Should Protestantism Be Liquidated?
By H. A. Ironside
CrossReach Publications, 2016, 27 pages, $1.48
This is the fourth ebook pamphlet written by H. A. Ironside regarding Catholicism that I’ve reviewed in the past month. Ironside was pastor of Moody Church in Chicago from 1929 to 1948.
In this pamphlet, Ironside examines Catholic calls for Protestants to end their “schism” and return to “mother church.” This sermon was originally published in 1945 and the pressure for the “separated brethren” to return to Rome has increased many fold since then.
First, Ironside defines Protestants and their history. Labels are convenient, but today a “Protestant” is largely understood to be a non-Catholic (c)hristian. But it was the 16th-century Reformers and their followers who sought to return the church to the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
The author than expounds on some of major doctrines of evangelical Protestantism in comparison to Roman Catholicism:
- Assurance of salvation – Catholics have no assurance of salvation because their justification is based on their obedience to the Law rather than the imputed, perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.
- Mediatorship of Jesus Christ – Catholics try to come to God through a priest, the pope, the church, the saints, or Mary rather than directly through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
- Scripture Alone – Catholics accept church traditions and the teachings of their pope and bishops as being equal to God’s Word.
- Jesus’ one sacrifice – Catholics believe their priests sacrifice Jesus over and over as part of the 350,000 masses said daily throughout the world while Scripture says Jesus offered Himself once as a sacrifice for sin and that He’s now seated at the right hand of God the Father mediating for all those who trust in Him as Savior.
- Salvation by faith alone – Catholics follow a complicated religious system administered by their clergy, which teaches salvation by sacramental grace and obedience to the Law. In contrast, God’s Word proclaims the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
- The Joy of Resting on Christ’s Finished Work – Catholics might claim joy and peace in the Lord, but their salvation depends upon their obedience to the Law. The second they break one of the Ten Commandments, they lose their salvation and must confess the sin to a priest. But very few Catholics go to confession these days. They’re hoping for “the best.” There’s no real spiritual joy in the Catholic system because no one can obey the Ten Commandments, not for even one day. But if a person accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, they receive His imputed perfect righteousness. What joy! What assurance!
Since Ironside’s time, several Protestant denominations have turned from the Gospel of grace. The label, “Protestant,” has little meaning today. Even the term, “evangelical,” has lost much of its distinctiveness. As I posted this past Saturday in the Weekend Roundup, a recent survey found that one-third of “evangelicals” now believe that salvation is attained through a mix of “faith” and works, just like Catholicism (see here).
Although this pamphlet was first published seventy-two years ago, it’s still a good introduction to the major differences between Catholicism and Biblical Christianity. Order from Amazon here.