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 completes his six-part section on Salvation by countering evangelical Protestants’ claim that they are “Sanctified For All Time.”
In the previous two chapters, Broussard attacked the doctrine of the assurance of salvation for the believer based upon faith in Jesus Christ alone, and continues the assault in this chapter. Broussard opens by presenting Hebrews 10, verses 10 and 14 as Protestants’ proof texts for eternal security:
10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Evangelical Protestants declare from God’s Word that people are genuinely born-again in a moment in time when they repent of sin and place their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. Christ’s sacrifice washes away all sins – past, present, and future – of those who trust in Him.
In contrast, Catholicism teaches that a person is born-again/regenerated at baptism and that they must then continue with a lifetime of receiving sacramental grace and obeying the Ten Commandments in order to hopefully merit salvation at death. Eternal life is forfeited, according to Catholic theology, upon every occasion a person commits a mortal sin. The person must then confess the mortal sin to a priest to gain absolution/forgiveness, and the cycle begins again.
Broussard argues that Hebrews 10:10,14 “cannot mean that all future sins are automatically forgiven because the Bible elsewhere teaches that there are conditions for having our future sins forgiven” (p. 93). Broussard then presents his two proof texts for conditional/merited salvation:
Matthew 6:12,14-15: 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 18:21-35, is the parable of the unforgiving servant: 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Since his proof texts are alleged to support conditional/merited salvation, Broussard then returns to Hebrews 10:10,14. He suggests that verse ten’s “once for all” should be interpreted to mean that “Christ’s one (author’s italics) sacrifice is sufficient to take away our sins (whenever we repent)” (p.95). As for the “perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” in verse 14, he suggests the meaning to be that “Christ’s sacrifice makes complete provision (author’s italics) for Christians of all times to achieve their goal of perfection” (pp.95-96).
Going back to Broussards’ proof texts:
Matthew 6:12, 14-15: Jesus is not suggesting conditional justification, but that a born-again believer must maintain sweet fellowship with the Lord, by continually confessing known sin, including grudges against others. Confessing known sin as part of our daily walk is like the washing of the feet rather than a full-body bath, as referenced in John 13:10. Believers are born-again only once, but need to maintain their close fellowship with the Lord by confessing sin and cleansing away the sinful influences of the world. Believers are justified once, in a moment of time, when they repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. Christ’s perfect righteousness is imputed to them and they are forensically, objectively declared righteous before Holy God, but sanctification continues in this life as the believer walks continuously closer to the Lord.
Matthew 18:21-35: Broussard would have the reader believe that the phrase, “the master delivered him (the unforgiving servant) to the jailers,” signifies that believers forfeit their salvation when they sin and are sent to hell. But several Bible passages, such as the one below, declare that the Lord chastens His disobedient children:
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” – Revelation 3:19
When Broussard returns back to Hebrews 10:10,14, he grasps at straws with fanciful interpretations. We choose, rather, to believe the clearly intended meanings of the texts. When we accept Christ as Savior by faith alone, all of our sins are forgiven, past, present, and future.
Important: In these last six chapters, Broussard has zealously defended the Roman Catholic works-righteousness salvation system whereby its members are taught they must merit their salvation by strictly obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and by adhering to the church’s 1752 canon laws. In contrast to all of this exacting and imposing legalism, the RCC at the same time dichotomously grants that all non-Catholic religionists AND EVEN ATHEISTS may also merit salvation if they nebulously and indefinably “follow the light they are given” and are “good.”
Works-righteousness, pseudo-Christians of all stripes (Catholics, Mormons, JWs, etc.) cherry-pick Bible verses/passages to support their false gospels of merited salvation. Some Bible verses/passages, pulled out of context, can be construed to teach merited salvation so that “seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). It is the Holy Spirit Who gives sight to the blind and reveals in the pages of the Bible the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
Next up: Broussard begins a new section on Sacraments with “Up out of the Water”