Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #49: “Wine Is a Mocker”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next-to-last installment, the Catholic apologist continues his section on “Catholic Life and Practice” as he responds to the criticism of (some) Protestants that the Roman Catholic church permits the drinking of alcoholic beverages when the Bible says “Wine Is a Mocker.”

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Protestants who believe in complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages cite Proverbs 20:1 among other passages:

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

Broussard responds with three arguments:

(1) Broussard argues that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is not forbidden by the Bible in an absolute sense because the following verses and others seem to allow it: Deuteronomy 14:22-26, Genesis 14:18, Ecclesiastes 10:19, Psalm 104:15, 1 Timothy 5:23. Some evangelicals claim that the Israelites’/Jews’ standard table wine was diluted with so much water that it was nonintoxicating, but if that were the case, Broussard argues, there would not be so many admonitions against drunkenness in the Bible.

(2) Broussard then argues that Jesus was not absolutely opposed to fermented wine in His earthly ministry and presents the following proof texts: “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking…,” Luke 7:34, and “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now…,” John 2:1-11. Broussard forgets to include Jesus’s analogy of the wine skins and fermented wine in Mark 2:22.

(3) Broussard offers Isaiah 5:11 to argue that the Bible doesn’t forbid drinking alcoholic beverages, but only warns against overindulgence.

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

I’m one of those evangelicals who believes that the Bible doesn’t teach absolute abstinence when it comes to the consumption of alcoholic beverages, but that it warns against overindulgence and drunkenness. I wrote a post on this controversial topic way back in 2016 with supporting references (see here). Suffice to say that each believer must follow his/her own understanding and convictions regarding this matter and also must strive to not be a stumbling block to believers who hold to a different conviction.

Let’s not get sidetracked. The permissibility of consuming alcoholic beverages is a tertiary issue. The primary issue is Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Next up: “No Graven Images”

Ecumenist Norman Geisler Strikes Again

Is Rome the True Church?: A Consideration of the Roman Catholic Claim
By Norman Geisler and Joshua Betancourt
Crossway, 2008, 235 pp.

2 Stars

One of the strangest books I ever read in my entire life was “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences” (1995) by Norman Geisler (d. 2019) in which the evangelical theologian clearly defined the irreconcilable doctrinal differences between Gospel Christianity and Roman Catholicism, including the opposing views on justification, and yet still concluded the RCC was a Christian entity! See my associated post here.

In this book, published thirteen years later, Geisler specifically focuses on Catholicism’s claim to be the “one true church” based upon the notions of Petrine primacy, apostolic succession, and papal infallibility. Geisler examines Scripture, the writings of the church “fathers,” and to a lesser degree, church history, to make a very substantial case against Rome’s false claims. Adopting the Roman-Caesarian imperial model, the bishops of Rome sought to secure and consolidate their advantages and privileges.

The reader will repeatedly have a sense of déjà vu while reading this book as Geisler often uses the same references to counter different claims. But his arguments are substantive and convincing. As with his previous book, Geisler once again strangely concludes that the Roman Catholic church is a Christian entity despite the fact that it teaches a subjective, intrinsic view on justification and a salvation system based upon sacramental grace and merit. All ecumenical evangelicals must “leap frog” over this irreconcilable incongruity. Sadly, Geisler mentored a bevy of ecumenically-minded, pop-apologists (i.e., McDowell, Craig, Zacharias, Strobel, Turek).

Contents

  1. The Roman Claim to Be the True Church
  2. The Historical Development of the Roman Primacy Structure
  3. The Roman Argument for the Primacy of Peter: Stated and Evaluated
  4. The Roman Argument for the Infallibility of Peter: Stated
  5. The Roman Argument for the Infallibility of Peter: Evaluated
  6. The Roman Argument for Apostolic Succession
  7. Is Rome the True Church?
  8. Why Some Protestants Convert to Rome

Appendices

  1. Irenaeus on the Alleged Authority of the Church
  2. A Chronological List of Popes and Antipopes
  3. The Relation of Tradition to Scripture
  4. Sola Scriptura
  5. Irenaeus on Scripture and Tradition

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #48: “Vain Repetitions”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next installment, the Catholic apologist continues his section on matters of “Catholic Life and Practice” as he responds to Protestant accusations that Catholics utilize “Vain Repetitions” of prayer, especially as it applies to the Catholic rosary.

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The Roman Catholic church encourages its members to regularly “pray the rosary.” The rosary (Latin: rosarium, “crown of roses”) prayer-string consists of 60 beads and a crucifix. In praying the rosary, a Catholic starts with the crucifix at the end of the dangling string by saying the Apostles’ Creed, followed by saying one Our Father, followed by three Hail Marys, and then one Glory Be/Our Father followed by a Hail, Holy Queen. The Catholic then prays the loop of five sets of ten Hail Marys interspersed by four Glory Be/Our Fathers. Total: 60 beads and 61 prayers. It takes a Catholic around twenty-minutes to “pray the rosary” if they don’t rush through it. Besides the rosary, there are many other examples of repetitive rote prayer used in Catholic “devotions” and liturgies.

Evangelical Protestants are critical of Catholic repetitive rote prayer and cite Matthew 6:7:

“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

Broussard responds to Protestant objections with three arguments:

(1) Broussard states that Jesus’ injunction is not necessarily against repetition of prayers per se, but rather against “mindless” repetition and “the idea that simply multiplying words makes prayers efficacious” (p. 263).

(2) Broussard argues that praying the rosary helps the supplicant to meditate on the mysteries of Christ’s life so that they can have a deeper knowledge of, and a deeper communion with Christ, and that repetition serves that meditation.

(3) Broussard offers the following Biblical passages as proof texts affirming repetitious prayer:

  • Jesus said, “Pray then like this…” (Matthew 6:9-13)
  • Jesus prayed the same prayer several times in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:32-42).
  • Scripture records of the angels in Heaven, “day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Revelation 4:8).

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

Point One: To begin with, Roman Catholics have not been taught the genuine Gospel and generally have not trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. Does God even hear the prayers of unbelievers? John 9:31 God is omniscient and knows the thoughts of everyone, but is not obligated to respond to the petitions of those who do not accept His Son as Savior by faith alone.

Point Two: Regarding the repetition of the same words and phrases in prayer, God knows the heart and He certainly would accept repeated words and phrases said in sincerity. But the Catholic practice of rote recitation of formulaic, memorized prayers is exactly the type of “mindless” vain repetition that Jesus was referring to. Employing a rosary to successfully “get through” 61 rote prayers reveals the formality and insincerity of the process. From my 27 years in the RCC, I believe it would be fair to say the vast majority of Catholics are uncomfortable praying extemporaneously from the heart; most resort to formulaic prayers like the Hail Mary and the Our Father.

Point Three: The rosary includes 53 Hail Marys, 1 Hail, Holy Queen, and 6 Our Fathers, a good example of how Catholicism focuses so much its piety on Mary.

Hail Mary Prayer

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”

The first sentence of the prayer incorporates two Bible passages, Luke 1:28 and Luke 1:42. The second sentence propagates the RC false teachings of Mary as Mediator and of merited salvation. As we’ve discussed previously, nowhere in the Bible is there an example of a genuine believer praying to anyone other than God.

Conclusion: The rosary is EXACTLY the type of vain, repetitious prayer condemned by Jesus AND a flagrant example of idolatrous Mary worship AND an example of the Roman church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

What does it mean to use vain repetitions in prayer?
https://www.gotquestions.org/vain-repetitions.html

Next up: “Wine Is a Mocker”

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #47: “Yoke of Slavery”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. This week, the Catholic apologist continues his final section of the book, “Catholic Life and Practice,” with a chapter in which he attempts to defend the Roman church against Protestant charges that it imposes a “Yoke of Slavery.”

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Roman Catholicism is widely known for its numerous rules and regulations. In addition to the Ten Commandments, the RCC has 1752 canon laws, 2865 numbered paragraphs in its catechism, and thick manuals (called missals) detailing the complex rubrics for its numerous liturgies. By receiving the sacraments and obeying all of their church’s rules, Catholics hope to be able to merit salvation at the moment of their death.

In contrast, evangelicals point to the simple but sublime Good News Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. In comparing the Gospel of grace to Catholic works-righteousness and legalism, Gospel Christians often cite Galatians 5:1:

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Broussard responds with four arguments:

(1) Broussard posits that the “yoke of slavery” Paul is specifically referring to in this verse is the Mosaic Law, not laws in general. The Catholic apologist cites passages before the text (Galatians 4:28-31) and after the text (Galatians 5:2-6) to establish the context of Paul’s statement. The Roman church, argues Broussard, does not prescribe the 603 commandments of the Mosaic Law, involving such things as circumcision, animal sacrifice, and ceremonial cleansing, and is therefore not included in Paul’s “yoke of slavery.”

(2) Broussard argues that nations, communities, and families all need rules in order to function effectively. He mentions that Protestant churches also have a number of rules and procedures to maintain order.

(3) Broussard then cites seventeen New Testament passages to prove “rules were a part of the Christian life in the early church” (p. 258), e.g., pertaining to baptism (Matthew 28:19), the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19), righteousness (Matthew 5:20), etc., etc., etc.

(4) Broussard then presents his closing argument: (A) Since Protestants must concur that rules are necessary for secular and spiritual life, and (B) since the rules of the RC church are not relatively burdensome (Broussard compares the 500 pages of Catholicism’s Code of Canon Law with the 45,000 pages of United States Code), therefore (C) Catholicism’s rules and laws are not a “yoke of slavery.”

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

We’ve already thoroughly covered the topic of works-righteousness vs. justification by faith in Christ alone in the “Salvation” section of this series (chapters 12-17), so it’s strange that Broussard returns to the topic again in this “Yoke of Slavery” chapter. Perhaps he was determined to accumulate fifty chapters. Nevertheless, we will proceed.

(1) In the Book of Galatians, Paul warns the members of that church not to heed the “Judaizers” faction, who insisted that circumcision and other elements of the Mosaic Law were requirements for salvation. While Paul was specifically addressing the Mosaic Law in this case, he also made it clear that any and every “gospel” that substituted works-righteousness for faith in Jesus Christ alone was to be rejected.

“We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” – Galatians 2:16

“As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:9

(2)(3)(4) Evangelical Protestants certainly recognize that rules, regulations, procedures, and laws are required for nations, communities, and families to operate and function effectively. We also recognize that God gave commands regarding morality and the church. The point is that neither the Mosaic Law or any church laws can be used as a means to justification before God and for salvation. This was the crux, the critical issue of the Reformation. Roman Catholicism teaches a person must avail themselves of sacramental grace in order to be able to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church laws in order to hopefully merit salvation at the moment of their death. Gospel Christianity teaches that we are all sinners who continuously break God’s laws and are saved ONLY by turning from our rebellion against God (repentance) and trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and receiving His imputed perfect righteousness. After we are born-again in Jesus Christ, we then follow the Lord in obedience, albeit imperfectly.

The entire Book of Galatians is an indictment of Roman Catholicism and all aberrant forms of (c)hristianity that add works and law obedience, a “yoke of slavery,” as a requirement for salvation.

Next up: “Vain Repetitions”

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #46: “It Is Finished”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next installment, the Catholic apologist continues his section on “Catholic Life and Practice” as he responds to Protestants’ objections to Catholicism’s notion of performing penance for sins, when Jesus said on the cross, “It Is Finished.”

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Not only does the Roman Catholic church teach its members that they must regularly confess their mortal/major sins to a priest to obtain absolution, it also teaches they must then make amends for their sins by doing one of the three forms of penance – prayers, fasting, or almsgiving.

“Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must ‘make satisfaction for’ or ‘expiate’ his sins. This satisfaction is also called ‘penance.'” – CCC 1459

In contrast, born-again Christians believe, as the Bible states, that Jesus Christ’s salvific work on the cross was complete and sufficient and nothing more can or need be added for those who place their trust in Him as their Savior. Protestants often cite John 19:30 and Jesus’s last words on the cross as their support:

“It is finished.” – John 19:30

Broussard responds with three arguments:

(1) Broussard suggests the possibility that by saying, “It is finished,” Jesus simply meant that His earthly ministry was complete, which would not preclude the obligation of performing penance. A second possibility, according to Broussard, is that Jesus meant “the human race is reunited back to God” by His completed sacrifice and that “saving grace is made available for all humanity” (p. 249). In the confessional, the priest, as alter Christus, “another Christ,” absolves the sinner, thereby remitting the eternal consequences of sin, but penance must still be done to atone for the temporal consequences of sin.

(2) Broussard offers three passages as proof-texts that “the New Testament reveals that penance is a part of Christian life”:

  • Hebrews 12:6,10 (…he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness…)
  • Luke 12:47-48 (…that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating…)
  • Matthew 6:16-18 (…when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites…)

(3) Broussard then presents six passages that he alleges involve penance and sanctification.

First regarding penance:

  • Matthew 6:16-18 (…when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites…)
  • Proverbs 16:6 (By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for.)
  • 1 Peter 4:8 (…love covers a multitude of sins.)

Then regarding sanctification:

  • 2 Corinthians 7:1 (…let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit…),
  • James 1:2-4 (…let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete…)
  • Philippians 2:12 (…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.)

Broussard concludes by arguing that (A) since continuing sanctification is necessary for salvation “after being initially saved by the completed work of Christ on the cross,” and (B) since “penance is one of the ways by which we can be sanctified,” therefore (C) “penance doesn’t undermine the sufficiency of Jesus’ death on the cross.”

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

Because this lengthy (7 pages) chapter deals largely with the penance associated with the sacrament of reconciliation/confession, Broussard would have helped his readers by grouping it with the preceding chapter #26 and chapter #27 that dealt with that topic.

I observe that Broussard covers a lot of Catholic theological territory in this chapter by defending both post-confessional penance and by defending sanctification as a requirement for salvation. The average reader is undoubtedly thoroughly confused by Broussard’s arguments and his accompanying proof texts, so I will attempt to cut to the chase as briefly as possible.

Yes, evangelical Protestants believe that by saying, “It is finished,” Jesus Christ was declaring the completeness of His salvific work on the cross. A supporting passage in Matthew 27:51 states that immediately after Jesus uttered those words and died, the veil of the inner sanctuary of the Jerusalem temple was miraculously torn in two, from top to bottom, indicating mankind now had direct access to God and His salvation through the mediation of Jesus Christ. Jesus had accomplished His earthly mission and His perfect and complete saving sacrifice could not be added to.

Let’s touch upon the two major themes presented by Broussard in this convoluted chapter:

Penance: The RCC teaches that while eternal punishment for mortal/major sin is remitted by the priest in the confessional, the temporal punishment remains and must be atoned for by the supplicant via acts of penance in this life or expiated via the fires of Purgatory in the next. We have already thoroughly examined Catholicism’s false teachings regarding the confession of sins to a priest and Purgatory and there is no need to backtrack. The average Catholic could not explain this notion of temporal punishment and its atonement via penance.

Sanctification: In chapters 12 through 17 of this series we thoroughly examined the irreconcilable differences between Gospel Christianity and Roman Catholicism regarding the roles of justification and sanctification in connection with salvation. Gospel Christians believe, as the Bible teaches, that we are justified and made righteous only by Christ’s perfect righteousness that He imputes to us when we accept Him as our Savior by faith alone. After we are saved, we follow the Lord in obedience (albeit imperfectly) as we become increasingly sanctified in our thoughts and deeds. Ephesians 2:8-10 states the correct relationship between faith and works:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

We are justified only through our faith in Jesus Christ and His imputed perfect righteousness. Our subsequent good works attest to our salvation in Christ, they are not the basis of our salvation.

Roman Catholicism puts the cart before the horse by teaching that sanctification merits salvation. The RCC teaches a person must become subjectively, intrinsically holy enough to merit their salvation. Broussard states the Catholic position, that sanctification, including penance, leads to justification and salvation, but, of course, Gospel Christians disagree. We cannot merit our salvation in any form or fashion. Jesus paid the entire debt for our sin on the cross.

Our bottom line to this convoluted chapter: The RCC’s doctrine of penance, as well as most of its other doctrines, certainly do undermine the sufficiency of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

86 Bible Verses about Jesus Sacrifice Being Sufficient
https://www.openbible.info/topics/jesus_sacrifice_being_sufficient

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #45: “Call No Man Father”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next installment, the Catholic apologist continues his section on matters of “Catholic Life and Practice” as he responds to the Biblical injunction to “Call No Man Father.”

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Roman Catholics are directed to address their priests as “father.” The head of the RC church is, of course, the pope, which means “father” in Latin (Papa). The most frequently used title for the pope is “Holy Father” (Sancta Papa). Protestants object to these titles and cite the injunction of Jesus Christ in Matthew 23:9:

“And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.”

Broussard replies to Protestants’ objection with three arguments:

(1) Broussard argues that the Bible elsewhere approvingly uses the word “father” for individuals other than God. Among many other examples, he cites Ephesians 6:2, where Paul quotes the Fifth Commandment (Catholics number it as their fourth commandment), to “Honor your father and mother.” Clearly, the Bible approves of using the title, “father,” in referring to biological fathers. Paul also applies the term, “father,” to himself in the sense of a spiritual father/mentor:

“For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” – 1 Corinthians 4:15

Broussard presents many other examples where Paul referred to believers as his “child” or “children” (e.g., 1 Timothy 1:2).

Broussard argues that (A) since the Bible elsewhere favorably approves of using “father” to refer to biological dads and to spiritual leaders, then (B) “there must be something else going on” with Jesus’s injunction in Matthew 23:9.

(2) Broussard notes that along with His injunction against using “father,” within the wider context of Matthew 23:1-12 Jesus also instructed his disciples not to take the titles of rabbi/teacher or instructor/master. However, as with “father,” Broussard notes that Scripture favorably uses those terms in other applications (e.g., 1 Timothy 2:7)

(3) Broussard suggests that in Matthew 23, Jesus was not forbidding the use of “father” or those other terms in an absolute sense, but was “using hyperbole to indict the scribes and Pharisees for their pride” and misuse of authority (p. 245). Those men had elevated their traditions and authority above the authority of God and His Word and proudly reveled in their positions of leadership [the irony of Broussard’s argument here is palpable – more on that below]. Read all of Matthew 23 for Jesus’s blistering condemnation of the scribes’ and Pharisees’ religious hypocrisy.

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

I absolutely agree with Broussard’s first two arguments. Jesus was not forbidding the use of “father” and “teacher” in an absolute sense. However, in regards to Broussard’s third argument, he’s so spiritually blind that he doesn’t recognize that the attitudes and behaviors of the scribes and Pharisees condemned by Jesus in Matthew 23 foreshadowed the attitudes and behaviors of Catholic priests and prelates who elevate themselves over Jesus Christ as mediators of salvation – priests as “Alter Christus” and the pope as the “Vicar of Christ.” Holy Father? Such a title is sheer blasphemy. Matthew 23 is a damning indictment of the Roman Catholic clergy, but Broussard is absolutely oblivious. He criticizes the scribes and Pharisees for the exact same practices and attitudes of his beloved Catholic clergy. Catholic clerics weigh souls down with the impossible burden of meriting their salvation. They love the privileges, perquisites, and veneration accorded to them. They love the place of honor at religious ceremonies and public gatherings and the reverential greetings in the marketplaces and being called “Father” (priests) or “Your Excellency” (bishops) or “Your Holiness” (pope). Every born-again, ex-Catholic who reads Matthew 23 is reminded of the Roman Catholic clergy. However, as evil and hypocritical as the scribes and Pharisees were, even they would have been revolted by the Roman Catholic hierarchy’s quest for power, control, and wealth through the centuries.

Did Jesus mean that we should never refer to our earthly father as “father” (Matthew 23:9)?
https://www.gotquestions.org/father-Matthew-23-9.html

Next: “It Is Finished”

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #44: “Doctrines of Demons”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. This week, the Catholic apologist introduces his final section, which is devoted to topics involving “Catholic Life and Practice.” He begins with this chapter defending two of the RCC’s “disciplines” that Protestants describe as “Doctrines of Demons.”

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Broussard points out that “Catholicism is well-known for its celibate clergy (see CCC 1599)…and for mandating periods of fasting and abstinence from certain foods at different times of the year” (see CCC 2043).

Protestants assert that Scripture specifically identifies these two “disciplines” as “doctrines of demons”:

“1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” – 1 Timothy 4:1-3 (NKJV)

Broussard attempts to rebut Protestant objections with three arguments:

(1) Broussard argues that Paul was not opposed to celibacy in an absolute sense because elsewhere in his epistles he recommends celibacy. See 1 Timothy 5:9-11, 2 Timothy 2:4, 1 Corinthians 7:8,32-38. Broussard then cites Matthew 19:11-12 to show that Jesus Himself approved of celibacy for some.

(2) Broussard cites 1 Corinthians 8:7-13 to show that Paul likewise was not absolutely opposed to fasting and abstinence.

(3) Broussard posits that 1 Timothy 4:1-3 only condemns the disallowance of marriage in general and the perpetual forbiddance of certain foods. He suggests Paul is possibly referring to the practices of the heretical Gnostics or to an unorthodox Jewish sect such as the Essenes. Broussard concludes that because the RCC doesn’t forbid marriage or certain foods in an absolute sense, Paul’s condemnation in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 doesn’t apply to its disciplines.

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

(1) Yup, evangelicals certainly recognize Scripture teaches that some believers are gifted to serve the Lord as unmarried celibates.

(2) Yup, evangelicals certainly recognize Scripture does encourage fasting and also abstaining from foods sacrificed to idols if eating them would offend an overly scrupulous brother or sister.

(3) Broussard attempts to excuse the RCC from the condemnations of 1 Timothy 4:1-3 because it prohibits marriage only in a particular sense, affecting only priests and nuns, rather than in a general, absolutist sense. But is that a valid qualification? Scripture contradicts Rome’s particular prohibition of marriage for its clergy in its listings of qualifications for pastoral candidates: “the husband of one wife”1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Paul also noted that he had a right to be married as were Peter and the other apostles:

“Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? – 1 Corinthians 9:5

It’s revealing that Broussard omits the above Scripture passages which contradict Rome’s mandated clerical celibacy. Nor does Broussard comment on the absolute failure of Rome’s mandated clerical celibacy as demonstrated by revelation upon revelation of sexual abuse of children by celibate priests. By withholding this contradictory and unfavorable information from his readers, Broussard is guilty of underhanded duplicity.

With regards to the mandatory abstention of certain foods, Broussard plays the same particular vs. absolute card. Noting that Rome prohibits certain foods under threat of mortal sin only at particular times (e.g., meat on Lenten Fridays), he argues that it escapes the condemnation of 1 Timothy 4:1-3. But his qualification is painfully arbitrary and also defies supporting Scriptures, which state that the eating of certain foods is not sinful.

“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” – Matthew 15:11

It’s important that we address Rome’s errors regarding mandatory clerical celibacy and compulsory abstention of certain foods, but Rome’s most egregious error is its false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Does the Bible teach the celibacy of priests?
https://www.gotquestions.org/celibacy-priests.html

Why can’t Catholics eat meat on Fridays during Lent?
https://www.gotquestions.org/meat-on-Fridays.html

Next up: “Call No Man Father”

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #43: “A Thousand-Year Reign”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next chapter, the Catholic apologist completes his “The Last Things” section as he attempts to counter the belief in “A Thousand-Year Reign” held by some Protestants.

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Many evangelical Christians believe in a literal, thousand-year, millennial reign of Jesus Christ upon the Earth following His second coming based upon the text of Revelation 20:

“…They will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” – Revelation 20:6

Catholicism does not teach premillennialism, the literal, thousand-year reign of Christ. The RCC subscribes to the amillennial view, which teaches that there will not be a literal thousand-year reign. Broussard offers two arguments to defend the Catholic position:

(1) Broussard suggests that the “thousand years” referred to in Revelation 20 is strictly symbolic. He presents examples of Bible verses where the number 1000 is used symbolically such as in Psalm 50:10 and 1 Chronicles 16:15 and argues a symbolic interpretation is also intended for Revelation 20.

(2) Broussard argues that “the contextual details (of Rev. 20) suggest that the thousand years overlaps with the ministry of Jesus and the Church age” (p. 231). The details Broussard cites are those that describe Satan as being “bound.” Broussard argues that Satan was bound during Jesus’s earthly ministry and is bound now, during the Church age, so that he cannot hinder the preaching of the gospel as Christ builds His Church.

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

Evangelicals are divided over the three views connected with millenarianism:

Premillennialism – the belief that Jesus Christ will return and set up a literal 1000-year reign upon Earth.*

Postmillennialism – the belief that the preaching of the Gospel and the increasing conversion of souls over a period of time symbolized by the “1000-years” in Rev. 20 will usher in the return of Jesus Christ. This view was once overridingly popular among mainline Protestant denominations, but it’s not even a consideration for them any longer in this era of mainline Protestant apostasy.

Amillennialism – the belief that there will not be a literal 1000-year reign, but that Christ currently reigns on Earth through the church and His followers.

As a new Christian, I was discipled at a Gospel-preaching church that taught the pre-trib rapture and the pre-millennial return of Jesus Christ. I’m comfortable with those views, but I know many genuine Christians believe differently. I’m definitely not passionate when it comes to eschatology, so I generally keep my endtimes beliefs to myself. Some Christians do have strongly-held views on the endtimes. Debates on the topic, some quite heated, can be found all over the internet.

Here’s the most important takeaway from this chapter for me: Catholic apologist Broussard is quibbling over details of endtimes eschatology, while his church teaches a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. It’s like being on an airliner flying eight miles above the ground and arguing with the stewardess about the cabin temperature while one of the plane’s engines is visibly aflame. Let’s keep our focus on the “first things.” Broussard defends his church’s amillennialist view, claiming that Satan is bound while the RCC advances its works-righteousness gospel. Does not compute. Satan is VERY pleased that the RCC teaches anti-Biblical, works-righteousness salvation. I would suggest, as did all of the Reformers, that Satan played/plays a part in the creation and perpetuation of the RC false church. But why does the Catholic apologist quibble about endtimes details when the RCC officially teaches that people of all religions – Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, etc., and even atheists – all of whom generally have NO CLUE regarding the difference between premillennialism and amillennialism – may also merit their salvation if they are “good” and sincerely “follow the light they are given”?

What is millenarianism?
https://www.gotquestions.org/millenarianism.html

*Premillennialism is further divided into Historic Premillennialism and Dispensational Premillennialism. See here.

Next up: “Doctrines of Demons”

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #42: “Caught Up with the Lord in the Air”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next installment, the Catholic apologist continues his section on “The Last Things” as he attempts to counter the assertion by some Protestants that, prior to the Great Tribulation mentioned in Matthew 24 and Revelation 6-11, believers will be “Caught Up with the Lord in the Air.”

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Roman Catholicism teaches that the “church” will go through the Great Tribulation period prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ.

“Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.” – CCC 675

This view is commonly referred to as the post-tribulational “rapture” (Latin, rapio, “caught up”).

Many evangelical Christians believe in the pre-tribulational rapture, which posits that believers will be taken up into Heaven before the end-times tribulation begins. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is cited as the basis for the pre-trib view:

15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

Broussard attempts to rebut the pre-trib view with two arguments.

(1) Broussard suggests that the reference in 1 Thess. 4:17 to believers being “caught up…to meet the Lord in the air” refers to “how Christians will meet the Lord…to escort him in a way that is analogous to the ancient custom of citizens ushering in important visitors” (p. 225).

(2) Broussard then cites three Bible passages that he contends support the post-trib view:

  • 1 Cor. 15:22-24 – Broussard argues this passage teaches that “the end (of time) happens in tandem with the resurrection of the dead” (p. 226), not that the resurrection of the dead occurs at a pre-trib rapture.
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 – Broussard claims this passage indicates that the Antichrist and his reign of evil precedes the “coming of the Lord.” He argues that (A) since 2 Thess. 2:1-8 and 1 Thess. 4:15-17 both refer to the “coming of the Lord,” and because (B) 2 Thess. 2:1-8 clearly indicates that the “coming of the Lord” will follow the tribulation, then (C) 1 Thess. 4:15-17 must also be referring to a post-trib rapture.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 – Broussard posits that this passage links the divine trumpet blast with the resurrection of the dead at the end of time. He argues that (A) since 1 Cor. 15:51-53 links the trumpet blast with the resurrection of the dead at the end of time, and since (B) 1 Thess. 4:15-17 also refers to the trumpet blast and the resurrection of the dead, then (C) 1 Thess. 4:15-17 refers to the end of time.

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

(1) Broussard’s interpretation of 1 Thess. 4:17 as Christians merely greeting the Lord as He descends from Heaven at the time of His Second Coming is merely his interpretation.

(2) Responding to his three proof texts:

  • 1 Corinthians 15:22-24 – This passage doesn’t necessarily imply a chronological immediacy between the resurrection of “those who belong to Christ” and “the end” (of time).
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 – The “that day” in v. 3 doesn’t refer to the “being gathered together” in v. 1, but to “the day of the Lord” in v. 2. Throughout Scripture, “the day of the Lord” refers to the final end times. Broussard’s attempt to link the gathering of the saints in v. 1 immediately with the final end times is without merit.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 – While Broussard claims that this passage connects the divine trumpet blast “with the resurrection of the dead at the end of time” (p. 228), there is no explicit or implicit reference to the end time in the passage. Pre-trib Christians frequently cite this passage along with 1 Thess. 4:15-17 as validation of their view.

Not all evangelical Christians adhere to the pre-trib rapture view (see the article, “When is the Rapture going to occur in relation to the Tribulation?” below). Some subscribe to the mid-trib view while others hold the post-trib view. After trusting in Christ and becoming born-again back in the early-1980s, my wife and I attended an independent fundamental Baptist church that taught the pre-trib rapture and that is what I believe. I’m not a fervent eschatologist, as some are, so I’m content to leave it at that.

I also agree with the Reformers who believed that the Roman Catholic church is going to play a prominent role as the primary apostate false church during the end times. In this chapter, Broussard quibbles over eschatological details, but let’s not lose sight of the forest for the trees. The most significant issue on the table is that the Roman Catholic church teaches a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

When is the Rapture going to occur in relation to the Tribulation?
https://www.gotquestions.org/rapture-tribulation.html

What is the day of the Lord?
https://www.gotquestions.org/day-of-the-Lord.html

Next up: “A Thousand-Year Reign”

Throwback Thursday: “Catholicism: East of Eden”

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a short post that was originally published back on February 19, 2016 and has been revised.

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Catholicism: East of Eden: Insights into Catholicism for the 21st Century
By Richard Bennett
Banner of Truth, 2010, 336 pages

In this excellent book, ex-priest, Richard Bennett, provides a compassionate yet uncompromising critique of Roman Catholicism in comparison to God’s Word and Biblical Christianity. Catholicism claims to be the “one true church,” but in each chapter Bennett details how the Catholic church strayed from the genuine Gospel and simple, saving faith in Jesus Christ that was preached by the New Testament church to institutionalized religious legalism and ritualism. As a former Dominican priest for twenty-two years, Bennett’s insights into Catholicism are unassailable.

Chapters

  1. From Tradition To Truth: A Priest’s Story
  2. The Lord Gave His Word: Unshakable Authority
  3. The Mystique of the Catholic Priesthood
  4. The Papacy: An Overview of Its History and Nature
  5. The Papal Claim to Have the Keys of the Apostle Peter
  6. Baptism, Confirmation, and the Anointing of the Sick
  7. Encounters in the Confession Box
  8. The Mass as a Sacrifice
  9. Holy Communion
  10. The Mystic Plague
  11. Images of “Christ” and the Gospel
  12. The Biblical Mary and Tradition
  13. God’s Institution of Marriage and Rome’s Infringement on It
  14. Convent Life
  15. Biblical Unity in the Lord
  16. The Alignment of New Evangelicals with Catholicism
  17. Conclusion

Bennett is founder and director of The Berean Beacon, an evangelical ministry to Roman Catholics. Copies of “Catholicism East of Eden” can be ordered directly from the Berean Beacon or from Amazon.com here.

For a list of over 360 books that compare Catholicism with God’s Word, see my Books tab here.

“Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” – Genesis 4:16

Faithful servant, Richard M. Bennett, was called home by the Lord on September 23, 2019 at the age of 81.