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Thursday, February 21, 2013 | Comments (102)

by John MacArthur

Last week Pope Benedict XVI made the historic and unexpected announcement that he will soon retire. As a result, we’re about to be inundated with a massive wave of news coverage and public discussion about the Roman Catholic Church, and specifically the search for the new pope.

In the coming days and weeks, you’re likely to find yourself in a variety of conversations about the Catholic Church with friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors—each one an opportunity to shed biblical light on a topic that everyone will be talking about. And when the Lord brings those opportunities, I want you to be able to speak with clarity and authority regarding the truth of God’s Word and the corrupt idolatry of Roman Catholicism.

The current attitude throughout much of the evangelical church is that we ought to embrace Catholics as true believers in Christ. And it’s safe to assume we’ll hear even more calls for unity and partnership with the Catholic Church in the days to come.

But reclassifying the pope, the worship of Mary, the idolatry of the mass, and the entire Roman Catholic system as authentic, biblical Christianity isn’t that simple. It has massive implications, including overturning centuries of church history, missionary effort, and martyrdom.

The fact is, the most formidable, relentless, and deceptive enemy in Satan’s long war on the truth has been Roman Catholicism. It’s an apostate, corrupt, heretical, false Christianity—a thinly veiled façade for the kingdom of Satan.

The true church of the Lord Jesus Christ has always understood that. Even in the Dark Ages prior to the Reformation, genuine believers set themselves apart from the Catholic system and were brutally persecuted and punished for rejecting the false, idolatrous teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

Discerning believers today need to be just as committed to standing firm against the Catholic system. We need to recognize its false priesthood, false revelation, and false tradition. We need to see through its system of twisted sacraments, idolatrous worship, and corrupt authority. Most important, we need to be aware of how the lies of Satan contradict God’s Word and be prepared to defend and explain the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Next week we’re going to look at some key facets of Roman Catholic theology and practice and examine how they corrupt and contradict the teaching of Scripture. While this short series won’t be exhaustive, I know it will encourage you and be a great help in the coming weeks and beyond. Lots of people are going to be talking about the Catholic Church—I want to help you make the most of those opportunities.


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#1  Posted by Kathy Suria  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 1:20 AM

Thank you for starting this series, Pastor McArthur. I recently had a discussion or more like an argument with a devoted Catholic who got really upset at me for challenging her beliefs. She thought that I was judging her because I didn't believe in praying to saints and following traditions, therefore I was implying she's not a true Christian. I felt really bad after the discussion because I upset her. I don't want to give her the impression that Christians are judgemental or hateful. I want to be ready to share the truth with her and present it correctly. I'm looking forward to your future blog posts. God bless.

#2  Posted by Manuel De La Rosa  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 3:41 AM

God bless you. Thank you for this resource. I live in Colombia where Catholicism has a huge influence and evangelical Christians are seen as an apostate sect.

I'm a journalist with a tv show in a secular channel, where I dedicate many programs to spread the truth and present many Christian testimonies. In my Facebook page I've had strong debates against many Catholic positions in many topics. The latest was the spiritual significance of the carnival (Mardi Gras) in our city, Barranquilla. It is the world's second largest after Rio de Janeiro, according to Wikipedia. I've been alerting everyone about this, being the son of a carnival queen and the father of a carnival queen, member of the board of the entity which runs the carnival. Opposing to that is the Catholic Church. It's archbishop and priests give their blessing to this pagan and satanic festival. It's outrageous!

I can't say enough about the spiritual damage the Catholic Church does in countries like mine where their influence is enormous.

Resources like this one are very helpful for people like me that like to preach the Truth not being a pastor or teacher of the Word of God, and only a disciple of Grace to You and John MacArthur's teachings and writings. I listen to you daily on the web through KDRY of San Antonio, have your podcasts and read your books.

I just dream that we could have a Grace to You church in my town, dedicated to the teaching of the Truth of Scriptures. That would be a gigantic blessing because we have a lot of Christian Churches of all sizes, but many don't preach the Gospel as it is and others are preaching the prosperity gospel.

So, there is a ton of work to be done and I just try to contribute from my position as a public figure in journalism to spread the true Gospel of Jesus.

Thank you for all you do and I must say you have been a blessing to me and my understanding of God's Word "one verse at a time"!

May God bless you and your marvelous ministry.

Manuel De la Rosa

Barranquilla, Colombia

South America

#3  Posted by Louise Glenn  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 4:27 AM

I am looking forward to learning more, especially to find out if a person can be saved and still remain in the Catholic system.

#4  Posted by Moses M  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 5:25 AM

Wonderful your talking about this John Macarthur! Though the Catholic church is just the start of the crumberling of the modern church! Its not enough just to talk of what is wrong with Catholic theology. Rick warren knows its errors so does Brian Mclaren and so does the rest of modern church! Even Joel Osteen would have some clue of this. So what is wrong with the picture??? All these gurus are convincing modern church to have a face lift and change a new leaf! Helping them see the good in the catholic practices and theology and their monks. Using deeds to draw this current church culture close together in unity. Dowgrading doctrine that its just divided....

But the Main issue Pastor John is that they are really deceiving them! And they are doing it well! Cause most modern seeker friendly church Pastors have bad theological foundations and not done the work! So all the more why their church love Rob bell and Rick warren and Monk practices! They dont know from right from wrong! And just accept it like a blind donkey! Even those who know why Rob bell is wrong the hole runs deep in them. Cause the majority of them are being drowned by these leaders and pastors! Not even solid theological pastors are tellling them its wrong! They are being drowned that theology is a divide to unity that its non constructive! To move away from it and focus more on reaching the lost and going on missions, doctrine is just not important. And majority accepts it! Even those who says they don't like Rob bell! The enemy has already neutralize them by ridding them of theology and doctrine. When that happens they can be led astray very easily!

This is what is happening and many many are falling into this, your words John macarthur are falling on death ears to them! They are not hearing it, cause they are been told not too and even if they listen to you, the church they are in drowns you out! They emphasis on less doctrine less pointing has made their roots in their hearts! So even though they might listen to some of your sermons their heart has been taken! So its very hard pulling them out! They are woven right into their way of thinking!

So it does not matter how much you explain why catholic theology is bad, its just not getting into their hearts, cause their hearts has been taken and their foundation laid by those blind guides. :( So what ever you say will just bounce off, its very hard to convince them!

So why you see so many modern church embracing catholic pratices like as if its a new spiritual movement! The pastors way back never built up on rock solid theology, they never understood why its important, they just perhaps never knew!

And now you see the sour furits of this disaster unfolding in all the big mega churches! Well its written in God's Word that it will happen so nothing surprising to us!

#5  Posted by Sally Kim  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 6:09 AM

Before i became a believer in Christ i never really understood why so many people worshiped popes and treated them as if they were sinless and had heavenly authority. My heart aches when i think about people tangled in Satans lies, but at the same time it makes me very humble and thankful to my Lord for revelaing His precious Truth to a sinner like me...

Thank you Dr. MacArthur (I always pray for you)

#6  Posted by Bob Lewis  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 6:19 AM

Well articulated! Thank you, John, for saying what has not been said enough.

#8  Posted by Daniel Wilson  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 9:16 AM

Looking forward to reading it. Amen.

#10  Posted by Lois Begly  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 10:18 AM

I too, am very grateful for what is laid out today in this blog about the Catholic Church. Especially the timeliness of it given the current situation with the Pope. I will appreciate being armed from Scripture, though, not just arguments, however true and well stated. Being able to show my Catholic friends, from the Bible, why what they believe is incorrect Biblically, will be the best way, I think, to persuade them to think hard about their life in the Catholic religion, since most Catholics do believe the Bible is true.

At our church, we had a seminar taught by Bill Ciafoni, a former Catholic. He did an excellent job of explaining the differences between Catholicism and authentic Christianity, but only a small handful attended from a large congregation. I find that no matter what circle I'm in, no one wants to confront Catholic people with the truth. Everyone seems to know someone who is Catholic, but that person is 'definitely saved.' I tend to think that anyone that attends a Catholic church is more than likely not saved, regardless of what they say, because of all the reasons stated in John's blog. How could any Catholic possibly be saved? And what's worse is, how will they ever be saved if we assume they are because they seem to be?

I firmly believe that Catholicism is a counterfeit, of Satan, of true Christianity. His fingerprints are all over it. When I read the book of Galatians, I think of the Catholic Church.

Thank you, Dr. MacArthur, for clearly confronting something so dangerous to the Kingdom of God.

#11  Posted by Jennifer Phillips  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 10:24 AM

I agree this is a very timely subject. I know several Roman Catholic people that are Christian and are saved in spite of the Catholic church - not because of it. While I disagree with the Catholic belief system, I also would add that many Catholic people today do not even understand the history and many of the beliefs. I have talked to several that do not believe in Mary worship, prayers to saints, etc. They think that is the "old" way. Many believe that Roman Catholicism is merely another denomination within the Christian faith, but with more symbolism and feel others Christians are judgmental for disagreeing with them. I hope this series is done in a loving/non-condemning manner for those that do not realize what they are sitting under and have never known some of the Catholic belief system. I don't mean loving in a tolerant fashion, but loving in being compassionate toward ignorance and wanting to expose the error. For that matter, I hope it helps protestant denominations who teach error. There is error from the protestant side as well with teachers that stray from scripture and pursue their own agendas. I heard of a young woman made to stand up in front of the congregation in her Baptist church and confess that she was pregnant out of wedlock and put on public display to be shamed. That is not what I would call a Christ-like response to this young woman. Perhaps this series will be a "second reformation" of sorts.

#12  Posted by Sunny Shell  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 11:19 AM

Thank you Pastor MacArthur. I've already been engaged in some conversations with evangelicals who are stating that this is one of those "fulfilled" prophecies that the 12th century archbishop St. Malachy supposedly wrote about all the next popes.

Any prophecy that's outside of the Bible is false prophecy and my heart is so broken for evangelicals that have been deceived in the name of false peace and unity with the Roman Catholic Church.

I'm looking VERY forward to your messages and will be sharing them on my blog and other social media formats.

Thank you for your faithfulness to our awesome God; to love Him with everything you have and to love His people not with empty speech, but in actions and in truth.

My prayers are with you. God bless you.

#13  Posted by Todd Smucker  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 11:53 AM

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#14  Posted by Charles B. Gray  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 11:57 AM

Kathy S.-Be ready for being called many things far worse than judgemental. As long as believers insist on spreading the Gospel we will be persecuted. It's not going to get better, it's going to get worse. Jesus himself is God and the Living Word. He spoke the truth and they hung him on a cross. We, as sinners, even though we are redeemed cannot expect better treatment than God himself. Our own families and close "friends" will do horrific things because they do not have the Holy Spirit. They will curse the light and embrace the darkness. Strive to please God, not men, knowing all along that we will be going to a better place for all eternity. God bless.

#15  Posted by Gina Dalfonzo  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 12:25 PM

Some people here have asked how Catholics could be saved. It's very simple. Romans tells us, "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

That is how any person -- Catholic or Protestant -- is saved.

#16  Posted by Ray Bean  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 2:16 PM

Gina,

Just confession and belief and that is it ? No repentance ? No baptism ? Just wondering.

#17  Posted by Gina Dalfonzo  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 2:21 PM

Ray, you missed my point. I quoted the Bible, which teaches us how a person may be saved -- ANY person.

#18  Posted by Jeremiah Johnson  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 3:03 PM

Gina,

I think the point Ray is making is that it does require more than just the basic confession of faith. James 2:19 is pretty clear that the demons believe in God, but it doesn't accomplish much for them spiritually.

The further context of the verse you quoted above makes it a little clearer. "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." (Romans 10:9-10)

The evidence of our belief is righteous living, which would include loving the truth and hating idolatrous error. That's why many people find it hard to believe that a true Christian could remain in the Catholic church after his or her salvation.

#19  Posted by Gina Dalfonzo  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 3:09 PM

I have known many, many Catholics in my life. Not one of them has ever worshiped an idol.

#20  Posted by Jeremiah Johnson  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 3:18 PM

Gina,

Stay tuned. I'll be eager to see if you feel the same way after next week's posts.

#21  Posted by Gina Dalfonzo  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 3:23 PM

I've been talking with Catholics about theology since I was a kid, more years ago than I care to admit. :-) I'm pretty sure I'll feel the same way.

#22  Posted by Alejandro Gonzalez  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 3:29 PM

I am really looking forward to this series. It is very encouraging to see how GTY is using this historic event as an opportunity to further spread the Gospel and give glory to God.

#23  Posted by Kathleen Lamantia  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 3:48 PM

Yes, indeed, preach it, brother!

I was raised in that church and absolutely had no knowledge whatsoever of the need for saving faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God, He sent a Christian woman who gave me the Gospel. Since coming to know Jesus and studying His Word, my husband and I have always thought that, at the highest levels of that institution, it is indeed a tool of Satan.

It is our constant prayer that many be set free into the glorious light of the Gospel.

#24  Posted by William Sanchez  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 4:04 PM

Thank you for staring this series pastor MacArthur! It will be a great blessing and perhaps even an awakening to the heretical teachings of Roman Catholocism which is veneered with a coat of false piety and liturgy.

#25  Posted by Faith Ann Scheck  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 4:22 PM

Dear Gina,

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. I worshipped idols as did all my family. My unsaved family members still do. Any catholic that says he/she doesn't is either not being honest or they are ignorant of what it means to worship an idol.:-)

In Christ,

Faith

#26  Posted by Gina Dalfonzo  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 4:35 PM

Then your family members have misunderstood the teachings of the Catholic church, which expressly forbids idol worship. If you're referring to the veneration of saints, that is a different thing.

#28  Posted by Rod Davidson  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 6:22 PM

Gina,

When you say, "you know many, many Catholics and none of them have ever worshipped an idol" does that mean none of them have ever said the rosary??? If they have, they have worshipped an idol. Mary was not sinless and according to her own words, and in need of a Savior. Therefore, she cannot be divine and doesn't deserve our admiration, homage or prayers. Affording her any of those things is idol worship regardless of whether or not you are willing to acknowledge it as such. "You will love the Lord your God and Him only will you serve." Matt 4:10, Luke 4:8 NO ONE deserves our adoration, "hyper-dulia" or worship but God our Father, our Messiah and our Comforter.

#29  Posted by Daniel Wilson  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 7:21 PM

Gina, this blog will be good for us and will teach all of us something. Praying for you.. :)

#30  Posted by Daniel Wilson  |  Thursday, February 21, 2013at 7:36 PM

I went by a Catholic church many times... seen some members praying the rosary while driving by and the crosses are not empty.

and been in Catholic church where they do their own 'lord's supper', not biblically.

Very sad..

#31  Posted by Lisa Teel  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 2:47 AM

I am a US citizen and have been living in Switzerland for three years now and just happen to be in Rome last week when the announcement came out about the pope's resignation. I was amazed at the chaos in the city regarding this announcement. We toured the Vatican the day after the announcement and I saw first hand the idols and also the elevated position of Mary in the church. The church is in such bad shape financially that they now only accept cash when you are there. One word to describe it's current state is "chaos".

I have also witnessed the "carnival" lifestyle of the catholics in Switzerland that celebrate Fasnacht with the "anything goes" attitude. Immediately after holiday they then look to the catholic priest to give them forgiveness after their week long escapades. As a Christian living here, it is beyond shocking to see this lifestyle and be surrounded by catholics that think this is acceptable because the catholic church approves and embraces these types of holidays. Mind you, this is not a random event, it is something that happens yearly and the anticipation leading up to this holiday is over the top. It is sick and twisted and the catholic church supports it 100%.

I am very grateful for GTY and this new blog topic tackling the catholic church and all it's corruption. I look forward to learning as a follower of Jesus Christ more about the truth in his word regarding all of these issues. Thank you Pastor John and the entire GTY team for providing me solid food for my soul while living abroad. God Bless you all.

#32  Posted by Doug Johnson  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 5:24 AM

Thank you Pastor MacArthur for this timely series you are going to share with us. The Roman Catholic church has had such a negative impact on our world and here in America appears to be gaining strength, especially among those who claim to be conservative. Conservatives often get involved these days following politics and many have embraced things like Fox News as representing Christian views. This is a sad commentary on how the gospel is understood in our nation. I think this series will be timely not just because of the pope's situation, but also because Catholics have infiltrated the entire right wing political movement as representing Christianity. I used Fox News as an example and I find it interesting to note that there are a huge number of Catholics on Fox and in other conservative media claiming to be Christian and stand for Christianity. We need to understand what catholicism really is and then confront it with the truth of the gospel. It seems that their move into the media is just as much a part of Satan's plot to deceive as the Emergent Church movement is as it has moved into evangelical Christianity. Keep up the good work Pastor MacArthur. We are blessed to have such good teaching available to us.

#33  Posted by Warren Hewko  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 6:07 AM

Hello. Gina to help you out read the book of acts there is nothing after Pentecost when the true early the true early church is doing as the RC is teaching no priest, mass, rosarybeads,praying to Mary,and much other stuff ,I was rescued from the RC and if there r some ofGods chosen souls there HE will awaken them with the true Holy Spirit and throught the word and with help from other x RC or christains will help them find a bible believing church that teaches the bible and only the bible , will keep you in prayer as many have prays for me and other. Pray and read thru acts and pray that you stay tune for pastor John upcoming message . Keeping praying that the spirit of truth will open your spirtual eyes and heart as he did me and other through the reading and teaching and study of his word . heaven has spoke and not the traditions of men. Amen

#34  Posted by Richard Turner  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 7:34 AM

I'm looking forward to this series. Thank you John MacArthur for being so timely with this topic to encourage each of us that desire to share the Truth of God's Word. Two years ago when my wife and I attended the first Truth Matters Conference my wife purchased a CD Series from the GTY Book Store entitled, "Explaining the Heresy of Catholicism". I thought to myself when are you planning on listening to this. Well we were starting our drive back to Wisconsin on Monday morning planing a stop at a couple of National Parks that week. Before we were out of California we had listened to all eight of the CD's. What an eye-opener for both of us. I love the fact that Pastor/Teacher John MacArthur does his in-depth study, that it's not just off the top of your head teaching. Keep up the great work, and might our God continue to bless GTY and it's ministries.

#35  Posted by Gina Dalfonzo  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 7:42 AM

Thanks for the suggestion, Warren, but I already read the Bible and pray every day. I've read Acts many, many times.

#36  Posted by Joe Markwordt  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 7:54 AM

I was raised Catholic, left the Church 12 years ago, spent those 12 years worshipping with my brothers and sisters in the Evengelical Church, and have recently returned to the Catholic Church.

There is a big difference in how many Catholics practice/understand the faith versus the actual teachings of the Church. I do not agree with all of the tenants of the Catholic Church, but I do find it a very satisfying worship experience. At the end of the day, no matter how the Catholic Church is bashed, exposed, etc. there are many, many, saved Christians that worship in the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church and the Evengelical Church are similar in lots of ways. I spent over 10 years worshipping as an Evengelical. It was a wonderful experience. And I would guess that there are as many unsaved people showing up on Sunday for an Evengelical service as there are showing up for the Mass. By the way, when I left the Catholic Church to worship as an Evengelical, many of my Catholic brothers were concerned I was getting involved with a cult. LOL!! Both sides are skeptical of the other side but, in fact, there are wonderful, saved, beleivers, in both churches,

We see labels, and God sees our hearts. We see dogma/doctrine and God looks for those doing the will of the Father. We see debates and arguments about "who is right" and God looks for those following his Son.

I have been listening to John for years. He is an excellent teacher and a compliment to my Catholicism. I believe he is the real deal. However, I have met Catholic Priests, parishoners, etc. that are the real deal as well.

Jesus is the ultimate judge of who will see the Kingdom of Heaven. He insisted that there are two important laws: Love God with all your heart and soul and love your neighbor as yourself. He also insisted that anyone that does the will of the Father will be saved.

I could list many examples of doctrine taught in the four Evengelical Churches I attended that were in contridiction. And how the lack of authority caused schisms in these churches. And how Evengelical Ministers and Elders enforced draconian measures so that membes could not challenge their teaching or authority. But I learned and developed my faith in these churches and I believe my time in the Evengelical Church was a part of God's plan for me. And I also believe I am back in the Catholic Church for a reason.

As Christians, we should be working together, in unity, to grow Jesus's church. It is made up of His folowers and his believers. Those believers can be found in places even John McArthur will be surprised to learn when he enters the Kingdom. And I believe that there will be some Pope's in Heaven (and many that will not be there as well).

I pray for John's ministry and I pray for my little Catholic Church.

#39  Posted by Alejandro Gonzalez  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 8:54 AM

Joe, your post affirms just how important it is to be instructed by Gods Word on the multiple issues you raised including how a christian aught to evaluate the Catholic church. I hope you stay tuned.

#40  Posted by Elizabeth Offer  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 8:55 AM

I was baptised a believer in Jesus Christ 2005. The Holy Spirit convicted me during the last "Poparamma," with the help of GTY.

I typed the word pope into the GTY search back in 2005 and was blown away.

I pray the current "Poparamma" brings more Catholics to the truth of Jesus Christ, and more will be saved (especially with JM"s teaching).

#41  Posted by Warren Hewko  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 9:04 AM

Hello joe wow praise The Lord that you were rescued from the RC but Saden you are back , yes there not a perfect church in the evangelical and there are some pastors who think they are called but not , and if this church you were in that there was any real or some preparing for the congregation of the word,as we see many churches and pastors have a low view of preparation for the message.but going back to the RC and all the false idol worshipping they do regarding the only four truth that the RC believe from the word of God, joe stay tunefor pastor johns up coming message on the RC and even knowing that you been listening to John sometime and pastor John has many series on the corruption of theRC and if you have listen to them maybe go thru them again and pray that the spirit of truth will awaken your spirit eye and heart to the truth of a scripture. Read what Paul saying in Galatians inspired by God the different gospel wing taught and the tradition of men .will keep you in prayer joe , even though it is written on our hearts Romans 2:12-16 again joe keep you I prayer from warren a rescued soul from the lie of the RC to the gospel of grace and the words of our Great God and Savior on the cross it is Finished Amen

#42  Posted by Moses M  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 9:30 AM

Hope this can be posted: Thanks GTY!

Gina, are you still here? What is your email address perhaps I can help you on this on the issue with Catholics. I am sure they are Catholics in the church who really do love Jesus. But it's Catholic theology that is the heart of the issue and Pastor John has talked on this, you can find out more by looking up on his sermons. But as others have said, stay tuned!

Purgatory for example is one such error. Praying to saints is another.

We cannot earn our salvation so there is no need for purgatory, it's through Christ's sacrifice on the cross that we all are made righteous and saved before Almighty God. It's through Christ alone and there is no other way to be saved, not through purgatory, not through popes or works or saints.

Joe, have you heard of Matrin Luther diet of worms? Perhaps you should listen to it. Why don't you email GTY and talk about your issues about doctrine and the Catholic Church and find out more to help you?

Well then if doctrine is nonsense then I suppose if Mormons, Jews, and New Age worshipers love Jesus, they too should be all embraced? Perhaps all religions too, because who are you to say their doctrine is wrong? Well then is everyone who is religious going to heaven?

Pls do seek help from GTY Joe if you want to know more they will help you on this! Its not just about "I've got the right doctrine and you have the wrong one so your bad!" But I stress seek help from GTY or perhaps if you list your email address. I am sure you will get help on this to help you understand more on the issue of doctrine.

I hope you will be eager to search for the truth and examine it all! Examine your own Catholic theology and examine Protestant theology and seek to find who is telling the truth! Seek help on this too.

#44  Posted by Cameron Buettel  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 11:20 AM

Joe,

Thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts.

It is important to remember in any discussion concerning the lines of demarcation between true and false Christianity, that our subjective impressions must submit to the objective truths of Scripture. It was interesting to read about your experiences in the four Evangelical churches you attended and the contradictions you observed. When there is a contradiction between what Scripture teaches and what the pastor preaches (and practices), we must always side with what God has already said.

Granted, there are difficult passages in the Bible, but matters pertaining to true churches and true Christians are spoken of clearly and explicitly throughout Scripture. The Apostle Paul commended the Berean Christians for comparing his teaching with the Word of God (Acts 17:10-11). Likewise, I want to respond to you as a Berean would.

You said, “Jesus is the ultimate judge of who will see the Kingdom of Heaven. He insisted that there are two important laws: Love God with all your heart and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Are you suggesting our salvation depends on those two commands alone? Are these laws the way to achieve salvation? Or do they reveal our failure to keep them, and our subsequent need for a Savior to fulfill them on our behalf? The difference drives right to the heart of what has distinguished Protestantism from Catholicism for centuries.

That’s why I am genuinely confused that you would group John MacArthur’s teaching with that of Catholic priests. Frankly, I would find it far less disturbing if you were more critical of John MacArthur. What he has always taught concerning salvation is the polar opposite of what the Catholic Church has taught since the Council of Trent. Dr. MacArthur stands together with the Protestant Reformers in preaching salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Roman Catholic doctrine, on the other hand, completely repudiates justification by faith alone: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9).

(continued)

#45  Posted by Cameron Buettel  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 11:21 AM

(Continued from previous)

You are right in saying that Christians “should be working together, in unity, to grow Jesus’ church.” But where you stand on the Protestant-Catholic divide defines what a Christian is and who comprises Jesus’ church. It differentiates between our fellow workers and our mission field. These doctrines determine our practice. They define differences with eternal consequences.

Joe, it grieves me that you witnessed such hypocrisy in an Evangelical church. As someone who calls himself an Evangelical/Protestant, I am sorry to hear of “elders and ministers” who enforced measures to immunize themselves from correction. Any true minister of the gospel recognizes that he is a sinner (Romans 3:23) and cannot be right about everything. All Christians should be accountable for their actions and speech (Matthew 18:15-20). It is plainly wrong to assume otherwise, whether you are an egotistical “evangelical” or a Pope who claims to speak ex-cathedra.

I will never defend an “evangelical fraud.” But neither can I pretend that Roman Catholicism is compatible with Protestantism. There are similarities between Catholicism and Biblical Christianity as you pointed out, but there are also unsurpassable differences concerning the gospel itself that have remained unchanged since the Protestant Reformation. I realize I cannot force you to take my side. But I hope you can see the differences clearly enough that you will take a side. A does not equal B and Catholicism does not equal Protestantism. The embrace of one demands the rejection of the other.

#46  Posted by Kathleen Lamantia  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 11:24 AM

Very well put, Cameron, and correct in every aspect.

#47  Posted by Gina Dalfonzo  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 11:29 AM

". . . where you stand on the Protestant-Catholic divide defines what a Christian is . . ."

Silly me. I always thought that where you stand on the person and work of Jesus Christ defines what a Christian is.

#48  Posted by Joe Markwordt  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 11:59 AM

Couple of notes:

1. I am a Christ follower and as a result a member of Jesus's Church. I choose to worship and fellowship with like minded Christ followers how happen to worship as Roman Catholics. Not all Christians who worship in the Catholic Church believe and follow all of the tenants of the Church in the same way that not all Evengelicals believe and follow all of the preaching/teaching they hear at their service on Sundays. In fact, my personal experience with Evengelicialism is that there is a lot of church hopping when the preaching starts to conflict with ones own personal interpretation of scripture. One of the reasons my wife and I left the first Evengelical Church we attended was the way they managed their youth ministry and the focus on personal holiness. It would have made the Pharisees proud!!

2. I still attend Evengelical services and events. I am not on any side. I am a Christ Follower. I am in Jesus's Church. It is made up of all that are saved. I accepted Christ as my personal savior when I was 16 (I am 52 now). From what I learned in the Evengelical church is my salvatioin is assured. So my question to is now that I am attending Mass, have I lost my salvation? I don't think so . . .

3. I agree that works can not save anyone, but what good is faith without works (to paraphrase James)? I aspect of Catholicism that helps me in my spiritual journey is the focus on our need to repent for our shortcomings on a daily basis, to stay focused on what Jesus did for us on the cross, and to "do good things for others". It keeps one humble and forever seeking to emmulate Jesus's character. Many years ago a friend and I took her 12 year old daughter to a Catholic Church. The young girl looked up at the Crucifix and was startled. She said, "What is THAT." I explained to her Jesus's death on the cross and the reality of what he endured for her to reconcile her to the the Father. She was humbled. And my experience, the Evengelical Church could use a little more humility.

4. I made a point about John McArther and the Catholic Priests I have met over the years. And my point is this: I believe John is a saved Christian and I believe many of the priests I have met will see John in Heaven.

Questions for my evengelical/protestant friends:

1. When two evengelical teachers have a conflict with regards to biblical interpretation, who do they go for clarification?

2. Is every practicing Roman Catholic condemed to hell?

3. When Jesus said not to judge others, of what judgement is he referring?

4. Are you obligated to believe everything your preacher teaches to be a Christ follower? If you hear something that conflicts with your own interpretation of the word of God, are you obligated to leave the church and find another?

5. Are any false doctrines being preached in Evengelical/Protestant Churches? If so, does this condem all of the attendees of those churches to hell?

#49  Posted by Ann Fickus  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 12:14 PM

I signed on yesterday to look up a passage in Romans that my Bible study had discussed earlier in the day. Those of you who are former Catholics can imagine how thrilled I was to see Pastor MacArthur's steadfast stand once again for the truth of scripture in this blog concerning the Roman church.

I have been a believer for 38 years after being Roman Catholic for the first 30 years of my life. Only those of us who were delivered from the bondage of this false religion understand how glorious it is to be walking in daily light with the Holy Spirit as our guide. I was actually saved as a Catholic (who had begun reading the Bible and discovered Ephesians 2:8&9). However through the patient guidance of my brother who had been saved before me, I became a Protestant within that year. Having now walked in truth for 38 years, I can testify that that was the most important decision of my life. I am living proof of the light God gives to those who seek to follow His truth and forsake tradition and heretical doctrines. Being justified through by grace alone through faith alone is God's purpose for my existence and equips me to serve Him with joy.

Thank you Pastor MacArthur for the courage to stand for this truth when so many others seek to pacify the lost thinking it is more important that their feelings be soothed than that their souls are secured for all eternity in the presence of God. Your bravery is exactly what led me to become a Grace Partner years ago and remain as one today.

I am reading the blogs of others with interest knowing that the Word of the Lord always accomplishes it purposes (Isaiah 55:10-11). The elect will receive it with joy and obey it. The non-elect will continue to harden their hearts and wander around in deception. Glory to God that He is able to save to the uttermost those who trust in Christ alone!

#50  Posted by Todd Hartch  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 12:51 PM

But what do you all make of the words of Christ in John 6? "Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them." It seems to me that in this case Catholics take Jesus at his word, and Protestants do not.

#51  Posted by Josh Stewart  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 12:51 PM

I'm sure this is exactly what God would want. One more reason for us to fight with each other. One more reason for us to hate. This whole thing makes me very sad.

#52  Posted by Tony Didomenico  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 1:20 PM

I agree with John's perspective, as a former Catholic myself. But the Catholic Church is an obvious abomination, how about the not so obvious right in the Evangelical arena. In searching for a church in my area, I'm finding many evangelical churches that don't teach according to the bible and I know John has mention these too. Just curious why we are picking on the Catholic church when there are mainstream churches under the evangelical banner leading many to the wrong path. I guess what I'm saying is our energy should be spend dealing with the less obvious churches as opposed to the very obvious!

#53  Posted by Alan Balthrop  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 1:24 PM

John MacArthur writes: "The most formidable, relentless, and deceptive enemy in Satan’s long war on the truth has been Roman Catholicism. It’s an apostate, corrupt, heretical, false Christianity—a thinly veiled facade for the kingdom of Satan."

I find that statement to be so utterly false that it perverts the purpose of speech. It was the Catholic Church that got me through Basic Training when I was unable to find the presence of Almighty God in the Protestant chapel.

I did not realize at the time that many years later I would find, as C.S. Lewis called it in Mere Christianity "My room in the house", in the Anglican tradition, which holds its roots in the Catholic faith.

There are many evil men who have used the Catholic church for their evil deeds. I do not hold to the veneration of Blessed Virgin Mary, nor do I find the Bishop of Rome to be infallible. I do not understand how Almighty God, the Eternal King of the Universe, who inspired so many men and women to discover the workings of the human body and how to cure so many illnesses, would state that birth control is sinful.

My greatest disappointment in the Church was when John Paul the Great called the American Bishops and Cardinals to Rome and none of them left without their miters confiscated, or their crooks broken. The men who have done harm to children should be defrocked and punished under both Cannon and Civil law.

To say, however, that all of the Roman Catholic Church is a stronghold for the Enemy is to grant the Enemy a victory he has not earned. There are good men and women serving God as He has called them to in the Church. I rebuke this blanket statement with all that is in me.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living and Most High God, Mr. MacArthur, think carefully of your position in the lives of the Faithful. Does this article bring lost souls back to the One who calls them? Just because we disagree with a denomination, and just because there are fallen men within that denomination, does not make the entire church servants of the fallen one.

#54  Posted by Tony Didomenico  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 1:43 PM

To Gina Dalfonzo

". . . where you stand on the Protestant-Catholic divide defines what a Christian is . . ."

Silly me. I always thought that where you stand on the person and work of Jesus Christ defines what a Christian is.

Excellent point, poor choice of words by Cameron Buettel, there many denominations in the Protestant church that are anything but true Christianity.

#55  Posted by Thomas Tucker  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 1:54 PM

I can't wait to see what your understanding of Catholic theology is, because if you think it is unbiblical, you must have serious misunderstandings of it. Bring it on!

#56  Posted by Jeff Campbell  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 2:04 PM

I think that we need to understand some things. First, evangelicals and Catholics do not have the unity of faith which many evangelicals seem to think we do. However, this doesn't mean that there aren't legitimate Christians in the Catholic Church. If a Catholic is saved, it is not as a result of their doctrine, it is in-spite of it. But there are legitimate Christians in the Catholic Church.

Secondly, as evangelicals we need to understand exactly what the Church believes. They DON'T teach Mary worship, Pope worship, or that the pope is sinless. They don't teach that we should worship saints or anything like that. I strongly urge those evangelicals AND Catholics who have these misconceptions to speak to a priest or read the cathechism.

As evangelicals, we have to understand what we stand for, not what we are against.

We believe that salvation is by grace alone.

We believe that a person is justified by faith alone.

We believe that Christ's sacrifice on the cross is sufficient for the salvation of the christian.

We believe that the Bible is the only infallible authority on faith and morals.

Before we delve into "why Catholics are wrong", let us consider whether and why we are right on those issues above. Don't let us be known by what we are against, but by what we are for.

Let's look at both sides of the argument, ask questions, dig deep, and do this with humility. As Martin Luther did centuries ago, let us hold tightly to what is in the Bible with love, not misconstruing the other side. If any of you have questions, please reply. I am someone who considered joining the Catholic church for a while, but decided not to. It was a really hard decision for me and I hope that we will all learn to be humble about what we believe.

#59  Posted by Marie Ann  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 3:00 PM

As a read these comments, I am reminded of a quote: “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

Has anyone addressed Todd's comment regarding John 6?

Jeff Campbell, keep in mind that "How a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." James 2:24

#60  Posted by Ray Bean  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 3:20 PM

Jeff - 56,

you said faith alone and grace alone- which one ? And as I have asked earlier where does repentance fit in and what about baptism for the forgiveness of sins ? Until we can agree on when a person is saved , then there will always be this Catholic and Protestant divide.

#61  Posted by Jeremiah Johnson  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 3:24 PM

Some GTY Blog Housekeeping

As John MacArthur mentioned in the opening of this post, we anticipate much public discussion about the Roman Catholic Church in the coming days due to the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI. Indeed, we’ve seen it already in response to this series that has only been introduced at this point.

We’re clearly raising important issues about which readers hold strong and differing opinions. We're not courting controversy or picking a fight. We are, however, committed to defending and explaining the gospel of Jesus Christ, which stands in stark contrast to the dogma of the Catholic Church. Catholics are not the enemy; they're the mission field.

Next week will bring several posts from John MacArthur comparing Roman Catholic theology and practice to biblical Christianity. We’re sure it’ll spark the kind of lively debate we’ve seen the past two days. We welcome that.

However, a number of comments have skated up to the line of our Blog Guidelines (listed in the right-hand column above) in terms of respectfulness and helpfulness. A few have crossed that line and have therefore not been approved and are not in the comment thread.

Please continue to discuss, and come back Monday for John's post on the issue of works vs. faith—and the following days for other topics in this important series. But remember to be courteous, respectful, and make sure your comments are on topic and contribute to the discussion.

#62  Posted by Sanford Doyle  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 3:56 PM

I would strongly invite everyone who is keeping up with the posts on this topic, to listen to the Pastor John's sermon with the code 90-314.

Then continue with the next 8 or so sermons. Informative, enlightening, and powerful.

Grace and Peace.

#63  Posted by Steve Mateuszow  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 5:33 PM

I appreciate this topic, as one who grew up in a very nominal Roman Catholic home. Much of my extended family is still imprisoned in this false system, and it is very hard to get them to even be willing to listen to the biblical gospel. Roman Catholicism is outside of the "One Faith" that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 4:5 and elsewhere. This "One Faith" is justification by faith alone in the person and work of Christ alone. This is not the gospel of the Catholic church which is really no gospel at all (Gal 1:7).

#64  Posted by Heather Maigur  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 6:32 PM

As a lifelong Catholic and student of Catholic Theology, I would like to humbly clear up some misconceptions about the Catholic faith that have been written above. Just as I know many wonderful, faithful Catholics, I know that many Evangelical Christians share a deep love for our Lord. No complete defense of the Catholic faith can be accomplished here as we'd have to traverse over 6000 years of Salvation history, Scripture, and Tradition, but I'll do my best to explain some of the beliefs mentioned above in light of Catholic teaching.

Firstly, Catholics do not believe in idolatry or in worship of Mary and the Saints. We believe that Mary was of course in need of salvation but that God granted that to her at the moment of her conception because of her very special role in salvation history. This was through no power of her own and we do not regard Mary as a deity. We do regard her as a powerful intercessor in the Communion of Saints because of her special relationship with our Lord. If you remember the wedding feast at Cana, it was Jesus' mother who prompted Him to perform His first miracle in service to others. It can't hurt to ask her for help. Prayers like the Rosary are merely recalling scripture- the Hail Mary merely repeats and fulfills the words of Scripture- "From this day, all generations will call me blessed." And so we do. On the cross, Christ gave Mary to each of us as our mother. Christ is our brother in every sense.

Christ also spoke of how He would always be present when 2 or 3 are gathered in His name. When we pray to saints, we are asking them to gather with us in Jesus' name to implore God for our intentions. Jesus encouraged communal prayer ("Our Father" anyone?) so that we could know and experience the love of God through and with one another. We believe that this community of believers includes the faithful both on earth and in Heaven. They are our fellow believers, friends, brothers, and sisters. We honor their earthly example and ask for their prayers before the throne of God.

Another common misunderstanding about the Catholic Church is our belief in the Eucharist. Make no mistake, we believe that the Bread and Wine we share during the sacred Mass have truly become the Body and Blood of our Lord. And there is plenty of Biblical support for this belief. Christ himself said (John 6:53), "Unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you cannot have life within you." There were disciples of Jesus who could not accept this and they left Him at that point. He didn't call them back and try to qualify His statements. He let them go. I personally feel as though it is beautiful and humbling that the God of the universe would become living bread for me- to physically and spiritually nourish and be present to believers for all time.

I'm out of space to write but I love my faith and would encourage those who are curious to explore Catholic apologetics sites to see what those who are in the faith actually teach.

#65  Posted by Cameron Buettel  |  Friday, February 22, 2013at 9:12 PM

To Gina #47 and Tony #54

Gina you are taking me out of context! You put your comment "where you stand on the person and work of Jesus Christ defines what a Christian is" in opposition to my words "where you stand on the Protestant-Catholic divide defines what a Christian is. " The whole point you miss in this Gina is that the Person and work of Christ IS the Protestant-Catholic divide. Protestants believe that His person and work is sufficient to pay for all of our sin apart from any human effort. Catholic doctrine, in stark contrast, adds extra requirements to the Person and work of Christ in order to be saved.

"Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted to us through Baptism." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 2020).

"We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere to the end and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God' eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ" (CCC, par. 1821).

"Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification." (CCC, par. 2010)

So Gina, there it is; the Protestant-Catholic divide. You were right, it is all about where we stand on the person and work of Christ. It is a fault line that runs all the way back through church history to the book of Galatians when Paul pronounced damnation on those who were adding works to the Gospel in his day (Galatians 1:8-9, 2:11-21).

So here we are 2000 years later and Roman Catholicism is doing the exact same thing that Paul pronounced damnation upon. Rome, on the other hand, pronounces damnation on anyone who believes or preaches justification by faith alone:

If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9).

So Gina please tell us which side of the divide you stand on? To make it simple, please answer this question with a "yes" or a "no." Do you agree with Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9? Yes or no Gina...

#67  Posted by William Boudreau  |  Saturday, February 23, 2013at 7:13 AM

Reply to #15 Posted by Gina Dalfonzo | Thursday, February 21, 2013at 12:25 PM Some people here have asked how Catholics could be saved. It's very simple. Romans tells us, "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." That is how any person -- Catholic or Protestant -- is saved.

Gina, I would suggest reading John.3:36; Matt.7.21-23; Rev.22:18-19, 1.Tim.4:1-4 as a start.

It's not that someone who is in the Catholic church can't be saved, but to stay in the system leaves significant doubt as it teaches about indulgences (people could pay or do somehting to draw on a "treasury of merit" for themselves or others), the Pope as infallible (how can a sinful man/men be infallible), sacraments (where does Paul ever discuss sacraments?), purgatory (Heb. 9:27), Mary worship (idolatry & did not Jesus call John the Baptist the greatest ever born - why wouldn't Catholics go to JTB as he was greater than Mary?) , priesthood (did Paul ever put a Phairsee in leadership of any church he helped plant, where does the Bible say anything about going to a priest/confession for forgiveness, calling someone "Father" Matt.23:9), infant baptism, etc..

There are so many doctrinal issuess, the most serious is faith in Christ alone. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. How can someone believe in Eph.2:8-10 and stay in the Catholic church?

John has an excellent series on the history of Catholicism regarding the Idolatry of Worshipping Mary, Mass Heresy, Priesthood and the Pope/Papacy. There are 8 messages that will help answer questions on where the Catholic church came from and it's continued conflict with Bible Doctrine.

#68  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Saturday, February 23, 2013at 7:25 AM

Todd (#50) writes,

But what do you all make of the words of Christ in John 6?

I make of them what Jesus stated about them throughout chapter 6, particularly verse 35 and following. The point being is that Jesus is saying that in Him, and Him alone, is eternal life granted. He is not giving a formula as to how the elements in the Mass literally become the real flesh and blood of Jesus when we eat them.

If we take your approach to reading the Bible, then anytime Jesus makes a symbolic reference to the OT and we take it "literally," then we have to embrace some absurd notions. For instance, Jesus says that He is "the Door" in chapter 10. Is Jesus then understood as a wooden panel with a knob on his tummy? In John 15, He calls him self the True Vine, is Jesus now to be understood literally as a fruit bearing plant?

How you suggest we understand the Bible causes us to believe ridiculous, even foolish things that are not really there. The same is being stated about Jesus's use of the Bread/wine imagery in John 6.

#69  Posted by Chris McCarthy  |  Saturday, February 23, 2013at 8:32 AM

I was also raised in an Irish catholic home. The person of Jesus Christ was always familiar to me so when I read my bible I was confronted with my sin and my shortcomings as a catholic. I repented of my sins received Christ and rejected all the sacramental works I thought made me a better person.

I understood the work of Christ on the cross as complete, finished and the singular act that could pay the debt I owed to God. Since Christ was my substitute I was free. Free. Free. Free from the power and penalty of sin.

I continued in the Catholic Church for awhile however when a priest told me that the church did not just go by the bible I was taken back and have only returned for family funerals. The bible is the measuring rod for all because it is God's Word and he cannot lie. I since have searched diligently for truth in the catholic system only to find that every aspect of the truth is tainted. Many catholic parishioners do not know because they have not heard. This is another gospel that Paul warned in Galatians 1. This is of utmost importance to the church today. The reformation is not over. the record of the Apostles meeting on this issue in Acts 15 helps us to see the recorded answer of Christ alone through faith alone by grace alone. Thank you God for your Holy Word. I anticipate further clarification from John and pray that we will reach our catholic friends with this truth.

#70  Posted by Marie Ann  |  Saturday, February 23, 2013at 9:17 AM

I am very grateful to Cameron Buettel for using Catechism of the Catholic Church to present what Catholics believe. Way to go, Cameron! However, I still don't think you understand the Church's teaching on salvation.

The Catholic Church teaches that we are indeed saved by grace alone through faith, but it is a formed faith, an obedient faith, a faith formed in love. We know that "faith without works is dead." (James 2:24, 26)

A saving faith is a living faith. It is what Saint Paul describes as "faith working through love."

Our Lord was asked, "What must I do to be saved?"

Jesus answered, "Keep the commandments." This does not sound like a protestant answer to the question.

Do you believe that you have to love God to be saved? I think you would say, "Of course!" In this regard protestants and Catholics are not as far apart as you think.

#73  Posted by Jeremiah Johnson  |  Saturday, February 23, 2013at 11:32 AM

Marie Ann (#70),

Paul and James both taught that good works are the outcome of our transformation in Christ, not the means of it. As James said just a few verses earlier than the ones you quoted, "I will show you my faith by my works" (2:18). He's talking about how to test and prove your salvation, not how to merit it.

As for Jesus' statement to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, He was illustrating our futility to completely fulfill the law. He was exposing the young man's hypocrisy--of course he hadn't kept the law perfectly. Read Romans 3. The law shows us how sinful we are, and how desperately we need a salvation we cannot obtain for ourselves.

#75  Posted by Lena Peterson  |  Saturday, February 23, 2013at 3:36 PM

I find this sort of debate so interesting. You have the Evangelicals on one hand reading scripture and interpreting it one way (John 6 must be symbolic). Then you have the Catholics on the other hand disagreeing (John 6 is meant literally). Then you have the Lutherans who believe that it is up to the individual believer what they want to believe about John 6.

It seems there is a problem. Isn’t each person supposed to be able to read scripture and understand it for themselves? If this is a reliable method of Bible reading then why is there so much disagreement on even just that one section? Then Marie Ann and Jeremiah Johnson are disagreeing on the meaning of James 2. It seems to me that this whole blog shows a very big problem with personal interpretation of scripture, which is, of course, exactly what St Peter warned us about in 2Pet 3:15-16, “There are certain passages in them hard to understand. The ignorant and the unstable distort them (just as they do the rest of Scripture) to their own ruin.”

At the end of the day it is clear that it is difficult to understand the Bible, which is why Jesus did not leave us here alone flailing with a self admittedly difficult to understand book as our only guide. He was much wiser and more far sighted than that and he left us a living authority to whom we can look for absolute answers to these very questions. If He has the power to inspire a large tome and make it infallible, then He is certainly capable of creating a succession of living infallible teachers to prevent us from being the “ignorant and unstable” who “distort them”. That living authority is His visible Church on earth that He graciously gave to us with a living authoritative leader who was given the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

For all those who think that the Bible stands alone in teaching truth I ask you, what does the Bible say is the pillar of truth? Does the Bible say that itself is the pillar of truth? No, you may be surprised to find that the Bible declares that “the Church of the living God is the pillar and bulwark of truth”, 1Tim 3:15. Now our job is to find that Church, and, by the way, only one Church is applying for the job.

#76  Posted by Keith Krohn  |  Saturday, February 23, 2013at 7:15 PM

I went to Catholic school from Kindergarten through 8th grade. I did not come to know Jesus Christ as a reality as described in John 1:1-18 until I was almost 20 years-old. I think it is only truthful for me to state the following:

1. People are not forgiven of their sin because they go to confession and tell a priest their sins and then pray "x" number of "Our Fathers" and "Hail Marys" on a rosary afterwards. In fact, the Catholic church teaches that you don't really know if you're getting into Heaven. But, they add that you will go to Purgatory to be made fit for Heaven. Purgatory is nowhere in scripture. What is in scripture is that there is one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5), and He is our Great High Priest who always makes intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25; 4:14).

2. People are not saved by "good works" such as going to mass, receiving communion, or "obeying" the Ten Commandments, etc. In fact, I believe that receiving communion as a Catholic has nothing to do with the true communion Believers have with Christ. Granted, Believers do practice The Lord's Supper, which involves the bread and wine (grape juice, etc.). But, this observance is performed to remember how Christ paid all for the Believer, and is a time of serious self-reflection and examination of one's self in light of their current sins, which, in turn, allows for the child of God to have continued fellowship with the Lord, energizes the Believer's progressive sanctification, and grants increasingly greater victory over their sins. The Ten Commandments are there to point out our sin and drive us to our Savior as we can never keep them perfectly. Catholicism teaches us that we are to obey/actually are obeying (albeit imperfectly) these ten commands from God and that will also get us to Heaven. That is not true.

3. As a former Catholic, I look back and see that I did not have a relationship with Christ and it was made obvious because of the fruit I bore during those years. If I had been showing fruits of righteousness as a Catholic, it would have been in spite of everything that I had been taught by the Catholic church. I was hateful, lustful, vengeful, etc. I had none of the fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-24.

I know that most of my explanations here were presented in negative examples. I do not mean to bash Catholics, but rather, contrast their experiences as Catholics with what scripture teaches and challenge them to examine themselves in light of my 3 points.

Thank you, Dr. MacArthur, for giving us a place to discuss the truth of God's word regarding so many current topics.

#77  Posted by Chris Carney  |  Saturday, February 23, 2013at 7:18 PM

Only the Universal Church (for catholic means universal) founded by Jesus Christ with the guarantee from Jesus Himself that even "the gates of hell would not prevail against it" is equipped with the authority to definitively answer the question of how we are saved. Jesus delegated all power to the Apostles (Mt 28:18-20). He gave them the power to forgive sins (John 20:23) and the power to offer sacrifice (1 Cor 11:23-24) and the power to speak with Christ’s voice (Luke 10:16) and the power to legislate (Mt 18:18) and the power to discipline (Mt 18:17). Jesus gave the Apostles his own mission (John 20:21) and he gave them a kingdom (Luke 22:29-30). He said there would be one shepherd to shepherd Christ’s sheep (John 10:16) and appointed Peter to be chief shepherd (Luke 22:32, John 21:17). Church leaders are hierarchical (Eph 4:11) with the roles of bishops, priests and deacons (1 Tim, 3:1, 8; 5:17) identified and bishops given the power to ordain priests (Tit 1:5). So if the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim 3:15), shouldn't go to The Church to get the answer to this all important question?

#81  Posted by Daniel Flaherty  |  Sunday, February 24, 2013at 8:42 AM

Thanks GTY and John for taking on this challenge of exploring and confronting the Roman Catholic system that few in the Protestant community have the courage to do. Whether it is apathy (what does this have to do with my world), ignorance (Roman Catholicism is just another denomination), or fear that a large stream of donors will stop giving if the truth about the Roman system is brought to light – I thank God for ministries like GTY who battle this topic for the sake of preserving the truth from error – not to be liked by men. Friends – the laity and even the hierarchy of Rome are not our enemy – they are part of the mission field! It’s the corrupting doctrine and false teachings that come from the pit of hell that is our enemy. I have debated and confronted people within this system for years (I was in over 40 years but the power of the gospel delivered me over 8 years ago – praise God!) Be careful in this blog because you’ll get the “professional” Catholic apologists who will try to divert important topics down many “bunny trails” that will attempt to make valid arguments look silly – they are very good at this so be discerning! Thanks again and I hope to contribute more to the discussion in the coming days.

#82  Posted by Josué Morissette  |  Sunday, February 24, 2013at 1:32 PM

Although there has been many discussions on the theological differences so far, one thing that hasn't been mentioned is the deep divide that has historically existed. This appearance of unity that exists today is very recent. You don't need to go back too many years to have a glimpse of the kind of hostility Catholics had against evangelicals. In my part of the world Catholics were putting evangelists in jail until the late 1960's early 70's. And this is mild compared to what has been done to those who refused to fall under papal authority. These people did not accept martyrdom for theological details; they did because the differences were absolutely crucial. The cult of Rome kept the Bible from people in order to keep their monopoly on theology and killed those who would dare to bring the biblical text to people, why? Because as soon as people had access to what the Bible says they would leave the catholic system; it happened every time. It is absolutely clear that catholic soteriology and evangelical teachings on the subject are incompatible. Regardless of the abuse of Rome during that time, the reformation really exposed the dichotomy of the matter. Luther's 95 thesis and the rebuttal of the council of Trent made that crystal clear.

Like someone mentioned already I would challenge those who doubt that the differences really matter listen to the series of messages John did on Catholicism, you cannot listen to that and still think that the differences don't matter. I am confident that the coming post will achieve this also.

Thank you GTY for having the courage to expose those who damn so many to Eternity without God.

#83  Posted by Daniel Wilson  |  Sunday, February 24, 2013at 2:00 PM

Do catholics have the same 10 commandments as we christians do? Just a thought.

I was reading a passage in the bible when a woman called out to Jesus saying Blessed the woman who birth you and Jesus called out...

Here it is..

Luke 11:27-28

English Standard Version (ESV)

27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

So in terms.. Jesus is saying worship and honor Him, not in man who is dead or alive.

#84  Posted by Joe Markwordt  |  Sunday, February 24, 2013at 6:27 PM

As I mentioned before on this blog, I was raised a Roman Catholic and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior as a teenager. In my early 40’s I left the Catholic Church for over ten years and worshipped as an Evangelical.

I enjoyed my time in the Evangelical Church. I learned a lot and met some wonderful Christian brothers and sisters.

After ten years I returned to worship in the Catholic Church.

Have I lost my salvation?

If yes, why?

If no, then what harm is my worshipping as a Catholic?

I look forward to hearing from my Christian friends on both sides of this debate.

Thanks,

JM

#86  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, February 25, 2013at 9:56 AM

Joe (#84) writes,

As I mentioned before on this blog, I was raised a Roman Catholic and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior as a teenager. In my early 40’s I left the Catholic Church for over ten years and worshipped as an Evangelical.

I guess my initial question for you, Joe, is why did you leave the Catholic church to begin with? Did you leave just so you could spend a few years meeting “wonderful Christians” and learning “new things” at a non-Catholic church? Something had to have motivated you to leave the Catholic church, but obviously it wasn't enough to compel you to stay at the non-Catholic, evangelical church.

The reasoning you provide here is usually consider the wrong "reasons" for leaving one evangelical church or another, let alone the Catholic church for a Protestant church.

As future posts will flesh out in the days to come, there are stark, radical differences between the “gospel” as presented by Roman Catholics and the “gospel” as proclaimed by Protestants. Luther obviously didn’t reject Rome because he hated wearing funny hats. The issue comes down what we believe about the power and sufficiency of God's grace alone to save apart from man’s efforts.

#88  Posted by Joe Markwordt  |  Monday, February 25, 2013at 11:38 AM

Fred (#86),

My wife and I left the Catholic Church when our four children were very young. I had spent years during my college years worshipping with my friends in the Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship as well as my friends in the Newman Center (Campus Catholic Organization). I learned a lot from IVCF and felt my children would get a strong foundation in their faith being raised in the Evangelical community. My children are now 25 – 17 and are making their own spiritual decisions.

My decision to move back to the Catholic Church for worship and fellowship was more about my own personal spiritual needs. Although I loved the contemporary worship and the teaching I was exposed to as an Evangelical, I was looking for a quieter, more Jesus centered worship experience that was focused on the preaching style and skills of the head pastor, and the skills and talent of the worship team, and more focused on Jesus’s redemptive work on the Cross and our responsibilities as followers of Christ. I felt I was drifting away from “the cross”.

So, back to my question . . .

Have I lost my salvation?

If yes, why?

If no, then what harm is my worshipping as a Catholic? Or, any saved Christian worshipping as a Catholic?

And, for those who see non-saved Catholics as being a “mission field”, whom is a better position to actually bring them to salvation, John McArthur, who is on the attack? Or saved Christians in fellowship with them?

#89  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, February 25, 2013at 1:35 PM

Joe (#88) writes,

So, back to my question . . . Have I lost my salvation?

Joe, I’ll put aside the “why” of you leaving a Catholic church for an evangelical one and then moving back, for now.

I’m troubled that you could attend an evangelical church and NOT see the difference in the core Gospel message between what Roman Catholicism teaches and what an evangelical, Bible teaching church is supposed to teach. Makes me wonder what they did teach you there.

Even more of a concern is that you yourself do not seem to see that distinction and you give me the impression that you think there isn't much of a difference if at all and that it isn’t all that important.

With that in mind, I wonder if you were saved to begin with if you have such confusion, or I guess, lack of clarity, between what Roman Catholicism says about the gospel and what a protestant, evangelical church says about the gospel. So to answer your question - and this will come across blunt - but you can’t lose what you may never had to begin with.

Maybe I can ask you to define for me the Gospel and how you understand a person is saved? Do you believe Christ’s death finally and certainly secures salvation through faith, or do you think the Mass imparts grace to the receiver in order to help the person with the possibility of securing his own salvation? Do you believe in a purgatory? Does Mary act as a co-redemptrix in your understanding of the gospel and salvation? Those are key distinctions that separate Catholic worship from an evangelical, Bible oriented worship. From my vantage point, there would be much harm is worshipping as a Catholic, because you worship God falsely. That’s a problem.

And, for those who see non-saved Catholics as being a “mission field”, whom is a better position to actually bring them to salvation, John McArthur, who is on the attack? Or saved Christians in fellowship with them?

Honestly? John’s “attacks” at least tell the Catholic the truth as to what it is he is doing rather than one who comes to the Catholic from a position of compromised confusion.

Fred

#90  Posted by Warren Hewko  |  Monday, February 25, 2013at 2:31 PM

As in study in the scripture there is hope still for the false religious leaders from the popes all the way down to the priests ,listen to what Luke says in acts inspired by God Acts 6:7. The word of God kept on spreading and the last part of verse ; and a great number of priests were becoming obedient to the faith , keep praying for all the RCS as we see here that the religious leaders of a works salvation then were being saves by grace through faith and the finish work of he person of Jesus and the Holy Spirit awakening there spiritual eyes heart and mind, keep praying all there is still hope amen.

#91  Posted by Joe Markwordt  |  Monday, February 25, 2013at 2:33 PM

Fred (#89),

Maybe I can ask you to define for me the Gospel and how you understand a person is saved?

I believe in my heart and I profess with my lips that Jesus is my Lord and Saviour. His work on the cross redeemed me and reconciled me to the Father. Nothing more, nothing less, saves me. That's what I have believed since I was 15 when I first said the sinners prayer and accepted Jesus as my personal savior.

Do you believe Christ’s death finally and certainly secures salvation through faith?

Yes.

Do you think the Mass imparts grace to the receiver in order to help the person with the possibility of securing his own salvation?

No, I believe the Mass is a worship service. Nothing more, nothing less.

Do you believe in a purgatory?

No. And I have hear purgatory preached from the pulpit one time in 30 years, in passing. It is a doctrine that there is little to no focus on in the Church along with indulgences, etc. It just doesn't come up.

Does Mary act as a co-redemptrix in your understanding of the gospel and salvation?

No. I see Mary as Jesus's mother. Full of grace and blessed amongst women. Nothing more, nothing less.

Because you worship God falsely.

Is that your judgement or is that the truth? You really have no way to judge my heart or the heart's of the people who worship as Catholics. My grandmother from Italy could neither read nor write. She could not study the work if she wanted to and she was a Roman Catholic, but I can assure you, her faith in Jesus as her saviour was unwavering. She was not confused and neither am I.

Interestingly enough, when I came to Christ as a teenager, my spiritual mentor told me I was saved and he told me I could never lose my salvation as was the message from the podium for 10+ years as an Evengelical. I never heard the preacher say that if you said the sinner's prayer, and believed it, if you decided to go back and fellowship with them "catholics" your original salvation would then come under scrutinty.

#92  Posted by Jeremiah Johnson  |  Monday, February 25, 2013at 2:51 PM

Joe (#91)

You wrote: I never heard the preacher say that if you said the sinner's prayer, and believed it, if you decided to go back and fellowship with them "catholics" your original salvation would then come under scrutinty.

Let's be fair, Joe; you're the one who asked him to scrutinize it in the first place.

#94  Posted by Terrence Daugherty  |  Monday, February 25, 2013at 3:42 PM

I am wondering if all of you contending for the religion of Catholicism actually even listen to the teachings of John MacArthur, or if you are here because of the ridiculous and ignorant comments Eric Metaxas made on his Facebook page. A lot of you are making very invalid and erroneous points to prove your position; points that Phil Johnson, John MacArthur and many others that have already disproved time and time again. It really astonishes me actually. You ask a question trying to provoke answers from those of us that subscribe to John MacArthur's page, when the page itself is right in front of you to search! Just "look-up" your questions; I am sure you'll find the answer.

Now as for those of you that continue to ask about "falling away from Christ"; the teachings here, and throughout a majority of the Protestant community is that when you forsake Christ, it's not that you are "losing your salvation", but instead, you were never a true follower of Christ to begin with. You've only fooled yourself.

I was once a Catholic, but now I understand the redemptive power of the Holy Spirit to regenerate a depraved wretch, such as myself, and compel me to a life of sanctification. If you're faith is not genuine and if you are without conviction for the Glory of our Lord, and only seek to save yourself, then you've missed the point to begin with. It's not about you or me... It's about His glory and His will and how He wishes it to be bestowed. There is nothing you can do to be saved; there is no religion, no prayer, no sacrifice, and no person that can save you; only the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit that does not do as you command, but as He wills. God is immutable. You do not control Him; you do not ask Him to save you! He opens up your eyes. He saves you despite your depravity and despite your sin. He even saves you despite your religion...

Being Catholic will not save you, and praying to the dead or Mary will not save you. Only the power of the Holy Spirit and His ability to flood your heart with conviction unto repentance. The truth is this; NONE of us deserve salvation and none of us deserve to even live. But God in His mercy and Grace has chosen to save us; not by anything we have done, but only by what He has done and will do. If you cannot accept this Biblical reality as taught by Christ Himself, and unchanged in Scripture throughout the ages, then you my friend are blind in your sins and are already condemned to the pits of Hell for all of eternity.

God bless you John MacArthur for speaking the truth and lifting up the name of Christ above man, even that of Ratzinger. God bless you and your ministry...

Terrence

#95  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Monday, February 25, 2013at 3:56 PM

#91, Joe.

Could you define "evangelical" for me, in the context you are using it? Also, would you mind telling us what kind of "evangelical" church did you attend and fellowship for 12 years?

"I never heard the preacher say that if you said the sinner's prayer, and believed it, if you decided to go back and fellowship with them "catholics" your original salvation would then come under scrutinty."

This comes to mind:

"They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19)

I'd suggest to you if the preacher told you that repeating the sinner's prayer and having someone say to you "you are saved" is all that there is about the Gospel and salvation, you still don't know what the Gospel is. I wonder what they taught you in that "evangelical" church for 12 years.

E.

#96  Posted by Joe Markwordt  |  Monday, February 25, 2013at 4:13 PM

E.

Preacher from Dallas Theological Seminary. Dispensationalist. Literal interpretation of the Bible. At least once a month encouraged non-believers attending the service to accept Jesus as their personal savior and accept His salvation. Alter call if you will.

Terrance, I stumbled upon this blog when I came to the site on Friday to purchase a book I heard on John's broadcast on Thursday. I listen to John most mornings. I have listened to him for years.

I thank all of you for your feedback, comments, and commentary.

Blessing to you in Jesus's name.

#97  Posted by Daniel Wilson  |  Monday, February 25, 2013at 4:39 PM

I did the sinner's prayer.. guess what.. I was'nt saved through that I said it and was still in my sins... Years later, I got on my knees with the Lord alone and repent of my sins...with tears and allow the Lord deal with me.... That day I recieved Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life..

#98  Posted by Joseph Hoffman  |  Tuesday, February 26, 2013at 6:41 AM

Re: #76 Posted by Keith Krohn

Keith I give you big props my brother! I, like you, am a recovering Catholic. Like you I attended a catholic school and had my baptism and all of that. I think you stated very accurately and to the point some of the very same things I noticed and had caused me to move away from that system as well. Your post was a refreshing look at what most of us observe before we depart from that institution. I hope to talk to many more who are still in that system in hope of helping them to the real gospel and truth as written in our Holy Bible.

#99  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, February 27, 2013at 4:48 AM

Joe, #91, writes,

Maybe I can ask you to define for me the Gospel and how you understand a person is saved?

The Bible is clear that God sent Christ to die in the place of sinners so that we can have eternal life. I would even agree in some respects with how you phrase your understanding of the Gospel, but what you present is NOT what historic, Roman Catholicism teaches. A sinner is not assured of his salvation unless he is a good, practicing Catholic; and even after that, there is no assurance of one’s absolute salvation.

I had asked, Do you believe Christ’s death finally and certainly secures salvation through faith? and you responded with a “Yes.”

Again this is NOT what Roman Catholicism teaches. Even if you may not believe it, Catholicism doesn’t agree with you.

I had asked, Do you think the Mass imparts grace to the receiver in order to help the person with the possibility of securing his own salvation? and you responded by saying, “No, I believe the Mass is a worship service. Nothing more, nothing less.”

But Catholicism understands the Mass to be much, much more than just some “worship service” It is the means by which the Catholic receives the spiritual blessing of grace in order to be enabled to seek his justification and work out his salvation with God.

I had asked about purgatory and you responded by saying, that it doesn’t come up where you attend church, but again, purgatory is a major part of historic, Roman Catholic teaching. It matters not if the priest teaches about it or not, it is there. You should ask about the doctrine.

I asked about Mary acting as a co-redemptrix and you responded by saying you see Mary as just Jesus’s mother. That is not what Catholicism teaches about Mary. Again, you need to check into these things and not ignore them.

The fact of the matter is, Joe, that Catholicism teaches opposite every one of these thing you note here. These are major doctrines and dogmas of the Roman Catholic church and they do not reflect biblical Christianity in any shape or form. It does not matter if you get the warm and fuzzies when you attend a Catholic service or how committed your grandma from Italy was, if these things are not taught in Scripture and they are in essence condemned by the teaching of Scripture, this is a false Gospel and a false worship and you soul is in serious danger. I am not telling you that to be a contentious Protestant, but because I care that you worship God rightly. Good intentions can not help you in this case.

#100  Posted by Jason Pratt  |  Wednesday, February 27, 2013at 2:06 PM

Joe, #91

I have followed your postings carefully and I pray that you will carefully consider what I have to say here. Understand that the church you currently attend, that is a Roman Catholic Church, must adhere to the dogma of Rome. In doing so that very church then must condemn, anathematize you, to hell (their hell that is) for believing what you have now publically stated you believe. The "infallible" positions of Rome regarding their numerous anathemas against Biblical theology are well documented and they are still affirmed by the Vatican. So how do you feel about your church now? Is this a truly safe spiritual environment for you? One that condemns your beliefs as you've stated them? Is this a consistent position for you then to remain in such fellowship? Regardless of whether the touchy doctrines of Purgetory or Mariolotry have come up only once, they are still firmly held by Rome and therefore the church you attend. Starting in Rome and leading to the very doors of the "church" you attend on Sunday is a false and damning system of doctrine, dogma and theology. No true believer can unite with such a lie in any kind of spiritual enterprise other than to confront it with the Truth and lead the captives free (Matt 7:15-23, Romans 16:17-18, Ephesian 5:11, 2 Peter 2:1, 1 Cor 11:19, 2 Cor 6:14-15, 1 Tim 4:1-3, Heb 6:4-6). Repent of your sins, trust in Christ and flee the Roman Catholic system! I beg you for your eternal well-being to the praise of God.

#102  Posted by Joe Markwordt  |  Wednesday, February 27, 2013at 9:22 PM

Dear Friends in Christ,

I have read the commentary and the responses to my previous posts with much interest. And now that I have read the posts, and I do thank you for taking the time to comment, I will add my final comments to this thread.

My understanding is that Christ’s Universal Church is made up of every single person who has exercised faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, including members of every local church body throughout the earth (1 Cor 12:13 & Eph 1: 22-23).

I claim membership in that church. Jesus’s church.

How can I possible claim membership in Jesus’s Universal Church?

Because Jesus said that anyone that acknowledges Jesus before men, Jesus will also acknowledge before the Father in Heaven (Matt. 10:32& Luke 12:8) and because as Paul said in Romans 10: 9 - 13, “ anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

I have done both, many, many, times, in love, and with all sincerity.

I claim Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

I believe in my heart and I have proclaimed, witnessed, have given testimony, and evangelized in Jesus’s name on and off for the past 40+ years.

And more importantly, is what Jesus taught about salvation in Matthew 7: 21-23 “that one must do the will of the Father in heaven” which is to believe in the Son. Matthew 12: 46-50, “whoever does the will of My Father who is in Heaven, He is my brother, sister, and mother.” And again in John 11: 25-26 where Jesus says, “that anyone who believes in me will live and will never die.”

I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He died for my sins. He rose from the dead; sits at the right hand of the Father. And will come again in Glory to judge the living and the dead.

So, based on my reading of the scriptures, I believe that I belong to Jesus’s Church, and like Noah’s family, who entered the Ark to be spared God’s judgment and wrath, I am in the new ark, Jesus’s church and will be shepherded into the Kingdom by Jesus.

Now let’s talk about judgment.

I don’t believe that anyone on this forum, despite a vast knowledge of scripture, and their confidence in their ability to interpret scripture, can judge whether or not I will inherit the kingdom of heaven based on what local church I attend, or anyone else, chooses to attend.

I don’t believe that a disagreement with Roman Catholic doctrine gives the Catholic church authority to condemn me to hell anymore then a person walking out of John McArthur’s church on Sunday morning that disagrees with John’s interpretation of scripture could be condemned by John. (I assume that just about everyone on this forum believes, like I do, that John doesn’t always get it right and not everyone in his church agrees with everything he teaches.)

#103  Posted by Joe Markwordt  |  Wednesday, February 27, 2013at 9:25 PM

I also know that neither John McArthur, nor any other person posting on this blog, has any idea if I will be condemned to the pits of hell for attending Catholic Mass and engaging in fellowship with members of the local Catholic Church.

Why?

Again, let’s turn to the Word of God.

First, Jesus makes it clear that it is childlike faith that is a condition for salvation Matt 18:3, 19:4, Mark 10:15 and Proverbs 3:5 in which we are told to trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding and Jeremiah 9:23 where we are told not to boast in our own wisdom.

We just don’t know as much as we think we do and we are arrogant to believe that we can know, with certainty, what is in store for us at the judgment day 1 Cor 2: 9.

And this point is made again in the judgment scene played out in Matt 25: 31 – 46, Jesus describes a judgment in which some who believe they will be saved are placed with the goats and condemned; while others are surprised to be placed with the sheep and saved. Interestingly enough, Jesus implies it is what they did, or didn’t do, that is one of the factors in their ultimate fate.

My point isn’t to argue works versus faith. My point is that Jesus is the sole judge of our salvation and will judge according to God’s will.

Period.

For anyone to claim on this forum that they know the Will of God with regards to how, exactly, he will judge the living and the dead, is taking liberties that I suggest fly in the face of the Jesus’s teachings in Matt 7:1, Luke 6:37, Luke 6:41, John 8:7, and Paul’s instruction in Romans 2:1, Romans 14:10, Romans 14:13, 1 Cor 4:5 and, finally, James teaching in James 4:11.

The scriptures give us a glimpse, but we are told that only God knows the time of the judgment and that Jesus will be the judge.

Finally, based on my readings of God’s Word, I believe that Jesus’s Church is made up off those who believe in Him and put their faith in Him. (See aforementioned references.) I believe that His Universal Church members can be found throughout all Christian denominations including Catholic, Baptist, Evangelical, Methodist, Greek Orthodox, Church of the Brethren, etc. etc. etc.

For only God knows our hearts Acts 1:24, Acts 15:8, and Romans 8:27. For it is out of the believer’s heart that living waters will flow John 7:38 and it is what is written on our hearts that Jesus will judge what we believe Psalm 51:10, Psalm 139: 23 and Luke 12: 34.

And only Jesus is given the authority to make that judgment.

Therefore, our challenge as believers is to build up the kingdom and to store treasure in Heaven through our works (bringing others to Christ) so that when we die, and we enter the Kingdom, our works can be judged 1 Cor 3: 13 - 15, such that we will inherit our Heavenly rewards Matt 5:12, Matt 6:20, 1 Cor 3:14.

#104  Posted by Joe Markwordt  |  Wednesday, February 27, 2013at 9:28 PM

Although our works don’t save us, faith without works is a dead faith James 2: 14-26 and we are needed, by God, through His son Jesus, to bring as many as we can to the great wedding feast!!

Finally, I realize that I am not in “communion” with all of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Trust me, I don’t need anyone on this forum to explain Catholicism to me nor tell me what the Protestants believe is abhorrent with the Catholic faith. (I was raised a Catholic. I served as a youth minister, taught Confirmation and CCD classes, and was the Student Campus Minister for the Catholic Community at the university I attended and the Jesuit Priest at the university was one of my spiritual mentors. Plus, I sat in Evangelical Churches for over 10 years and have listened to John MacArthur for years and listened/read just about everything he has ever written on the Catholic Church. I understand Catholicism, I know where I differ from its teachings, and I know why John MacArthur has to say about the Catholic Church.)

But, about six years ago, after my father died, my mom, at 80 years old, came to live with me and my family. When she first came to my house, I would drop her off at Mass on Saturday evening, take a walk, pick her up after Mass ended, and attend Evangelical Church on Sunday morning. One time when I went to pick her up, she was very confused and a bit disoriented, so I started to take her to Mass so she wouldn’t be alone. I would take her on Saturday evening and I would attend service on Sunday morning. (Eph 6: 1-3 and Matt 15: 3 – 7 come to mind as I wanted to honor of my mother.)

After about a year of attending Mass again, I found that I could pray more effectively in the relative quiet of the Mass, listen to God better, and focus on His word more closely, than I could at that Evangelical service, (which had very loud music (lots of it), good coffee, comfortable seating, and ample time to take notes on the day’s teachings). While at Mass, I was not focused on Rome, Catholic dogma/doctrine, Mariology, the role of the Pope, etc. I was focused on Jesus, prayer, listening, and trying to determine His will for the second 50 years of my life. I believe that God has a plan for my life and perhaps now that plan includes me attending Mass and being a part of the local Catholic Community. Only time will tell what the plan is and how it will work out. I have faith and will continue to attend Mass until I hear a different calling.

In closing, I am thankful to all who have cared enough to leave your comments as to my faith journey on this forum. I ask for your prayers for me, my family, my Catholic faith community, and the many wonderful Christian brothers and sisters I have met in my years worshipping with the Evangelical community.

This is my last word on the topic. I think we all know where we stand by now.

Blessing, from your brother in Christ. Amen.

#105  Posted by Ray Bean  |  Thursday, February 28, 2013at 8:47 AM

Jason #100 in response to Joe #91 ,

I would add only what scripture says to confess Christ -Romans 10 :9and 10 and to be baptized- immersed - for the forgiveness of sins-Acts 2 : 38 , and to be saved-I Peter 3 : 21 .

#106  Posted by Warren Hewko  |  Thursday, February 28, 2013at 11:13 AM

Gina over and over people here that we're part of the false Roman Catholic system is exposing and going in to there history of the council of Trent and beyond to show you and all the man-made teaching of the extra biblical teachings and still ,we continue to pray to all who are defending the false teachings of the RC and the spirit of truth would awaken your not intellect,but awaken your conscience where your soul and spirit would come in line with Holy Spirit and illuminating you Mind with truth of scripture and seethe author as the authority of all things,come to , always praying for the lost Amen.

#107  Posted by Jennifer Phillips  |  Thursday, February 28, 2013at 12:38 PM

I challenge everyone here - whether Protestant or Catholic - to put aside the emotion. Take a hard look at all of the familiar traditions, ceremonies, etc. - including the ones you hold dear and compare them to scripture. Don't arbitrarily accept whatever your pastor, priest, historical writings, books, etc. tell you. Test them against scripture, which should be the deciding authority for any matter.

I have been listening to Grace to You for over 20 years. I don't just accept what John MacArthur says because of who he is and because I agree with most everything he teaches, I test it against the whole of scripture - not just a verse here and there. For example, I am looking forward to the in-depth study on baptism to see where it will lead. I will not just accept what he says as truth, even if it sounds reasonable, I will check it against the Bible.

You have to decide what your final authority is - God or man.

#111  Posted by Walter Combs  |  Thursday, February 28, 2013at 1:25 PM

I was brought up in a Baptist family, came to Christ (repented of my sins and trusted Christ as my Savior and Lord) at the age of eleven and was taught that if something is Catholic it has to be wrong.

Liturgy is definately part of Catholic worship and so it was to be rejected as ritualistic and repetitive praying. As an evangelical I thought the symbolism and ritual of Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheran or any high church as devoid of meaning, empty, rote, and mindless. Of course there have been cases or even tendencies at times for people to lose track of the meanings of their religious practices, and to do them without thinking about why they do them– but Baptists do this too– sometimes even with their prayers, devotions, church-going, etc. To say that all symbolic ritual in the Catholic church is rote and thoughtless ritualism is as uncharitable as someone saying that evangelicalism is legalistic unthoughtful literalism which practices bibliolatry with no concern for making a concrete difference in this world. But I digress!

I began a bible study in my church of the book of Hebrews and I saw just how important liturgy was for the covenant and that became increasingly evident to me as I studied the book of Hebrews. Also I found that overwhelming historical evidence exists proving it was important to the Early Church. I came to believe that liturgy represents the way God fathered his covenant people and He renewed that on a regular basis. It became evident to me as to what the relationship of the Old Testament was to the New and how the New Testament Church became a fulfillment and not an abandonment of the Old. These ideas were confirmed by the writings of the Early Church Fathers. Reading the ECF's, I began to believe that the Catholic Church might most accurately reflect the intentions of the Early Church Fathers and found other evangelicals seeking a church whose roots run deeper than the Reformation. However, I had always believed that people only leave the Catholic Church for 'True Christianity' and not the other way around. But, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s 2007 Religious Landscape Survey, roughly 8 percent of Catholics were raised in other churches as evangelicals. This compares with 9 percent of evangelical Christians who were raised Catholic. Not much difference.

#112  Posted by Walter Combs  |  Thursday, February 28, 2013at 1:26 PM

As I continued to study I became aware that the one only place where Jesus used the word 'covenant' was when He instituted 'The Lord's Supper'. Yet, we only observed communion four times a year.

I began to study the Gospel of John and became aware that the Gospel was chock full of sacramental imagery. I was raised to believe that liturgy and sacraments were to be rejected and certainly not to be studied. These things I was programed not to be open to. But going through Hebrews I noticed the writer made me see that liturgy and sacraments were an essential part of God's family life. Then in John six, I came to realize that Jesus could not have been talking metaphorically when He taught us to eat His flesh and drink His blood. The Jews in His audience would not have been outraged and scandalized by a mere symbol. Besides, if the Jews had merely misunderstood Jesus to be speaking literally and He meant His words to be taken figuratively, why would he not simply clarify them? But He never did! Nor did any other Christian for over a thousand years!

All this and the fact that my Aunt, a Baptist missionary, had announced to her family that she was becoming a Catholic and this started me looking deeper into a Church I had long considered heretical and even the Great Whore of Babylon (I had read David Hunt's book). Then I began to read some of the writings of the recent popes. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have been highly regarded in the evangelical community. Their writings are very focused on the person of Jesus Christ and very attentive to scripture. That was certainly important to us evangelicals.

Of course there were the questions about supposed 'Mary worship' (Catholics place Mary and the saints above Christ and Catholics bow to idols, don't they?) and I was taught in my Baptist church that Catholics believe Purgatory is place where people are given a 'Second Chance' at salvation. Of course, I knew that was un-biblical. And wasn't Catholicism a 'works-rigteousness' based religion? The list went on and on so I began to read and see for myself what the Catholics had to say to my objections to their 'un-biblical' doctrines. My first book was 'Born Fundamentalist, Born-Again Catholic' by David Currie. This answered most of the nagging questions I had had as to whether or not the Catholic Church was biblical or not. I then read 'Crossing The Tiber: Evangelicals Discover The Ancient Faith' by Steve Ray, a former Baptist. Then came books by other evangelical converts such as Scott Hahn and books by Karl Keating.

#113  Posted by Walter Combs  |  Thursday, February 28, 2013at 1:27 PM

There are many other reasons why I and other former evangelicals convert to Catholicism. One reason is: Certainty

To have certainty and knowledge of truth leads many evangelicals to look elsewhere beyond all the doctrinal differences and “choose-your-own-church syndrome” within evangelical churches. I had the desire for certain knowledge, this is something I could not find within evangelical churches. If I were to ask ten evangelicals what their churches teach about marriage and divorce, how many different answers might I get?

Another reason for conversion is that I wanted to be connected to the ENTIRE history of the Christian Church and not just from the Reformation forward. I do not buy into Baptist successionism as their is a lack of historical evidence for it. Baptists trying to connect themselves to various groups that split from Catholicism prior to the Reformation falls short. Their beliefs and practices were closer to Catholicism than present day Baptists. The Waldenses are an example.

Also, I have issue with the "interpretive diversity” that occurs in evangelicalism, I prefer to accept the authority of the Catholic Church instead of trying to sort through the numerous interpretations of evangelical pastors and theologians. The authority that is found in the Catholic Church’s Magisterium has been consistant for two thousand years. The non-ending threads on the BB pitting Christian against Christian over doctrine many times resulting in either board members directly or indirectly questioning each others salvation and the myriad of denominations created because of such squabbling is evidence enough of the dangers of 'interpretive diversity' or 'individual interpretation' of scripture.

#114  Posted by Keith Krohn  |  Thursday, February 28, 2013at 4:45 PM

In response to: #98 Posted by Joseph Hoffman

Hi Joseph! Well, I would say I am beyond the point of being a "recovering" anything. I am recovered (salvaged?) from whatever I was in my former life by God's grace! So, I cannot accept your "proper respect" (props), unless you are in the habit of congratulating sinners on the depths of their iniquity? ;)

To be clear, I did not recognize anything about Catholicism that caused me to move away. The realization came years later after my spiritual regeneration, when I was looking back on things.

At the time of my rebirth I wasn't a practicing Catholic anyway. Perhaps you were? I suppose God may have convicted you of the false doctrines in Catholicism directly whereas in my case, well; there was a whole lot more going on that required His attention that he saved me from.

It is great to see so many people commenting on this issue and giving glory to the Lord Jesus and his complete, effectual sacrifice, where it belongs.

#115  Posted by Walter Combs  |  Thursday, February 28, 2013at 5:34 PM

Regarding Purgatory and it supposedly not being biblical. My understanding of Purgatory is that, to the extent to which we are not fully transformed into the image of Christ per Rom 12:1-2 when we die, it is necessary for this process therefore to be completed after our deaths - where we are made perfect and become totally Christ-like, sin no more and are able to say that we are "holy, just as God is holy". That makes perfect sense to me: I know that although my sins are forgiven and I am justified in Christ and thus an inheritor of eternal life in Him, nevertheless my 'flesh' (or concupiscence) remains a powerful force in my life, I sin daily, and I am not in actuality 'Christ-like' if you met me in the street you wouldn't, unfortunately say "hey, this guy's just like Jesus"); hence I am very much a work-in-progress, still in the process of spiritual formation; if I fell under a truck today, I know I am saved, but I am not yet ready to be united with God (for instance, I suspect if I did get hit by a truck, then my last words would not be suitable to print on this board!). If I am blessed, the Holy Spirit will complete this good work before I pop my clogs; but if not, I am sure He will do so after my death. No the word is not in the bible but neither is Trinity, Incarnation, etc. and you believe in those doctrines, don't you?

#116  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, March 01, 2013at 11:04 AM

Joe, at #102 writes,

I don’t believe that anyone on this forum, despite a vast knowledge of scripture, and their confidence in their ability to interpret scripture, can judge whether or not I will inherit the kingdom of heaven based on what local church I attend, or anyone else, chooses to attend.

Well Joe, the Bible disagrees with your assessment. Consider the book of Galatians in which Paul explicitly says that one's agreement with the Judaizing doctrines places the person in danger of anathema. Knowing what Paul writes in this regard, could you, without fear of judgment, attend a church where a Judaiazing gospel is taught? Why or why not?

What I see you saying is that doctrine doesn't really matter or you have come to the conclusion that Catholicism doesn't really teach anything differently, which is troubling in light of the things these posts have pointed out. Other Catholic commenters want to frame our evaluation of Catholicism upon the notion that we are misinformed about what the RCC teaches, but are we really?

Next, in #103,

My point is that Jesus is the sole judge of our salvation and will judge according to God’s will.

Indeed Jesus is. But Jesus judges according to revealed truth and that revealed truth is contained in Scripture. If anyone practices a faith that is based upon a false gospel or heretical doctrines of who God and Christ are, it doesn't matter how sincere that person is, or how much he was "blessed" by the services he attended, that person is sincerely wrong. We who evaluate his faith and practice do so from a position of knowing an authoritative standard.

#117  Posted by Kathleen Lamantia  |  Friday, March 01, 2013at 5:12 PM

I was raised as a Catholic in the 1950s. Old-style Roman Catholicism. Went to church 6 days a week, practiced every thing I was taught, went to 12 years of Catholic school.

At no time during any of that did anyone, priest, nun or layperson ever explain to me that I needed personal salvation. The doctrine taught that you were baptized into "the faith" and so long as you did not die in mortal sin, you would probably go to heaven.

The multitudinous, serious, doctrinal errors of that institution are striking. I am particularly grieved by these recent posts from evangelicals who have left the joy and freedom of the Word of God to go back to that horrific system of man-made traditions. It's so so sad to read that.

Why would anyone set free voluntarily return to deceptive bondage?

As to Mary, they taught me to pray to her and I did. They taught me to pray to the saints, and I did. And Pugatory? Good heavens! What a travesty! "Absent from the body is present with the Lord." Period.

#118  Posted by David Masucci  |  Friday, March 08, 2013at 10:05 PM

John 19:30

Jesus Said "But The Comforter Who Is The Holy Spirit Whom The Father will send In My Name He Shall Teach you All Things And Bring All Things To your Rememberance Whatsoever I Have Said Unto you "(John 14:26) That One Single Verse Determines What we Know and what we don't know about our Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise His Holy Name ( Jude 1:24-25)

Well Pastor John you sure have opened a hornets nest. The Bs as in Baptists, the Cs as in Catholics, and the Ps as in Protestants will have at now for days,weeks and months perhaps even years, if

Jesus Tarries. So what can I add to the conversation that will be in agreement with what The Bible Teaches other than to quote The Words Of Jesus Who Said " And you shall Know The Truth And The Truth Shall set you free" And Thats exactly what happens When God The Holy Spirit Reveals Jesus Christ to a poor lost sinner on their way to hell for eternity. Now,and only now can that person begin a relationship With their Savior And Lord Jesus Christ

Now that they have realized their a sinner in desperate need of The Savior and have confessed with their mouth and believed in their heart The Lord Jesus Christ Who Died On The Cross For their sins,past ,present and future And Who Rose Again On The Third Day And Who Now Sits At The Right Hand Of The Father In Heaven they now can ask The Holy Spirit To Guide them Into All Truth. What A Promise, What A Future, What A Savior, What A Friend we have In Jesus.

Pastor John I congradulate you for being a man of God who does exactly as The Word Of God Commands, "Preach The Word in season and out of season, for the time will come when they will no longer endure sound doctrine but shall heap to themselves teachers havivg itching ears."( 2 Timothy Chapter 4)

Martin Luther, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Dwight L.Moody, Billy Graham, James Boice, Jerry Fallwell, and D. James Kennedy would be proud of your latest battle to proclaim Gods Great Truths against the false destructive doctrine of thr roman catholic ( I can't say church because only born again,blood washed children of God are the church) lets just call it point of false views.

Talk about being in good company. I have just put you in the hall of heroes hall of faithfuls. What a teaching seminar that would be.

May The Lord God Holy Spirit use this series on roman catholicism to bring many to a saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ

The Blessings Of The Lord Be upon you and your loved ones

Sincerely, David ( John 3:5)

#119  Posted by R Hagen  |  Sunday, March 10, 2013at 9:26 AM

Pastor MacArthur - I am quite taken aback by the deceit that you are disingenuously spewing to your flock regarding your perceived imperfections of the Catholic faith. You may feel threatened by Catholics or you have been seriously misinformed by tainted propaganda and believe it to be so. I believe it is an insult to those you preach to in good conscience to misdirect and misinform as you have clearly not done your homework.

You would elevate yourself and your profession if you recognized a fellow Christian faith respectfully as your faith community is a splintered version of the Catholic faith itself with too numerous to mention man made "feel good" deviations.

I doubt very much that there is a Catholic Parish website that has a link that dedicates itself to "trashing" the Protestant faith.

As a child growing up in a "Community nondenominational church" and converting much later in life to the Catholic faith, every Mass I have attended is always inclusive of Protestants as our fellow Christians. You really ought to consider educating yourself and taking the high road as opposed to a haughty and misguided version that only perpetuates division within the Christian community. Re-read your posted Proverbs 15:2 please.

#120  Posted by Keith Krohn  |  Tuesday, March 12, 2013at 5:42 PM

Walter, at #115 writes, "Regarding Purgatory and it supposedly not being biblical. My understanding of Purgatory is that, to the extent to which we are not fully transformed into the image of Christ per Rom 12:1-2 when we die, it is necessary for this process therefore to be completed after our deaths - where we are made perfect and become totally Christ-like...No the word [purgatory] is not in the bible but neither is Trinity, Incarnation, etc. and you believe in those doctrines, don't you?"

The problem is that the false doctrine of purgatory does not fit with scripture. Purgatory is a place described by Roman Catholicism as a place where a person is made perfect by suffering (somehow, somewhere) and being made fit for Heaven, which implies that there is something Believers can contribute to our salvation apart from repentance in view of our sin.

We are not made right with God through punishment. 1 John 2:2 teaches us that, "...He Himself is the propitiation for our sins...".

Christ paid our sin debt as a Believer. We are imputed with His righteousness. So long as we are in this human body, we will struggle with sin since sin is in our bodies' members; "but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members..." (Romans 7:23)

Paul writes of Christians in 2 Corinthians 5:8, "...[we] prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." In Luke 23:43 it reads, "And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

So, the thief on the cross, because of his saving faith given Him by God, went to Paradise the moment he died. Jesus didn't say, "Today you shall be made complete in purgatory." He guaranteed the thief would be at peace with God in paradise, not in eternal damnation, and not in purgatory.

I hope these scriptures helped you. While the term Trinity is not found in the Bible, the scriptures nonetheless support the doctrine of the Trinity itself. Even though you won't see the term "incarnation" used in scripture, it is evident in many scriptures that Christ was God (a Spirit) and had "taken on flesh" which is the definition of the word, incarnation.

#121  Posted by Ron Morales  |  Wednesday, March 13, 2013at 10:43 AM

I want to pray for all those who have posted here and under the bondage of catholicsim. I was once a practicing catholic,but my uncle presented the gospel of Jesus to me over 13 years ago. My heart bleeds for those so entrenched in the doctrine of RCC. I have found it difficult to have conversations with my family just like I am reading here at this blog. We are truly blessed to have a man like john macarthur who presents such a wonderful and truthful presentation of the RCC !!

#122  Posted by Walter Combs  |  Friday, March 15, 2013at 8:21 PM

Keith @ 120: The word Paradise would have been the same as what Christ calls "Abraham's Bosom", namely that area of Sheol (where the dead, both saved and condemned await the coming of Christ) where those who served the Lord faithfully on earth were comforted. When Christ descended "to hell" or "to the dead" as we profess in the Apostle's Creed, this refers to His bringing of the Good News to those who had fallen asleep, but were not yet able to enter Heaven because Christ had not yet opened the gates. So when the Good Thief died, he would have joined Christ in Sheol prior to His Resurrection. He would not have gone to Purgatory, as Purgatory is reserved to cleanse souls of the temporal effects of sin (sanctification). Since it is understood by the Church that the Good Thief (aka St. Dismas) underwent a "baptism of desire" on the cross, he would have already had the temporal effects of his sin wiped away.

We don't disagree that it is faith in Christ's shed blood on the cross that saves us. It absolutely does! Praise God! We disagree in how that is applied.

#123  Posted by Walter Combs  |  Friday, March 15, 2013at 8:26 PM

Thank you for your prayers, Ron. However, since I left my Baptist church for the ancient and holy faith of the Catholic Church, my relationship to Jesus Christ has grown beyond anything it was as a Baptist. I was educated at Biola University so I know the evangelical faith and the perception of evangelicals of what Catholic believe. I still love my evangelical brothers and sisters in the Lord but I know that they don't understand the actual teachings of the Catholic Church and how it's teachings are completely biblical or they would stop the trashing of Christ's Holy Church.

#124  Posted by Kathleen Lamantia  |  Monday, March 18, 2013at 9:08 AM

@ Walter

I was raised in Roman Catholicism and am besides an Honors degree holder in Medieval & Renaissance Studies, so I understand perfectly what that church teaches. It is so unbiblical as to be blasphemous. I grieve for all those caught in its error and deception.