Catholic Christmas Calculus

Roman Catholicism is an intricate religious labyrinth with 1752 Canon Laws and 2865 numbered paragraphs in its official catechism. Sometimes, the exacting rules and regulations get so complicated that a Mathematics PhD couldn’t anticipate all the contingencies. Case in point is the news story below. But first, a little background.

Roman Catholics are obligated to attend mass every single Sunday as well as the six yearly Holy Days of Obligation (HDO). If they miss even one required mass, they commit mortal sin and are doomed to hell. Depending on the year, some HDOs may fall on a Saturday or a Monday and in those cases, a dispensation may be granted that allows Catholics to fulfill both obligations when they attend mass on Sunday. Always nice when they let you double-dip!

Are you following along so far? Okay, let’s take a look at the article below.

Christmas is an HDO and it falls on Monday this year, so Catholics are obligated to attend mass on both Sunday and Monday. Because Christmas is such an important day for Catholicism, a dispensation will NOT be granted.

What about the shrewd Catholic who says to herself, “I know how to beat the system! I’ll go to Saturday afternoon “vigil mass” on December 23rd to fulfill my Sunday obligation and then go to mass Sunday morning to fulfill my Christmas obligation, leaving Christmas day free and clear.”

Or some other Catholic eager to “beat the house” might rationalize, “I’ll go to midnight mass on the evening of Sunday, December 24th and fulfill BOTH my Sunday and Christmas obligations.”

Not so fast, my Catholic friends. According to the article below, the U.S. Catholic bishops have stipulated that, “the Sunday obligation for Dec. 24 can be fulfilled on Sunday, or anytime after 4 p.m. on Dec. 23, and the Christmas Mass obligation can be fulfilled on Monday, anytime after 4 p.m. on Dec. 24.” Also, “When consecutive obligations occur on Saturday-Sunday or Sunday-Monday, the faithful must attend Mass twice to fulfill two separate obligations.”

Did you catch all of that or is your head still spinning?

Despite the threat of eternal damnation, church statistics reveal only 20% of Catholics attend obligatory mass every Sunday and only 12% attend all HDOs. What percentage of Catholics will actually attend obligatory mass on both the 24th and 25th? The vast majority of Catholics would rather risk eternity than sit through one boring liturgical service, let alone two in a row. And since pope Francis says even atheists can merit Heaven if they follow their conscience, they think they’ll be just fine by staying home.

The works-righteousness treadmill of the Catholic church with all of its rules and regulations offers no hope. Salvation is not calculus. The Gospel is so simple even a child can understand it. I’m so grateful the Lord freed me from religious chains and opened my eyes to the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone! You’re a sinner like me and you need the Savior, too. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone.

 

Catholic Bishop: Go to Mass on Sunday and on Christmas
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/go-to-mass-on-sunday-and-on-christmas-bishops-say-32938

What is the gospel?
https://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-the-gospel.html

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Final words

No, not MY final words! David Cassidy’s!

If you’re a Baby Boomer like me, the news of the death of David Cassidy at the age of 67 on November 21st may have struck a chord with you.

Cassidy was a cast member of “The Partridge Family” television show, which ran on ABC from 1970 to 1974 and featured Shirley Jones, Cassidy, Susan Dey, and Danny Bonaduce as a single mother and her children trying to make it as a rock and roll band.

The show was pretty successful, although I would have never admitted to watching it. The music was strictly for teeny-boppers while I saw myself as a cool teen by that time who only listened to FM rock. Truth be told, I may have watched “just a few” episodes, if no one was around, to check out actress, Susan Dey. I thought it was a bit strange that Keith Partridge (Cassidy) obviously spent more time on his hairdoo than his sister, Laurie (Dey).

The show launched Cassidy into the entertainment stratosphere with every pre-teen girl in the country falling in love with him. But Cassidy could never shake his television character persona. Try as he might to escape it, Cassidy would always be Keith Partridge to his fans. The dictionary featured a photo of Cassidy next to the word, “typecast.” David kept singing in small venues right up until the end of his life, but the one song his fans showed up for was the Partridges’ #1 hit, “I Think I Love You.” Cassidy descended into drugs and alcohol to cope with his bitter disappointment and frustration.

Following the news of Cassidy’s death, I saw the story below in which Danny Bonaduce had some comments regarding his former co-star. On Cassidy’s frustration with his career, Bonaduce said, “He never did get the life he wanted. It really was a tragedy…And I heard his last words were, ‘So much wasted time.'”

[Sigh]

Those are some SAD last words. Of all the countless millions of people who ever picked up a microphone or guitar, probably 99.9% of them wished they had a fraction of the worldly success that Cassidy did, but it didn’t bring him fulfillment. This life is full of personal accomplishments and failures, but in the end they don’t matter for much. The only hope in this life is Jesus Christ. I accepted the Lord thirty-four years ago and my hope is in Him. When I’m laying on my death bed, unless the Lord chooses another exit ramp for me, my last words will be, “Take me home, Lord Jesus! Thank you, Lord Jesus!” What a blessed Hope believers have!!! The unsaved have no Shepherd to cling to through the valley of death.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” – Psalm 116:15


Danny Bonaduce on ‘Partridge Family’ Pal David Cassidy: “He Never Did Get the Life He Wanted”
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/danny-bonaduce-on-partridge-family-pal-david-cassidy-he-never-did-get-the-life-he-wanted-guest-column/ar-BBFVpMt

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 12/2/17

Conservative Catholics are in a pickle. They know pope Francis is teaching heresy by lifting the ban on communion for remarried divorcees, but they also believe that splitting from a duly-elected pope is heretical. What to do, what to do?

On the one extreme is the church growth movement (Hybels-Warren-Drucker, et al) that makes pop culture king and deemphasizes the Gospel and Biblical doctrine to entice the worldly “seeker.” On the other extreme are church groups that view any and all modernizations of worship formats as evil and will resist any changes right up until the doors are finally padlocked. This topic deserves a separate post.

Several incredulous Catholics have written to me in the past expressing surprise that anyone is still spreading “anti-Catholic propaganda” in this era of tolerance, plurality, and relativism. I don’t view myself as “anti-Catholic,” but as pro-Gospel and as someone who can help both Catholics and evangelicals distinguish between Rome’s gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit and the Biblical Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

The Catholic church proclaims that its priests change bread wafers and wine into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Faithful Catholics pray for extended periods to the Jesus wafer during “eucharistic adoration.” Worshipping a piece of bread? So sad.

With parishes merging or closing every week due to the shortage of priests and sharply declining attendance, the U.S. Catholic church is in crisis mode. Pragmatic pope Francis is trying to shore things up by wooing back remarried divorcees and other “reforms,” but is alienating the conservative base, EWTN-types.

The American media frenzy over the engagement of Britain’s Prince Harry to American actress, Meghan Markel, is something to behold. Why would anyone care? What’s behind the infatuation? It’s still illegal for the British monarch to be Roman Catholic. Ah, the English Reformation. Worthy of much study. Henry VIII was a staunch opponent of the Reformation but split from the Catholic church when pope Clement VII refused to grant an annulment from his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry must not have had an “in” with the Kennedys. Actually, Catherine was the aunt of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, who made it clear to the pope that he would not be happy if the marriage was annulled. Charles V was the very same emperor who sought to have Martin Luther burned at the stake. Huh? How did I get into these weeds?

Every week I search for news about “evangelicals” for this weekend series and every week it’s the same results; stories about evangelicals’ unwavering support of Trump or, lately, stories of evangelicals’ support of Roy Moore. It’s too bad evangelicals are best known for the heavy involvement of some in right-wing politics. The term “evangelical” has lost much of its meaning. A recent poll showed that 33% of those who identified as “evangelical” believe salvation is attained through a mixture of “faith” and works. I use the term a lot, but maybe “evangelical” just doesn’t work anymore.

I love pastor, J Mac! No, I don’t agree with brother MacArthur on every secondary that he teaches, but I have to say I’m more in-line with MacArthur than most of the “prominent” pastors out there who parade as “evangelicals” (see TBN). There I go again. Putting quotes around “evangelical.” I find myself doing that more and more.

Working to be justified or receiving the gift of justification?

“Comparing the Roman Catholic meaning of justification against the Evangelical Protestant position is to set night against day and darkness against light. They are not, as some would have us believe, the same gospel. Roman doctrine declares that God inspires men to work for righteousness, but Protestants aver that God gives men righteousness as the fruit of the finished work of Jesus Christ. In Catholicism, men depart from Calvary towards the goal of justification, but in Protestantism, men arrive at Calvary for the gift of justification.” – Philip De Courcy, from “Standing Room Only: A Contemporary Exposé of the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Agreement,” 1999, p. 347

“Sometimes good people do bad things”?

This post reflects on some of the same themes I’ve written about recently, but that’s the fallen world we live in.

This morning, I stepped away from work and drove to an ATM to fatten up my painfully thin wallet. For some reason, they won’t accept my smile as payment at the workplace cafeteria. Anyway, as I was driving along, I flipped through radio channels and came across the National Public Radio (NPR) station. They were doing a report on the g-r-o-w-i-n-g list of prominent men who have recently been accused of sexual misconduct, including the widely admired Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s Today Show, who was fired just yesterday. In regards to another alleged abuser, U.S. Senator, Al Franken, the comment was made by one of the NPR hosts that “sometimes good people do bad things.” While I’ve already posted on this growing national “frenzy” (see here), this comment got me charged up once again.

There’s two ways of looking at this world and life in general; there’s the unbelieving worldview and the Christian worldview.

The unbelieving worldview incorporates all unbelievers, both secularist and religious. The unbelieving worldview holds that people are basically “good” and generally try to do the right thing according to some type of a secular or religious moral code. The majority consensus is that most people will be rewarded with some type of blissful afterlife following their death (or no afterlife at the worst). According to this viewpoint, there are definitely some people who are “bad,” but such a label is reserved only for those whose behaviors were/are blatantly evil such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Charles Manson, Idi Amin, and serial child molesters. Many religious organizations promote this “good people go to Heaven” philosophy including Roman Catholicism. While the Catholic church teaches that everyone is born with original sin that needs to be cleansed away with baptism, it also teaches that people are inherently good and can work their way to ever higher states of holiness on their lifelong quest to achieve salvation.

“God (created) humanity in His own image and likeness. This speaks to the nature of the human person as inherently good although damaged by original sin. In the end it is not the sin that wins, but rather the goodness of God with whom each person shares a likeness.” – from “Catholic School Leadership,” by Anthony Dosen and Barbara Riechkoff, 2015, p.69.

In contrast to this wide-is-the-way philosophy are God’s Word and the Christian worldview, which teach man’s total depravity. There is not one righteous person in the world, no, not one. See Romans 3:10-12, Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3. The Christian view is that we are all sinners; Al Franken, Matt Lauer, you, and me. If all of our secret acts and thoughts were revealed, everyone would see that none of us are “good people.” Roman Catholic apologists and others who support the “good people go to Heaven” view attribute the doctrine of total depravity to Reformer, John Calvin, but actually, the message of man’s complete depravity is front and center throughout the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. If you and I could merit our way to Heaven, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross for sin.

Because we have a sinful nature, we can’t possibly merit our way to Heaven. But God loved us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this world to pay the penalty for sin. We can’t appear before God with our righteousness when we die because we have none. Zero. Zip. Nada. But when we repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior by faith alone, He imputes His perfect righteousness to us.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

What a gift! Accept Christ by faith alone.

“Plan A or Plan B? Take your pick, no worries.” Catholicism’s wide-is-the-way.

Every time I write about the Roman Catholic church, I have to keep in mind that it wears two hats. On the one hand, it still teaches its old-school, religious legalism. It claims a person must be baptized and then must participate in the church’s sacraments in order to receive graces so that they can obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and remain in a “state of grace” so as to merit Heaven when they die. Phew! Sorry for the long-winded sentence.

But, on the other hand, the Catholic church magnanimously conceded at the Second Vatican Council that non-Catholic religionists might also be able to merit Heaven if they “follow the light they are given.” Pope Francis has subsequently said even atheists can merit Heaven if they follow their conscience.

“Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraph 847

So, on one side of its mouth, Catholicism says its members must follow a formidable, exacting, legalistic process in order to possibly qualify for Heaven (with no assurance), while from the other side it says non-Catholics can get by with “following” their religion or their conscience just as long as they have a “sincere heart.”

If that’s the case, who would ever want to be Catholic? “Following one’s conscience” is a pretty fluid target. It can change like the wind. Why would people desire to constantly check off a burdensome religious to-do list if they can do what they think is right in their own eyes?

But exactly how earnest must a heart be for it to be considered “sincere”? In contrast, God’s Word says something about men’s hearts being desperately wicked:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” – Jeremiah 17:9

Catholics argue that its members have a great advantage over everyone else because only they have the eucharist and the other bona fide sacraments to assist someone seeking Heaven, but if I’m a non-Catholic and all I have to do is vaguely “follow” my religion or my conscience “with a sincere heart,” whatever that means, then the non-Catholic surely has the advantage. The 80% of Catholics who don’t attend obligatory mass on Sunday must have figured that out as well.

None of the above is Christianity. We are all sinners and we all deserve eternal punishment. But God the Son came to Earth and paid the penalty for sin. He offers you the free gift of salvation. Repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone!

The fact that Catholicism proclaims a very broad road to salvation that includes other works-religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc., and even atheism should give every ecumenical evangelical pause. This embracing of all religions under its interfaith umbrella is a black mark upon Roman Catholicism from the Lord for all believers to see.

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” – Colossians 2:8

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” – 1 Timothy 4:1-3

“Broadway Joe” Namath – An idol from my past

We all have our childhood memories, both good and bad. Who knows why we hang onto certain ones.

I have vivid memories of our family sitting around the dinner table and my father ranting about pro football quarterback, Joe Namath. He didn’t rant on just one occasion, but MANY times. Ugh! It was torturous. Namath had led the Crimson Tide of Alabama to a 29-4 record in three seasons and a national championship in 1964 and was highly prized by both the National Football League and the American Football League (the two leagues would eventually merge in 1970), not only for his athletic prowess but also for his Beaver Falls, PA charisma. Namath chose to sign with the New York Jets of the AFL for $142,000 per year. Such an amount is “chump change” in professional sports these days, but back in 1965 it was unheard of. I believe Namath may have been the first athlete to earn over $100K per year.

My Dad was absolutely incredulous! The average American salary was only around $5000 per year in 1965 and my Dad probably didn’t make much more than that. He wanted to know how some “dumb football player” could earn $142K per year when the President of the United States was paid a yearly salary of only $100K. We heard Dad’s rant over, and over, and over again for at least a couple of years. Unlike today, kids back  in those days were not allowed to say, “Yeah, Dad, you made your point. Time to move on.”

The reason I bring all this up is I came across a video of Joe Namath on You Tube yesterday waxing nostalgic over his career. We have our sports celebrities today, but Joe was a “cultural phenomenon” back in the late 60s and early 70s. Not only was he a good quarterback who led the Jets to victory in the 1969 Super Bowl, he also stoked his off-the-field persona as a high-living ladies’ man, the toast of Gotham City, “Broadway Joe.” Joe was a rebel with his long hair, Fu Manchu mustache, and [gasp!] white cleats. Joe was cool. Boys wanted to grow up and be the next Joe Willie Namath while men dreamed of being Joe for just one day. My best friend was a Jets fan with posters of Namath on his bedroom wall. As a San Diego Chargers fan, I couldn’t go that far, but I also thought Namath was very cool.

But the marketing image never reflects reality. Joe has struggled throughout his adult life with painful injuries from football. He worked hard to find his occupational niche after retiring from football in 1977, but nothing would come as easily to him as calling plays in the huddle. The country’s most famous bachelor finally married in 1984, but would divorce 16-years later. Joe also battled alcohol addiction for decades. We envy celebrities their lifestyle, but their headaches are often much bigger than the “average” person’s. Joe’s now 74-years-old. How much longer does he have to live?

We humans like to idolize celebrities. That’s our nature. We have a vacuum in our soul and we need to fill it with something or somebody. And consumer marketing exploits our penchant to idolize sports heroes and movie stars. The Jets were willing to pay Joe Namath $140K per year fifty years ago because they knew he could fill all the empty seats in their stadium and raise television ratings dramatically.

Who do you idolize? Who do you “worship” with your time and attention? Nobody is worthy of that kind of devotion. No one “has it all together.” It’s all a marketing façade. But there is one Person who is worth following. He walked the streets of Palestine 2000 years ago, but He and His message are as important now as back then. He had no failings. No skeletons in His closet. No false facades. And He offers you the gift of eternal salvation and fellowship with God.

You’re a sinner. He was not. God the Son came down from Heaven, put on flesh, lived a perfect life, and paid the penalty for sin on the cross of Calvary. But He beat sin and death when He rose from the grave. He’s reaching out to you now. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Follow Him. He is a firm foundation who will never fail you. He’s not a false idol. He’s absolutely worthy of all of our worship.

Why are there so many tragedies among celebrities?
https://www.gotquestions.org/celebrity-tragedies.html

My Mom was a proud Catholic but had no understanding of spiritual things

While growing up, my Catholic family wasn’t excessively religious. Sure, we went to mass every Sunday, and last year’s blessed Palm Sunday fronds were displayed in the living room, but that was about it. Our parents never prayed with us and I don’t recall a Bible ever being in the house. My five sisters (all now atheists or agnostics) and I were baptized as infants and then received the sacraments of first penance, first communion, and confirmation along with our parochial school classmates. Those rituals were required and they were something you just did without even thinking about or questioning. Any talk about “accepting Jesus Christ as Savior” or “having a relationship with Christ” would have been seen as radical and cultish. In other words, religion was somewhat important but not to be taken too seriously unless a baby needed to be baptized, a couple got married, or someone died.

One day, a couple of Mormon missionaries were canvasing the neighborhood and my mother answered the door. Among other things, they told her how the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” cult had been “restored” by God in the early 19th-century. My Mom self-satisfyingly shot back that HER church had been established in the first century so she didn’t need to listen to them and shut the door. She retold this story several times with pride and great relish.

My Mom had no knowledge of church history or comparative theology. Like most Catholics, she could not explain her church’s complicated rituals and doctrines. She went to mass for one hour on Sunday and that was it. She never went to confession, which doomed her to hell according to her church’s dogma. But she was Catholic and proud of it. Her church was the one, true church, “by gravy” (one of her favorite expressions), and that was the end of any debate.

Most Catholics, just like my Mom, take great pride in their church and its claims to its historical pedigree. They boast about their church having been established in 33 A.D., like the bumper sticker above, but they have no knowledge of how the early church devolved from preaching the simple Gospel of salvation by God’s grace though faith in Jesus Christ alone into a worldly institution that became increasingly preoccupied with ritual, wealth, political power, and absolute control of its membership. To put it plainly, the church went off into the worldly-minded weeds and became Catholicism. And age doesn’t count for much. If age were the determining factor for authenticity then Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Confucianism would have the advantage over Christianity.

No, the genuine church is not an institution that was fashioned after the imperial Roman model of ancient times, but rather the church is the spiritual body of Christ that is made up of all those who have repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. This proud and worldly attitude that Catholics have, that they are members of the one, true church, and this affiliation places them in a favorable spiritual position by rights of their baptism, is sadly prevalent.

“And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” – Matthew 3:9


What was the first / original church? Is the original / first church the true church?
https://www.gotquestions.org/original-church.html

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 11/25/17

Given the huge number of headlines over the past twenty years involving cases of priest pedophilia and subsequent cover-up by the hierarchy, it would have been reasonable to expect that warnings should have gone off like skyrockets when the plans for this controversial statue (photo above) installed at a Catholic school in Australia were first submitted. Spiritual forces are at work.

It’s initially encouraging to read about souls in China converting from Catholicism to “Protestantism,” however many of the new churches springing up in Latin America, Africa, and Asia are a part of the “name it and claim it,” prosperity false gospel movement with its “jackpot jesus.”

Conservative and traditionalist Catholics are looking forward to the end of Francis’ tenure and hope their next pope isn’t a heretic.

More trouble for the Duggars. The message is clear: If you’re not on board with the LGBTQ agenda, you’re a persona non grata.

A lot of jostling goes on behind-the-scenes in Catholicism’s complicated process of selecting people for sainthood. It usually takes a lot of money and effort for a group (religious order, diocese, devotees, etc.) to get their candidate considered and see him or her to the finish line. Catholics in the Michigan area and Casey’s Capuchin order will be celebrating with great pride when he is eventually canonized. John Paul I was a pope for only 33 days in August-September, 1978, so I imagine this formality of granting him “venerable” status will be as far as it goes. In contrast to all of this, Scripture says all those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior are saints.

It’s telling that the Vatican has released a stamp commemorating two of the Reformers, Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon, and a stamp honoring notorious counter-Reformer, Francis de Sales, at the same time.

Catholics have written to this blog in the past objecting to my repeated assertion that relatively few of them read the Bible. Well, THEY read the Bible, they protest, so therefore my claim is incorrect. Argh. But what do they say when Dave Armstrong, one of Catholicism’s most sectarian apologists bemoans the exact same condition, which is regularly confirmed by independent surveys? I would love it if every Catholic bought a Bible and read it. Many would have a crisis of faith regarding their church as they confronted the stark differences between Catholic teaching and God’s Word.

Rarely does the Christian Post publish an article critical of Catholicism, so it was encouraging to see this one. The Catholic doctrine of purgatory and indulgences is a man-made house of cards that insults the power of Jesus Christ to save to the uttermost all those who place their trust in Him.

Holy water is a superstitious amulet of pagan origin. For more of my thoughts on the sheer ridiculousness of holy water, see here.

How to get to Heaven? Evangelicals and Catholics disagree. Both can’t be right.

Catholics and Evangelical Protestants both agree that Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on the cross to pay the penalty for sins, but they disagree on how a person receives the gift of salvation.

“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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

Evangelical Protestants believe a person must repent of their sins and come to Jesus Christ in prayer and ask Him to save them, without one, single plea of their own. Salvation is completely by faith in Christ. After we accept Christ as Savior, then good works and charity are manifested in our lives as the fruit of our salvation.

Catholics, in contrast, believe salvation is a lifelong process.* They believe a person must firstly have all their sins washed away in baptism. Then they believe a person must participate in the other sacraments to receive graces so they can obey the Ten Commandments, avoid sin, and remain in a mortal-sinless “state of grace” so as to be able to merit Heaven at the moment of their death. Although they believe salvation is merited by obedience, Catholics can claim salvation is by “grace” and “faith” because they say it is through the graces administered through the sacraments that they are able to successfully obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!).

“We must understand that we are saved by grace through the instruments of faith and obedience. That obedience includes keeping the Ten Commandments, but the keeping of the commandments is an instrument—a necessary instrument—through which the grace of God flows and keeps us in Christ, the principle of reward for us. Thus, we have to keep the commandments to be saved, but we understand it is only through grace that we can do so.” – Tim Staples, Catholic apologist

God’s Word certainly speaks about obedience and charity. After we accept Christ we are to follow Him in obedience. But no one could ever possibly justify themselves by their imperfect attempts to follow the Law. The Law shows us that we are all sinners in need of the Savior. We could never obey our way into Heaven. I sin by thought, word, deed, or by omission every single day and so do you. The Lord, Jesus Christ, was the only person who ever successfully obeyed the Law.

“Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” – Romans 3:19-20

The only way to salvation is through accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. If any part of your salvation depends upon how well you obey the Ten Commandments, you are lost.

Remember the repentant tax collector in Luke 18:9-14 who asked the Lord to save him, without one single plea of his own? That is how we come to Christ and His salvation.

*While Catholics prescribe their sacramental system as the proper way to salvation, they also grant that non-Catholic religionists (Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Protestants, etc.) may also merit Heaven “if they follow the light they are given.” Pope Francis has said even atheists can merit Heaven if they follow their conscience. None of this is Christianity.

Postscript: Just because a person attends an evangelical, Gospel-preaching church doesn’t mean they’re saved in Christ. Every person must individually repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. Also, not every church that calls itself “evangelical” these days preaches the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone.