Reformanda Initiative Podcast #18: Understanding the Sacrament of Penance in Roman Catholicism

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

Season 1, Episode 18: Understanding the Sacrament of Penance in Roman Catholicism

Show Notes

In this episode we examine the Roman Catholic teaching on the Sacrament of Penance (also known by many other names) from an evangelical perspective. We underscore what is at stake with this doctrine theologically and concerning the gospel, and highlight how it fits into the larger framework of the Roman Catholic system.

My Comments

The Catholic sacrament of penance/confession/reconciliation elevates the Catholic priest to the place of God Almighty in forgiving people of their sins. The sacrament is just one facet of Roman Catholicism’s Christ-Church Interconnection construct whereby the RCC presents itself as as the prolongation of the incarnation of Christ and usurps the exclusive office of Jesus Christ as the one and only Mediator between God and men – 1 Timothy 2:5. Good discussion.

Postscript: It’s puzzlingly ironic that the RI guys favorably reference Tim Keller in this podcast because Keller is an outspoken advocate of ecumenism with Rome.

Season 1, Episode 18: Understanding the Sacrament of Penance in Roman Catholicism
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Reid Karr, and Clay Kannard
May 13, 2020 – 66 minutes
https://reformandainitiative.buzzsprout.com/663850/3738761-ep-18-understanding-the-sacrament-of-penance-in-roman-catholicism

For the YouTube video version of this podcast, see here.

Next week: Season 1, Episode 19: The Roman Catholic message of May 14th: Together let’s pray to our god(s), whoever or whatever that may be

“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #29: “It’s Jesus’ resurrection that saves, not baptism.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard concludes his last of three short chapters defending baptismal regeneration, using 1 Peter 3:21 as his proof-text:

“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

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Protestant response #29: “It’s Jesus’ resurrection that saves, not baptism.”

Broussard writes, “(Evangelical apologist) Todd Baker puts it this way: ‘Peter tells his audience in verse 21 that it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, symbolized by the waters of baptism, which actually saves the Christian.'”

Broussard’s response

Broussard accuses Baker of presenting the issue as an either/or false dichotomy: that salvation is brought about either by Jesus’ resurrection (the evangelical view) or by baptism (the Catholic view). “But,” writes Broussard, “if we consider Paul’s teaching in Romans 6:3-4, 6-7, we see that baptism is that which allows for us to participate in (author’s emphasis) Jesus’ resurrection, by which we are saved.” In a very convoluted manner that becomes understandable only to the most determined reader, Broussard then contends that the “set free from sin” mentioned in Romans 6:7 can be translated as “justified from sin.” Broussard argues that Paul teaches the Roman view, that “justification can include sanctification” and that “justification, or salvation, takes place in baptism.”

My response

It’s a bit simplistic and understated to say that evangelical Christians believe “it’s Jesus resurrection that saves.” For we believe, as the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” and that all who accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone will be saved (John 3:16). However, Baker and Broussard are examining 1 Peter 3:21 and the focus is necessarily limited to that verse.

Baker examines 1Peter 3:21 and argues the apostle informs his readers that it is Jesus Christ and His resurrection that saves and not baptism. Broussard argues that baptism is the means by which souls are saved. Broussard cites Romans 6:3-4, 6-7 as his secondary proof text. Roman Catholics believe Paul is referring to physical water baptism in that passage, but of course the passage is referring to baptism in Christ in a metaphorical sense. All those who accept Christ are immersed in Him spiritually (1 Cor. 6:17, 2 Cor. 5:17, Romans 8:1, etc.). Arguing that Romans 6:3-4, 6-7 validates the Catholic teaching of baptismal regeneration is another case of the RCC mistakenly interpreting a Bible passage literally rather than understanding the metaphorical intent (see the “Bread of Life Discourse,” John 6:22-71).

What are we to conclude after these three short chapters defending baptismal regeneration? We know from the New Testament that it’s not the pouring of water on an infant’s head that saves (eighty-percent of those baptized by the RCC are infants). Accepting Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone is what saves.

“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.” – Ephesians 2:8-9.

As I’ve mentioned in all six of these installments on baptismal regeneration, the RCC dichotomously teaches that all unbaptized religionists – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, etc. – and even atheists may also merit Heaven. Broussard’s omission of this incongruity in his passionate defense of baptismal regeneration is deliberately deceitful and underhanded.

Next week: Broussard begins the first of two chapters on transubstantiation and the eucharist with Protestant response #30: “Jesus left his audience in ignorance all the time. Nothing special here.”

“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #26: “Baptism is not the cause of salvation but rather follows it.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard opens his second of three short chapters defending baptismal regeneration, this time using Acts 2:38 as his proof-text:

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Catholics present Acts 2:38 as incontrovertible evidence for baptismal regeneration.

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Protestant Response #26: “Baptism is not the cause of salvation but rather follows it.”

Writes Broussard, “(Evangelical apologist) Ron Rhodes bases this argument on a particular reading of the Greek preposition eis, translated as ‘for’ [regarding the “for” in Acts 2:38, “…for the forgiveness of your sins” – Tom]. Rhodes rightly points out that eis ‘can indicate causality (‘in order to attain’) or a result (‘because of’)’. An example of this causal sense is, ‘I’m going to the office for (in order to get) my paycheck.’ An example of the resultant sense is, ‘I’m taking an aspirin for (because of) my headache.’ Rhodes asserts that in Acts 2:38 eis is used in the resultant sense: Peter is not saying, ‘Repent and be baptized in order to attain the forgiveness of sins’ but rather, ‘Repent, and be baptized because you’ve been forgiven.’ Rather than baptism being a cause of salvation, it’s something we do once we’re saved” (author’s emphases).

Broussard’s response

Broussard’s response is lengthy and multifold, so I will summarize using bullets:

  • Broussard dismisses an interpretation of eis in Acts 2:38 in the resultant sense as an arbitrary manipulation that flouts context. Broussard notes that Protestants appeal to Acts 10:47 (see Acts 10:44-48 for the wider context), which describes the sequence of 1) Cornelius and his gathered relatives and close friends hear the Gospel from Peter, 2) the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they manifest the gift of languages, and 3) they were subsequently baptized. Broussard argues that “someone can reasonably interpret this reception of the Holy Spirit not as an instance of salvation, but simply as a visible confirmation that membership in God’s family is extended to the Gentiles.” Broussard concedes that the interpretation of Cornelius and the Gentiles receiving salvation prior to baptism is the more probable one, but categorizes it as an “exceptional case” required for the circumstances. Broussard concedes that “the necessity of baptism is not absolute,” that “God can administer the graces of baptism without the sacrament.” [This is Jesuitical sophistry at its most guileful. – Tom]
  • Broussard cites other passages in the Bible and early Christian writings to demonstrate that “baptism is an instrumental cause of the forgiveness of sins”:
    • Acts 22:16 – “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”
    • Romans 6:3-4 – “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
    • Quotes from the Letter of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas
  • Broussard argues that Acts 2:38 taken in context with v. 37 reveals “the natural reading of the text is that the forgiveness of sins occurs with (author’s emphasis) the reception of baptism.”
  • Broussard claims the resultant interpretation “entails unnecessary mental gymnastics” and is “a strained reading to say the least.”

My response

Ron Rhodes’ interpretation of eis in Acts 2:38 as “because of” in the resultant sense is absolutely correct. Baptism follows salvation and is a believer’s public testimony of their identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial. and resurrection. As the New Testament makes clear repeatedly, salvation is solely through “belief” (pisteuō: to put one’s faith in, to trust in) in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. Baptism is important and was commanded by Christ, but the physical waters of baptism impart nothing.

Broussard acknowledges that the sequence of events in Acts 10:44-48 contradicts his baptism=salvation position, but in his painfully torturous eisegesis he dismisses the passage as a divine “exception.”

Notice how Broussard conveniently omits referencing Acts 2:41, only three verses removed from his proof-text:

“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”

Receiving/trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior results in salvation, which is followed by believer’s baptism.

We needn’t jump through hoops to examine all of Broussard’s secondary proof-texts for the sake of this installment, but let’s take a look at the seemingly problematic (for Protestants) Acts 22:16 – “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” Grammatically, the phrase, “calling on his name,” precedes “Rise and be baptized,” showing that baptism follows salvation. Broussard’s secondary proof-text actually refutes his argument.

Broussard dismisses Rhodes’ correct interpretation of Acts 2:38 as entailing “unnecessary mental gymnastics” and a “strained reading,” but let’s turn the lens around and evaluate the Roman Catholic church’s insistence that baptism is absolutely essential for salvation while also dichotomously teaching that all unbaptized, non-Catholic religionists – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, etc. – and even atheists are also able to merit salvation! The mental gymnastics involved in believing and defending such self-refuting, incongruent, religious schizophrenia are beyond impossible.

Undiscerning evangelicals who believe Roman Catholics hold to the same gospel must stop the self-delusion and take Catholics such as Karlo Broussard at their word.

Next week: Protestant response #27: “The order of salvation in the New Testament is repentance, faith, and then baptism.

“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #25: “The water that Jesus speaks of refers to the word of God.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard concludes his first of three chapters defending baptismal regeneration, using John 3:3-5 as his proof-text.

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. – John 3:3-5

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Protestant Response #25: “The water that Jesus speaks of refers to the word of God.”

Writes Broussard, “Proponents of this interpretation, like (evangelical apologist) Todd Baker, use 1 Peter 1:23 for support: ‘You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.’ Notice how Peter associates the second birth with the ‘word of God.’ Baker also attempts to support this claim with Ephesians 5:25-26, where Paul speaks of Christ cleansing the church ‘by the washing of water with the word.’ He then couples this with John 15:3, where Jesus says, ‘You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.’ When you take into consideration that the second birth elsewhere in Scripture is associated with the word of God, and that the word of God is that which washes us clean, then it seems plausible for a Protestant to conclude that the water in the born again discourse refers to the word of God and not the waters of baptism.”

Broussard’s response

Broussard’s full response is as follows: “The problem with this argument is that the conclusion, ‘the water in the born again discourse doesn’t refer to baptism’ does not follow from the premise, ‘we are born anew by the word of God.’ To be born again by the word of God is not mutually exclusive of being born anew through the waters of baptism. It’s possible that one can be born again by both. For example, the ‘word of God’ that Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1:23 is the ‘good news preached’ – the oral preaching that Paul calls the ‘word of God’ in 1 Thessalonians 2:13. It’s unreasonable to think Peter would think our second birth is made actual by the apostolic preaching alone and not the waters of baptism, since he was the one who commands those listening on the day of Pentecost to ‘repent and be baptized’ in order that they may receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). This was in response to the people requesting to be saved after hearing the word of God proclaimed to them. So being born anew can come by both the word of God and baptism because it’s the hearing of the preaching of ‘the good news’ that leads people to baptism. Therefore, Peter is not excluding baptism when he speaks of being born anew through ‘the living and abiding word of God.’ In fact, later in the same epistle (3:21), he directly says, ‘baptism now saves you.’ For Peter, it’s not either ‘the good news’ or baptism; it’s both-and.”

My response

Evangelicals do disagree on the interpretation of “born of water” in John 3:5. Some interpret the phrase to mean the physical birth as was discussed last week, while others understand the phrase to refer to the cleansing of the Word of God as Todd Baker proposes in this week’s “Protestant Response.” Evangelicals do reject the claim that “born of water” refers to baptismal regeneration.

Baptism is mentioned along with salvation in several New Testament verses and passages such as Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38-41, Acts 8:12-13, Acts 8:34-38, Acts 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, and 1 Peter 3:21. Catholics and other baptismal regenerationists interpret these verses and passages to mean that baptism imparts salvation or is a requirement for salvation. But Scripture interprets Scripture and we know the overriding message of the New Testament is that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The key is belief/trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. Verses/passages such as the popular John 3:16 teach unequivocally that salvation is through faith in Christ alone:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Below is a link to 101 Bible verses that teach salvation is not by sacramentalism or other works:

101 Bible Verses That Teach Salvation is NOT by Works
http://gochristianhelps.com/tracts/stl/notworks.htm

All of the Bible verses and passages that Catholics present as their proof-texts for baptismal regeneration can be explained in the larger context of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone as we’ll see in the weeks ahead.

Baptism is surely an important ordinance given by the Lord by which a newly born-again believer publicly identifies with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, but the physical waters of baptism do not impart spiritual life.* Catholicism takes its baptismal regeneration doctrine to its bitter conclusion by baptizing infants who obviously do not have the cognitive ability to trust in Christ. Eighty-percent of those baptized in the Catholic church are infants. As we mentioned last week, while the RCC insists that baptism is essential to salvation, it incongruously allows that non-Catholic religionists – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, etc, and even atheists – may also merit Heaven by following their religion or conscience. Undiscerning evangelicals who embrace Roman Catholicism as a Christian denomination are yoking with rank heresy.

We will delve further into this baptismal regeneration heresy in the four installments that follow. Broussard refers to 1 Peter 3:21 above and that verse will be examined in “Protestant responses,” 28 & 29.

*Baptismal regeneration is a prime example of RC-ism’s foundational Nature-Grace Interdependence theological construct, which was discussed in the Reformanda Initiative’s podcast #3 (see here).

Next week: Protestant response #26: “Baptism is not the cause of salvation but rather follows it.”

“Invalid Baptism” Redux

Religious legalism and works-righteousness false gospels always, always, always lead to contradictions and unanswerable rabbit-hole conundrums. Two of the most glaring examples I’ve come across in my seven-plus years of blogging were the bizarre cases of Catholic priests, Matthew Hood and Andres Arango.

As a preliminary, we recognize that the RCC teaches un-Biblical baptismal regeneration:

“Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.'” – CCC 1213

Let’s now get to our two examples:

  • In the Summer of 2020, RC priest, Matthew Hood, of Detroit discovered via an old family video that a Catholic deacon had baptised him as an infant using an incorrect incantation. Instead of using the prescribed formulaic incantation, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” the deacon said, “We baptize you…” Hood’s baptism was thereby ruled to be invalid by RC church authorities, meaning his priestly ordination in 2017 was invalid, which meant that all of the sacraments Hood had administered over the course of three years as an illegitimate priest – baptism, eucharist,* confession, matrimony, last rites – were also invalid. Hood had to be rebaptized, reconfirmed, and reordained. The Archdiocese of Detroit set about to contact as many affected Catholics as possible to re-receive the requisite sacraments from a valid priest. See my 2020 posts on Hood here and here.
  • Then, in February 2022, it was discovered that priest, Andres Arango of the Diocese of Phoenix had been using the incorrect “We baptize you…” incantation for 20 years. The Phoenix diocese also attempted to contact those who were affected. See my 2022 post on Arango here.

Needless to say, the secular press had a field day with the two cases. They mistakenly believed inane Catholic scrupulosity represented Christianity.

The above should raise serious questions about the legitimacy of baptismal regeneration in the minds of those who espouse it. Does salvation hinge upon a precise formulaic incantation? What about all of the affected people who died or couldn’t be reached? How many other priests and deacons have used incorrect baptismal incantations? How can Roman Catholicism teach baptismal regeneration requiring a precise incantation when it incongruently allows that all non-Catholics and even atheists may also merit Heaven if they follow their conscience?

I was recently perusing the Reformanda Initiative website and I noticed two podcasts that examine the “invalid baptism” quandary mentioned above. Reformanda Initiative is both a Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics and an educational resource for evangelicals. There’s some excellent discussion on this radically bizarre example of Roman Catholic legalism and I invite you to listen:

Recall Notice! Your Baptism is not Valid: Part I – March 1, 2022 – 38 minutes
Featuring Clay Kannard and Reid Karr of Reformanda Initiative with guest, Jordan Standridge, missionary to Rome.
https://reformandainitiative.buzzsprout.com/663850/10165146-s3e10-recall-notice-your-baptism-is-not-valid-part-i

Recall Notice! Your Baptism is not Valid: Part 2 – March 14, 2022 – 32 minutes
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Clay Kannard, and Reid Karr of Reformanda Initiative
https://reformandainitiative.buzzsprout.com/663850/10246210-s3e11-recall-notice-your-baptism-is-not-valid-part-2

*Some Catholics claim that they have a sublime, ecstatic experience after consuming the consecrated Jesus wafer. As I asked in one of my referenced posts, how is it that over the course of three years not one Catholic noticed that invalid priest Hood’s wafers were not transubstantiated?

Postscript: Listening to these podcasts gave me an excellent idea for a weekly series. Tune in for the announcement next Monday.

Throwback Thursday: Roman Catholicism’s confirmation hoax

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 8, 2016 and has been revised.

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Growing up, my five older sisters and I were all indoctrinated into the Roman Catholic religion. We all attended Catholic parochial school and high school. I was baptized as an infant and participated in my first confession and first communion in the first grade and was confirmed as a Roman Catholic in fifth grade. Of all the Catholic sacraments, confirmation is probably the least prominent. The Roman church defines confirmation as follows:

“Confirmation is a true sacrament instituted by Christ and different from baptism. It is administered by laying-on of hands and anointing with chrism (holy oil – Tom) accompanied by prayer. The chrism is blessed by the bishop and the bishop administers the sacrament. All baptized persons can and should be confirmed. The effect of the sacrament of confirmation is to give strength in faith and for the confession of faith and to impress an indelible character.”
http://www.catholic.org/prayers/sacrament.php?id=3

It’s alleged that the Holy Spirit “seals” the confirmation supplicant. With confirmation, the young Catholic is supposedly declaring, “I was baptized as an infant without my consent, but I continue forward as a Catholic by choice.” However, confirmation wasn’t really a choice for any of us. It was something my parochial school classmates and I were required to do as part of our religious indoctrination. We were only ten or eleven-years-old and none of us had ever heard the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone up to that point or throughout all of our years in Catholicism.

The nuns and priests told us it was required that we go to confession prior to being confirmed. Going to confession was definitely not one of my favorite things to do and I hadn’t gone in quite a long time. Catholics are taught they must confess their “mortal” sins to a priest and they must go to confession at least once a year or incur another mortal sin. Yet, Catholic research shows only 24 percent of Catholics go to confession at least yearly. The notion of recalling a year’s worth of sins is absolutely preposterous to a believer.

I figured I’d better obey the nuns, so I went to confession on the Saturday prior to Confirmation. I entered the dark, tri-part confessional and waited for the priest, John Lynch, to finish up with the penitent on the other side. Boy, I was nervous and my hands were sweating profusely. Priest Lynch finally slid open the small panel to my booth and I began my rote confession.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been a month since my last confession.” I lied. It had actually been a couple of years since my last confession, but I was embarrassed and afraid to admit that. I then proceeded with my obligatory list of sins. It went something like, “I lied to my mother five times. I yelled at my sisters ten times. I disobeyed my father three times. I cheated on a test in school.” I had no idea how many times I had actually committed these sins so I tried to come up with a believable number.

I continued, “I was mean to a younger kid in the neighborhood….”

RC priest, John Lynch (d. 2011)

“Stop!” Lynch, cut me off mid-sentence. My eyes turned as BIG as Kennedy half-dollars. Sounding more than a little exasperated, he angrily blurted out, “You’re wasting my time and yours!” What? I was one shocked and confused ten-year-old boy. Tears welled up in my eyes. I was only doing what I had been ordered to do and this is what happens? Lynch gave me some perfunctory “Hail Marys” and “Our Fathers” to pray as penance for my annoying venial sins and quickly dismissed me. I couldn’t get out of that booth fast enough and I firmly resolved at that moment to never enter a confessional booth ever again as long as I lived.

We all went through the confirmation ceremony the following week. Auxiliary bishop Casey prayed over each of us and applied some blessed holy oil to our foreheads. None of us children knew Jesus Christ as our Savior. It was all empty ritual. Afterwards, my family and my first cousin, Rick, my chosen confirmation sponsor, went out to dinner to celebrate the “big event.” I received several gifts from my family, but neither myself or anyone else knew Jesus Christ.

Seventeen years later, through God’s Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, I repented of my rebellion against God and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone. Praise God! Religious ceremonies and rituals do not save. All of my five sisters, who went through confirmation just as I did, are now self-proclaimed agnostics or atheists. They never knew Christ. As a child of God through Jesus Christ, I can now come boldly to the throne of grace to confess my sins. A sinful man cannot be a mediator between God and myself. Jesus Christ is the only Mediator. Thank you Lord that I can come directly to You any hour of the day or night. I know You’ll never turn me away.

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 2:5

Likewise, it’s the Holy Spirit Who seals all genuine believers. It’s not a ritualistic sacrament imparted by a sinful man.

“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” – 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Thank you, Lord, for leading me out of religious legalism and saving me!

“Invalid” baptisms? Another Catholic rabbit hole

This past week, news sources reported that a Roman Catholic priest, Andres Arango (photo above) of the diocese of Phoenix, had “invalidly” baptized people for decades. Huh? First a little background.

The Roman Catholic church teaches “baptismal regeneration” i.e., the belief that baptism washes away original sin and incorporates the baptised individual into the church and allows them to receive additional sacraments to help them merit their salvation. For 1500 years, the RCC taught baptism is essential for salvation. However, modernism crept into RC theology during the 20th century and at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) the church dichotomously granted that all unbaptized religionists – Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. – could also merit Heaven. How does that work? It was claimed the unbaptized would be covered under the tenet of baptismus flaminis (Latin: “baptism of desire”), i.e., the righteous unbaptised would desire baptism if they only knew how important it was.

Got all that? I know, I know. It’s impossibly incongruent, but let’s continue on to the crux of this post.

In order for baptism to be efficacious, the precise baptismal incantation – “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” – must be used by the priest. If the incantation is altered in any way, the baptism is invalid. The candidate still retains original sin, cannot receive the additional six sacraments, and is doomed to hell (unless they plead the baptismus flaminis clause at the gates of Heaven – I’m being facetious).

The Catholic and secular press recently reported (link below) that it was discovered that priest Arango has been using the incorrect baptismal incantation since he was ordained in 1995. Instead of saying, I baptize you…,” Arango used the incorrect formula, We baptize you…” It’s unknown exactly how many Catholics were affected, but the number is not insignificant. Arango held many positions in Brazil and in the United States and church authorities are attempting to contact as many of the individuals baptized by Arango as possible. They will all have to be re-baptized, and repeat the sacraments of confirmation and marriage (if applicable). They also won’t be able to receive the Jesus wafer or confess their sins to a priest until they are re-baptized.

Arango has resigned his position as a Phoenix parish priest and is currently assisting church authorities in the search for those affected.

Does the above strike you as absolute inanity? Religious legalism leads to all kinds ridiculous rabbit holes such as the case above. Baptism is an important ordinance as a public witness of our faith, but it is not salvific.

Roman Catholics need to hear the genuine Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. They’re hearing a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit in their churches. Shame on Rome-friendly evangelical pastors and para-church leaders who claim the Roman Catholic church teaches the genuine Gospel.

How one priest’s mistake led to over 20 years of invalid baptisms
https://aleteia.org/2022/02/10/how-one-priests-mistake-led-to-over-20-years-of-invalid-baptisms/

A couple of years ago, I reported on a similar dizzying rabbit hole, that of priest who had been “invalidly baptized” himself as an infant, making all of the sacraments he administered “invalid.” See here and here.

Throwback Thursday: Showing proper respect to the Jesus wafer

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on July 13, 2016 and has been revised.

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Evangelicals go to church to worship the Lord with fellow believers through prayer, song, and instruction in the Word. The Lord is present with us spiritually as we worship Him together.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:20

Roman Catholics go to their churches on Sunday for a quite a different reason. Catholics are taught by their church that priests change bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. The priest then offers up the Jesus wafers to God the Father as a sacrifice for sins. Catholics then line up to receive and consume the Jesus wafer. They are taught that after they take the wafer into their mouth and swallow it, that Jesus is physically inside of them for 15 minutes until the stomach acids completely break down the bread wafer. During those fifteen minutes, the Jesus wafer allegedly imparts graces to the individual so that they are better able to avoid committing mortal sins. Catholics are taught they must perfectly obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) in order to merit Heaven. Minor venial sins will sidetrack them to Purgatory for an indefinite period. After all the supplicants have received their Jesus wafer, the priest places the “leftover” Jesuses in a locked box called the tabernacle, situated on or near church altars.

Today, I was listening to the 6/9/16 podcast of  the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show on the Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, out of Buffalo, NY, with host, Steve Quebral, and Catholic priest, Rick Poblocki, taking questions from the listeners. Steve started off the show by complaining that Catholics often don’t show proper respect to the Jesus wafer while they’re in church and he asked Rick to review the rules of proper Jesus wafer etiquette.

Priest Rick broke it down into three basic steps:

  1. Catholic must enter the church quietly, respectfully, and reverently. Rick remarked that the Jesus wafer is “resting” in the tabernacle and Catholics must acknowledge “his” presence with the proper respect.
  2. Before entering their pew, a Catholic must look at the tabernacle and genuflect, bending the right knee (according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal) to the ground, in homage to the Jesus wafer.
  3. While they are sitting, kneeling, and standing in the pew during the mass, the Catholic should focus their attention on the Jesus wafers in the tabernacle and the Jesus wafers newly consecrated by the priest.

Those are the basics. For more detailed instructions on proper Jesus wafer and mass etiquette see the pdf below:

Click to access Catholic%20Mass%20Etiquette,%20I,II,III.pdf

Catholic friend, Jesus is not a bread wafer and He’s not locked away in a little box. The Bible says He’s currently seated at the right hand of God the Father making intercession for all who accept Him as Savior by faith alone. Man-made religious rituals and long religious laundry lists don’t save. God made His Good News of salvation so simple that even a ten-year-old child can understand it. There is no distinction between “mortal” sin and “venial” sin. Sin is sin and we’re all sinners – sinners deserve eternal punishment – Jesus Christ, God the Son, paid the penalty for our sins on the cross – Jesus rose from the grave, defeating sin and death and offers the gift of eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who repent of their sinful rebellion against God and receive Him as Savior by faith alone. We don’t need priests, altars, and daily sacrifices anymore. Jesus did it all! Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior today and ask Him to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise.

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” – Matthew 24:23-27

Throwback Wednesday: See Jesus via web cam, 24/7?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Huh? But it’s only Wednesday? Yup, I realize I’m a day early, but I had to do a little rearranging to accommodate tomorrow’s timely post. Today, we’re going to revisit an article that was originally published back on April 17, 2016 and has been revised.

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Did you know Roman Catholics believe they can see Jesus Christ 24/7 via web cam? First, a little background.

I’ve mentioned many times that evangelicals and Catholics view the Lord’s Supper VERY differently. Evangelicals partake of the symbolic elements of the Lord’s Supper with great humility and thanksgiving as we remember that our Lord gave His body and blood as a sacrifice for our sins so that we could have eternal life in Him.

Catholicism, on the other hand, teaches its priests change bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ at every mass. The priest then offers up Jesus the “host” (victim) to God the Father as a sacrifice for the “venial” (small, pardonable) sins* of those present, along with those of the pope, the local bishop, and anyone else mentioned (including souls suffering in purgatory). Many of the attendees then line up to receive a Jesus wafer (Jesus wine from a shared cup is optional). Communion recipients are taught that Jesus is physically present inside of them for 15 minutes as their body digests the wafer. The RC church teaches the venial sins of the participants can be forgiven at any point during the mass, but especially during the penitential rite portion and at Holy Communion. Catholics believe the consecrated Jesus wafer imparts graces to the recipients to help them obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) in order to possibly merit Heaven at the moment of their death.

The sacrament of the “eucharist” (thanksgiving) is the central tenet of the Catholic belief system. Rather than receiving Jesus as Savior by faith spiritually, Catholicism sadly misinterprets John 6 and the Last Supper discourses in the gospels and insists that Jesus must be physically eaten in order to attain salvation. Catholics give lip service to “grace” and “faith,” but believe they must ultimately merit their salvation by obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and man-made church rules with help from the alleged Jesus wafer.

After every mass, any leftover Jesus wafers are stored in a locked box called the “tabernacle,” to be distributed later to the sick and housebound. On occasion, priests will set a large Jesus wafer in an ornate viewing container called a “monstrance.” Catholics are invited to come to church separately from the mass to worship and adore the Jesus wafer as “he” rests in the transparent container. In some churches, volunteers sign up for time slots so that the Jesus wafer will be worshiped around the clock in “perpetual adoration.”

I’m currently reading “Another Jesus: The Eucaristic Christ and the New Evangelization” by Roger Oakland and I wanted to pass along a bit of information that’s presented. There are a few Catholic religious orders that do nothing else but worship the Jesus wafer. The members of the order eat, sleep, and worship the wafer. In his book, Oakland mentions a web site (see link below)  maintained by the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, which includes a live web cam of a Jesus wafer in a monstrance. That’s right! Catholics can view and worship the wafer Jesus any time they want within the privacy and comfort of their own homes.

http://www.savior.org/

Several such “Jesus cams” are available on the internet so that Catholics can worship and adore the virtual Jesus wafer 24/7.

Catholic friend, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Jesus is not locked away in a gold box or in a monstrance as a bread wafer. He’s sitting at the right hand of the Father and He’s waiting for you to forsake your dependence on your church membership and your religious laundry list and to accept Him as your Savior by faith alone.

“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.” – Matthew 24:23-28

“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” – Hebrews 10:11-14

*Catholicism teaches that “mortal” (major) sins can only be forgiven by a priest in the confessional booth or while administering last rites.

Postscript: On occasions when Catholic churches have caught on fire, pious Catholics have been known to enter the burning building to “rescue” the Jesus wafers stored in the altar tabernacle. See my relevant post here.

Throwback Thursday: Godparents or ceremonial sham?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 2, 2016 and has been revised.

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Today, I was listening to the 11/17/15 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” radio show via the Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, in Buffalo, NY with Catholic priest, Rick Poblocki, answering questions about Roman Catholicism. A listener sent in an email to the show saying a friend had asked her to be a godparent of her soon-to-be-baptized infant child.* Catholic godparents are required to be practicing Catholics who act as witnesses at the baptism and promise to help the growing child fulfill her or his future obligations and responsibilities as a member of the church. The listener complained that the mother of the child is not a “faithfully practicing Catholic” and doubts whether she “sincerely intends to raise the child in the faith.” She asked “father” Rick whether she should be a party to such a pretense.

“Father” Rick advised her to agree to be a godparent because she could be the strong Catholic influence that the child would otherwise never have. He then went on to bemoan the fact that “there’s a lot of people getting their kids baptized or confirmed, (but) they can’t find anybody (to be sponsors) that’s practicing the faith anymore.” Catholic sources report that only 24% of Catholics attend mandatory weekly mass and only 24% of Catholics participate in mandatory yearly confession. Generally speaking, Catholics go to church for weddings, funerals, Christmas, and Easter, but beyond that it’s a crapshoot. But who can blame them? Their pope says even atheists will go to Heaven if they are “good” so why bother with all the obligatory liturgical rigmarole?

I was baptized into the Catholic church as an infant, but my godparents never once encouraged me in my religious training. That’s probably the case for 99% of so-called godparents. It’s all just empty ceremonialism and ritual. As a young parochial school student, my baptized classmates and I went through all the formalities – first confession, first communion, and confirmation – but it was all empty, impersonal ceremony, like checking off a religious to-do list. No one had accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone because the genuine Gospel was never presented to us. Rather, we were all jumping over the prescribed, ritualistic religious hurdles as we attempted to earn our way to Heaven. The institutionalized church we were members of presented its religious system as “the way” rather than Jesus Christ as the Way.

The Lord worked on my heart for many years and, through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit led me out of religious ritualism to Jesus Christ. I accepted Him as my Savior by faith alone and was genuinely born-again at the age of 27. It’s not ritual. It’s not ceremony. It’s not liturgy. It’s not sacraments. It’s understanding that we are all sinners deserving eternal punishment and that there is no hope, no plea other than Jesus Christ and then accepting Him as Savior and then following Him as Lord. Unlike the pope, the Bible says no one is “good,” no not one.

“He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” – Mark 7:6-8

*Roman Catholicism teaches baptismal regeneration and that infants are “born-again” when they are baptized.