Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – #s 75 and 76: Penitential Suffering? – Part 2

Today, we will continue with our response 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.

Last week, we examined the first two Bible passages that Armstrong presented as proof texts for the Catholic teaching of penitential suffering. This week, we’ll examine the last two passages:

#75) 2 Corinthians 4:10: “…always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

#76) Colossians 1:24: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”

Beneath these passages, Armstrong writes, “God allows us to take part in the great drama of redemption by allowing us to share the sufferings of Christ that brought it about. That does not mean that the cause of redemption does not completely lie with Jesus Christ, but that we can be part of it in some mysterious way (in his will and by his design and providence), just as our prayers are part of his redemption and our works part of salvation.” – p.130.

I’m not going to spend a lot time on these two verses because I already examined in quite a bit of detail last week how Catholics believe suffering is expiatory (see here). Catholics will not only offer up any natural sufferings they encounter as penance for themselves or others, the will even inflict pain upon themselves as exercises in self-mortification.

But does suffering contribute to Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross towards redemption/salvation as Armstrong and Catholics claim? Colossians 1:24 is admittedly a difficult verse to interpret. Does Paul mean by this verse that there is something lacking or deficient in the sufferings that Christ endured to atone for the sins of the world? Such an interpretation would contradict the MANY passages Paul wrote regarding the absolute sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice including the very passage (vv. 15-23) leading up to verse 24, which proclaims Jesus the Savior “making peace by the blood of his cross.”

In the article below, theologian, Sam Storms, presents several evangelical interpretations of Colossians 1:24. Although they differ in detail, the main point is the same: “the calling of Christians is to willingly and joyfully endure suffering for the sake of Christ and his kingdom, for the sake of Christ and his body, the church. In this way we are seen to be his own. In this way others see him, through us, in his love for sinners. In this way we “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil. 3:10).”

Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ by Sam Storms
https://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/filling-up-the-afflictions-of-christ–1:24-

11 thoughts on “Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – #s 75 and 76: Penitential Suffering? – Part 2

  1. Hi brother off topic from your post but the whole thing with DC Comics was the last straw I mean how can we continue to support them when they blaspheme the One Who died for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand your frustration, brother, but ALL media and entertainment corporations profane Biblical truth in some form or fashion on a regular basis. Just another case of unbelievers demonstrating their spiritual blindness.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Tom, another good one as usual.
    @ you and Bibleguy:
    I totally get the offense Christians take at this whole storyline about Jesus; it is in fact blasphemous. On the other hand, why are we shocked? The Bible asks, “Why do the heathen rage?” Well, that is why they rage, because they are heathens. Sometimes I wonder why we are shocked when pagans act like pagans. Didn’t we when we were? Don’t some Christians continue to do so even when they technically are not? I guess my point it, that despite the obvious insult to our Lord here, it presents an opportunity to show the REAL Jesus to some people who might not otherwise have even mentioned His name. Railing against poor theology with the unregenerated is pretty much a useless exercise; they won’t understand it anyway, and they don’t need to in order to be saved. I am of the mind that boycotting and throwing things away may not be the solution that best promotes the presentation of the Gospel message. Now, if this was some Christian doing this, then the gloves can come off. Just my two cents.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wally, I agree with you 100%. We should not be surprised that the unbelievers running and working for the media/entertainment conglomerates twist and trash Scripture every which way. I believe some of Satan’s most damaging work is through “religious” and “moral” people who propagate “good people go to Heaven” false gospels.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. A good post brother. I don’t agree with Sam Storms in everything but I think he interpreted Colossians 1:24 correctly. Also your post still hits it on the nail of how such interpretation by Catholics of those two verses have serious problem with the clear teaching of the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the Cross. Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

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