An ex-Catholic evangelical speaks to Catholics but the Gospel was nowhere in sight

Religion is a tribal activity for most people, right? People affiliate with the same religion or denomination their parents belong to, preceded by their grandparents, and so on. Most don’t investigate the doctrines of their religion. Their thinking is, “If it was good enough for Mom and Dad (and Grandma and Grandpa) it’s good enough for me!” Within each family, religious piety and practice range from fervent to nominal but the most important rule, especially for Catholic families, is or used to be that no member join another church. Catholicism boasted that it was the “one true church” and warned that anyone who left its ranks was doomed to hell. Catholic parents felt guilty and remorseful if any of their children left the church.

For myself, as I read the New Testament as a Catholic in the early 1980s, I came upon many discrepancies between God’s Word and Catholic dogma. It was soul-wrenching. I eventually left the church, accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior (Yahoo!), and began attending a Bible-preaching church. My parents were not overjoyed but they took it in stride (except for whenever I witnessed to them). They were probably relieved that at least one of their six children was attending some kind of church. Looking back, I’m grateful for some of the information I was taught as a Catholic, but the church has done unimaginable harm over the centuries by leading billions of people away from Christ with its false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. Praise the Lord for saving me!

“Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'” – Luke 9:62

Speaking of ex-Catholics, news sources reported that the nation’s Vice President, Mike Pence, addressed the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday, June 6. The former Catholic parochial school student and altar boy accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior in 1978 at a Christian concert when he was nineteen, although he continued to attend Catholic church. Following undergraduate school, Pence married his wife at a Catholic wedding ceremony in 1985, but the Pences were gradually moving away from Catholicism. In 1995, the couple joined Grace Evangelical Church in Indianapolis and eventually shifted their membership to College Park Church in the same city.

It may have been a little awkward to have an ex-Catholic speak at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, but Pence quelled any uneasiness by saying many flattering things about Catholicism (full transcript below). He was much more politically correct than I would or could have been, but I’m not a politician.

Twenty or thirty years ago, the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast would not have invited an ex-Catholic as the main speaker, but things are changing. For both evangelicals and Catholics, belief is becoming less doctrinaire and more relative. “If it works for you, that’s fine, I just went in a different direction,” was Pence’s sentiment.

“While my own faith journey has taken me and my family in a different direction, I want you all to know how much I cherish my Catholic upbringing and cherish the Church. In fact, I just attended mass with my mom this weekend when we were in Chicago with family.” – Mike Pence

No, Vice President Pence, either Catholicism’s gospel of sacramental grace and merit is correct or Bible Christianity’s Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is correct. They are diametrically opposed. They can’t both be right. Traditionalist Catholics cry foul when an “apostate” like Pence is the featured speaker at the Catholic prayer breakfast (see the “Mike Pence’s Catholic Mom” article below). True, there’s very little belief-wise that I share with the Michael Voris and his Catholic “Church Militant” cadre but at least I can say they’re trying to remain true to their untenable Catholic dogmas and have the courage of their convictions, which is more than I can say for some “evangelicals.”


Remarks by the Vice President at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Mike Pence’s Catholic Mom

20 thoughts on “An ex-Catholic evangelical speaks to Catholics but the Gospel was nowhere in sight

      1. Of course, Tom – thanks again!
        Recently, I was concerned to learn that our First Lady is a practicing Catholic and had Pope Francis bless her rosary. I was hoping and praying that President Trump would not go to Francis but as you know, sadly he has.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I read that quote and I’m wondering what factor “Christian doctrinal minimalism,” politics, understanding of Catholicism and lack of Gospel centeredness come into play for Pence to say what he said.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Pence reminds me of our old SBC pastor who used to gush about Catholic theologians. If the Catholic church is so wonderful as Pence proclaims, then he had better confess his apostasy at confession this Saturday and start attending RCC mass again on Sunday. It’s astounding spiritual blindness.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Right. Evangelicals like Pence have no historical moorings or context in regards to their faith. They avoid the hard doctrinal comparisons because they see that as passe 19th-century tribal sectarianism. Mega-church Christianity is like McEvangelicalism.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Philip, I pray that someday you’ll realize the difference between faith in institutional religious legalism and ritual and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior without a single plea of your own.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Again, you really don’t know, do you? You judge, but you don’t know…Have a bias, but don’t really know. Why not study instead. Knowledge comes through objective inquiry.


      2. I know Jesus Christ as Savior which is infinitely more important than your 1752 canon laws. But I probably know more details about Catholicism than 95% of your rank and file. Catholic statistics show 80% of your membership don’t attend obligatory mass every Sunday and 90% don’t go to confession at least once a year as they are required to do upon pain of damnation so it looks like the information problem is within your own household. In the face of such statistics any objective person would conclude your institutional religious system is a sham. Turn to Christ without one plea of your own.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Sounds like this Pence guy merely “goes to church” as he had been trained in his youth. He must see “church attendance” as being part of the good works that are “necessary” in order to get to heaven.

    The fact he has switched from going to a Roman Catholic building to a Protestant building might just be, to him, a matter of a different format of meetings. Maybe he has never learned WHY the RC institution and its unbiblical practices are a danger to humans in need of the real faith in the real Jesus.

    The fact that he spoke to that group of people about his support of the RC system tells me he must not know the dangers of that system. He could have used his position of fame and that opportunity of speaking in front of so many people to warn of the danger of the RC error, and to share the Gospel.

    I had heard “Mike Pence is a Christian” from friends who are up on American politics. Now, having read all that you shared, brother Tom, I see it is yet another case of mistaken identity. I pray for that man to study the Scriptures for himself, know the Truth, and stop verbally or otherwise supporting a system that keeps humans in a state of damnation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for all the good comments, Steeny! Pence is certainly a politician and is always geared toward pleasing people, but he’s also representative of the watered-down theology at many/most evangelical churches today which is eagerly ready to proclaim “close enough” when it comes to Catholicism’s works righteousness theology. Right, Pence didn’t do his Catholic listeners any favors by stating that their false gospel was just fine and dandy. Yes, I also question a so-called “evangelical’s” understanding of Biblical salvation if they can embrace Catholicism as legitimate.


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