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One Perfect Life - A Christmas Special Message with John MacArthur
Friday, February 12, 2016 | Comments (40)

By Cameron Buettel

All over the world, on any given day of the week, Jesus Christ’s body is repeatedly sacrificed. According to the Roman Catholic Church, that’s what happens every time they celebrate the Mass—their version of Communion, or the Lord’s Table.

In The Faith of Millions—a book certified by the Roman Catholic Church to be “free of doctrinal and moral error”—Catholic priest John O’Brien explains what happens during the Mass:

When the priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man. It is a power greater than that of monarchs and emperors: it is greater than that of saints and angels, greater than that of Seraphim and Cherubim. Indeed it is greater even than the power of the Virgin Mary. While the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man—not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows His head in humble obedience to the priest’s command. [1] Rev. John A. O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, revised ed. (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1974) 255–56.

The supposed ability to wield such supernatural power over almighty God is one of the priesthood’s most blasphemous acts. As O’Brien describes it, the priestly office is a position of immense, even ultimate power, as the priest yanks Christ out of His eternal kingdom and hurls Him once again onto the sacrificial altar.

The repeated sacrificial process is called transubstantiation, wherein the bread and wine transform into the literal body and blood of Christ. It may sound cannibalistic and creepy, but they argue that it’s what the Bible actually teaches:

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (John 6:53­–56)

But is that really what Jesus meant by those graphic words? Was He truly prescribing the repeated and violent sacrifice of His physical body? Is that what Christ intended when He instituted Communion?

The simple answer is, No.

Linking Christ’s discourse in John 6 with the Lord’s Table is a significant leap. The events described in John 6 took place during His ministry in Galilee—it would be roughly a year before He and His disciples would meet in the Upper Room.

And even then, there are significant flaws with the Catholic interpretation. Apologist James McCarthy makes a salient point regarding Jesus’ physical body and the institution of the Lord’s Table. He notes that when Jesus referred to the bread, saying “This is my body” (Matthew 26:26), He was physically present with the disciples. McCarthy rightly observes: “Surely they would not have thought that Jesus’ body was both at the table and on the table.” [2] James G. McCarthy, The Gospel According to Rome (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1995) 135–36.

In his commentary on John’s gospel, John MacArthur compellingly refutes any connection between Jesus’ words in John 6:53­–56 and the celebration of the Lord’s Table:

It should be noted that the Roman Catholic Church appeals to this passage as a proof of the doctrine of transubstantiation—the false teaching that the body and blood of Christ are literally present in the bread and wine of the Mass. Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott writes, “The body and the blood of Christ together with His soul and His divinity and therefore the whole Christ are truly present in the Eucharist” (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma [St. Louis: B. Herder, 1954], 382). It is a false foundation for a false doctrine, however, to suggest that Jesus was referring to the Eucharist (Communion or the Lord’s Table) here, since He used the word sarx (flesh). A different word, sōma (“body”), appears in the passages referring to Communion (Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:24, 27). Two additional considerations reinforce the fact that this passage does not refer to Communion: First, the Lord’s Table had not yet been instituted; therefore, the Jews would not have understood what Jesus was talking about if He were speaking of Communion. Second, Jesus said that anyone who partakes of His flesh has eternal life. If that was a reference to the Lord’s Table, it would mean that eternal life could be gained through taking Communion. That is clearly foreign to Scripture, however, which teaches that Communion is for those who are already believers (1 Corinthians 11:27–32) and that salvation is by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8–9). [3] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: John 1–11 (Chicago: Moody Press, 2006) 259–60.

And the disconnect between Scripture and the Catholic Mass runs far deeper than the nature of the elements. The author of Hebrews repeatedly states that Christ’s atoning sacrifice was a “once for all” event never to be repeated:

By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:10­–14)

There is simply no way to harmonize the idea of Christ being repeatedly sacrificed when the New Testament clearly spells out the singularity and sufficiency of Christ’s perfect atoning sacrifice.

What’s clear is that no amount of contorting Scripture will create any endorsement of the Roman Catholic Mass. From every angle, it is biblically indefensible.

But that doesn’t give us an answer for what Jesus actually meant in John 6:53-56 regarding eating His flesh and drinking His blood. As with most interpretive challenges in Scripture, clarity is found in the surrounding context. And in this case, Christ’s statement makes a lot more sense when you read the whole chapter.

John 6 begins with Christ’s feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1–14). That miracle immediately won Him enormous popularity in a place where food was hard to come by. Jesus, knowing His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), had to go into isolation to avoid the masses from installing Him as king in Herod’s place (John 6:15). Instead of capitalizing on His popularity and ability to draw a large crowd, Jesus saw it as a hindrance to His larger mission.

But a free lunch is nothing to be sneezed at, especially among the poor, so the crowds continued to pursue Christ with hopes of more bounty. Jesus was acutely aware of their superficial faith and told them, “You seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life” (John 6:26–27).

A lengthy dialogue then followed where Jesus continually urged the crowds to move beyond their temporal hunger and seek eternal sustenance. But His audience relentlessly pled with Him to prove His messiahship through a sign that involved food—hinting at the manna God provided the Israelites when they were wandering in the wilderness  (John 6:31).

Jesus contrasted that perishable “bread out of heaven” (John 6:31–32) with Himself, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35). In His immense patience with their unbelief, the Lord repeated that same point in an increasingly explicit manner:

I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh. (John 6:48–51)

Jesus’ audience remained oblivious to what He was really talking about. That’s why He chose such provocative language as His discourse drew to a close. Dr. James White facetiously refers to Christ’s severe terminology and ghastly imagery in John 6:53-56 as “the beginning of the church shrinkage movement.” And with good reason; after Jesus spoke those words many of His disciples abandoned Him (John 6:66).

Their departure was by design. The Lord was determined to drive away followers who were nothing more than shallow hangers-on. Instead of capitalizing on His popularity, He saw it as a hindrance to His mission.

His message was clear: Temporal bread would only sustain them temporarily. They needed to eat eternal bread—flesh and blood—to live eternally. John MacArthur explains the significance of Christ’s metaphor in his sermon, I Am the Bread of Life:

If you want eternal life, eating is necessary. . . . You can’t just come and admire. You have to eat, which is to believe fully. But eating is in response to hunger. So, the people who eat are the people who are what? Hungry! What is hunger? It’s the aching of the heart of one who knows he’s empty. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit to make the heart hungry. That’s where the Father starts to draw. The hungry heart sees the bread. . . .

Eating is personal. It’s not a group event. You can all go out to dinner, but the food has to go in your mouth. Lots of people can do lots of things for you. They can come over and change the curtains, fix the room. People can do a lot of things to help you. You have to eat. You can’t do that by proxy. Eating is necessary. Eating is in response to hunger. Eating is personal and eating is transformational. If you don’t eat physically, you will die. If you eat, the food you take in transforms you, and that’s what Christ does.

The simple truth is our physical food cannot change our eternal destiny—not even the gruesome rituals of the Catholic Mass. Eating the body and blood of Christ was a necessary way for Him to express to an audience fixated on their physical hunger the need for all people to find salvation—to satisfy their spiritual hunger—through Him.


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#1  Posted by Nelson Kobs  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 4:39 AM

Amen...Well stated Cameron.

May God Bless the Ministries of Grace To You.

#2  Posted by Lori  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 4:59 AM

What is hunger? It's the aching of the heart of one who knows he's empty. That's the work of the Holy Spirit to make the heart hungry. That's where the Father starts to draw. Eating is personal.

What a beautiful statement signifying salvation is of the Lord, not of anything I can do. I've tried many times to force others in to believing while knowing that it is the Holy Spirit that prepares the heart. I have repented of trying to control something that is not mine to control. I pray the Lord will find me faithful in my prayers and continue to strive to be salt and light in this dark world and remain sensitive to those around me, to speak at the right moment in love.

#3  Posted by Rachel R  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 5:08 AM

This was good. I admit I was hoping it would have gone into showing the parallel made between eating/drinking/coming with Belief, and how when the crowd takes Christ's words literally He responds by saying

"63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.

65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

And also how when the crowds left and Christ asked if His disciples would too, their response was not one of beleiving that He had the "Flesh" and "Blood" of eternal life, but the "Words" that if believed on gave eternal life, just as He said in v63, and they believed on the Person of Christ:

67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”

68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.

69 We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

But Im sure there were length constrictions lol ☺

#6  Posted by Cameron Buettel (GTY Admin)  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 7:06 AM

Rachel, your comment is an excellent addition to what has already been said in the post. This post was written to respond to one particular form of abuse. But the issues of God's sovereignty in salvation (verses 37-44), Christ's knowledge of His elect, and the spiritual nature of conversion are all there.

#4  Posted by john bellam  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 5:58 AM

Excellent blog!

#5  Posted by Anthony Allgood  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 6:40 AM

This made me sick to my stomach to see what the Roman Catholic Church teaches about the mass. It's almost unfathomable to believe that they are totally okay with supposedly re-sacrificing Jesus all over again?! Not to mention the arrogance to tell Jesus to get down off his throne to be killed again! I think that John O'Brien said it right in that Jesus was the "Victim". In this case the "Victim" of terrible theology. I'm just glad for his sake that he only had to die once and his willing sacrifice can truly be trusted once and for all.

#7  Posted by Lynn Robles  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 7:59 AM

Great summary of communion. Thank you for enlightening me on how the Roman Catholic church views communion...it's ghastly! The blasphemy is beyond measure!

I am most grateful to my Lord & Savior for having led me to find Grace to You and John MacArthur. Since I have started studying via podcast and this website I am learning so much. And the glory all belongs to GOD!

#8  Posted by Marc G.  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 8:18 AM

The worship of a 'eucharistic' christ is idolatry. The true Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, and His sacrifice is once and for all (Heb 9:12). Roman Catholics have been deceived by their religion and are following a false christ (Matt 24:23-24). This is why the true Church must evangelize Roman Catholics and call them to repent and believe the GOSPEL. They are a mission field.

#9  Posted by Marc G.  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 8:58 AM

A false christ leads to a false Gospel. Roman Catholics have trusted in a different Jesus.

9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”--Acts 1

#10  Posted by David Barrow  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 10:13 AM

And let me add that the wafer, they believe, is truly God himself. Look up Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.

#11  Posted by Charles  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 10:24 AM

Cameron,

Do all Catholics believe this way? I have had semi-heated discussions with those in my Sunday School class who take exception when I say Catholics believe a different Gospel and cannot truly be saved.

I there a offshoot of Catholicism that believes in the true Christ? Like Baptist churches, etc.?

#12  Posted by Meg S.  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Charles,

It is my understanding that even when someone states they are Catholic, you must always seek to understand what they mean. Most people who claim to be Catholic don't truly understand the teachings of this system. There are many who are Catholic who believe the Eucharist is just taken as a "remembrance" and not the literal blood and body of Jesus. If someone truly understands the Catholic teachings regarding salvation, they can not be saved. The true teachings of the Catholic church teach the following regarding salvation (from Catholic Answers):

"What You Must Do to Be Saved

Best of all, the promise of eternal life is a gift, freely offered to us by God (CCC 1727). Our initial forgiveness and justification are not things we "earn" (CCC 2010). Jesus is the mediator who bridged the gap of sin that separates us from God (1 Tim. 2:5); he bridged it by dying for us. He has chosen to make us partners in the plan of salvation (1 Cor. 3:9).

The Catholic Church teaches what the apostles taught and what the Bible teaches: We are saved by grace alone, but not by faith alone (which is what "Bible Christians" teach; see Jas. 2:24).

When we come to God and are justified (that is, enter a right relationship with God), nothing preceding justification, whether faith or good works, earns grace. But then God plants his love in our hearts, and we should live out our faith by doing acts of love (Gal. 6:2).

Even though only God’s grace enables us to love others, these acts of love please him, and he promises to reward them with eternal life (Rom. 2:6–7, Gal. 6:6–10). Thus good works are meritorious. When we first come to God in faith, we have nothing in our hands to offer him. Then he gives us grace to obey his commandments in love, and he rewards us with salvation when we offer these acts of love back to him (Rom. 2:6–11, Gal. 6:6–10, Matt. 25:34–40).

Jesus said it is not enough to have faith in him; we also must obey his commandments. "Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do the things I command?" (Luke 6:46, Matt. 7:21–23, 19:16–21).

We do not "earn" our salvation through good works (Eph. 2:8–9, Rom. 9:16), but our faith in Christ puts us in a special grace-filled relationship with God so that our obedience and love, combined with our faith, will be rewarded with eternal life (Rom. 2:7, Gal. 6:8–9)."

http://www.catholic.com/documents/pillar-of-fire-pillar-of-truth

We would reject that good works have any merit towards salvation, as you can see they clearly attack the gospel and Christ's finished work on. If we could merit salvation through good works, Christ died in vain. The most helpful book I have found regarding this is "Are We Together" by R.C. Sproul. He gives an excellent analysis of the Roman Catholic doctrine. In addition to that book, James White has also written an excellent book regarding the doctrine of Justification "The God Who Justifies" and explains how the RC system attacks the very heart of the gospel.

Lord Bless,

Meg

#14  Posted by Anthony Allgood  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 2:01 PM

Meg,

It's amazing that they contradict themselves even within the same paragraph. For example, in the last paragraph (only one sentence long, mind you) it's interesting they say that they don't "earn" salvation, then add in that dastardly "but" and go on to explain that you really do earn it through obedience and love. What they are actually saying is that they don't earn the ability to earn salvation. The ability to earn salvation is a gift of grace from God, but you still have to earn it once you get that gift to earn it. They try to quote Romans 2:7 as a proof text for their bad theology, but ultimately they don't have a clear grasp of the cause and effect relationship between genuine faith and works.

It's faith that saves, and real faith results in good works, but those works don't add a thing to what has already been accomplished.

Since they think they have to add something to their "initial" gift of grace, it's really no wonder they have no issue with trying to sacrifice Jesus over and over again.

Thanks for pointing this out.

PS - The book "Are We Together" by R.C. Sproul is pretty good and straightforward. I read it last year and thought he explained things with a tremendous amount of clarity, tact and grace.

Anthony

#36  Posted by Cameron Buettel (GTY Admin)  |  Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 11:43 AM

Charles #11, I don't rule out the possibility of Roman Catholics who are true disciples of Christ in the same way that there are Protestants who are not true disciples of Christ. But the Reformation never produced a biblically sound version of Catholicism, instead it birthed the Protestant movement.

But here's the important distinction that needs to be made regarding any Catholics who might be saved--Catholics who are truly converted are converted in spite of heretical Catholic doctrine. Protestants who are not true Christians remain unconverted in spite of sound biblical Protestant doctrine.

#13  Posted by Marc G.  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 1:50 PM

Our initial forgiveness and justification are not things we "earn" (CCC 2010). This is deceptive.

There are no 'stages' to justification, praise God. It's a permanent standing of righteousness granted to us in Christ (2 Cor 5:21).

Roman Catholics must exchange their idolatry, the 'mass', indulgences, and their 'sacraments' and rest in the finished work of Christ, or there is no salvation.

4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.--Titus 3

#15  Posted by trish  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 2:17 PM

The words are spirit and they give you life. Eating Jesus's words (accepting and believing) but thats not all. If we are to partake in the new covenant - we must also obey Jesus's words. Every single word.

#16  Posted by Samson  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 4:39 PM

"Whatsoever you bind,'

The priest was coming from a vision of words, his heart is good, but he has drifted into new things simular to parabled, inspirational sermons.

His thoughts are on the ones who will ever enter the kingdom of God.

To him, an act of faith to speak such, but as is written, our works tried by fire, and the foundation must be Jesus Christ.

#17  Posted by Esther  |  Friday, February 12, 2016 at 5:39 PM

I came to a point when I had to witness to someone when I went to an opening of a Christian club with a friend at our school campus. The reason I felt compassion to share with him was because he visited our table and he was arguing with another member of our club. I told him an answer about a question that he asked. The question was "Do you know that Jesus wasn't the only one who was sinless?" Then he added, "Mary was also sinless" and names of a few other saints. While listening to the conversation between him and my friend, I realized that he was a "non-practicing Catholic." I understood by that that he must not really know the doctrines of the Catholic church. I told him what the Bible actually says about Mary. To be more honest, I said, "Do you know the Bible doesn't actually say that Mary never sinned?" He answered, "But, the Catholic Bible does." So I replied, "Do you know that the Catholic bible isn't the real Bible?" Then he replied, "I disagree with you on that." He went on to say that he really believes in the "Catholic faith." I am grateful especially for the sermons GTY is providing so that I could stand firm in "real" faith.

#18  Posted by Don  |  Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 5:34 AM

Let us please keep in mind that in most cases Roman Catholics are unaware that what they have been taught is error. The God of this age has blinded their minds. This is a rescue mission not a food fight. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the power of satan and his emmisaries. The weapons we use are the Word of God and prayer. Let Christ's love shine as we reach out to them. It can be a slow process, but never lose sight of the objective, that they would come to know the only true living God, trust, believe and commit to His Son and thereby be saved like us and in all this God will be glorified.

#19  Posted by cassius  |  Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 6:20 AM

cannot they see the king the father set as ruler he reduced him to beast instinct and to go as a beast mind and motions so except we eat his flesh and drink his blood will be like this world of only beast mentalities & motions

#20  Posted by John  |  Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 7:02 AM

It has always perplexed my why the RCC gets it SO wrong on almost every doctrinal issue. Everytime the pope opens his mouth, I hear myself asking, "Doesn't this guy read the bible?" Strange.

#23  Posted by Vince  |  Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 2:54 PM

Equally as tragic is...do any of his followers?

#21  Posted by Douglas  |  Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 2:59 PM

Amen indeed.

#22  Posted by Scottie  |  Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 2:38 PM

It is to my understanding that Lutherans also believe that Jesus is stating that it is His literal flesh and blood. Do you know if there are any differences between what they and the RC's believe?

#37  Posted by Cameron Buettel (GTY Admin)  |  Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 12:40 PM

Scottie #22, you ask a good question. Though Lutheran churches now come in many different forms, their official doctrine is a departure from Catholic teaching but it doesn't depart as far as the Reformed movements that came later. While their view is far less blasphemous than the Catholic view it is still bizarre from an evangelical perspective because it still holds to some mystical view of Christ's presence in the elements. Because even Lutheran's debate their view among themselves I am reluctant to attempt to explain any deeper than that. If you want to know more you can do further research and ask a conservative Lutheran priest. You can also try googling the word "consubstantiation" and hear what Lutherans have to say about it.

#25  Posted by Mary  |  Monday, February 15, 2016 at 8:09 AM

Was He truly prescribing the repeated and violent sacrifice of His physical body? Is that what Christ intended when He instituted Communion? the answer for that is NO

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (John 6:53­–56)

But is that really what Jesus meant by those graphic words? the answer for that is YES

CAtholics don't repeat the sacrifice - they live in the original sacrifice through the ministrations of the priest- the Mass transcends time and space. read the early fathers, and Acts - the Mass is there.

#27  Posted by Anthony Allgood  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 6:54 AM

Mary,

You said, "CAtholics don't repeat the sacrifice - they live in the original sacrifice through the ministrations of the priest- the Mass transcends time and space. read the early fathers, and Acts - the Mass is there."

Aside from having no biblical support for this assertion, that still leaves the priest in the precarious position of being complicit in the unjust murder of Jesus. The murder of Jesus happened in real space and time, in a specific point in history, at the hands of a select number of people alive at that time. Figuratively speaking, it's really hard to imagine how any Roman Catholic priest can go through that empty ritual and be okay with that blood on their hands!

Anthony

#30  Posted by Cameron Buettel (GTY Admin)  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 3:11 PM

Mary, you can't defeat an argument by denying its truthfulness. Deal with the substance of what is said in this post and then try and refute it biblically.

Luther basically asked the same question to the pope 500 years ago and Protestants are still waiting.

#32  Posted by Ed Jones  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 4:31 PM

Mary #25,

I ask you only one question and I follow with only one request.

Why would Jesus offer the eleven real bread and real wine if He intended us to believe that it was His Flesh and Blood? They were with Him at the time unlike us.

Read the post I offered to Sheryl #26. Between the lines there is a horrible amount of personal suffering I have endured by falsely presenting God’s Word.

Ed Jones

As a footnote: I have had the unimaginable privilege to witness the undoing of 92 years of Catholicism indoctrinated into the life of a very dear friend by your very name, Mary. Her most remarkable and unsolicited response regarding our many, many talks was “But, I’m so unworthy!”. Now she knows the Gospel! And she believes it! She knows the Grace of God and is secure in it. Something the 92 years never produced in her.

#26  Posted by Sheryl  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 4:33 AM

I'm shocked at reading all these "judgments" on Catholics. I know many catholic brothers and sister in Christ, have prayed and had actual conversations with priests. They read, study and know scripture. I have experienced first hand the spirit filled prayers of a Godly priest. Just because some scripture may be interpreted differently doesn't mean that Catholics are not born again Christians. That is up to Jesus to judge, not is. We can hold each other accountable regarding sin, but only Jesus judges us regarding our salvation! This picking apart of other believers does nothing for the kingdom! The Catholic Church may have its faults but the Protestant church should not cast stones!

#28  Posted by Anthony Allgood  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 12:33 PM

Hi Sheryl,

You said, "Just because some scripture may be interpreted differently doesn't mean that Catholics are not born again Christians."

That really depends on what verses they interpret incorrectly. Ideas have consequences, sometimes eternal ones.

You also said, "That is up to Jesus to judge, not is. We can hold each other accountable regarding sin, but only Jesus judges us regarding our salvation!"

That is quite true in one sense. Sometimes, you don't really know what is in a persons heart. However, Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19 that, "..what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander." While often times we don't know the details of what is in someones heart, we sometimes have the opportunity to examine what a person says about the Bible, Jesus, their beliefs, etc. and make accurate conclusions about the state of someones salvation based on that. For example, when I hear someone say they are an atheist, I can discern (a form of judging) that they are in fact not a Christian. Their atheist profession which has come from their mouth is only flowing out of what is in the heart. The same goes for someone who believes in Roman Catholicisms official and categorical rejection of the Biblical gospel. The moment you tell someone they can't make judgements on someones salvation when there is ample evidence to make such a conclusion, you have undermined their ability to effectively share the gospel to a lost soul headed to hell.

Finally you said, "This picking apart of other believers does nothing for the kingdom!"

You're assuming that Roman Catholics in general are actually Christian. The reality is that any "good" Roman Catholic who believes what the Roman Catholic Church teaches about salvation and the gospel is clearly not a Christian. I suppose it's possible that there are some Roman Catholics who don't really believe what Rome teaches about these things, but they are part of false church and need to get out.

In Christ,

Anthony

#29  Posted by Cameron Buettel (GTY Admin)  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 3:04 PM

Sheryl, I don't rule out the possibility of Roman Catholics who are true disciples of Christ in the same way that there are Protestants who are not true disciples of Christ. But here's the important distinction--Catholics who are truly converted are converted in spite of heretical Catholic doctrine. Protestants who are not true Christians remain unconverted in spite of Protestant doctrine.

#31  Posted by Ed Jones  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 4:14 PM

Dear Sheryl #26,

As one who was raised in the Catholic Church, I would like to help you understand the problem with their teaching from a personal perspective if I may.

As a general practice the church initiates communion with 6 year old children. Although the use of lay teachers is the general practice today, the responsibility once fell to the nunnery. The catechism taught us that the transubstantiation of the bread and wine was a most holy occurrence during the mass and thus we must thoroughly understand the sacrament before we could partake. The inference was that once consumed, we would be joined to the RCC and thus saved from our original sin (the fall in the garden). We were trained in the act of confession beforeour mediator”, the parish priest. We would then be given penance by him to be offered at the altar. This was to absolve us from our venial sins of everyday life. There is absolutely nothing biblical about any of this as I pray you know.

If that were not enough, at the general age of 14 years, we would then confirm our faith in the membership of the RCC, not Christ. As a result I spent the next 10 years of my life thinking I was safe. If you new me then you would certainly not believe that there was any life in me never mind the eternal life of our Creator.

Then I fell prey to an equally perverted faith; that of the charismatic church. The fault was not theirs. It was mine and mine alone. By that time I owned my own bible and it was due to my laziness that I did not study it. It was not encouraged by the leadership of the church, but nonetheless, it was still my responsibility. I would like to add that I did indeed read the entire Old and New Testaments through in one very long month of constant reading. It was that reading that gave me some understanding that a lot of what I was hearing was in error.

Instead of a happy ending at this point, I stopped going to church altogether. It wasn’t until I started listening to Grace to You Radio that I remembered the Gospel that I read about so many years prior (25+). I heard this guy (John Mac Arthur) teaching things about error that so stirred my curiosity that in no time I couldn’t wait for the next broadcast! I’m not committed to John Mac Arthur. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m committed to the truth of Holy Scripture. In it is the revelation of our Holy God. Through it is the power of His salvation.

I’ve stated all this so that perchance you may understand the vast importance of not letting any error stand. As stated, my disregard for my responsibility is the reason for my many troubles in life. Yes, God has forgiven me all my sin. That doesn’t mean the world has. I live with the consequences of my sin, not the guilt. John Mac Arthur and the rest of the folks at GTY are a comforting source of truth in Scripture for me today. They are not infallible as our Bibles are, but they are as close as you’re going to find. They are humble enough to know it.

In Christ,

Ed Jones

#35  Posted by Jeff Hillmore  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 1:27 PM

Sheryl, the official teaching of the Catholic Church is *much* more judgmental than any comments thus far here. The Council of Trent pretty much condemns anyone who denies the physical presence of Christ in "transubstantiation" to hell. Perhaps you were not aware of that. See: http://www.catholicliturgy.com/index.cfm/FuseAction/DocumentContents/Index/2/SubIndex/37/DocumentIndex/502

The differences between Catholicism and Reformed/Protestant theology are not minor,

#33  Posted by Janet  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 7:42 AM

Wow, I used to love coming to this site but I didn't realize it was so anti-Catholic. This will be the last I come here. I don't understand the hate between Catholics and Protestants, both lose sight of the fact that it's about God, not us.

#34  Posted by Cameron Buettel (GTY Admin)  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 8:21 AM

Janet, can you please point out what has been said here that is hateful towards Catholics or anything said about their teaching that isn't true? And what do you mean when you say "it's about God, not us"?

#38  Posted by jon  |  Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 7:17 PM

Hello: While not Catholic and I agree that we are not sacrificing Christ each time we eat and drink at the Lord's Supper, you did not share what position you are taking--that of Calvin or Zwingli?

#39  Posted by Martin  |  Friday, February 19, 2016 at 1:36 AM

I can't accept Roman teaching on the mass, but nor can I accept the idea that seems to be there in most protestant teaching that Jesus meant to say this is symbolic of my body, but obviously he said it wrong. In many protestant churches breaking of the bread as in Acts or taking bread and wine to proclaim the Lord's death until he comes has become sidelined,

#40  Posted by Kristen  |  Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 6:59 PM

By God's grace I left the Catholic church after 45 yrs in it. There were many things I never believed while in the church - even as a child - and this is one of them. It never made sense to me that Jesus was in the host. I'm so thankful that I'm not in that false religion anymore. My whole family is though and they have no plans to leave even though I've shared the Gospel and showed them the error in the church. They don't agree with everything the church says but they think no church is perfect because they're man made so it wouldn't make sense to leave there and just go to another one that will have problems. I pray every day that God will open their eyes like he did mine. It is so upsetting seeing my family and so many of my friends deceived. Thank you for this blog post, perhaps I'll share it with them. Please pray with me that they will all be saved before it's too late.

#41  Posted by Esther  |  Friday, February 26, 2016 at 1:56 PM

I think that we should understand the pope because people in the church can do that too.