Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 2/22/20

The above article is a sad testimony to how far much of “Protestantism” has drifted from the Gospel of grace. Next Saturday, February 29th, Saint-Pierre Reformed church in Geneva, Switzerland will host a Roman Catholic mass. Protestants are invited to attend and even receive Catholic communion, which is still “somewhat” forbidden by Rome, although pope Francis has introduced ample discretionary “wiggle room.” Reformer, John Calvin (1509-1564), was pastor of Saint-Pierre. What would Calvin say about a Roman Catholic mass being celebrated at this church? He had rightly declared that the Catholic mass “is filled with all kinds of abomination.” See here.

We’ll continue to keep tabs on the “synodal path” that’s currently underway in Germany. Expect this reform process that’s steered by German Catholic progressives to “push the envelope” beyond what even pope Francis is (publicly) comfortable with.

Last weekend, I reported pope Francis’s decision not to allow the ordination of married men to the Catholic priesthood in the Amazon region. This past week, Catholic progressives reacted to the news with anger and frustration. They had anticipated with great enthusiasm the pope’s approval of married priests in the Amazon region as a tipping point for the eventual ordination of married men generally as well as the ordination of women to the diaconate and then to the priesthood.

Few Western Catholics are aware of pope Francis’s betrayal of Chinese Catholics to the Chinese communist government with the signing of the 2018 Vatican-Beijing accord. Remember the distraught Asian woman who had her hand slapped by Francis on December 31st? I just discovered a very relevant article that I’ll be posting about very soon.

What goes through the minds of Catholic pew sitters when they drop money in the Sunday mass offering bucket? Are they totally oblivious to the fact that they are enabling pedophiles and their enablers? The Catholic diocese of Harrisburg, PA just announced that it is filing for bankruptcy to shield its financial assets from abuse victims, making it the 20th diocese in the U.S. to do so. I’m seeing multiple reports that bankruptcy is also imminent for the nearby diocese of Buffalo.

My wife and I attended a small, Southern Baptist church here in Rochester for one year (2014-2015), but we had to leave because the new pastor was leading the church into ecumenical compromise. There are still many solid SBC pastors and churches, but the convention as a whole is drifting into ecumenical compromise and other doctrinal errors.

I almost had to pull the car over when I heard this news on the radio about Jim Bakker hawking a cure for the coronavirus. Convicted shyster, Bakker, has no shame.

I generally try to avoid commenting on national politics, but will make another exception in this case. Democratic presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, regularly makes it a point to kiss his “husband” at public campaign events. Buttigieg may or may not be the next American president, but we can foresee a time when the first lady or the first gentleman of this country will be the same sex as the president. In general, we have witnessed the bar of “acceptable convention and decorum” sink lower and lower among national politicians of both parties. That’s disturbing, but this is a fallen world. We are ambassadors and sojourners here, not deeply-rooted citizens.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #12: “We Are Justified All At Once”

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 begins his six-part section on Salvation by countering Protestants’ arguments that believers are justified “all at once.”

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The Roman Catholic church teaches that people must diligently work their entire life attempting to merit their salvation. Catholics hope that following their death they may be able to stand justified before God based upon their baptism and subsequent reception of their church’s sacraments and their obedience to the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules. Catholics contend that they must become intrinsically/subjectively holier and sanctified in order to merit Heaven. In marked contrast, Gospel Christians believe that a person is justified at the moment they repent (turn from their rebellion against God) and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The moment a person trusts in Jesus Christ as their Savior, His perfect righteousness is imputed to them and they are extrinsically/objectively/forensically justified by His righteousness alone. Gospel Christians then follow the Lord in obedience, albeit imperfectly. Broussard offers Romans 5:10 as an example of a verse that Gospel Christians use to defend their belief:

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In the above verse, Paul was summarizing his example of Abraham in Romans 4 as one who “believed (Greek πιστεύω pisteúō – “put one’s faith in, trust, with an implication that actions based on that trust may follow”) God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3).

Broussard then counters with the following proof-texts with which he alleges that justification is a process rather than a moment in time:

Romans 2:13: “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

Romans 6:16: “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Galatians 5:5: “For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.”

James 2:21-23: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.”

Those verses/passages do not befuddle Gospel Christians. Ephesians 2:8-10 succinctly presents the correct correlation between faith and works:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Obedience and charity are the fruit/verification of genuine repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, but not the basis of salvation. A person who has genuinely repented of their sin and trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone WILL bear evidential fruit. It’s vitally important to know that when Roman Catholics speak of “faith,” they are referring to faith in their clerics and their institutional church and its sacramental-works system, they are NOT referring to faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

For examples in the Bible of people who were saved in a conversion moment, think of the thief on the cross in Luke 23:39-43. Think of the publican in Jesus’s parable in Luke 18:9-14. Think of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:9), “Today salvation has come to this house,” and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39), and the Philippian jailor (Acts 16:25-34), and the apostle Paul (Acts 9:20). Those souls did NOT go through a year of RCIA, learning the complicated details of a legalistic religious system, but genuinely repented of their sin and placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior in a moment. A genuine conversion does not entail accepting Christ as Savior daily, over and over and over again. True conversion in Christ is by necessity a moment in time, being born-again in Christ Jesus. It is NOT a lifelong process of toil, failure, and imperfect, sin-tainted works.

Martin Luther rightly argued that justification is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls. Not just Roman Catholics, but pseudo-Christians of all other works-righteousness denominational stripes cherry-pick verses from the Bible to support their view of merited justification and salvation. How can they miss the Gospel of grace? We think of Jesus’s words in Matthew 13:10-15, “You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”

Catholic apologist Broussard’s passionate arguments for a process of intrinsic justification and merited salvation SHOULD BE a red flag for all ecumenically-minded evangelicals who misguidedly embrace the RCC as a Christian entity.

In this short post, I could never do proper justice to this all-important topic. For more information, see the articles below:

Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works?
https://www.gotquestions.org/salvation-faith-alone.html

What is justification?
https://www.gotquestions.org/justification.html

Please pray for Roman Catholics, that they will see their desperate need for the Savior, Jesus Christ, rather than attempting to merit their justification and salvation, as they are taught by their church.

Next up: “Not Because of Works”

Throwback Thursday: Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Fridays during Lent?

Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the 40-day Lenten season for Roman Catholics. So for today’s Throwback Thursday installment, we’re rolling out this old chestnut that was originally published back on February 22, 2016 and has become an annual Lenten staple here at excatholic4christ. Enjoy!

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This morning, I was listening to the 10/30/15 podcast of the Calling All Catholics talk radio show on The Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, out of Buffalo, New York. Catholic priest, Dave Baker, was taking questions, assisted by moderator, Mike Denz.

One of the listeners had a question regarding the church’s rule on abstinence from meat on Fridays during Lent, which I thought was quite timely because we’re currently in the Lenten season. Because the Catholic church absolutely forbids meat on Fridays during Lent, any Catholic who defiantly consumes meat commits a “mortal” sin and is doomed to hell for eternity unless they confess the sin to a priest.

But the rule’s not always as cut and dry as a juicy rib-eye steak or a succulent pork chop. The listener wanted to know if the ban on meat even included something like beef bouillon. Priest Baker irresolutely suggested that beef bouillon was “probably” okay to eat, but encouraged the person to visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ web site to get the specific details.

Well, being the curious sinner-saved-by-grace that I am, I went to the USCCB website and found the following information:

Q. I understand that all the Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat, but I’m not sure what is classified as meat. Does meat include chicken and dairy products?

A. Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs — all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste). Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted.

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/questions-and-answers-about-lent.cfm

So while the bishops say it’s “technically” OK to consume meat-based broths, gravies, and seasonings, they add that Catholic moral theologians have traditionally taught that Catholics should abstain from all animal-derived products with the exception of products that don’t taste like meat.

Yikes! I’m still confused. This is getting more complicated than college calculus. Okay, let’s try to break it down using my favorite cracker, Chicken in a Biskit, as an example. One of the ingredients listed on the box is “dehydrated cooked chicken.” So, is it a “mortal” sin for a Catholic to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Friday during Lent? The U.S. bishops say meat-based seasonings are OK, but then turn around and say the church’s moral theologians forbid any meat derivative that tastes like meat. And, yes, Chicken in a Biskit crackers taste somewhat like chicken. So, which is it? I WANT TO KNOW! Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers or not? Will a Catholic go to hell for all eternity because they ate a Chicken in a Biskit cracker on Friday during Lent????

Ridiculous? Absolutely. The Bible doesn’t say anything about abstaining from meat on Fridays, but it does warn against religious leaders who forbid certain foods. All of these complicated abstinence rules remind me of the Pharisees who took the Mosaic Law that no one could obey absolutely anyway (except for Jesus Christ), and made it even more intricate and burdensome.

Praise the Lord for freeing me from the legalistic chains and man-made traditions of Roman Catholicism! We sin every day by breaking God’s Biblical commandments. But God loved us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross. Then Jesus rose from the grave, conquering sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who repent (turn from their rebellion against God) and accept Him as Savior by faith alone. Accept Christ and seek out an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

For more of my thoughts regarding Lent see here and here and here.

Next Thursday: The attack of the Capybara!

Roman Catholicism – Shrouded in lies, hypocrisy, and darkness

The Sacrament
By Olaf Olafsson
Ecco/HarperCollins, 2019, 292 pp.

4 Stars

I’m not much of a fiction reader, to put it mildly, but I stumbled across a very favorable review of “The Sacrament” that was featured in the progressive Jesuit monthly, “America,” and became intrigued. The reviewer indicated the story revolved around the investigation of a pedophile priest, so why would the American Jesuits’ official magazine promote such a novel? I saw that our local library had a copy and gave it a whirl.

Plot (spoiler alert)

The novel opens in Reykjavík, Iceland with a young, Catholic grammar school student witnessing the school’s priest-principal falling to his death from the adjoining church’s bell tower. Rewind to several weeks earlier. An anonymous letter sent to the Icelandic bishop accuses the principal of the school, priest August Frans, of sexual abuse. Sister Johanna Marie, a French nun, is commissioned by the Vatican to investigate the allegations because of her proficiency in the Icelandic language. The nun is assigned a young, agnostic priest, Pall, to assist her. She interviews several children and their parents, but shame, guilt, and loyalty to the church hinder their cooperation. The nun becomes absolutely convinced of the priest’s guilt, but the investigation is closed for lack of explicit evidence. Sister Johanna then dispenses vigilante justice by stealthily following the priest up to the top of the bell tower and pushing him to his doom. She subsequently comforts the young student who had witnessed the priest’s fall, but what details did he see?

Twenty-years later, the nun is summoned back to Reykjavík because of further developments in the case. The child who had witnessed the priest’s death is now thirty-something-years-old and is struggling with his past. Unnar had also been victimized by priest Frans and, through therapy, discovers he had been suppressing a detail of the priest’s death that he had witnessed. In a meeting with the current bishop and sister Johanna, the abuse survivor tacitly acknowledges that, yes, he had seen her at the top of the bell tower and discreetly thanks her for her intervention.

Comments

This novel is challenging for the reader because the author constantly skips back and forth between the two time settings. If that confusion were not enough, an additional sub-plot and timeline is introduced involving the nun in her pre-ordination days and her growing same-sex attraction to her college roommate who hails from Iceland (which explains why the nun had learned Icelandic). Pauline/Johanna Marie never acts upon her urges, which precipitates her joining the convent and “haunts” her the remainder of her life.

Because of the discombobulated, multiple timelines, this story felt VERY convoluted until the very end when all of the sub-plots converge together in the powerful, runaway-freight-train denouement.* I felt sympathy for all of the characters who are caught in the lies, hypocrisy, and filth of the Roman religion. The rampant abuse of children by pedophilic Catholic priests is now out in the open and can no longer be swept under the rug as in decades and centuries previous. I am so grateful to the Lord for delivering me from the darkness of Roman Catholicism and saving me by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

After reading “The Sacrament,” it’s very easy to understand why the Jesuit periodical, “America,” would promote it. The editor of “America” is progressive Jesuit priest, James Martin, who is Catholicism’s #1 crusader for affirmation of LGBTers and their “lifestyle” within the church.  Progressive Catholics have no compunctions about discussing the clerical sexual abuse and cover-up scandal because they view the “problem” as a result/symptom of conservative Catholicism’s strait-jacketed rigidness. I’m sure that Martin and others at “America” were absolutely delighted that the heroine of this abuse-busting story was a crypto-lesbian nun. The lesbianism (aka “particular friendships”) that was widespread within Catholic convents, including predatory abuse by those in authority, is another distasteful story that still needs to be honestly addressed.

I had scant knowledge of Iceland (population, 360,000) previous to reading this novel so one of the upsides was frequently checking the locations mentioned in the book with my Google Earth app. Iceland is an amazing, little (size of New York State) country with a formidable climate (the temperatures in Reykjavík during the summer usually reach only into the high-50s Fahrenheit).

While I wouldn’t generally recommend this book, it is an interesting and revealing view of Roman Catholicism from the Catholic Left, especially in regards to the current scandal tsunami, that might appeal to some other evangelical Vatican-watchers.

*Hurrah for blogging! Where else but in a blog post can the average person use such a powerfully descriptive word as “denouement”?

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 2/15/20

Wow, I’m truly surprised that pope Francis did not rule in favor of ordaining married men as priests in the Amazon region, which would have been the first step in dismantling mandatory clerical celibacy throughout the entire Roman church. However, Francis must cautiously walk a tightrope in promoting his progressive agenda while also not unnecessarily infuriating Catholic conservatives and traditionalists who already rue the day he was elected as “pontiff.” Did pope-emeritus Benedict XVI’s recent reaffirmation of mandatory clerical celibacy cause Francis to blink?

The removal of cardinal Ted McCarrick in June 2018 for the sexual abuse of boys and young men was the beginning of the scandal tsunami that has racked the Roman church ever since. Higher-ups were certainly aware of Uncle Ted’s predilections and “lifestyle,” but don’t expect them to admit to any culpability in the upcoming report.

Pope Francis guilefully overturned the ban on communion for remarried divorcees in the footnotes of his 2016 “Amoris Laetitia” encyclical. Why then are conservative Catholics surprised that progressive cardinals, bishops, and priests are now following through with Francis’s “reform”?

These ecumenical services that join together Roman Catholics and Protestants (including misguided evangelicals) are happening all over the U.S. and the world.

This article is a good summary of why conservative and traditionalist Catholics view pope Francis as heterodox and even heretical.

The current scandal tsunami rocking the American Catholic church that began with the ouster of sexual predator, cardinal Ted McCarrick in June 2018, and continues with numerous state investigations into priest abuse and cover-up throughout the U.S. has further shaken the “faith” of the membership resulting in an increasing number of empty pews and empty churches. I’m still waiting on statistical reports for the full impact of the scandal tsunami.

Conservative and traditionalist Catholic websites (Lifesite News, Church Militant, Lepanto Institute, etc.) are chipping away at support for pope Francis and his progressive agenda. Francis supporters are recommending some type of formal clamp-down on the rad-trad agitators. We live in VERY strange times when most of the opposition to the papacy is coming from Catholics rather than evangelicals (some of whom errantly embrace the RCC as a Christian entity).

I try to make it a point NOT to discuss politics in this forum despite some rather large elephants in the middle of the room. I believe interest in the worldly/temporal has sidetracked many Christians living in America from the spiritual/eternal. However, I did listen to Senator Mitt Romney’s very public appeal to his Mormon religion as a factor in the recent presidential impeachment proceedings. Senator Romney follows the false Mormon god and the false, works-righteousness Mormon gospel. As Jesus warned Nicodemus in John 3:1-21, being sincere in your religious beliefs won’t save you. You MUST be born-again in Christ Jesus according to Biblical truths. For my posts on Mormonism, see here.

Two weeks ago, I reported that lawyers representing Rochester Catholic bishop-emeritus, Matthew Clark, had claimed he wasn’t able to testify in the current priest abuse/cover-up court proceedings due to the onset of Alzheimer’s. The judge has ordered Clark to testify anyway. The abuse survivors correctly suspect Clark enabled many predatory priests in the Rochester diocese by transferring them from parish to parish.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #11: “Don’t Add to God’s Word”

Today, we continue our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. The Catholic apologist ends his five-part section on Scripture and Tradition with this chapter countering Protestants’ arguments against Catholicism’s “Sacred Traditions” by which Protestants refer to the warning of Revelation 22:18-19, “Don’t Add to God’s Word”.

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In this chapter, Broussard examines the Bible passage below, which Protestants often use to warn against the elevation of any man-made doctrine or tradition, including Catholicism’s spurious “Sacred Traditions,” to the same level as divinely inspired and authorized Scripture:

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” – Revelation 22:18-19

Broussard argues that the warning in Revelation 22:18-19 is intended specifically for the Book of Revelation itself and not for the entire canon of Scripture. He states that if the warning was in fact intended for the entire Biblical canon, then Protestants are guilty of removing the deuterocanonical/apocryphal books from the Bible.

As surprising as it might be to some, I actually agree with Broussard that the passage that’s cited refers specifically to the Book of Revelation. However, along with the warnings in Deuteronomy 4:1-2 and Proverbs 30:5-6, there is also a general principle implied in Revelation 22:18-19 that God’s Word is not to be tampered with or subordinated to any other authority.

The status of the seven deuterocanonical/apocryphal books* have been debated for centuries. They are generally thought to have been written between 200 BC and 50 AD and were NEVER considered as Scriptural by Palestinian Rabbinic Judaism. Diasporic Helenistic Judaism (centered in Alexandria and Antioch) syncretically combined Jewish religious tradition with elements of Greek culture and added the spurious apocryphal books into the Septuagint (Latin – “translation of the seventy interpreters”), the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. When Jerome set about translating the Bible into the Latin Vulgate in the early-5th century, he used the Hebrew Bible as his source and rejected the apocryphal books of the Septuagint. Later editions of the Vulgate would include the deuterocanonical/apocryphal books, but the debate continued over their canonicity until the Council of Trent settled the matter for the RCC in 1546. Contrary to the claims of overzealous Catholic apologists, Catholic Bible scholar, priest John Echert, concedes that it cannot be demonstrated that Jesus or His apostles ever quoted directly from any of the apocryphal books.

“The (religious) themes (alluded to in the New Testament as quotes from the Apocrypha by overzealous Catholics) are so prevalent in Judaism that our Lord may not have intended these works (i.e., the Apocrypha) specifically.” – John Echert

Roman Catholics continue to defend the canonicity of the deuterocanonical/apocryphal books. That’s a given. But Broussard has attempted to use that debate as a smokescreen to divert the reader’s attention from the original argument, that the Roman Catholic church has subordinated God’s Word by claiming divine authority for its Magisterium (the teaching office of the pope and his bishops) and for its “Sacred Tradition,” a label it conveniently ascribes to every man-made doctrine it concocts.

Does the warning in Revelation 22:18-19 apply to the entire Bible or just the Book of Revelation?
https://www.gotquestions.org/Revelation-22-18-19.html

What are the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books?
https://www.gotquestions.org/apocrypha-deuterocanonical.html

The Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical Books (excellent article from Ligonier Ministries)

The Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical Books

*The Apocrypha includes the seven books of Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Sirach, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, and Wisdom of Solomon, and additions to Esther and Daniel

Next up: Broussard kicks off a new section on the topic of Salvation with the chapter, “We Are Justified All At Once.”

Throwback Thursday: Catholic church celebrates 50th anniversary of “Nostra Aetate,” but let’s not forget its anti-Semitic past

Last month, the world commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz even while we’re concurrently witnessing a rising trend in populist, anti-Semitic violence. For this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 29, 2015 and has been revised.

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The Holocaust, the Church, and the Law of Unintended Consequences
By Anthony J. Sciolino
iUniverse, 2012, 270 pp.

On October 28, 1965, pope Paul VI issued Nostra Aetate (Latin, “In our Time”), the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council. The document was a RADICAL change in the “unchanging” Roman Catholic church’s approach to “non-Christian” religions. Instead of viewing Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism as false religions, as it had in the past, with this document Catholicism declared there was a certain amount of truth in all religious faiths and that it was possible for people of other works-righteousness creeds to earn their salvation as well. Nostra Aetate took an especially conciliatory tone towards the Jews.

In October, 2015, many Jewish leaders commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate declaration with its startlingly dramatic change in church policy. Regrettably, many of today’s Catholics are entirely unaware of the church’s long history of militant anti-Semitism. Jews throughout Europe were harassed and persecuted by the Catholic population over the centuries. Intolerance was often incited and encouraged by the Catholic clergy. Jews were the victims of involuntary baptisms, enforced segregation, boycotts, exclusionary quotas, pogroms, massacres, and expulsions. When European anti-Semitism reached its culmination in the 20th century Holocaust, Adolf Hitler defended himself by appealing to church history:

“As for the Jews, I am just carrying on with the same policy which the Catholic church has adopted for fifteen hundred years, when it has regarded the Jews as dangerous and pushed them into ghettos, etc., because it knew what the Jews were like.” – Adolf Hitler

In “The Holocaust, the Church, and the Law of Unintended Consequences: How Christian Anti-Judaism Spawned Nazi Anti-Semitism,” family court judge and Roman Catholic deacon, Anthony Sciolino, objectively examines how the Catholic church’s systematic, anti-Semitic policies led to Hitler’s Holocaust.

But this ex-Catholic has a question regarding Catholic anti-Semitism: If the RC church has always been guided by the Holy Spirit and is the “foundation of truth” as Catholics claim, and if the Catholic popes have been infallible in vital matters of faith and morals as they also claim, then how could the church have been SO TERRIBLY WRONG, for century after century, when it came to its anti-Semitic policies and practices? Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have all officially apologized for the anti-Semitic policies and practices of their predecessors. What does that say for the claims of a divinely-led Magisterium?

I praise the Lord daily that He has freed me from the chains of the worldly-minded Catholic church and saved me by His grace through simple faith in Jesus Christ alone. Contrary to Nostra Aetate, God’s Word says salvation can only be found in Jesus Christ.

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” – John 3:18

But we reach out to the lost with the love of Jesus Christ, not with hatred.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 2/8/20

The Catholic bishop of nearby Buffalo, Richard Malone, was forced to resign in December amidst allegations that he had enabled multiple sexual predator priests. As abuse survivors continue to file legal claims as part of the no-time-limits, one-year window provided by the Child Victims Act, the diocese teeters on bankruptcy. This past week, diocesan administrators announced the closing of the beleaguered Christ the King Seminary (photo above). For 163 years, the seminary both attracted and fostered sexual deviants and sent them out to oversee the Catholic children of Buffalo as well as to propagate Catholicism’s spiritually-deadly false gospel. In recent years, the Buffalo media has reported on multiple complaints from seminarians of being sexually harassed by teachers and administrators at Christ the King. See here.

The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 as an alternative for Catholic men who were forbidden by their church from joining Freemasonry. The K of C aped the Masons in several respects, with its own secret oaths, secret handshake, and secret ceremonial rituals. These days, young men aren’t attracted to secret societies/fraternals so the Knights are forced to modify some of their stodgy rituals. Back in the 1960s, when I was a boy, it was the Knights who placed ads in newspapers for free informational booklets (photo below) to try to lure Protestants to Catholicism. The mission of the K of C was to spread Catholicism and oppose the Gospel of grace. These days, with the pope and his prelates teaching that everyone – Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and even atheists – can merit Heaven, the militant K of C has no reason to exist.

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Our 14-year-old step-granddaughter just completed Catholic confirmation classes, but she has expressed that it was the last thing she wanted to be doing. Catholic churches and dutiful Catholic parents crank their youth through the sacramental assembly line – baptism, first confession, first communion, and confirmation – whether they want to be there or not. It’s all a sham. No one was “confirmed” in anything except the fact that they’re still unsaved. See a relevant post from a few years ago here.

Read all of the apostle Paul’s epistles and then try to imagine him kissing and venerating/worshiping religious statues. There’s just no way. Instead, I can easily imagine him toppling a few.

Next week’s Throwback Thursday post is devoted to the anti-Semitism that was rampant in the Catholic church for 1500 years. Regrettably, Martin Luther and some of the other early Reformers were affected by the prejudice that had permeated European Catholic culture.

Catholicism is somewhat new in Africa so the bishops there still take their ritualism seriously. Conservative Catholics in the U.S. were indignant, and remain so, after pope Paul VI allowed communicants to take the faux Jesus wafer in their open hands. Legalistic religions tend to idolize the rubrics of their rituals. See a relevant post here.

Conservative Catholics are fearful that the “synodal path,” currently underway in Germany, is going to introduce reforms too liberal even for pope Francis. Actually, Francis has been pushing hard for decentralization of the church.

You may have seen the ads on your television the last couple of years for something called, “Shen Yun.” It looked to me like some kind of traditional Chinese dance extravaganza. After a little internet sleuthing, I found out the performances are actually presented by a wacky Chinese religious cult called Falun Gong. See the Wiki article here. Unwary audience members at “Shen Yun” (translated as “the rhythm of a divine spirit” or more simply, “god’s melody”) presentations get sucked into the Falun Gong ideology. It reminds me of people who unwittingly attend the Hill Cumorah Pageant in nearby Palmyra, not realizing it’s a Mormon missionary propaganda tool.

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Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #10: “Don’t Go Beyond What is Written”

Today, we continue our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. The Catholic apologist continues his five-part section on Scripture and Tradition with this next chapter countering Protestants’ arguments against Catholicism’s “Sacred Traditions” by which Protestants warn, “Don’t Go Beyond What is Written.”

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In this chapter, Broussard presents the Bible verse below that evangelical Protestants commonly use to warn against alleged divinely-inspired, extra-biblical sources such as Catholicism’s “Sacred Tradition.”

“I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.” – 1 Corinthians 4:6

Broussard remarks that Protestants use this verse as a proof that the apostle Paul “makes written Scripture the parameter beyond which we are not free to go in order to derive knowledge about God’s revelation.”

Broussard first argument is that Paul’s intention was surely not to dismiss “tradition” because elsewhere he instructs believers to “maintain” (1 Corinthians 11:2) and “hold to” (2 Thessalonians 2:15) the “traditions” he had taught them. He argues that all of Paul’s verbal teachings to the churches at Corinth, Thessalonica, and elsewhere during his 20-year ministry could not have possibly been included in his written epistles and therefore concludes that some of his unrecorded teachings were handed down orally as some of the basis for “Sacred Tradition.”

The Catholic apologist then argues that Protestants themselves are divided on the interpretation of the “what is written” portion of the verse and he provides several possibilities. He concludes that because Protestant scholars are divided on the interpretation of the verse, that it cannot be used to support the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

In answer to his first rebuttal, Broussard is reintroducing arguments he’s already exhausted previously by using 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15 as his proof texts for ” Sacred Tradition.” As I pointed out in my review of chapter 7 (see here), Paul was exhorting the believers at Thessalonica and Corinth to follow his paradoseis/paradosin (Greek – teachings/teaching). He was NOT referring to “tradition” as some vaunted, gnostic repository in the Roman Catholic sense. Few evangelicals would argue that every single teaching that Paul delivered to the churches orally is included in his written epistles, however Gospel Christians can be confident that the Holy Spirit has provided in God’s Word all of the teaching that we need in order that “the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Untethered from the sole authority of Scripture, the Catholic church has used “Sacred Tradition” as carte blanche for every novel doctrine it concocts.

In his exegesis of 1 Corinthians 4:6, evangelical pastor, John MacArthur interprets “what is written” in context with the chapter as follows: “God’s faithful servants are to be treated with respect only within the bounds of what is scriptural (1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:7, 17).”* I believe that’s actually a very good interpretation, Mr. Broussard. No muss, no fuss. While 1 Cor. 4:6 may not be the best Biblical text in support of Sola Scriptura, Paul does refer to Scripture as the ultimate authority in the context of the passage.

Important: Karl Broussard writes confidently in defense of his church’s “Sacred Traditions,” but what he purposely fails to mention to his readers is that the current pope is creating quite a stir within the Catholic church by amending and/or abrogating various doctrines/traditions previously thought to be unchangeable. As Broussard attempts to rebut the Biblical doctrine of Sola Scriptura and defend the notion of divinely authorized “Sacred Tradition,” his own pope is pulling the carpet out from underneath him! That’s NOT a small matter, my friends!

Next up: “Don’t Add to God’s Word”

*The MacArthur Bible Commentary, 2005, p. 1571

Throwback Thursday: What defines an Evangelical vs. what defines a Catholic?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on November 24, 2015 and has been revised.

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The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), hardly a bastion of uncompromising orthodoxy, and Lifeway Research (affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, SBC) recently teamed up to develop a “standard definition for what it means to be an ‘evangelical.’” See the article here. With input gathered from a diverse group of evangelical theologians, pastors, and sociologists, and tested via “scientific survey,” the NAE and Lifeway assembled a list of four core beliefs that they say define an evangelical. They are:

  1. The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
  2. It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  3. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
  4. Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

Well, I must say, that’s a pretty good list! I strongly believe in all four statements, although they could have been worded a bit more precisely. But how does Roman Catholic doctrine square with these four beliefs? I’ll be happy to answer for Catholics because I was one for 27 years.

1. The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
Like evangelicals, Catholics also believe the Bible is God’s Word. But for Catholics, their church’s teaching office, the magisterium, which includes the pope and his bishops, is the highest authority. Catholic are also obliged to believe the church’s extra-biblical “sacred tradition” and to accept the church’s interpretation of Scripture. In practice, the Roman church has subordinated God’s Word to its clerical authority and its man-made traditions. Catholics aren’t generally encouraged to read the Bible and most don’t.

2. It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Catholics believe in salvation by sacramental grace and obedience to the Ten Commandments and church law (i.e., merit). Catholics believe God gives them the graces, administered by their church through the sacraments, by which they can be saved, but they must also “cooperate with grace” and perfectly obey the commandments and church rules to merit their salvation. So Catholics don’t encourage non-Catholics to just “trust Jesus as their Savior.” What they might do is encourage interested non-Catholics to enroll in their year-long RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program, be baptized by a priest, and systematically participate in their works-righteousness sacramental system. But since Catholics are now taught that EVERYONE, even atheists, can merit Heaven as long as they “follow the light they have been given” and are “good,” the conversion of non-Catholics to Catholicism is no longer the priority it once was.

3. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
Catholics believe they must strive to keep their souls completely free from all sin. They believe this is actually possible! They believe the sacrifice of the mass provides the grace to help them avoid “mortal” sin and cleanse “venial” sin. The mass is repeated hundreds of thousands of times daily throughout the world. Catholics insist they don’t “repeat” Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary. Rather, they engage in sophistry and call it a “re-presentation” of the same sacrifice. Catholics call Jesus their “Savior” but they essentially believe they must save themselves by perfectly obeying the Ten Commandments and church law. If they ever do happen to commit a “mortal” sin, Catholics believe the sacrament of reconciliation/confession removes some of the penalty of sin, but not all of it. They believe any remaining temporal punishment will be meted out in purgatory.

4. Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.
Catholics will say they believe eternal salvation is “a gift,” but will then insist they must merit the “gift” by perfectly obeying the Ten Commandments and church laws. They believe people of all religions, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and even atheists are also able to merit heaven as long as they “follow the light they have been given” and are “good.” Catholics readily claim that they also “trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior,” but they WILL NOT agree that they are trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior THROUGH FAITH ALONE because they unabashedly insist salvation must be merited through works. The NAE should have been more precise with their wording in this qualification.

Roman Catholicism fails on not one, not two, not three, but all four of these faith principles. Despite that, some ecumenically-minded evangelicals associated with the NAE, the SBC, and Lifeway readily embrace apostate Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity!!! How is that possible? Spiritual blindness and deception.