Sunday, December 9, 2007

We have looked at seven of the most serious assaults of the Roman Catholic Church on biblical Christianity. To review, here they are:

1. The Supremacy of God’s Words in the Bible

2. The Sufficiency of God’s Son

3. The Singularity of God’s Gospel

4. The Sovereign Grace of God

5. The Security of God’s Children

6. The Sanctity of God’s Church

7. The Severity of God’s Judgment

We have looked at each of these briefly giving the Catholic view and then the Scriptural rebuttal which, in every case, contradicts and trumps the RC doctrine. I am troubled when I read of a movement forming (which is actually one of many), Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) which is signed by leaders of both the RC church as well as the Evangelical church (signed in 1994, 1997, 2002 and most recently in 2005). ECT says:

We give thanks to God that in recent years many Evangelicals and Catholics, ourselves among them, have been able to express a common faith in Christ and so to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We confess together one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; we confess Jesus Christ the Incarnate Son of God; we affirm the binding authority of Holy Scripture, God’s inspired Word; and we acknowledge the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds as faithful witnesses to that Word.

The very last thing I can ever think to do would be to sign an agreement with another religion that anathematizes (i.e. damns as worthy of eternal hell) those who believe in justification by faith alone apart from human merit. The RC church teaches in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1459:

The sinner must "make satisfaction for" or "expiate" his sins. This satisfaction is also called "penance."

And again in paragraph 1477:

"In this way they attained their own salvation and cooperated in saving their brothers.”

I am troubled by this. If there is a Christian who says he can join hands in agreeing with the Catholics who deny the very fundamentals of true biblical Christianity, then have reason to approach these individuals, with love, and exhort them to stop treating the RC church as “brothers and sisters” but to start evangelizing them as lost sinners heading to hell who are in desperate need of a Savior.

In conclusion to this, what can we as bible-believing, blood bought, heaven-bound saved sinners do? Let me suggest three applications:

1) Expose the deeds of darkness by faithful expositional and biblical preaching (Eph 5:11)
2) Be on guard so as to not be carried away by every wind of teaching (2 Pet 3:16-18)
3) Pray and evangelize to your Roman Catholic friends with patience, love, gentleness and humility (1 Pet 3:15)

One final note, one of the best resources out there for Christians to learn about Catholicism is Mike Gendron’s website. He has an excellent page entitled, Hard questions to ask a good catholic. This is an invaluable resource!

Your pastor and friend,

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

11 comments:

TheDen said...

Hello,

I've been reviewing your posts about Catholicism.

The only thing it's telling me is that you don't understand it.

Please stop attacking and mocking something that you don't understand.

I would appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Dear TheDen,

MAy I suggest you read Robert Reymond's excellent work (well researched and documented ) on Catholicism...
"The Reformation's Conflict With Rome - And Why It Must Continue"
By: Robert L. Reymond
Christian Focus Publications 2001

I do not see any way in which Catholicism is being mocked, just confronted for the false doctrine it has historically propogated.

Randy

TheDen said...

Randy,

Catholicism is not false. There's more Truth in Catholicism that it would make your head spin if you understood it. What you are attacking is a false understanding of Catholicism.

It's a gross distortion of my faith and it's just a display of ignorance on this web site.

Robert Reymond doesn't understand it and I don't have time to teach everyone. Please look into it for yourselves and don't read books about Catholicism written by a Protestant. If I wanted to learn about Calvinism, would I go to a Buddhist? That's just silly.

Timothy said...

Greetings! Found your blog while searching Google's Blogsearch and came to read.

After reading three of your posts on the Catholic faith, I have to agree with TheDen that you don't understand what the Catholic Church teaches nor why. Your posts are ideal for reinforcing Protestant myths about Catholicism, but no Catholic is likely to take you seriously.

As you appear to be a young pastor, you likely have not had much opportunity to study the early writings of the Christian faith. I would encourage you to read some of the early Christians who wrote immediately after the New Testament was written. Justin, who was martyred for his Christian faith, wrote a long, but detailed apology to the Roman emperor explaining the Christian faith. You can fid a copy at this non-Catholic site:

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.ii.i.html

Shorter, but much more interesting, is Cyril 0f Jerusalem's lecture on baptism. Most modern Christians are totally surprised to find that early Christians were naked when baptised.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf207.ii.xxiv.html

God bless...

geoffrey kirkland said...

Hi Timothy and Theden,

First of all, I want to thank you for reading and perusing this blog. I do appreciate your feedback and comments.

I do, however, disagree with you both. From my studies in college, seminary, readings and from interacting with many catholics, I have come to believe that Catholicism has many doctrines that I would agree with (as would other evangelicals). Yet, there are crucial doctrines that the Catholic church denies. And if you disagree with me, then I would question if you are genuinely a Roman Catholic because their CCC (Catechism of the Catholic church) makes these clear:

Did you know:

The Roman Catholic church anathematizes those who believe in Justification by faith alone apart from works?

That according to Roman Catholic doctrine, the Bible is NOT the sole authority, but the Pope and church tradition is on equal par with the Bible (See Catholic Confession, paragraph 862).

That Catholics believe that priests have the power to call the Lord Jesus down from heaven every day (see Catholic catechism paragraphs 1371-74). According to my Bible, Hebrews 9-10 says that Jesus has sacrificed himself once and for all. He is the final priest.

That Catholicism teaches that "redemption is carried on every time the Eucharist is celebrated" (Catholic catechism paragraph 1405), and according to my Bible, redemption was accomplished once and for all. Period. If redemption STILL needs to be accomplished, then the ONLY solution is that Jesus' sacrifice was insufficient and therefore, Catholicism teaches a false gospel.

Guys, I just want to speak in love revealing the truth of God's Holy, inspired and inerrant Word. I pray that the Lord would bring you to repentance to truly trust in Him as Savior and flee from the damning peril of the Roman Catholic Church.

Blessings in the true Savior,

CresceNet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TheDen said...

Geoffrey,

A few points to consider:

1. The Catholic Church is Scriptural. Actually, I would say the Catholic Church holds more to Sacred Scripture than any other Church.

2. To anathematize means that you are not part of the Church. NOT that you are damned to Hell. The Catholic Church does not have the authority to damn anyone to Hell as only God can judge who goes to Hell and who does not.

3. Nowhere does it say that Faith alone can save. Actually, it says in James 2:26 that faith without works is dead.

4. I think that your understanding of faith is a little off. Faith is not just believing in Christ. I do believe in Christ. Faith is a total giving of yourself in obedience to Christ in the hope that you will be with Him in the next life. Faith is an ongoing process throughout your entire life and not a one time event.

5. The Church does not teach that works save you. The Church teaches that you are saved ONLY through the grace of God. From grace you are saved through faith as it says in Scripture. That faith produces obedience. If you don’t have that then you are not saved.

6. The sole authority is not Scripture. It does not say that anywhere in Scripture. My authority is the Church which is the pillar and foundation of all truth (per Sacred Scripture: 1 Tim 3:15)

7. The Pope is the head of the Church. As you are the pastor of a church, he is the pastor of mine.

8. You are correct that there is one sacrifice. That is Catholic teaching too. The Eucharist was instituted by Christ in the Last Supper. It is not a resacrifice but it rather brings us back to the one Sacrifice on Calvary. If you have problems with this then you also disagree with what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10: 16-20. We are called to do this every time we meet. (1 Corinthians 11: 23-26)

Geoffrey, I believe you are being sincere and I don’t fault you for trying to save people from what you believe is an apostate Church. If I really thought that the Catholic Church was the “whore of Babylon” I would leave it in a minute. But in all honesty, it is Scriptural and the Theology is more beautiful than anything I’ve seen in any of the Protestant beliefs. Please, if you want to learn about Catholicism, read Catholic books written by Catholics and not Protestants.

geoffrey kirkland said...

Theden,

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your heart and graciousness. Permit me to respond in brief to your comments in correlation to yours above:

1) I don't want to make this about a "Catholic" church or another church. I want to follow what the Scriptures teach. I, however, find much at odds with what Catholic doctrine teaches and that of the Bible.

2) To "anathematize" does not mean to "put out of the church." Rather, according to the Bible and Paul, it means "to be accursed" to eternal hell because he is teaching a different Gospel (Galatians 1:8-9).

3) You're right, faith without works is dead (James 2:26), but reconcile this with Romans 2 and 3 referring to the fact that a person is not justified by works of the Law (Rom 3:20). I believe a person is saved by grace through faith WITHOUT works, and good works WILL inevitably follow conversion (Eph 2:10). If works were a part of our salvation, then we would have reason to boast (but this is not the case, see Eph 2:8-10).

4) Faith is not JUST a "giving of yourself to obedience in Christ." Let's look at God's definition of faith: Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen...Hebrews 11:6 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

That is, a person must have faith (not a mere intellectual assent or a temporal faith) but a constant, lifelong commitment to Christ. I agree with you here.

5) I agree with you on this point. However, if you don't believe that works can save you, then you don't align with the Roman Catholic doctrine, because - according to their catechism - they do.

6) The sole authority IS Scripture and certainly not the Church (Catholic or any other one, baptist, presbyterian, etc): 2 Tim 3:16-17; Isa 40:8; 1 Thess 2:13.

7) Man, the Pope is definitely NOT the head of the church. Ephesians 1 states: Ephesians 1:21-23 1 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.

And:

Colossians 1:18 8 He [Jesus Christ] is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.

So, if Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, then certainly not the Pope is. The Pope is a mere man. He is fallible. He is a sinner. He is fallen. He is just as worthy and condemned to hell as we are when we are born because we are all alike dead in our sins. He is not the Head - Jesus is. To say anything else is blasphemy.

8) Yes, Jesus was sacrificed once - and that's all. So why, then, when you meet do you resacrifice Jesus? This is to re-crucify him and state his first sacrifice was "insufficient."

Thanks for the comments.

TheDen said...

Geoffrey,

I think you’re reading too much into the word anathema. Anathema (or accurse) means to banish. Nowhere in Galatians 1: 8-9 does it say “eternal hell.” I think that’s your interpretation. I agree with Wikipedia’s definition of Anathema…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anathema

Regarding Romans and works of the law, Paul is talking about the Mosaic law and talking about how the Greeks can be saved also. That they can be saved “apart from the law.” He’s telling the people in Rome that they don’t have to be Jewish which was apparently a controversy in Rome. Additionally, At the beginning AND at the end of Romans, Paul also talks about the “Obedience of Faith” (Romans 1: 5/Romans 16:26) like two bookends. He’s highlighting that like Abraham, we MUST have an obedience of faith. Faith isn’t just believing. It’s being obedient. It’s not the obedience that saves you, it’s having faith in God that saves you but you still must be obedient.

Noah was saved from the flood by God. Noah had faith in God. Noah still had to “work” by building the ark. If Noah did not build the ark, he would have perished with the rest. Faith saves but obedience is necessary.

“I agree with you on this point. However, if you don't believe that works can save you, then you don't align with the Roman Catholic doctrine, because - according to their catechism - they do.”

Please show me where it says Works saves you. Paragraph 1993 of the Catechism specifically says it’s through grace that we’re justified. What I said does not conflict with Catholic teaching.

Regarding Scripture, I totally agree with 2 Tim. 3:16-17. It does NOT say it’s the sole authority. I agree with Isa 40:8. It does NOT say Scripture is the sole authority. I also agree with 1 Thess. 2:13. Read what it says though. It says “receiving the word of God from hearing us…” HEARING. It doesn’t say written. The Church understands that and also has what is called the Apostolic Tradition which it holds dearly. Not everything was written down by the Apostles. The Church holds to the Oral Tradition that was passed on down by the Apostles. 1 Thess. 2:13 goes directly against Sola Scriptura.

Regarding the head of the Church, I misspoke. Yes you are absolutely correct that Jesus Christ is the head and the body is the Church. The Pope is the leader of the flock. That was poor word choice on my part and I apologize. The Pope is my pastor just as you are a pastor. Regarding his infallibility, he holds the office that was once held by Peter. Peter explains in Acts that the “office” of Apostles must be replaced (Acts 1:20). So, when Peter died, someone took his office just as they replaced Judas. That person was the leader of the Church just as Peter was and that office is an infallible office. Why? Because Christ gave Peter that authority. (Matthew 16:18-20). Now, infallibility does not mean that everything the Pope says is infallible. It’s only when he declares something “ex-cathedra” (meaning “from the Chair”) is it infallible which has only been done twice. And I agree with you that the Pope is a sinner and is like just the rest of us. He is, however, holder of the office of Peter.

Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for the entire world. As I’ve said, it’s not a resacrifice. It’s a recalling of the one sacrifice just as 1 Corinthians 10: 16-17 tells us to do. It transports us back in time…if you will to the one sacrifice. It’s to proclaim the death of the Lord Jesus until He comes. (1 Cor. 11: 26).


Above all of this, I think that it's important to remember that Christ is number one in our hearts. I think you'd agree with me there.

Anonymous said...

Read Reymond.He gets it. And he has all the documetnation you'd ever need.

Randy

TheDen said...

Randy,

I read some of his work on line in some other blogs. He really doesn't get it. I really don't feel the need to buy his book as he doesn't understand Catholicism. His book was written with an agenda and not with an open mind.

As I've said, if you want to understand Catholicism, read books written by Catholics. That only makes sense.

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!