Just in need of a little rehab or TOTALLY depraved and in desperate need of the Savior?

Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity use many of the same terms – God, sin, grace, faith, Jesus the Savior, Heaven, etc. – so there is a tendency on the part of many to assume they share the same basic beliefs, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Below I would like to focus on just one of many vital differences.

Wounded or Depraved?

I listen to a lot of Catholic talk radio for research purposes and the hosts regularly admit that Catholicism differs from evangelicalism with regards to the condition of men’s souls. A phrase that you’ll hear repeatedly within Catholicism is that people are born into this world with a “wounded” spiritual nature; that people are “inherently good” but are wounded by sin. With baptism, which allegedly washes away all sin, and then through the subsequent administration of the church’s grace-infusing sacraments – the eucharist and reconciliation (confession) regularly, and confirmation, anointing of the sick (last rites), and marriage or ordination only once – a Catholic is supposedly able to rehabilitate their “wounded” spiritual nature and become increasingly and subjectively good and righteous. If they persevere in their goodness and righteousness, they are told they will be able to merit Heaven at the moment of their death.

“(The Council of) Trent articulates the classic Catholic position that the human condition is not self-sufficient but a ‘fallen’ one, and yet we are not totally depraved but remain ‘inherently good.’” – from “What Makes a School Catholic” by Thomas Groom

Contrast the above with Biblical Christianity, which teaches the depravity of all humankind. Even those thoughts and actions that we might call “good” are tainted with sin. There is no absolutely no righteousness within us. When a person repents of their sinful, rebellious condition and trusts in Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone, He imputes His perfect righteousness to them. Before we accept Christ, we are NOT wounded, rather we are slaves to sin and at enmity with God.

“…to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” – Titus 1:15-16

After we accept Christ as Savior, we follow Him in obedience as Lord, albeit imperfectly.

So, are people “inherently good but wounded” and able to rehabilitate themselves with the help of the sacraments in order to merit Heaven as Catholicism teaches…

or

…are people totally depraved and without any hope unless they trust in Jesus Christ by faith alone and receive His imputed perfect righteousness?

One way is right and one way is wrong. Both ways cannot be right!

David Anders (photo below), host of the ”Called to Communion” Catholic talk radio show, regularly disparages the Biblical view of the total depravity of man and propagates the Catholic view of “good but wounded” souls rehabilitating themselves through the sacraments and good works. That is not Christianity, folks, but a very dangerous false gospel. Although I am vehemently opposed to his false gospel, I do “respect” Anders in a certain sense for constantly and uncompromisingly pointing out the unbridgeable differences between his Catholic false gospel and Biblical Christianity. It’s unfortunate that many evangelical Christians are not as uncompromising in regards to the genuine Gospel of grace as Anders is in regards to his false gospel.

Postscript: “Catholic guilt” is legendary, but Catholics generally have a veeeeeery low view of sin. If asked, most Catholics will say that they do a pretty good job of obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!). After all, they will say, they never killed anyone or robbed a bank.

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Catholic apologist, David Anders, disparages Biblical Christianity almost every day on his talk radio show

15 thoughts on “Just in need of a little rehab or TOTALLY depraved and in desperate need of the Savior?

  1. “It’s unfortunate that many evangelical Christians are not as uncompromising in regards to the genuine Gospel of grace as Anders is in regards to his false gospel.”

    This verse came to mind when I was reading your post.

    Jeremiah 2:11: “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.”

    Sadly, man’s sinful nature can often mean false gods are served with more devotion than the one true God.

    Excellent article Tom!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I can’t imagine a guy’s judgment before God after a life of almost everyday attacking Biblical doctrines…I pray for his repentance and for Him to read the Word for himself and come to the truth before its too late.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, we must always keep in mind these people are lost souls in need of salvation. I switched to listening to Anders because the local Catholic talk show became intolerably lame after they jettisoned their anti-Francis format. I’ve listened to Anders for maybe two months and, no surprise, he has yet to mention the pope’s Amoris heresy.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Seeing as how his show is specifically geared toward convincing Protestants to “convert” to Catholicism, I imagine he will always present the RCC as a united monolith. But there are others associated with EWTN who are beginning to publicly voice their displeasure with Francis.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This was such a helpful explanation of the differences here, brother, thank you so much! I’ve heard a lot from those deeply rooted in ecumenicism that we’re born good, just ‘wounded’ and now I know where it’s coming from!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, sister! I’ve heard this “good but wounded” phrase many times, but it never occurred to me to use it until yesterday. It succinctly encapsulates the Roman view and is very helpful in trying to explain how it differs from Biblical Christianity.

      Liked by 2 people

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