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 continues his section on Sacraments and the specific topic of ordained priests as he counters evangelical Protestants’ arguments that “We’re All Priests.”
In the previous ten chapters, Broussard argued for the necessity of the Roman Catholic sacraments. But who can administer these alleged sacraments? The Roman church teaches that only its ordained priests and bishops are able to administer the sacraments of the eucharist, confession, marriage, and last rites, and only bishops can administer confirmation and ordination.
As Broussard points out, evangelical Protestants do not accept the validity of specially ordained priests in the church age and cite 1 Peter 2:9 as one of their proof texts:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Protestant evangelicals argue that ALL believers are priests in the sense that they proclaim God’s Good News! to the unsaved, but that the sacrificial, sacerdotal (Latin sacerdos, “offerer of sacrifices”) priesthood ended with Jesus Christ’s once-for-all-time sacrifice for sins on the cross.
Broussard attempts to defend the Catholic ordained sacrificial priesthood with four arguments:
(1) Broussard presents Exodus 19:6 below as the Old Testament equivalent of 1 Peter 2:9:
“‘And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
From these two verses Broussard attempts to connect the dots by arguing that (A) while all Israelites were called to be priests in a general sense in the Mosaic Covenant, there was also a distinct sacrificial priesthood composed of Aaron and his progeny, and (B) in likewise fashion, while all Catholics are called to be priests in the New Covenant, there is also a distinctly ordained sacrificial priesthood.
(2) Broussard once again refers to John 20:23 as a proof text for priests’ alleged specific authorization to forgive sins, which he then extrapolates into a validation of their general ministerial/priestly capacity, which is not shared with unordained lay Catholics. Once again, he cites Leviticus 5:5-6 to demonstrate the Old Testament parallel that priests played a ministerial role in the forgiveness of sins; a role that was not shared with other Israelites.
(3) Broussard argues that Jesus designated only His twelve apostles among His many disciples to officiate with Him at the very first sacrifice of the mass at the Passover meal prior to his death. Again, Broussard draws a parallel to the Old Testament, arguing that, likewise, only a distinct class of the Israelites, the priests, were able to offer sacrifices to God.
(4) In his final argument, the Catholic apologist presents Romans 15:15-16 as a supposed proof text in validation of the apostle Paul as a ministering Catholic priest:
15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Let’s now respond to Mr. Broussard.
(1) In answer to Broussard’s argument that Catholic priests are the New Covenant successors to the Old Testament sacrificial priesthood, evangelical Christians correctly argue that the Old Testament priests were but a foreshadowing of the coming High Priest, Jesus Christ. After Jesus Christ offered Himself on the cross for the propitiation for sin, all sacrifice for sin ceased. There is no longer a need for human priests and sacrifice. The Book of Hebrews, chapters 7-10, makes this explicitly clear.
“Where there is forgiveness of these (sins), there is no longer any offering for sin.” – Hebrews 10:18.
(2) In chapter #26 of this series, “God Alone Can Forgive Sins,” we thoroughly debunked Broussard’s claim that John 20:23 validated the Catholic sacrament of confession (see here). As for the legitimacy of ministerial offices, evangelicals take Scripture at its Word that individuals are called by the Holy Spirit to minister to the flock in the capacities of pastor, elder, and deacon (see here), but NOWHERE in the New Testament do we see someone ministering as a priest in the Catholic sense of offering sacrifices for sin. In the New Testament, we see “high priest” (Greek: archiereus, ἀρχιερεύς) used to identify Jesus Christ. We also see “priest” (Greek: hiereus, ἱερεύς) also used to identify Jesus, as well as believers in the general sense of 1 Peter 2:9, but nowhere, NOWHERE, in the New Testament do we see an individual identified as a priest in the Catholic sacrificial sense. Ecumenical evangelicals who favorably accommodate the notions of Catholic priests and the sacrifice of the mass betray the Gospel and Scripture.
(3) Broussard’s argument here presupposes a belief that the Last Supper was a sacrifice for sins, which it definitely was not. In regards to the mass, the Roman Catholic church basically took two verses referring to the Last Supper, Matthew 26:26-27, and concocted an elaborate hour-long liturgical ceremony centered on the priest, the Jesus wafer, and the alleged sacrifice for sins.
(4) Broussard is grasping at straws here. Paul is most assuredly referring to “priestly service” in the same sense as the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:9; that of presenting the Gospel to unbelievers, NOT officiating at the alleged sacrifice of the mass.
Make no mistake about it, my friends, the Catholic priest wields GREAT powers over his congregants in their minds. As administerer of the Catholic sacraments, he is indispensable to their salvation and they are absolutely dependent on him. All of that is by design and contrary to the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
Next up: “Except for Unchastity”