Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #35: “One Mediator”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. This week, we begin our examination of the Catholic apologist’s five-part section on “The Saints.” With this first chapter, he attempts to counter evangelical Protestants’ objection that there is “One Mediator.”

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The Roman Catholic church teaches its members to pray to Mary and the saints for spiritual intercession: “We can and should ask (Mary and the saints) to intercede for us and for the whole world” (CCC 2683). However, evangelical Protestants cite 1 Timothy 2:5 to show that Jesus alone is Mediator and Intercessor:

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Broussard attempts to rebut the Protestant view with three arguments:

(1) Broussard agrees that Scripture affirms the uniqueness of Jesus Christ’s office as Mediator,  but also points out that Scripture teaches the validity of intercessory prayer of fellow Christians, one for another. He remarks that in v.1 of the same chapter, Paul urges “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” and in v.3 (Broussard mistakenly credits v.4) Paul writes that such intercession “is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” Broussard argues that, (A) since asking fellow Christians to intercede for us in prayer is Biblical, then (B) asking Christians in Heaven to intercede for us must be valid as well.

(2) Broussard argues that while Scripture affirms Jesus’s unique roles as Teacher (Matthew 23:8) and High Priest (Hebrews 3:1), he contends that Scripture also affirms that Christ shares those ministries with His disciples (Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 2:5,9). Broussard posits that, (A) since Christ shares his intercessory ministry with living Christians according to Scripture, then (B) “it’s at least possible that Jesus could share his intercessory ministry with Christians in heaven, too” (p.194).

(3) With his last argument, Broussard’s attempts to connect the dots. He posits that, (A) since all Christians, both on Earth and in Heaven, are united as members of the mystical Body of Christ, and (B) because “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16)” with regards to the intercessory prayer of the saints on Earth, therefore, (C) “the saints in heaven are perfected in righteousness, (and) their prayers will bear much fruit” (p.195).

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

Gospel Christians certainly believe, as the Bible teaches, that we are to pray to God for each other. However, the Catholic argument that petitioning deceased Christians to pray/intercede for us is the same as asking living Christians to pray to God for us presupposes several un-Biblical and anti-Biblical doctrines:

  • Praying to saints semi-deifies deceased human beings – In order to hear prayers throughout the world, saints would have to have the ability to be omnipresent and omniscient (able to perceive the private thoughts of petitioners). Catholics claim that God grants these powers to the saints in Heaven. Some Catholics will claim that they don’t actually pray to Mary or the saints, but that is lexical sophistry.
  • Praying to saints is idolatry – By ascribing deific, god-like powers to deceased human beings, the Catholic church presents these “saints” as de facto minor gods and prayer to them is a form of worship. This robs God of the worship that He alone deserves. Nowhere in the Old or New Testament is there a sanctioned example of a living person praying to a deceased person. Studious readers of the Bible know this to be absolutely true. Communication with the dead (i.e., necromancy) is strictly forbidden by Scripture. Broussard will attempt to address the subject of saints and necromancy next week.
  • Praying to saints is nonsensical – Even if it were possible, there would be absolutely no need or advantage to praying to an intermediary when we can pray directly to God the Father through the ONE AND ONLY Mediator, God the Son.
  • Praying to saints impugns Jesus’s role as Sole Mediator –  While Catholics insist that they fully acknowledge and respect Jesus’s singularly unique role as Savior and Mediator between God and man, they betray their lip service with their actions by addressing their prayers to Mary and the saints for their salvation and for other needs and requests.
  • Praying to saints and the notion of patron saints is a syncretic adaptation of paganism – After Christianity was adopted as the official state religion of the Roman Empire in 380 AD, it became increasingly institutionalized and adapted many pagan beliefs and practices. Ancient Greece and Rome had their pantheons of major and minor gods and goddesses with their alleged patronage of various trades and occupations. From this model, Roman Catholicism created its pantheon of patron saints. See my relevant post here.

With this introductory chapter, Broussard attempted to the persuade the reader of at least the possibility of saintly mediation/intercession. He’ll build on this anti-Biblical foundation in the four chapters that follow.

Is prayer to saints / Mary biblical?
https://www.gotquestions.org/prayer-saints-Mary.html

Next up: “Invoking the Dead Is an Abomination”

Throwback Thursday: R.C. Sproul thought he could hold ecumenist compromisers’ feet to the fire, but they trumped him instead

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on January 10, 2016 and has been substantially revised.

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Have you ever been involved in a debate/argument where you presented what you thought was an irrefutable point, only to have your opponent turn the tables and cleverly use that point against you? That happened to R.C. Sproul in…

Getting the Gospel Right: The Tie That Binds Evangelicals Together
By R.C. Sproul
Baker Books, 1999, 208 pp.

5 Stars for the contents of this book

1 Star for R.C. Sproul’s naive attempt to hold his compromising, ecumenist friends’ feet to the fire.

Theology? Most people don’t want to discuss theology, right? But it’s extremely important to know what the Gospel of Jesus Christ IS and what it ISN’T.

As the Word of God says…

  • We are all sinners.
  • The wages of sin is death and eternal separation from God.
  • But God the Father so loved us He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this world to live a sinless life and pay for our sins by dying on the cross.
  • Jesus defeated sin and death by rising from the grave.
  • Jesus offers the free gift of salvation and eternal life.

https://carm.org/what-gospel

But HOW exactly does one appropriate the free gift of salvation? Some claim by baptism. Others say that Jesus only opened the doors of Heaven and that people must do their part by obeying the Ten Commandments and being “good” in order to merit salvation. But what does the Bible, God’s Word, say?

Back in 1994, Chuck Colson and his ecumenical Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) initiative boldly declared that both evangelicals and Catholics believed in the same Gospel. Many evangelicals were rightly shocked by ECT’s claim. Evangelicals believe, as the Bible teaches, in salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, while Catholics unabashedly believe in salvation by sacramental grace and merit. The two views are diametrically opposed and are absolutely irreconcilable.

In 1995, evangelical theologian, R.C. Sproul, responded to ECT with the book, “Faith Alone,” which accurately contrasted the opposing salvation theologies of evangelicalism and Rome. See my review of that book here.

Colson and ECT’s next chess move was to publish their “The Gift of Salvation” declaration in 1998, which reiterated that both evangelicals and Catholics believe in salvation “by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.”

Sproul then countered by writing this book, “Getting the Gospel Right,” in 1999, which critiqued the studied ambiguity of “The Gift of Salvation” and clarified even further evangelicalism’s view on justification and salvation in comparison to Rome’s false view.

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R.C. Sproul, 1939-2017

“Getting the Gospel Right” was published in conjunction with the release of  “The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration,” a declaration from Sproul and other evangelical Protestant leaders that defined the Gospel from an evangelical perspective. The STRANGE thing is that Sproul enlisted a couple of the most prominent ECT ecumenists, Timothy George and J.I. Packer, to help draft the declaration (!!!!) and more than a few ECTers subsequently signed it (i.e., Gerald Bray, Bill Bright, Harold Brown, Chuck Colson, Richard Land, Max Lucado, Richard Mouw, and Pat Robertson). Sproul had unwittingly allowed the ECT ecumenists to trump his efforts at delineating the genuine Gospel. Their rebuttal/counter-move could be described as, “Oh yeah, R.C., we believe all that, and WE STILL embrace Roman Catholicism as Christian.”

Sproul obviously had good intentions, but he didn’t think it through. He allowed himself to be “outmaneuvered” by the ecumenical Gospel-compromisers.

This theological “chess match” might seem like a lot of gobbledygook to some Christians, so let’s break it all down to its bare essentials:

Evangelicals believe justification and salvation come before sanctification (being more obedient, more Christ-like). You can’t know God or please Him until you acknowledge and repent of your sinfulness and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Once you accept Christ and are born-again as God’s child, then you can grow in obedience to the Lord. But “good” works won’t save you.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12

Catholics believe the opposite. They believe sanctification comes before justification and salvation. By receiving the sacraments and obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules, Catholics believe they can become intrinsically righteous and justified and can hopefully merit salvation.


Below: A simple summary of the difference between Gospel Christianity and Catholicism:

A. The evangelical position: Justification and salvation in Christ by faith alone, then sanctification.

B. The Catholic position: Sanctification via sacraments and meritorious good works, hopefully leading to justification and salvation.

The two theologies are opposed. They cannot both be right.


The Catholic position is basically the same philosophy shared by natural man and all of the world’s religions, which teach that people must become increasingly “good” in order to possibly merit Heaven, Nirvana, Paradise, etc. R.C. Sproul understood the clear difference between the genuine Gospel and Rome’s false gospel, but he took the wrong tack, an accommodating one, in dealing with the ecumenical, Judas compromisers.

Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Religion won’t save you. Trying to be “good” won’t save you.

“I have not come to call the (self) righteous but sinners to repentance.” – Luke 5:32

Turning his back on the false prosperity gospel

God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies
By Costi Hinn
Zondervan, 2019, 224 pp.

5 Stars

Prior to accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and being born again, I had a semi-awareness of Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement via flamboyant televangelists such as Oral Roberts, Ernest Angley, Jim Bakker, and Jimmy Swaggart. After my wife and I were saved, we began attending an independent fundamental Baptist church, which taught that the apostolic gifts of the spirit had ceased after the apostolic age, which made sense to me. From my perspective as an ex-Catholic, the fact that members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement, including tens of thousands of priests, could manifest the requisite charismatic gifts of the spirit (glossolalia, prophecy, healing) while still adhering to Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit was an irreconcilable red flag.

After I returned to the Lord following my long prodigal season, I was amazed to see how the charismatic movement had proliferated. Most of the new non-denominational churches that had popped up around our town were charismatic. While the new generation of televangelists were still pushing the apostolic gifts of the spirit, there was also a great emphasis on health and wealth. The loud and constant drumbeat was, send in your “seed faith” money (credit cards accepted), and ask God in faith, and you too can have wonderful health and financial prosperity. I had no direct knowledge of the prosperity gospel movement, but I knew it was making tremendous inroads into evangelicalism worldwide.

Costi Hinn grew up as an insider in the prosperity gospel “empire.” His uncle, Benny Hinn, had been the #1 “faith healer” in the country for several decades and his father, Henry Hinn, was also a faith healer with his base in Vancouver, British Columbia. Costi enjoyed the Hinn family’s lavish lifestyle sitting atop the pinnacle of the health and wealth pyramid scheme and was being groomed to carry on the the family enterprise. But Costi providentially attended a Christian college where the genuine Gospel was taught and began to have increasing doubts about his family’s prosperity gospel. After MUCH familial sturm und drang, Costi attended a Biblically-solid seminary and is currently on staff at a Biblically-solid church in Arizona.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit with its insider details of the shenanigans of Benny Hinn and the other prosperity gospel shysters. It was difficult for Costi to turn his back on his family and walk away from all of the financial perks, but he could not reconcile God’s Word and the genuine Gospel with his family’s false prosperity gospel. What’s missing in this book is a description of Costi’s conversion moment, when he actually accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone.

Postscript: I wish Zondervan was as agreeable to publishing books about the errors of Roman Catholicism as they were in publishing this good book about the errors of the prosperity gospel.

American Gospel?

American Gospel: Christ Alone
Directed by Brandon Kimber
Transition Studios, 2018, 139 minutes

5 Stars

The documentary, “American Gospel: Christ Alone,” was first released in October 2018, and I’ve been meaning to see it ever since. I was recently made aware that the film is available on Netflix and watched it with my wife over the course of two evenings.

First off, the documentary establishes what the genuine Gospel is: salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The film does an EXCELLENT job of contrasting the genuine Gospel with Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Grateful kudos to Kimber and all involved for their uncompromising stand.

The documentary continues to establish what the Gospel isn’t as it turns its attention to the increasingly popular word of faith, health and wealth, prosperity false gospel. Pentecostalism, with its claims of restoring the apostolic gifts of the Holy Spirit (tongues, healing, prophecy), had its beginnings in 1901 at the Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas. Pentecostalism spread and its practices eventually entered mainline Protestant denominations via the charismatic movement beginning in 1960. Pentecostals/charismatics emphasized subjective religious experiences. Key teachings that grew out of this movement are that God will heal all sicknesses (health) and that God will provide abundant material blessings (wealth) IF the suppliant has enough faith AND contributes sacrificially to the minister or church.

Prosperity gospel pastors, evangelists, and faith healers exploit people’s desire to be healthy and wealthy. This documentary exposes some of the biggest charlatans in the prosperity “industry” including Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Bill Johnson, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and Todd White. The film also points out that the prosperity gospelers have sought rapprochement and unity with Roman Catholicism via the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

The defenders of the genuine Gospel of grace featured in this film include Paul Washer, Costi Hinn, Ray Comfort, Steven Lawson, Mike Gendron, Justin Peters, and John MacArthur.

This is a vitally important and masterful exposé of the word of faith, health and wealth, prosperity gospel sham and I highly recommend it to every believer. As I mentioned, it’s readily available on Netflix.

Postscript #1: The title of this documentary, “American Gospel: Christ Alone,” is confusing in its incongruity. The “American Gospel” portion alludes to the fact that the prosperity gospel has its roots in American Pentecostalism and is now being exported to all corners the world. The subtitle, “Christ Alone,” refers to the contrasting genuine Gospel. In general usage, a subtitle complements/clarifies the main title rather than contradicts it. What was Kimber thinking?

Postscript #2: Discerning viewers will note a couple of subtle dichotomies in this documentary. (1) Well known pastor, John Piper, is featured as one of the critics of the prosperity gospel, yet he embraces Pentecostal/charismatic practices; the wellspring of “health and wealth” theology. (2) Some of the featured defenders of the genuine Gospel include individuals identified as employees of RZIM – Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. In contrast to the warnings against ecumenism with Rome presented in this film, apologist, Ravi Zacharias (d. May 19, 2020), championed ecumenism with Roman Catholicism! I’ll be discussing more about Zacharias in an upcoming post.


My blogging friend, Bruce, had a concern about this post and I thought it would be helpful to post our exchange from his blog’s comments section. Thanks, Bruce!


Bruce: I noticed that you lumped all Pentecostals with the NAR and that is not necessarily true, this link refers: http://www.spiritoferror.org/2013/06/the-assemblies-of-god-and-the-nar/3246

Tom: Thanks, Bruce. I get it. As a cessationist, I am more apt to overlook/dismiss distinctions that a continuationist would not. I have read criticisms of this documentary from pro-prosperity, Arminian continuationists who note that all of the well-known spokespersons for the genuine Gospel in this documentary are Reformed. That’s fine with me as I lean towards Calvinism. The argument of the pro-prosperity Arminian continuationists is that the spokespersons in the documentary attack their views while harboring their own “heresies,” i.e., predestination. Glad you brought this up so we could present various views. As an ex-Catholic and a cessationist, I believe continuationists are in a bit of pickle when it comes to ecumenism with Rome. Catholic Charismatics (including tens of thousands of priests) who still hold to Rome’s false gospel and are not born-again according to the genuine Gospel manifest the requisite “gifts of the spirit.” Anti-ecumenical continuationists argue that the Catholic charismatics are manifesting counterfeit gifts, but you can see this is problematic.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 8/8/20

Although U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (photo right), a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, was raised as a Roman Catholic, it’s not altogether clear what her religious beliefs, if any, are currently. Irregardless, her social justice advocacy makes her the ideal Catholic according to the first article from the progressive National Catholic Reporter. The second article reports AOC has jumped on the BLM bandwagon by condemning the statue of Catholic priest, “father” Damien (Escobar) of Hawaii, located in the U.S. Capital Building in Washington, D.C. (photo left), as an example of “white supremacist culture.” My view on priest Damien is he propagated Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Catholic archbishop and former papal nuncio to the U.S., Carlo Maria Viganò, continues to fire broadsides at pope Francis. Viganò is somehow in a position to criticize Bergoglio without fear of retaliation.

Spurred on by LGBT activists, Western society is moving ever closer to declaring the Bible “hate literature.” Impossible? I’ve witnessed drastic societal changes over the last 50 years.

Bergoglio is a paradox. On the one hand, he eschews religious formalism and magnanimously grants that everyone, including atheists, can merit Heaven by following their conscience and being “good.” On the other hand, he peddles exacting legalistic tenets like this “Pardon of Assisi” for plenary indulgences in order to allegedly reduce and/or eliminate time spent in fictitious purgatory. I speak from experience that 95% of Roman Catholic laypersons have no idea what a “plenary indulgence” is.

I’ve commented in previous weekend roundups that pope Francis has been noticeably silent regarding recent human rights abuses in China and pondered if his complicit silence wasn’t a condition of the secret 2018 Vatican- Beijing Accord. The writer of this article suspects the same.

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Lawrence A. Killelea

As we draw very close to the Aug. 13 deadline for filing abuse claims against the Rochester Catholic diocese, many survivors of clergy abuse are coming forward for the first time. Named in one of the new lawsuits is Br. Lawrence A. Killelea (d. 2015) who was vice-principal of Bishop Kearney High School while I attended there from 1970 to 1973. Killelea was in charge of discipline of the male students and I was sent to his office several times during my senior year for infractions, although he did not make any advances towards me. We students were wary of all of the Christian Brothers at the school. Killelea joins Salvatore Ferro, John Chaney (one of my teachers), John Heathwood, and Andrew Hewitt as brothers who taught at the high school while I attended there, who have been formally accused of abuse. I am confident MANY of the other brothers were abusers as well. Brother O’Connor (or possibly Connors?), my guidance counselor during my junior year, asked me inappropriate questions at one of our sessions.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #34: “‘Queen of Heaven’ Condemned”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next installment, the Catholic apologist completes his five-chapter section on Mary as he disputes evangelical Protestants’ arguments that the notion of a “‘Queen of Heaven’ (is) Condemned.”

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The myth that Mary was crowned as “Queen of Heaven” following her “assumption” gained traction within Roman Catholicism in the 13th through 15th centuries. In his 1954 encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam (“To the Queen of Heaven”), pope Pius XII formally defined the belief. Catholics believe Mary is co-ruler of Heaven, reigning beside Jesus Christ, as well as being Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix. Protestant evangelicals object to this glorification/semi-deification of Mary as “Queen of Heaven” and often cite Jeremiah 7:17-18:

“Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.”

God was angered by the Jews of prophet Jeremiah’s time who committed idolatry by worshiping a pagan goddess (most probably Ashtoreth) as the “queen of heaven.” Evangelicals contend that Catholics commit similar idolatry by worshiping Mary as the “Queen of Heaven.”

Broussard responds with three arguments:

(1) Broussard posits that God’s disappointment with the Jews for their idolatrous worship of the pagan “queen of heaven” cannot be applied in the case of Catholics and Mary. Broussard claims that Catholics rightly “honor,” not worship, Mary, because of her “exalted place” as the “Mother of the Savior.” Broussard cites 1 Timothy 5:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 as Biblical precedents for rightly honoring individuals.

(2) Broussard then reasons that (A) just because a pagan goddess was illegitimately referred to as “queen of heaven,” (B) it doesn’t prove that Catholics can’t legitimately refer to Mary using the same title.

(3) Broussard refers back to the Old Testament for examples of queen mothers in 2 Chronicles 15:16 and Jeremiah 13:18. He acknowledges that, in both examples, the person spoken of is evil, but contends that does not detract from their legitimate royalty. Broussard argues that (A) since there were legitimate queen mothers in the Davidic Kingdom, then (B) “it’s reasonable to conclude that Mary is the new ‘queen mother’ in the restored Davidic kingdom” (p.189).

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

(1) Catholics strongly object to accusations that they worship Mary. They claim to “worship” (latrīa, Latin) God alone, but rightly accord “veneration” (dulia, Greek) to the saints and hyperdulia uniquely to Mary. This is lexical sophistry. No Catholic can precisely distinguish between latrīa and hyperdulia. Catholics pray to Mary as their Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix for their salvation. Such practices are acts of WORSHIP. The honoring of pastors that the apostle Paul writes about in the two passages that Broussard presents as proof texts is certainly NOT the “honor” that Catholics bestow upon their semi-deified “Queen of Heaven.”

(2) I agree with Broussard’s contention that, in theory, the illegitimate usurpation of a title doesn’t ipso facto render the title to be illicit. However, nowhere in the New Testament do we find one verse that either explicitly or implicitly suggests that Mary is reigning as the “Queen of Heaven” and holding the divine offices of Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix. All of these claims for Mary evolved over time as part of Catholic “Sacred Tradition.”

(3) Broussard’s attempt to leverage the existence of queen mothers in the Old Testament as a “reasonable” proof for Mary’s role as “Queen of Heaven” is grasping at straws. Broussard conveniently ignores all Biblical passages that state that God does not share His glory or throne with another.

“I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other.” – Isaiah 42:8

Keep in mind that half of Catholics’ “religious devotion” is directed towards Mary, in some cases even more so.

“For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” – Isaiah 48:11

“‘And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” – Luke 4:8

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.” – Revelation 4:2

“Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” – Revelation 19:10

Mary humbled herself before God as His lowly servant (Luke 1:38), but Catholics have accorded her deific powers and crowned her co-regent of Heaven. We’ve previously discussed how Catholic Mariolatry is rooted in the syncretic adaptation of pagan mother goddess worship.

Who is the Queen of Heaven?
https://www.gotquestions.org/Queen-of-Heaven.html

Next up: “One Mediator”

Throwback Thursday: What Every Catholic Should Ask

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on January 22, 2016 and has been revised.

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What Every Catholic Should Ask
By James G. McCarthy
Harvest House Publishers, 1999, 32 pages

5 Stars

This excellent, short booklet introduces Roman Catholics to the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone and answers some basic questions that come up when comparing God’s Word to Catholic tradition.

Chapter headings:

  • A Close Friendship with God
  • Can Anyone Know? (that they have eternal life)
  • How Does God See Me?
  • What Went Wrong?
  • Is There a Way Back to God?
  • God’s Will or Mine?
  • Why Did Jesus Come?
  • Why Did Jesus Die?
  • What is God Offering?
  • What Must I Do?
  • What Happened to the Good News?
  • God’s Word or Man’s Word?
  • How Shall I Worship Christ?
  • Who Is the Real Mary?
  • Where Do I Go From Here?

This nicely designed booklet would be a blessing to Catholic friends and family. Used copies are available at Amazon.com. Order here.

Evangelical minister and ex-Catholic, James G. McCarthy, has written several additional books dealing with Roman Catholicism and all are available from Amazon:

  • The Gospel According to Rome: Comparing Catholic Tradition and the Word of God (1995). This 408-page book presents a detailed comparison of God’s Word and Catholic tradition. Highly recommended.
  • Roman Catholicism: What You Need to Know (Quick Reference Guide pamphlet) (1995)
  • Letters Between a Catholic and an Evangelical (2003). McCarthy dialogues with a Catholic priest
  • Talking with Catholic Friends and Family (2005)

For Harvest House Publishers’ current offerings on Roman Catholicism, see here.

For my list of over 360 books that compare God’s Word with Roman Catholicism, see here.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 8/1/20

It’s strange that the Trump campaign has tapped ultra-traditionalist, Taylor Marshall (photo above), in its attempt to garner the Catholic vote. I would guess that Marshall’s brand of hardcore, anti-pope Francis, anti-Vatican II conspiracy hysteria appeals to only a small percentage of U.S. Catholic voters. See my review of Marshall’s conspiracy paranoia book here.

Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, says his Catholic “faith” is very important to him, but he flouts his church’s “official” teaching with his support of abortion on demand and the LGBT agenda. He even officiated at a same-sex civil union in 2016. When Roman Catholics talk about their “faith,” they’re generally referring to their trust in their church’s sacramental system.

News sources are providing more sordid details about Catholic ex-cardinal, Ted McCarrick’s network of abuse, which we’re learning involved multiple co-predators. This article mentions Irish Christian Brother, Andrew Thomas Hewitt, who taught at Bishop Kearney High School in Irondequoit, New York while I was a student there from 1970 to 1973. Although Hewitt wasn’t one of my teachers, I was aware of him. Students at Kearney had to be constantly on their toes around the predatory Christian Brothers. We were like fish in a barrel. The Christian Brothers religious order filed for bankruptcy way back in 2011 because of the high number of abuse lawsuits.

Catholics commit idolatry with their many statues of Jesus, Mary, and saints. They will vehemently insist that they don’t worship statues while doing exactly that. I don’t condone idolatrous statue worship, but I also don’t approve of mob violence and destruction of private property.

A Catholic priest in Italy has created a scandal by blessing the civil union of two lesbians. In the more progressive German and Austrian Catholic churches, that’s an everyday occurrence. You can also be sure progressive American Catholic priests are doing the same thing on the QT.

While the Catholic church mandates that all members go to confession at least once a year, it recommends more frequent participation. However, Catholic sources report that 75% of Catholics never go to confession, even though they allegedly pick up a soul-damning mortal sin each year for not complying with the RCC’s minimum requirement. Many of the Catholics who piously come forward to receive the Jesus wafer at Sunday mass are insubordinate because they flout the minimum yearly confession requirement.

Strange. An article a couple of months ago reported Bible sales were way up at the start of the pandemic.

Pastors are in a tough spot. Certainly, Christians desire to worship together, but people assembling in a crowded church sanctuary can be problematic during this pandemic (e.g., infected persons singing robustly and exhaling coronavirus-tinged micro-droplets into the air). Four and a half months into this pandemic, we’re seeing BIG spikes in hospitalizations and deaths in some states because disciplines regarding social distancing and the use of PPE were/are far too lax or non-existent.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #33: “He Knew Her Not…Until”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next chapter, the Catholic apologist continues his section on Mary as he counters evangelical Protestants’ arguments that Mary was not a perpetual virgin because Scripture says, “He Knew Her Not…Until.”

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Celibate Roman Catholic clerics had a low regard for sexual relations within marriage and taught that Mary, their spotless “Queen of Heaven,” was a perpetual virgin.

“The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity* but sanctified it.” And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin.” – CCC 499.

Protestants counter by pointing to Matthew 1:25:

“but (Joseph) knew her not until she had given birth to a son.”

The verse indicates Mary and Joseph had normal marital sexual relations after Jesus was born. Broussard attempts to refute the Protestant interpretation with three rebuttals:

(1) Broussard posits that the word “until” (Greek – heōs) doesn’t necessarily signal a change in future status. As an illustration, Broussard offers the saying of one friend to another, “Be safe until I see you again.” The speaker in that case isn’t implying that his friend should be unsafe after they meet again.

(2) Broussard provides examples in Scripture where heōs – “until” or “to” – is used to indicate a select period of time without reference to change in the future, such as 1 Timothy 4:13, 1 Corinthians 1:8, and 2 Corinthians 3:15.

(3) Broussard argues that, framed in context with preceding verses, Matthew is “trying to persuade his audience (in Matthew 1:25) that Jesus’ conception and birth were miraculous, not to tell us what Mary did afterward” (p. 185).

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

Did you catch Broussard’s argumentation? He’s claiming that, paraphrasing Matthew 1:25, “Joseph didn’t have sex with Mary until she gave birth to Jesus” only means that Joseph didn’t have sex with Mary while she was pregnant, and doesn’t convey that he had sex with her afterwards.

We fully understand that heōs – “until” or “to” – doesn’t always indicate/signal a change in future status. But in the case of Matthew 1:25, the clearest interpretation is that Joseph and Mary began normal, marital relations after Mary gave birth to Jesus. Broussard’s argument that “but (Joseph) knew her not until she had given birth to a son” connotes the same lack of future change as “Be safe until I see you again” is lexical subterfuge.

Are there ANY Bible verses that either explicitly or implicitly teach that Mary was a perpetual virgin? No, there are not. The notion is based solely on Catholic tradition. We’ve previously discussed that the Bible teaches Jesus had multiple half-siblings. See here.

The Roman Catholic church’s low regard for natural sexual relations within marriage meant that Mary, the chaste and spotless Queen of Heaven, could never have been “soiled” by her husband. In contrast to Catholicism, the Bible honors the sexual union of husband and wife. The apostle Paul wrote under divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit that married believers ought not to withhold themselves from each other as the Roman church claims Mary and Joseph did.

“Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” – 1 Corinthians 7:5

*Included in the RCC’s doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the not-widely-known assertion that as she was giving birth to baby Jesus, He miraculously passed through her hymen without rupturing it, thus preserving her “virginal integrity.”

Is the perpetual virginity of Mary biblical?
https://www.gotquestions.org/perpetual-virginity-Mary.html

What does the Bible say about sex in marriage?
https://www.gotquestions.org/sex-in-marriage.html

Throwback Thursday: Turn! Turn! Turn! Roger McGuinn and Jesus

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on January 24, 2016 and has been revised.

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As a young teen, I became a huge fan of the rock group, Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and sometimes Young). I was such a dedicated admirer that I even began exploring the back-catalogs of the members’ previous bands, including David Crosby’s stint with the Byrds. I eventually became a bigger fan of the Byrds than CS&N.

The Byrds came together in 1964 with Jim McGuinn on lead guitar and vocals, Gene Clark on vocals, David Crosby on rhythm guitar and vocals, Chris Hillman on bass, and Michael Clarke on drums. They were all folk musicians who had seen the writing on the wall with the rising tide of Beatlemania and attempted to make the switch to rock ‘n’ roll. Their resulting sound, with the instantly-identifiable, jingle-jangle of McGuinn’s Rickenbacker twelve-string electric guitar and Crosby’s high vocal harmonies, was a unique blend of folk and rock; a synthesis of Bob Dylan and John Lennon.

The Byrds’ first two albums were wildly successful and influential, but the band’s popularity gradually waned as rock music began drifting toward a “heavier” sound. Over the years, band members came and went and by 1968, McGuinn (pronounced mik-gwin) remained as the only founding member. But McGuinn and his hired hands continued to release albums and tour as the Byrds until 1973 when he disbanded the group to begin his solo career.

At the peak of the Byrd’s popularity, McGuinn, a former Roman Catholic, began dabbling in Subud, a form of Eastern religiosity, and subsequently changed his first name from Jim to Roger in 1967 as part of his initiation. The Byrds’ recorded repertoire included a large number of songs with a spiritual theme, which no doubt reflected McGuinn’s restless spiritual search: Turn! Turn! Turn!, 5D, I Am A Pilgrim, The Christian Life, Oil in My Lamp, Jesus Is Just Alright, Glory Glory, and Farther Along.

Drugs were a staple of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and McGuinn was a regular imbiber. By 1977, heavy drug use had brought McGuinn to the lowest point in his life. Elvis Presley’s drug-induced death in August of that year was a wake up call. McGuinn thought to himself, “That could have easily been me.” The Holy Spirit was working in McGuinn’s life and after talking with some Christian friends, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.

Being a huge Byrds fan at the time (and currently still), I thought McGuinn’s acceptance of Christ and becoming one of those “born-agains” was some very strange and disappointing stuff. Little did I know that the Holy Spirit was using McGuinn’s conversion, along with many other people and things, to also prod me along. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior six years later in 1983.

McGuinn’s witness continued to affect my life. Five years ago (2015), I was reading an online article in which Roger described how he and his wife had a daily devotion time together, during which they read a Psalm, a Proverb, and a chapter from the Old and New Testaments and prayed. My wife and I had never had a daily devotion time together. I suggested it to my wife and she gladly agreed and it’s been a huge blessing in our lives ever since!

At the age of 78, Roger continues to tour and delight audiences. Nobody plays the twelve-string quite like him.