What’s stopping me from becoming Catholic? Do you have an hour?

I listen to Catholic talk radio every day, which some may think very strange given the nature of this blog, but I do like to keep up with the latest news and views regarding Roman Catholicism.

One Catholic talk show that I occasionally catch is “Called to Communion” on the EWTN radio network, hosted by apologist, David Anders. The main purpose of the show is to try to persuade Protestants to convert to Catholicism and their slogan is, “What is stopping you from becoming Catholic?,” which is regularly repeated during the advertising slots.

What’s stopping me from becoming Catholic? Actually, I WAS a Catholic from 1956 until 1983 – 27 years. But through the reading of God’s Word, I was able to see the many errors of Catholic doctrine and I left. The Holy Spirit then used Scripture, people, and situations to lead me to Jesus Christ. I repented of my sins and accepted Christ as my Savior by faith alone in 1983. Praise the Lord for freeing me from the chains of Roman legalism and ritualism!

What’s stopping me from returning to the chains of Roman Catholicsm? Argh! What a question! It’s an impossibility! I would choose death over going back to Roman blindness. Who would willingly leave spiritual life and freedom in Jesus Christ for spiritual death and chains? A genuine believer could never even consider such a choice. Does not compute.

Here’s a list of Catholic doctrines/practices in brief that prevent me and should prevent anyone else from considering Roman Catholicism.

  • The teaching of salvation by sacramental grace and merit rather than Biblical salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
  • No assurance of salvation because it is merit-based.
  • Priests. Priestly sacrifice was done away with by Jesus Christ. There were no priests in the New Testament church.
  • Transubstantiation. Priests claim to change bread wafers and wine into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.
  • Worshipping consecrated bread wafers.
  • Veneration/worship of relics.
  • The sacrifice of the mass. Sacrifice for sin was finished by Jesus Christ.
  • Purgatory.
  • Indulgences.
  • Confessing sins to a priest.
  • The promotion of extreme forms of self-mortification, including self-induced physical pain, as forms of penance and discipline.
  • Venerating/worshiping Mary and the saints.
  • Praying to Mary and the saints.
  • Rampant idolatrous statuary in every Catholic church.
  • Rote prayers.
  • Sacramentals – holy water, candles, rosaries, crucifixes, scapulars, etc. – used as good luck charms.
  • Condemnation of non-abortifacient contraceptives.
  • Papal infallibility (although many conservative Catholics now consider Francis to be a fallible heretic).
  • Church traditions taking precedence over or even contradicting God’s Word.
  • A dizzying labyrinth of 1752 Canon Laws and 2865 numbered paragraphs in Catholicism’s official catechism.
  • The annulment of marriages as if they never took place.
  • The church as an institution rather than the spiritual body of believers. Through most of its history, the Catholic church was focused on wordly wealth and power and the absolute control of its membership, often through intimidation and even violence.
  • The separation and elevation of the clergy over the laity, including the rule of celibacy (which attracts and promotes sexual perversion), and the great pride in their competing religious orders, S.J., O.C.D., O.F.M., O.P., etc., etc..
  • Doctrinal turnaround. Catholics were once condemned to hell for eating meat on non-Lenten Fridays and attending a Protestant church service.
  • The obsession with calendrical solemnities, feasts, and memorials as if God ranks one day over another.
  • The designation of certain sites as holy shrines that allegedly endow visitors with blessings.
  • The ostentatious riches, pomp, and ceremony that permeate Catholicism when Jesus Christ had nowhere to lay His head.

What’s stopping me from becoming a Catholic? The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and God’s Word! Praise God Almighty for leading me out of Catholic prison to salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone!

Postscript: I have attended several “services” at Catholic churches over the last 34 years – weddings and funerals of family and friends – and my soul was so grieved by the anti-Biblical lies. David Anders tries to persuade Protestants to join Catholicism, while his church is leaking members like a sieve according to its own statistics. Only 20 percent of Catholics attend obligatory mass every Sunday!

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Danger!

Warning! The New Testament says nothing about the Catholic notions of the priesthood and the sacrifice of the mass. God’s Word, in direct contrast, says sacrifice for sin is over.

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” – Hebrews 10:12

“The mass is a mass of abominations, a mass of hell’s own concocting, a crying insult against the Lord of glory. It is not to be spoken of in any terms but those of horror and destestation. Whenever I think of another sacrifice for sin being offered, by whomever it may be presented, I can only regard it as an infamous insult to the perfection of the Savior’s work.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

Catholicism’s sacerdotal priesthood
https://www.gotquestions.org/sacerdotalism.html

Moses and the Catholic mass

After being raised in Catholicism, I began to drift away from the church in my teen years, even though the high school I attended was Catholic. But after marriage and the birth of our two boys, I felt an obligation to raise our children in the church, so I began attending mass again. At the same time, I was reading the New Testament in my Catholic Bible, but I was having an increasingly difficult time reconciling Catholic doctrine with Scripture. Although it was many years ago, I do recall the Book of Hebrews being the final straw for me; especially the passages about the limitations of human priests, Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice for sin, and how Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father. These truths did not square with Catholicism’s perpetual sacrifice of the mass in which priests allegedly sacrifice their wafer Jesus for sin 350,000 times daily on Catholic altars around the world. After much internal turmoil, I finally stopped attending mass and I eventually accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone a couple of years later.

The Old Testament is filled with wonderful foreshadowings of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. One of the most amazing is the account of Moses striking the rock in Exodus 17:1-7. God commanded Moses, who represents the Law, to strike the rock at Horeb so that it would bring forth water for the thirsty Israelites. When the Israelites complained again about no water at Meribah in Numbers 20:2-13, God commanded Moses to speak to the rock, but instead Moses struck the rock twice in anger because of the Israelites’ complaints. Because of his disobedience, Moses was not allowed to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. That job would go to a fellow by the name of Joshua (translated as Jesus in Greek).

The symbolism is extraordinary. Jesus Christ is the Rock of living waters (1 Cor. 10:4) and He died (was struck) once as a perfect sacrifice for sin because sinful man could not meet the requirements of the Law. God’s salvation flowed out to all men through Christ as a free gift that they receive by faith alone. Jesus cannot be sacrificed (struck) again. Everyone must repent of their sins and come to Christ in prayerful supplication (speaking) to Him and accept Him as Savior. Jesus exclaimed, “It is finished,” with His dying breath. There is no more sacrifice for sin. The sacerdotal priesthood was abolished. The Temple veil in Jerusalem was rent in two from top to bottom by the Lord at the moment of Christ’s death. Men now have direct access to the Father through the mediation of the resurrected Son. The Law (Moses) cannot bring people to salvation. It is Joshua/Jesus who leads all those who trust in Him to salvation!

Catholics insist they do not “repeat” Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary with the mass, but claim to “re-present” the exact same sacrifice over and over. This is sophistry! Sacrifice for sin is done and Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father, not on Catholic altars. But without sacrifice, there is no need for priests, so the fraudulent mass continues.

As I was driving to work yesterday morning, I was prayerfully mulling over what to write for the next post and the thought came to me that I should write something once again about how Moses’ striking of the rock in disobedience has similarities to the anti-Biblical perpetual sacrifice of the Catholic mass. While I was still driving, a pastor on the Christian radio station I was listening to started preaching on Numbers 20 and Moses striking the rock. Hmm, what a coincidence. When I got to work, I put on my headset and listened to a video that was recently posted by fellow WordPress Christian blogger, Hope. Of course, it also turned out to be a sermon on Numbers 20 and Moses striking the rock! See here. Wow! Some Catholic really needs to hear about Moses and the anti-Biblical mass today! Thanks, Hope!

Mary: A humble sinner saved by grace or an exalted semi-deity?

A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Mary: Mother of God?
By Leonardo De Chirico
Christian Focus Publications, 2017, 106 pages

There’s little doubt that the most important difference between Biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism is how a person is saved. Christianity proclaims the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone while Catholicism teaches salvation by sacramental grace and merit. But the difference between how each group views Mary is also quite significant. Evangelicals take the Biblical view of Mary as a humble believer who submitted to God’s will, but was still a sinner who needed to trust in Christ by faith alone for her salvation. In contrast, Catholics exalt Mary as Advocate, Mediatrix, and Co-Redemptrix, offices that belong to Jesus Christ alone.

“Taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.” – quoted from Lumen Gentium, paragraph 62

When Catholics read the New Testament for the first time, they’re amazed by the relatively small amount of emphasis Mary is given in Scripture in comparison to her exalted position in Catholicism, which rivals and sometimes even exceeds that of Jesus Christ (Mary is not mentioned directly in the last 170 chapters of the NT).

How did Mariolatry start? What sustains it? Leonardo De Chirico answers these questions and more in “A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Mary: Mother of God?” Don’t let the size of this book fool you. It’s an excellent, well-written, well-researched primer on the origin and development of Mariolatry within Roman Catholicism.

Pastor De Chirico is an expert on the Roman Catholic church. He’s previously written a pocket guide on the papacy (see here), he writes an informative monthly blog about Catholicism (see here), and he leads a ministry, The Reformanda Initiative, which seeks to educate evangelicals regarding Roman Catholicism so that they will continue to reach out to Catholics with the Gospel of grace (see here). Praise God for Dr. De Chirico and I pray the Lord continues to use him to reach out to Roman Catholics.

Order “A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Mary: Mother of God?” from Amazon, here.

RefIn

 

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 12/9/17

I can’t help but think that the transfer of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is somehow going to play a role in the end times. Some news sources have reported that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner (photo right), played a pivotal role in this extremely controversial change. See here. There’s something unsettling about Kushner that I can’t quite put my finger on. Others have commented in the past on his stake in the 666 Fifth Avenue building in Manhattan prior to joining the White House staff. Coincidence? As a side note, for decades the Vatican has campaigned for the role of administrator of Jerusalem as a “politically neutral” party.

In the ongoing feud with Catholic conservatives over his lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees, pope Francis just recently pulled the “ace card” out of his back pocket by declaring his abrogation of previously infallible doctrine to be “authentic magisterium,” meaning it is now the “correct and true teaching of the Catholic faith.” This is BIG news although few are paying attention. In the eyes of conservatives, the pope has moved from “bringing confusion into the church” to outright heresy. What will be their next move?

A few days ago, I posted on Catholicism’s dizzying Christmas calculus, which requires that its members attend mass on both Sunday, Dec. 24th and Christmas Monday, Dec. 25th, under threat of eternal damnation. See here. The priest in this news article tried to cut his parishioners some slack and got his hands slapped.

Conservative evangelicals warn of the Alpha Program’s ecumenical bent and militant Catholics do the same. If your evangelical church elects to sponsor Alpha, it’s time to find a new church.

Televangelist huckster, Paula White, claims she “led Donald Trump to Christ,” but I suspect she led him to the prosperity gospel’s “jackpot jesus” rather than to the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Mr. President, everyone is God’s creation, but only those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone become God’s children. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12.

Militant Catholics want no part of ecumenism with Protestants. I commend them at least for the courage of their convictions, unlike the compromising ecumenical evangelical Judases, who betray the Gospel to win the approval of men.

Yesterday, Friday, Dec. 8th, was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, when Catholics celebrated Mary’s completely sinless life beginning with her conception. This tradition, part of Catholic Mariolatry, flies in the face of Scripture, which says there is none righteous, no, not one. The feast day was a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning Catholics were required to attend mass under threat of eternal damnation, although relatively few did. For more on the anti-Biblical dogma of the Immaculate Conception, see here.

The Catholic church played a major role in allowing this murderer priest to escape justice.

Catholicism’s “three-legged stool” – Broken for all the world to see!

For 500 years, Roman Catholics have boasted that their church alone was blessed with divine authority. Not only did Catholics have Holy Scripture to guide them, they also had “sacred” tradition AND the allegedly infallible teaching magisterium of the pope and his bishops.

Catholics often suggested that their church was like a sturdy, three-legged stool, supported by Scripture, Tradition, and the magisterium, and able to withstand every wind of doctrinal confusion and heresy. As a young child in parochial grammar school, the priests and nuns often used the three-legged stool as a symbol for Catholicism’s unshakeable authority. It was claimed the Holy Spirit would never allow a pope to lead the church into error.

I’ve posted MANY times over the last twenty months regarding the mounting controversy in the Catholic church over pope Francis’ lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees in his “Amoris Laetitia” (Joy of Love) post-synodal apostolic exhortation released in April 2016. The pope and his allies have been engaged in a chess match with church conservatives over this abrogation of doctrine, previously held to be infallible, ever since. This week, it was revealed the pope, in essence, shouted “Check!” (or even “Checkmate!”) to his conservative chessmates by invoking “authentic magisterium” for his doctrinal change. Conservatives aren’t convinced. What will be their next move?

This morning, I was listening to the 12/5/17 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show, and conservative Jesuit priest, Robert McTeigue, spoke dismissively about the pope’s invocation of “authentic magisterium” to support his repeal of infallible doctrine:

“Is it magisterial by nature or magisterial by name only?,” McTeigue half-heartedly conjectured, already quite convinced of the answer. In closing, he remarked, “I just think we need to read the best scholars and look for direction from the bishops and the cardinals to do the right thing.” Unspoken in the priest’s advice, but well understood by the listener, is that only conservative scholars, bishops, and cardinals should be heeded on this issue, not the pope or his allies.

So what we have here is a church being led by a heretical pope. At this point, conservative bishops and priests are still reluctant to call Francis a heretic outright, but they are basically advising Catholics to disobey him. What does that say for Catholicism’s unassailable three-legged stool when one of the legs is broken? If an entire religious system is built upon lies, like the infallibility of popes, what is a Catholic to do?

Catholic friend, turn from your institutional church, repent of your sins 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 preaches God’s Word without compromise. It’s ALL about the Lord, Jesus Christ, not about a proven-to-be-fallible religious institution. The Lord is using this “Amoris Laetitia” controversy to expose Rome’s fallacious claims for all the world to see.

Watchmen signaled the alarm, while Judases opened the gates

Standing Room Only: A Contemporary Exposé of the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Agreement
By Philip De Courcy
Ambassador-Emerald International, 1999, 386 pages

Well known evangelical, Chuck Colson, and Roman Catholic priest, Richard John Neuhaus, forged an alliance back in the early 1990s that eventually included several others from their respective “camps” under the ecumenical umbrella called “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (ECT). In the group’s first declaration, published in 1994, both sides recognized each other as Christians and laid the groundwork for future rapprochement and cooperation.

Many evangelicals reacted swiftly to ECT’s stark compromise and betrayal of the Gospel. Several books were published including this one by Philip De Courcy who currently pastors in Southern California.

De Courcy does a good job of examining the claims of ECT in comparison to Scripture and historical Protestantism. Areas that are examined include:

  • The current lack of discernment within evangelicalism regarding Catholicism.
  • The authority of Scripture versus Catholicism’s reliance on tradition and its magisterium.
  • Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice for sin on Calvary compared to Catholicism’s ongoing sacrifice of the mass.
  • Purgatory
  • Mariolatry
  • Catholicism’s sacerdotal priesthood
  • The pope
  • Justification through the imputed righteous of Jesus Christ versus Catholicism’s teaching of the infusion of sacramental grace leading to higher levels of sanctification and subjective justification.

This book was very informative and would be helpful for anyone interested in learning the differences between Catholicism and Biblical Christianity. One criticism I have is the chapter headings could have been more sharply focused to assist the reader  (e.g., the chapter on purgatory is titled “Heaven By The Back Door”), but this is a minor issue.

While most evangelicals were unaware of ECT and its ecumenical efforts back in 1994, some theologians, pastors, and para-church leaders were swayed. Thanks to ECT and other ecumenical initiatives, the emphasis gradually shifted from evangelizing Catholics to “dialoguing” with them in order to “better understand and learn from each other.” The compromise and betrayal continues, but there are still many faithful pastors and Christians out there who have not bent the knee to Rome.

Used copies of “Standing Room Only: A Contemporary Exposé of the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Agreement” are available from Amazon, here.

Are some Roman Catholics Christians?

I ran across a critical comment on Word Press the other day from an ecumenical evangelical, something to the effect of, “there are jerks out there who put forth the idea that all Catholics are not Christians.”

The comment was not directed to me personally, but I’d like to take this opportunity to respond to it.

I do acknowledge that there are some hardcore fundamentalists out there who claim there are no Catholics who are Christians, but I am not one them. Please allow me to explain.

Attending or becoming a member of a particular denominational church, whether it be Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc., doesn’t make anyone a Christian. Every person must individually repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior by faith alone. No one is “grandfathered” into the body of Christ. But some churches are more helpful in pointing people to Christ than others. And there are some churches that are outright hindrances to salvation. Some churches preach the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and those in attendance are able to hear the Gospel and respond to the invitation to accept Christ. Other churches do not preach the Gospel and do not invite attendees/members to receive Christ by faith alone.

The Roman Catholic church teaches a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. It’s a complicated system with many tangents, but a succinct summary of Catholic salvation is that a person must be baptized and then participate in the church’s sacraments as required, to receive graces so they can successfully obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and remain in a mortal-sinless “state of grace” so as to hopefully merit Heaven when they die. No Catholic will deny that works play a major role in meriting/achieving salvation. None of that is the Gospel.

Now back to the original issue. Are there some people who identify as Catholics who are blood-bought, born-again Christians? I believe there are. There are some Catholics who were somehow exposed to the Gospel of grace, maybe by reading a book or the Bible, or watching a television show, or attending an evangelical service, or conversing with a Christian friend, and they genuinely accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. There are other Catholics, perhaps, who became so spiritually exhausted with Catholicism’s works-righteousness treadmill, that they threw themselves at the feet of Christ and asked Him to save them, much like the repentant thief on the cross and the repentant tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. These Catholics have, in essence, become Christians in spite of their church. Some of these new-born Christians leave the Catholic church immediately because they understand Catholic doctrine is not compatible with the Gospel. Others linger. Some out of fear. Some out of ignorance. Some out of stubbornness. But as they continue to read and study God’s Word and are obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, they will eventually leave. God’s Word and Catholic doctrine are irreconcilable.

So, I would absolutely NOT claim that “all Catholics are not Christians.” There are some Catholics who are saved in spite of their church. There are many good Baptist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches that preach the Gospel, and there are many bad Baptist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches that don’t preach the Gospel (most of the bad ones belong to liberal, mainline denominations). But in regards to Catholic churches, there are ZERO good ones because NONE preach the Gospel of grace.


Is Catholicism a false religion? Are Catholics saved?
https://www.gotquestions.org/catholicism.html

Critical moment for Catholicism as pope Francis moves from “confusion” to heresy by invoking “authentic magisterium”

The Catholic church was thrown into turmoil in April 2016 when pope Francis released his “Amoris Laetitia” (Joy of Love) post-synodal apostolic exhortation, which seemed to allow communion for remarried divorcees, an apparent abrogation of doctrine previously held to be infallible. It was obvious that pragmatic Francis was intending to “bend the rules” in order to make the church more welcoming for divorcees, but conservatives and traditionalists were aghast at this change in “unchangeable” doctrine. Conservative cardinals sent their “dubia” (formal questions) to the pope, requesting that he “clarify” (i.e., reverse)  the exhortation, but no reply was forthcoming. An increasing number of conservatives joined the chorus charging Francis with “bringing confusion into the church,” but stopped short of directly accusing him of heresy.

Yesterday, conservative Catholic web sites were abuzz (see stories below) as pope Francis has done the unimaginable and has thrown the weight of “authentic magisterium” behind his lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees. It’s no longer a matter of the pope causing “confusion” and uncertainty, the pope has now clarified his position and made it official dogma by invoking “authentic magisterium.”

Francis has thrown down the gauntlet. How will conservative and traditionalist Catholics respond? Will they now have the courage, honesty, and integrity to pronounce the pope a heretic? But how can they remain faithful to a heretical pope? Catholics have always boasted that the Holy Spirit would guide their pope from leading the church into doctrinal error. How do they explain this? Since the dogma of papal infallibility has been shown to be spurious, what does that say about all the other man-made Catholic traditions that have no basis in Scripture?

Catholic friend, you need to put emotions aside and objectively examine the crumbling foundations of your institutional church. Forsake the legalistic chains of Roman Catholicism and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Accept Christ and ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches the Word of God without compromise.

Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed The World

I’m a bit behind on my reviews, so I’m going to keep the next several somewhat brief.

Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed The World
Directed by David Batty, narrated by Hugh Bonneville, and featuring Padraic Delaney as Martin Luther.
PBS, 2017, 120 minutes

I missed this docu-drama when it aired on PBS back in September as part of the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, so I recently ordered the DVD. I enjoyed “Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed The World” quite a bit. It’s clear that this was a low-budget production and written with a wide audience in mind, but it surprisingly tells Luther’s story quite accurately, including the reclaiming of the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Multiple sound bites from the most powerful Catholic clergyman in America, cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, are included in the first half of the film. Dolan concedes that the Catholic church was exceedingly corrupt at the time of the Reformation and he praises Luther for his zeal. However, he makes sure to point out that some monarchs supported Luther only as part of an effort to usurp territory held by Rome. No debate with that, but leave it to Dolan to draw attention to the temporal sidebars of the Reformation rather than to the spiritual battle of whether man is saved by Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit or by the Biblical Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. The film does focus on the moment when the Holy Spirit used Romans 1:17 to enlighten Luther to the Gospel of grace.

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

I’m not altogether pleased with the title of this documentary. It infers that the Gospel was Luther’s “idea.” Rather, Luther, along with others, recovered the New Testament Gospel that had been buried under layer upon layer of ecclesiastical ritual, tradition, legalism, and ceremony.

Praise the Lord for Luther and all the Reformers who were used by the Holy Spirit to return the church to the Gospel of grace. I’m definitely going to watch this film again. Order from Amazon here.

Postscript: Catholics should have absolutely zero objections to Martin Luther and the Reformation at this point because their current pope says even atheists can merit Heaven if they follow their conscience.