These days, many Catholics and Protestants are eager to gloss over theological differences, forget about Reformation “squabbles,” and embrace in ecumenical “unity.” But the “gospel” that Catholics believe in; salvation by sacramental grace and merit, is diametrically opposed to the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone preached by Bible Christians. No attempt to honestly reconcile these two opposing gospels is possible.
I listen to Catholic talk radio, specifically the “Called to Communion” show with apologist, David Anders (photo above), every day to keep abreast of what’s going on within Catholicism and for fodder for this blog. While I disagree with just about everything Anders says, I do appreciate how he strongly differentiates between Catholicism’s gospel and the Gospel of grace. Here’s a very revealing short segment that I recently listened to via podcast:
Called to Communion, EWTN Radio, March 26th, 2019
Moderator: Jack Williams, Host: David Anders
Segment: 4:27 – 7:08
Jack Williams: Ben is watching on Facebook and he says, “I once heard an evangelical Christian say Catholicism denies the Gospel. Is there a difference between what Catholicism defines as the Gospel and what non-Catholicism defines it as?”
David Anders: Absolutely! Absolutely! In fact, this was a cardinal point for Martin Luther and the Reformation of the 16th century. Luther believed that the Gospel, very specifically, the Gospel, the message of salvation, is that God counts you as if you were righteous. God considers you to be righteous though you remain objectively sinful and at enmity with Him in your will. And that He does this when you believe yourself to be considered righteous by God on account of Christ, that you are thus considered righteous by God. Now that’s a very convoluted doctrine. I’m going to restate it. This is Luther’s position; he believes that this is the Gospel: When you believe that Christ satisfied the demands of the Law and suffered the penalties of sin on your behalf, and that that has been imputed to you, counted as if it were your own, that that faith, the faith that considers yourself righteous because of Christ, and that faith ALONE, for that faith ALONE, through that faith ALONE, no transformation over your moral life required, that you in that moment are justified before God and accepted by Him on account of Christ and not because of anything that you have done or contributed to the life of faith or grace or works or virtue or anything else. That’s what Luther taught the Gospel was. The Catholic church says that that is an anathema (definition: a person or teaching cursed by ecclesiastical authority – Tom), that that position is completely wrong. It is upside down and backwards and radically misstates what Jesus has done for us. The Catholic position is that Christ has in fact died for our sins that we might have forgiveness AND so that our interior lives, our moral lives, could be renovated and recreated, as it were, after the image of Christ’s holy life. And on the basis of that moral renovation, God does in fact accept us as righteous because He has actually made us righteous. So it is the difference between up and down, black and white, yes and no. They’re diametrically opposite in their understanding about what Jesus has done for us.
There you have it, my friends, straight from a Catholic apologist with no ambiguity. The Catholic church teaches its members that they must become subjectively and intrinsically righteous and moral in order to be able to merit Heaven. Our ecumenical evangelical friends would have us believe that Catholics “love Jesus too,” and also believe the Gospel, but what the Catholic church teaches its members is a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit as Catholic apologist, David Anders, unabashedly admits to above.
Catholics are a mission field my friends!