Reformanda Initiative Podcast #19: The Roman Catholic message of May 14th: Together let’s pray to our god(s), whoever or whatever that may be

Welcome to the nineteenth installment of our weekly Reformanda Initiative podcast series! I’m excited to present the ministry of Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and his associates at Reformanda Initiative as they examine Roman Catholic theology in order to inform and equip evangelicals.

Season 1, Episode 19: The Roman Catholic message of May 14th: Together let’s pray to our god(s), whoever or whatever that may be

Show Notes

In this episode we discuss the Roman Catholic Church’s latest response to addressing the worldwide Covid 19 pandemic. The RCC’s response demonstrates the dangers of Vatican II theology when put into practice, and highlights its ever growing ecumenical agenda to achieve unity at the expense of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

My Comments

At the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, with its soaring death rates, pope Francis called upon everyone in the world to invoke their particular deity/deities on May 14, 2020 to end the scourge. An interfaith/interreligious prayer initiative such as this reveals the RCC’s wider embracement of Universalism, all under the leadership of the papacy. Catholicism’s universalistic teachings didn’t begin with Francis, but go back to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Good discussion.

Season 1, Episode 19: The Roman Catholic message of May 14th: Together let’s pray to our god(s), whoever or whatever that may be
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Reid Karr, and Clay Kannard
May 22, 2020 – 32 minutes
https://reformandainitiative.buzzsprout.com/663850/3871214-ep-19-the-roman-catholic-message-of-may-14th-together-let-s-pray-to-our-god-s-whoever-or-whatever-that-may-be

Sorry, a YouTube video version of this particular podcast is not available.

Next week: Season 1, Episode 20: Assessing the legacy of Pope John Paul II from an Evangelical Perspective

Jessica Willis Fisher – Digging out from unspeakable abuse

As some of you know, my wife and I attended an independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) church in the 1980s. There were blessings and also many problems. I subsequently walked away from the Lord for 23 years because I was so soured on IFB authoritarianism. A couple of new books with material related to the IFB movement recently caught my eye. There’s also a 2013 book about the topic that I’ve been meaning to discuss. So today, and for the next two Sundays, I will be reviewing the three books.

⚠️ Caution: The book reviewed below deals with the difficult topic of child sexual abuse.


Unspeakable: Surviving My Childhood and Finding My Voice
By Jessica Willis Fisher
Thomas Nelson, 2022, 352 pp.

4 Stars

The Willis Family burst onto the national scene in May 2015 with their TLC reality television show. The Willises replaced the Duggars, whose TLC show was cancelled after it was revealed eldest son, Josh Duggar, had molested four of his sisters when he was younger.

Like the Duggars, the Willises were a large (eight girls, four boys) fundamentalist Christian family. Unlike the Duggars, the Nashville-based Willises had a very polished entertainment act, which included playing musical instruments, singing, and dancing on stage. The large brood practiced under the scrutinizing eye of their father, Toby, and performed at venues all across the country.

Coming from an independent fundamental Baptist background myself, I watched both the Duggars and the Willises with great interest. The strict family discipline, legalism, and regimentation were characteristics I was familiar with and happy I left behind. But it was especially amazing to watch the Willises. The older children were very talented, and it was obvious the family routine didn’t include much leisure time.

In September 2016, I read the news that Toby Willis had been arrested on charges of child rape. I was saddened, but not altogether surprised because his dour, Svengali-like dominance over his family was apparent even on screen. Toby was subsequently sentenced to forty years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of child rape. His wife divorced him and the family was in turmoil, but eventually released their 2018 album, “Speak My Mind,” along with the requisite whirlwind of talk show appearances.* However, eldest daughter, Jessica Willis, did not rejoin her siblings as part of the group. She was not able to process the years of abuse that quickly or easily. She forged ahead on her own, eventually marrying, recording her solo album, “Brand New Day,” released in September 2022, and writing this memoir that was published in November 2022.

This is a painful book to read. Jessica recounts, sometimes in explicit detail, multiple episodes of being sexually abused by Toby. The abuse began at age 3 and continued until 2008 when she was 16. When police investigators later asked Jessia the total number of times she had been sexually abused by her father, she estimated it to have been around one-hundred times. But Jessica wasn’t the only victim. Her father also preyed on her younger sisters. Toby’s wife became aware of some of the abuse over the years and “intervened” (to a minor degree), but was physically and emotionally victimized by her husband as well. In addition to the sexual abuse of the girls, all of the children suffered physical and emotional trauma from their temperamental and psychologically sick father.

Toby had pontificated over his family’s home-church Sunday worship service and the Willises were eventually joined by a few other area families.** Toby’s home-church teachings were based upon the tenets he learned at an IFB church as a younger man in Chicago. It was all about legalism, regulations, and end-times prophecy, with a little (c)hristianity mixed in. Toby repeatedly warned his children the family compound would someday be invaded by federal agents à la Ruby Ridge. There was no genuine love of Christ being taught in the Willis home. It would certainly be unfair to paint the entire IFB movement with a broad brush because of Toby Willis, however, IFB-ism is fertile ground for crackpot conspiracy theology and megalomaniacal patriarchal (and pastoral) abuse (see Steven Anderson).

Jessica recounts that she prayed the sinner’s prayer when she was a young girl, but admits she is now uncertain about her spiritual condition. She states that she’s sorting through her beliefs about God in light of her experiences.*** She writes that she’s disappointed in passages of the Bible that she thinks present an unloving and arbitrarily spiteful God. One of the several passages she cites as being especially hurtful is Genesis 19:30-38 where Lot’s daughters had incest with their inebriated father. It would appear Jessica doesn’t have a solid understanding of the Bible. God’s Word certainly does not condone the actions of Lot’s daughters. Perhaps Toby did?

I cannot comprehend the pain and betrayal Jessica endured and continues to deal with. It’s difficult to get frustrated with her lack of spiritual knowledge. In her case, the Bible was used as a bludgeon. I pray that at some point Jessica comes to the loving Father God through faith in Jesus Christ the Savior, His loving Son.

*The Willis Clan disbanded as a performing musical act at the end of 2018.
**One of the home-church neighbor participants was the first one to notify police of suspected abuse.
***It’s bizarre that supposedly (c)hristian publisher, Thomas Nelson, would present a memoir from someone who is self-admittedly unsure about her spiritual beliefs.

Toby Willis on September 9, 2016, the day he was arrested.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 2/4/23

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops initiated its two-year, nationwide Eucharistic Revival in June 2022 to encourage heightened reverence and worship of the consecrated Jesus wafer among American Catholics. The revival is a reaction to a 2019 Pew Research study which revealed that 70% of U.S. Catholics don’t believe in “transubstantiation,” the teaching that priests change bread wafers and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. Imagine sitting in a church pew and worshiping a bread wafer like in the photo above. So many grievous errors taught by the RCC.

The RCC mandates that all 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide must attend Sunday mass under threat of mortal sin. Nigeria has the highest proportion of Catholics who are compliant mass-attendees at 94 percent. U.S. Catholics are way down the list at only 17 percent. Catholicism is doing well in Nigeria and other “third-world” countries because of its many similarities to pagan shamanism. It’s tragic when anyone is persecuted for their religious beliefs, but Rome-friendly, evangelical para-church organizations muddy the Gospel by identifying persecuted RC priests and nuns in Nigeria and elsewhere as Christians.

Pope Paul VI drew a line in the sand with his 1968 Humanae Vitae encyclical by declaring use of all forms of artificial contraception, including non-abortifacients, a mortal sin. The reality is 98 percent of Catholic women use artificial birth control as cited by Catholic sources. Paul VI and his successors lost credibility in the eyes of many Catholic married couples who did not want and/or could not support a large brood of children.

It would be comically ironic if souls were not at stake, for the fact that Catholicism, with its extensive array of blessed sacramental jujus – rosary beads, holy water, statues, scapulars, palm fronds, medals, candles, crucifixes, holy cards, the sign of the cross, etc. – is opposed to new age crystals.

In last weekend’s update, I observed that pope Francis’ recent statement condemning laws prohibiting homosexuality was the latest in a systematic strategy to move the RCC closer to full acceptance of practicing S&G-ites. The Catholic and secular media had the same reaction this past week.

I’ve featured MANY news snippets about the German Catholic Der Synodale Weg (Synodal Path) reform initiative since it launched in 2019. There is a possibility that liberal/progressive German Catholics will break away from the RCC at the conclusion of the initiative later this year.

Pro-abortionists are targeting Catholic churches for their perceived anti-abortion stance, although a 2022 Associated Press poll revealed 63% of Catholic adults believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. In addition to pro-abortionists, radical atheists are also targeting Catholic churches and churches in general.

I’ve never been to Israel, but I imagine many people naively visit there with high expectations, only to be confronted by alleged sites that are thoroughly catholicized and touristized. That said, I don’t condone violence.

I was pleased to see the Reformanda Initiative guys will be coming to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky for a three-day Reformanda Initiative Conference later this month. Events like this are sorely needed at American evangelical seminaries where undiscerning ecumenism with Rome and its false gospel is often the standard paradigm these days.

“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #36: “The words eat and drink are used in the Bible as metaphors to refer to our relationship with God.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard completes his first of two chapters defending transubstantiation and the eucharist using John 6:48-67 as his lengthy proof-text. For brevity’s sake, find that passage here.

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Protestant response #36: “The words eat and drink are used in the Bible as metaphors to refer to our relationship with God.”

Broussard writes, “(This comeback) argues that the language of ‘eating’ and ‘drinking’ were symbols frequently used in the Old Testament to signify, in the words of (evangelical apologist) Todd Baker, ‘personally experiencing and appropriating the words and blessings Yahweh has lavishly and freely given to his prophets and people.’ Baker, as well as other Protestant apologists, appeals to several passages in the Old Testament, one of which is Jeremiah 15:16: ‘Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and a delight of my heart.’ Baker infers from this biblical use of the Hebrew idioms of eating and drinking that Jesus must be ‘following his Old Testament predecessors’ and making ‘the same practical use of these Hebrew eating idioms throughout John chapter six to convey the indisputable truth that one must fully receive his life-giving death . . . to receive eternal life.’

Broussard’s response

Broussard argues, “The reason why this inference is false is that the appeal to the Old Testament passages shows only that ‘eating’ and ‘drinking’ could (author’s emphasis) be used as metaphors in John 6:53-58. It does not prove that Jesus (author’s emphasis) uses these images in a metaphorical way. Other contextual evidence would be required for such a conclusion. And given what we’ve said (previously), the contextual evidence favors a literal interpretation.”

My response

In addition to Jeremiah 15:16, we see a number of passages in the Old Testament that use the metaphorical idioms of eating and drinking for appropriating God’s Word and for belief/trust:

Deuteronomy 8:3 – “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

Job 23:12 – “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.”

Psalm 4:7 – “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”

Psalm 19:10 – “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.”

Psalm 34:8 – “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

Psalm 36:8 – “They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.”

Psalm 42:1 – “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”

Psalm 119:103 – “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

The above is not an exhaustive list.

The disciples and observant Jews were absolutely aware of these Old Testament eating and drinking metaphorisms/idioms for belief/trust. Did Jesus have them in mind as He was giving His Bread of Life Discourse? It’s clear from John 6:31-32 that Jesus was drawing directly upon the OT account of the manna from Heaven (Exodus 16:1-36) in correlation with the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-15) in order to teach, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” – John 6:35. Believing/trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone is the key to salvation and eternal life, not physically eating Jesus. Todd Baker is correct in stating that Jesus’ audience was certainly familiar with the OT idioms of eating and drinking as metaphors for believing/trusting. Although Jesus did not quote the OT verses directly in John 6, He was building upon His audience’s familiarity with these idioms in presenting His metaphorical Bread of Life Discourse. Broussard’s rebuttal, claiming Baker’s proposal is a false inference, is preposterous given the abundancy of eating/drinking Scriptural references with which the observant Jews of 1st century Judea were thoroughly familiar.

Next week: Protestant response #37: “Jesus identifies the contents of the chalice as the ‘fruit of the vine’ after the words of consecration.”

Throwback Thursday: Are Catholic street proselytizers giving out good news or very bad news?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on December 2, 2016 and has been revised.

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The American Catholic church put very little effort into proselytizing until recent years. The thinking was that new members were constantly being added to the church anyway as infants were born into Catholic families, but with the number of practicing Catholics declining in the U.S., mainly because of the indifference of its own membership, the church is beginning to make proselytizing a priority.

One church-sponsored proselytization organization is St. Paul Street Evangelization (SPSE) which started in Portland, Oregon and now has over 200 teams worldwide. Members gather in public places and hand out pamphlets, rosaries, and religious medals bearing the image of “the blessed virgin, Mary.” The SPSE team here in Rochester N.Y. regularly meets at the downtown Public Market on Saturdays (see photo above).

Members of SPSE say they’re giving out the Good News!, but let’s examine just how “good” the SPSE’s news is with this hypothetical street exchange below between an SPSE member and a skeptic:

SPSE Member: Good morning, sir! Could I give you a free pamphlet with information about God’s Good News?

Skeptic: What’s the Good News?

SPSE Member: God loves you so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for your sins so that you can possibly go to Heaven.

Skeptic: So what do I have to do?

SPSE Member: You will have to attend RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes for about a year to learn all the details of the Catholic religion before you can be baptized. After you’re baptized you must attend obligatory mass every Sunday to receive the eucharist and obtain graces so you can avoid committing mortal sin.

Skeptic: What if I mess up and sin anyway?

SPSE Member: You’ll have to confess every mortal sin to a priest. If you neglect to go to confession, that’s another mortal sin. If you die with even one unconfessed mortal sin on your soul you will go to hell.

Skeptic: So what you’re telling me is, I can go to mass every single day and live like a hermit monk for thirty years, but if I stay up late one night and watch porn on my computer just as a meteor crashes through the roof and kills me, then I’m going to go to hell?

SPSE Member: That’s right.

Skeptic: So when are you going to start telling me about the Good News???

While the above hypothetical exchange accurately represents Catholic doctrine, there’s no doubt that the actual language used by SPSE workers would be much more circumspect.

Catholics may talk about “grace” and “faith” and the “Good News,” but what they offer is VERY BAD news. The bottom line for Catholics is they must attempt to obey the Ten Commandments and church rules perfectly right up until their final breath in order to hopefully, not assuredly, merit Heaven. That’s not Good News, that’s absolutely impossible! I can’t even go a single day without breaking God’s commandments in thought, word, deed, or by omission.

“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” – Galatian 2:16

“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” – Galatians 2:21

Catholic friend, say a prayer to the Lord. Repent of your rebellion against God and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Then ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

https://gotquestions.org/prayer-of-salvation.html

Postscript: Catholics who participate in SPSE have to ask themselves why they bother trying to attract anyone to their religion because their church officially teaches all non-Catholic religionists and even atheists may also possibly merit Heaven if they “sincerely follow the light they are given” and are “good.”

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #173

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring two new sermons from the brethren down under.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Romans 14:14-23 on “Christian Liberty.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Romans 11:11-24 on “Attach Yourself to Christ and Grow.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, January 15th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Christian Liberty – Sermon begins at 18:33 mark

To watch the sermon, click on the “Watch on Facebook” text in the box below!

Pastor Cody Andrews – Attach Yourself to Christ and Grow

Reformanda Initiative Podcast #18: Understanding the Sacrament of Penance in Roman Catholicism

Welcome to the eighteenth installment of our weekly Reformanda Initiative podcast series! I’m excited to present the ministry of Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and his associates at Reformanda Initiative as they examine Roman Catholic theology in order to inform and equip evangelicals.

Season 1, Episode 18: Understanding the Sacrament of Penance in Roman Catholicism

Show Notes

In this episode we examine the Roman Catholic teaching on the Sacrament of Penance (also known by many other names) from an evangelical perspective. We underscore what is at stake with this doctrine theologically and concerning the gospel, and highlight how it fits into the larger framework of the Roman Catholic system.

My Comments

The Catholic sacrament of penance/confession/reconciliation elevates the Catholic priest to the place of God Almighty in forgiving people of their sins. The sacrament is just one facet of Roman Catholicism’s Christ-Church Interconnection construct whereby the RCC presents itself as as the prolongation of the incarnation of Christ and usurps the exclusive office of Jesus Christ as the one and only Mediator between God and men – 1 Timothy 2:5. Good discussion.

Postscript: It’s puzzlingly ironic that the RI guys favorably reference Tim Keller in this podcast because Keller is an outspoken advocate of ecumenism with Rome.

Season 1, Episode 18: Understanding the Sacrament of Penance in Roman Catholicism
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Reid Karr, and Clay Kannard
May 13, 2020 – 66 minutes
https://reformandainitiative.buzzsprout.com/663850/3738761-ep-18-understanding-the-sacrament-of-penance-in-roman-catholicism

For the YouTube video version of this podcast, see here.

Next week: Season 1, Episode 19: The Roman Catholic message of May 14th: Together let’s pray to our god(s), whoever or whatever that may be

A Mysterious Drop in Views – Year 2

In January of 2022, I published a post noting the significant drop in views/hits for excatholic4christ from the previous year, from 70.7K views in 2020 down to 44.9K views in 2021, a 37 percent drop. That was after 6 years of significant growth. The decline continued into 2022, the year ending with 37.6K views. So in the space of two years my views have declined a whopping 47 percent. That’s obviously very significant (see chart above).

Following last year’s post, a fellow Christian blogger (who is no longer active at WordPress) criticized me for noting my blog stats, as if Christians were supposed to be above such concerns. Well, I’m guessing the vast majority of us write and publish posts with the intent and hope of reaching people with our message. Few of us use WordPress strictly as a private, personal journal.

My post output has remained pretty steady over the years – 2414 total posts in 7.5 years = 322 posts/year average. Most of the blog’s views, by far, come from anonymous internet hits rather than from fellow WordPress bloggers. But newer posts definitely don’t get the internet churn that older posts did and still do. So why the steep drop? My discernment subject matter is admittedly “controversial,” but how then to explain the steady rise in views my first six years? I’m not a conspiracy monger or an IT expert, but I believe internet search engines and social media platforms are currently working hard to filter out what they consider “hate speech.” The EU has already passed legislation requiring IT companies and social media platforms to clamp down on “hate speech” and I imagine the U.S. will be following suit, while social media platforms are already taking “pro-active” steps. I certainly don’t consider my posts to be “hate speech.” I’m presenting the Biblical view on Roman Catholicism and on deviant social movements. There’s no hate in any of my posts. But in this era of undiscerning “tolerance,” “plurality,” “inclusiveness,” and “relativism,” a Biblical view IS increasingly viewed as “hate speech.”

I began this blog in 2015 mainly with the intent of warning Catholics and evangelicals about the heterodoxy of the RCC and I will continue to do so, falling stats or rising stats. “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29. A sincere thanks to all of my friends and encouragers here at WordPress.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/28/23

Nancy Pelosi was barred from receiving the Jesus wafer by the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco because of her support of abortion, but she still considers herself a devout Catholic. After an attacker seriously injured her husband at their SF home last October, Pelosi called in Catholic priests to “exorcise the evil spirits,” but who was going to exorcise the priests’ false gospel? Catholicism is a syncretization of pagan superstition and pseudo-(c)hristianity.

I would never recommend anyone attend a Roman Catholic mass, where its claimed that priests transform bread wafers and wine unto the actual body and blood of Christ, and the Jesus elements are then offered up as a sacrifice for sins. However, if you were to attend a mass you might be surprised that the sermon (aka homily) is usually only around 10 minutes long with the rest of the time devoted to the rote liturgy. Homiletics are not a focus in Catholic seminary. Priests, from my subjective experience, are generally not good public speakers. The homily message is usually connected to the short snippet of the gospel passage that was previously read, whereby the priest will exhort the congregants to live morally upright lives in pursuit of their salvation. There’s no mention of the genuine Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

German cardinal, Gerhard Ludwig Müller, has emerged as progressive pope Francis’ most vocal conservative critic. Müller compares Francis’ secret 2018 Vatican-Beijing accord, in which Bergoglio granted the Chinese communist government the power to select puppet bishops from its quisling Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, to a deal with Adolf Hitler. Actually, pope Pius XII did sign a deal with Hitler as historian David I. Kertzer discovered from documents in the previously sealed Vatican archives (see here).

Roman Catholic seminaries and rectories are magnets and hot-house incubators of deviancy and debauchery. Catholic and secular sources have estimated 30-40% of Catholic priests are homosexual. 80% of the victims of priest sexual abuse cases that have been documented since the 1950s were male.

We probably won’t see the official full-acceptance of practicing S&G-ites by the RCC during Francis’ tenure, but the pope is strategically getting all the ducks lined up in a row.

The German Catholic Synodale Weg (Synodal Path), a four-year progressive reform initiative steered by liberal clerics and laypersons, concludes this year. Some conservatives anticipate a schismatic split. Reforms being proposed include women’s ordination, married priests, lay participation in selection of bishops, and the blessing of same-sex unions and revision of the catechism currently disallowing homosexual practice.

Matthew Clark was Catholic bishop of Rochester, N.Y. from 1979 to 2012. Clark was a Vatican II progressive and looked the other way when liberal priests offered Jesus wafers to non-Catholic attendees at wedding and funeral masses. In a March 2020 bankruptcy court deposition, Clark admitted the diocese kept secret archives of pedophile priests and that priests accused of sexual abuse were allowed to continue to “serve,” sometimes moved from parish to parish.

“Progressive” evangelical pastors, like Andy Stanley, are advocating for full-acceptance of practicing S&G-ites. Yes, this “inclusive and affirming” mindset is creeping into evangelical churches.

For a thorough evaluation of Stanley’s latest heresy, see here.

“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #35: “The context reveals that ‘eat’ and ‘drink’ mean belief.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard continues his first of two chapters defending transubstantiation and the eucharist using John 6:48-67 as his lengthy proof-text. For brevity’s sake, find that passage here.

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Protestant response #35: “The context reveals that ‘eat’ and ‘drink’ mean belief.”

Broussard writes that evangelical apologists Rob Zins, Eric Svendsen, and James R. White identify John 6:35 as a very important verse that clarifies that Jesus was using metaphorical language in the Bread of Life Discourse. Zins identifies John 6:35 as the “controlling verse of John 6.”

“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” – John 6:35

States White, “‘Coming’ and ‘believing’ will become ‘eating’ and ‘drinking’ in verse 54…the definitions assigned to these terms by the Lord (being spiritual and symbolic, not literal and earthly) must be carried through the rest of the text.”

Writes Broussard, “Both White and Svendsen further cite verse 47, where Jesus says, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life,’ and infer from this that eating equals believing.”

Broussard’s response

Broussard acknowledges that “Jesus speaks about the necessity to believe in him…in verses 27-48,” but then states, “in verse 51, Jesus introduces his flesh and identifies it as the bread from heaven that he will give for the life of the world.” It is Jesus’ words about eating his flesh that distresses the Jews and disciples, says Broussard. He continues, “Belief in Jesus is not the issue here. It’s eating his flesh.” Broussard notes that “flesh” is mentioned six times in six verses. “If Jesus intended his statement about eating his flesh to be understood as mere belief,” declares Broussard, “and not something that a believer will do in order to have his spiritual hunger and thirst satiated, then he could have easily retracted his language about eating his flesh and gone back to the metaphorical language of coming to him and never hungering and believing in him and never thirsting, as he did in verse 35.”

My response

John 6:35 is definitely a prime clarifier, one of the major keys in the Bread of Life Discourse as Rob Zins, Eric Svendsen, and James R. White rightly point out. In verses that follow, Christ presents “coming” and “believing” metaphorically as “eating” and “drinking.” Broussard argues once again that Jesus would have corrected the Jews’ and disciples’ literalist understanding of “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54) if their understanding was not accurate. That is ground we covered in great detail back in installments #30 (see here) and #31 (see here). Jesus spoke in parables and metaphors throughout His earthly ministry. “Believe” (Greek: pisteúō: to believe in, to put one’s faith in, to trust in) is used nine times in John 6. Trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone is the key to salvation, not physically eating Jesus.

Jesus spoke of the hard-hearted Jews and faux tare disciples in Matthew 13:10-13. His words are also true of Roman Catholics: “Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”

Broussard devotes twelve sections total to his passionate defense of RC-ism’s literalist interpretation of John 6 and the Last Supper gospel accounts. Six more sections to go. Will Broussard ever get around to mentioning that the RCC also grants that non-Catholic religionists who never eat the Jesus wafer – Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, etc., and even atheists may also merit Heaven?

Next week: Protestant response #36: “The words eat and drink are used in the Bible as metaphors to refer to our relationship with God.”