Final Word

Nope, it’s not my goodbye to the blogosphere, but, rather, it’s the title of John MacArthur’s latest book!

Final Word: Why We Need the Bible
By John MacArthur
Reformation Trust, 2019, 136 pp.

5 Stars

Over the past couple of years, Reformation Trust has published three short books written by Pastor John MacArthur on some of the basics of Christian belief. This latest one focuses on God’s Word, the Bible. Whether you’re new to the Christian faith or you’re a “seasoned saint,” you’ll enjoy this book, which explains why the Bible is our totally reliable standard of faith and practice. Argh! We Christians sometimes take God’s Word for granted. May we always cherish the Bible for what it is; God’s inerrant and infallible Word.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Chapters:

  • The Bible is Under Attack
  • The Bible is Truth
  • The Bible is Authoritative
  • The Bible is the Catalyst of Spiritual Growth
  • The Bible is Central to Faithful Ministry
  • The Bible is Food for the Soul

Order this book from Amazon here. See my reviews of the two other books by JMac in Reformation Trust’s basics-of-Christianity series, “None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible” here and “Good News: The Gospel of Jesus Christ” here.

Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – #s 93 & 94: Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead? – Part 3

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

The previous two weeks, we examined the first two passages presented by Armstrong in chapter twelve of his book, in which the Catholic apologist attempts to prove the existence of purgatory and the need to pray for the dead. This week we will examine his final two proof-texts:

#93) 2 Timothy 1:16-18: “16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiph′orus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.” (RSVCE)

Beneath the passage, Armstrong writes,“Catholics believe in prayers for the dead, in order to aid them on their journey through purgatory to heaven. In fact, praying for the dead makes sense only if some sort of purgatory or intermediate state is presupposed, because it would be futile to pray for those in hell (prayer cannot help them; it is too late) and unnecessary to pray for those in heaven (they have everything they need). This verse [sic] offers one probable biblical support for this belief.”

Catholics would like to make the case from this passage that Paul is stating Onesiphorus is dead and that he is praying for him, but such an interpretation is self-serving eisegesis. I specifically addressed Catholicism’s misinterpretation of 2 Timothy 1:16-18 in a post last May, so rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll direct you to that post here.

#94) Acts 9:36-37, 40-41: “Now there was at Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which means Dorcas or Gazelle…In those days she fell sick and died…But Peter…knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, rise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then calling the saints and widows he presented her alive.” (RSVCE)

Beneath the passage, Armstrong writes, “I readily grant that the example is unusual, because of the uniqueness of praying to raise someone from the dead (as distinguished from a prayer that aids someone in purgatory), and I agree that the Apostles had extraordinary powers of healing, so that this is not exactly a normative state of affairs…Nevertheless, it seems indisputable that here St. Peter literally prayed for a dead person, as far as that goes – which Protestants say is not permitted by, and supposedly not recorded in, the Bible.” – pp. 174-175.

Armstrong is shamelessly engaging here in some theological slight-of-hand. From the outset, he readily admits that the passage does not support the notion of praying for the dead in purgatory. But he says the passage is valuable because it refutes the alleged Protestant belief that prayers for a dead person are nowhere permitted in the Bible. I’ve read or listened to many Catholic apologists over the years, but the above may be the most blatant example of irresponsible apologetic chicanery I’ve ever seen. Armstrong is presenting a straw man fallacy and claiming victory where there is no victory.  Bible Christians are certainly familiar with the above passage in which Peter prays to God on behalf of Tabitha and raises her from the dead. We are also familiar with other passages in the Bible in which the dead are raised. We believe God gave prophets and apostles the ability to raise people from the dead and we fully believe and accept all of those passages, none of which give ANY support to the Catholic doctrine of praying for dead souls in purgatory!!!

After examining the four passages Armstrong presents as proof-texts for purgatory and praying for the dead, we can very safely say that we are not “confounded.” For more information on the Catholic doctrine of purgatory, see the article below:

What does the Bible say about Purgatory?
https://www.gotquestions.org/purgatory.html

Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – #91: Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead? – Part 1

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

This week we will examine the first passage Armstrong presents in chapter twelve of his book in which the Catholic apologist attempts to prove the existence of purgatory and the need to pray for the dead.

#91) 1 Corinthians 3:11-15: 11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble— 13 each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Following this passage, Armstrong writes, “It will be an extremely serious business when we meet God face-to-face. There will be no more “imputation” – merely “covering over” of sins – then. No, to stand in his presence we must be literally, actually sinless, because that is how we were created to be in the first place, in his image. We have to be cleansed of actual sin (“sanctification” in Protestant theological language). There is no Protestant Catholic difference on this particular point, from either side. The only difference is a quantitative one: Catholics think this cleansing will involve a process, like our life on earth. And that process of sanctification can continue after death: in purgatory. Protestants, on the other hand, seem to think this all occurs in an instant.” – pp. 157-158.

Catholic apologists misinterpret 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 as a reference to purgatory, but of course Paul is referring to the Bema Seat of Christ where believers will be judged according to their service. The existence of an intermediate, purgatorial state is to be found nowhere in the Bible. In contrast, the Bible teaches, without any ambiguity, that upon death a believer will immediately be with the Lord:

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 5:6-8

“I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” – Philippians 1:23

Purgatory is an essential cog in Catholicism’s false salvation system of sacramental grace and merit. Catholics are taught they must become intrinsically and subjectively good and righteous in this life in order to merit Heaven at the moment of their death. That’s a tall order, so the Roman church has broken sin down into two categories; major/mortal and minor/venial. It teaches that if anyone has unconfessed mortal sin on their soul when they die, they will go straight to hell. But any minor sin will consign a person to purgatory for a period of time. Catholics augmented their doctrine of purgatory with a number of ancillary teachings including the granting of indulgences to reduce time spent there. Catholics prelates of old taught that the suffering in purgatory would be equal to that of hell, but contemporary clerics liken purgatory to the comfortable waiting room of a train station.

Bible Christians believe, as the Bible states, that we cannot become intrinsically and subjectively good. We are all sinners and even the things that we do that we call “good” are tainted with sin. We are made righteous before God ONLY by repenting of sin and accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior by faith alone. It is the perfect righteousness of Jesus that is imputed to us when we accept Him as Savior that justifies us before a Holy God.

“And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” – Philippians 3:9

The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses a believer not of just some sin, but of ALL sin.

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

Praise my Savior that I don’t have to merit my salvation as Catholicism teaches!!! I can’t possibly merit my salvation and no one else can either.

Armstrong presents three more Bible passages as proof-texts for purgatory and prayers for the dead and we’ll examine another one next week.

For more information on purgatory, see the article below:

What does the Bible say about Purgatory?
https://www.gotquestions.org/purgatory.html

Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – # 86: Veneration/Worship of Saints? – Part 4

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

This week, we will finish our examination of chapter ten of Armstrong’s book that we began three weeks ago, in which the Catholic apologist presents passages that allegedly support veneration/worship of “saints.” Prior to presenting his last proof text, Armstrong writes the following, “We are not told in Scripture that we cannot ask someone in heaven to pray for us. Saints in heaven are more alive and aware and far holier than we are. They watch us (Heb. 12:1). They are aware of earthly happenings (Rev. 6:9-10). They can certainly be given extraordinary capacities for knowledge by God; there is nothing implausible or intrinsically impossible or unbiblical in that notion at all. St. Paul states about the afterlife in heaven:”

#86) 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.”

Following Armstrong’s proof text, he writes, “Therefore, they (saints) can pray for us, and we ask for their prayers. We know that they can come back to earth (from the four examples given earlier). Are we to believe that when such saints come to earth, they can pray, but immediately upon returning to heaven they cannot once again? And if they can present our prayers, why is it so inconceivable that they could intercede for us?” – pp. 143-144.

NOWHERE in God’s Word does it teach that believers can or should pray to anyone other than God. Praying to any entity other than to God is idolatry, which the Bible condemns.

“I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God.” – Isaiah 45:5

Catholic apologists cannot produce one single Bible verse that even vaguely supports praying to “saints,” so they must resort to sophistry. In defending the Catholic man-made tradition of praying to “saints,” Armstrong utilizes Catholicism’s oft-used argument of “fittingness,” which goes something like this:

  1. God can do anything.
  2. Since God can do anything it would be “fitting” for Him to do X.
  3. God did/does X.

Catholics use the “fittingness” argument to justify many other fabricated traditions including the immaculate conception, the assumption of Mary, and indulgences.

God’s Word is our sole authority rather than the fanciful traditions of sinful men. God alone is omnipresent and omniscient. To ascribe those qualities to the souls of the dead is to make them deific, but Almighty God is the only God.

“I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.” – Isaiah 42:8 (NKJV)

For a Biblical understanding of saints compared to Roman tradition, see the article below:

The Saints of God – Grace to You
https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/50-46/the-saints-of-god

Another betrayal of the Gospel in the push for “unity”

Justified in Christ: The Doctrines of Peter Martyr Vermigli and John Henry Newman and Their Ecumenical Implications
By Chris Castaldo
Pickwick Publications, 2017, 234 pages

I’m already acquainted with the author of this book, evangelical pastor Chris Castaldo. I’ve reviewed two books he wrote and one he co-wrote previously about Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics (see here, here, and here). I welcomed those efforts because there are very few books dedicated to outreach to Catholics published by major (c)hristian publishers these days. But the books were also disturbing because they came across as a bit too soft on Catholicism. It was as if, in the final analysis, Castaldo was saying to Catholics, “Yes, your church is legitimate to a degree, but evangelicalism is a better way.” Castaldo shares that kind of accommodating and compromising attitude with other notable evangelical pastors and para-church leaders. This new book is even more disturbing as it appears Castaldo is determined to formulate a “middle way” theology on justification that is acceptable to both Catholics and Bible Christians.

There are many irreconcilable differences between Catholicism and Biblical Christianity, but the most important difference is in regards to the doctrine of justification. Martin Luther rightly said that justification is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls.

In brief, Catholics believe they are initially justified by their infant baptism and that they must continue to receive their church’s sacraments in order to receive graces so that they may successfully obey the Ten Commandments and church rules so as to hopefully merit Heaven at the moment of their death. Catholics believe they can become subjectively, intrinsically righteous through the infused grace of the sacraments and the merit of obedience and good works.

In contrast, Bible Christians believe they are justified by repenting of sin and accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. They believe that they become objectively, extrinsically, forensically righteous before God solely because of Jesus Christ’s perfect righteousness that was imputed to them the moment they accepted Him as Savior. Bible Christians believe good works are the fruit (verification) of justification in Christ, not the basis of it.

The two views are diametrically opposed. One is wrong. One is right. They cannot both be right.

In this book (which was actually the author’s doctoral thesis), Castaldo presents two theologians from the past, one an Italian Protestant Reformer, Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562), and the other a famous convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism, John Henry Newman (1801-1890).

Castaldo attempts to find some agreement between the two theologians as a basis for ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and evangelicals. Vermigli taught that the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ was the “formal cause” of justification, however he also taught that God also “accepts and rewards Christian works as a necessary constituent of final justification.” Castaldo labels this as “double-righteousness” or “double-justification.” So Vermigli gave more credence to good works in salvation than Bible Christians would allow.

Over the years, Newman shifted in his theology from an “evangelical” to a high-church Anglican, to a Roman Catholic. Castaldo references Newman’s writing at the time he was an Anglican, when he still allegedly held to the imputation of Christ’s righteousness as a “factor” in justification, while concurrently holding to baptismal regeneration and progressive sanctification as other contributing factors. Later, after he converted to Catholicism, Newman rejected his previous opinions about imputed righteousness and embraced Catholicism’s notion of sacramentally infused grace and subjective, intrinsic righteousness.

I’m only a Theology 101 type of guy and I don’t normally seek out theology texts that are loaded with Latin phrases to impress academicians like this book does, but I am well-versed in the Protestant-Catholic debate over justification and was able to follow Castaldo’s arguments pretty well. The attempt to blaze some kind of middle-road between evangelicalism’s and Catholicism’s views on justification using Vermigli and pre-Catholic Newman falls totally flat and the differences remain.

It’s sad that Judas evangelicals like Castaldo seek to advance unity with Rome through accommodation and compromise of the Gospel of grace. In the acknowledgements, the author credits Timothy George, one of the principals of Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT), as a strong supporter of this effort as well as three Roman Catholic priests. Save your time and your money.

Was Mary really sinless?

Roman Catholicism teaches that Mary was conceived without original sin and lived a totally sinless life. Why do they teach such a thing? Because Mary holds such an exalted place in Catholicism and is claimed to share many of the offices of Jesus Christ (e.g., Advocate, Mediatrix, Co-Redemptrix, Channel of all Graces, etc.), Catholics argue she must necessarily have been sinless just as Jesus was since they allege she also played a role in redemption.

But doesn’t the Bible say all men are sinners?

“As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10-12

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23

How do Catholics get around those passages in defending the sinlessness of Mary?

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to the 1/15/19 podcast of the “Called to Communion” Catholic talk radio show and apologist, David Anders (above photo), attempted to deftly sidestep Scripture’s clear and unambiguous teaching on the sinfulness of all mankind, including Mary. We begin at the 48:35 mark of the podcast:

Tom Price, show moderator: This (question) is from Andy, checking us out on Facebook. “My brother-in-law and I are discussing the sinlessness of Mary. He used Romans 3:23 as a proof-text that all have sinned, including Mary. How do I respond to that?”

David Anders: So Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. What’s Paul’s point in the argument? His purpose in writing the book of Romans is not to speculate on the doctrine of Mary. Mariology doesn’t enter into the thing at all. He’s talking about the grace and “Judential”* relationships in relation to the Law of Moses. It’s just not even concerned with Mariology. And we use this kind of language all the time in an imprecise way. I remember Colin Donovan (Catholic theologist) used this illustration when he said, “Everybody went to the ballgame.” Well, NOT EVERBODY went to the ballgame, but you know what he meant. Or “Nobody goes to that restaurant anymore because it’s too crowded” as Yogi Berra would say. This is just colloquial language in how St. Paul’s speaking. He’s not making an argument about Mariology one way or the other. If you want to go for Mariology go to the Gospel of Luke.

Tom Price: Yeah, and don’t get hung up on the word “all” in this particular case.

David Anders: Right.

We can all agree that people sometimes use “all” as a generality without meaning every specific case, but was that Paul’s intention in Roman 3:23? The “no, not one…not even one” of Romans 3:10-12 precludes Anders’ sophistry. Mary acknowledges she was a sinner in need of the Savior in Luke 1:47. She also offered up a sin offering along with a burnt offering in Luke 2:22-24. Yes, Mary was a sinner in need of the Savior as we all are. Catholic apologists must deviate from the precise and crystal clear meaning of Scripture in this example in order to justify their doctrine of the sinlessness of Mary.

*Anders routinely invents words during “Called to Communion” broadcasts, such as this example; “Judential.”

Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – #s 77, 78, and 79: Veneration/Worship of Saints? – Part 1

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

This week, we will examine three passages that Armstrong claims support Catholicism’s veneration of “saints.”

#77) 1 Corinthians 4:16: “I urge you, then, be imitators of me.”

#78) Philippians 3:17: “Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an example in us.”

#79) 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9: “7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, 8 we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. 9 It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate.”

Beneath these passages, Armstrong writes, “These verses provide a primary biblical basis for the Catholic practice of venerating the saints. We honor the saints because the Bible instructs us to do so. There is nothing wrong or unbiblical in venerating or trying to emulate the saints, unless we were to put them in the place of God, which is idolatry.” – p. 133.

First of all, Catholicism’s notion of “saints” is un-Scriptural. The New Testament refers to ALL believers as saints (Greek, “hagios,” called out ones, separated ones). The Roman church hijacked the word to mean super-sanctified individuals who, according to its judgment, definitely merited Heaven.

Secondly, in the three passages the apostle Paul is encouraging believers to follow the example he has set in living the faith. Paul was not perfect, but his faith in Christ and his submission to the Lord were exemplary. Paul was certainly not urging believers to venerate HIM!

“For I am the least of the apostles and am unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not in vain. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:9-10

Paul never encouraged praise and honors to himself, but always deferred to the Lord.

“God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:28-31

The Roman church teaches that its members can pray to those it has canonized as saints as mediators. But nowhere in the Bible does a believer pray to anyone other than God. God’s Word specifically teaches that Jesus Christ alone is our Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) and that we are not to attempt to communicate with dead souls:

“And when they say to you, ‘Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,’ should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?” – Isaiah 8:19

If all of the dead Catholic saints were able to hear all of the prayers said to them by Catholics all around the world, they would have to be omnipresent, a quality that God alone possesses. By attributing various deitifical powers to saints, the Catholic church crosses the line from “venerating” saints to “worshiping” them. Catholics are encouraged to develop strong devotions to a particular saint and many Catholics spend most of the “prayer” time attempting to communicate with their “patron” saint.

No, the three Bible passages that Armstrong cites definitely do not support venerating/worshiping “saints.”

See the post below for more information on how Catholicism adapted paganism’s plurality of gods into saint veneration/worship.

Patron gods and patron “saints”
https://excatholic4christ.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/patron-gods-and-patron-saints/

Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – Pausing to note a paradox

Since early-August, we’ve been examining the 95 Bible verses presented by Catholic apologist, Dave Armstrong, in his book, “The Catholic Verses,” that allegedly validate Catholicism and “confound Protestants.” This week, I thought we’d take a break from the 95 verses and examine a bit of a paradox regarding the author that came to my attention a couple of weeks ago.

In his defense of the Catholic doctrine of penitential suffering, Armstrong criticized some Protestant Pentecostals and charismatics who propagate the health and wealth, name it and claim it, prosperity gospel (see here) and who blatantly ignore Bible passages that contradict guaranteed temporal health and wealth for the believer. Our sister at Biblical Beginnings commented that Armstrong’s criticism of the prosperity gospelers was inconsistent because of the popularity of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) movement, which boasts over 160 million followers. I responded that while Catholic charismatics do share many of the beliefs and practices of Pentecostals and charismatics regarding glossolalia, prophecy, and healings, they generally don’t focus on accumulating wealth and still value suffering as expiatory and penitential. However, Armstrong’s criticism of the prosperity gospel brought to focus an apparent contradiction based upon some of his other articles.

Many/most conservative Catholic apologists dismiss Pentecostalism’s gifts of the spirit as a Protestant novelty. For instance, apologist, David Anders, regularly dismisses Pentecostalism as an innovation begun by Charles Parham in 1900. Pentecostalism began its infiltration into the Catholic church at Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh in 1967 and blossomed into the CCR. While Anders is careful not to condemn the practices of Catholic charismatics because popes and prelates have tolerated the CCR and looked upon it as a valuable tool for ecumenism, he views the movement as a departure from Catholic tradition with roots in Protestantism and with the very real potential for heterodoxy.

Unlike most of his fellow conservative Catholic apologists, Dave Armstrong, the author of “The Catholic Verses” is quite at home with the CCR. He admits to attending charismatic and healing Masses occasionally.* I did a little research and discovered that Armstrong was a member of a Pentecostal church before he converted to Roman Catholicism.**

The interesting paradox is that Armstrong views Reformers such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Huldrych Zwingli as rebellious and dangerous heretics, yet is very comfortable with the non-Catholic innovations of Charles Parham and William J. Seymour, the pioneers of Pentecostalism! Does not compute my friends. It is contradictory for Armstrong to attack the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, and yet embrace the experiential practices that originated with Parham and Seymour in the early-20th-century outside of Catholicism.

Sources:

*Catholic Charismatic Renewal: A Defense
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2018/08/catholic-charismatic-renewal-a-defense.html

**Is Catholicism Christian? My Debate With James White (Dave Armstrong vs. James White from 1995)
http://www.biblicalcatholic.com/apologetics/DebatingJamesWhite.htm

Full disclosure: I’m a cessationist regarding the apostolic gifts of the Spirit. I believe the “showy” gifts were given to verify the authority of the apostles and ended after the apostolic era.

Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – #s 75 and 76: Penitential Suffering? – Part 2

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

Last week, we examined the first two Bible passages that Armstrong presented as proof texts for the Catholic teaching of penitential suffering. This week, we’ll examine the last two passages:

#75) 2 Corinthians 4:10: “…always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

#76) Colossians 1:24: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”

Beneath these passages, Armstrong writes, “God allows us to take part in the great drama of redemption by allowing us to share the sufferings of Christ that brought it about. That does not mean that the cause of redemption does not completely lie with Jesus Christ, but that we can be part of it in some mysterious way (in his will and by his design and providence), just as our prayers are part of his redemption and our works part of salvation.” – p.130.

I’m not going to spend a lot time on these two verses because I already examined in quite a bit of detail last week how Catholics believe suffering is expiatory (see here). Catholics will not only offer up any natural sufferings they encounter as penance for themselves or others, the will even inflict pain upon themselves as exercises in self-mortification.

But does suffering contribute to Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross towards redemption/salvation as Armstrong and Catholics claim? Colossians 1:24 is admittedly a difficult verse to interpret. Does Paul mean by this verse that there is something lacking or deficient in the sufferings that Christ endured to atone for the sins of the world? Such an interpretation would contradict the MANY passages Paul wrote regarding the absolute sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice including the very passage (vv. 15-23) leading up to verse 24, which proclaims Jesus the Savior “making peace by the blood of his cross.”

In the article below, theologian, Sam Storms, presents several evangelical interpretations of Colossians 1:24. Although they differ in detail, the main point is the same: “the calling of Christians is to willingly and joyfully endure suffering for the sake of Christ and his kingdom, for the sake of Christ and his body, the church. In this way we are seen to be his own. In this way others see him, through us, in his love for sinners. In this way we “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil. 3:10).”

Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ by Sam Storms
https://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/filling-up-the-afflictions-of-christ–1:24-

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/12/19

Last weekend, I mentioned that the American Catholic bishops were meeting outside of Chicago to mull over the sexual abuse and cover-up scandal tsunami that’s wracking the Catholic church. Next stop? The American bishops are scheduled to meet with all of the church’s bishops from around the world at the Vatican from February 21 to 24 to come up with some type of comprehensive plan to address the scandal. That is like putting Al Capone in charge of the Neighborhood Watch committee. Sexual abuse has been a “problem” within the Catholic church for centuries due to its mandatory rule of celibacy for clerics that has both attracted and fostered deviancy.

Seventy-years ago, back when the Catholic church was still religiously and politically militant, such a large number of Catholics in Congress would have been a concern. These days, most of these Catholic legislators are nominal/cultural Catholics at best, e.g., Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tim Kaine, etc.

Pope Francis is using cardinal Reinhard Marx and liberal German bishops as the vanguard for his progressive reforms.

Catholics love to boast that they have an infallible pope leading their church, although Catholic theologians can only agree on the infallibility of three papal declarations: the immaculate conception of Mary in 1854, papal infallibility in 1870, and the assumption of Mary in 1950. What’s the use of having an infallible pope if they never declare anything as dogma? Ironically, Catholic conservatives believe that everything the current pope has to say is not only fallible, but should be ignored.

Pope Francis’ progressivism is fueling a renaissance of pre-conciliar, militant traditionalism. Not all that long ago the Catholic church taught that only baptized Catholics had a chance of going to Heaven. These days, pope Francis says even atheists can merit Heaven if they are “good.”

I’m not happy to see this series coming from DC Comics, but caricaturizations of Jesus and Scripture are nothing new.

More than a few new Christians have enthusiastically resolved to read the Bible from cover to cover only to run into Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and become discouraged. It’s really helpful to use some Bible study aids (commentary and Bible dictionary) when reading those books.

Prosperity gospel scammers like Meyer make a shamefully grandiose living off of people’s greed – “Send in your ‘seed faith’ money so that you can also receive your financial blessing.”