Throwback Thursday: “Jesus did 99 percent of the work, but you must do the remaining 1 percent.” Huh?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 5, 2016 and has been revised.


You won’t find it verbatim in the Roman Catholic church’s official catechism. Catholic congregants may not hear it said during a mass. But there is a saying used by Catholic religious instructors, past and present, that’s extremely popular within Catholicism and it goes something like this:

“Jesus did 99 percent of the work for your salvation, but you must do the remaining 1 percent.”

We students heard that admonition repeatedly from the nuns at our Catholic grammar school.

The Catholic church teaches Jesus only made it possible for people to be saved by His death on the cross, but that it’s then up to each individual Catholic to participate in the sacraments and obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules as their part in meriting their salvation.

Born-again Christians know they cannot possibly obey the Law. Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to Earth, lived a perfect life, and offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He paid our sin debt as only He could. But He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who trust in Him as their Savior by faith alone.

Catholics believe that, with the help of God’s grace, they can obey the Law and hopefully merit their way into Heaven, fulfilling their 1 percent. But God’s Word says the Law wasn’t given as a way to Heaven. The Law was given to show us just how sinful we are compared to a Holy God and that we desperately need the Savior He provided.

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” – Romans 3:20

It’s only AFTER we accept Jesus as our Savior and are spiritually born-again that we can follow the Lord in obedience, albeit imperfectly.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

⚠️ Truth be told, since Catholics are instructed they must perfectly obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules to be in a “state of grace” at the moment of their death in order to merit their salvation, they are actually required to do 99 percent of the work, not 1 percent!

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” – Galatians 2:21

If you’re not counting on Jesus Christ 100 percent for your salvation, then you are lost and you will be judged for all of your sins. Say a prayer to Jesus Christ right now and ask Him to save you. Then find an evangelical church in your area that preaches the Word of God without compromise.

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the (self) righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2:17

Christ Has Done His 99 Percent
By James McCarthy

Cemetery tales, #1: Don’t cry?

My wife and I take a daily walk with our dog at a nearby cemetery where my wife’s mother, father, and step-father are buried. We also have two side-by-side cemetery plots located there that are reserved for us (more on that detail in post #2). Walking at the cemetery every day got me thinking about death and sparked a couple of posts, the first one below:


Jesus wept.” – John 11:35

We’re all familiar with John 11:35, the shortest verse in the Bible. But why did Jesus weep in that particular circumstance, already knowing He was going to raise His friend, Lazarus, from the dead? Many have speculated, but perhaps part of the reason was because Jesus’s heart was weighted-down in perfect empathy for Lazarus’s grieving sisters, Mary and Martha. I was recently reminded of a time when I was less-than-empathetic as an immature new believer. First, a little background.

My wife’s mother (daughter and mother in above photo, circa 1970) died way back in January 1984 at the age of 68. Dorothy was a longtime cigarette smoker and had developed a progressive case of emphysema. The last couple of years of her life, it became increasingly difficult, make that torturous, for her just to take a single, satisfying breath.

Dorothy was raised as a Roman Catholic and even spent a few of her childhood years as a boarder at the former Academy of the Sacred Heart, located at 8 Prince Street in Rochester, a consequence of the breakup of her parents’ marriage. Dorothy grew up and got married herself, but divorced her husband in the early-1950s, which was quite scandalous at that time. She then married my wife’s father, resulting in the Catholic church excommunicating her (formal letters of excommunication were issued from the diocese in those days). Dorothy subsequently did not attend church, but she raised her daughter (my wife) as a Catholic, including four years of Catholic high school. As Dorothy approached the end of her life, her last husband, a “Protestant” (more on him in the next post), contacted the local Catholic parish and a priest visited a few times and administered “last rites.” However, Dorothy also heard the genuine Gospel and accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior by faith alone.

Dorothy was taken to the hospital in late-December, 1983 in extreme discomfort, but there was nothing the medical staff could do. She was returned home and died a few days later.

Okay, now comes the embarrassing part.

My wife cried heavy tears at her mother’s funeral. I was surprised. We were new (aka immature) believers at that time and the Gospel church we attended encouraged members to have a constant, “Stepford-ish” smile on their faces. I actually admonished my wife not to cry because her mother was in Heaven and no longer suffering. What a dummy I was. I was putting cold, detached theology ahead of my wife’s deep sorrow at the loss of her mother. What I actually needed at that moment was a heavy dose of Jesus’s empathy.

Yes, there is the JOY that is ours, in all circumstances, as a part of being in Christ, and we must not allow grief and sorrow to completely consume us, BUT let’s allow our brothers and sisters (and ourselves) to work through grief and sorrow, by God’s grace, without adding to their burdens by making them feel guilty.

To see Cemetery Tales, #2, click here.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #64

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas.

First, we have guest speaker, James Taylor, at Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana preaching from Matthew 1 on “Black Sheep of the Christmas Story.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Luke 2:1-7 on “No Vacancy.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, December 13th.

James Taylor – Black Sheep of the Christmas Story

Pastor Cody Andrews – No Vacancy

Remembering the old clicker

My wife and I married in 1974, right after high school, and our two sons came along one and four years later. For the first twenty-five years of our marriage, I worked at a number of blue-collar jobs and my wife stayed home with the kids. Throughout that long stretch, we didn’t have two nickels in the checking account after the monthly bills were paid. Finances, or the lack thereof, were a regular cause of frustration and friction in our marriage, which is not all that uncommon from what I’ve read.

When the boys were young, Friday nights were special. My wife would give me a shopping list and our two boys and myself would head over to the Wegmans grocery store on East Henrietta Road to buy food supplies for another week. Always on the list were a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and a jar of Pace picante sauce, which we would enthusiastically scarf down while watching TV after we got home. Back in those days, there were plenty of decent television shows for the family on Friday nights like “The Hulk,” “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Knight Rider,” and “Air Wolf.”

Things were so tight financially that I always brought my red “Handy Counter”* clicker adding device (see top photo) along on our grocery outings. After I placed an item into the grocery cart, I would press the appropriate keys on the clicker to keep a running tally. We had a budget for our groceries and I tried to keep the total close to the goal. As we got to the last few aisles of the grocery store, it often became an exercise of returning some non-essential items back to the store shelves in order to stay within the budget. Inexpensive hand-held electronic calculators were introduced in the late-1970s, but I preferred my rugged clicker for the grocery shopping outings. It was actually much easier to operate than a calculator because I didn’t even have to look at it when I pressed the keys. I had to replace the clicker every year or so, but it was amazing they lasted as long as they did because of all of the cheap plastic parts (including plastic gears).

Later on in our marriage, I got my degree from night school and made some advancements at Kodak. My wife also went to school and began a career as a nurse. But additional income brings other problems and challenges. Then, in the summer of 2019, I was laid off after 43 years at Kodak and my wife was forced to leave her job because of health problems. But the Lord has provided for us in amazing ways this past year. We still watch our budget, but I don’t need to bring a clicker with me to the grocery store. Back in the day, I used to see (and hear) other frugal shoppers using a clicker at the grocery store, but I haven’t seen or heard one in maybe thirty years. I checked the internet and some vintage clickers like the one in the photo are available on ebay.

Thank you, Lord, for providing for us then and now!

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:25-34

*The Handy Counter clicker was manufactured in Hong Kong for Kitchen King Company located in Central Islip, N.Y.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 12/26/20

While I certainly don’t endorse the above article from a liberal Catholic periodical, it includes some interesting information. The “Jericho March” was an ecumenical event held in Washington D.C. on Saturday, December 12. The purpose of the event was for like-minded, politically-conservative “Christians” of all denominational stripes to demonstrate their support for President Trump and to protest alleged voter fraud in the recent presidential election. (As so often happens with Christian Nationalists, a message or event described in the Old Testament and meant only for ancient Israel, in this case the marches around Jericho referred to in Joshua 6, is misappropriated and misapplied. Apostle Paul did not stage any Jericho Marches.) On the day of the event, there were separate “Jericho marches” around the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the Department of Justice buildings, followed by a collective “Let the Church ROAR!” rally at the National Mall with evangelical ecumenist, author, and radio-host, Eric Metaxas, as the emcee. The featured Roman Catholic speakers included Fr. Greg Bramlage, Sr. Deirdre Byrne, Dr. Taylor Marshall, Fr. Frank Pavone, Bishop Joseph Strickland, and Archbishop Carlo Vigano. As priest Bramlage said a prayer of exorcism over Washington D.C. and “blessed” a painting of documented abuse-enabler, pope John Paul II, in the act of worshiping Mary, a gift intended for First Lady Melania Trump, Metaxas bowed his head and raised his hand in supplication (see above photo). However, when Bramlage was finished, Metaxas uttered some very awkward qualifying remarks. “Wow, wow, wow, wow. That is some weird Catholic stuff. I don’t know if I believe in that, but this is an ecumenical gathering. If you believe in Jesus, I am all in,” sputtered Metaxas. This is what happens when compromising Christians sell their souls to temporal politics and ecumenism with Rome. You can witness Metaxas’ shameful and embarrassing equivocations for yourself at the end of the 6-minute YouTube video, here.

Along with Lourdes in France, Fatima, Portugal is the site of the most famous of the alleged Marian apparitions. I may have to read and rebut this book down the road.

His inauguration is still four weeks away, but conservative American Catholic prelates are furiously scratching their heads and wondering how to respond to Joe Biden’s pro-abortion, pro-LGBT, progressive brand of Roman Catholicism. Expect these “conservative RC prelates vs. Joe Biden” stories to be ongoing for the next four years.

I was not an admirer of Ravi Zacharias due to his casual support of ecumenism with Rome, but I’m sorry for his family and for the disrepute he brought upon the Gospel.

A couple of generations ago, Christian publishers regularly published testimonials of former Roman Catholics who had trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone, left the RCC, and joined an evangelical church. These days, those very same publishers eagerly publish books by Catholic authors. At Amazon, you’ll find many recent books from Catholic publishers written by alleged “ex-evangelicals,” like the one above, who describe “crossing the Tiber” and eagerly acquiescing to the chains of Rome. Many more souls leave Catholicism for Christ than the inverse (5 to 1, see here), but evangelicals have been conditioned to disapprove of such testimonials as “divisive” and “sectarian.”

Catholics continue to wrestle with the embarrassing circumstance that in 2011 their church canonized an abuse-enabler, pope John Paul II, a fact documented in the Vatican’s recent report on disgraced ex-cardinal, Ted McCarrick.

Throwback Thursday: The bogus “Holy Lance of Saint Longinus”

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 13, 2016 and has been revised.


I was watching an episode of “The Borgias” on Netflix the other day and a reference was made to
the “Holy Lance of Saint Longinus,” which sparked my curiosity.

During the Middle Ages, prelates of the increasingly institutionalized Roman Catholic church competed with each other to stock their respective cathedrals with famous relics connected to the New Testament. There were churches claiming to have splinters of Jesus’s cross, thorns from His crown, vials of His blood, and even His infant foreskin. Great powers were attributed to these relics and credulous pilgrims from all over Europe flocked to see them and to receive hoped-for healings and blessings.

One of the more famous relics to appear was the “Holy Lance of Saint Longinus.” Catholic tradition has it that Longinus (Latin: from longus, “long,” as in “long lance.” Original, huh?) was the Roman soldier who pierced the side of the crucified Jesus’ body with a lance to verify His death (see John 19:31-37) and who purportedly converted to Christianity. See here for more information. The Vatican claims to possess the alleged “Holy Lance,” which is stored within the north-eastern pillar under the dome at St. Peter’s Basilica. The history of that artifact can be traced back only as far as the 6th century. But like all of the alleged relics associated with Christ, there are several other versions in existence, each one claimed to be the original by its possessor. The most famous competitor of the Vatican lance is the “Holy Lance” currently on display at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, which was used in the coronation ceremonies of several of the Holy Roman Emperors.

This is all sheer nonsense my friends. The Roman soldier who lanced the body of Jesus was not named Longinus. The “Holy Lance” in the Vatican is a fake as are all of the other alleged “relics” associated with Jesus. The institutionalized church turned simple, saving faith in Jesus Christ into superstition and idolatrous worship of physical objects.

Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone and come out of superstition and gross fraud. Seek an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise and worships the Lord in spirit and in truth.

“(Hezekiah) removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.” – 2 Kings 18:4

Jesus and John Wayne?

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation
By Kristin Kobes Du Mez
Liveright Publishing, 2020, 356 pp.

2 Stars

Readers of this blog know I’m not a supporter of the still-popular “America the Christian Nation” paradigm. The conflation of faith and fervent nationalism by American Christians has led to a multitude of wrong turns, errors, and abuses ever since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620.

The unusual title of this book caught my attention, so I borrowed a copy from the library. The author documents the preliminary origins and rise of militant Falwellian Christian nationalism in the 1970s, which has continued in various permutations into the Trump presidency. Where does Hollywood actor, John Wayne,* fit in? The author posits that post-WWII-era Christians substituted Wayne, or rather the über-masculine and nationalistic ethos that the actor symbolized, for Jesus Christ and the genuine Gospel. The main propagators of Christian nationalism receive plenty of mention, including Pat Buchanan, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Sr., Jerry Falwell Jr., Bill Gothard, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, D. James Kennedy, Al Mohler, Oliver North, Tony Perkins, Doug Phillips, Pat Robertson, Rousas Rushdoony, Phyllis Schlafly, and Doug Wilson, among others.

The author, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, a professor of history at Calvin University** (Grand Rapids, MI) and a self-described “Christian feminist,” is at the opposite end of the spectrum of the Christian nationalists she critiques. Throughout the entire book, the reader must endure her shrill rants against “white patriarchalism.” I’m definitely not a supporter of Christian nationalism or inflated machismo, but Kobes Du Mez also frequently takes aim at doctrines that are basic to Biblical Christianity. According to her view, evangelical Christian nationalists are also misguided because they preach against homosexuality, desire to evangelize Muslims, and believe the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God.

I would have awarded this book only 1-star due to its theological heterodoxy, however I bumped it up to two stars because I did appreciate the author’s critical examination of the history of Falwellian Christian nationalism. Evangelical scholars are not apt to tackle this subject material either because (A) they’re sympathetic to Christian nationalism themselves or (B) they don’t want to alienate the bulk of American Christians who still hold to that paradigm in some form or fashion. However, the author’s own ax grinding on behalf Christian feminism and theological liberalism draws its own abundant criticisms.

I’ll be focusing on a very recent example of misguided Christian nationalism in the upcoming Weekend Roundup.

*John Wayne was a nominal Presbyterian before “converting” to Roman Catholicism two days before his death.

**Christian parents send their teens off to some “Christian” colleges such as Calvin University mistakenly assuming the faculty believes and teaches Biblical orthodoxy.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #63

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which normally means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas.

We do have Assistant Pastor Kelvin Richardson of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching on Sunday, December 6th from Matthew 2:1-12 on “The Wise Men.”

However, the sermon for that Sunday from Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City wasn’t uploaded.

Pastor Kelvin Richardson – The Wise Men

When Catholics speak of “Christian Unity,” what they mean is the eventual conversion of Protestants

Christian Unity: The Next Step
By Kevin E. Mackin, OFM (Order of Friars Minor aka the Franciscans)
WestBow Press (A Division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan), 2020, 92 pp.

1 Star

I stumbled across this short book written by a Franciscan priest about the future of the ecumenical movement and was curious to see what he had to say. Based on its short length, I suspected this was some sort of academic dissertation, but was surprised to read the author is eighty-two years old.

Priest Mackin begins with a look back at the Roman Catholic church’s radical redirection at the Second Vatican Council with regards to its attitude towards Protestants, from that of militant confrontation to concerted rapprochement. But Catholicism’s concept of “Christian unity” has always meant Protestants’ eventual reabsorption. The goal since 1964 has been to bring the “separated brethren” back into the fold under the authority of the pope. Paranoia on my part? Read the RCC’s own words:

When such (ecumenical) actions are undertaken prudently and patiently by the Catholic faithful, with the attentive guidance of their bishops, they promote justice and truth, concord and collaboration, as well as the spirit of brotherly love and unity. This is the way that, when the obstacles to perfect ecclesiastical communion have been gradually overcome, all Christians will at last, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, be gathered into the one and only Church in that unity which Christ bestowed on His Church from the beginning. We believe that this unity subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time.

– from Vatican II document, Unitatis redintegratio, (Restoration of unity), chapter 2, 1964

Mackin describes some of the post-conciliar ecumenical talks between Catholics and mainline Protestants focusing on the issues of Scripture, tradition, and authority. He notes that “progress” has definitely been made, but the hoped-for, large-scale reabsorption of Protestants remains elusive.

When Mackin speaks of “Protestants,” he’s generally referring to members of the old, mainline Protestant denominations. The RCC is also making a concerted effort to interface with evangelical Protestants. Ecumenically-minded evangelicals who embrace the RCC with its false gospel of sacramental grace and merit are pawns and polezni durak, “useful fools,” in this calculated endeavor. The genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone has nothing in common with Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

Mackin notes that the RCC has been sidetracked by the two-decades-long scandal involving pedophile priests and hierarchical cover-up and needs to “reform” and rededicate itself so that ecumenism can advance once again.

This book “disappointed” in that the theological jargon is sometimes as thick as mud and friar Mackin fails to provide much insight into what the concrete “next step/s” might be in the RCC’s plan for the reabsorption of Protestants. What will it take for Protestants to finally shutter their churches’ windows, padlock their doors, and mosey on down the street to the nearest Roman Catholic church on Sundays? I’m of the opinion that it will take some type of global, catastrophic event for unwitting non-Catholics to submit to the pope en masse and I do believe such an event is coming. In the meantime, misguided, ecumenically-minded evangelicals bemoan denominational divides and long for the day when all “Christians” can worship together under one roof. The pope and his prelates are most assuredly working on it.

Above: Cardinal Kurt Koch (2nd from right), President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, meets with representatives from the World Evangelical Alliance in 2018.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 12/19/20

The good news is that the first batches of the COVID-19 vaccine were shipped to hospitals across the country this past week. The bad news is that 50% of Americans who self-identify as “evangelical” insist they won’t get vaccinated. [Sigh]

In his recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers), pope Francis specifically cites Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb five times and unabashedly recognizes Muslims as co-believers in the true God. What the pope and Catholicism propagates is not Christianity.

I know I have beaten this same drum in previous weekend roundups, but it’s difficult to overlook continuing news reports on how COVID-19 is accelerating the decline of the American Catholic church.

Speaking of ongoing drumbeats, conservative American Catholic prelates and priests will continue to grapple with the blatant incongruity of president-elect Joe Biden’s brand of progressive Catholicism (i.e., pro-abortion, pro-LGBT agenda).

In an attempt to stay within the boundaries of Scripture, Catholics insist that they do not technically “worship” Mary, but rather accord to her “hyperdulia veneration.” Objective observers would not be able distinguish between worship and Catholicism’s hyperdulia and Roman Catholics are not able to demarcate where the one ends and the other begins.

Pope Francis doesn’t declare his progressive reforms by fiat. He craftily brings them in through the back door as he did with the lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees via a footnote in his 2016 Amoris Laetitia apostolic exhortation and with his approval of same-sex civil unions via off-the-cuff remarks in a recent docu-bio. Like-minded liberal prelates and priests then implement the reforms in their dioceses and parishes. Be assured that liberal priests are already “blessing” same-sex “marriages” on the QT.

Pat Robertson’s collected failed prophecies would fill a notebook, but somehow that makes no difference to his credulous followers.

Jerry Jr. brought disrepute upon the Gospel on many levels.