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Following last year’s post, a fellow Christian blogger (who is no longer active at WordPress) criticized me for noting my blog stats, as if Christians were supposed to be above such concerns.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.”

Throwback Thursday: Bad advice regarding where the tire meets the road

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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Husband: “Hey, Dear. I’m sorry, but I was lusting after that pretty news anchor on television again.”

Wife: “Again?!?! For crying out loud. Turn it to C-SPAN…right NOW!”


John Piper is highly regarded in some evangelical circles. I was even a little taken aback by the level of Piper’s popularity when I returned to the Lord in 2014. When Piper has something to say, a segment of evangelicalism is listening.

Yesterday, I came across the article far below in which Piper advises husbands to confess their lustful desires for other women to their wives. Huh? Say what?

Please allow me to chime in on this issue with some frankness and I hope no one is offended. I’m a 66YO male and my body still produces testosterone (although obviously nowhere near the levels it did thirty or forty years ago). Males are biologically “hardwired” to procreate. When we see an appealing member of the opposite sex, we are attracted. At that point, Christian men can either wallow in the attraction and escalate the desire – lust – or we can fight the desire using any of several methods: escape, prayer, attempting to see the person through the Lord’s eyes, striving to honor the Lord and our wives in all that we think and do, etc. I’ll readily admit that I haven’t always fled temptation. Multiple industries exploit and are banking on men’s propensity to lust, or is it just a coincidence that just about every female news anchor on CNN and FOX looks like a Miss Texas? I’m so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for all my sins and beckons me down a better road of unselfish love. When I fail, I can always run to the cross for grace and forgiveness.

Now back to Piper’s comments. Is it expedient for husbands to confess their lustful thoughts and desires to their wives? What’s your opinion? I don’t think the struggle against lust is a battle a man ever “wins.” We’ve heard MANY stories of pastors who were scandalously caught in adulterous relationships. In this culture, with its ever-growing emphasis on sex, the struggle is ongoing unless the husband lives a hermit’s existence. Maybe a man can tell his wife, “Yes, I struggle with lust now and then,” and leave it at that, but he shouldn’t be confessing the details to her on a regular basis. What good would that serve? It would just feed her insecurity with no end in sight.  She’ll think, “What? He was lusting after my best friend again?! Sheesh! I’m leaving him at home from now on,” or “Hmm, maybe I better start looking for a man who respects me and who I can trust rather than somebody who admires every pair of yoga pants that walks by and thinks he’s still 25-years-old.”

If a man senses he’s being drawn deeper and deeper into lustful desires, he should probably seek counsel from his pastor, or partner up with a male friend at church for prayer, support, and accountability, but rare is the woman who is going to tolerate this kind of ongoing confession objectively. There is such a thing as TMI – too much information – even between husband and wife.

Ladies, I know it’s not all lily white on your side of the biological fence, either. I happen to know a married Christian woman who automatically stops and lingers over every movie featuring Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, or Mel Gibson while channel surfing!

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?


John Piper: Men, Confess Your Lust for Other Women
http://www.christianpost.com/news/john-piper-men-confess-your-lust-for-other-women-171785/

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #172

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

We have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana preaching from Romans 14:1-12 on “Loving Others Will Not Allow You to Judge Others.”

This sermon was delivered on Sunday, January 8th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Loving Others Will Not Allow You to Judge Others – Sermon begins at 18:30 mark

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

Reformanda Initiative Podcast #17: An interview with Dr. Michael Reeves on The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ)

Welcome to the seventeenth 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 17: An interview with Dr. Michael Reeves on The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ)

Show Notes

An interview with Prof. Michael Reeves, President and Professor of Theology at Union School of Theology, UK. Author of books such as The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation (2010) and (with Tim Chester), Why The Reformation Still Matters (2016).

On October 31, 1999, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation signed ‘The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification’ (JDDJ), claiming that they were ‘now able to articulate a common understanding of our justification by God’s grace through faith in Christ.’ This has led many since to think that the fundamental theological differences of the Reformation have now been resolved, and that there remains little or nothing of real theological substance to prevent evangelical-Catholic unity. Professor Mark Noll, for instance, boldly declared,

“If it is true, as once was repeated frequently by Protestants conscious of their anchorage in Martin Luther or John Calvin that iustificatio articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae (justification is the article on which the church stands or falls), then the Reformation is over.”

Is the Reformation indeed, over? Listen as Dr. Reeves helps us make sense of the JDDJ.

My Comments

Did the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” (JDDJ) forged by the Roman Catholic church and the liberal Lutheran World Federation in 1999 really resolve the opposing and irreconcilable views on justification that sparked the Reformation? Dr. Michael Reeves peels back the ambiguous parlance of the document to reveal that Rome continues to teach that Catholics are initially justified by baptism and then “enter into a process of justification and salvation requiring (their) free cooperation with God’s grace” (i.e., good works resulting in merit). That’s NOT the Good News. Very informative discussion.

Season 1, Episode 17: An interview with Dr. Michael Reeves on the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ)
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Reid Karr, and Clay Kannard
April 30, 2020 – 45 minutes
https://reformandainitiative.buzzsprout.com/663850/3564586-ep-17-an-interview-with-dr-michael-reeves-on-the-joint-declaration-on-the-doctrine-of-justification-jddj

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

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

Secular posts?

I’ve been meaning to write this particular post for a very long time, but just couldn’t seem to get around to putting pen to paper…ur, I mean fingers to keyboard.

Some of my Christian blogger friends here at WordPress may be disappointed or concerned that I occasionally post about “secular” topics. I began this blog back in 2015 with the intent of writing strictly about theological topics, mostly dealing with the errors of Roman Catholicism and the dangers of evangelical ecumenism with Rome. The Lord put that desire in my heart and I perceived it to be a ministry and still do.

Towards the end of 2016, I began to get the itch to also occasionally publish posts about “secular” topics. Would that be okay? In the restrictive, independent fundamental Baptist culture I started out in as a new Christian four decades ago, it would definitely NOT have been okay. In that legalistic, cultish culture, interest in most “secular” activities or entertainments was a sign of worldliness Everyone at church conformed to the lock-step, group-pleasing, “Stepford Wife,” misrepresentation of themself as someone who was myopically focused strictly on “spiritual things” with no “secular” hobbies or interests. We all knew we were being phonies, but we all played along. The pastor had a keen interest in martial arts and Kung Fu action movies, but that was somehow considered to be okay (still scratching my head over that one).

With my fundamentalism experience many years behind me, I thought it would be honest and helpful for other Christians to occasionally write about my “secular” interests and hobbies. Well, God is sovereign over all, even over my “secular” recreations. So in 2016, I began to occasionally publish posts about “secular” topics along with my theological output. Over the years, there have been posts about film director, Elia Kazan, the Byrds, sports, comic books, food, yardwork, etc. In many of those “secular” posts I have been able to turn attention back to the Lord. Again, He is sovereign over all. “Secular” artists like Elia Kazan and David Crosby explored the foibles of mankind. They had many questions, but, of course, no answers. But on my journey to salvation in Jesus Christ, the Lord used the deep ponderings of “secular” artists to lead me to Him.

Many months ago, the Cave to the Cross podcast guys reviewed Scott Christensen’s book, “What About Evil,” in which the author expounded upon, among other things, the “meta-narrative.” The Bible is THE meta-narrative, the ultimate story of good vs. evil. The literature and entertainment arts of humankind are comprised of millions of good vs. evil minor-narratives. Go to any Barnes and Noble or movieplex and you’ll see it yourself. People are captivated by stories of good triumphing over evil. All of these minor-narratives point to the Biblical meta-narrative of God’s ultimate triumph over evil through Jesus Christ.

Are we to live as cloistered Roman Catholic monks, with every moment of the day strictly devoted to prayer, Bible reading, and painfully ascetic deprivations? Nope, we are to be “in the world, but not of the world” (not a Biblical quote, but garnered from Scripture, i.e., John 17:14-16). It’s okay to have “secular” interests and hobbies with the mindset that everything we think, say, and do should ultimately bring glory to God. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” – 1 Corinthians 10:31. That’s going to be different for each Christian as the Holy Spirit leads, but lets not be phony, sanctimonious, ascète fundamentalists looking down our noses at others.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/21/23

Conservative Catholic cardinal, George Pell (above photo, right), died on January 10th. He was at one time considered the third most powerful prelate in the Vatican hierarchy in his role as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy between 2014 and 2019. Pell was embroiled in accusations that he covered-up for priest predators in Australia and that he also sexually abused underage boys himself. He spent 13 months in prison, but was released in 2020 on a legal technicality. Shortly following his death, it was revealed that Pell had been the author of a memo which categorized progressive pope Francis’ pontificate as “a disaster in many or most respects; a catastrophe.” This sentiment is shared by many conservative Catholic clerics.

Last Sunday, pope Francis announced an ecumenical prayer vigil that will take place in St. Peter’s Square on Sept. 30, 2023, as part of the RCC’s ongoing Synod on Synodality. Said Francis, “Starting now, I invite our brothers and sisters of all Christian denominations to participate in this gathering of the People of God. We thank the Lord who faithfully and patiently guides his people toward full communion.” Pope Francis also highlighted the RCC’s annual “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,” which began this past Wednesday, Jan. 18. For Catholics, “full communion” and “Christian unity” mean submission to papal authority and to the RCC’s sacramental-merit salvation system.

After years of planning, fundamentalist Catholic, Mel Gibson, will soon begin filming the sequel to his 2004 film, “The Passion of the Christ.” In “The Passion…,” Gibson portrayed Mary in accordance with Catholic doctrine as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix (see here). Evangelicals enthusiastically and misguidedly patronized “The Passion…” Gibson is a “sedevacantist” Catholic, meaning he believes all popes who came after Pius XII (d. 1958) are not legitimate because they supported the liberal reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

210 U.S. Congressional Representatives voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would require immediate medical attention for babies who are born alive after an attempt was made to abort them.

COVID-19 obviously played a huge role in the decline in church attendance.

This past Monday, Americans celebrated Martin Luther King Day. In the 1950s and 60s, racism and bigotry were deeply ingrained and institutionalized in American society, yes, even in many Gospel churches, and needed to be confronted. Kudos to Martin Luther King for standing up to racism. That said, the liberal Baptist minister preached a social gospel that proclaimed all people are God’s children. King was a modernist who believed much of the Bible was mythical. Any time MLK entered the pulpit, there was no mention of the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. For more on MLK’s particular beliefs on God and the Bible, including several revealing quotes, see here.

Being a former independent, fundamentalist Baptist, I’m looking forward to reading Jinger Duggar Vuolo’s upcoming “Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear” (Jan. 31) in which she describes distancing herself from her family’s deep ties to IFB-ism and Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles. The Duggars were also involved in Doug Phillips’ now-defunct Vision Forum. See Jinger’s short video intro to her story here. I’m one of those people Jinger describes who stepped away from God (for 23 years, although He never left me) after coming out of IFB-ism.

81 YO singer-songwriter, David Crosby, formerly of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and sometimes Young), died this past Wednesday. Crosby often stated that he didn’t believe in God, however, he did a lot of “whistling past the graveyard,” especially towards the end of his life. The gentleman did protest too much, methinks. I have a post about Crosby coming up shortly.

“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #34: “Jesus meant his words figuratively, as he did in John 10:9, when he spoke of himself as a ‘door,’ and in John 15:5, when he spoke of himself as ‘the vine.’”

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 #34: “Jesus meant his words figuratively, as he did in John 10:9, when he spoke of himself as a ‘door,’ and in John 15:5, when he spoke of himself as ‘the vine.’”

In his presentation of the Protestant view, Broussard writes, “If Catholics interpret Jesus’ command to eat his flesh and drink his blood literally in John 6, then they have to take him literally in other passages when he says he’s a door (John 10:9) and a vine (John 15:5). As (Norman) Geisler and (Ralph) MacKenzie write, Jesus ‘said, ‘I am the door’ … and ‘I am the vine’ … and Roman Catholic scholars do not take these statements literally, even though they come from the same book that records, ‘This is my body’!’ (Evangelical apologist) Todd Baker bolsters this argument by highlighting the fact that Jesus’ words in John 6 are part of a series of ‘I Am’ statements in John’s Gospel. In John 10:9, Jesus says, ‘I am the door.’ He says, ‘I am the vine’ in John 15:5. In John 6:48, the beginning of Jesus’ Bread of Life Discourse, he says, ‘I am the bread of life.’ Baker argues that this ‘I Am’ statement clues us in to how we’re to understand his words concerning the bread he will give, which he identifies as his ‘flesh,’ and that we must eat it. Like in John 10:9 and John 15:5, we should interpret him figuratively.”

Broussard’s response

Broussard asserts that the door and the vine passages are disanalogous to the bread of life passage. States Broussard, “The people in the audience in the door and vine passages don’t interpret Jesus literally as they do in John 6.” He concludes, “Given the presence of the literal thoughts among Jesus’ audience in John 6 compared to the lack of such thoughts in the door and vine passages, and Jesus’ engagement with those literal thoughts by way of affirming them, we can conclude that the door and vine passages are meant to be read differently from how we should read Jesus’ teaching about eating his flesh and drinking his blood.”

My response

Jesus used metaphorical language (“I am the bread of life”) in the Bread of Life Discourse in John 6, just as he did later on in John 10:9 (“I am the door”) and John 15:5 (“I am the vine”). However, unlike the other two passages, in John 6 Jesus was alluding to and building directly from a particular event, the feeding of the five-thousand (John 6:1-15), and hence the more complex symbolism that baffled the hard-hearted disciples. Jesus certainly did not “affirm” a literal understanding as Broussard claims. In the previous four installments, we thoroughly discussed how Jesus had clarified His metaphorical language throughout the discourse. Jesus interposed “believe” (Greek: pisteúō: to believe in, put one’s faith in, trust in), nine times along with His “bread of life” metaphorism in John 6. Belief and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior through faith alone is the key to salvation, not physically eating Jesus.

Take heart my friends. Looking ahead, I see there are “only” seven more installments to go in this transubstantiation marathon.

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

Throwback Thursday: Should evangelical Christians yoke together with Roman Catholics in marriage?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Should an evangelical Christian marry a Roman Catholic? The question seems jarringly anachronistic in this current era of undiscerning ecumenism. However, there are very real concerns as we’ll see in this post that was originally published back on December 15, 2016 and has been revised.

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Should Protestants and Roman Catholics Intermarry?
By John Carrara
Zondervan, 1963, 32 pages

5 Stars

Brad was fourteen-years-old when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone at a youth event sponsored by his parents’ evangelical church. He loved reading God’s Word and following the Lord, but soon he was off to college and a busy schedule of studies and sports. Brad met Sara in one of their senior classes and was smitten with the attractive and outgoing young woman. Their relationship grew and after graduation the couple became engaged. Sara was a Roman Catholic, but that “didn’t seem” to be a big problem. She talked fondly about her church and mentioned Jesus. Brad’s parents were a little concerned that Sara was Catholic, but Brad assured them that she also loved Jesus and pointed out that Billy Graham and some other popular evangelicals embraced Catholics as fellow-Christians.

When it came time to make their wedding plans, Sara said she was required to get married at her church. Brad was fine with that. They sat down with the parish priest and discussed the arrangements. The priest asked Brad to sign an agreement promising that he would not interfere with Sara’s religious beliefs and that any children they had together would be raised in the Catholic faith. Brad was weirded out by all that, but perceived the document as just one more hurdle to jump over on his way to wedded bliss.

The couple was finally married and settled into their new home. Brad didn’t have much time for the Lord in college or during the engagement-wedding process, but began to follow Him closely again. He found an evangelical church in their area and Sara attended a few times with him, but said she was more comfortable going to mass. Brad attended mass several times with her and noticed a lot of ritual and ceremony, but he never heard the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The more Brad talked with Sara about God, the more he learned how different her beliefs were in comparison to his. Sara believed God granted salvation to those who participated in the Catholic church’s sacraments and obeyed the Ten Commandments and church rules. Brad was shocked! He was no theologian, but he knew from God’s Word that no one could possibly merit their salvation by obeying the commandments. Brad ordered a few books about Catholicism from evangelical authors to learn more and was amazed at the many differences between evangelical Christianity and Roman Catholicism.

Brad began praying that Sara would accept Christ as Savior by faith alone while she prayed that he would convert to Catholicism. One day Sara came to Brad with news that she was pregnant. Brad was overjoyed, but in the back of his mind he was thinking he did not want this child or any other children they might have to be raised as Catholic. Brad regretted jumping into an unequal marriage without seriously considering the spiritual ramifications.

In this 1963 booklet published by Zondervan (Yes, Zondervan! My, how things have changed.), evangelist John Carrara breaks it all down and includes a copy of the 4-page document Protestants must still sign* before a priest before marrying a Catholic. In our current era of ecumenical accommodation and compromise, a booklet such as this would be viewed by most as sectarianism at its worst, but Biblical truths are no less valid today than they were in 1963. While the Catholic church doesn’t encourage interfaith marriages, it doesn’t prohibit them either, as long as strict guidelines are followed. That might seem a lot more magnanimous than Carrara’s warnings, but don’t forget that the Catholic church also teaches that everyone, even atheists, can also merit Heaven if they “sincerely follow the light they’ve been given” and are “good.” That’s not Christianity.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

*For an update on the document in which the Protestant marriage partner was required to promise to raise any children as Catholics, see here.