Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 2/29/20

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup, my friends!

In predominately Catholic regions, such as New Orleans (photo above), which was founded by French-Catholic refugees from Acadia/Nova Scotia, people whoop it up on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. The day is known as “Fat Tuesday” or “Mardi Gras” in French. The idea is to overindulge prior to the rigors of Lenten abstentions. That’s just sheer religious hypocrisy, folks.

This past Wednesday, many Catholics got ashes on their forehead and proudly wore them throughout the day. God’s Word explicitly forbids such a thing. See Matthew 6:16-18. Pope Francis is tired of conservative Catholics trashing him on the internet and recommends that Catholics give up their iPhones and trolling for Lent.

American Catholics flout their church’s other mandatory rules, but for some strange reason they seriously take to heart the restriction forbidding meat on Fridays during Lent. All the fast-food outlets are ready to oblige. There’s a debate now going on within Catholicism whether eating vegetable burgers on Lenten Fridays, such as Burger King’s “Impossible Whooper,” violates the “spirit of Lent.” Oy vey. The exacting legalistic scrupulosity is painful to witness.

I imagine there’s some genuine, born-again believers attending churches in the old, mainline “Protestant” denominations, but it has to be so troubling and discouraging to sit under a Bible-denying “pastor.” Why stay? Find a church in your area that believes the Bible and preaches the Gospel.

Most Catholics still identify with their religion in some sense, but they rarely attend obligatory Sunday mass and never go to confession.

Despite their manifold pledges of sympathy and support for the survivors of priest abuse, the Catholic bishops just cannot “get it right.”

Pastors in America historically included a degree of national chauvinism in their sermons, however, the Gospel knows no borders. Sadly, many of those now identified as “evangelical Christians” throughout the world are actually prosperity gospelers.

Kanye West and Joel Osteen are teaming up for an appearance at Yankee Stadium on May 2nd. Osteen wears the mantle of Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller who propagated the positivity and self-actualization false gospel before him.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #13: “Not Because of Works”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. The Catholic apologist continues his six-part section on Salvation by countering Protestants’ arguments that believers are saved “not because of works.”


In opening this chapter, Broussard acknowledges that Catholicism initially seems to have a dilemma. Chapter twenty-six of the “Decree on Justification” issued by the Council of Trent in 1547 states, “Hence, to those who work well unto the end and trust in God, eternal life is to be offered, both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Christ Jesus, and as a reward promised by God himself, to be faithfully given to their good works and merits.” There can be NO misunderstanding regarding the interpretation of this Tridentine decree. According to Roman Catholicism, and seconded by Broussard, “eternal life will be given at (the) judgement as a reward for…good works” (p.73).

Broussard then refers to Ephesians 2:8-9, which is often used by evangelical Protestants to refute Catholicism’s works-based soteriology:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Broussard admits that this and other Bible verses/passages that proclaim salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone seem to contradict the Catholic view declared at Trent. How to solve this dilemma? Broussard offers the Catholic argument that the grace by which Catholics are saved apart from works is the sacramental grace of initial conversion, i.e., baptism, but after baptism, works are meritorious.

“Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion (baptism). Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.” – CCC 2010

Broussard makes a ham-fisted distinction between the “works” cited in v.9 and the “good works” cited in Ephesians 2:10 below:

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

He argues that the works mentioned in v.9 are the Levitical ceremonial rituals of the Mosaic Law (e.g., circumcision, dietary restrictions, etc.) while the “good works” cited in v.10 are meritorious acts of obedience and charity. Broussard would argue that the passages below that prohibit salvation by “works” are also referring to Levitical ceremonial rituals:

Romans 3:20 – “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

Galatians 2:16 – “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”

Galatians 3:11 – “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’”

Qualifying these verses as referring only to the Levitical ceremonial rituals is sophistry of the deadliest order. Paul encompasses ALL aspects of the Mosaic Law, whether they be the ceremonial rituals or the moral teachings (e.g., the Decalogue) in the verse below:

“For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law” – Galatians 3:21

Gospel Christians get it. There is no one who is righteous (Romans 3:10). Even our supposed “good works” are tainted by our sinfulness (Isaiah 64:6). We have no plea of our own that we can stand upon. A genuine believer’s only plea is their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and His perfect righteousness that was imputed to them.

Important: It’s ironic that Broussard and other conservative Catholic apologists continue to contend for Catholicism’s salvation system of baptism and the six other sacraments in conjunction with the rigors of Catholic legalism, when modern popes and prelates since the Second Vatican Council have declared that people of all religions, and even atheists, are also able to merit salvation if they “follow the light they have been given” and are “good.”

Next up: “Justified by Faith, Not Works”

Throwback Thursday: Lent is no match for Super Rodent!

Welcome to this week’s Throwback Thursday installment! Last week we had a prelude to Lent; that old chestnut, “Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Fridays during Lent?” Today, we have what is quickly becoming another Lenten oldie-but-goodie that was first published on February 25, 2018 and has been slightly revised.


Most of the topics I write about on this blog are serious matters involving spiritual life and death, but there are occasions when I come across something that can only be categorized as sadly comical. Case in point:

This year, the Roman Catholic church’s Lenten season runs from Wednesday, February 26th to Thursday, April 9th and Catholics are strictly forbidden from eating meat on all six of the Fridays during that span under the threat of committing mortal sin, which they are taught will doom them to hell. But getting down to the nuts and bolts of what actually constitutes “meat” can get a little tricky as I alluded to in the infamous Chicken in a Biskit post (see here.)

Well, now we have another very strange twist to this rule regarding abstention from meat during Lent.

A few days ago, I was listening to the 2/21/18 podcast of the “Called to Communion” Catholic talk radio show. Moderator, Tom Price, and host, David Anders, were discussing Lenten abstinence restrictions and Anders unflinchingly mentioned that Venezuelan Catholics are allowed to eat the meat of a capybara on Fridays. Huh? Capybara? What’s that? Well, it turns out that capybara (photo above) are the largest living rodent in the world, ranging anywhere from 80 to 150 pounds full grown and they like to hang out near or in the water. They are a dietary staple of Central America and some say they taste like pork with a slightly fishy accent. As the tale goes, priest-composer, Pedro Ramón Palacios y Sojo aka “Padre Sojo,” Venezuela’s most influential Catholic cleric at the time, traveled to Rome in 1794 and petitioned pope Leo XII to allow his countrymen to eat the meat of the capybara during Lent because, he argued, the animal spent so much time in the water that it was more like a fish than a warm-blooded mammal. Remember, fish are okay to eat on Fridays during Lent, but not the meat from mammals or birds. Sojo’s absurd argument evidently made an impression on the credulous pope because he granted his request and actually issued a Papal Bull decreeing that Venezuelans were free to eat capybara during Lent without incurring a mortal sin.

So Venezuelan Catholics can gorge themselves on capybara burgers on Lenten Fridays with an absolutely clear conscience, but if an American Catholic takes even one bite of a Big Mac, they are doomed to Hell forever!

But this sinner who was freed from the chains of Catholicism and is saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone has a hypothetical question for my Catholic friends. Current political problems aside, let’s suppose an American Catholic travels down to Venezuela on business during Lent. He’s walking the streets of Caracas on a Friday at noon and smells the wonderful aroma of barbecue in the air. After a few minutes, he discovers the source of the olfactory bliss; a sidewalk food vendor who beckons him over to try some of his smokey barbecued capybara. The American, mouth watering, declines with noticeable regret, saying in broken Spanish that he is prohibited from eating meat on Friday during Lent. But the vendor reassures him that the pope himself declared it was okay to eat capybara in Venezuela during Lent. Another native walking by confirms the information. The American then hungrily orders a double-plateful of barbecued capybara and eats his fill. The next day, the American begins his journey back to the U.S., but his plane crashes and all aboard perish. Which now brings us to our question: Did the American Catholic go to hell for eating capybara on a Lenten Friday because he was still under the jurisdiction of his American bishop or did Leo XII’s 1794 papal bull cover all of the bases?

Catholic friend, if you ever get tired of spinning in Catholicism’s legalistic hamster (another rodent) wheel, turn to Jesus Christ. Repent of your sin and ask Jesus Christ to save you by faith in Him alone.

Is Catholicism a false religion? Are Catholics saved?

Postscript: Some may object to my interjection of humor in this discussion, but folks, seriously, I couldn’t have come up with this “capybara dispensation” in my wildest dreams.

Capture17Dog meets Capybara

The Protestant Crusade? The sensationalistic title is a dead giveaway to the author’s biased views within

The Protestant Crusade, 1800-1860: A Study of the Origins of American Nativism
By Ray Allen Billington
Macmillan, 1938, 514 pp.

2 Stars

Back about a month ago, I noticed a reference to this book on a Catholic blog. I’m always game for history books about alleged “anti-Catholicism” in America and was delighted that our county library had a copy of the 1938 initial printing (the photo above is of a later, paperback edition, circa 1960s).

Historian, Ray Allen Billington (d. 1981), begins this book by noting the antipathy towards Roman Catholicism that the early Puritan and Anglican settlers had brought with them to colonial America. There were relatively very few Catholics in early-America, so conflicts were uncommon. However, when Irish and German Catholics began emigrating en masse to America beginning in the 1840s, problems ensued.

Native Americans (in this pre-politically-correct-era book, the term was used to refer, not to Indians, but to descendants of the original Puritan and Anglican settlers) were concerned about the influx of Roman Catholic immigrants for several reasons:

  • Religious – Roman Catholicism propagated a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit that was antithetical to the Protestants’ Gospel of grace. Protestants of that era, in contrast to today, were acutely aware of the anti-Biblical nature of Catholicism’s peculiar institutions and ceremonies (priestcraft, sacrifice of the mass, confessionals, nunneries, statue worship, etc.).
  • Economic – Native Americans resented the competition of cheap, Catholic immigrant labor.
  • Political – Catholicism ultimately demanded loyalty to a foreign “pontiff.” Protestants questioned if Catholics could ever be good American citizens holding such divided loyalties. In European countries where Catholicism held sway, Protestants were not tolerated.

Antipathy towards Catholics and Catholicism reached a crescendo in the 1850s with the rise of the nativist American (aka Know Nothing) Party, which sought to limit immigration and prolongate naturalization residency requirements. The Know Nothings initially had a degree of success, but that success was very short-lived because of the rising and overriding national political tensions regarding slavery.

I appreciated this book for its historical detail, but it has some MAJOR faults. Billington devotes a single chapter, only 26 pages, to Catholic “blunders”/provocations that led to Protestant reactions. He makes little mention of Rome’s militant, hegemonic intolerance in Catholic Europe. Popes openly condemned democratic forms of government and the democratic principle of freedom of religion as late as 1899 with the papal encyclical, Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae – Concerning New Opinions, Virtue, Nature and Grace, With Regard to Americanism, issued by pope Leo XIII. American Protestants had very legitimate reasons to be concerned about Catholic encroachment and possible domination.

It’s the responsibility of every objective historian to acknowledge the wider context of a circumstance/turmoil instead of ignoring the antecedent causes and focusing, almost exclusively, on the consequences, as Ray Billington does. The unbiased reader will note the irony involved with Billington’s portrayals of 19th-century American Protestants in which he uses the very same type of invective and draconian hyperbole that he accuses them of employing. It’s also quite ironic that the alleged “sensationalism” and pruriency of 19th-century Protestant literature regarding the corruption of Catholic clerics and their institutions has been vindicated many times over in the last twenty years by newspaper headlines. With all of those major shortcomings, it’s regrettable that this disappointing book is often cited as THE standard in examinations of American Protestant “anti-Catholicism.”

Without any argument, antebellum Protestant attitudes towards Catholics sometimes did cross the line into outright hatred and bigotry. That was regrettable. We witnessed a similar type of religious partisanship with the popularity of Jack Chick’s disreputable Jesuit-world-conspiracy publications in the 1970s and 80s. But never did 19th-century American Protestant sectarianism approach anything near the magnitude of European Catholicism’s intolerance, as exemplified by such events as the Massacre of Wassy (1562), the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (1572), the massacre following he revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and the various permutations of the Inquisition.

We must reach out to Roman Catholics with the truth of the Gospel and with the love of Jesus Christ. Sadly, these days a growing number of evangelicals are unaware of the irreconcilable differences between the Gospel of grace and Roman Catholicism and view Gospel outreach to Catholics with disdain and repugnance.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday sermon series, #20

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, friends, which normally means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas. However, there was no sermon uploaded from Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church from two Sundays ago, so there will be only one sermon today.

I was concerned about brother Wally because I know he currently has an extremely heavy load with his nursing studies, but I see he uploaded the sermon from this past Sunday from Pastor Cody Andrews so it will be back to being a two-fer-Tuesday next week. Please remember Wally in your prayers as he grinds through his classes and studying.

Some pseudo-Christian religious groups continue to offer sacrifice for sin day after day, but Pastor Roger Copeland at Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, shows us from the Book of Hebrews that Jesus’s sacrifice on Calvary was once for all time.

Pastor Roger Copeland – The Once For All Sacrifice


Contending for the Gospel (in an era when MOST Christians would rather “get along” with false teachers than contend with them)

Contending for the Gospel: For the Glory of Christ and the Sanctity of His Church
By Mike Gendron
Proclaiming the Gospel, 2019, 288 pp.

5 Stars

In this recently published book, evangelist Mike Gendron compares the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone with Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. Gendron leads a Gospel outreach ministry to Roman Catholics called Proclaiming the Gospel (see here). While this book is not as well-structured as “The Gospel According to Rome” by James. G. McCarthy (see here), it is still, overall, a very good analysis of the irreconcilable theological differences between the Gospel of grace and Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. In this book, Gendron also addresses the accommodation, compromise, and betrayal of the Gospel by ecumenical “evangelical” Judases who eagerly accommodate and embrace Rome and its false gospel.

Chapters are as follows:

  1. The Foundation for the Gospel
  2. The Message of the Gospel
  3. The Person of the Gospel
  4. The Exclusivity of the Gospel
  5. The Promise of the Gospel
  6. The Compromise of the Gospel
  7. The Opposition to the Gospel
  8. The Departure from the Gospel
  9. The Catholic church and the Gospel
  10. The Urgency of the Gospel
  11. The Proclamation of the Gospel
  12. The Response to the Gospel

I’m very grateful for this new book and for Mike Gendron and his ministry to Roman Catholics. However, I do have a few minor qualifications: 1) As in the later editions of Gendron’s previous book, “Preparing for Eternity,” there’s nothing in the title or the cover graphics of this new book that would indicate that it’s a rebuttal of Rome’s false gospel. That’s obviously by design, but I’m not in favor of that kind of roundabout stratagem. 2) Gendron warns his readers to be cautious of Roman influences seeping into the evangelical church, yet favorably quotes A. W. Tozer on multiple pages. Huh? It was Tozer who introduced Catholic mysticism into the modern evangelical church, and now hipster, mega-church pastors are offering “contemplative, centering prayer” and “spiritual direction” classes to their congregations. In a book that warns about accommodation with Rome, why was Tozer chosen as an oft-cited favorable reference? Gendron should know better. 3) As in other materials I’ve read from Gendron, he scolds those who exhort lost souls to “accept” Jesus as their Savior, something that I do quite regularly. He objects to the word because he sees it as promoting Arminian free-will. However, it’s abundantly clear from Scripture that in order to appropriate the free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus, a person MUST receive/accept it!!! Check your concordance. Receiving/accepting (Greek, λαμβάνω, lambánō) Christ is a thoroughly Biblical doctrine.

“I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept (lambánō) me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.” – John 5:43 (NIV)

“But to all who did receive (lambánō) him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12 (ESV)

Gendron admonishes his readers to use only “believe in Christ” in Gospel outreach, but I don’t choose to use “believe” because every Catholic argues that they certainly “believe” in Jesus. An argument over this kind of tertiary preference doesn’t belong in a book like this.

Those minor qualifications aside, this is an excellent book that would benefit both Roman Catholics who are curious about Gospel Christianity and believers who are interested to know the basics of Rome’s false gospel. Mike Gendron is generally not well-received within today’s mega-church “evangelicalism” where pastors would rather teach theological cotton candy than warn and equip the sheep regarding false teachers and false gospels. Order from Amazon here.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 2/22/20

The above article is a sad testimony to how far much of “Protestantism” has drifted from the Gospel of grace. Next Saturday, February 29th, Saint-Pierre Reformed church in Geneva, Switzerland will host a Roman Catholic mass. Protestants are invited to attend and even receive Catholic communion, which is still “somewhat” forbidden by Rome, although pope Francis has introduced ample discretionary “wiggle room.” Reformer, John Calvin (1509-1564), was pastor of Saint-Pierre. What would Calvin say about a Roman Catholic mass being celebrated at this church? He had rightly declared that the Catholic mass “is filled with all kinds of abomination.” See here.

We’ll continue to keep tabs on the “synodal path” that’s currently underway in Germany. Expect this reform process that’s steered by German Catholic progressives to “push the envelope” beyond what even pope Francis is (publicly) comfortable with.

Last weekend, I reported pope Francis’s surprising decision NOT to allow the ordination of married men to the Catholic priesthood in the Amazon region. This past week, Catholic progressives reacted to the news with anger and frustration. They had anticipated with great enthusiasm the pope’s approval of married priests in the Amazon region as the tipping point for the eventual ordination of married men generally as well as the ordination of women to the diaconate and then to the priesthood.

Few Western Catholics are aware of pope Francis’s betrayal of Chinese Catholics to the Chinese communist government with the signing of the 2018 Vatican-Beijing accord. Remember the distraught Asian woman who had her hand slapped by Francis on December 31st? I just discovered a very relevant article that I’ll be posting about very soon.

What goes through the minds of Catholic pew sitters when they drop money in the Sunday mass offering bucket? Are they totally oblivious to the fact that they are enabling pedophiles and their enablers? The Catholic diocese of Harrisburg, PA just announced that it is filing for bankruptcy to shield its financial assets from abuse victims, making it the 20th diocese in the U.S. to do so. I’m seeing multiple reports that bankruptcy is also imminent for the nearby diocese of Buffalo.

My wife and I attended a small, Southern Baptist church here in Rochester for one year (2014-2015), but we had to leave because the new pastor was leading the church into ecumenical compromise. There are still many solid SBC pastors and churches, but the convention as a whole is drifting into ecumenical compromise and other doctrinal errors.

I almost had to pull the car over when I heard this news on the radio about Jim Bakker hawking a cure for the coronavirus. Convicted shyster, Bakker, has no shame.

I generally try to avoid commenting on national politics, but will make another exception in this case. Democratic presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, regularly makes it a point to kiss his “husband” at public campaign events. Buttigieg may or may not be the next American president, but we can foresee a time when the first lady or the first gentleman of this country will be the same sex as the president. In general, we have witnessed the bar of “acceptable convention and decorum” sink lower and lower among national politicians of both parties. That’s disturbing, but this is a fallen world. We are ambassadors and sojourners here, not deeply-rooted citizens.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #12: “We Are Justified All At Once”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next chapter, the Catholic apologist begins his six-part section on Salvation by countering Protestants’ arguments that believers are justified “all at once.”


The Roman Catholic church teaches that people must diligently work their entire life attempting to merit their salvation. Catholics hope that following their death they may be able to stand justified before God based upon their baptism and subsequent reception of their church’s sacraments and their obedience to the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules. Catholics contend that they must become intrinsically/subjectively holier and sanctified in order to merit Heaven. In marked contrast, Gospel Christians believe that a person is justified at the moment they repent (turn from their rebellion against God) and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The moment a person trusts in Jesus Christ as their Savior, His perfect righteousness is imputed to them and they are extrinsically/objectively/forensically justified by His righteousness alone. Gospel Christians then follow the Lord in obedience, albeit imperfectly. Broussard offers Romans 5:10 as an example of a verse that Gospel Christians use to defend their belief:

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In the above verse, Paul was summarizing his example of Abraham in Romans 4 as one who “believed (Greek πιστεύω pisteúō – “put one’s faith in, trust, with an implication that actions based on that trust may follow”) God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3).

Broussard then counters with the following proof-texts with which he alleges that justification is a process rather than a moment in time:

Romans 2:13: “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

Romans 6:16: “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Galatians 5:5: “For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.”

James 2:21-23: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.”

Those verses/passages do not befuddle Gospel Christians. Ephesians 2:8-10 succinctly presents the correct correlation between faith and works:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Obedience and charity are the fruit/verification of genuine repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, but not the basis of salvation. A person who has genuinely repented of their sin and trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone WILL bear evidential fruit. It’s vitally important to know that when Roman Catholics speak of “faith,” they are referring to faith in their clerics and their institutional church and its sacramental-works system, they are NOT referring to faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

For examples in the Bible of people who were saved in a conversion moment, think of the thief on the cross in Luke 23:39-43. Think of the publican in Jesus’s parable in Luke 18:9-14. Think of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:9), “Today salvation has come to this house,” and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39), and the Philippian jailor (Acts 16:25-34), and the apostle Paul (Acts 9:20). Those souls did NOT go through a year of RCIA, learning the complicated details of a legalistic religious system, but genuinely repented of their sin and placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior in a moment. A genuine conversion does not entail accepting Christ as Savior daily, over and over and over again. True conversion in Christ is by necessity a moment in time, being born-again in Christ Jesus. It is NOT a lifelong process of toil, failure, and imperfect, sin-tainted works.

Martin Luther rightly argued that justification is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls. Not just Roman Catholics, but pseudo-Christians of all other works-righteousness denominational stripes cherry-pick verses from the Bible to support their view of merited justification and salvation. How can they miss the Gospel of grace? We think of Jesus’s words in Matthew 13:10-15, “You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”

Catholic apologist Broussard’s passionate arguments for a process of intrinsic justification and merited salvation SHOULD BE a red flag for all ecumenically-minded evangelicals who misguidedly embrace the RCC as a Christian entity.

In this short post, I could never do proper justice to this all-important topic. For more information, see the articles below:

Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works?

What is justification?

Please pray for Roman Catholics, that they will see their desperate need for the Savior, Jesus Christ, rather than attempting to merit their justification and salvation, as they are taught by their church.

Next up: “Not Because of Works”

Throwback Thursday: Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Fridays during Lent?

Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the 40-day Lenten season for Roman Catholics. So for today’s Throwback Thursday installment, we’re rolling out this old chestnut that was originally published back on February 22, 2016 and has become an annual Lenten staple here at excatholic4christ. Enjoy!


This morning, I was listening to the 10/30/15 podcast of the Calling All Catholics talk radio show on The Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, out of Buffalo, New York. Catholic priest, Dave Baker, was taking questions, assisted by moderator, Mike Denz.

One of the listeners had a question regarding the church’s rule on abstinence from meat on Fridays during Lent, which I thought was quite timely because we’re currently in the Lenten season. Because the Catholic church absolutely forbids meat on Fridays during Lent, any Catholic who defiantly consumes meat commits a “mortal” sin and is doomed to hell for eternity unless they confess the sin to a priest.

But the rule’s not always as cut and dry as a juicy rib-eye steak or a succulent pork chop. The listener wanted to know if the ban on meat even included something like beef bouillon. Priest Baker irresolutely suggested that beef bouillon was “probably” okay to eat, but encouraged the person to visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ web site to get the specific details.

Well, being the curious sinner-saved-by-grace that I am, I went to the USCCB website and found the following information:

Q. I understand that all the Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat, but I’m not sure what is classified as meat. Does meat include chicken and dairy products?

A. Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs — all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste). Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted.


So while the bishops say it’s “technically” OK to consume meat-based broths, gravies, and seasonings, they add that Catholic moral theologians have traditionally taught that Catholics should abstain from all animal-derived products with the exception of products that don’t taste like meat.

Yikes! I’m still confused. This is getting more complicated than college calculus. Okay, let’s try to break it down using my favorite cracker, Chicken in a Biskit, as an example. One of the ingredients listed on the box is “dehydrated cooked chicken.” So, is it a “mortal” sin for a Catholic to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Friday during Lent? The U.S. bishops say meat-based seasonings are OK, but then turn around and say the church’s moral theologians forbid any meat derivative that tastes like meat. And, yes, Chicken in a Biskit crackers taste somewhat like chicken. So, which is it? I WANT TO KNOW! Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers or not? Will a Catholic go to hell for all eternity because they ate a Chicken in a Biskit cracker on Friday during Lent????

Ridiculous? Absolutely. The Bible doesn’t say anything about abstaining from meat on Fridays, but it does warn against religious leaders who forbid certain foods. All of these complicated abstinence rules remind me of the Pharisees who took the Mosaic Law that no one could obey absolutely anyway (except for Jesus Christ), and made it even more intricate and burdensome.

Praise the Lord for freeing me from the legalistic chains and man-made traditions of Roman Catholicism! We sin every day by breaking God’s Biblical commandments. But God loved us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross. Then Jesus rose from the grave, conquering sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who repent (turn from their rebellion against God) and accept Him as Savior by faith alone. Accept Christ and seek out an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

For more of my thoughts regarding Lent see here and here and here.

Next Thursday: The attack of the Capybara!

Roman Catholicism – Shrouded in lies, hypocrisy, and darkness

The Sacrament
By Olaf Olafsson
Ecco/HarperCollins, 2019, 292 pp.

4 Stars

I’m not much of a fiction reader, to put it mildly, but I stumbled across a very favorable review of “The Sacrament” that was featured in the progressive Jesuit monthly, “America,” and became intrigued. The reviewer indicated the story revolved around the investigation of a pedophile priest, so why would the American Jesuits’ official magazine promote such a novel? I saw that our local library had a copy and gave it a whirl.

Plot (spoiler alert)

The novel opens in Reykjavík, Iceland with a young, Catholic grammar school student witnessing the school’s priest-principal falling to his death from the adjoining church’s bell tower. Rewind to several weeks earlier. An anonymous letter sent to the Icelandic bishop accuses the principal of the school, priest August Frans, of sexual abuse. Sister Johanna Marie, a French nun, is commissioned by the Vatican to investigate the allegations because of her proficiency in the Icelandic language. The nun is assigned a young, agnostic priest, Pall, to assist her. She interviews several children and their parents, but shame, guilt, and loyalty to the church hinder their cooperation. The nun becomes absolutely convinced of the priest’s guilt, but the investigation is closed for lack of explicit evidence. Sister Johanna then dispenses vigilante justice by stealthily following the priest up to the top of the bell tower and pushing him to his doom. She subsequently comforts the young student who had witnessed the priest’s fall, but what details did he see?

Twenty-years later, the nun is summoned back to Reykjavík because of further developments in the case. The child who had witnessed the priest’s death is now thirty-something-years-old and is struggling with his past. Unnar had also been victimized by priest Frans and, through therapy, discovers he had been suppressing a detail of the priest’s death that he had witnessed. In a meeting with the current bishop and sister Johanna, the abuse survivor tacitly acknowledges that, yes, he had seen her at the top of the bell tower and discreetly thanks her for her intervention.


This novel is challenging for the reader because the author constantly skips back and forth between the two time settings. If that confusion were not enough, an additional sub-plot and timeline is introduced involving the nun in her pre-ordination days and her growing same-sex attraction to her college roommate who hails from Iceland (which explains why the nun had learned Icelandic). Pauline/Johanna Marie never acts upon her urges, which precipitates her joining the convent and “haunts” her the remainder of her life.

Because of the discombobulated, multiple timelines, this story felt VERY convoluted until the very end when all of the sub-plots converge together in the powerful, runaway-freight-train denouement.* I felt sympathy for all of the characters who are caught in the lies, hypocrisy, and filth of the Roman religion. The rampant abuse of children by pedophilic Catholic priests is now out in the open and can no longer be swept under the rug as in decades and centuries previous. I am so grateful to the Lord for delivering me from the darkness of Roman Catholicism and saving me by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

After reading “The Sacrament,” it’s very easy to understand why the Jesuit periodical, “America,” would promote it. The editor of “America” is progressive Jesuit priest, James Martin, who is Catholicism’s #1 crusader for affirmation of LGBTers and their “lifestyle” within the church.  Progressive Catholics have no compunctions about discussing the clerical sexual abuse and cover-up scandal because they view the “problem” as a result/symptom of conservative Catholicism’s strait-jacketed rigidness. I’m sure that Martin and others at “America” were absolutely delighted that the heroine of this abuse-busting story was a crypto-lesbian nun. The lesbianism (aka “particular friendships”) that was widespread within Catholic convents, including predatory abuse by those in authority, is another distasteful story that still needs to be honestly addressed.

I had scant knowledge of Iceland (population, 360,000) previous to reading this novel so one of the upsides was frequently checking the locations mentioned in the book with my Google Earth app. Iceland is an amazing, little (size of New York State) country with a formidable climate (the temperatures in Reykjavík during the summer usually reach only into the high-50s Fahrenheit).

While I wouldn’t generally recommend this book, it is an interesting and revealing view of Roman Catholicism from the Catholic Left, especially in regards to the current scandal tsunami, that might appeal to some other evangelical Vatican-watchers.

*Hurrah for blogging! Where else but in a blog post can the average person use such a powerfully descriptive word as “denouement”?