, usurping the finished work of Christ. Churches don’t connect us to God by joining them, Jesus meets us in the gospel thru the power of the Spirit where and how He chooses.No church owns God. By collapsing the head into the body, the Roman church sees itself as the substitute for the natural body of Christ. The church and its Pope usurp the work of Christ and the Spirit. The church is the recipient of grace, no the provider. God has jurisdiction on the conscience, not the church. It is the Spirit who delivers all of Christ’s spoils, fiducia to the heart, not the church. The church can lead us to faith, but the Spirit delivers Christ to us. And thats why faith alone justifies because of who it embraces. Love always reaches out to neighbor and is second in natural order. We arenas justified by faith formed in love, but by faith alone in Christ alone. Rome certainly has a false gospel.

  • J Stricklin

    Thanks Eric. This Sunday I begin preaching a series through Jude and will speak of why it is that we must contend for the faith. This is a clear summary of why we still contend with those who claim to be representatives of Christ.

    • Jeff Fox

      Why judge those who you think don’t know Christ when you don’t know them or their relationship with Christ when there are many who do not know Christ at all?

      • Jordan Standridge

        Hey Jeff, I guess we know that Satan is the mastermind behind a lot of the world’s religions and despite the fact that some may claim to be Christian’s they are being duped for a false system. Ultimately there are only two religions present on earth, the religion of “being good enough” or a better way to say it is “human achievement” and the religion of “divine accomplishment”. All of the world’s religions believe that you can get to heaven through doing good works. That If I am good enough and I beef up my resume enough with enough good deeds, God will look at my resume and say “ok you’ve done enough to merit heaven, Come on in!” While true biblical Christianity teaches that you just cant do enough good to merit heaven, that all have Sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Divine accomplishment says that Jesus died on the cross for our sins because of the very fact that we could not save ourselves. The moment we say that we can save ourselves, we have ceased to be Christian and have become a counterfeit, The moment we say that Jesus must continue dying every Sunday is the moment we teach different gospels. So why preach to those who claim to have a relationship with Christ? because there are so many deceived people and our hearts grieve for them! We want people who are lost in false man-made religions to see the truth and believe in the saving Gospel that is found in the Bible!

      • Jordan Standridge

        Hey Jeff, I guess we know that Satan is the mastermind behind all of the world’s religions and despite the fact that some may claim to be Christians they are being duped for a false system. Ultimately there are only two religions present on earth, the religion of “being good enough” or a better way to say it is “human achievement” and the religion of “divine accomplishment”. All of the world’s religions believe that you can get to heaven through doing good works. That If I am good enough and I beef up my resume enough with enough good deeds, God will look at my resume and say “ok you’ve done enough to merit heaven, Come on in!” While true biblical Christianity teaches that you just cant do enough good to merit heaven, that all have Sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Divine accomplishment says that Jesus died on the cross for our sins because of the very fact that we could not save ourselves. The moment we say that we can save ourselves, we have ceased to be Christian and have become a counterfeit, The moment we say that Jesus must continue dying every Sunday is the moment we teach different gospels. So why preach to those who claim to have a relationship with Christ? because there are so many deceived people and our hearts grieve for them! We want people who are lost in false man-made religions to see the truth and believe in the saving Gospel that is found in the Bible!

        • Jeff Fox

          But they are deceived in your opinion, and for all you know you might be the one being misled… We are all sinners and the way to get to Heaven is to follow Christ and strive to not sin and correct ourselves growing closer and closer to him, which is what I do as a Catholic. no matter what i say everyone keeps repeating getting to Heaven by good works, and the Church does not teach that, it has never taught that, and you are misinformed or taking things out of context somewhere. If the Catholic Church taught that I would not be there myself. I converted when I was 15, coming from a Baptist, non denominational back ground.

          • Eric Davis

            Jeff-

            Consider stepping back for a moment to notice something. In the post, I have included a variety of quotes from pope and council alike. We include those types of quotes b/c they represent the authoritative position of Rome. Now, this Cripplegate post is not the first one like it, addressing problems within RCC. But what is interesting is that in just about every post, Catholics jump in and spend the majority of argument qualifying and cleaning up statements from council and pope. Words have to be re-defined, certain councils seem to be less fashionable, while others more, and very little of these statements can simply be taken on their own. Do you see an issue there?

            Bottom line, Rome goes beyond Scripture, both in doctrine and authority. That was the issue which the Reformers rightly raised. It wasn’t an issue of a few clergymen erring, but an entire system straying from Scripture.

            I pray to God that you would see that, friend, and, in seeing, you would behold the finished work of Jesus Christ whose sufficient sacrifice renders us instantaneously and completely righteous by simply trusting in him.

          • Jordan Standridge

            Let me try this way… In Galatians, Paul says that there are different gospels, In fact he is fighting against one that is eerily similar to the Roman Catholic Church. He says that if anyone should preach a different gospel, that He should be damned to Hell. Jude tells us that there will be false teachers who will seek to lead people astray. Satan presents himself as an angel of light, therefore making it hard to tell that something might be a false gospel. That’s why he calls pastors to be on the alert. All this to say that there are such things as a false gospels, who might even claim to believe in or know Christ. The moment you invent that Jesus must re-die every mass, you reveal two things about your gospel:
            1) Jesus’s death on the cross was insufficient to make humans righteous once and for all.
            2) You believe a works based system that says that salvation is a process that we must go through in order to one day hopefully achieve salvation.

            It comes down to man’s depravity. Are you sinful enough to warrant eternal damnation? Are you trusting in any earthly external works to keep you or to make you saved? if the answer to the second question is no then you are not Roman Catholic and I plead with you to leave a church that blasphemes Christ every Sunday, but if your answer is yes, then it is by very definition a works based religion. And I beg you to not belittle Christ’s accomplishment on the cross. trust in it alone for your salvation, do not hand God a resume, but rather trust in Christ and God will place your sin on Him, and will place His righteousness on you. (2 Corinthians 5:21) This happens at the moment of salvation instantaneously not over a process of many years.

          • De Maria

            Jordan Standridge Guest • 20 hours ago

            Let me try this way… In Galatians, Paul says that there are different gospels, ….

            True. There are false gospels. Let’s compare your gospel to Scripture and the Catholic Gospel to Scripture and see which lines up.

            ….The moment you invent that Jesus must re-die every mass,

            Your premise is wrong. The Catholic Church does not teach that Christ dies again. She Teaches that Christ died once for all. And that Christ makes that sacrifice present to us, through the Holy Spirit, in the Holy Eucharist:

            1 Corinthians 10:16

            Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

            you reveal two things about your gospel:

            1) Jesus’s death on the cross was insufficient to make humans righteous once and for all.

            We’ve already seen that your premise is wrong. Therefore, your syllogism is wrong. But, I can continue to correct it.

            Jesus death on the Cross is the source of the Grace which is dispensed to us through the Sacraments. That is why the Scripture says:

            Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[ have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into thisgrace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

            In the Sacraments, we present ourselves to God by faith in Jesus Christ and gain access to His grace, which is poured out upon us by the work of the Holy Spirit.

            2) You believe a works based system that says that salvation is a process that we must go through in order to one day hopefully achieve salvation.

            You actually have this one right. And it is best illustrated by the justification of Abram/Abraham.

            Note that Abram was proclaimed faithful in Genesis 12.

            Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

            No, that’s not a mistake. Heb 11:8 declares that Abram was faithful in Genesis 12. But notice that three more chapters, 25 years and a name change, intervened before Abraham was declared righteous in Gen 15.

            Why? Because justification is a process. Not a one time event which occurs when one comes to faith.

  • Eric, your post was a breath of fresh air. i am a converted Roman Catholic. I am now a Protestant Evangelical minister of some 40 years. I was raised in a strong Roman Catholic family and was educated through the 12th grade in Roman Catholic schools.

    The sentiments of Agnia I have heard literally hundreds of times. What they ignore is that outward performance does not necessarily prove a Biblical understanding of the Gospel. The very fact that a person continues to participate in the Mass, pray to Mary, and believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the supreme authority of truth, offers clear evidence that Agnia’s friends are not trusting by faith alone, through grace alone, in the substitutionary death and Resurrection of Christ. Their worship and trust is a material denial of sola fida, sola Christus, and sola gratia. One cannot say they are trusting in Christ alone and then deny the finished work of Christ by their worship practices.

    Only a strong reformed soteriology answers these issues. It is because of a weak understanding of the tenants of the Gospel in much of Evangelicalism which has give rise to semi-pelagian ideas and ultimately an all our work/s grace concepts of salvation.

    Your six points clearly illustrate the wide gulf that still persists. It is a fantasy to think, as those authors of E.C.T. and G.O.S. did, that Rome and Protestantism are coming to agreement over the foundational truths of the Gospel.

    The Roman Catholic Church is a “Christianized Judaism,” a church of the Galatian heresy of works, preaching another gospel which is no gospel (Gal. 1:6), with its own priesthood, sacrifices, indulgences, and sin classifications ( in contradiction to James 2:10). As a result it is under the judgment of God (Gal. 1:6-9) and keeps its people in bondage (Gal. 4:9, 5:1).

    • Eric Davis

      Michael-

      Praise God for your conversion from Rome. And thank you for elucidating the issue here. I completely agree, brother. The moves of ECT, and others, have really only muddied what is otherwise so abundantly clear here. Thanks for commenting.

      • You’re welcome. As I said it is great to read such a clear presentation. I am in the process of writing a book on the subject of Roman Catholicism. It is an answer to “Christ Among Us,” and “Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

        • Eric Davis

          I would be interested in reading that. Thanks Michael

        • Jeff Fox

          It’s sad you spent so much time in the Catholic Church and are teaching something contrary to what the church actually teaches.

          • Your comment represents the sentiment of my family. But like Luther, my conscience would not allow me to stay in a church that denied “Sola Scriptura,’ Sola Fida, Sola Gratia, Sola Christus, let alone Soli Deo Gratia.

            Your comment to Eric about inaccuracy is unfounded and the Scriptures clearly teach Sola Scriptura” (2 Tim 3:16,17; 2 Tim 2:15; Deut 4:2, 12:32; Prov 30:5-6; Rev 22:18).

            It is an interesting fact of history that where ever the Bible was seen as the sole body of truth, all else was rejected.

            Also the Roman Catholic Church sees itself in authority over the Scriptures; “The Church’s tradition interprets the Bible,” ( Anthony J. Wilhelm, C.S.P, “Christ Among Us,” Newman Press, 1996, pg.184). “Tradition, then, is the way in which the teachings of the Bible are understood and put into living application in the Church” (Ibib. pg.186). “Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit…And Holy Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound, and spread it abroad by their preaching.” (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, (Later Pope Benedict), “Catechism of the Catholic Church,”Ignatius Press, pg. 26). “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, wheter in its written form or in Tradion, has been entrusted to the living, teaching office of the Church alone.” (Ibib. pg.27).

            One last thing… It is one thing to accuse one of inaccuracy, Quite another to demonstrate it.

          • Jeff Fox

            I don’t believe you have to be Catholic to love Christ and be saved, however why the going after the Catholic Church? Why not just love and serve Christ and seek out those who deny He exists?

            First with 1 Timothy 3:16, it is not speaking of the New Testament, if you look before that it says, But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been aquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

            None of the New Testament books were put together at this time. Also it does not say that scripture is the SOLE rule for Christian faith.

            The Bible teaches that oral tradition is is as important as scripture as well, 1 Thess 2:13, And we also thank God.. that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as word of men but as what it really is, the word of God.

            2 Thess 2:15 So, then, brethren stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

            Acts 2:42
            1 Cor 11:2
            2 Tim 1:13-14 & 2:2

            The Bible wasn’t fully canonized until the 300’s, where are you speaking of that wherever the Bible was present all else was rejected? If you apply this theory of sola scriptura, then any church that has any type of doctrine, any type of teachings is out of line with that, for instance a church that teaches that dancing is a sin, that would be a tradition and the Bible does not solely say it is a sin… There are places it is bad, and places where one dances for joy for the Lord.

            I do accept the authority of the Catholic Church, they are consistent through time, they have had hundreds and hundreds of years of studying scriptures and when I see the teachings expanded upon they make complete sense to me. So if one does not accept the authority of the Catholic Church, there is nothing to discuss there because both people are wearing different lenses and it is just a continual debate. A pope gave his stamp of approval on the canonization of the books of the Bible, so yes the church sees themselves as safe guarding scripture.

            How am I demonstrating inaccuracy?

          • I think you miss the point of the passages you quoted. Once the Scriptures were completed (not canonized) there was no further need for new revelations. The “traditions the Apostle Paul spoke about were the teachings that later found there way through epistles into the Scripture.

            The other problem here is the continuing addition of dogma, “ex cathedra” by the Popes and councils. Many of which run counter to the revealed Scriptures, such as Purgatory, indulgences, the Assumption of Mary, the sinless perfection of Mary, The co-redemptrix, co mediattrix of Mary, Immaculate Conception, Mary as the Mother of Grace, the continuing of the priesthood, the intercession of the saints. the depository of merit, baptismal regeneration, succession of the apostles, the office of the Pope, sacramentalism, sacradotalism, etc. All of these historically find there genesis in church tradition, councils, and papal bulls. Even more importantly they all either diminish or out right deny the finished work of Christ on Calvary’s cross and deny the clear doctrine of justification by faith in Christ ALONE.

          • De Maria

            Michael Holtzinger Guest • a day ago

            I think you miss the point of the passages you quoted. Once the Scriptures were completed (not canonized) there was no further need for new revelations.

            You’ve got that a bit mixed up. Once Jesus passed His Gospel to the Apostles, there was no more need for new revelations.

            The “traditions the Apostle Paul spoke about were the teachings that later found there way through epistles into the Scripture.

            1. The Traditions which St. Paul spoke of were the Traditions which Jesus Christ established and taught the Apostles.

            2. The Apostles passed the Traditions of Jesus Christ on by word of mouth.

            3. Then the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostles and their disciples to write down the Traditions.

            4. The Church, which was at that point composed of the Apostles and their disciples, wrote the New Testament based upon the Traditions of Jesus Christ.

            5. Tradition didn’t find itself into the New Testament. The New Testament is the written form of Sacred Tradition.

            The other problem here is the continuing addition of dogma, “ex cathedra” by the Popes and councils.

            There is no addition of revelation, it is merely a reaffirmation of the Truth which has always been passed down.

            Those who are adding new doctrines are the Protestants. If you don’t believe me, try to find Sola Scriptura in Scripture. It isn’t there.

            Many of which run counter to the revealed Scriptures,

            Not at all. Not if you know the Sacred Traditions of Jesus Christ. Then you will recognize them in the Holy Scriptures.

            such as Purgatory,

            1 Cor 3:10-15

            indulgences,

            Matthew 6:19

            the Assumption of Mary,

            Rev 12:1

            the sinless perfection of Mary,

            There is no mention of Mary sinning in Scripture. At the same time, she is called “kecharitomene” which means “ever full of grace.”

            The co-redemptrix, co mediattrix of Mary,

            She is the mother of the Redeemer. Therefore, she is co-redemptrix.

            She is the mother of the Mediator. Therefore, she is co-mediatrix.

            Immaculate Conception,

            Gen 3:15 God put enmity between the mother of the Messiah and the Serpent

            Mary as the Mother of Grace,

            Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ who is all grace.

            the continuing of the priesthood,

            Matthew 12:4-7New International Version (NIV)

            4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[a] you would not have condemned the innocent.

            Note that the Apostles and disciples desecrated the Sabbath and yet were innocent. That is because Jesus proclaimed them His priests.

            the intercession of the saints.

            James 5:The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

            We walk amongst these righteous men, in the New Dispensation of Jesus Christ:

            Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn,whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

            the depository of merit,

            That’s the same as indulgences:

            Matthew 19:21

            Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasurein heaven. Then come, follow me.”

            baptismal regeneration,

            Acts 22:16

            And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized andwash your sins away, calling on his name.’

            succession of the apostles,

            Acts 1:20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms:

            “‘May his place be deserted;
            let there be no one to dwell in it,’[e]

            and,

            “‘May another take his place of leadership.’[f]

            21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

            23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

            the office of the Pope,

            John 21:17New International Version (NIV)

            17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

            Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

            Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

            sacramentalism,

            Mark 16:16

            sacradotalism,

            I think you mean sacerdotalism which means priesthood. See above.

            etc. All of these historically find there genesis in church tradition, councils, and papal bulls.

            You can find them all in Scripture if you what you’re looking for.

            Even more importantly they all either diminish or out right deny the finished work of Christ on Calvary’s cross

            On the contrary, it is we who teach Christ crucified and Protestants who object:

            1 Corinthians 1:23

            but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

            and deny the clear doctrine of justification by faith in Christ ALONE.

            I’m glad you didn’t say faith alone. Actually, the Catholic Church teaches justification by faith in Christ alone through the Sacraments where we gain access to His grace by our faith in Him.

    • De Maria

      Michael Holtzinger • an hour ago

      ….Their worship and trust is a material denial of sola fida, sola Christus, and sola gratia. One cannot say they are trusting in Christ alone and then deny the finished work of Christ by their worship practices.

      On the contrary, by our worship practices, we acknowledge the finished work of Christ and turn to Him and begin to participate in His sacrifice:

      1 Peter 2:21

      To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

      • Adam James Howard

        De Maria,

        It’s so important to understand the audience to whom Peter was writing to when he penned this epistle. The letter of 1st Peter was written to Christians who had been dispersed during the persecutions of emperor Nero. He wrote the letter to encourage believers in light of their plight, and to still remind them how important it is to live godly lives looking to Christ as his example.

        Even with that little tidbit of contextual information, reading the entire section from which you cited sheds a different light on what Peter was talking about here. Specifically in this section of chapter 2, Peter was addressing servants (literally, household slaves) and prescribing a Biblically informed ethic for them to live by.

        “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

        (1 Peter 2:18-25 ESV)

        While this passage does indeed address suffering, looking to Christ as our example, it really has all the more to do with following Christ’s example, and glorifying God (ie., this is a gracious thing in the sight of God), and living to righteousness when we are mistreated. It has absolutely nothing to do with the catholic understanding of participating in Christ’s sacrifice.

        Be saved, my friend. Be healed once and for all by his wounds. He bore your sins in his body on the tree. Be healed by his wounds, and live to righteousness! This could be the day of your salvation!

        • De Maria

          On the contrary, Adam. The Catholic understanding of this Doctrine preceded the Scripture.

          Thanks, though, for your encouraging words. May you also find salvation on that day. As for me, I live in the great hope which is Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.

          1 Thessalonians 5:8

          But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

      • “As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed’ is celebrated on the alter, the work of our redemption is carried out.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, pg.343 (1364). There is no getting away from the fact that the Consecration of the Mass is an “unbloody sacrifice” where the sins of the priest and the congregation are over and over again paid for. This is a clear denial of the finished work of Christ.

        • De Maria

          No Michael. It is acknowledging that we have work to do. Jesus did His part. He atoned for our sins, not so we wouldn’t have to any longer, but so that we could also.

          1 Peter 2:21

          To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

          Follow in His steps. That’s not idle talk. We are supposed to take up our cross and follow Jesus:

          Matthew 10:38

          Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

          We are supposed to lay down our life for those we love:

          John 15:13

          Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

          • None of the passages you site have anything to do with the Roman concepts of continuing to sacrifice Christ. Context, context, context. The Scripture must be understood in their plain contextual meaning. The Church of Rome commonly wrest with the Scripture and often imposes its tradition upon Scriptural texts not allowing them to stand on their own based on contextual intent.

            Cross-bearing has to do with a Christ-centered sacrificial walk. That should have been obvious.

          • De Maria

            We don’t continually sacrifice Christ. We participate in His once for all sacrifice:

            Revelation 5:6

            Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

            Who is this lamb? And is He still standing there? If He is, why is He still there?

    • Truth Unites… and Divides

      Pastor Holtzinger, it’s refreshing to meet someone who swam the Tiber in the other direction!
      There’s a blog called Called to Communion which is a gathering of Reform or Evangelicals who swam the Tiber. So it’s quite nice to hear someone who was called out of the (Roman) Communion!

      • I appreciate the comment. I am passionate about standing for a Reformed soteriology in this day and age. It also clarifies the differences between us and Rome. I am also passionate about stand against the obvious heresies of Rome that diminish or deny the sufficiency of the work of Christ.

        I will certainly check out the blog you mentioned. “Called to Communion,” right?

        • Truth Unites… and Divides

          On the other hand, maybe you shouldn’t. They’ve been rather successful in getting Reform folks and evangelical folks to swim the Tiber. I’m a bit annoyed, frankly.
          It wouldn’t bother me if they were Arminians and mainliners who are swimming the Tiber. But they are Reform folks who actually graduate from Westminster Theological Seminary and who were pastors too! These guys should know better, and yet they still reject their Reform seminary education to embrace Catholicism. Mind-boggling.

          • Saw that right away. Its more than annoying, its disturbing. I read a couple off the posts and just couldn’t understand their thinking, especially their so-called Scriptural justification. Wonder if they understand exegesis.

          • Truth Unites… and Divides

            There are a number of blogs that contend vigorously in a firm and gracious polemical manner against Called to Communion.
            I mention this in the event you were to ever wonder whether any Reform Biblical Christian has ever endeavored to counter their siren song.

          • I am sure that is the case to which I praise the Lord. Could you list a few or do you need my email?

          • Truth Unites… and Divides

            Triablogue, TurretinFan, Reformation 500 (particularly John Bugay’s material, a former Opus Dei Catholic), and aomin.org are some that readily come to mind.
            Bless you, pastor.

          • Thanks! Greatly appreciated. Our ministry here in Everett, WA has seen many come out from the RCC to saving faith in Christ.

            Just for the record… I am wholly reformed in my soteriology, I do reject paedobaptism for believer’s baptism and am dispensational in my eschatology. My evangelical life and ministry has been Baptistic and I am a member of IFCA International.

          • Truth Unites… and Divides

            FWIW, your doctrinal positions are fine with me. Sounds like London Baptist Confession of 16-something with J-Mac’s historic pre-millennialism.

          • elainebitt

            MacArthur is not historic premill. FYI.

          • Truth Unites… and Divides

            He’s not. I really thought he was. My bad, then.

  • Jeff Fox

    I am Catholic and this article is completely inaccurate of what the Catholic Church actually is. So many things people take from the teachings are misunderstood and are not what you view them as.

    • “We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those
      who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should
      hope, with the grace of God, to persevere ‘to the end’ and to obtain the joy of
      heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ” – that is on page 1821 of the current edition of the RC catechism.

      Everything else aside, if salvation is not of works so that no man may boast (Eph 1:8-9) and the RC church teaches that heaven (salvation) is the reward for good works, then that is a different gospel than the one the apostle Paul proclaimed. All else aside, that is enough to reject Roman Catholicism (Gal 1:8-9). That is comparing what the RC church currently teaches to scripture, just as you suggested.

      • Jeff Fox

        You are taking one section of the CCC out of context. Works themselves do not save, God’s grace saves, works are an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and our love for Christ, if we are saved, then we do God’s will, for you are not saved and stand by and do nothing.

        This link gives a great summary

        http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/why-does-the-church-teach-that-works-can-obtain-salvation

        • The issue is not whether the works are produced by our brute force or by God’s grace, but whether we are counting on even grace-produced works as the evidence or the ground of our justification. The Bible teaches that good works are the evidence of salvation. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that good works (even God-given, grace-produced works) are at least partly the ground of our salvation. These are two different Gospels.

          See more about that here: http://thecripplegate.com/a-tale-of-two-gospels-2/

          • Jeff Fox

            You obviously didn’t read the link I posted above, the Catholic Church does not teach that works are a ground of salvation, that excerpt from the catechism is being taken out of context.

            http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/why-does-the-church-teach-that-works-can-obtain-salvation

          • Council of Trent, Canon 24:

            If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.

            To say that good works are a cause of the preservation or increase of our justification is to say good works are part of the ground of our justification. That is not the Gospel. And since there’s been no recantation of Trent, the Roman Catholic Church remains apostate.

          • Jeff Fox

            First of the Council of Trent is not a document the church uses for teachings and those teachings have been revised since then. We are saved through the Grace of Christs sacrifice on the cross, we are called to do the works of God. Our justification comes from the Grace of God, but having salvation from God, we are called to do His works as well.

            The place to look at Catholic teaching is in the catechism, not the Counsel of Trent. That would be like taking statements Martin Luther made and using them in the Lutheran church today, not all would apply, like when Luther said he saw no reason to deny anyone to take on multiple wives. The Lutheran church does not teach that as being ok.

          • Jeff,
            You couldn’t be more wrong on this. The Church Councils or Magisterium do speak with lasting authority and infallibility as far as the Roman Catholic Church is concerned.

            “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith – he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals…The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church pg. 235, (891)

            There is no running away from the Council of Trent. It is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as “The Counter reformation.”

            Lastly… of course the Church teaches a works salvation, hence their doctrine on “sanctifying grace,” the sacrament especially penance, the Eucharist, and Extreme Unction.

          • Jeff Fox

            If you want to use the council of trent…

            [N]one of those things which precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification; for if it is by grace, it is not now by works; otherwise, as the Apostle [Paul] says, grace is no more grace” (Decree on Justification 8, citing Rom. 11:6).

            You are misinterpreting what it is saying. For instance I am saved through God’s Grace, if I go volunteer at a soup kitchen, that does not save me, but that might be an evidence sign of God’s grace. The Catholic church does not teach that doing good works saves you.

          • Again, if good works “preserve and increase my justification,” then good works are at least partly the ground of my justification. And that is not the Gospel.

            All your comment has proven is that Trent contradicts itself, which, of course, is a common characteristic of Roman Catholic dogma.

          • Guest

            You are saved by Grace, good works are an outpouring of your love for God, but do not save you. I feel like a broken record here. Go on, continue to believe what you do, but it is not what the church teaches.

          • Canon 24 of Trent hasn’t been recanted. And unless you can explain to me how good works “preserving and increasing your justification” doesn’t mean “contributing to the ground of your justification,” then the fact of the matter is that the Roman Catholic Church does teach you’re saved by works (at least in part, and even if they’re grace-produced works).

            I’d be happy to know that you don’t believe that, but rather that we are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone apart from works. But then, by rejecting Trent, you’d be anathematized by the RCC like I am.

        • That is actually a summary statement, and I am using it in context, I just studied through the whole RCC to teach a seminar. It is a matter of the definition of grace and the RC definition of grace is that quality imparted by God that enables a person to perform meritorious works by which they can earn salvation (See RCC pp 2068, 2010 & Ludwig Ott Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma p. 264 & question 1074 in Hardens Q&A Catholic Catechism). Things are often (intentionally) hidden in “great” summaries, that are revealed in the actual writings of the church and its leading theologians.

          • There you go… Grace is unearned, unmerited favor. It does give us the ability to “earn” salvation. Salvation it a gift from God apart from works including Baptism (Eph. 2:8; Tit 3:5; Gal 2:21;Rom 3:26-27; Rom 4:3; 10:9-13) just to site a few.

          • Jeff Fox

            Studying something and understanding are two different things. One can study the Bible and say it’s ok to conduct gay marriage ceremonies because Jesus says love thy neighbor…

    • Eric Davis

      Jeff-

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. We have encountered your rebuttal quite frequently over the years. It’s a common one, namely, that those of reformed theology do not know what we are talking about when it comes to Roman Catholicism or the biblical way to salvation. And the way we typically respond is, “Please demonstrate how the assertions made regarding Rome are erroneous? And show from Scripture how your claims of Rome are sound and those of the reformation are not?” Thanks Jeff.

      • Jeff Fox

        You are often accused of not know what you are talking about because what is normally ‘taught’ are things taken out of context or twisted.

        There are so many different directions to go in here. I posted on already, where does the Bible support Sola Scriptura?

        1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

        Yet here you are criticizing another Christian denomination and there are thousands upon thousands of conflicting Protestant denominations.

        The papacy, so Christ would leave his few believers with no one go guide him after the apostles? Leading into conflict so early on? If you’re familiar with the normal rebuttals then you know the verses quoted, so I don’t need to visit Matthew. Would Christ not leave a succession of what you could call a head pastor to lead the church as it grew? The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church, what you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven and what you have loosed on hearth shall be loosed in Heaven. I know no matter what I say here it won’t matter though.

        Teaching on salvation.

        I already posted this in another reply below, but the Catholic church does not teach, nor has it ever taught that works themselves save, one paragraph in the catechism is out of context. We are not saved by works, but our faith without works (outpouring of the Spirit) is dead.

        http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/why-does-the-church-teach-that-works-can-obtain-salvation

        The Catholic Church teaches we are saved through Christ’s Grace, through His death on the cross and through Baptism (Christ did command us to be Baptized).

        The teaching on Mary you have wrong as well. The Church does not teach that Mary was not in need of Christs salvation, quite the opposite. Mary was blessed among women, Mary in fact was the first one saved by Christs grace in order for him to be born without original sin.

        Mary is honored, not worshipped, worship is reserved only for Christ, and the Father and Holy Spirit. Prayer through intercession is viewed the same as asking a friend or family member to pray for you, not conjuring up the dead (which is a sin).

        If I went in detail here I would be writing a book myself. So many things taken out of complete context.

        http://www.catholic.com/tracts/saint-worship
        http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-sacrifice-of-the-mass

        Errors in martyring Christians. No defense on that, there were errors made. That was imperfect clergy and men acting there. Also look into the history of what those particular people were doing, at the time it was looked at has preaching against the word of God for what they were preaching. Not saying that death was a correct way to go.

        There actually is recognition of the necessity of the reformation. The Catholic Church in that era was doing an awful job at evangelization, there was corruption in the churches themselves. Much of the corruption seen was not in Rome itself or approved by any pope though. Just as in a Protestant church, just because a pastor is doing something very wrong, does not mean that entire denomination is wrong.

    • Adam James Howard

      Jeff – you asked a good question, “where in the Bible does it say that the Bible contains all that we need?” I think that deserves an answer.

      “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
      (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

      To quote the NABRE,

      “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

      At the very least, the Bible says that it’s profitable for competency and preparedness for every good work – ‘every’ being a particularly inclusive term.

      The issue then with your charge, is that when you seek the truth in Scripture, which says about itself that it’s able to teach, reproof, correct, and train in righteousness, and then when we look at the Catholic Church, it’s teachings, where it gets them, then we ought to (rightly) teach, refute, and correct, because the Catholic Church is inconstant with the teachings of the Bible – as we’ve very briefly seen in this blog post.

      Does that make sense, my friend? Please consider that for a moment.

      • De Maria

        But that teaches Magisterium. The need for Teaching.

        St. Paul doesn’t say to St. Tim, “hey, pass out bibles and let them read it for themselves. Everything is in there.”

        No, he says, “its useful (not necessary) for teaching.” So that’s the Catholic Doctrine of Magisterium illustrated there.

        And the idea that “all Scripture is God breathed” is Catholic Teaching. We believe God inspired holy men to write the Holy Scriptures.

    • Matt Mumma

      Sola Scriptura – Ps 19:7-14; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3, 19-21; 1 Thessalonians 2:13

    • chuck kutchera

      Sola Scriptura, where in the Bible does it say that the Bible contains all that we need?

      Right here in 2 Timothy 3

      14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

      15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

      16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

  • Jim Dowdy

    Eric,

    This is an excellent defence of our Protestant Reformation biblical convictions. Thank you for writing it. At the beginning you write, “To be clear, this is not to say that everyone who sits in a Roman Catholic church is not a Christian.” It has become common for Protestant apologists to suggest this theoretical possibility even as they defend the five Solas. Perhaps it is because the early pre-Reformers and Reformers found themselves (for a time) in such a situation and so we want to admit the possibility that such a person exists today; that is, a person who has seen through the deceptive lie of catholic sacramentalism to the truth of justification by faith alone in Christ alone by God’s grace alone, and yet we want to allow that such a person (may) continue to “sit in a Roman Catholic” church. The thing that is deeply troubling to me about our wanting to allow for such a theoretical possibility is that in spite of working among Roman Catholics for 40 years I have never actually met such a person. I know many former Roman Catholics who by God’s grace have been delivered from Roman sacramentalism and that now sit in evangelical Protestant churches but I have never met such a person that continues to sit in a Roman Catholic church. This does not mean that such a person does not exist (God knows), but it does trouble me deeply that a person into whose heart the light of the gospel has truly shone could remain in the idolatrous sacramental Roman Catholic system. There are many such folk that claim they have become Christian while remaining Catholic, and there are many (naive) Protestant folk who claim they have Christian friends who remain in the Catholic system. But when I have investigated such claims it is seen that such “Catholic Christians” continue to pray to Mary (or here in Mexico to the Virgin of Guadalupe), cling to the Mass, confide in the Pope, and generally follow the deceptive lie of Roman Catholicism. I guess my point is that we shouldn’t allow either theoretical possibilities or hope that our Catholic friends have become Christians in spite of remaining in the heretical system to deceive us.

    • Eric Davis

      Jim-

      Thank you for your helpful clarity. I completely agree, namely, that once an individual trusts in the biblical Person and finished work of Christ, they will no longer trust in Mary, eucharist crackers, popes, and purging for right standing before God. They will flee to Christ and him alone. My comment was, I suppose, allowing for the possibility of an individual to be converted while attending a RC church, not b/c of it, but in spite of it. Thank you for your insight into this issue, as you seem to be ministering in heavily romanized place. God bless you and your ministry there

  • Still Waters

    I can see the necessity for the first four, but not for the last two. If Catholics joined in Christian fellowship, the past should be forgiven. Baptists and Protestants fellowship quite freely now, despite the fact that the early Protestants persecuted and martyred early Baptists.

    • Read Foxes Book of Martyrs

      • Still Waters

        I have.

        • Can’t help there. The blood of believers was spilled by the tens of thousands by the Roman Catholic Church simply because these men and women stood firm on Sola Scriptura, Sola Fida, Sola Gratia and Sola Christus.

          • Still Waters

            And Protestants drowned and burnt Anabaptists simply because these men and women held that baptism was by immersion for those who could verbally confess Christ. I have never read apologies from the Reformed denominations for those murders. Yet Baptists and Protestants now join hands.
            The point being that if the Catholic church was to change its position on the first four points (Protestants and Baptists agree on those points), I see no necessity for stipulating points 5 and 6.

          • Baptist are Protestants and have no material disagreement on the Gospel….the core issue win the reformation.

          • Still Waters

            “Baptists are Protestants”
            Luther, Calvin and Zwingli would not have agreed.
            I would hope that any convert to Christianity would repent of their past persecution of believers, as Paul did. But if the goal is to see doctrine necessary for salvation taught in the Catholic church, points 5 and 6 are irrelevant. It is not necessary to believe that the death of martyrs was unlawful or that the Reformation was necessary in order to be saved.

          • Just for the record, Anabaptist were not Baptist.

            For the sake of argument, I’ll give you #5. Are you then saying there was no need for the Reformation? I think that the point of #6 is that there was.

  • Jordan Standridge

    Very encouraging post Eric! I do not rejoice in the fact that there are false religions but a lot of times it can feel like we are on our own with an Elijah like mentality, like I’m the only one that sees the different between true Christianity and false gospels. But God knows and He is in control, and He has guys preaching the truth all over the world.

  • brad

    I’m confused about the relationship between justification, sanctification, and salvation. It sounds like protestants limit salvation to justification sometimes. But then at other times, it seems like they include sanctification in salvation. From what I understand, our effort and good works play a role in sanctification, which is a part of salvation. So can’t we say that our good works are necessary for salvation?

    I also like the emphasis that Roman Catholics put on infused righteousness – actually being made righteous. Sometimes, I feel like protestants spend so much time discussing imputed righteousness and justification by faith, that they don’t really care that much about infused righteousness. This bothers me because I want to actually be righteous, not just be declared righteous.

    • Brad,

      Your questions are awesome! It is clear you have a a good understanding of the Roman Catholic position. Let me see if I can offer some answers.

      The doctrine of justification by faith through grace in Christ alone is the Biblical position (Rom 3:24-25, 28,30, 8:30; Eph 2:8; Titus 3:5;1 Cor 6:11; 2 Cor 5:19-21; Heb 10:10). More than 200 times in the New Testament, salvation is said to be conditioned solely on the basis of faith – faith that has as its object the Lord Jesus who died as our substitute for sin. The work of Christ is fully and completely sufficient for my salvation (John 1:12, 10:28-30; Col 2:10).

      Sanctification has a three fold meaning:

      1. Positional – based on our justification by faith in Christ where we are given the only qualifier for entrance into heaven, Christ’s righteousness (imputed righteousness) (Rom 3:24-27)

      2. Experiential or progressive – Sanctification, says the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q.35), is “the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.” Sanctification is an ongoing transformation within a maintained consecration, and it engenders real righteousness within the frame of relational holiness. Relational sanctification, the state of being permanently set apart for God, flows from the cross, where God through Christ purchased and claimed us for himself (Acts 20:28; 26:18; Heb. 10:10). There can be no experiential or progressive sanctification without the working of the Holy Spirit in the life to convict of sin and empower toward holiness. It is the Holy Spirit that will put to death the deeds of the body (Rom.8:13), work in the believer obedience to the Word of God (I Pet.1:22), produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22), and use him in God’s service. This process of sanctification will be evidenced by growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Pet. 3:18), increase and abounding in love (I Thess. 3:12), cleansing himself from all defilement of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Cor 7:1), and being transformed into the image of Christ (II Cor.3:18; Eph.4:11-16; Rom.8:28-29).

      3. Ultimate Sanctification – No matter how far we may progress in our day to day sanctification, entire conformity to Christ will only be realized in heaven when we shall be completely and eternally set apart to our God (Eph. 5:26-27; Jude 24-25).

      Infused Righteousness – the problem with the Roman Catholic view of infused righteousness is that it weds together the saving grace of God with a cooperative effort in grace between God and man. This position makes the vicarious substitutionary death of Christ an incomplete act and the merits of Christ deficient. This view of cooperative salvation does not acknowledge sovereign grace, the sovereign will of God in salvation (Eph 1:5-6, 11, 14).

      The justified person has had his sins forgiven, and the penalty of his sins remitted; he has also been restored to God’s favor by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. He is not yet righteous in himself, but is righteous from a legal standpoint. The imputed righteousness of Christ applied to the believer is a declarative act. We are therefore pronounced with a right standing before God because Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to us.

      The pursuit of holiness come after regeneration and as a result of the sanctifying, convicting power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

  • Hogs

    I completely agree with this article. I am astounded at how few Christians are willing to take a hard stand against Catholicism and its heresies. That said, I am excited that today, for the first time, I got to speak to three elementary classes at a local Catholic school and share with them about my time living in China, including a bit about Christian persecution there. I will always speak clearly about true Christian doctrine in any setting. Unfortunately time was my enemy today–only 30 minutes per class. I hope I have other opportunities to come to this school and proclaim the true gospel of salvation by grace through faith and impart to them the crucial foundation that what we believe must be based solely on the scriptures, which alone hold authority and can speak to our faith and practice.

    • Eric Davis

      Thanks, Hogs. Sounds like you had a great opportunity. Keep proclaiming the true gospel.

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  • bill80205

    Eric, thank you! I appreciate you brother!

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Christians will know that it is time to join hands with Rome when it does the following:”
    I can predict with reasonable certainty that Rome will never do any of the 6 action items listed in this article.

  • Jake

    I gotta say – whoever this “De Maria” is, he/she is laying down some serious pushback. Hopefully that mitigates against some of the triumphalism in this post. I agree with a number of the criticisms of RC here; but the irony of this post is that is reflects the very insular, triumphalist pre-Vat II attitude of the Catholic Church!

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  • tovlogos

    Thanks Eric — another necessary observation which hides quietly in the darkness of secular reality. Much of that history has been scattered in my mind over the years. So I’ll save this article and pass it on.

    “In large part, the Reformation was that movement of God to create the greatest revival in church history. As Scripture was unleashed through the blood, sweat, and tears…”

    That movement was true revival. It appears that some ministers see a revival as something celebratory, in a festive sense. Not so. This post tells a story that is more consistent with realistic expectations for being on the cutting edge for Christ.

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