Gospel Outreach Ministries to Roman Catholics

Did the title of this post, “Gospel Outreach Ministries to Roman Catholics,” catch your attention? Some of you may be thinking, “Why do we need to reach out to Roman Catholics with the Gospel? Aren’t they Christians, too?” In our current era of plurality, tolerance, and inclusiveness, it’s seen by many as uncharitable to speak the truth about Roman Catholicism. After all, many say that “Catholics love Jesus, too.” But the truth is that the Roman Catholic church teaches many doctrines that are quite different from Biblical Christianity. Most importantly, Catholics are taught that salvation comes through sacramental grace and merit rather than by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Catholics need to hear the genuine Gospel rather than the false gospel they are taught in their churches.

Below, I’ve provided links to the websites of some of the most effective ministries that specifically reach out to Catholics with the Gospel. All of these ministries provide abundant resources for Catholics who are curious about the Biblical Gospel or for Bible Christians who desire to witness more effectively in their encounters with Catholics.

Berean Beacon – Director, ex-Catholic priest, Richard Bennett
Website link here.

Reformanda Initiative – Director, Leonardo De Chirico
Website link here.

Proclaiming the Gospel – Director, ex-Catholic, Mike Gendron
Website link here.

Just for Catholics – Director, ex-Catholic, Joe Mizzi
Website link here.

Christian Resources – Director, William Webster
Website link here

A Christian Witness to Roman Catholicism – Director, ex-Catholic, Rob Zins
Website link here.

In addition to the six ministries listed above, there are many other organizations that offer excellent resources regarding Roman Catholicism. Refer to my Links page here. I hope these resources are a blessing to you!

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The Usual Double Talk

The Usual Suspects: Answering Anti-Catholic Fundamentalists
By Karl Keating
Ignatius Press, 2000, 195 pages

1 Star

In 1979, a young Roman Catholic lawyer, Karl Keating, became angered when members of a local Bible Christian church left tracts on car windshields during mass at his Catholic parish. In retaliation, he created tracts of his own and distributed them at said Bible church. Thus was born the Catholics apologetics organization, Catholic Answers. Then as now, many Catholics were hearing the Gospel from friends, neighbors, and co-workers, repenting of sin, accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior, forsaking the Roman church with its false gospel, and attending Gospel-preaching churches. Keating and Catholic Answers sought to “stem the tide.” Keating’s first book, “Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians” (Ignatius Press, 1988) was fairly popular among Catholics who had “lost” family members and friends to “Christian fundamentalism.” In his attack on “fundamentalists,” Keating mixed together credible ministries with disreputable extremists (Chick Publications, Tony Alamo). Keating’s brief explanations of various Catholic doctrines rivaled the sophistry of any Jesuit.

“The Usual Suspects” is Keating’s fourth book and picks up where “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” left off. The credible evangelicals/fundamentalists targeted this time include Bart Brewer, Frank Eberhardt, Dave Hunt, and Bill Jackson, all four now deceased, and John Ankerberg, John MacArthur, and James McCarthy. Mixed in are several bad apples including Jack Chick and Bob Jones, III.

Keating’s approach is the same as before: short explanations of Catholic doctrine expressed with obsfucation masquerading as certitude, but lacking Biblical substance. Two examples will suffice:

  • Bible Christians criticize the continual sacrifice at Catholic masses as a fraudulent repetition of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary, since the Bible clearly says Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was offered once for all time (Hebrews 10:12). Keating confidently responds that Catholics certainly don’t “repeat” Jesus’ sacrifice, they “re-present” the very same once-offered sacrifice. Ach. Please.
  • Bible Christians criticize Catholics for worshiping Mary. Well, of course Catholics don’t “worship” Mary, objects Keating. They rightly offer her “hyper-dulia veneration,” which is her due. Hyper what? Ninety-five out of one-hundred Catholics could not define “hyper-dulia veneration,” but most do attribute deific powers to Mary, adore her, and pray to her for their salvation. Call it whatever you’d like, but THAT’S worship.

Each short chapter is filled with similar equivocations. Keating accuses his opponents of lacking charity and sophisticated nuance in their arguments, yet turns around and commits those offenses himself, labeling all Bible Christians as “fundamentalists,” “Bible-thumpers,” and “tract-pushers.” Recommended only to those involved in Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics.

Postscript: This book was written in 2000, way before the current papal crisis, with Catholic conservatives now accusing pope Francis of sowing doctrinal confusion and some even accusing him of being a heretic. Conservatives like Keating and his successors at Catholic Answers are no longer boasting that their pope is incapable of leading the Roman church into error. Should Catholics follow pope Francis and his doctrine-bending reforms or the conservative Catholicism of Keating and cardinal Burke? Neither camp teaches salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Catholic apologist: “Jesus is a scary dude!”

I usually listen to a Catholic talk radio show, “Called to Communion,” for about one hour each work day. It’s not something that I would recommend to my fellow believers, but the show often provides me with good fodder for this blog. I was recently listening to a podcast of the show and a couple of interesting segments came up that I’d like to pass along.

Called to Communion
EWTN Radio – 4/3/19 podcast
Moderator: Thom Price, Host: David Anders

At the 34:19 mark, non-Catholic, Edward from Coal Grove, Ohio, called in with a question regarding the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation/confession:

Edward: “When you go to confession, and you go into the little booth to pray, when you’re confessing, why do we go in to pray in that little booth? Can we sit in our pews to pray to God?”

Host, David Anders, then proceeded to explain to Edward the basics behind the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation. The Roman church teaches that every time a Catholic commits a mortal (major) sin, they must go to church and confess the sin to a priest. The church teaches that its priests receive the power to forgive sins at their ordination. In the confessional booth, the priest allegedly acts “in persona Christi,” in the person of Christ, when absolving sin. The Roman church uses John 20:23 as the basis of this alleged prerogative: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld,” but the verse is only correctly understood in the context of the New Testament Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, which the apostles were commanded to proclaim. A few verses after John 20:23 we read, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” – John 20:31. Forgiveness of sins comes from hearing the Gospel, repenting of sin, and trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior. Going to the confessional booth once a week or once a month (most Catholics never go) doesn’t save anyone. The sacrament of penance is just another cog in Catholicism’s complicated salvation system of sacramental grace and merit.

After briefly describing Catholicism’s sacrament of reconciliation to Edward, David Anders says something quite revealing:

David Anders: “You know, I had a priest ask me recently, and I’m going to make a personal revelation here, he said, ‘How do you relate to Christ?’ And I said, this is truthful, and I’m just going to let this out. Jesus in the Gospels sometimes is kind of a scary dude. He holds us up to pretty high standards, and I said, ‘You know, in the Gospels, sometimes I read the words of Christ and I’m like, gulp, am I doing that? Am I doing that? But when I meet Christ in the person of his priest, I experience only mercy.‘”


Argh! Did you get that, folks? This Catholic apologist says Jesus is a mean and “scary dude” and people must therefore go through the more merciful priest (and more merciful Mary). Man, oh man! The Jesus I know, my Savior and Shepherd, is infinitely more tender and merciful than any person. Yes, someday He will return as Judge, but right now He offers REAL forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal salvation to all those who repent of their sin and accept Him as their Savior by faith alone! The ONLY mediator between God and men is Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).


The second segment from the same broadcast is a bit comical in a sad way. At the 38:42 mark, Sam from Charleston, West Virginia, an ex-Baptist and convert to Catholicism in 2018, called in to say he was troubled by the liberal priests and prelates in the church who seemed to be flouting the rules he claims to love so much. He haltingly continued, “…and then I see things, like on the news a lot, it seems the news tends to amplify, the pope, seems that the pope, who I want to believe is the Vicar of Christ, but then he tends to say things like, has a softer view about cohabitation before marriage…”

Well, it was very entertaining to hear Price and Anders grab their microphones and shut down Sam before he could say another word. I even looked up the video segment on You Tube just so I could actually see Price and Anders become unglued (see above photo). Sam couldn’t have gotten in another word with a crow bar. Remember, the stated purpose of this show is to try to convince Protestants to convert to Catholicism, so any direct criticism of the pope over the airwaves is strictly verboten. Pope Francis, with his liberal reforms is making these conservative apologists twist around like pretzels. Ach, so funny. Without directly criticizing Francis, Anders advised Sam to focus on the traditional teachings of the church and not to pay attention to liberal priests and unnamed progressive prelates. The sadly comical segment was worth the price of admission all by itself.

Index – Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses”

In his book, “The Catholic Verses” (2004), Catholic apologist, Dave Armstrong, presented 95 Bible verses or passages (in an attempt to match Martin Luther’s 95 theses, although 104 passages were actually presented) that he alleged supported Catholicism’s salvation system of sacramental grace and merit and supposedly “confound” Protestants. Last August 13th, we began our series of 34 installments that addressed Armstrong’s claims and we finished last week. Below is a helpful index to each of the installments listed in chronological order. Thank you for your support throughout this series!

The Church the Pillar of All Truth?
Passage #1

The Binding Authority of Church Councils?
Passages #s 2 & 3

The Authority of Sacred Tradition? – Part 1
Passages #s 4, 5, 6, & 7

Sinners in the Church?
Passages #s 8, 9, & 10

Catholic “Unity” and Denominationalism?
Passages #s 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, & 17

The Catholic Magisterium’s Authoritative Interpretation of Scripture?
Passages #s 18, 19, & 20

The Authority of Sacred Tradition? – Part 2
Passages #s 21, 22, 23, & 24

The Authority of Sacred Tradition? – Part 3
Passages #s 25 & 26

Papal Authority and Succession?
Passages #s 27 & 28

Salvation by Works? – Part 1
Passage #29

Salvation by Works? – Part 2
Passages #s 30, 31, 32, 33, & 34

Salvation by Works? – Part 3
Passages #s 35, 36, & 37

Can Genuine Christians Lose Salvation? – Part 1
Passages #s 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, & 43

Can Genuine Christians Lose Salvation? – Part 2
Passages #s 44, 45, 46, & 47

Salvation by Works? – Part 4
Passages #s 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, & 54

Salvation by Works? – Part 5
Passage #55

Infant Baptism?
Passages #s 56, 57, & 58

Baptismal Regeneration?
Passages #s 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, & 64

Transubstantiation? – Part 1
Passages #s 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, & 70

Transubstantiation? – Part 2
Passages #s 71 & 72

Penitential Suffering? – Part 1
Passages #s 73 & 74

Penitential Suffering? – Part 2
Passages #s 75 & 76

Veneration/Worship of Saints? – Part 1
Passages #s 77, 78, & 79

Veneration/Worship of Saints? – Part 2
Passage #80

Veneration/Worship of Saints? – Part 3
Passages #s 81, 82, 83, 84, & 85

Veneration/Worship of Saints? – Part 4
Passage #86

Relics and Sacramentals?
Passages #s 87, 88, 89, & 90

Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead? – Part 1
Passage #91

Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead? – Part 2
Passage #92

Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead? – Part 3
Passages #s 93 & 94

Mary’s Immaculate Conception and Sinless Life?
Passages #s 95, 96, 97, 98, & 99

Mandatory Celibacy of Clergy?
Passages #s 100, 101, & 102

Divorce and Remarriage?
Passage #103

Is it a sin to use contraceptives?
Passage #104

Catholic apologist says the Gospel of grace is “an anathema”

These days, many Catholics and Protestants are eager to gloss over theological differences, forget about Reformation “squabbles,” and embrace in ecumenical “unity.” But the “gospel” that Catholics believe in; salvation by sacramental grace and merit, is diametrically opposed to the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone preached by Bible Christians. No attempt to honestly reconcile these two opposing gospels is possible.

I listen to Catholic talk radio, specifically the “Called to Communion” show with apologist, David Anders (photo above), every day to keep abreast of what’s going on within Catholicism and for fodder for this blog. While I disagree with just about everything Anders says, I do appreciate how he strongly differentiates between Catholicism’s gospel and the Gospel of grace. Here’s a very revealing short segment that I recently listened to via podcast:

Called to Communion, EWTN Radio, March 26th, 2019
Moderator: Jack Williams, Host: David Anders
Segment: 4:27 – 7:08

Jack Williams: Ben is watching on Facebook and he says, “I once heard an evangelical Christian say Catholicism denies the Gospel. Is there a difference between what Catholicism defines as the Gospel and what non-Catholicism defines it as?”

David Anders: Absolutely! Absolutely! In fact, this was a cardinal point for Martin Luther and the Reformation of the 16th century. Luther believed that the Gospel, very specifically, the Gospel, the message of salvation, is that God counts you as if you were righteous. God considers you to be righteous though you remain objectively sinful and at enmity with Him in your will. And that He does this when you believe yourself to be considered righteous by God on account of Christ, that you are thus considered righteous by God. Now that’s a very convoluted doctrine. I’m going to restate it. This is Luther’s position; he believes that this is the Gospel: When you believe that Christ satisfied the demands of the Law and suffered the penalties of sin on your behalf, and that that has been imputed to you, counted as if it were your own, that that faith, the faith that considers yourself righteous because of Christ, and that faith ALONE, for that faith ALONE, through that faith ALONE, no transformation over your moral life required, that you in that moment are justified before God and accepted by Him on account of Christ and not because of anything that you have done or contributed to the life of faith or grace or works or virtue or anything else. That’s what Luther taught the Gospel was. The Catholic church says that that is an anathema (definition: a person or teaching cursed by ecclesiastical authority – Tom), that that position is completely wrong. It is upside down and backwards and radically misstates what Jesus has done for us. The Catholic position is that Christ has in fact died for our sins that we might have forgiveness AND so that our interior lives, our moral lives, could be renovated and recreated, as it were, after the image of Christ’s holy life. And on the basis of that moral renovation, God does in fact accept us as righteous because He has actually made us righteous. So it is the difference between up and down, black and white, yes and no. They’re diametrically opposite in their understanding about what Jesus has done for us.

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There you have it, my friends, straight from a Catholic apologist with no ambiguity. The Catholic church teaches its members that they must become subjectively and intrinsically righteous and moral in order to be able to merit Heaven. Our ecumenical evangelical friends would have us believe that Catholics “love Jesus too,” and also believe the Gospel, but what the Catholic church teaches its members is a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit as Catholic apologist, David Anders, unabashedly admits to above.

Catholics are a mission field my friends!

Answering the alleged “95* Catholic Verses” – # 104: Is it a sin to use contraceptives?

Today, we will complete our eight-month-long series responding to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five* (actually one-hundred and four) Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.

In this last posting, we will examine the proof-text Armstrong uses to defend Catholicism’s ban on all forms of contraception:

#104) Genesis 38:9-10: “9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. 10 And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also.”

Beneath the passage, Armstrong writes, “Catholics believe that contraception is a gravely disordered violation of natural law, because it removes from sexuality its deepest purpose and function: procreation. To contracept involves a deliberate attempt to make conception not possible, or highly unlikely, while still enjoying the pleasures of sexuality. It attempts to tie God’s hands, so to speak. But most protestants today do not regard contraception as sinful at all, but simply as morally neutral (or even obligatory) part of family planning.” – p. 215.

It’s very evident from the context of this Bible passage that Onan’s sin was NOT practicing natural contraception via coitus interruptus, but of failing to fulfill his obligation under the Mosaic Law to sire a son with his deceased brother’s wife, Tamar, in order for his brother’s estate to remain within his immediate family.

Use of contraceptives by married couples is sinful if they are abortifacients; i.e., drugs or devices that destroy a fertilized egg/zygote/human life, however, there is no sin involved in using non-abortifacient contraceptives such as condoms and cervical shields.

Catholicism’s radical opposition to contraceptives derives from its historical view of sexual intercourse as a necessary yet decidedly profane and even “dirty” activity. Virginity was exalted within the church as a characteristic of a superior spiritual state. If Catholic married couples were going to engage in sexual intercourse, it could not be disengaged from the possibility of conception, for such, they said, would be a defiance of the natural order. Remember, these were so-called “celibate” priests making the rules for married couples.

Following the Second Vatican Council, progressive prelates called for the church to liberalize its ban on contraceptives. Instead, pope Paul VI doubled down by issuing his “Humanae Vitae” anti-contraception encyclical in 1968, which resulted in a tremendous loss of credibility for the church in the eyes of its laity. Catholic sources report that 87% of all Catholics believe use of contraceptives is morally acceptable and that 98% of sexually active Catholic women in the United States have defiantly used contraceptive methods banned by the church even though they are told they commit a mortal sin every time they use a contraceptive.

The church strangely approves of Natural Family Planning (NFP) aka “the rhythm method,” while the goal is the same as that of using contraceptives, and contraceptives are much more reliable. The thinking layperson easily perceives the contradiction of the church’s condemnation of contraceptives and its simultaneous approval of NFP.

The church’s rigid ban on contraceptives goes beyond the limits of reason and charity. Married couples in which one of the partners has a sexually communicable disease are told they cannot use condoms. Neither are women with the Zika Virus allowed to use barrier contraceptives. A Catholic workmate of mine and his wife, who already had five children and were approaching age forty, visited their parish priest asking for a dispensation (i.e., exemption) from the contraception ban. The priest refused and the wife subsequently became pregnant again with a very sickly child. Who paid for all of the child’s medical bills? Not the priest. Catholicism’s ban on contraceptives has brought unimaginable trials to credulous Catholic married couples.

Nothing has eroded the Catholic laity’s confidence in their church as much as its ban on contraceptives, except for possibly the ongoing pedophile priests and cover-up scandal. It’s quite ironic that the Catholic church has played traffic cop within its married members’ bedrooms while its “celibate” priests, bishops, and cardinals have pursued their own warped sexuality unhindered until only recently.

For more information on the Catholic church’s disastrous misinterpretation of the “sin of Onan,” see the article below:

What is onanism? – Got Questions
https://www.gotquestions.org/onanism.html

Today’s posts is our last regular installment in this series addressing Catholic apologist, Dave Armstrong’s alleged Catholic verses that are claimed to “confound” Protestants. Thank you for your support! After reviewing all of the verses and passages presented by Armstrong, we can confidently say we are not “confounded.” Praise God for His Word and the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Next week, I will be posting a convenient index to the entire eight-month series.

Answering the alleged “95* Catholic Verses” – #103: Divorce and Remarriage?

Today, we will continue with our response to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five* (there are actually one-hundred and four) Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.

Beginning with the verse below, Armstrong expounds on the distinctions between the Catholic and Protestant views on divorce:

#103) Matthew: 19:9: “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.” (RSVCE)

Beneath the verse, Armstrong writes, “Nearly all Protestant churches today, although typically frowning upon divorce, allow exceptions for adultery or abandonment or similarly serious marital difficulties. The traditional stigma of divorce has lessened greatly in Protestant circles just as it has in the secular culture, and divorce is permitted under more and more circumstances. This has been the general trend since World War II and even before; and today, divorce rates among Evangelical Protestants are virtually as high as that of the general public.” – p. 205.

Bible Christians believe what God’s Word says about marriage and divorce. Marriage is a promise of lifelong commitment between a man and a woman before God. But we still retain a sinful nature and marriages sometimes do fail. Matthew 19:9 states that divorce is allowable if one of the spouses engages in martial infidelity and seems to also infer that the non-guilty party is free to remarry. Another exception is presented in 1 Corinthians 7:15 where divorce is allowed if an unbelieving spouse chooses to leave the marriage, although remarriage for the believer is not directly inferred.

So what’s the bottom line? Bad marriages and divorces fall under the umbrella of sin. God’s grace, forgiveness, and mercy extends to all those who were part of a bad marriage and were divorced and possibly remarried.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7

The Roman church traditionally has taken a very hard line against divorce and remarriage. Only fifty years ago, Catholics who divorced and remarried were formally excommunicated. The church relaxed that rule in 1977, but remarried divorcees were still prohibited from receiving the sacraments, which are vital to meriting salvation according to Catholic theology. To deal with cases of divorce, the Catholic hierarchy created diocesan tribunals with canon lawyers, which review the circumstances of failed marriages and grant annulments (declarations of nullity) according to intricate church guidelines. Annulments were de facto Catholic-sanctioned divorces. In the past, wealthy contributors (the Kennedys, etc.) were assured of receiving annulments in contrast to less prominent members, but the church has somewhat relaxed its rigid standards over the years. Aware that the church’s ban on the sacraments for remarried divorcees was alienating a growing percentage of the membership, pope Francis guilefully lifted the ban via two footnotes in his “Amoris Laetitia” apostolic exhortation (2016), much to the consternation of conservative prelates and priests. The change is slowly and quietly being implemented throughout Catholicism by liberal prelates.

In this book published in 2004, Armstrong is defending Catholic teaching that has since been craftily overturned by his own pope!

For more information on divorce and remarriage, see the article below:

What does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage?
https://www.gotquestions.org/divorce-remarriage.html

For one of my previous posts on Catholicism’s un-Biblical views on divorce and remarriage, see here.

Answering the alleged “95* Catholic Verses” – #s 100, 101, & 102: Mandatory Celibacy of Clergy?

Today, we will continue with our response to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five* (actually one-hundred and four) Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.

This time, we’ll examine three passages that Armstrong presents as proof-texts for the justification for the mandatory rule of celibacy for Catholic priests:

#100) Matthew 19:12: “For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.” (RSVCE)

#101) 1 Corinthians 7:7-9: “7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. 8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.”

#102) 1 Corinthians 7:32-38: (hyperlinked because of length)

Armstrong writes, “The frequent argument of Protestants on the subject of clerical celibacy is that the Catholic Church makes a requirement out of something that Paul merely recommends. Catholics, so we are told, are guilty once again of smuggling in their ‘traditions of men’ and an alleged animus against sexuality and marriage.” – p. 191. The Catholic apologist then goes on to expound on the “benefits” of an unmarried clergy.

We believers certainly accept that Christians who are given the gift of celibacy are able to devote more of their time and resources to the Lord’s work. If a single person is called to dangerous missionary work, as was Paul, we can especially see why remaining single might be advantageous. In general, being a Christian in the Roman Empire in 50 AD was a dangerous situation and not always conducive to a bucolic setting for the family that most Christians in America enjoy today.

But, in these verses, Paul IS suggesting celibacy rather than REQUIRING it as we can plainly see from other Scripture. Armstrong conveniently leaves out Paul’s letter to Timothy warning of the coming false teachers who would forbid marriage (1 Timothy 4:1-4). He also conveniently omits 1 Corinthians 9:5 which states that Peter and the other apostles were married. In another verse, Paul recommends that candidates for the office of pastor be the husband of only one wife (1 Timothy 3:2).

It’s extremely obvious why Armstrong chose not to include the above Scriptural passages. They directly contradict his arguments in favor of Catholicism’s rule of mandatory clerical celibacy.

It should be noted that the Catholic church accommodated married priests right up until the Second Lateran Council (1139) introduced a general law of celibacy, requiring ordination only of unmarried men.

Because of the Roman church’s mandatory rule of celibacy, Catholic seminaries became magnets and hothouses for sexual deviancy. But today, with Catholicism no longer able to hide its dark secrets being a curtain of privilege, we’re seeing the full flower of enforced celibacy in news headlines and in civil courts where victims of predatory priests are seeking justice and recompense.

It’s ironic that pope Francis and his progressive allies are currently considering the option of ordaining married men to the priesthood in regions where the shortage of priests is becoming severe.

As we discuss the issue of mandatory celibacy for priests, it’s important to keep in mind that the need for mediatory priests and perpetual sacrifice for sin that we see at Catholic masses were abolished by Jesus Christ by His death on the cross and His mediation on behalf of all who trust in Him as their Savior by faith alone.

*Armstrong stated that he would be examining ninety-five passages in this book. It was obviously important to him to cite ninety-five passages to match the number of theses that Martin Luther nailed to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Saxony in 1517, but there are actually a total one-hundred-and-four passages. What happened? Armstrong didn’t number the passages in the book, so 1) he either used some passages more than once, which I believe I would have caught in my analyses or 2) he lost count and his editor didn’t catch the error.

Answering the alleged “95* Catholic Verses” – #s 95, 96, 97, 98, & 99: Mary’s Immaculate Conception and Sinless Life?

Today, we will continue with our response to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five (actually one-hundred and four) Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.

*I’m sure you’ve already noticed from today’s heading that we’re actually exceeding the ninety-five passages that Armstrong had advertised for this book. It was obviously important to Armstrong to cite ninety-five passages to match the number of theses that Martin Luther nailed to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Saxony in 1517, but there are actually five more passages in the book beyond the five we’re covering today for a total of one-hundred and four. What happened? Armstrong didn’t number each passage in his book, so 1) he either used some passages more than once, which I believe I would have caught in my analyses or 2) he lost count and his editor didn’t catch the error. That being said, we’ll continue.

Today, we will examine Armstrong’s arguments for Catholicism’s teaching of Mary’s alleged immaculate conception and sinless life and based almost entirely upon one, single verse:

#95) Luke 1:28: “And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one (Greek: kecharitomene) the Lord is with you!” (RSVCE – Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition). Armstrong notes that the RSVCE also translates kecharitomene (“favored one”) as “full of grace.”

The doctrine of the sinlessness of Mary cannot be found explicitly in the Bible, so as the Marian cult began attracting followers in the 4th-century, supporters had to struggle to find some kind of Scriptural evidence and focused on Luke 1:28. By translating kecharitomene as “full of grace,” Mariolaters conjectured the word meant Mary was sinless and extrapolated from that the doctrines of her immaculate conception, sinless life, assumption into heaven, and her ongoing role as spiritual mediator for Catholics.

In order to initially gain agreement with his Protestant readers, Armstrong presents the two hyperlinked verses below to show that grace is essential for salvation:

#96) Romans 6:14

#97) Ephesians 2:8-10

With that in mind, Armstrong then posits the following deductive argument:

  1. The Bible teaches that we are saved by God’s grace.
  2. To be “full of” God’s grace, then, is to be saved.
  3. Therefore, Mary is saved.
  4. The Bible teaches that we need God’s grace to live a holy life, free from sin.
  5. To be full of God’s grace is thus to be so holy that one is sinless.
  6. Therefore Mary is holy and sinless. (p.184)

Armstrong then offers the two hyperlinked verses below as “proof” that not all believers are “full of grace” as Mary was.

#98) 2 Peter 3:18

#99) Ephesians 4:7

Word-for-word, literal translations of the Bible such as the NASB and ESV translate kecharitomene in Luke 1:28 as “favored one.” Luke 1:26-38 simply tells the story of how the angel Gabriel visited Mary and informed her that God had chosen her to bear the Messiah. Building an entire Marian theology out of a fanciful interpretation of kecharitomene in Luke 3:18 is blatant eisegesis.

Jesus certainly loved his mother, but she was a sinner who also needed to repent of her sin and trust in the Savior, like everyone else. In the following two passages, Jesus confronts those who attempted to exalt Mary and accord to her a privileged status:

“While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” – Matthew 12:46-50

“As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” – Luke 11:27-28

I posted about Catholicism’s claims for Mary’s alleged sinlessness only two months ago. See here.

For more information on Catholicism’s purposeful misinterpretation of Luke 1:28 as the basis for the doctrine of Mary’s sinlessness and resulting Mariolatry, see the article below:

Mary, Full of Grace, and Luke 1:28
https://carm.org/catholic/mary-full-grace-and-luke-128

Catholic apologist: “Do NOT believe in forensic justification.”

Catholic apologist, David Anders, featured in the photo above, repeatedly condemns forensic justification on his radio show. Forensic justification? What’s that? People are generally turned off by theological jargon like “forensic justification.” Hang in there. I’m going to break it all down for you.

These days, many church-going folks are eager to gloss over any and all doctrinal differences and embrace each other as fellow “Jesus lovers.” But many doctrinal differences are vitally important, like the answer to the question, “How does a person get to Heaven?”

The Roman Catholic church teaches that for a person to get to Heaven, they must participate in the church’s sacraments in order for graces to be “infused” into their soul, to be able to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules, in order to remain in a hypothetical mortal-sinless “state of grace,” so as to be able to merit heaven at the moment of their death. Phew! That was a long sentence! Another way of expressing it is, the RCC teaches a person must actually (subjectively, intrinsically) become holy enough to merit entry into Heaven.

In direct contrast, Bible Christianity teaches from Scripture that we are all sinners and no one can possibly merit Heaven. Even our so-called “good works” are sin-stained rags before a Holy God. But God loves us so much, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins by His death on the cross of Calvary. But Jesus defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave and offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who repent of sin and ask Him to save them. When a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior, His perfect righteousness is “imputed” (ascribed) to them. They are declared righteous before a Just and Holy God only because of the imputed, perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. Evangelical theologians call this “forensic” (legal) justification. God the Father declares a sinner who has accepted Christ as righteous because of the perfect righteousness that was imputed to them by God the Son. Bible Christians believe those who have genuinely accepted Christ will follow Him in obedience, although imperfectly. But the desire to obey God and the resulting spiritual fruit are the evidence of salvation, not the cause of it.

The Catholic doctrine and the Bible Christian doctrine on salvation are incompatible and irreconcilable. One is right, one is wrong. They cannot both be right.

To be honest, I don’t cherish the work of Catholic apologists, but I do appreciate the way they strongly distinguish between the Catholic gospel of sacramental grace and merit and the Biblical Good News! Here’s an example from Anders’ show that I came across recently, although the Biblical doctrine of salvation is not clearly presented:

Called to Communion – EWTN Radio
Episode: 3/4/2109
Host: David Anders (photo above), Moderator: Thom Price
Beginning at 24:33 mark

Thom Price: Let’s go to Claire now in Baton Rouge, Louisiana listening on the great Catholic Community Radio. Hey, Claire. What’s on your mind today?

Claire: Hi. Thank you for taking my call. I have a question about, well, it’s a two-part question about forensic acquittal (theologians use the term “forensic justification” – Tom). We have a local pastor here in town who preaches forensic acquittal and I’m very confused by what he says. I encounter this in RCIA.* So my questions are these: My understanding of forensic acquittal is that when you are saved, God covers your sins, but you are still in your sins and you remain depraved. So then my question is, if that’s correct then doesn’t that belief, in terms of justification, kind of say that, well, Jesus’ saving work wasn’t quite good enough? And my second question, and this is really the question that I’m most concerned about, is if that is an accurate understanding of forensic acquittal, then what exactly does sanctification do? Does it have any effect on the soul or is it just proof of election?

David Anders: Thank you very much, Claire. I really appreciate the question. The doctrine that you have heard from your preacher acquaintance, that doctrine, the way you put it, is an accurate description of what Lutherans believe. It is an accurate description of what Calvinists believe, and of Protestants in general. It is not, however, what Scripture teaches and it is not what the Catholic church teaches. So the doctrine of forensic justification through the imputed righteousness of Jesus, what you articulated, is actually a doctrine that was condemned by the Catholic church at the Council of Trent and no Catholic should believe that doctrine.


For the next four minutes, Anders presents a summarized version of the Catholic doctrine of salvation, which I described above.

I regretfully applaud Anders for his candid honesty in distinguishing between his church’s gospel and the genuine Gospel. Ecumenical evangelical pastors and para-church leaders do a disservice to evangelicals and lost Catholics by embracing the Catholic church with its false gospel as a Christian entitiy.

*The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) – is the year-long course aspiring adults must attend before they can be baptized into the Catholic church.

For more information on the difference between the Catholic and Bible Christian views on justification, see the article below:

Justification: Infused or Imputed Righteousness?
https://reformedbaptistdaily.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/justification-infused-or-imputed-righteousness-in-honor-of-the-496th-reformation-day/