Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/16/21

Female Catholics are already being utilized as “lectors” (photo above) and “eucharistic ministers” here in the United States, but Francis standardized the practices worldwide via official modifications to Canon Law. This is a preliminary step to women eventually being ordained as Catholic deacons. Missing in all of this inclusive posturing is the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

As the EWTN Catholic media conglomerate veers increasingly towards the religious-political far-right, it’s shedding supporters of progressive pope Francis and propagators of “wokeness.”

Behind the veil of serenity that’s presented to the credulous membership, Catholic priests, prelates, and laity fiercely battle amongst themselves over the “authenticity” of various alleged Marian apparitions. It’s all a deception.

Catholics and liberal Lutherans under the umbrella of the Lutheran World Federation have been striving for unity since the publication of the nebulous “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” in 1999.

Roman Catholicism teaches Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and even atheists are able to merit Heaven if they are “good” and “follow they light they are given,” so there is zero motivation for Catholics to proselytize anyone to their false religion.

Gospel Christians aren’t concerned about the salvation of theoretical aliens when there are so many unsaved souls right here on Planet Earth, including Roman Catholics. When this priest speaks of “redemption,” he’s referring to Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Roman Catholic news sources are boasting that Catholics are disproportionately represented in Congress as well as on the bench of the SCOTUS. President-elect Joe Biden is also a Roman Catholic. This would have been a serious concern one-hundred years ago, when the Vatican still propagated militant Catholicism in league with authoritarian civil governments, but the threat of Catholic hegemony and authoritarianism is no longer a serious consideration. Catholic prelates can’t even get their membership to attend obligatory mass on Sunday (pre-COVID) let alone “take over” the country.

The conflation of faith and politics/nationalism has always been a temptation for American evangelicals, going back to the Puritan immigrants in the early 1600s, but Jerry Falwell Sr. and his Moral Majority took it to a whole ‘nother level beginning in the early-1980s. The nadir of this religious-political-nationalist mindset was the protest in Washington D.C. on January 6th, which culminated in the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol Building. There are great spiritual dangers that come with mixing the Gospel and politics. Many unbelievers in this country now wrongly assume that Gospel Christianity equates to Trump-ism, MAGA-ism, and pandemic-denial-ism.

Evangelical scholars examine Roman Catholicism with spotty results

Roman Catholicism: Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides and Unites Us
John Armstrong, General Editor
Moody Bible Institute, 1994, 345 pp.

3 Stars

In 1994, with American society increasingly heading towards secularization, influential evangelical para-church leader, Chuck Colson, and Roman Catholic priest, Richard John Neuhaus, founded Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT), an ecumenical initiative meant to bridge/overlook/minimize theological differences and unite both groups against the perceived common threat. The effort elicited a wide range of responses within evangelicalism. Faithful pastors and theologians countered that the differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity were far too wide and even irreconcilable. Others were increasingly open to Catholic overtures, which began thirty-years earlier at the Second Vatican Council when the RCC radically altered its approach to Protestants, from militant confrontation to conciliatory rapprochement.

This book from Moody Press was published shortly after the release of the first ECT accord. Thirteen evangelical scholars examine the doctrines that continue to divide Catholics and evangelical Protestants. There are a myriad of un-Biblical Catholic doctrines that Gospel Christians could not submit to (e.g., papal authority, sacred tradition, baptismal regeneration, sacerdotalism, transubstantiation, Mariology, purgatory, etc.), but the opposing views on justification stands as the prime difference. Martin Luther famously argued that justification is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls.

Gospel Christians believe a person is justified/made righteous before God only by trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and thereby receiving the imputed (alien, extrinsic, objective, forensic) perfect righteousness of Christ. Catholicism, in contrast, teaches that its sacraments infuse saving graces into an individual’s soul. By then “cooperating with grace” (i.e., obeying the Ten Commandments, performing acts of piety and charity) a person can become increasingly sanctified (personal, intrinsic, subjective) and can hope to “possibly” merit* salvation at the time of their death. Okay, let’s forget the theological terminology. Evangelicals believe they are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Catholics hope to be saved by sacramental grace and obedience to the Ten Commandments (impossible!). The two views are diametrically opposed and cannot be reconciled.

Several of the writers acknowledge that Roman Catholicism’s doctrine of justification is NOT the Gospel, yet still conclude that the RCC is a Christian institution and that Catholics are “brothers and sisters” in the Lord. This is a dichotomous accommodation that defies rationality and theology. In his article, Alistair McGrath goes to great lengths in an attempt to prove that the contrasting “approaches” to justification are two sides to the same coin. To his credit, McGrath also points out that in contrast to ecumenical “dialogues,” where Catholic representatives readily assent to theoretical “salvation by grace through faith,” Catholicism continues to teach such things as purgatory, indulgences, and masses and prayers for the dead, which reveal the RCC continues as a works-righteousness religious system.

The articles by S. Lewis Johnson, Kim Riddlebarger, Michael Horton, William Webster and John Armstrong are faithful to the Gospel of grace and do not make accommodations to Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. This book is a mixed bag, but valuable for revealing evangelicals’ increasingly accommodating attitudes towards Rome twenty-six years ago. There’s no doubt that ecumenical compromise and betrayal of the Gospel has made further inroads since then.

Chapters:

  1. One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church – Thomas J. Nettles
  2. How Did the Church in Rome Become Roman Catholicism – D. Clair Davis
  3. What Really Caused the Great Divide? – W. Robert Godfrey
  4. Roman Catholic Theology Today – Robert B. Strimple
  5. Mary, the Saints, and Sacerdotalism – S. Lewis Johnson
  6. Is Spirituality Enough? Differing Models for Living – Donald G. Bloesch
  7. Unhelpful Antagonism and Unhealthy Courtesy – Harold O.J. Brown
  8. Evangelical and Catholic Cooperation in the Public Arena – Ronald Nash
  9. What Shall We Make of Ecumenism? – Alister E. McGrath
  10. No Place Like Rome? Why Are Evangelicals Joining the Catholic Church? – Kim Riddlebarger
  11. What Still Keeps Us Apart? – Michael S. Horton
  12. Did I Really Leave the Holy Catholic Church? The Journey into Evangelical Faith and Church Experience – William Webster
  13. The Evangelical Movement? – John H. Armstrong

*Back in the 1960s, when I was a young Catholic, the Roman church had no reservations about using the term, “merit,” in association with attaining salvation. Since then, the term has fallen out of favor (partly as a concession to evangelical proselytization) and Catholics will insist that they absolutely are not attempting to merit their salvation. However, the church’s catechism reveals merit is still the bottom line of Catholicism’s salvation system:

“Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion (i.e., baptism). Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.” – CCC 2010

Throwback Thursday: Rick Warren and Rome

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 4, 2016 and has been revised.

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Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Path to Rome
By Roger Oakland
Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2015, 20 pages

Popular Southern Baptist, mega-church pastor, Rick Warren, aka “America’s Pastor,” has been courting the Roman Catholic church for many years. But even Rome-friendly, evangelical ecumenists were somewhat taken aback by Warren’s unabashed and forthright endorsement of Catholicism in his 2014 interview on EWTN (Catholic) television (see link below).

In the interview, Warren stated his personal fondness and endorsement of Catholic contemplative mysticism, the pope, ecumenical social projects, Catholicism’s New Evangelization program, spiritual directors, EWTN television, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

In this short booklet, evangelical apologist, Roger Oakland, examines Warren’s shocking statements in comparison to God’s Word and the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The Catholic church teaches salvation by sacramental grace and merit, a different “gospel,” but that’s definitely not a problem for Warren who is quite comfortable throwing correct doctrine out the window. He nebulously states that as long as you “love Jesus, we’re on the same team,” whatever that means.


World Over hosted by Raymond Arroyo
EWTN
4/10/2014
Guest, Rick Warren
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVCY8pW-ACs

Rick Warren’s comments on Roman Catholicism
Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
https://carm.org/rick-warren-and-catholicism

Note: “Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Path to Rome” is out-of-print, but other materials about Roman Catholicism from Lighthouse Trails Publishing can be found here.

Catholic talk radio host, Mother Miriam, advises her listeners to “oppose” pope Francis

I don’t get a chance to listen to Catholic talk radio like I used to, but back on December 8th, I was driving down the road and I tuned into the local AM Catholic radio station. The program being broadcast at that moment was “Mother Miriam Live,” hosted by Catholic nun, Mother Miriam (aka Rosalind Moss, photo above). Miriam is a protégé of über-conservative cardinal, Raymond Burke, and a propagator of traditional, militant, pre-conciliar Catholicism and an outspoken critic of the Catholic progressivism being disseminated by pope Francis and other liberal prelates and priests. She often criticizes pope Francis on her show while dichotomously feigning fealty to the papal office.

Halfway though the December 8th program, Mother Miriam read an email from a discouraged listener regarding pope Francis’ recent Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers) encyclical. I’ve transcribed Mother Miriam’s remarks below with the listener’s written words italicized:


“We have an email from Frank who writes, Dearest Mother Miriam, I am very troubled by pope Francis’s latest encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti” (All Brothers). This encyclical seems more like a communist manifesto rather than a call to holiness. We’ve not talked about that on this program. I’m going to read Frank’s email because he describes why he has said that. I think it’s important that we do read it because so many people are confused if not distraught by it. Frank says, The Holy Father outlines his recipe for rebuilding a post-pandemic world beginning with a complete restructuring of politics and civil discourse in order to create systems prioritizing the community and the poor rather than individual or market interests. The pope criticizes heavily democratic forms of government that value individual and personal freedom and favors a socialist form of government where globalist elites look out for the common good. Communists always love the masses, but disdain the individual and want to control their lives. The pope seems blind to this reality. Now this is Frank writing. I don’t know, I wouldn’t personally say the pope is blind to this reality. Frank continues, This encyclical seems more concerned on the false promise of creating an impossible utopia on earth instead of a focus on the true promise of how to obtain eternal life for our souls in Heaven. Sadly, Frank continues, there are also, it seems, direct shots against President Trump. For example, where the pope laments, quote, the concept of popular and national unity influenced by various ideologies is creating new forms of selfishness and a loss of the social sense under the guise of defending national interests, endquote. Frank says, I pray for the Holy Father, but would appreciate your thoughts on how faithful Catholics may respond to this latest encyclical. God bless you always, Frank.

“I even hesitated reading Frank’s email because I agree with Frank and it’s very, very difficult. The way we’re going, the Holy Father together with, what Frank calls, some elites in the world, billionaires who are striving for a one-world government and really to control the masses. Much of what’s going on with COVID, COVID is real, but much of what’s going on is to, I remember Hillary Clinton and others saying, Let’s not waste a good crisis. And so they’ve used the COVID crisis to further their agenda for a one-world market and controlling the masses. So, I agree with you, Frank. What are we to do? How do faithful Catholics respond to this encyclical? I think by simply countering what is not Catholic and speaking of what is Catholic. God’s plan for us is not an earthly utopia, but a Heavenly one, eternal life, to repent, to be saved, to embrace Christ, and to be part of His church. The only way to get to Heaven is to be part of His church on earth. These sorts of encyclicals, and plans, and ideologies are leading us away from that and we cannot have it. We must cling to Christ, to the church, to the teachings of the church, which have not, will not, and cannot change, and to the Scriptures, and I would say our response to the pope’s encyclical is to triple our Catholicity, to begin to live your Catholic faith beyond anything you’ve lived before. To be strong and steadfast and be fully Catholic and oppose anything that is not Catholic, that will not get you to Heaven.”


Fascinating!

Catholic conservatives and traditionalists are caught in a tortuous (for them) Catch-22 bind. One of their most cherished tenets is absolute fealty to the pope, the alleged “Vicar of Christ” on Earth. Yet, progressive pope Francis is subverting their beloved church doctrines and propagating progressive political views. What does it say about the Roman Catholic church when conservative Catholic prelates, priests, nuns, and lay leaders are advising their followers to ignore and even oppose the pope? In practice, they have appointed themselves pope over the pope! Keep in mind that neither side in this Catholic tug-of-war, neither the progressives represented by pope Francis or the conservatives represented by Mother Miriam, teach the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Both sides disseminate the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Below is the video of the 12-08-20 program in question. Mother Miriam’s critical remarks about pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers) encyclical begin at the 31:00 mark.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/9/21

The big news this past week was obviously the assault on the U.S. Capitol building. Following the violence, I noticed that several of the news reports, including the article above, referred to the mayhem as a “sacrilege” and a “desecration” of the Capitol building. In American civil religion, certain government buildings and monuments are revered as religious temples. I’m very grateful for our democracy and I gladly offer proper respect, but man-made government/political institutions are not “sacred” or “holy.” For more on American civil religion, see here.

While on our last visit to Martinshöhe, Germany (pop. 1768) in 2016 to see our grandson, my wife and I took a walk around the village and noticed that the vast majority of houses had an inscription above the door written in chalk: 20*C+M+B+16. I had no idea no what the inscription meant, but subsequently found out.

The letters are an abbreviation of the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless this house.” The “*” represents the star of Bethlehem. The “+” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “16” at the end (changes with each new year) mark the new year.

Catholics in Germany and other European countries mark their doors with this inscription at the Feast of the Epiphany (first week of January). Most German Catholics don’t bother attending mass on Sundays, but they zealously continue to mark their front door, superstitiously believing it will protect their home.

Protestant literature of the 19th century included many “convent escape narratives,” which presented first-hand accounts of abuse within Catholic convents by former-nuns. Catholic spokespersons of that era dismissed the books as sensationalistic fantasy and “Protestant porn,” but investigative journalism over the last twenty years has vindicated the allegations of widespread abuse among the “celibate” Catholic clergy.

German Catholic prelates are the vanguard of progressive Catholicism. This past October, Pope Francis shocked Catholic conservatives when underhandedly announced his support for same-sex civil unions via statements in a documentary. The Germans will continue to push the envelope even farther.

Great to see many are turning to God’s Word because of the C-19 pandemic.

Evangelical pastor and scholar, Leonardo De Chirico, presents interesting and informative articles examining Roman Catholicism at the beginning of each month.

I’m offering the above article, not because I’m in agreement with it, but because it recalls a controversy the first year I began this blog. Back in 2015, Larycia Hawkins, a professor at Wheaton College, sparked an uproar by expressing solidarity with Muslims and advocating Universalism. Hawkins was subsequently fired. I love Muslims, but they need Jesus Christ just like every lost religionist. Schools like Wheaton are drifting into theological liberalism.

Throwback Thursday: “Secrets of Romanism”

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

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Secrets of Romanism
By Joseph Zacchello
Loizeaux Brothers, 1989, 232 pp.

“Secrets of Romanism” by ex-Roman Catholic priest, Joseph Zacchello, was first published in 1948 and went through multiple printings, with the last being in 1989. For decades, this book and Loraine Boettner’s “Roman Catholicism” were the most widely referenced resources on Catholicism from an evangelical viewpoint. Although “Secrets of Romanism” is provocatively titled, most of the material was readily available to anyone willing to dig through the Roman Catholic catechism.

Zacchello examines some of the most significant anti-Biblical Roman doctrines – church authority, sacred tradition, the papacy, the mass, purgatory, confession, Mariology, praying to saints, indulgences – first from a Catholic perspective followed by an evangelical rebuttal. However, the most important doctrinal difference separating Catholics and evangelicals, the opposing views on justification, is not addressed directly. Catholics believe in justification by the alleged graces conferred by its clergy-administered sacraments followed by obedience to the Ten Commandments (impossible!), while evangelicals believe all those who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone are justified by the imputed, perfect righteousness of Christ. This book offers many convincing arguments in opposition to Rome’s anti-Biblical doctrines, but Zacchello’s failure to deal directly with the overarching issue of justification is a regrettable oversight. Boettner committed the same error in his book.

Used copies of “Secrets of Romanism” are available from Amazon.com here.

In our post-modern era of pluralism, diversity, relativism, and ecumenism, fewer and fewer books from “Christian publishers” are being offered that critically examine the errors of Rome, however, some excellent resources are still available. See “The Gospel According to Rome” by James G. McCarthy and “Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment” by Gregg R. Allison (a more scholarly treatise) for two excellent and relatively recent offerings. Books by James R. White and William Webster are also very good. For my listing of over 360 books that compare Roman Catholicism to God’s Word and Gospel Christianity, see my books tab here.

Postscript A: The forward to “Secrets of Romanism” was written by William Ward Ayer (1892-1985), the popular and influential former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in New York City, one of the very first Christian pastors to preach over the radio.

Postscript B: In addition to “Secrets of Romanism,” Joseph Zachello also authored, “Ins and Outs of Romanism” and “How to Prevent Mixed Marriages.” He was also editor of “The Converted Catholic” magazine. Read Zachello’s testimony here.

Postscript C: It’s not clear when Loizeaux Brothers ceased publishing. Their former building at 1238 Corlies Avenue, Neptune, New Jersey is currently occupied by food supplier, Gourmet Kitchen, Inc.

Cemetery tales, #2: Our future home? Nope!

My wife and I take a daily walk with our dog at a nearby cemetery where my wife’s mother, father, and step-father are buried. We actually have two side-by-side cemetery plots located there that are reserved for us. Walking at the cemetery every day got me thinking about death and sparked a couple of posts, the first one was published last Wednesday and can be read here. The second and last post is below:

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Shortly after my wife and I married in 1974, my mother-in-law married her boyfriend. Don was a big, burly guy who had risen through the ranks at a local manufacturing company, from a machinist on the production floor to plant superintendent, through sheer hard work and steely determination.

Don was a man of enormous appetites. He was a heavy smoker and also enjoyed multiple highballs every evening. He was also a gregarious conversationalist and loved to impress his listeners with unusual facts and trivia that he had picked up. Don was raised as a nominal “Baptist” (i.e., liberal American Baptist), but didn’t put much if any stock in religion. In contrast, his membership in the Masons meant quite a lot to him. Although he never attended church, he wrote out a monthly check to a local mainline American Baptist church, “just in case there’s something to it,” as he liked to joke.

My mother-in-law, Dorothy, was a nominal Catholic and when her health began to sharply decline in 1983 due to her emphysema, Don contacted the local Catholic parish and a priest made several visits and administered the last rites. Just previous to that, my wife and I had trusted in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We both witnessed to Mom on many occasions and also presented her with a Bible. She did eventually profess her faith in Christ. However, Don did not appreciate our talks with Mom. He felt we were confusing her at a vulnerable time with our “religion” from the “renegade”/”wildcat” independent fundamental Baptist church that we were attending at that time. There was definitely spiritual warfare going on. For a man who didn’t personally care about “religion,” Don was vehemently opposed to our “interference.” Our relations with Don remained tense right up to the day that Dorothy died in January 1984. After several months had passed, we had a few get-togethers with Don, but there was an icy undercurrent and we eventually lost touch. Don came down with cancer and ended his life in 1996 with an overdose of prescription pills.

Many years previous, when my mother-in-law was still relatively healthy, Don had presented us with the unusual “gift” of two cemetery plots. He and his siblings and their spouses had purchased multiple, co-adjoining plots at White Haven Cemetery, but somehow ended up with two too many. So now, when my wife and I take our daily walks in the cemetery, we often walk by our plots. It’s a strange sight, but we know we will be with our Lord when we die, not “resting” beneath the cold ground.

Postscript 1: After I wrote the above, I remembered one of the most important parts of the story. In the final weeks of her life, Dorothy was in great physical distress and begged the Lord to take her home. My wife and I also prayed to the Lord that He would take her. It was Christmas time and Dorothy asked me to get her a fresh-cut Christmas tree. Don was adamantly opposed to the idea, but finally relented, cautioning me to get only a very small tree. I defiantly picked out the tallest and fattest tree available and put it up in their living room. Don fumed while Dorothy was delighted. After Dorothy died, her physician, a pulmonary specialist, pulled my wife and myself aside and matter-of-factly informed us that the spores from the Christmas tree had accumulated in her lungs and clogged up any remaining breathing capacity and had killed her. Ah, that’s my God. Thank you, Lord!

Postscript 2: Dorothy’s grave is in one section of the cemetery, alongside her second husband, my wife’s father (see my post about Gordon here), while Don’s grave is in another section alongside his first wife.

Above: That’s Don (left) proudly giving my brother-in-law, Jimmy (middle), and myself (right) a tour of the production floor at a Gleason Works open house, October 13, 1979.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/2/21

This article states that 25,000 people – primarily women – were executed as witches in Catholic-controlled regions of Germany between the 15th and 18th centuries. While the victims were charged with the crime of “witchcraft,” many of the souls were Protestants whose only “crime” was that they had left the Catholic church.

Roman Catholics are normally obligated to attend mass every Sunday under threat of eternal damnation, although pre-pandemic statistics showed that only 30% complied. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck last March, the U.S. Catholic bishops unilaterally issued dispensations, allowing members to miss weekly mass without incurring a mortal sin. When cases of C-19 declined during the summer, some bishops rescinded their dispensations, only to reinstate them again at the onset of the current surge. After ten months of not receiving the obligatory sacraments and not getting struck by lightning, how many of the remaining mass-goers will say, “I’m done”?

Pandemic-denial is still rife within evangelicalism despite hospital emergency, ICU, and morgue units being stretched beyond capacity all across the nation. I get it. Many deniers bought into the notion (propagated from pulpits by some pastors) that the COVID-19 pandemic is a demonic hoax designed to shut down churches. All of these deniers need to step away from conspiracy-mongering web sites and spend a day at their local hospital’s pulmonary ICU.

The Roman Catholic hierarchy officially discourages these types of church-sharing and communion-sharing ecumenical events, but liberal Catholic priests continue to instigate/participate and liberal prelates turn a blind eye.

The Falkirk Center at Liberty University is a “think tank” created in 2019 by Jerry Falwell Jr. in partnership with political activist, Charlie Kirk, to “renew and defend God-given freedoms and Christian principles throughout American politics and culture.” The center propagates Falwellian Christian nationalism and religious-political ecumenism rather than the Gospel and I don’t blame the student body president and vice president and the 400 students who are calling for it to be shut down now that Falwell Jr. is gone.

A couple of weeks ago, Pat Robertson claimed he had a message from God telling him Joe Biden’s presidential victory was going to be overturned. He’s since reversed himself and now acknowledges Biden as the president-elect and suggests that President Trump lives in an “alternate reality” by still believing he won. Robertson’s followers also live in an alternate reality by continuing to believe the CBN founder has the gift of prophecy.

Another one? Francis is another person who needs to step away from his laptop. Just kidding. I’m confident the “holy father’s” Instagram account is being hacked.

Throwback Thursday: “Jesus did 99 percent of the work, but you must do the remaining 1 percent.” Huh?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 5, 2016 and has been revised.

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You won’t find it verbatim in the Roman Catholic church’s official catechism. Catholic congregants may not hear it said during a mass. But there is a saying used by Catholic religious instructors, past and present, that’s extremely popular within Catholicism and it goes something like this:

“Jesus did 99 percent of the work for your salvation, but you must do the remaining 1 percent.”

We students heard that admonition repeatedly from the nuns at our Catholic grammar school.

The Catholic church teaches Jesus only made it possible for people to be saved by His death on the cross, but that it’s then up to each individual Catholic to participate in the sacraments and obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules as their part in meriting their salvation.

Born-again Christians know they cannot possibly obey the Law. Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to Earth, lived a perfect life, and offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He paid our sin debt as only He could. But He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who trust in Him as their Savior by faith alone.

Catholics believe that, with the help of God’s grace, they can obey the Law and hopefully merit their way into Heaven, fulfilling their 1 percent. But God’s Word says the Law wasn’t given as a way to Heaven. The Law was given to show us just how sinful we are compared to a Holy God and that we desperately need the Savior He provided.

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” – Romans 3:20

It’s only AFTER we accept Jesus as our Savior and are spiritually born-again that we can follow the Lord in obedience, albeit imperfectly.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

⚠️ Truth be told, since Catholics are instructed they must perfectly obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules to be in a “state of grace” at the moment of their death in order to merit their salvation, they are actually required to do 99 percent of the work, not 1 percent!

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” – Galatians 2:21

If you’re not counting on Jesus Christ 100 percent for your salvation, then you are lost and you will be judged for all of your sins. Say a prayer to Jesus Christ right now and ask Him to save you. Then find an evangelical church in your area that preaches the Word of God without compromise.

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the (self) righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2:17


Christ Has Done His 99 Percent
By James McCarthy
https://jashow.org/articles/christ-has-done-his-99-percent/

Cemetery tales, #1: Don’t cry?

My wife and I take a daily walk with our dog at a nearby cemetery where my wife’s mother, father, and step-father are buried. We also have two side-by-side cemetery plots located there that are reserved for us (more on that detail in post #2). Walking at the cemetery every day got me thinking about death and sparked a couple of posts, the first one below:

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Jesus wept.” – John 11:35

We’re all familiar with John 11:35, the shortest verse in the Bible. But why did Jesus weep in that particular circumstance, already knowing He was going to raise His friend, Lazarus, from the dead? Many have speculated, but perhaps part of the reason was because Jesus’s heart was weighted-down in perfect empathy for Lazarus’s grieving sisters, Mary and Martha. I was recently reminded of a time when I was less-than-empathetic as an immature new believer. First, a little background.

My wife’s mother (daughter and mother in above photo, circa 1970) died way back in January 1984 at the age of 68. Dorothy was a longtime cigarette smoker and had developed a progressive case of emphysema. The last couple of years of her life, it became increasingly difficult, make that torturous, for her just to take a single, satisfying breath.

Dorothy was raised as a Roman Catholic and even spent a few of her childhood years as a boarder at the former Academy of the Sacred Heart, located at 8 Prince Street in Rochester, a consequence of the breakup of her parents’ marriage. Dorothy grew up and got married herself, but divorced her husband in the early-1950s, which was quite scandalous at that time. She then married my wife’s father, resulting in the Catholic church excommunicating her (formal letters of excommunication were issued from the diocese in those days). Dorothy subsequently did not attend church, but she raised her daughter (my wife) as a Catholic, including four years of Catholic high school. As Dorothy approached the end of her life, her last husband, a “Protestant” (more on him in the next post), contacted the local Catholic parish and a priest visited a few times and administered “last rites.” However, Dorothy also heard the genuine Gospel and accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior by faith alone.

Dorothy was taken to the hospital in late-December, 1983 in extreme discomfort, but there was nothing the medical staff could do. She was returned home and died a few days later.

Okay, now comes the embarrassing part.

My wife cried heavy tears at her mother’s funeral. I was surprised. We were new (aka immature) believers at that time and the Gospel church we attended encouraged members to have a constant, “Stepford-ish” smile on their faces. I actually admonished my wife not to cry because her mother was in Heaven and no longer suffering. What a dummy I was. I was putting cold, detached theology ahead of my wife’s deep sorrow at the loss of her mother. What I actually needed at that moment was a heavy dose of Jesus’s empathy.

Yes, there is the JOY that is ours, in all circumstances, as a part of being in Christ, and we must not allow grief and sorrow to completely consume us, BUT let’s allow our brothers and sisters (and ourselves) to work through grief and sorrow, by God’s grace, without adding to their burdens by making them feel guilty.

To see Cemetery Tales, #2, click here.