White gets sidetracked in this book about Catholicism

The Fatal Flaw: Do the Teachings of Roman Catholicism Deny the Gospel?ff
By James R. White
Crowne Publications, 1990, 225 pages

Last month I mentioned that three of apologist James R. White’s early books dealing with Catholicism were available from Amazon as Kindle ebooks for $0.99 each. I downloaded all three and finally got around to reading one of them, “The Fatal Flaw.”

Many of us know that White is a passionate defender of Reformed theology. No problem there. Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle of the Arminius-Calvin, freewill-election debate. Starting out as a baby Christian in a freewill Baptist church with a very heavy emphasis on legalism, I truly appreciate the Reformed movement’s emphasis on God’s grace over sinful man’s efforts. And I’m also grateful that much of the remaining opposition to ecumenism with Rome comes from conservative Reformed pastors. At this point I may even lean a bit more towards Calvinism than Arminianism, but the debate over freewill vs. election won’t be resolved by theologians any time soon. Someday the Lord will tell us exactly how it all took place.

So, in “The Fatal Flaw,” White examines two specific aspects of Roman Catholicism: the doctrines of the mass and purgatory. The Roman hierarchy misinterprets God’s Word so that laypersons are obligated to the clergy for their salvation. At the mass, priests offer the consecrated Jesus hosts to God the Father as a sacrifice for the sins of the congregants. The congregants ingest the hosts and receive grace to abstain from committing sin so as to merit Heaven. If a Catholic slips up and commits mortal sin, they are obligated to confess their sins to a priest. Although the priest forgives the guilt of sin, temporal punishment may remain, which must be satisfied in the fires of purgatory.

As one would expect, White does a very good job of comparing the two doctrines with Scripture and defending the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Unfortunately, he also devotes quite a bit of space in this book to the Reformed doctrine of election. I certainly don’t begrudge White his right to expound on Reformed theology but this book is not the place to do it. One step at a time. After a Roman Catholic accepts Christ as Savior and leaves Catholicism, then he or she may be interested in looking into the finer points of predestination versus freewill but this book was not the place for that. I have a large collection of Christian books that examine Roman Catholicism and I believe this is the only one that takes a secondary issue and makes it a part of its main argument.

I believe White realized his mistake because in his excellent 1996 book on Catholicism, “The Roman Catholic Controversy,” as I recall he avoids the Arminius-Calvin controversy completely.

For the reasons stated above, I can’t recommend “The Fatal Flaw.”

“Pitch,” the (fictional) story of the first woman to play in the Major Leagues

I don’t believe I’ve ever written a post before that didn’t have something to do withpitch spiritual matters so this will be the first.

Has anyone watched any television lately? Despite the growing number of cable channels, there’s really not a lot of worthwhile shows. Most of the offerings, especially the so-called “reality” shows, are downright garbage. The last television series that I scheduled my time around previous to this season was “The King of Queens” featuring Kevin James, which ended in 2007. But last month I started watching James’ new show, “Kevin Can Wait” (CBS, Monday nights), which employs the exact same schtick as K of Q but without the excellent supporting ensemble of the former.

Am I following any other TV shows? Glad you asked. I’m actually watching another series called “Pitch” on Thursday nights on Fox. The plot revolves around a young woman, Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury), who began pitching in boys’ Little League baseball under the tutelage of her Svengali father and worked her way up through baseball’s minor leagues to be the first woman to play in Major League Baseball. So is there any special reason why I was motivated to watch “Pitch” beginning with the very first episode? Yup. Ginny happens to play for my favorite team, the San Diego Padres. The San Diego who? Right. The Padres keep a pretty low profile for a major league team. In another post I’ll share how a guy with a blog named “excatholic4christ” came to be a fan forty-six long years ago of a team with a “Swinging Friar” mascot.

Anyway, back to the series. I’m actually enjoying “Pitch.” Having a woman on the team and in the locker room presents some interesting problems for the ball club. There’s all the attention from the media aimed toward the first female player. The team’s manager (Wonder Years’ Dan Lauria) and players stumble through how they should interact with a woman in a formerly all-male enclave. The team’s captain, all-star catcher, Mike Lawson (Saved by the Bell’s Mark-Paul Gosselaar), initially resents the rookie celebrity but a friendship soon develops. Ginny’s ambitious agent, Amelia Slater (Ali Larter), and the team’s general manager, Oscar Arguella (Mark Consuelos), remind us that professional sports are all about the ca$h.

Trivia question: Has a woman ever played for a professional men’s baseball team? See the answer below.

But despite her sudden fame and fat MLB contract Ginny is not a happy person. There’s an emptiness in her life. Same thing with Mike. He’s a perennial all-star probably headed to Cooperstown and with all the perks of a multi-millionaire but he can’t find fulfillment in baseball or in his brief fling with Ginny’s agent. These two need Jesus Christ. Whoops! Did I say this was not going to be about spiritual issues?

It’s not exactly Paddy Chayefsky but after watching seven episodes of “Pitch” I can say the stories are pretty good and so is the cast. Bunbury is doing a believable job as the (initially overwhelmed) rookie female pitcher. Gosselaar is surprisingly excellent as the aging all-star on the downside of his career. It’s great to see Lauria again. I was a big fan of The Wonder Years. Larter, Consuelos, and Meagan Holder as a player’s wife and Ginny’s friend, are very good. Much of the filming is done at Petco Park in San Diego with many scenes staged in the Padres’ actual locker room, front offices, and playing field. For long-suffering Padres fans, “Pitch” may be their only opportunity for many years to come to see Petco in prime time on national television in the Fall.

Trivia answer: Actually a few women have played on minor league teams but no one has made it to the majors to date.

Weekend Update – News & Views – 11/12/16

Well, it’s finally over! Donald J. Trump is headed to the Oval Office as the 45th President oftrump the United States and Hillary Clinton is headed home. Get ready, folks. It’s going to be an interesting ride with ham-fisted Donald at the wheel.

It was expected that the majority of Catholics would support Clinton but the hierarchy pushed hard on the right-to-life and religious freedom issues. The leaked emails revealing Clinton’s campaign executives’ disdain for traditional Catholicism didn’t help her cause either. As expected, the vast majority of those who identified as evangelicals (80% of White evangelicals) supported Trump. I could not vote for Clinton because of her support of abortion and other anti-family policies. Neither could I vote for the blustering demagogue, Trump. Now that it’s over, I pray for all of our governmental leaders that they accept Christ and protect religious freedoms in this country so that the Gospel may continue to go out unimpeded.

Just a few days before the election, a couple of Catholic priests made national headlines by pushing their anti-Hillary positions to the very edge of the envelope…

Priest Frank Pavone caused quite a stir with his Facebook video in which he urged Catholics to vote for Trump as he spoke before the body of an aborted fetus on the altar of a Catholic church. There are few things I agree with the Catholic church about, but we do stand together against abortion of the unborn. 58 million babies have been murdered in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade in 1973.

On Sunday, October 16th, priest Richard Perozich’s church distributed bulletins with fliers that declared it was a mortal sin to vote for Democrats. Two weeks later, a second flier mentioned Clinton by name and said she was under the influence of Satan. Perozich claimed he wasn’t responsible for the fliers although some of his previous homilies echoed the same sentiments in much more veiled terms.

Francis loves to sock it to church traditionalists whenever he has an opportunity. The Catholic mass is unscriptural on so many levels but why would someone want to sit for one second at an hour-long religious ritual in which the leader spoke in a language they didn’t understand? This is blatantly loving tradition solely for tradition’s sake with no desire for spiritual truth.

This Jesuit magazine article confirms what the folks at Lighthouse Trails Research have been saying for a long time; that Catholic contemplative spirituality disciplines and mysticism are spreading like cancer through “progressive” evangelical churches.

On Sunday, November 20, Catholicism’s Year of Mercy comes to an end and pilgrims will no longer be able to receive plenary indulgences (full pardons for temporal punishments that would otherwise be suffered in Purgatory) by walking through holy doors designated by the church. Most evangelicals are unaware of the bizarre and anti-biblical aspects of Catholicism exemplified by the holy doors. See my earlier post on the topic here.

Another weekly batch of reports focused on Catholic-Protestant ecumenism. In the first article, Archbishop Felix Machado unabashedly challenges his fellow Catholics to “exploit” the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation to gain closer ecumenical ties with Protestants.

The story of flamboyant priest and founder of a religious order, father Marcial Marciel, is a sordid tale of predatory sexual abuse. The Vatican knew of Marciel’s predilection for boys and young men back in the 1950s but saint John Paul II and preceding popes were strong supporters. There’s a documentary on Marciel that I’ve been meaning to watch, “Vows Of Silence: El Legionario de Cristo,” but Amazon has removed it from availability at this time.

We’ve all heard of “good Catholics” but are there “good Christians”?

Yesterday, I was listening to Catholic talk radio and I heard a phrase that’s quite commongc within Catholicism: “He’s (or she’s) a good Catholic.”

What is meant by a good Catholic? A good Catholic is someone who obeys all of their church’s requirements. They go to mass and receive the eucharist every Sunday and the holy days of obligation. They go to confession regularly. They are able to recite all of the prescribed prayers by memory. They don’t eat meat on Lenten Fridays. They were married in the church and their spouse is probably Catholic also. Their children were all baptized as infants and if they’re unable to send them to expensive Catholic schools they at least make sure they attend CCD/CCE classes. There’s usually more than a few sacramentals (blessed statues, rosaries, candles, palm fronds, etc.) situated around their home.

Catholics use the term, “good Catholic,” to distinguish practicing members from the majority, non-practicing members who only show up at church for weddings, funerals, Christmas, and Easter; otherwise known as “cultural” or “cafeteria” Catholics.

Calling someone a “good Catholic” is congruent with Catholic belief. Roman Catholicism teaches salvation comes through grace dispensed through its sacraments which enables the partaker to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules so they can merit their way to Heaven. So Catholics who follow the rules are “good” and those who don’t are “bad” or more graciously referred to as “lapsed.” Catholics generally believe that “good” people, good Catholics and good non-Catholics, will merit Heaven.

How does all of this compare with Biblical evangelical Christianity? Do we call someone a “good” Christian? Well, that seems a bit incongruous, doesn’t it? A Christian is someone who realizes they are not good; that they are a sinner in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ. After they have accepted Jesus as Savior, a Christian understands that any goodness they possess is from the Lord. There is no good in my flesh. Any good I do is from God. I am not good. I am saved by Jesus Christ.

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.'” – Luke 18:19

But now I try to please and obey Him because He saved me. My faith is in Jesus Christ and His perfect, imputed righteousness, not in my own sorry efforts.

Catholic friend, you cannot merit your salvation. None of us are good. Only God is good. We all deserve eternal punishment. But Jesus Christ, God the Son, lived a perfect life and died on the cross to pay for your sins. But He rose from the grave, conquering sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all who accept Him as Savior by faith. Repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Then ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” – Romans 7:18-25

IFB Memories #10: Joy!

Over the past several months, I’ve shared several memories that were critical of themp experience at our first church, but there were some joyous times in those years as well.

I accepted Jesus as my Savior in 1983 at the age of 27. What a joy it was to know all my sins had been forgiven through faith in Christ. Do you remember the day you accepted Christ? It felt kind of like I had been in prison, on death row, and the governor had given me a pardon, but even better. Not only did Jesus pay my sin debt for me but then He beckoned me to walk with Him throughout eternity as Lord and Friend! What can possibly compare to that?

Immediately after accepting Christ I leafed through the yellow pages (remember those?) and found an independent Bible church in my area. Between constantly reading God’s Word (with a new understanding and appreciation), attending church services Sunday AM, Sunday PM, and Wednesday PM, and listening to previous sermon cassettes (remember those?) my life had become Jesus 24/7. There’s nothing quite like the zeal of a new convert to Christ.

Did I mention what my unsaved wife thought about all of this? My wife watched all of these goings on with a very jaundiced eye. What had I gotten myself into now? She thought I had gotten mixed up in a cult. My wife was raised Roman Catholic as I had been but she wasn’t gung ho about her religion by any stretch. I began sharing the Gospel with her as much as possible but the harder I pushed the more she resisted. And she definitely resented the new love of my life and the time and energy I was devoting to Him.

This went on for several months and our marriage was definitely headed for trouble. How could such a good thing like accepting Christ lead to such heartache? Why wouldn’t my wife just accept Christ? Why didn’t she understand? I prayed and prayed but things only got worse. In desperation I made an appointment with the pastor. I explained my situation and he gave me some godly advice. He told me to keep praying, be the best husband I could be, and leave the rest to the Lord. He said not to even mention Jesus to my wife. I drove home wondering how the pastor’s counsel could possibly work. It seemed counter-intuitive. My wife’s unbelief was a “problem” that I needed to fix but now I was being told to get out of the way and let God take control? I grudgingly heeded the pastor’s advice and totally gave the situation over to the Lord. I put my energy into loving my wife the way the Lord wanted me to and kept completely quiet about Jesus. After several months I could see the Lord was working on my wife and that her heart was softening. When she started coming to me with questions about God I tried to remain cool and composed.

My wife finally accepted Christ. Oh, happy day! I readily admit it was all the Lord’s doing. I was just getting in the way. We’ve had some trials in our marriage over the years. What couple hasn’t? It didn’t help when I walked away from the Lord for an extended time. We even divorced for a year fifteen years ago. But the Lord got us back together and He also graciously accepted me back. My wife and I now read the Lord’s Word and pray together almost daily. What a miracle! I sit next to my wife at church and silently tell the Lord how grateful I am.

I know things don’t always work out for everyone the way they have for my wife and I. Sometimes a married person accepts Christ but their spouse never does. Sometimes a believing married couple separate permanently. Although my wife accepted Christ, our two sons have not. Whatever your circumstances, I think back to the advice the pastor gave me: give it all to God. The frustration, the pain, the regrets. The Lord desires that we live our lives with our focus on Him and not be chained to the past or allow ourselves to be conquered by our current circumstances.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” – Philippians 3:14-16

Are we honoring a defender or a compromiser of the pure Gospel of grace?

This morning while driving to work I was listening to “Joni and Friends” on a localCreated by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005 Christian radio station. Joni Eareckson Tada provides a five-minute daily message aimed at encouraging Christians who face disabilities and other challenges. Over a year ago, I posted a message about how I was surprised that Joni had recommended “First Things,” an ecumenical journal published by Catholics, to her audience. See here.

In today’s message, Joni invited her audience to celebrate Billy Graham’s 98th birthday. Graham is widely esteemed by evangelicals as the most important and influential Christian of the last 100 years. There’s no doubt multitudes accepted Jesus Christ as Savior through the evangelistic ministry of Billy Graham and yet perhaps no one individual is more responsible for blurring the Gospel of grace in our times.

Many readers at this point might respond with, “Sheesh! Who would criticize such a beloved and respected figure as Billy Graham?” Most evangelical Christians don’t realize that as far back as fifty years ago, Graham and his organization invited local Roman Catholic bishops and clergy to participate in his crusades. When Catholics came forward at his crusades’ closing “altar calls,” they were referred to Catholic workers and counseled that their decision to accept Christ was only a recommitment to their sacramental baptism and confirmation. Catholics who had attended Graham crusades were returned back to their churches on Sunday to hear that salvation was by sacramental grace and merit rather than by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Many would be shocked to learn that Graham also espoused religious universalism. See my earlier posts on Graham here and here for more details.

Continuing with her message, Joni repeated a regrettable myth I’ve heard many times over the years, that Graham was being kept alive by the Lord at his advanced age as a witness to the world and was a part of the Holy Spirit’s restraining of evil in these last days. Joni speculated, like many others have also done, that Graham’s death might actually trigger the moment when the Holy Spirit no longer restrains evil in the world.

We Christians are given to venerating our leaders rather than Jesus Christ. Billy Graham had his faults. Some of his faults were tragically significant in regards to the Gospel witness. Much of today’s spirit of ecumenism with religious unbelievers can be traced back to the influence of Billy Graham. I don’t idolize the man. I’m sorry his cooperation with unbelievers helped to foster today’s compromising, laissez-faire approach to the pure Gospel of grace. Rather than being a restraint against evil, I contend that the betrayal of the Gospel by Graham and other celebrated evangelical leaders was/is part of the rising tide of evil encompassing the world in these last days.

The Lord used Graham in a great way initially, but the temptations of success and popularity diverted him from the Narrow Way, which has influenced many others.

“And you know what is restraining (the man of lawlessness) now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.” 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7

Weekend Update – News & Views – 11/5/16

As we head toward the final stretch in the presidential election there were actually quite agf few non-election stories in the news this past week:

On this date, Nov. 5, in Great Britain they celebrate Bonfire Night, previously known as Guy Fawkes Day in England and Pope’s Day in colonial America. In the old days things could get a bit rowdy down by the docks and taverns. Interesting Catholic, Guy Fawkes.

This past Wednesday, Catholics all over the world prayed for souls in Purgatory. Roman Catholicism teaches many people must suffer in the flames of Purgatory as a cleansing before they can enter Heaven but Purgatory cannot be found in Scripture. It’s a Catholic invention that became a cash cow for the church. Relatives and friends were encouraged to buy indulgences or contribute to masses offered up for their deceased loved ones.

Catholic progressives were hoping for better from Francis. My opinion is Catholicism will eventually ordain women and allow priests to marry as pragmatic reforms although John Paul II’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (Priestly Ordination) 1994 encyclical is a bit of a road block. However, in the past Catholicism has changed course on equally irrevocable doctrines.

Talk about making headlines in an effort to sell a book! A liberal (c)hristian academic says the Bible is “just a collection of Jewish storytelling.”

Catholicism is a mixture of (c)hristianity and paganism. We see blatant examples of Catholic syncretism in Caribbean and Latin American cultures but you’ll also find it in the parlors of Philadelphia and Boston with the use of rosary beads, crucifixes, scapulars, holy water, etc.

Forced celibacy both attracts and fosters deviancy.

The walls of restraint are tumbling. Sin is rampant. Shine the Light.

Catholicism focuses on the physical rather than the spiritual. It’s not the touching, tasting, and seeing that’s important. It’s believing in Jesus Christ and accepting Him as Savior by faith that’s important. This discovery could be Jesus’ burial bed or it may not be. My salvation in Jesus Christ through faith has nothing to do with religious objects.

What’s more dangerous to Gospel witness and the salvation of souls? Ouija boards or the betrayal of the Gospel by ecumenists, Graham and Strobel?

You’re an evangelical Christian and you fall in love with a Roman Catholic and decide to marry. No big deal, right? People like Billy Graham and Lee Strobel say Catholics are Christians too. Your fiance talks about “Jesus” and “faith” just like you do so everything must be cool. You’re married in a Catholic church because your spouse is required to. You sign a document presented by the priest in which you promise that your children will be raised as Catholics. But when you and your spouse finally sit down and actually talk about God and spiritual matters, you find out that the gospel your spouse embraces – salvation by sacramental grace and merit – is not the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Your spouse believes salvation is earned by perfectly obeying the Ten Commandments and Catholic church rules. Now what?

Representatives of the Roman Catholic church and liberal Lutheranism signed a unity accord this past Monday. But the liberal mainline Protestant churches are pretty much spiritually dead at this point. The real target for Catholic ecumenists are evangelical churches that keep “stealing away” Roman Catholics.

I didn’t make much of Reformation Day this past Monday. I’m not a confetti and streamers kind of guy when it comes to spiritual matters. But the Reformation was a magnificent blessing upon the world and should never be forgotten. As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation next year, many will use the occasion to promote ecumenical unity at the expense of the Gospel. But I also imagine more than a few non-believers will wonder what the fuss was all about and do a little digging. Let’s pray for them. On our last trip to Germany my wife and I managed to swing over to Zurich for a couple of days and visit the Grossmunster church where Zwingli preached and see his former home. Maybe after we retire we can take a tour of some of the other Reformation sites.

T-minus 4 days and counting. When it’s all over our King will still be on His throne and we, His ambassadors who are but pilgrims in this world, will still have our mission.

Moses and Hobab: Sin or obedience?

God’s Word is rich beyond measure. We are so blessed that we can feast upon God’s Wordmh daily. But sometimes I get a little lackadaisical in my approach to the Word. In my haste to complete the perfunctory three chapters per day (and five on Sunday), I can overlook some very profound truths and admonitions from the Lord. Slow down, Tom! It’s quality, not quantity. “Lord, speak to me!” But there are also times when I come across some verses that I can’t completely understand and I end up scratching my head. “Lord, what does this mean?”

Case in point: My wife and I have recently been reading through the Book of Numbers together. In chapter 9, the Lord revealed to Moses that He would lead Israel through the wilderness to the Promised Land by the pillar of cloud during the day and by the pillar of fire during the night. There obviously could not be a more perfect guide than the Lord God Almighty.

Yet in chapter 10 we read that Moses entreated his brother-in-law*, Hobab, to act as a guide for the Israelites:

“And Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will do good to you, for the Lord has promised good to Israel.” But he said to him, “I will not go. I will depart to my own land and to my kindred.” And he said, “Please do not leave us, for you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us. And if you do go with us, whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same will we do to you.” – Numbers 10:29-32

Why would Moses ask Hobab for his help as a guide when the omniscient Lord God Almighty was already leading the Israelites? Was Hobab, a Midianite, even a follower of the Lord at that point? One commentator suggests that, in His providence, the Lord sent Hobab to Moses and the Israelites because of his practical knowledge of wilderness survival, e.g. locating water wells and oases, camp protocol, etc.

So couldn’t the Lord, the perfect guide, have led the Israelites to the very best possible campsites? Why would they have needed Hobab? Here’s three possible interpretations of the passage that I came across:

(1) By turning to Hobab for help, Moses was doubting in the care of the Lord. Moses was trusting in the arm of flesh rather than the Lord. This passage is recorded in God’s Word to show us, once again, that even Moses had his failings and was an imperfect sinner. (2) Moses saw Hobab, a seasoned veteran of wilderness living, as a help provided by the Lord to assist the Israelites in their journey. (3) Moses was only flattering Hobab in an effort to persuade him to accompany the Israelites so that he might eventually also trust in the Lord.

Anyone have an opinion on this passage? We probably won’t resolve this one conclusively this side of eternity.

*Bible scholars are still debating whether “Hobab” refers to Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, or his brother-in-law, although recent scholarship seems to favor the latter view.

Is it a sin for a born-again Christian to remain in Roman Catholicism?

 

Every Christian’s story on how they accepted Jesus Christ is different. Some testimonies are dramatic, others are sweetly simple.

My five sisters and I were raised in Roman Catholicism and attended Catholic grammar school and high school. In all those years we never once read the Bible at school or at home. None of my friends read the Bible, either. I walked away from the church completely as soon as I graduated from high school but felt compelled to return after my wife and I married and our sons were born. I thought I should be a responsible father and raise our boys in the Catholic faith just as I was raised. In my return to Catholicism, the Lord put it in my head to buy a Bible and I began reading it, voraciously. Uh-oh. While reading the New Testament I kept coming across teachings that opposed what I had been taught as a Catholic. Over a span of a couple of years I left the church and eventually accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.

As I said, every Christian’s testimony is different. There are some people who are members of Catholicism who accept Christ as Savior but stay in the church for a period of time. But it’s difficult for me to understand how a person could accept Christ and be born again and yet stay in a church that teaches a gospel of sacramental grace and merit. How does one reconcile God’s Word with the mass and the eucharist, Mary, the saints, penance, purgatory, the pope, priests, relics, attempting to obey the Ten Commandments to merit Heaven, etc., etc. It can’t be done. It’s my belief that a person who has genuinely accepted Christ will eventually come out of a system of chains that anathematizes the Gospel of grace. Sin, fear, and the enemy may slow them down, but they are on their way out.

Above is a ten-minute video of evangelical theologian, R. C. Sproul, expounding on the important differences between Biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism and the sin of remaining in Catholicism after a person has accepted Christ.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14

“Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues.'” – Revelation 18:4

“Is the Reformation Over? A Statement of Evangelical Convictions”

I’m very grateful for the work of Leonardo De Chirico, Gregg Allison, Michael Reeves, andref-init the others at Reformanda Initiative for their work in spreading the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and for educating evangelicals regarding Roman Catholicism.

On Monday, the 499th anniversary of the Reformation, representatives of the Catholic church and liberal Lutheranism signed a declaration of unity. It’s been Rome’s mission to recover the “separated brethren” since Vatican II.

Yesterday (Nov. 1), Reformanda Initiative released its statement, “Is the Reformation Over? A Statement of Evangelical Convictions,” which differentiates between the Gospel of grace and Rome’s gospel of sacramental grace and merit. The statement has been signed by some 70 pastors, scholars, missionaries and apologists as well as many others.

If you are interested in reading the statement and signing it yourself, please see below:

“Is the Reformation Over? A Statement of Evangelical Convictions”