Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Response to the Contra-Catholic Arguments of Protestant Pastor Bill Keller

I received an e-mail (as part of my work with the Coming Home Network) from a Catholic attempting to assist a Catholic friend, who is fond of the newsletter received from the Protestant pastor and prayer warrior Bill Keller (raised Catholic), who runs the Live Prayer ministry: once a TV show and now an Internet webcast.

Apparently, Rev. Keller was concerned about the recent visit of the Holy Father to America, and so he sent out a message critiquing the Catholic Church. It's rather conventional Baptist-type criticism (though not, blessedly, anti-Catholic). But, as you can see, it took a lot of time and effort to give some sort of reply to each falsehood and (no doubt, unintentional) misrepresentation of Catholic teaching. I could do it more easily because I've written about all the topics that he covers.

Many Catholics, I suspect, would be overwhelmed by the relentless, cumulative nature of the criticisms, even if they knew that what he asserted was false. Well, that is my job as an apologist, to respond to such things! Not everyone can spend hours doing this kind of reply. I hope it is helpful to readers. Rev. Keller's words will be in bolded typeface.

* * * * *
Pope Benedict XVI comes to the United States!

As someone who for nearly 2 decades now has rebuked and rejected those extremists who call the Roman Catholic Church a cult, the "whore of Babylon," the anti-Christ," I have also rebuked and rejected the extremists on the other side who made the claim that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church and that you are not even saved unless you are part of that church. Both sides are equally wrong! In a document released last July, Pope Benedict XVI, the head of 1.1 billion Catholics worldwide, stated that, "other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation." This is not true and I pray that during his visit, the Pope will correct this Biblically false statement.
Every Christian group believes that it has the truest theology, or else it would hardly have a reason for existence. The Catholic claim that there is only one true Church is simply hearkening back to the views of the Church fathers and, indeed, of the Bible itself, that knows nothing of denominations. See my papers:

The Catholic Doctrine of the One True Church (New CDF Clarification): Antithetical to Ecumenism? (Dialogue with Michael Patton)

"How Does One Decide Which Church is True?"

Compelling Biblical Evidence Against Denominations and "Primary vs. Secondary" Doctrines

Denominationalism and Sectarianism

The Biblical Evidence for Priests

Apostles Can Become Bishops (Apostolic Succession)

Dialogue on Protestant vs. Catholic Ecclesiologies (Dave Armstrong vs. Dr. EL Hamilton)

Bishops in the New Testament and the Early Church

There is a lot of misunderstanding, however, about our claim that no one is saved apart from the Catholic Church. We do not believe that every person has to necessarily be a formal member of the Catholic Church to be saved. We think that if a person fully understands what the Catholic Church teaches, and rejects it, then they cannot be saved, but many do not understand our teachings, and we believe that God takes that into consideration. See the papers on this issue:

Brief Overview of the Vexed "No Salvation Outside the Church" Issue

Dialogue: Does "Salvation Outside the Church" Disprove Catholic Claims (By Internal Contradiction)?

The Catholic Church's View of Non-Catholic Christians (Karl Adam)

On Salvation Outside the Catholic Church (+ Discussion) (Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.)

The Catholic Church thinks that Protestants are fully incorporated into the Body of Christ by virtue of baptism, and that manyy graces are available within Protestantism, leading even unto salvation, if a person is unacquainted with Catholic teachings. See:

How Catholics View Protestants
This is a perfect example why I share with you so often that our final authority in all matters is the BIBLE, not whatever some man, even the Pope, says.
Catholics believe that all doctrines are in accord with; in harmony with the Bible. I've devoted my life largely to demonstrating this (with now, 16 books and over 1900 Internet papers and websites). I also demonstrate how various Protestant doctrines are not in harmony with Holy Scripture.
Liveprayer mounted a major prayer effort as this new Pope was being elected and asked God to bless his time of leadership. The Pope is a man, no more special than any other man or woman God calls to serve Him.
Of course he is more special, just as St. Peter was among the disciples and apostles (and he is his successor through an unbroken historical succession). See the abundant biblical indication for this in my papers:

50 New Testament Proofs for Petrine Primacy and the Papacy

Reply to a Critique of my 50 New Testament Proofs for Petrine Primacy and the Papacy (Dave Armstrong vs. Jason Engwer)

Second Refutation of the Reductio ad Absurdum Argument for a "Pauline Papacy" (Dave Armstrong vs. Jason Engwer)

Dialogue: Is St. Paul Superior to St. Peter?

Reflections on the Papacy: The Primacy of St. Peter and Biblical Evidences

The Biblical, Primitive Papacy: St. Peter the "Rock": Scholarly Opinion (Mostly Protestant)
The Biblical, Primitive Papacy: St. Peter & the "Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven": Scholarly Opinion (Mostly Protestant) (+ Part II)
He is flesh and bone, fallible and a sinner like all men are.
To the contrary, though he is but a man, there is biblical evidence for infallibility of both popes and Church councils. We don't disagree that popes are sinners like the rest of us. We don't teach that he is impeccable, or without sin. God can preserve the teaching of a mere man from error, just as he preserved the biblical text from error (infallibility) and went even far beyond that: positively inspiring the words of the Bible (theopneustos, or "God-breathed"). This is a greater miracles than infallibility, so if God can do one thing, He can just as easily do the lesser thing. But here is the relevant biblical data:

Biblical Evidence for Papal and Church Infallibility
I remember specifically praying that he would have a heart and passion to see the lost won for Christ. Sola scriptura, "by Scripture alone," was a foundational doctrinal principle of Martin Luther's reformation. There is no other authority outside of God's Word, and any teachings in contradiction to the Bible are heresy!
We agree with the latter statement and do not believe any Catholic teachings are in contradiction to the Bible. As for sola Scriptura (the Bible as the only final and infallible authority), that is not a biblical teaching; nor was it held by the apostles or Church Fathers. I have a ton of material on this topic, collected on two web pages:

The Bible, Church, Tradition, & Canon

The Bible: Sola Scriptura

Here are a few good introductory papers along these lines:

Tradition is Not a Dirty Word

Fictional Dialogue on Sola Scriptura ("Bible Alone")

Quick Ten-Step Refutation of Sola Scriptura
The Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:6-30) vs. Sola Scriptura and James White (Dave Armstrong vs. James White)

The Old Testament, the Ancient Jews, and Sola Scriptura
Sola Scriptura: An Unbiblical Tradition: Refutation of Dr. John MacArthur and Richard Bennett

The Perspicuity (Clearness) of Scripture

Material vs. Formal Sufficiency of Scripture
The Bible teaches that the church (ekklesia) is a body of Believers. The true church according to Scriptures is made up of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and hold the Bible to be God's inspired, inerrant Word, representing Absolute Truth and our final authority in all matters.
This is not true. The Bible is a supreme authority, yes, but it has to be interpreted in line with the Church. That is seen in many examples given in the papers above; most notably the Jerusalem Council, recorded in Acts 15. The Church also includes sinners in its ranks, and has visible elements by which it can be identified:

The Visible, Hierarchical, Apostolic Church

Biblical Evidence for a Visible (Not Invisible) Church (+ Discussion)

Biblical Evidence for Sinners in the Church

Sins and Sinners in the Catholic Church

Sinful Church Leaders
We read in the Book of Acts about the first church birthed in Jerusalem,
Exactly, and that is where we see infallible authority of the Church, not just the Bible. Sola Scriptura is nowhere taught in the Bible.
and churches began to spring up all over the known world as the Gospel of Jesus Christ was being preached. It was nearly 400 years AD before what we know of today as the Roman Catholic Church emerged.
Hardly. We see clear signs of Catholic doctrines such as the Real presence in the Eucharist, bishops, a centralized hierarchy centered in Rome, baptismal regeneration, the communion of saints, Mariology, and so forth, from a very early period. Doctrines had to develop more fully, sure, but that is true of all Christian doctrines, so that the trinity was more fully developed at the Council of Nicaea in 325 and at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 (the doctrine of the Two Natures of Christ). See my pages for the Church Fathers and development for a great deal of argumentation along these lines:

Fathers of the Church (Patristics)

Development of Doctrine
By that time, there were already thousands of Christian churches established throughout the world. What makes a true Christian church is faith in Jesus Christ and adherence to the Bible as God's Word.
And what does that Bible teach? That is the question. What does one do when two or more of these churches disagree with each other on doctrine? The NT knows nothing of doctrinal relativism. There was one truth, period. So the trick is to determine where that lies. The Church Fathers always appealed to history and apostolic succession" tracing back the true Catholic doctrine and opposing those who could not trace their doctrines back to the apostles: like the Arians (precursors of today's Jehovah's Witnesses, who deny that Jesus is God). The Arians appealed to Bible alone because they couldn't follow their heresy back to the beginning. It began in the 4th century.
So for Pope Benedict to state that all non-Roman Catholic churches are not true churches is a lie and not what the Bible teaches.
All we are doing is saying that the Bible teaches that there is but one "Church" and that we claim to be that Church. If someone wishes to argue that denominationalism and more than one Church can be found in the Bible, then let them make that argument. I contend that it cannot be done. Nor can a solely invisible Church be found in the Bible. The first thing to determine, then, is the nature of the Chuch. Then one has to figure out if this entity "The Church" exists and how to identify it.
Most troubling, however, is the Pope's claim that salvation is only achieved through the Roman Catholic Church. I hate to give the Pope a Theology 101 lesson, but there is only one way to be saved and that is through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Period!
We agree with Protestants that salvation comes through Christ alone through grace alone. God uses the Church and human instruments to convey that salvation to men. The two are not mutually exclusive. See, for example, these biblical passages:
1 Corinthians 9:22 I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

2 Corinthians 4:15 For it [his many sufferings: 4:8-12,17] is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Ephesians 3:2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you...

Ephesians 4:29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to yourself and to your teaching: hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Peter 4:8b-10 . . . love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.

We do not claim that the Catholic Church is the ultimate cause or origin of salvation. That is God alone. We are saying that God uses His own Church: that He set up by His own will, as His instrument in salvation, because human beings are not isolated individuals, with no connection to each other.
We agree with Protestants that man is not saved by works (i.e., the Pelagian heresy that asserts this is false). I have many papers about this:

Did the Council of Trent Teach That Man is Saved By His Own Works?

Dialogue on the Alleged Semi-Pelagianism of the Catholic Catechism (Dave Armstrong vs. Frank Turk)

Dialogue: "Doing Something" for Salvation (Dave Armstrong vs. Craig Kott)

Catholic-Baptist Dialogue on "Being Good Enough" to Go to Heaven, etc. (Dave Armstrong vs. "Grubb")

Soteriology and Creation (Man's Cooperation, Pelagianism, Nature and Grace) (Dave Armstrong vs. Peter J. Leithart)

1 Corinthians 3:9 and Man's Cooperation With God

Council of Trent: Canons of Justification
Sola fides, "by faith alone." The only way a person can be saved is by giving their heart and life to Jesus by faith working in conjunction with God's grace (Ephesians 2:8,9).
The distinctive Protestant doctrine of faith alone is distinct from grace alone through Christ alone. It is not a biblical, apostolic, or patristic doctrine. Here are some of my writings against sola fide:

A Fictional Dialogue on Justification and Salvation

Church Fathers vs. the "Reformation Pillar" of Faith Alone (Sola Fide) [Including "Revised Protestant Standard" Variant Readings] (+ Discussion)

Reflections on Faith and Works and Initial Justification

More "Catholic Verses" and Biblical Defenses of Catholicism: On Sanctification as Part of Salvation, and Merit and "Doing Something For Salvation" (+ Discussion)
This notion that being part of a church can save you is not only anti-Biblical, it is pure blasphemy! In essence, what Pope Benedict is saying is that anyone outside of the Roman Catholic Church is not saved! That is NOT what the Bible teaches and is the type of statement I would expect out of a cult leader, not the head of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics!
Nor is it what we teach. It is the Calvinist view that consigns people to hell solely because of an accident of birth, or never having heard the gospel message of Jesus Christ. We say only that whoever is saved is so in part because of the aid of the Catholic Church, whether they are aware of it or not, not that they will be damned if they are not formally a member of the Catholic Church.
As a side note, just last year Pope Benedict correctly stated that Islam was spread by violence and this false religions founder, Mohammed, was "evil." Sadly, he later apologized and even went to visit a Mosque in a peace making effort to those who are following the lies of Islam to hell. I chastised the Pope at the time for being a coward and apologizing for simply telling the truth, and further chastised him for visiting a Mosque for any other reason except to tell those following the lies of Islam how to be saved.
See my papers:

Dialogue: Should the Pope Kiss The Koran?: Ecumenism as an Effort to Acknowledge Partial Truth Wherever it is Found (Dave Armstrong vs. David Palm)

Should a Christian Ever Contribute to a Mosque Building Fund? / Early Christians and Jewish Synagogue and Temple Worship (+ Discussion) (Dave Armstrong vs. Grubb)

Does the Catholic Church Equate Allah and Yahweh? (+ Discussion)
It appears now that the Pope doesn't even know how to be saved and I wonder if he is trusting Jesus by faith or his church for his own salvation?
No Catholic trusts the "Church" for his or her salvation. We simply believe that there is such a thing as a visible, historical Church, with apostolic succession, that has authority, and which can bind its members to believe certain things, and require them to reject heretical, false doctrines, and that this is clearly taught in the Bible.
I find it very troubling that the Pope would seek to placate those who are following the false religion of Islam to the depths of hell, yet has no problem telling Bible-believing Christians who have put their faith in Jesus Christ that unless they are part of the Roman Catholic Church they are not saved!
Ecumenism, apologetics and evangelism are all distinct and important tasks, but they are not mutually exclusive. We live in a world with others who do not believe as we do. This conflict causes wars and much misery. So, while not watering down our own beliefs, it is good and worthwhile to build bridges with others insofar as we can do so without forsaking our own beliefs and principles. The pope, as a hugely important world figure, does all these things.

The very reaction of Catholic critics proves this, because we get misery no matter what we do. If we claim there is one Church through which we can be saved, we're accused of being narrow and dogmatic. But if we are ecumenical and reach out to Muslims as much as we can, then we are accused of forsaking the same gospel that we assert in connection with the one true Church and One True Doctrine. We can't win for losing. In effect, unless we are Protestants, we'll always be roundly condemned.
With over 200,000 of the apx 2.4 million subscribers to the Daily Devotional being part of the Roman Catholic Church, I am already prepared for the onslaught of hatred that will be heading my way in the coming days.
I have no hatred at all; just compassion and concern for the undereducated, and information to make them more knowledgeable about what they reject, so that they might even seriously consider Catholic truth claims one day.
That saddens me since one of the things I am most grateful for is how God has used Liveprayer to bring unity to the badly divided Body of Christ. Over 1/3 of those who receive the Daily Devotional each day are not Christians. Of the 2/3 who are, they are equally divided among those who go to Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Independent, and Catholic Churches. Ever since I started my public ministry in 1992, one of my greatest "big picture" goals was to help bring the Body of Christ together as one as our Lord prayed in John 17 just hours before going to the cross. Dividing the Body is something satan has been doing since the first church in the Book of Acts, what Paul warned about quite often in his letters to the churches, and what makes Christ's church so weak and ineffective today.
Nothing is more divisive than the unbiblical doctrine of denominationalism. True unity will only come through doctrinal unity, not a touchy-feely, "least common denominator" brand of low-church Protestantism. That has never brought about an end of division; only a weakening of orthodox Christian doctrine.
You see, my message then and my message now has really never changed. It is a universal message that plays to people in and out of the church. "If you don't know Jesus by faith you need to make the decision for Him today. If you do know the Lord, you need to fully surrender your life and allow Him to use you. No matter what problems you may be facing in your life today, Jesus is the answer!"
That's a fully Catholic message. What is not Catholic is to pit Jesus against His Church, that He Himself founded.
As I have shared with you often, when you die, there will be only two lines in Heaven, There won't be a line for Whites and one for Blacks. There won't be a line for Catholics and one for Protestants. There will be one line for those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith, and one for those who do not! Trust me, when you take your last breath and stand before God, He is not going to ask you the name of the church you went to, only if you know Jesus as your Savior by faith!
Not quite. Actually, all that we know of such a scenario, as revealed in the Bible, shows us that God does not ask about "having Jesus as your personal Savior" at all. That's not biblical. It's Protestant lingo. The Bible teaches us that what God discusses at each person's individual judgment is what they did in their life; what they did with the faith that He gave them by His grace alone. I have documented no less than 50 examples of this:

Final Judgment in Scripture is Always Associated With Works And Never With Faith Alone (50 Passages) (+ Discussion)
In dealing with a worldwide audience of over 2.4 million people every day, I am VERY well aware of the incredible divisions there are in Christ's Body. Perhaps no division is as great as the one between Catholics and non-Catholics. The fact is, the Roman Catholic Church has a long and well-documented history. However, the reality is, it is simply a
denomination or group of churches, no different than a group of Southern Baptist, United Methodist, or Assemblies of God Churches.
None of those can be traced in historical continuity all the way back to the apostles. The Methodists derived from the Anglicans, who derived from the lustfulness of Henry VIII and his desire to break off of the Catholic Church for the reason of wanting to divorce his wife. Hardly a biblical origin . . . The Assemblies of God are only a little more than a century old, derived from the holiness movement of the 19th century, that was an offshoot of Methodism. The Baptists began with the Anabaptists in the 16th century. The Catholic Church began with Jesus commissioning Peter as the first pope in Matthew 16, and the infallible Church Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). There is no comparison. No Protestant denomination can demonstrate that it is in line with the consensus of the Fathers and the Bible. Eastern Orthodox is the only viable alternative to Catholicism, and we consider the Orthodox very close to us, and indeed, a "sister" Church.
Each group of churches or denominations has their own rich heritage, traditions, and leaders.
And they contradict each other, which means falsehood is necessarily present, and this is blatantly contrary to the Biblical teaching of the oneness of doctrine. The devil, not God, is the father of falsehood and lies.
The critical point is that while each group of churches or denominations have their own unique differences in regard to different doctrinal issues, what makes them CHRISTIAN churches are the foundational element of the Christian faith.
The Bible nowhere sanctions doctrinal contradictions. There is "one Lord, on baptism, one faith" (Paul).
Who Jesus Christ is, that salvation is through faith in Christ alone, and the Bible is God's inspired, inerrant Word and our final authority in all matters.
All Christians agree with that, not just Protestants.
That's not a biblical doctrine, as I have demonstrated in many papers on ecclesiology (doctrine of the Church), listed above. Others can be found on my Church Page.
Now, let me address some of the issues about the Roman Catholic Church that have led many who know the Lord to leave that church and has caused much of the division with non-Catholics. Three of the 700+ retired ministers who serve the Lord by helping me each day respond to the over 40,000 emails that we receive are Roman Catholic Priests. Over my years of ministry, I have personally preached in over 1/2 dozen Catholic Churches (and I can assure you that I shared the unadulterated truth of the Gospel and gave an altar call as I do whenever I preach in public), and the best we can tell, approx. 200,000 of the 2.4 million plus subscribers to the Daily Devotional are Catholics. I have read and studied the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church and as a student of church history am very well aware of what the Catholic Church teaches.
I wouldn't get that impression at all, in reading this . . . this person labors under many common misperceptions as to what Catholics teach, and is unaware of the historical and ideological origins of doctrines where Protestants decided to depart from the previous precedent of 1500 years.
The problem most non-Catholics have with the Catholic Church is what I call their non-Biblical traditions, which by the way, ALL groups of churches or denominations have.
Amen! I deny that our traditions are "non-Biblical" in the sense that they contradict the Bible at all. Each doctrine has to be discussed on its own, in light of biblical data that is relevant to it.
I don't have the time to go through a complete list but the main ones are how they deal with the mother of Jesus, Mary. She was a virgin when she was immaculately conceived by the Holy Spirit, however, she was a person of flesh and blood like you and I
No argument there . . .
and was born with sin just like you and I were.
That's not what Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, believed. He held to a version of the Immaculate Conception very similar to the Catholic belief. I have demonstrated that Mary's sinlessness (the main element of the Immaculate Conception) is taught in the Bible itself:

"All Have Sinned . . . " (Mary?)

Luke 1:28 (Full of Grace) and the Immaculate Conception: Linguistic and Exegetical Considerations

Dialogue on the Exegesis of Luke 1:28 ("Full of Grace"), and the Immaculate Conception (Dave Armstrong vs. Ken Temple)

Dialogue with an Evangelical Protestant on Catholic Mariology (including an explicitly biblical argument for the Immaculate Conception, from Luke 1:28, related exegesis, and the meaning of grace) (Dave Armstrong vs. Jack DisPennett)
She also had other children as we know from the Scriptures.
We don't know that at all, which is why Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, the English "Reformers" and many Protestants since that time (such as John Wesley) have accepted Mary's perpetual virginity. See:

Replies to Protestants' Alleged Biblical Disproofs of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary (Dave Armstrong vs. Ken Temple)

Dialogue on Supposed Biblical Disproofs of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary: Round Two (+ Part Two / Part Three) (Dave Armstrong vs. Ken Temple)

Dialogue on Supposed Biblical Disproofs of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary: Round Three (Dave Armstrong vs. Ken Temple)

Luther, Calvin, and Other Early Protestants on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Why Catholics Believe in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Blog Group Discussion on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, With Protestants (Part II - includes the entire section on this subject from my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, starting here)
There is nothing wrong with honoring her for the incredible role God chose her to play in her life, but she is NOT a deity
The Catholic Church does not teach that Mary is a god. And this person claims to have studied and understood our doctrines?
and praying to her is as meaningless as it is to pray to any other person who is dead (including those the Catholic Church has deemed to be "saints") or alive. There is only ONE person we pray to and that is Jesus.
We ask her to intercede for us, because the saints in heaven are more alive than we are. The biblical evidence in favor of such a communion of saints, is abundant:

The Communion of Saints: Biblical Overview

Reflections on the Communion of Saints

Dialogue on Objections to the Communion of Saints

Witnesses of Hebrews 12:1

Answers For An Inquiring "Bible Christian" on "Praying to Dead Saints" (Including a Newly-Discovered Biblical Argument For Same)

Intercession and Invocation of the Saints: How is it Different From Magic?

Biblical Evidence (Suggested by Protestants Like Jonathan Edwards) For Saints in Heaven Being Aware of Earthly Events (+ Discussion)

Dead Saints: Are They Playing Harps on Clouds or Interceding for Us?
Dialogue on Dead Saints (Are They Playing Harps on Clouds or Interceding for Us?) (Dave Armstrong vs. "Grubb")

Samuel the Prophet Appearing to Saul as an Argument for the Communion of Saints: Clarification For Protestant Critic Douglas Mabry (+ Discussion)
Another big issue in the Catholic Church is Communion. The tradition of the Catholic Church is that the wafer representing the body of our Lord and the wine representing His blood literally becomes the body and blood of Christ. That is a very real theological argument that Scripture does not support,
That is hardly the case:

"Is This God?" (Treatise on the Blessed Eucharist, including Critique by Protestant Polemicist Jason Vanezia, and Counter-Reply)

A Fictional Dialogue on the Real Presence in the Eucharist

Reflections on the Holy Eucharist
but I don't see that as an area for major contention. The Bible exhorts us to take Communion often in remembrance of the sacrifice of our Lord and there are those who believe based on certain verses it becomes the literal body and blood of Christ.
Including all the Church Fathers:

History of the Doctrine of the Eucharist: Nine Protestant Scholarly Sources

St. Augustine's Belief in the Real Presence

Clarifications (Under Fire), of St. Augustine's Eucharistic Doctrine, and a Counter-Challenge to Protestants Who Try to "Co-Opt" Him

And Martin Luther:

The Protestant Sacramentarian Controversies (Calvin vs. Luther vs. Zwingli)

Martin Luther Refutes Zwingli and Other Deniers of the Real Presence
Another issue that I don't think is that important is confessing your sins to a Priest. The Bible tells us to confess our sins one to another, so there is nothing wrong if it is your Priest you choose to do that with. However, please understand that NO MAN, only Jesus can forgive you of your sins since it was only Jesus who died for your sins.
Another false dichotomy. The Bible and the Catholic Church teach that priests represent God and offer absolution, which is forgiveness coming from God, through the priest, to the penitent. See:

Biblical Evidence for Formal Forgiveness of Sins and Absolution (Confession)
Another issue that is critical to talk about is salvation. There are some who teach in error (just like some non-Catholic churches do) that you can do enough good works to earn your way into Heaven which is clearly refuted by Ephesians 2:8-9.
The Catholic Church does not teach salvation by works (see the relevant papers above).
Those who teach this point to the passage in James that "Faith without works is dead." The fact is that passage was written to people who were already saved. The Bible clearly teaches that a person who is truly saved will have "fruit" or good works follow them. These good works do not save them but flow from their salvation.
This is what Protestants teach, but it is not found in the Bible, which teaches an organic relationship between faith and works, justification and sanctification.
Lastly is the Bible. The Catholic Bible has 6 historical books known as the
It's seven books, and we call them the deuterocanonical books.
that deal with those 400 years from the end of Malachi, the end of the Old Testament, to the start of the New Testament. These books were never found to be inspired or inerrant
That's not true. They were accepted by the early Church and all through history up till Protestantism arrived 15 centuries after Christ:

The "Apocrypha": Why It's Part of the Bible

Reply Concerning the Canonicity of the So-Called "Apocrypha" (Dave Armstrong vs. Dr. John Ankerberg & Dr. John Weldon)

Dialogue on Objections to the "Apocrypha" (Dave Armstrong vs. Dr. Norman Geisler)
and thus are not part of the 66 books we call the Bible.
That's completely arbitrary. Protestants have no way to determine an authoritative canon except by Catholic Church authority. The same councils that decreed the canonicity of the 27 NT books also accepted these seven books as part of the OT canon.
The Bible is God's inspired, inerrant Word, representing Absolute Truth and our final authority in all matters. It, and it alone is our authority and overrides any teachings or traditions of man.
Including the many false Protestant traditions (many of which I have here critiqued).
Since the 1970's, there has been a very active and growing Charismatic group within the Roman Catholic Church that is as Pentecostal as any Pentecostal Church you will ever attend. Also, in the past 10 years, there is a growing and strong evangelical movement within the Catholic Church. They are working within the Church to bring back a greater emphasis on the Word of God and on the message of salvation and less emphasis on the traditions of the Catholic Church.
These things are not mutually exclusive. There is apostolic traditions and mere traditions of men. We accept the former, and deny the latter (which is what, in fact, all false teachings of Protestantism are).
Many people who know Christ as their Savior by faith have chosen to stay in the Catholic Church. They are just as saved, love the Lord, and honor His Word as much as anyone who attends a non-Catholic Church.

Good. But usually, in the final analysis, if these Catholics are regarded as "saved" in this line of thought, it is (so it is said) in spite of all the false Catholic teaching, not because of it.
Are there people in the Catholic Church who aren't saved? Of course! Just like there are people in any church who are not saved. My friend, your Catholic church can't save you, your Methodist Church can't save you, your Baptist Church can't save you, your Pentecostal Church can't save you, only faith in Jesus Christ can save you! Being baptized can't save you,
The Bible says it can:

A Fictional Dialogue on Infant Baptism

Dialogue on the Biblical Evidence for Infant Baptism and Baptismal Regeneration (Dave Armstrong vs. Jack DisPennett)

the faith of your parents can't save you, no amount of good works can save you, ONLY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST CAN SAVE YOU!!!
I love you and care about you so much.
I watch daily as Satan works to divide the Body of Christ, and perhaps there is no division as great as the one between Catholics and non-Catholics. Pope Benedict greatly contributed to that division last summer by stating that all non-Catholic churches are not true churches and you can only be saved through the Roman Catholic Church. If the Pope really believes this, he is in complete rebellion to what the Bible teaches!
Quite the contrary, as I have already shown. It is denominationalism and doctrinal relativism and deliberate separation from the institutional Church (the sin of schism) which is utterly unacceptable, according to the Bible.
Catholics around the world who have a real relationship with Christ MUST SPEAK OUT! You cannot let the heresy of one man, even the Pope, turn your great church which is based on God's Word into a cult. That is why God gave us His Word, so that we don't have to rely on what men say, but on what He says!
A "cult" is a group that denies the Holy Trinity. Pope Benedict XVI has declared nothing that is not true.
My greatest prayer of all is that during his visit, as tens of thousands of people gather to hear the Pope, tens of millions more watching by television, that he would clearly lay out the fact that we are saved by our faith in Christ alone and challenge all who hear him to surrender their hearts and lives by faith to Jesus. It could be the greatest altar call ever given if he would let the Holy Spirit guide him and use him to bring the greatest truth of all to those who will be listening to him speak.
We teach this already.
Martin Luther's break with the Catholic Church took place at a time when the Catholic Church was more of a political entity than a spiritual one. Luther wanted to get back to the foundation of the faith, that being salvation is through God's grace and our faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), or sola fides, and the final authority of God's Word, or sola scriptura.
Neither of these two "solas" is a biblical doctrine, as I have shown times without number.
What makes us Christians is that we are bonded by the shed blood of Jesus Christ and God's Word, not the teachings of men or the name on the building we choose to worship in, but the Truth of the Bible and our faith in Jesus Christ!!!
There is no need to pit the Bible against the Church. This Bible teaches that there is such a thing as a Church, and that its nature is like what we see in the Catholic Church.

No comments: