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 continues his section on Sacraments and the specific topic of the sacrifice of the mass as he attempts to counter evangelical Protestants’ arguments that Jesus Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice “Once and For All.”
The Roman Catholic church claims that during each of its masses, the priest offers Jesus Christ (under the form of bread and wine) as a sacrifice to God the Father for the sins of the congregants and for anyone else who is named, including the pope and the local bishop. It’s estimated that the Catholic church conducts 350,000 Catholic masses each day throughout the world. As Broussard points out, evangelical Protestants object to this repeated sacrifice for sin as un-Biblical and offer Hebrews 7:27 as their proof text:
“He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.”
How can Catholicism reconcile its 128 million masses annually with God’s Word which clearly says Jesus Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin once for all? Broussard offers three rationalizations:
Firstly, Broussard cites the Roman church’s argument that, technically, it’s not repeating Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, but rather re-presenting the same sacrifice in an unbloody manner. Broussard claims the injunction against repeated sacrifice expressed in Hebrews 7:27 pertains to the continual animal sacrifices offered by the Jewish high priests, NOT to the alleged sacrifice re-presented at the mass.
Secondly, Broussard presents three Biblical proof texts, which he alleges support the Catholic claim for Christ’s ongoing sacrificial ministry: Hebrews 7:24-25, Hebrews 8:2-3, and Hebrews 9:23-26.
Lastly, Broussard seeks to diffuse objections to Catholicism’s “unbloody” sacrifices for sin. He points to the examples of the drink and grain offerings that were presented to God by the Israelites as part of the Levitical rituals recorded in the Old Testament.
Okay, let’s now respond to Broussard:
First, the objection by Catholics that they are re-presenting Christ’s sacrifice rather than repeating it is a ham-fisted attempt to circumvent the clear teaching in Hebrews, chapters 7 through 10, regarding the finality of Christ’s sacrifice. God, in His wisdom, included an indisputable refutation of the Catholic position:
“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” – Hebrews 10:12
Where is Jesus? Is He upon Catholic altars being offered 128 million times per year as a sacrifice? Certainly not! He is seated at the right hand of God the Father.
Secondly, in regards to Broussard’s Bible proof texts, which he alleges confirm perpetual sacrifice, let’s take a look at just one:
24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. – Hebrews 7:24-25
There is nothing in the above passage that suggests that Jesus is perpetually sacrificing Himself 128 million times per year as the Roman church teaches. As the perfect High Priest, Jesus perpetually makes available the expiatory power of His single sacrifice upon Calvary to all those who trust in Him as Savior by faith alone.
Lastly, Broussard’s reference to the grain and drink offerings of the Old Testament Levitical rituals as examples of bloodless sacrifices is spurious. Blood HAD to be shed for the remission of sins:
“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” – Hebrews 9:22
The purpose of the Levitical grain and drink offerings was to worship God and acknowledge His provision. They were NOT sacrifices for sin. Broussard’s reference to these offerings as validation of Catholicism’s bloodless sacrifice of the mass is either duplicitous or betrays a complete lack of knowledge of basic Bible hermeneutics. For more information on grain offerings see the article at the very bottom.
The raw truth is that the Catholic mass with its eucharistic sacrifice is the illegitimate perpetuation of the Old Testament sacrificial system, with the Jesus wafer “host” (Latin: victim) replacing the animals. Priests are indispensable mediators in the Catholic salvation system by design and the laity are completely dependent upon them.
Personal note: I recall reading the New Testament for the first time as a Roman Catholic around age 24 and being increasingly disturbed by the differences between God’s Word and Catholic doctrine. Hebrews, chapters 7-10, was the final straw. Every Roman Catholic needs to prayerfully read Hebrews chapters 7-10 to see there is no more need for human priests or sacrifice. Below are several highlights from those chapters:
“He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.” – Hebrews 7:27
“Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.” – Hebrews 8:1-2
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” – Hebrews 9:11-12
“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” – Hebrews 9:24-28
“And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” – Hebrews 10:10-14
What is a grain offering?