A couple of major problems with this book

Back in May, I posted on a very good book on Roman Catholicism, “Test All Things: An Invitation to Examine Your Catholic Faith in the Light of Scripture” by Joe Mizzi. See my review here. As I perused through Mizzi’s website, Just For Catholics, I noticed that he had posted another free downloadable PDF of a book, this one titled “Whose Voice Are You Listening To?” Any book that examines Catholicism and is free to boot is right up my alley, so I downloaded it.

Whose Voice Are You Listening To?: A Comparison of the Catholic Catechism to the Bible?
By Marlene C. Crouch
Tate Publishing, 2009, 310 pages

In this book, the author compares several key Catholic doctrines with Scripture, concentrating mainly on the church’s teachings about Mary and Petrine authority, with a secondary focus on sacramental grace and eucharistic transubstantiation. There’s some excellent information here as Crouch cites many paragraphs from the Catholic catechism and contrasts them with an abundant amount of Scripture to refute the above doctrines. However, there are also some fundamental flaws in this book that cannot be overlooked.

In her introduction, Crouch urges her Catholic readers to “please know that all of (her) efforts in compiling (this information) were born out of love and compassion for (her) Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ – brothers and sisters in Christ who love the Lord and who believe the Gospel’s basic message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, but who are deceived and held in bondage under false doctrines derived from the traditions of man and who are thereby deprived of the freedom and joy of fully experiencing the magnitude of God’s love” (page 14, my italics).

However, throughout the book and especially in the chapter devoted to God’s grace, Crouch makes it clear that Roman Catholicism proclaims a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit in direct contrast to the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Which is it, Ms. Crouch? Can a Catholic be born-again in Christ by following the standard works-righteousness salvation theology of their church or not? Catholics by definition DO NOT believe in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE.

In the chapter on the church, Crouch takes the view that when Jesus died on the cross, He descended into hell and “preached to everyone who had died, from Adam to the thief on the cross” (p. 183). She then claims that, “Those spirits who heard his voice and believed his preaching” were saved (p.181). Crouch is saying the Old Testament souls who had not trusted in the Lord for their salvation prior to their death had a second chance, which is at odds with the general revelation of Scripture. People who believe as Crouch does cite 1 Peter 3:18–20 and 1 Peter 4:6. These are no-doubt difficult verses and require thorough and prayerful study. I know there’s some debate about where Jesus went in His spirit and what He did between the time of His death and resurrection, but this claim that the unrighteous souls who died before Jesus’ death were able to trust in Him as Savior is heterodox. Who wouldn’t trust in Christ at that point if it were possible? Wayne Grudem provides some good analysis of 1 Peter 3:18–20 and 1 Peter 4:6 in the article far below.

Because of these two very serious flaws, I can’t recommend “Whose Voice Are You Listening To?” I’m disappointed that Joe Mizzi includes this book as a free download on his website.

Chapters

Mary’s Consent
Marian Apparitions
Mary’s Immaculate Conception?
Mary, Ever Virgin
The Rosary
Pray Only to God
Keys to the Kingdom and Power of God
Peter, the Rock
Peter’s Brethren
Peter, Son of Jonas
The Church
Grace
Transubstantiation


Did Jesus Really Descend into Hell?
https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/did-jesus-really-descend-into-hell/

11 thoughts on “A couple of major problems with this book

  1. Tom, you write: “In the chapter on the church, Crouch takes the view that when Jesus died on the cross, He descended into hell and “preached to everyone who had died, from Adam to the thief on the cross” (p. 183). She then claims that, “Those spirits who heard his voice and believed his preaching” were saved (p.181). Crouch is saying these Old Testament souls had a second chance at salvation,”
    I’m not sure what Crouch has stated concerning Jesus time in Paradise, but He did go to Paradise. To the thief He said “this day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” There is evidence in scripture that the souls there in Abraham’s bosom were being made aware of His Coming to earth. There seems to be communication with Abraham when one entered Paradise based on Jesus telling of Lazarus and the rich man. So when Lazarus the brother of Mary and Martha entered Paradise would he not have communicated Jesus Coming? John the Baptist and other were there. Thus when Jesus entered Paradise would it not seem likely that He preached the good news to those who were there in Abraham’s bosom awaiting Him? After all He led captivity captive. Paradise today is no longer in the belly of the earth as it was then. The Twenty four Elders that we see in Revelation 4 would seem to confirm that God’s people are all in one place now in Heaven. One new man, as Paul states it in Ephesians. We go to be with the Lord now when we die. Not sure where either you or miss crouch are coming from on all of this? But, what Peter states in the Passage you mention does lead one to believe that all men heard Jesus preaching to the dead. Those across the great gulf, also in Jesus telling of Lazarus and the rich man, were able to hear. So even though the gospel would not have been for them they may have heard it with no chance to change their circumstance. Interesting stuff. Thanks for your incites and posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: Not sure where either you or miss crouch are coming from on all of this?

      Jerry, I am not trying to advance unorthodoxy. My objection to Ms. Crouch is that she is stating that the unsaved dead of the OT were given a second chance. I personally believe as Scripture states in Luke 16:19–31 that the OT believers/righteous dead were in the “punishment-less” “Abraham’s bosom” portion of Hades awaiting Christ’s atoning sacrifice on Calvary, while the unsaved were consigned to the punishment portion. And that at some point, Christ set the saved OT captives free. But I also recognize there are different views on this subject that fall within the bounds of orthodoxy. Crouch’s view falls OUTSIDE the bounds of orthodoxy and that is what I was pointing out. I offered Grudem’s article because I believe his examinations of 1 Peter 3:18–20 and 1 Peter 4:6 are very valuable as they pertain to this discussion. The article presents various views that fall within orthodoxy, but makes clear that believing that the OT lost had a second chance is outside of orthodoxy. Thanks for allowing me to clarify.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Jerry! Your question indicated the message I was trying to convey in the post wasn’t altogether clear so I appreciate the opportunity to clarify my viewpoint.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If Catholics are already believers, and they go against what is the biblical view of the Gospel and Grace, one can’t help but to wonder why defend the biblical gospel of salvation in the first place? I find the author’s position to be undermining of the importance of doctrines and the Gospel despite the attempt to defend it, if the person is going to say Catholics are still saved though they believe in works. Sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. It’s maddening and I encounter it all the time. It’s the same paradox we see with Packer, Lane Craig, Geisler, Zacharias, Strobel, et al. They will state that Catholicism’s soteriology is wrong and yet accept Roman Catholics, who openly state they believe salvation is by faith (in the sacraments) and works, as “brothers in Christ.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! I even hesitated on posting the review, but I thought it might be helpful to someone to point out another example of evangelicalism’s schizophrenic views on Catholic soteriology.

        Liked by 1 person

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