Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 12/31/22

Before we begin our news and views, I wanted to take a moment to wish all of my friends and readers here at WordPress a blessed and Happy New Year!

The death of former-pope, Benedict XVI aka Joseph Ratzinger, was announced earlier this morning by the Vatican. Benedict was pope from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. The secular mass media will be reporting on the ex-pope and his upcoming elaborate funeral for several days to come. The last we heard of Ratzinger previous to this was that he was facing German civil court proceedings for allegedly covering up for pedeophile priests in his role as archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982 (see here). Ratzinger’s legacy is that he propagated his church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Progressive pope Francis has had a thorny relationship with conservative prelates and priests working inside (and outside) the Vatican and occasionally chides them for being doctrinaire and resistant to his reforms. This article states, “Francis used his annual Christmas greeting to the Roman Curia to again put the cardinals, bishops and priests who work in the Holy See on notice that they are by no means beyond reproach and are, in fact, particularly vulnerable to evil.” Francis warned the curia that an “elegant demon” lurks among them, but it’s clear that an elegant demon also guides Bergoglio as he dispenses the RCC’s false gospel of salvation via sacramental grace and merit, albeit with a progressive/liberal twist.

It’s sadly fascinating to see how some young neo-con Catholics are attracted to pre-conciliar, militant Roman Catholicism with its Latin mass liturgy, which few understand. Whether the mass is Novus Ordo/Ordinary Form or Traditional/Extraordinary Form/Latin, it is a blasphemous and spurious attempt to re-sacrifice Jesus Christ on Catholic altars.

This Gospel Coalition article touts J.I. Packer (d. 2020), one of the prime signatories of the Evangelicals and Catholics Together declarations, as a great Christian that we should emulate. The author of this article, Paul House, states J.I. Packer admired and attempted to imitate English Reformers William Tyndale, Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, and Nicholas Ridley, but then goes on to say Packer “tried to develop fellowship with…Roman Catholics.” That’s a jaw-dropping dichotomy. Tyndale, Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley opposed Roman Catholic heresy and were all burnt at the stake as their reward. Stalwart pastor and preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, severed his friendship with Packer over the issue of ecumenism. Packer “showed the way” to compromise and betrayal of the Gospel and we surely shouldn’t follow him. Shame on House and the Gospel Coalition.

Reformer Huldrych Zwingli remains in the shadows of Martin Luther and John Calvin, but I have a special interest in Zwingli and even got to visit his Grossmunster church in Zurich, Switzerland (see here). I checked my library and put a hold on “Zwingli: God’s Armed Prophet” by F. Bruce Gordon, which is referred to in this article.

My deceased father carried on the centuries-old Polish tradition of offering opłatek (“sacred bread”) on Christmas Eve (known as Wigilia, “vigil”) to all of his family members while wishing each one a happy and prosperous new year. Opłatek comes in the form of small, rectangular sheets of pressed bread of the same thinness and consistency as communion wafers. Polish Americans pick up their opłatek at their local ethnic-Polish Catholic church and nowadays it’s also unsurprisingly available via Amazon. Opłatek is “blessed” by the parish priest, but not consecrated into alleged Jesus wafers. While this tradition has some sweet aspects, its roots are too deep in Polish Catholicism for me to continue it.

American Catholic conservatives are stewing because the Vatican has laicized/defrocked popular priest, Frank Pavone, with no appeal possible. Despite repeated warnings from his bishop, Pavone continued to post messages on social media supporting former-POTUS, Donald Trump. This decision wasn’t from Vatican bureaucrats, but from pope Francis. As Catholic reporters have noted, “Only the Pope, who enjoys ‘full and supreme power in the Church’ (canon 332, 1), can issue such a decision against which there is no possible appeal.”

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia heads the Vatican’s Academy for Life, which is pushing for full acceptance of practicing S&G-ites and the overturning of pope Paul VI’s 1968 Humanae Vitae contraception ban. You may remember that archbishop Paglia had a controversial homoerotic mural installed at his central diocesan church (see here).

“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #31: “Jesus does correct his disciples’ literal thinking. He says, ‘The flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life’ (John 6:63).”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard continues his first of two chapters defending transubstantiation and the eucharist using John 6:48-67 as his lengthy proof-text. For brevity’s sake, you can find that passage here.


Last week, we responded to Broussard’s claim that Jesus allegedly validated the literal interpretation of the Bread of Life Discourse by not correcting those disciples who took a literalist view and walked away. This week, Broussard presents…

Protestant response #31: “Jesus does correct his disciples’ literal thinking. He says, ‘The flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life’ (John 6:63).”

Writes Broussard, “In contrast to (the previous comeback, #30), which recognizes that Jesus offers no clarification of his remarks in John 6, this comeback argues that Jesus did. Some Protestants appeal to Jesus’ words in John 6:63: ‘It is spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.’ Apologist Matt Slick, founder of Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, interprets this text as Jesus ‘stating that the words he was speaking were spiritual words when talking about eating his flesh and drinking his blood.’ Slick concludes, ‘[Jesus] did not say they were literal words; that is, he did not say that they were his actual body and blood.’

Broussard’s response

Broussard’s response is painfully convoluted and lengthy, so I will attempt to summarize it as succinctly as I can.

Broussard states that the words “spirit and life” are not clarifying because the disciples left after Jesus had spoken them. Broussard asks, “If people recognized the word spirit as meaning symbolic, why would the disciples leave Jesus?”

Broussard then abruptly leaves Matt Slick’s argument and turns to an unrelated argument by evangelical apologist, James R. White, who contends the disciples left Jesus due to His declaration in v. 65, “And he said, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’” Verse 66 follows with, Because of this (ek toútou) many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him” (NRSV). White asserts the disciples left Jesus because of His declaration of “the Father’s kingly freedom and man’s inability.”

Broussard answers that ek toútou can either be translated either as the causal “because of this” or the sequential “after this,” which many Protestant translations use. He examines White’s causal interpretation and concludes it doesn’t make sense because:

  • The disciples were already following Jesus.
  • The disciples did not react negatively to a preceding similar statement, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” – v. 44.
  • Jesus repeatedly defended His “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (v. 56) statement but not his v.65 declaration.

Broussard then returns to Matt Slick’s argument. Regarding John 6:63, “It is spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail,” Broussard contends, “Jesus means that his teaching can’t be analyzed from a purely human perspective. The eyes of faith are needed, since eating his flesh and drinking his blood are going to involve the miraculous, like his ascension into heaven, which Jesus appeals to in response to the disciples’ difficulty.” Broussard continues, “…accepting the reality of what (Jesus is) saying can be done only if the Father grants faith through the Holy Spirit; hence Jesus words, ‘It is the spirit that gives life.'”

My response

Jesus used metaphorical language throughout His ministry. “I am the door” (John 10:9), “I am the vine” (John 15:5), “living water” (John 4:10), etc. Jesus likewise used metaphorical language in declaring He was the “bread of life” (John 6:35).

Belief is the key. Believe (Greek: pisteúō: to believe in, put one’s faith in, trust in) is used nine times in John 6. Jesus actually clarifies his metaphorical phraseology throughout His Bread of Life discourse (see specifically v. 27 – “food that endures,” not wheat wafers, and v. 35“whoever comes to me…believes in me”). Likewise, in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life,” Jesus tells His disciples it is the spiritual belief in Him that is important, the physical realm (e.g. eating consecrated bread wafers) counts for nothing. Broussard’s explanation of John 6:63 is tortuous eisegesis.

Broussard’s pivoting from Matt Slick to James R. White and back is confusing. White’s interpretation strikes me as an overzealous and inappropriate (in this circumstance) defense of predeterminism. From the context, the disciples who walked away were clearly offended by Jesus’ metaphorical exhortation to eat His flesh and drink His blood.

Bottom line: Some of Jesus’ disciples left Him following the Bread of Life Discourse because they were hard-hearted tares who did not correctly understand Jesus’ metaphorical language and His accompanying clarifications, just as Roman Catholics do today.

Below are some important rhetorical questions for my Catholic friends:

  • If God the Holy Spirit supposedly indwells Catholics at baptism and even more pronouncedly at confirmation, why all of this clamoring for consuming the alleged God the Son, Jesus wafer? Even some Catholic theologians I have read have noted this inconsistency.
  • Catholics literally interpret “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54). As young Catholics, Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels physically ate the Jesus wafer hundreds of times. According to a strict literalist view of John 6, it follows that Hitler, Himmler, and Goebbels must be in Heaven because they did eat the Jesus wafer. Would the literalist view be correct in the cases of Hitler, Himmler, and Goebbels? They certainly did eat the Jesus wafer hundreds of times.
  • The Roman Catholic church with its literalist interpretation of John 6 declares that he/she who eats the Jesus wafer “has eternal life,” yet qualifies that by insisting Catholics must also continuously “cooperate with grace” and obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) in order to possibly merit Heaven at the moment of death. So what leads to salvation? Eating the Jesus wafer or merit?
  • The RCC incongruously grants that all non-Catholic religionists who by definition never eat the Jesus wafer – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, etc., – and even atheists, may also possibly merit Heaven. How is it possible for Catholics to insist eating the Jesus wafer is what leads to salvation and yet deny it at the same time?

Next week: Protestant response #32: “Jesus moves away from a physical mentality in John 6:27.”

Throwback Thursday: Moses and Hobab: Sin or obedience?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on November 4, 2016 and has been revised.


God’s Word is rich beyond measure. We are so blessed that we can feast upon God’s Word daily. But sometimes I get a little lackadaisical in my approach to the Word. In my haste to complete my daily Bible reading, I can sometimes overlook some very profound truths and admonitions from the Lord. Slow down, Tom! It’s quality, not quantity. “Lord, speak to me!” But there are also times when I come across some verses/passages that I can’t completely understand and I end up scratching my head. “Lord, what does this mean?”

Case in point: My wife and I have recently been reading through the Book of Numbers together. In chapter 9, the Lord revealed to Moses that He would lead Israel through the wilderness to the Promised Land by the pillar of cloud during the day and by the pillar of fire during the night. There obviously could not be a more perfect guide than the Lord God Almighty.

Yet in chapter 10 we read that Moses entreated his brother-in-law,* Hobab, to act as a guide for the Israelites:

29 And Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will do good to you, for the Lord has promised good to Israel.” 30 But he said to him, “I will not go. I will depart to my own land and to my kindred.” 31 And he said, “Please do not leave us, for you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us. 32 And if you do go with us, whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same will we do to you. – Numbers 10:29-32

Why would Moses ask Hobab for his help as a guide when the omniscient Lord God Almighty was already leading the Israelites? Was Hobab, a Midianite, even a follower of the Lord at that point? One commentator suggests that, in His providence, the Lord sent Hobab to Moses and the Israelites because of his practical knowledge of wilderness survival, e.g. locating water wells and oases, camp protocol, etc.

So couldn’t the Lord, the perfect guide, have led the Israelites to the very best possible campsites? Why would they have needed Hobab? Here’s three possible interpretations of the passage that I came across:

(1) By turning to Hobab for help, Moses was doubting in the care of the Lord. Moses was trusting in the arm of flesh rather than the Lord. This passage is recorded in God’s Word to show us, once again, that even Moses had his failings and was an imperfect sinner. (2) Moses saw Hobab, a seasoned veteran of wilderness living, as a help provided by the Lord to assist the Israelites in their journey. (3) Moses was only flattering Hobab in an effort to persuade him to accompany the Israelites so that he might eventually also trust in the Lord.

Anyone have an opinion on this passage? We probably won’t resolve this one conclusively this side of eternity.

*Bible scholars are still debating whether “Hobab” refers to Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro/Reuel, or his brother-in-law, although recent scholarship seems to favor the latter view.

Mariolatry on prime time’s “60 Minutes”

The Sunday, December 18 edition of the CBS television news magazine, “60 Minutes,” featured a 14-minute segment titled, “Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes: Investigating medically unexplained cures.” Hmm, I was curious to see what tack the show would take regarding the Lourdes “phenomenon” and watched it. But first, some historical background.

In 1858, fourteen-year-old Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes, France claimed that Mary appeared to her eighteen times at the Massabielle Grotto next to the Gave de Pau River. Later that same year, Catherine Latapie of nearby Loubajac traveled to the Lourdes grotto and claimed to have been cured of paralysis of two fingers due to the intercession of Mary. The Roman Catholic church subsequently endorsed the “miracle” and the Lourdes apparitions and set about building an immense, 126-acre pilgrimage shrine with many imposing structures (three basilicas and twenty-five chapels). French officials and entrepreneurs in turn set about building transportation and accommodation resources at Lourdes to process the pilgrim throngs. Three-point-five million pilgrims per year (9589 per day) flock to Lourdes seeking a blessing or miracle from Our Lady of Lourdes. Blessed “holy water” from a spring at the grotto, purported to have miraculous healing properties, is sold throughout the world. Although Lourdes has only 14,000 inhabitants, its 350 hotels and 40,000 hotel beds make it second only to Paris in tourist accommodations in France. There are 200 souvenir shops in Lourdes selling Marian tchotchke. Marian apparitions are big business.

In the 14-minute “60 Minutes” segment below, it is claimed that 70 medical miracles have occurred at Lourdes since 1858. Let’s use a conservative estimate and say 100,000 of the 3.5 million pilgrims who visit Lourdes each year seek a medical miracle. That would work out to a total of 16,400,000 people who have traveled to Lourdes since 1858 hoping for a medical miracle. The actual number is probably much higher, but based on our conservative estimate, 70 confirmed cures in 164 years works out to only a .0004 percent cure rate. The human body is a miraculous creation. Illnesses deemed incurable and/or terminal have been reversed and cured by the body’s own immune system. The mind also plays a large, sometimes unexplainable role in health. Alleged “miracles” may not be miracles, especially when the scrutinizing medical experts are connected to the RCC. Missing in all of this is the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Genuine salvation in Christ is the only cure for mankind’s sin problem.

Marian apparitions and Marian worship/veneration contradict the teaching of Scripture. The Roman Catholic church syncretically adapted pagan mother-goddess worship into the worship of Mary beginning with the Collyridians of Arabia in the 4th century. The Collyridians got their name from the collyris (Greek: “cakes”) offered to mother Mary.

Check out the 14-minute “60 Minutes” segment below. If you are a born-again Bible believer the idolatry will grieve your soul. It’s revealing that Jesus Christ is mentioned only once during the course of this 14-minute segment and only as a “possible” source of a mystical “inner-voice” communication. For an objective examination of how the Lourdes scam became a national and international sensation, see my review of “The Happening at Lourdes: The Sociology of the Grotto” by Alan Neame, here.

“60 Minutes” presented a Catholic-biased view of the Lourdes apparitions and “miracles.” Why didn’t the journalism show demonstrate some balance in its approach and include a critique from an evangelical minister? Perhaps evangelical ministers who take a critical approach regarding Romanism are getting harder to find these days?

Above: One liter of Lourdes blessed “holy water” sells for $60 at Amazon.
Above: The large Gare de Lourdes train station processes thousands of pilgrims to and from Lourdes each day.
Above: A map of the grandiose, 126-acre Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes shrine visited by 10,000 credulous pilgrims every day.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #168

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring two new sermons from the brethren down under.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Philippians 2:5-11 on “Down from His Glory.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Isaiah 1:18-20 on “How to have a white Christmas.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, December 11th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Down From His Glory. Sermon begins at 15:39 mark

Pastor Cody Andrews – How to have a white Christmas

Reformanda Initiative Podcast #13: Crossing the Tiber: Why do evangelicals convert to Roman Catholicism? Part 1

Welcome to the thirteenth installment of our weekly Reformanda Initiative podcast series! I’m excited to present the ministry of Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and his associates at Reformanda Initiative as they examine Roman Catholic theology in order to inform and equip evangelicals.

Season 1, Episode 13: Crossing the Tiber: Why do evangelicals convert to Roman Catholicism? Part 1

Show Notes

In this episode we discuss why Evangelicals convert to Roman Catholicism and what their testimonies reveal as weak points in the evangelical culture of today.

My Comments

Why do some supposed “evangelicals” convert to Roman Catholicism? Actually, there are many people who identify as “evangelical” who are not genuine believers. A person who has genuinely accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone would not/could not abandon freedom in Christ for the chains of works-righteousness faux-salvation propagated by the Roman Catholic church. But why are some of these unwary tares who are part of “evangelical culture” attracted to Roman Catholicism? As the Reformanda Initiative guys discuss, some of the main reasons include the following characteristics attributed to the RCC:

  • Historicity
  • Apostolic continuity
  • Authority
  • Sacramentality
  • Intellectuality
  • Sense of community

I’ll respond to these very briefly. The RCC is admittedly an ancient institution, but its history is tarnished with anti-Biblical doctrine, corruption, scandal, and worldliness. The RCC claims continuity back to the apostles, but Peter, Paul, John, etc. would condemn Rome’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Rome’s ecclesiastical authority is based upon the imperial Roman model that was specifically condemned by Christ. Our authority is Scripture alone. The natural, unregenerated man is drawn to the tactility and ritualistic pomposity of the RC sacraments. There’s a degree of Catholic intellectual snob appeal based on man’s wisdom rather than God’s truth that attracts some converts. Finally, converts are attracted to Catholicism’s supposed unified-monolith McCommunity even though belief varies widely under the Catholic umbrella. The Reformanda Initiative guys discuss how some evangelical churches (especially seeker -driven mega-churches) are impotently weak in grounding their congregations in Biblical truths and church history that would counter these perceived attractions of RC-ism. Excellent discussion.

Season 1, Episode 13: Crossing the Tiber: Why do evangelicals convert to Roman Catholicism? Part 1
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Reid Karr and Clay Kannard
February 26, 2020 – 42 minutes

Next week: Season 1, Episode 14: Rosary, Indulgences & Humanism. How is Roman Catholicism facing the Coronavirus Crisis?

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 12/24/22

Popes normally remain in office until death. Pope Benedict XVI aka Joseph Ratzinger broke with tradition in 2013 by becoming the first pope to resign in 600 years. It appears 86YO pope Francis has made arrangements to follow in Benedict’s footsteps and also resign when age/health impair his abilities to function. Conservative Catholics await the end of progressive Francis’ tenure with barely-bridled impatience, but the pope has been busy the last nine years loading the college of cardinals papal electors with like-minded liberals. There is no mention of the papacy in the New Testament. It’s an invention of the bishops of Rome as they consolidated power according to the Roman/Caesarian imperial model. See the Got Questions article, “What does the Bible say about the pope/papacy?,” here.

Last weekend, I mentioned there are indications that pragmatic pope Francis is possibly greasing the skids for an eventual overturning/undermining of pope Paul VI’s 1968 Humanae Vitae ban on contraceptives and here is another article. I’ll be keeping a close eye on further developments.

Most of the Baptist churches here in Western New York belong to the liberal/apostate American Baptist Convention, which proclaims a social gospel instead of the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. But what happens when a genuinely born-again Baptist marries a Roman Catholic who loyally adheres to their church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit? God’s Word admonishes believers not to be unequally yoked with the unsaved (2 Cor. 6:14). See my 2016 post on the topic here.

Pope Francis has been busy making overtures to Eastern Orthodoxy.

In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned precedent by ruling that parents who send their children to religious schools in their state have a right to tuition aid if the state provides aid to similar private schools. I do not want a single penny of my tax dollars being used to help fund indoctrination of children into the RC religion.

In the past, I’ve written about Hollywood actress, Patricia Heaton, as being an outspoken Catholic, but it’s a bit hazy as to what religion she identifies with. Heaton was raised Catholic, but recently I’ve come across several articles saying she attends First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood (affiliated with the liberal PCUSA). A September 2022 Vatican news article (see here) includes joyous quotes from Heaton after being feted by the pope. Heaton recently revealed that she read through the entire Bible according to a daily reading plan presented by The Gospel Coalition, a non-Catholic, evangelical, para-church organization. In a different article, Heaton indicated that she used the semi-paraphrase NIV version for most of her reading and the full-paraphrase The Message version for some of the Old Testament. While I’m not a fan of the NIV and definitely not a fan of the loosey-goosey The Message, I applaud Heaton’s effort to read the Bible and willingness to discuss it publicly. However, she’s also blurring the distinctions between RC-ism’s gospel of salvation via sacraments and merit and the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. It’s one or the other, Patricia, it can’t be both.

Last weekend, I mentioned how Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) pioneer, Amy Grant, had been vilified by my former independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) pastor forty years ago as being more dangerous than Adolf Hitler. That blurb was not meant as an endorsement of Amy Grant, who was raised in the Church of Christ/Campbellite (baptismal regeneration). Now, Franklin Graham is scolding Grant for hosting an S&G wedding for her niece. I have my strong doubts whether the worldly Grant is genuinely saved. Of course, Franklin Graham’s adulterous ecumenism with the Roman Catholic church (see here) is likewise problematic.

“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #30: “Jesus left his audience in ignorance all the time. Nothing special here.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard begins his first of two chapters defending transubstantiation and the eucharist using John 6:48-67 as his lengthy initial proof-text:

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. 60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”


The Roman Catholic church teaches that its priests transform (“transubstantiate”) bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ and that eating the Jesus wafer provides graces that enable the partaker to avoid sin in the striving to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) in order to hopefully merit salvation at the moment of death. The RCC exalts its communion/eucharist as the “source and summit of Christian spirituality.” The RCC bases its eucharist doctrine on a literalist interpretation of John 6:22-71 (The Bread of Life Discourse) and the Last Supper gospel accounts. Jesus said, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (v. 54). Protestants interpret this metaphorically while Catholics understand this literally. Broussard argues that the most persuasive argument for a literalistic interpretation is that many of Jesus’ disciples objected to His words and abandoned Him (v. 66), yet Jesus did not attempt to correct their literalist understanding.

Protestant response #30: “Jesus left his audience in ignorance all the time. Nothing special here.”

Writes Broussard, “Some Protestants try to undercut the appeal to Jesus’ lack of clarification by basically saying, ‘It’s no big deal. He does it all the time.’ Protestant apologist Robert Zins, founder of the ministry, A Christian Witness to Roman Catholicism, makes this argument and appeals to John 2:15-21 for support. There, Jesus drives the corrupt moneychangers out from the Temple and then is challenged by the religious authorities to provide a sign to authenticate his messianic authority. Jesus responds, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ His Jewish critics respond, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’ Notice they understood Jesus to be speaking of the physical temple. But John tells us that Jesus ‘spoke of the temple of his body.’ And there’s no indication that Jesus corrected their misunderstanding. For Zins, since Jesus didn’t correct their misplaced literal thoughts here, there’s no reason to expect that Jesus would have done so in John 6, as Catholics claim he would have if his audience were mistaken.”

Broussard’s response

Broussard notes that in John 3:3-5, Nicodemus had interpreted Jesus’ words, “…unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” in a literalistic sense, and that Jesus went on to clarify his message. Broussard agrees with Robert Zins that Jesus did not clarify His words in John 2:19 for His critics at the temple. He speculates that Jesus’ critics in John 2:15-21 “were hard-hearted, and so merited to be left in the dark concerning the true meaning of Jesus’ statement.” Broussard continues, “Nicodemus, on the other hand was not hard-hearted and thus did not merit being left in ambiguity. So Jesus clarifies his misunderstanding.” Broussard concedes that “it was common for Jesus to clarify things for his disciples but not for others,” citing Mark 4:33-34 and Matthew 13:10-11. Writes Broussard, “Now, a Protestant might object, ‘This line of reasoning doesn’t help the Catholic interpretation of John 6 because if Jesus left his critics in the darkness of ambiguity due to their hard-heartedness, then perhaps that’s what Jesus did in John 6.'” Broussard attempts to parry this thrust by stating that those who fell away in John 6 were Jesus’ disciples, not his hard-hearted critics. Broussard’s bottom line is that Jesus’ exhortation to eat His flesh and drink His blood in John 6 was meant to be taken literally because He did not offer any clarification to those disciples who objected to His words and walked away.

My response

The Roman Catholic church’s literal interpretation of the Bread of Life Discourse and the Last Supper accounts in Matthew, Mark, and Luke have led to a grievously faulty soteriology that claims that physically eating the allegedly transubstantiated Jesus wafer leads to eternal life. Broussard defends this literalistic approach over the course of twelve installments, so we won’t be addressing all of the components/nuances today, but we will briefly examine Catholics’ claim that Jesus’ refusal to clarify His Bread of Life Discourse for those disciples who walked away meant that their literalist interpretation was correct.

Broussard readily concedes that Jesus often couched His teachings in parables and ambiguity that He would later clarify for His apostles. As Todd Baker states in his book, “Exodus From Rome, Vol. 1,” “Jesus deliberately couched divine truths in dark sayings, riddles, and opaque parables to conceal vital truths about the kingdom of God from those who were inveterately opposed to Him, while simultaneously provoking those who listened to Him with an open heart to press in and discover the transforming principles of God’s kingdom which came from His words and teaching (see Matthew 13:13-16). This proved to be the weeding out process to separate true believers from those who were spurious” (Kindle location, 5659-5669). Broussard claims there is a clear cut distinction between Jesus’ openly hostile critics and those disciples who walked away following the Bread of Life Discourse, but that is not the case. Many people followed Jesus and claimed to be His “disciples” (mathētḗs: pupil, student, learner, follower), but were inauthentic tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30). Jesus did clarify His metaphorical language throughout His John 6 Bread of Life Discourse and at its conclusion for those with open hearts and elucidation from the Holy Spirit. The word “belief” (pisteúō: to put one’s faith in, trust) is used nine times throughout John 6 in conjunction with the metaphorical language of eating Christ’s body and drinking His blood. It is belief that is key, not physical consumption. The fact that Jesus’ faux “disciples” left Him after the Bread of Life Discourse because of their literalist understanding and that Jesus did not attempt to further clarify His words for them certainly does not “prove” that Jesus intended a literalist meaning. As stated previously, there will be much more discussion on this transubstantiation/eucharist/Jesus wafer topic in the weeks ahead.

Next week: Protestant response #31: “Jesus does correct his disciples’ literal thinking. He says, ‘The flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life’ (John 6:63).”

Throwback Thursday: Is it a sin for a born-again Christian to remain in the Roman Catholic church?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on November 3, 2016 and has been revised.


Every Christian’s story on how they came to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior is different. Some testimonies are dramatic, others are sweetly simple.

My five sisters and I were raised in Roman Catholicism and attended Catholic grammar school and high school. In all those years we never once read the Bible at school or at home. None of my friends read the Bible, either. I walked away from the church completely as soon as I graduated from high school, but felt compelled to return after my wife and I married and our sons were born. I thought I should be a responsible father and raise our boys in the Catholic religion just as I was raised. In my return to Catholicism, the Lord put it in my head to buy a Bible and I began reading it, voraciously. Uh-oh. While reading the New Testament I kept coming across teachings that opposed what I had been taught as a Catholic. Over a span of a couple of years I left the church and eventually accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone.

As I said, every Christian’s testimony is different. There are some people who are members of Catholicism who accept Christ as Savior, but stay in the church for a period of time. But it’s difficult for me to understand how a person could accept Christ and be born-again and yet stay in a church that teaches a gospel of sacramental grace and merit. How does one reconcile God’s Word with the mass and the eucharist, Mary, the saints, penance, purgatory, the pope, priests, relics, attempting to obey the Ten Commandments to merit Heaven, etc., etc.? It can’t be done. It’s my belief that a person who has genuinely accepted Christ will eventually come out of an institution that anathematizes the Gospel of grace. Sin, fear, and the enemy may slow them down, but, with the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance, they are on their way out.

Above is a six-minute video of the late evangelical theologian, R. C. Sproul, expounding on some of the important differences between Biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism and the sin of remaining in Catholicism after a person has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14

“Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues.’” – Revelation 18:4

Hitler’s infamous Beer Hall Putsch

The Trial of Adolf Hitler: The Beer Hall Putsch and the Rise of Nazi Germany
By David King
W.W. Norton & Co., 2017, 455 pp.

5 Stars

There’s been a lot in the news this past year about the attempted insurrection in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. There was another foiled insurrection, in interwar Europe, ninety-nine years ago.

During one of our trips to Germany to visit our grandson, his other Oma and Opa took us on a car trip to Munich (about 250 miles from their village). As we were walking the streets of the city we entered into a plaza/square with a large, foreboding-looking memorial structure at one end. I asked Opa what the significance of the place was and he had no clue. After we returned to the States, I did some research and discovered the plaza in question was the Odeonsplatz and the memorial was the Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshals’ Hall, completed in 1844). I learned that Adolf Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch on November 8-9, 1923 (an attempt to overthrow the Weimar German government) was crushed by Bavarian state police at the Odeonsplatz immediately next to the Feldherrnhalle. After Hitler was appointed chancellor in 1933, he transformed the Feldherrnhalle into a shrine to his 16 followers killed by police in the quelling of the putsch. The Odeonsplatz and Feldherrnhalle were subsequently used by Hitler and the Nazis in their rites, rituals, and ceremonies (e.g., Schutzstaffel-SS recruits were regularly sworn-in at a midnight ceremony at the site). Anyway, my curiosity was piqued regarding the Beer Hall Putsch and I finally got around to reading this excellent book about the aborted insurrection.

David King does an excellent job documenting the events leading up to the putsch (Swiss-German: “push, thrust, blow”) and describing the two-day rebellion and the subsequent arrest and trial of Hitler.

This was a fascinating read and I highly recommend it to history buffs and general readers. Some interesting information I picked up from the book:

  • Foreign news correspondents at the time derided Hitler for his seemingly clownish and laughable “beer hall putsch,” which commenced at the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall, two miles from the Odeonsplatz. Actually, Munich had several large beer halls, which were very acceptable venues in München (“home of the monks”) society for all types of gatherings. The Bürgerbräukeller was one of the largest beer halls in the city, seating 3000.
  • Some of the most infamous members of the subsequent Nazi regime participated in the 1923 putsch including Hermann Göring, Martin Bormann, Rudolph Hess, and Heinrich Himmler.
  • Hitler led 2000 of his followers on the two-mile march from the Bürgerbräukeller to the Odeonsplatz where they were met by only 130 state police. The narrowness of the Residenzstrasse leading into the plaza rendered the Nazi marchers sitting ducks.
  • The politically-conservative judges at the trial of the putsch insurrectionists were sympathetic to the Nazi cause. Hitler was sentenced to only five years in Landsberg prison (in the soft-time, celebrity section), but was released after only eight months. During that period he wrote Mein Kampf.
  • Although Hitler was initially depressed by the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch, his resolve was steeled by the enthusiastic support of his followers and admirers.

Postscript: Hitler exploited the anguish of the German people. The Weimar Republic was collapsing economically under the heavy restrictions imposed by the victorious Entente/Allied powers. The German people were desperate and turned to political extremists on the Right and on the Left for deliverance. Adolf Hitler and his willing followers exemplify the sinful depravity of mankind. Hitler was raised Catholic by his “devoutly Catholic” German-Austrian mother, but was later influenced by his atheist father. Biographer, Fritz Redich, wrote, “In his childhood, Hitler was enthralled by the pomp and ritual of the Catholic Church. Allegedly, for a while he even considered becoming a priest.” Hitler lost interest in Catholicism in his teen years and had no involvement with the RCC as an adult (although he did sign a secret treaty with pope Pius XII in 1939, see here).

Above: The imposing Feldherrnhalle monument sits at the southern end of the Odeonsplatz plaza. Hitler and his 2000 followers marched up the narrow Residenzstrasse street, to the left of the Feldherrnhalle, where they were met by a small phalanx of state police. The Feldherrnhalle was stripped of all of its Nazi regalia by the occupying American forces.
Above: Twenty-years after the Beer Hall Putsch, Schutzstaffel-SS recruits stand at attention while swearing absolute allegiance to Adolf Hitler in a midnight ceremony in front of the Feldherrnhalle.
Above: A painting showing Adolf Hitler leading his 2000 followers towards the Odeonsplatz where they were fired upon by the state police. The Feldherrnhalle is to the right.