Catholicism vs. the Bible, 101

What Every Catholic Should Know
By A.J. Gary
WestBow Press, 2015, 136 pp.

4 Stars

In the introduction to “What Every Catholic Should Know,” author A.J. Gary explains that she was raised as a Roman Catholic, but accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior by faith alone through the outreach ministry of a nearby evangelical church. She then witnessed to her family and some also professed to have trusted in Christ, including her mother. However, Gary’s mother was determined to remain in the Roman Catholic church. But how can a reborn child of God remain in a religious institution that unabashedly teaches works-righteousness and many other anti-Biblical doctrines? Gary states that she wrote this self-published book with her mother in mind and therein examines the irreconcilable doctrinal differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity.

Gary hits upon the main doctrinal differences (see chapter headings below), including the prime doctrine of justification; how a sinner is justified/made righteous in their standing before Holy God. Catholics believe justification is a lifelong process whereby a person must avail themselves of their church’s sacraments in order to receive graces, which are alleged to enable them to become intrinsically, subjectively sanctified/holier in their thoughts and actions in order to hopefully merit salvation at the moment of their death. In contrast, Gospel Christians believe they are justified at the moment they accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and received His imputed perfect righteousness. Christians then follow the Lord in obedience as the fruit/evidence of their spiritual re-birth, albeit imperfectly.

It’s apparent that Ms. Gary does not have any formal theological training. Her arguments are quite basic. However, by comparing official Catholic teaching with Scripture, she more than adequately makes her points and draws her valid conclusions. Gary’s basic approach would actually be an asset for anyone looking for an easy-to-understand primer on the doctrinal differences between the RCC and Gospel Christianity while avoiding heavy theological jargon. One criticism I have is the brevity of her chapter on justification. It’s the shortest chapter in the book at only three pages, whereas the all-important topic deserves the lengthiest exposition. That aside, I do recommend “What Every Catholic Should Know.” Well done, sister A.J.!

You can order “What Every Catholic Should Know” at Amazon here. The price of the Kindle version is very reasonable at $3.99.

Chapters

  • Baptism
  • The Eucharist
  • Confirmation
  • Penance
  • Matrimony
  • Prayer
  • Purgatory
  • Justification
  • The Papacy
  • The Worship of Mary
  • Tradition

16 thoughts on “Catholicism vs. the Bible, 101

  1. I do not know this woman nor have I read the book; however, sometimes, the more someone talks about justification, the worse they make it. I know in reading “The Gospel According to Rome” I was AMAZED at how the RCC defined (or did not define) justification. I am assuming she mentioned it is not works based because I think you would have given it much less stars! I will check this book out because I appreciate women who want to tackle issues such as these! Hope you are resting today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: talking about justification

      Writing or speaking about the difference between Biblical justification and Catholicism’s notion of justification can be challenging because people are put-off by the daunting terminology (i.e., imputed, extrinsic, forensic, objective justification vs. Catholicism’s infused, intrinsic, subjective righteousness). One missionary to Catholics broke it down to simply DONE vs. DO. What muddies the issue even more is that Gospel Christianity and the RCC use many of the same terms (e.g., grace and faith) but attach totally different meanings to those terms (Catholics mean sacramental grace and faith in their religious system). So Catholics readily assent to “salvation by grace through faith” but will not agree to salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

      The theological technical parlance probably seems nitpicky to most but even a child can understand DO vs. DONE. I noticed that several of the Protestant critiques of Catholicism of yesteryear focused on the subordinate (but not trivial) differences (Mary, the papacy, purgatory, etc.), rather than on the prime difference, HOW a person appropriates the free gift of eternal life. The author does a very good job overall for being a non-scholar.

      Thanks! Corinne and I both had routine MD visits this AM and now it’s couch duty the rest of the day. I’m going to read until my eyes cross. Hope your week is off to a good start!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Love the “DONE VS DO”! Currently, I am annoyed with PQ as he wants me to throw the ball but then chase him my dad (aka “pops”) taught him this terrible game! He used to be such a good retriever and would drop the ball shaking his whole body! What are you reading today?!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha, funny that your PQ enjoys being chased. Our dog is a labradoodle and loves to retrieve and drop. Our son’s pit bull also loves to be chased with a toy in his mouth. Whenever we visit, he wants me to start chasing him immediately.

        I’m reading “Finding Vigano” about a conservative Catholic archbishop and former papal ambassador to Washington D.C.who is the pope’s biggest critic. He called upon Francis to resign in 2018 and has been in hiding ever since. A fascinating chapter in the tug-of-war within the RCC hierarchy between conservatives and progressives that few lay Catholics are aware of.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Author has more courage than some apologists today! She tackles it head on and wrote a book on RC. Wished the chapter on justification was longer, 3 pages is too short for such an important essential doctrine!

    Liked by 1 person

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