Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 19, 2016 and has been revised.
Watch Your Teaching!: A Comparative Study of Roman Catholic and Protestant Teaching Since Vatican Council II
By Stuart P. Garver
Christ’s Mission, 1973, 167 pages
If you are/were a Roman Catholic born during the 1950s or earlier, you can certainly remember the dramatic surface changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Pope John XXIII initiated the council to “open the windows (of the church) and let in some fresh air” of reform. Some of the alterations introduced by the council that I remember the most included the change of the liturgy of the mass from Latin to English, the priest facing the people during the mass instead of the altar, nuns’ habits (outfits) being modernized, the lifting of the ban on meat on non-Lenten Fridays, and some familiar saints being scrubbed from the church’s calendar. But perhaps the most significant change was the church’s switch from its confrontational approach to Protestantism and to the other religions of the world. After the council, Catholicism would take an ecumenical/interreligious approach, especially with Protestants, with the aim of eventually recovering the “separated brethren.”
In this book, published in 1973, Stuart Garver, director of Christ’s Mission, a ministry to Roman Catholics, evaluates Catholicism in light of the reforms of Vatican II. His conclusion: despite the many superfluous changes to its window dressing, Catholicism’s erroneous doctrines remained largely intact. Most importantly, Rome’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit continued just as before. In the chapters listed below, Garver compares the beliefs of post-Vatican II Catholicism with Biblical Christianity:
- The Church
- The New People of God (Clergy and Laity)
- The Pope
- The Priest and the Priesthood
- The Sacraments
- The Mass
- The Rule of Faith and Practice
- Mixed marriages
- Church and State
Following Vatican II, many Protestants praised Catholicism’s new willingness to “dialogue,” but sixty years after the council, it’s crystal clear that while some evangelical Protestants have done quite a bit of accommodating, cooperating, compromising, and outright betraying the Gospel in their efforts to court the pope and Rome, Catholicism remains dedicated to its false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit and is resolved in its efforts to eventually recover all Christian “ecclesial communities.” Sadly, many evangelicals are more interested in ecumenical unity based on deadly-shallow theology rather than heeding any warnings to “Watch Your Teaching” and defend correct doctrine and the genuine Gospel.
This informative, short book is still quite relevant for today’s Catholics and evangelicals. Stuart Garver served as executive director of Christ’s Mission from 1960 to 1977. The mission began in 1879 in New York City as a Gospel outreach ministry to Catholic priests and ex-priests, but eventually shifted its outreach to Roman Catholics in general. It ceased operations in 1984.