It’s all about Jesus, NOT a religious institution

Last week, I was surveying Catholic news headlines and came across the article far below, which struck a chord. In the essay, the Catholic author, Jeff Mirus, responds defensively to the observation that evangelical Protestants quite often refer to Jesus Christ in their writings and conversations, whereas, in comparison, Roman Catholics are much more preoccupied with discussing their institutional church. Mirus argues that, in Catholic theology, Jesus IS the church, therefore when Catholics talk about their church, they’re REALLY referring to Jesus.

I grew up in the Catholic religion, attending both Catholic grammar school and high school, and remained a member until I was twenty-seven-years-old. While there was some mention of Jesus in religion class and during mass, the church and all of its institutional ritualistic facets dominated what we were taught. The system was THE thing rather than the Person the system alleged to worship. We had the pope, the bishops, priests, nuns, obligatory mass, confession, the other sacraments, holy days of obligation, Lent, abstention of meat on Lenten Fridays, rote prayers, feast days of saints, Mary, the liturgy, grandiose church buildings, stations of the cross, holy water, rosaries, medals, statues, scapulars, etc. In summary, we had a LOT of ritual, organization, and ceremony, but comparatively VERY LITTLE about Jesus. Yes, there was mention of Jesus now and then, but no one had a saving relationship with Jesus by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. We only knew of the Catholic gospel of salvation through the church’s sacramental system and merit. We did not know Jesus as our Savior because, despite the denials of Catholic sophists, we were basically taught that we had to save ourselves by participating in the sacraments and by successfully obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules.

Here’s another example. I subscribe to the Rochester Catholic diocesan monthly newspaper for information purposes only, and rarely is there any mention of Jesus Christ in its pages. All of the articles are about the church’s clergy and its elaborate sacramental religious system.

After my wife and I accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we began attending a Bible-preaching church in our area and the difference was staggering. At our new church, it was pretty much ALL about Jesus! Thirty-five years later, it’s still pretty much ALL about Jesus at the evangelical church we currently worship at. I thank God for Bible-preaching, evangelical churches. The church is obviously important. But every individual must repent of their sin and trust in Christ as Savior. Going to church or being a member of a church or a denomination doesn’t save. Many religious institutions, such as Roman Catholicism – and Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower Society – have usurped the place of Christ, and teach that their organization is the “one true church” and the way to salvation. For each of them, it’s ALL about their organization and being a member of their institution with its gospel of works salvation.

No, Mr. Mirus, the reason Catholics rarely talk about Jesus Christ is because they don’t know Him as Lord and Savior.

Why do Catholics speak so often of “the Church” instead of “Christ”?
https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=1631

Postscript: Because Roman Catholics’ “faith” rests entirely on their institutional church, the current round of very public scandals leaves them badly shaken and demoralized.

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Considering dating or marrying a Roman Catholic? Think twice.

I recently saw the article far below from a Catholic source warning Catholics not to marry non-Catholics, which caused me to once again ponder the hardship of mixed-faith marriages.

My wife and I celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary last week and I’m so grateful the Lord has saved both of us and that we share the same blessed hope in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s difficult for me to imagine being married to an unbeliever, but I know many Christians do struggle with that circumstance. Young believers need to be warned of yoking with unbelievers in marriage.

In our current era, plurality, tolerance, inclusiveness, and relativism are exalted social principles and the church is not impervious. On a large scale, we see vital Biblical doctrines being set aside in the search for ecumenical false unity. Some evangelical pastors and para-church leaders are embracing Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity even though it teaches a fundamentally different gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

On a smaller, personal scale, there are many young evangelical men and women who marry Roman Catholics thinking they are Christian because they also mention “faith,” “grace,” and “Jesus the Savior.” The current ecumenical climate encourages such reckless undiscernment, but after the wedding ceremony and honeymoon are over, the evangelical Christian soon realizes that they’re not on the “same page” spiritually as their spouse. They find that their Catholic husband or wife believes in the following anti-Biblical Catholic dogmas:

  • Praying to Mary and the saints.
  • Belief that bread wafers and wine are literally changed into Jesus during mass to be eaten by the congregants.
  • Confession of sins to a priest.
  • Belief in purgatory as a place to expiate all minor sins and any remaining temporal punishment for mortal sins.
  • While there are MANY other differences, the most important difference is the belief held by Catholics that salvation is merited by receiving the sacraments and obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!).

The evangelical newlywed is surprised to discover that the Catholic (c)hristian who they married has never repented of their sin and trusted in Jesus Christ through faith alone and been spiritually born-again.

Again, I cannot imagine being partnered under the same roof for fifty or sixty years, facing all of life’s many challenges, with someone who might practice their legalistic religion, but who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.’” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

To my Christian brothers and sisters who are married to an unbeliever and are reading this post, I know you’re praying for your spouse every day. I add my prayers to yours today, that the Lord will work in your spouse’s heart and show them their need for salvation in Christ. I pray for you, that you will continue to be a patient witness and example to your spouse of the great love of Christ Jesus.

Is it right for a Christian to date or marry a non-Christian?
https://www.gotquestions.org/date-marry-unbeliever.html

What does it mean to be unequally yoked?
https://www.gotquestions.org/unequally-yoked.html

The long read: why Catholics shouldn’t marry non-Catholics
http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2018/08/25/the-long-read-why-catholics-shouldnt-marry-non-catholics/

Catholic archbishop accuses pope Francis of covering up abuse, demands he resign.

I normally collect news stories over the course of the week and post them as part of the Weekend Roundup, but every once and awhile a story is so important, like this one, that it cannot wait.

Following closely on the heels of the news of U.S. cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, being stripped of his office due to allegations of sexual abuse, and then the pedophile priest and cover-up tsunami in Pennsylvania, we have another disturbing but unsurprising revelation. According to the story below, which is breaking across all major news outlets, archbishop, Carlo Maria Viganò (above photo, left), the former Vatican nuncio (ambassador) to the United States, claims to have informed pope Francis in 2013 that cardinal McCarrick had sexually abused children, seminarians, and priests, but that Francis did absolutely nothing. Viganò is calling for Francis to resign.

The Catholic hierarchy is corrupt from top to bottom.

I’ll be posting follow-ups to the story in the Weekend Roundup if not sooner.

Pope Francis Long Knew of Cardinal’s Abuse and Must Resign, Archbishop Says

Catholic Calculus: Is a particular sin mortal or venial?

The errors of Roman Catholicism run wide and deep, but today we’re going to look at just one example; Catholicism’s un-Biblical concept of sins being either mortal (deadly) or venial (Latin veniālis “excusable”).

To start off, we must remember that Catholics are taught they must receive their church’s sacraments to supposedly receive graces to be able to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules in order to remain in a “state of grace” and hopefully merit Heaven at the moment of their death. The Bible says no one can possibly obey their way into Heaven, but Roman Catholicism tries to get around that by attaching A LOT of qualifications to sin. Hang in there with me for a few minutes and I’ll show you what I mean.

According to Catholicism, there are two types of sin; mortal (major/deadly) and venial (minor/excusable).

For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must supposedly be present:

  • It must be grave matter – The act must be a serious, intrinsically evil matter.
  • A person must have full knowledge – The offender must be fully aware of the seriousness of the act.
  • A person must exercise deliberate consent – The offender must freely choose to commit the act.

A sin is only venial if even one of the conditions is not satisfied.

All mortal sins must be confessed to a priest in the confessional. The priest than absolves (forgives, acquits) the person of the sin and prescribes some form of penance, usually a few rote prayers. According to Catholic teaching, if a person dies with only a single, unconfessed mortal sin on their soul, they will go directly to Hell, no questions asked. Even if all of their mortal sins were forgiven by a priest, a person may still have to spend time in purgatory to satisfy any remaining temporal punishment.

Venial sins can be forgiven by attending mass and by fasting, prayers, and almsgiving. Venial sins do not doom a person to Hell, but a soul will have to spend time in Purgatory if their venial sins have not been completely expiated prior to death.

Catholicism’s mortal sin-venial sin system gets into some very murky water right from the start. Let’s go back to the issue of “grave matter.” What exactly is the dividing line between grave matter and non-grave matter?

Catholic theologians and clerics would unanimously agree that such heinous acts as murder, rape, and sexual abuse of children are all grave matters and thus, mortal sins. But let’s focus on the sin of stealing. Catholics would say that stealing an inexpensive item, such as a pack of gum from a grocery store, would be a venial sin, while embezzling a million dollars from an employer would be a mortal sin. But we have to ask, what is the threshold dollar amount whereby a venial sin becomes a mortal sin? The Catholic church cannot determine that, for they say it all depends on the particular circumstances. They would say a burglar who breaks into the home of an elderly, impoverished widow and steals $100 dollars commits a much more serious sin than the person who claims $5,000 worth of fraudulent deductions on their income taxes. When in doubt, the church says to ask a priest. But priest A may say a certain theft is a mortal sin while priest B judges it to be only a venial sin. This same game of imprecision and ambiguity is also played out with all of the other Ten Commandments.

Conditioned by such a cloudy, inexact system, Catholics in the pews naturally view just about all of their sins as venial, if they acknowledge them as sins at all. As a result, a Catholic can go through an entire week, a month, or even a year, thinking they have committed no major sins. Revealingly, Catholic sources report that only 12 percent of Catholics go to mandatory annual confession at least once per year.

The Bible knows nothing of this elaborate yet imprecise system of differentiating between mortal and venial sins. Sin is sin and we all disobey God’s commandments in thought, word, deed, or by omission every day. Joe Catholic, with very little knowledge of God’s Word, goes through his week thinking he is doing a great job of obeying the commandments. After all, he says to himself, he hasn’t killed anyone or cheated on his wife. But the Lord God sees every self-centered, prideful, and uncharitable thought and act of every day. Joe Catholic will not be able to offer one single plea of righteousness at the moment of his death. He needs a Savior! And a loving God has provided a Savior; His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

Joe Catholic needs to repent of his sin and accept Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone and then come out of the apostate Catholic church.

Does the Bible teach mortal and venial sin?
https://www.gotquestions.org/mortal-sin-venial.html

Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – #s 4, 5, 6, & 7: The Authority of Sacred Tradition? – Part 1

Today, we will continue with our responses to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.

With the four verses below, Armstrong argues for the authority of oral tradition:

#4) Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. – 2 Timothy 1:13-14

#5) And what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. – 2 Timothy 2:2

#6) Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. – Jude 3

#7) And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. – Acts 2:42

Directly beneath these verses, Armstrong writes, “Catholics believe that these verses clearly set forth a notion of binding oral tradition that has as much authority as the written word of Scripture.” – p. 12.

Catholicism readily acknowledges that the Bible is God’s Word and is an inspired authority for faith and conduct, however it also claims that its “sacred oral traditions” and its teaching “magisterium” (i.e., the pope and his bishops) are equally authoritative.

It’s true that the Lord Jesus did not commit His teachings to writing during His earthly ministry. He communicated His teachings orally to His apostles and disciples. The apostles and disciples then committed the Gospel accounts of Christ’s ministry and His teachings to writing through the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit over a span of about forty years, beginning in the late 40s or early 50s and ending in the early 90s. The infant church absolutely depended on the oral teachings of Paul and the other apostles, but as the inspired Gospels and apostolic epistles were written and circulated throughout the church, apostolic oral teaching ended with the deaths of the apostles. God’s Word is the sole authority for Christians and all that we need.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16

Catholicism claims that it has preserved many of the mysterious, unwritten, extra-Biblical oral teachings of Jesus and the apostles down through the centuries, but how was that done? By word of mouth? One would think that, by now, all of those oral teachings would have been collected and published, but you won’t find a “Compendium of the Oral Teachings/Sacred Traditions of Jesus Christ and the Apostles” at your local Catholic bookstore.

However, appeals to “sacred tradition” have served an extremely useful purpose for the Roman Catholic church over the centuries. Every time that a doctrine was formulated that had no basis in Scripture, the Catholic hierarchy was able to invoke its sacred tradition “wild card.” Incredulous Catholics were unable to object because the proof allegedly rested upon undocumented and unverifiable oral traditions known only to a privileged few. From this dark hole came such doctrines as purgatory, indulgences, the immaculate conception and assumption of Mary, praying to canonized saints, the pope, the seven sacraments, etc., etc.

Untethered from the sole authority of God’s Word, Catholicism has been able to propagate one un-Biblical teaching after another. In contrast, throughout God’s Word, believers are exhorted to adhere to the sure teachings of Scripture. Yes, there are examples in Scripture when believers were encouraged to obey doctrines that were taught orally, but that was always in connection to teachings that came directly from Paul and the other apostles, not handed down mysteriously over many centuries and made manifest out of the clear blue.

While Armstrong presents 2 Timothy 2:2, Jude 3, and Acts 2:42 as irrefutable “Catholic verses,” which validate “sacred oral tradition,” an objective analysis reveals the fallaciousness of this self-serving and dangerous “wild card.”

“And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” – Mark 7:6-8

Catholic apologists like Armstrong are currently in a pickle having to explain how the current pope, Francis, is able to overturn church traditions previously taught to be infallible, like the ban on communion for remarried divorcees and the ban on intercommunion with Protestants.

For more information, see the articles below:

Should Catholic tradition have equal or greater authority than the Bible?
https://www.gotquestions.org/Catholic-tradition.html

Questions for Catholics on Sacred Tradition
https://carm.org/questions-for-catholics-on-sacred-tradition

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 8/25/18

Ten days after the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which named over 300 priests in that state as predatory sexual abusers of children, Catholic news headlines are still DOMINATED by the story.

One need only skim through the headlines for a few minutes to understand that many Catholics are absolutely fed up with their church after this latest pedophile priest tsunami. Sadly, their faith is/was in their religious institution with its false gospel of sacramental grace and merit rather than in Jesus Christ and the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. We need to reach out to these lost Catholic souls, who feel betrayed by their “alter Christus” priests and bishops, with the Gospel of grace. I’ve been listening to Catholic talk radio this past week, and all of the discussions about this latest chapter in the ongoing scandal started off with something along the lines of, “Oh, what a tragedy. We are praying for the victims, BUT…,” and finishing with various assertions that attempted to minimize the church’s culpability.

Rather than scolding pedophile priests, Max Lucado should be telling Roman Catholics to accept Christ as their Savior by faith alone and come out of Catholicism. Lucado was one of the signers of the Evangelical and Catholics Together (ECT) declarations, which promoted ecumenical unity with Rome and its false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. Shame on Lucado and all the other “evangelical” Judas compromisers. Woe unto them that call evil good.

Ironic. The greatest attack on God’s people over the last fifty years was/is the promotion of the ecumenical compromise with Rome that was spearheaded by Anne Graham Lotz’s own father.

Our Daily Bread: Once steadfast

The Truth About Romanism
By M. R. De Haan
Radio Bible Class, 1964, 31 pages

After my wife and I accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior back in the early 1980s, we began attending a Bible-preaching church in our area. The church’s information table in the lobby was regularly stocked with materials including the latest issue of the “Sword of the Lord” newspaper (see here), infamous Chick tracts (see here), and copies of the “Our Daily Bread” daily devotional.

“Our Daily Bread” is published by Our Daily Bread (ODB) ministries, once known as Radio Bible Class (RBC), which was founded in 1938 by M. R. De Hann (1891-1965) in Detroit as aCapture21 radio program. The “Our Daily Bread” devotional booklet, first published in 1956, is delivered to homes and in-bulk to churches all over the world. It’s reported that ten-million copies of the booklets are published per issue in fifty-five languages. People can also access the daily devotional message via Christian radio, podcast, or email.

For whatever reason, I rarely used the “Our Daily Bread” devotional although I know that many believers find the short messages inspiring and are quite fond of it. For some, “Our Daily Bread” is their only exposure to Scripture throughout the week. While that’s better than nothing, we believers need to get deep into God’s Word and desire it more than our physical food.

Because “Our Daily Bread” crosses so many denominational lines, it generally stays away from meaty or controversial topics, like the dangers of ecumenism. In fact, some discernment ministries are reporting that ODB has been dabbling in disturbing ecumenical trends like advocating for “spiritual direction” and “contemplative prayer.” See here.

However, in the course of compiling my long list of books that examine Roman Catholicism (see here), I came across “The Truth About Romanism,” a booklet written by RBC founder, M. R. De Haan, and published by RBC in 1964.

This is an excellent, little resource that briefly examines the main differences between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity. Chapters are as follows:

  • What is Romanism?
  • The Church’s Beginning
  • The Nature and Origin of Romanism
  • Unscriptural Doctrines
  • The Worship of Mary
  • Purgatory
  • Papal Infallibility
  • Extreme Unction
  • Oath Taken by Converts to Romanism
  • Marriage Contract for the Non-Catholic
  • Romanism Today
  • Worship of Relics

All of the information is still pertinent, except in regards to the marriage contract non-Catholics were once required to sign in mixed marriages. In deference to the spirit of ecumenism, Rome no longer requires the non-Catholic party to sign a contract, although the Catholic party is still required to sign a contract promising any children will be raised as Catholic.

Brother De Haan’s blunt honesty in this booklet regarding the deadly dangers of Catholicism would offend many of today’s accommodating and compromising “evangelical” Christians.

In contrast to its founder’s resolute defense of the Gospel of grace, Our Daily Bread Ministries appears to be drifting toward ecumenism with Rome. But the same could be said of several other evangelical para-church organizations.

Capture18
M. R. De Haan

The Catholic “Family Feud” Over Pope Francis

The Francis Feud: Why and How Conservative Catholics Squabble About Pope Francis
By Karl Keating
Rasselas House, 2018, 234 pages

It’s quite ironic that over the past year some of the strongest criticism of pope Francis has come, not from Bible Christians, but from conservative Roman Catholics. In his efforts to loosen dogma and liberalize the Catholic church, the pope has increasingly alienated the conservative and traditionalist factions of the church’s clergy and laity to the point where they feel they can no longer remain silent.

The four books below that are critical of Francis were all published in the last nine months (click on the title to see my review):

Conservative dissatisfaction with Francis centers around his lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorces in his Amoris Laetitia encyclical and for his heavy-handed administrative skullduggery targeting conservative prelates. Since these books were written, Francis has further infuriated conservatives by taking the first steps in allowing intercommunion with Protestants.

In “The Francis Feud,” Karl Keating, the founder of the conservative Catholic apologetics organization, Catholics Answers, analyzes the first three books and their reception within the conservative and traditionalist camps.

Keating sees “The Dictator Pope” as the most problematic of the three books with its several undocumented claims including alleged Vatican financial support of Hillary Clinton’s 2016Capture17 presidential campaign. Keating views “Lost Shepherd” as an improvement, but still prone to hyperbole. “To Change The Church” is presented as the most objective of the three and would evidently be the one that Keating might come close to personally endorsing if he had the fortitude for such candidness.

Positive and negative reviews of the three books from various conservative sources are included. It’s obvious that part of the reason Keating wrote this book was as a platform to respond to Catholic apologist, Dave Armstrong, who views any public criticism of the pope as disloyalty to the church. Keating makes clear that Armstrong is as prone to hyperbole as the most polemical anti-Catholic. I believe another reason for this book is that Keating has decided to take a few steps back from his previous glowing compliments of Lawler’s book, which were featured on that book’s dust cover.

It’s interesting that the founder and former president of Catholic Answers chose to analyse the “squabble” within conservative Catholicism over Francis’ papacy rather than directly critiquing Francis himself.

Bottom line: This book would be of interest strictly to an evangelical Vatican-watcher who is already somewhat aware of the mounting resistance to Francis by Catholic conservatives and traditionalists and the internecine squabbling that has resulted. But, whether it’s the conservative or the liberal version, Catholicism still teaches a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Rome: Opponent or Partner?

The Rochester/Monroe County library system only has a small number of books which critically examine Roman Catholicism. I thought that this volume, which was published during the final year of Vatican II, might be an interesting historical example of mainline Protestant attitudes towards “dialogue” with post-conciliar Rome.

Rome: Opponent or Partner?
By Rudolf J. Ehrlich
The Westminster Press, 1965, 296 pages

At its Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Roman Catholic church declared that it would be changing direction with regards to Protestantism. Militant opposition and confrontation would be replaced by rapprochement and ecumenical dialogue towards the goal of eventual reunification.

The results of the council were met with great enthusiasm by many Protestants. In this book, published during the last year of the council, Church of Scotland pastor and theologian, Rudolf J. Ehrlich, examines the major differences between Rome and Protestants (although most of the discussion is focused on justification) and ponders whether unity is a realistic possibility.

Ehrlich begins by examining the writings of Catholic theologian, Louis Bouyer (1913-2004), who in his pre-Vatican II book, “The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism” (1956), defended the Tridentine Catholic gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit and attacked the Biblical Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone that had been recovered by the Reformers.

In brief, Catholicism teaches that its sacraments infuse grace into the supplicants soul, giving them the ability to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and to become increasingly intrinsically/subjectively holy so as to hopefully merit Heaven at the moment of their death. Biblical Christianity teaches man is totally depraved, but by repenting of sin and trusting in Jesus Christ as their Savior, Jesus’ perfect rightousness is imputed to a believer. They are extrinsically/objectively righteous because of Christ. A genuine believer will then strive to follow the Lord in obedience, albeit imperfectly. A Christians’ good works won’t save them, but are the fruit of their faith in Christ.

Throughout his presentation, Ehrlich cites “Neo-Orthodox” Protestant theologian, Karl Barth (1886-1968), as the “true heir of the Reformation,” which is problematic from a conservative evangelical point of view. More on that later.

The author then presents the writings of Catholic theologian, Hans Küng (1928- ), who takes a much more conciliatory approach to Protestant belief than Bouyer. He argues that the Reformers and the Council of Trent basically had the same view on justification, but they approached it from different paradigms. Ehrlich politely concludes that Küng is employing sophistry and that the issue of justification still divides Roman Catholics and Protestants.

Additional thoughts:

  • Ehrlich’s Church of Scotland was already drifting into modernism when this book was written. Fifty-years later, we wonder if the genuine Gospel is preached in any of its churches? John Knox would grieve if he could see the Church of Scotland today.
  • Swiss theologian, Karl Barth, was considered at the time of this book’s writing a conservative in comparison to most European Protestant theologians, but he was a Universalist and disagreed with Biblical inerrancy.
  • Liberal theologian-priest, Hans Küng, was a rising star in Catholicism before he became a persona non grata within the church in the late-1960s when he publicly challenged the notion of papal infallibility.
  • In answer to the book’s title, Ehrlich identifies post-Vatican II Catholicism as a Christian entity and the “partner” of Protestantism. However, he also concludes that post-conciliar Rome’s teaching on justification via sacraments and merit is the same as was propagated at Trent and is anti-Biblical. So if Rome still preaches a different gospel, how can it be a partner of Gospel-preaching churches? It’s frustrating to have the irreconcilable issue of justification/salvation sidestepped in the pursuit of false unity. Today, we have people like Geisler, Zacharias, Strobel, and Lane Craig holding to the same impossibly dichotomous view.
  • This book was a difficult read with much more theological jargon than I’m comfortable with. There is also a plethora of Latin quotations with no translation, which I view as a blatant form of intellectual snobbery. Argh!