Are Catholics Real Christians?

So I’ve decided to play devil’s advocate and respond to John Barron’s criticism of Roman Catholicism. John believes the Roman Catholic Church is “outside the realm of traditional Christianity.” I am a Lutheran, so the outcome of this debate – in the grand scheme of things, if you know what I mean – is of little concern to me. But as a former Catholic, I am able to speak somewhat intelligently about their teachings, and hopefully this will enable me to clear up the rampant misconceptions nestled within John’s post.

Before I begin, I must confess that I hate this debate more than any other in which I am a participant. There is something arguably absurd about having to defend a Church that does more than any other for the sick, dying, and suffering around the world. But if I must, I must.

John begins his criticism by factually stating that salvation is not earned, backing it up with scriptural references.

  • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)
  • if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly (Galatains 2:21)
  • But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness (Romans 4:5)
  • Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Romans 3:28)
  • For  by grace you have been saved  through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that  no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13)

John then selectively compares these to the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life (Catholic Catechism Paragraph 2010)
  • Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods. (CC 2027)
  • The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; The Second Vatican Council confirms: “The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments (CC 2068)
  • For, on behalf of those who fall into sins after baptism, Christ Jesus instituted the sacrament of Penance […] Concerning which penitence it is written; Be mindful whence thou art fallen; do penance, and do the first works. And again; The sorrow that is according to God worketh penance steadfast unto salvation. And again; Do penance, and bring forth fruits worthy of penance. (Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 14)
  • 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, Session 6, Canon 9)
  • If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema. (Council of Trent, Session 6, Canon 12)

Can anyone find the terms earn or earning in those six quotations? If you can, I’ll give you a cookie!

Go ahead, I’ll wait…

It’s not there because that’s not what the Catholic Church teaches. Those familiar with Catholic doctrine understand that these quotations must be understood in the context of a few Biblical passages.

…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13)

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.(James 2:17)

You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. (James 2:24)

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)

The teachings of the Roman Catholic Church merely reinforce that which is taught in Philippians and James. If you have a true faith, you will do the works of God, the works Jesus commanded when he said: love one another. And how do you love someone? You show them, don’t you? And that entails some type of action on your part, doesn’t it? Yes.

John then criticizes the Catholic Church because, he claims, they’ve embraced religious pluralism. He quotes the Second Vatican Counsel

Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God. In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues. But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohammedans who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things, and as Saviour wills that all men be saved. Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”, the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.

In no possible way does this statement mean the Catholic Church embraces pluralism. This is describing people who have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, it says so in the FIRST SENTENCE!

Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.

John: What happens to people who die before hearing the Gospel? What happens to people too far removed from civilization to learn the Gospel? What happens to people for whom the Bible has not yet been translated, such as the case in many parts of Asia? Are all these people condemned to hell?

John devotes a lot of time to Mary, the Mother of God. I will post a portion of his statements.

Roman Catholics are constantly having to deal with accusations that they raise Mary, Jesus’ mother, to a position of deity.  This accusation isn’t unfounded, however.  Pope Pius IX writes in Ineffabilis Deus “the most holy Virgin, united with him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with him and through him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot”. [sic] The reference is to a passage in Genesis where Jesus is said to crush the head of the serpent.

In his Supremi Apostolatus, Pope Leo VIII tells us that ”It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in her aternal goodness; showing that the Catholic Church has always, and with justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God.”

Pope Leo XIII doesn’t make it any better.  The Octobri Mense: “With equal truth may it be also affirmed that, by the will of God, Mary is the intermediary through whom is distributed unto us this immense treasure of mercies gathered by God, for mercy and truth were created by Jesus Christ.(6) Thus as no man goeth to the Father but by the Son, so no man goeth to Christ but by His Mother. How great are the goodness and mercy revealed in this design of God!” This is contrary to the testimony of the New Testament which thoroughly attests that we are free to come to Jesus unfettered by anyone or anything.

“O Virgin most holy, none abounds in the knowledge of God except through thee; none, O Mother of God, attains salvation except through thee; none receives a gift from the throne of mercy except through thee.” — Pope Leo XIII, ADIUTRICEM.

“As she suffered and almost died together with her suffering and dying Son, so she surrendered her mother’s rights over her Son for the salvation of the human race. And to satisfy the justice of God she sacrificed her Son, as well as she could, so that it may justly be said that she together with Christ has redeemed the human race.” from Pope Benedict XV INTER SODALICIA

“From our earliest years nothing has ever been closer to Our heart than devotion-filial, profound, and wholehearted-to the most blessed Virgin Mary. Always have We endeavored to do everything that would redound to the greater glory of the Blessed Virgin, promote her honor, and encourage devotion to her.” … “For, God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation” Pope Pius IX UBI PREMUM

John mistakes veneration for worship, and clearly doesn’t  recognize the use of figurative language and metaphors. But first, why shouldn’t Mary be venerated? She is the Second Ark of the Covenant. She carried within her womb Jesus Christ, the Son of God. She was entrusted and blessed by God with this honor, so of course respect is owed to her. Respect, not worship, and no faithful Catholic worships her.

Semantics is the biggest issue John seems to have, so let’s play a little word game.

By  Mary did Christ come into this world and redeem us all.

By Mary did Christ come  into this world and pay for our sins.

Mary gave us salvation by giving us Jesus.

Mary gave us Jesus who gave us salvation.

Without Mary, we wouldn’t have salvation because we wouldn’t have Jesus.

Mary was part of God’s plan for our salvation. 

You can write that a number of ways that all mean the same thing, but at least fifty will be objectionable to someone. It’s simple nitpicking over semantics and figurative language. It shouldn’t be taken seriously. The point, however, is that Mary is deeply respected by Catholics for her role in the salvation of humanity, but she is not worshipped.

John concludes:

Finally, the rampant superstitious activity which is endorsed and uncondemned is very disconcerting.  Examples include:

  • Crucifixes used to bless or ward off evil
  • Scapulars and Rosaries which are prayed and chanted over
  • Medals and pendants of saints which are used as protection, to bless, and ward off evil
  • Genuflection to crosses, crucifixes, and statues
  • Use of statues
  • The sign of the cross
  • Lighting candles, ringing bells, burning of incense
  • Planting statues in yards for blessing
  • Making shrines of statues of Mary and the Saints
  • Veneration of relics

Basically, the bulk of this is John finding fault with the Catholic Church itself because individual Catholics have certain quirks. But I would like to point out a few things.

  • I know Baptists, Lutherans, and Methodists who have crosses and crucifixes in their home. Are they apostates too?
  • Rosaries help people remember certain prayers, but they aren’t required. I also know Protestants who use prayer beads.
  • People bow in front of crosses, crucifixes, and statues to pray – to God. People feel like praying when near these things because they give some people an overwhelming feeling. Me, for example, and I’m a Lutheran.
  • Some statues are used as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus Christ made. Other statues are used to venerate people who have done amazing works in God’s name. And still others remind us to love one another.
  • The lighting of candles and the burning of incense is something done by even Protestant denominations. Lutherans did it at the beginning of Lent. It signifies an appreciation for Jesus’ sacrifice.

The conclusion of John’s post leads me to believe that he has more examples of false teaching in the Catholic Church, but he didn’t list them. I would be happy to respond to those if he provides them.

Comments

  1. I left the Catholic Church myself, but have never found a reason to accuse them of heresies. There are aspects of their traditions and rituals that I still miss. I left because I thought that they do add to the faith that which is unnecessary, like praying to saints, which I think is pointless and useless anyway. Plus, I don’t see it as having any Biblical basis. Things like genuflecting and the sign of the Cross are merely acts of reverence and I don’t recall every being taught, during my years in Catholic school, that these acts are anything more than that. Certainly not genuflecting toward objects or symbols, so much as to what those objects and symbols represent. That is to say, one is always genuflecting toward God as if He was before us “in the flesh”. As to the sign of the cross, it is not unique to the Catholic Church to act in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I’ve heard the expression in both of the Protestant churches I’ve attended and the sign is merely an action expressing the same sentiment.

    Some have made much of the Eucharist as another aspect of their heresy. This one confuses me as well, as I never saw much difference in the intentions of any church that indulges in this sacrament. If the bread is supposedly to become Christ, rather than merely represent Him in the manner He prescribed 2000 years ago, I would expect a bit more than the bread merely being fresh instead of stale. It’s still a symbolic gesture.

    I’ve seen a few people explain why they believe the Catholics are “troublesome” in their beliefs, but nothing that is convincing and little that seems more than, as Terrence seems to express, a misunderstanding of their intentions. Most importantly, the essentials seem to be in place.

  2. Terrance,
    
The fact that the Romanist institution has done a lot for the sick, dying and suffering has no bearing on whether its doctrine is Christian. Mormons are well-known for their good works, but I dare say you wouldn’t call them Christian!

    You asked if we could find the words “earn” or “earning” in John’s citations from the catechism. How about synonyms? “merit” means you did something worthy of that merit. (CC2010, 2027)

    “…men may attain salvation through faith, baptism, and the observance of the Commandments” Notice tow things are added to the one biblical requirement of faith – and they are both works. (CC2068)

    “do penance” – Um, penance is a work necessary in the Romanist salvation.

    To say that not using the words “earn” or “earning” means Rome doesn’t teach works are necessary for salvation is very disingenuous. Rome doesn’t reinforce anything from the Bible, rather Rome ADDS requirements for salvation, and even states that if anyone says faith alone is all that is necessary for salvation they are to anathema (Council of Trent cited above in John’s list)

    Rome by your own words and citation does indeed teach pluralism. Everyone has been given the information in their heart/mind that God exists and that they are to seek Him. Paul says that is why the unsaved are without excuse. Yet Rome says they still have the possibility of salvation if they die without hearing the Gospel! Did they not know that God exists? Did they not have the opportunity to seek Him? (I know, I know – Calvinists and others teach God already chose who would be the elect, but that still blows your theory out of the water because in that scheme God gets the gospel to them!)

    Mary is NOT the “mother of God” in the way Rome teaches. John is 100% accurate. Rome calls it “veneration” as a lower form of worship, but it is still worship nevertheless. The Mary of the Romanist Church is NOT the Mary of the Bible, as I have demonstrated conclusively:
    http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2010/06/mary-mother-of-church-is-not-mary-of.html

    You bring in a red herring about what individual people of other Christian backgrounds may or may not practice in their own lives. This has nothing to do with an established religious organization claiming to represent Christ and claiming to be the authentic Christian Church. John is 100% correct about the apostate teachings of Rome.

    I have stated too many times to count that the individual Catholic may or may not be saved, but if they are it is in spite of Rome’s teachings. The vast majority of Catholics are not Christians – they are just Catholics.

    I have provide to you links to my various articles on the false teachings of Rome and yet you have not responded to them.

    Marshall, I can think of three heretical teachings of Rome – 1) that more than faith is required for salvation 2) Mariology/Mariolatry 3) the Eucharist worship of a wafer as if it is Christ – that is idolatry. Communion in the normal churches (other than Lutheranism with consubstantiation) do NOT teach that the bread and wine/grape juice is Christ – they teach that they are merely symbols to remind of what He did.

  3. paynehollow says:

    I’m with you, Terrance and Marshall, on this one. I find many tenets of the Catholic tradition odd (the pope is at times, infallible? Really?? Where do you find ANYTHING like support for a Vatican-style papacy in the Bible or in a reasonable consideration of Jesus’ teachings?), but I would never say that Catholics aren’t Christians. I love me some Catholic brothers and sisters.

    We all have our quirks (the Amish REALLY don’t believe in cars or phones?? The Methodists REALLY believe in an overseeing body appointing pastors, rather than local congregations choosing for themselves?? etc), but okay, we’re quirky. That’s a good thing, seems to me. If some people find meaning and life in the traditions and quirky beliefs of one tradition over another (and I know for sure that you all find more church/faith community to be quirky to the extreme), okay, no problem.

    I have a great deal more trouble justifying the graceless ones who’d say flatly “THAT group is NOT a Christian group” than the oddball tenets of this group or that group.

    Graceless-ness, THAT would be a troubling tenet/approach/spirit to have, if we’re talking about Christian groups, because we are all about grace. Welcoming all to the great feast, that is the model we find in Jesus’ teachings, and a good model it is.

    • Trabue,
      You consider it “gracelessness” any time someone exposes false teachings. But that is because you have been identified as a false teacher yourself. You have no credibility.

  4. Glenn,

    I don’t know how you can argue that Catholics aren’t being Biblical by asking their members to do God’s work. As I’ve shown, Philippians and James both say that faith without good works is dead, and if the faith is dead – then so much for salvation, ‘eh?

    Is it your belief that people who haven’t heard the message of Jesus Christ through no fault of their own are condemned to hell? If not, then you are in agreement with the Catholic Church…

    Venerate is not a “lower form of worship” no matter what anyone says. Venerate means “respect,” plain and simple. In fact, that is the definition of the word.

    1). According to James and Philippians, good works is required for true faith which is required for salvation. This is what the Catholics teach.

    2). You are plain mistaken regarding the treatment of Mary. The term “venerate” does not mean “worship” and nowhere in the teachings of the Catholic Church will you find any decree or rule that says one must “worship” Mary.

    3). It is symbolic, as Marshall said.

    Everything I’ve heard so far is either semantical nitpicking or a misconception.

    • Terrance
      Asking members to do GOD’s work isn’t the problem. Telling members that if they don’t do works then they can’t be saved is the problem. Again, good works are NOT required for faith – the are the outgrowth of that faith. What works did the thief on the cross perform? The Bible only tells us that if we are truly saved, then we will do the works of God because we want to please Him, because we love Him. But none of our works will ever save us. Rome says you must be baptized and participate in the Eucharist for salvation – demonstrate that from Scripture!

      Works are done BECAUSE we are saved, not to BE saved. THAT is where Rome goes awry.

      There is NO one who can say they haven’t heard. Job 12:7-8 says to ask the animals and nature and they will tell you about God. Psalms 19:1 says that even the heavens declare God’s glory. Eccl. 3:11b says that God put it in man’s heart. Acts 14:17 says God has not left Himself without witness. Acts 17:24-28 says mankind was created so they would seek God. Romans 1:19-20 says that mankind is without excuse because the entire creation points to God. God says that if you seek Him, you will find Him. (1 Chron. 28:9) And that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb.11:6).

      Everyone knows that there is a Creator God – they can choose to seek Him or reject Him. If they seek Him, He will reward them with more knowledge about Him and his salvation. They can choose to accept it or not. SO as Paul says, no one has an excuse for not coming to the Lord for salvation.

      The veneration Catholics give Mary is nothing short of worship. They pray to her for protection, etc as if she is God herself. Look at all the Mariology in the RCC: she is considered sinless, a perpetual virgin (because if she had sex that would have contaminated her), that she was assumed into heaven, that she is the mediator between us and Jesus, etc. All the attributes Rome gives her, as demonstrated in my article, are nothing less than worship. To deny that is self deceit. It is not semantics or misconception.

      I suppose every apologist who addresses the Romanist church has a misconception of them?!?! The finest scholars out there, who are not Romanist, will say the same things I’m saying. And it certainly isn’t nitpicking any more than exposing Mormonism is nitpicking.

  5. I haven’t responded to them Glenn because I’ve been busy today. I’ll get to them.

  6. paynehollow says:

    Glenn…

    You consider it “gracelessness” any time someone exposes false teachings.

    Glenn, when I disagree with you and think you are clearly mistaken, I say I disagree with you and think you are mistaken. I have no need to frame it as “exposing false teaching.”

    That is the difference between gracefully disagreeing with a fellow believer and gracelessly engaging in the sin of the Pharisees. You see?

  7. sally1137 says:

    Great post,TerranceH. I’m Catholic, not a big fan of Martin Luther, but love Lutherans. The food pantry I used to volunteer at was housed in the Lutheran Church, and people from all denominations (and no denomination) worked at it, including a pair of very quiet, shy young Mormon elders (we teased them and called them “youngers.”)

    Catholic, like Lutheran, is a specific kind of Christianity. For me to identify as Catholic is not to deny my Christianity, but to define it more clearly. In fact, to define oneself as “Christian” without specifying a particular church implies a nebulousness that may or may not be there. But the implication is indeed there that one may be growing their own schism.

    We all have to find our own broken path, with what grace we can scrape up.

    If I may attempt a lighthearted explanation of “praying” to saints. We are asking them to intercede with God on our behalf. Kind of like having a friend in the mayor’s office that will fix parking tickets for you. :)

    • Sally,
      You can’t pray to a saint – they are dead. They cannot hear all the prayers in the world or they would be omniscient. We are told in Scripture that we are not to speak to the dead – no contact with the dead is permitted. And they cannot intercede for you. Christ is who we are to pray to as our intercessor. Nor can they “fix” your “ticket.”

      We may ask other Christians to pray for us, but we don’t pray to other Christians. Nowhere in the Bible will you find anyone suggesting that we pray to the dead to intercede for us. That is Romanist error.

  8. sally1137 says:

    Okay. Apparently you don’t do lighthearted.

  9. paynehollow says:

    Not so much. But gruff and belligerent, he’s all over that so, if you ever need some…

  10. “Everything I’ve heard so far is either semantical nitpicking or a misconception.”
    Semantical nitpicking is all Glenn has for his argumentation – and he has claimed for himself the ultimate authority as to what words actually mean, as opposed to those who actually, you know, live by them. And remember – he’s played music at lots and lots of churches, so he knows better than people who have been catechized and tested on doctrine and attended mass all their lives.

    His logic is every bit as “rational” as any anti-theist I’ve ever debated.

    • Kunoichi,
      Instead of the ad hominem attack, try demonstrating where I erred.

      By the way, ISU, When Jesus said we do the works of the Father, it wasn’t to be saved – it was because we are saved. And what are the “works of God”? Read John 6:28-29.
      My point is that the thief on the cross DID NO WORKS and yet he was saved! Rome says that is impossible. No one is arguing about late converts – that is a red herring. We are discussing the Romanist doctrine as it stands (exceptions the allow for late conversions are rare).

      • “Instead of the ad hominem attack, try demonstrating where I erred.”
        First, since I was talking about your argumentation, it’s not an ad hom attack. Second, the “error” you are making that I was taking about is your games with semantics. And Third, your errors of interpretation are all being dealt with quite thoroughly here by others. It’s clearly making no difference. Equally clear, your antipathy towards Catholicism is rooted in some viscreral emotionalism. Until you get over that hatred and anger, no logic or reason is going to make a difference.

        • Kunoichi,
          Your ad hominem was calling me a nitpicker, stating that I claim for myself ultimate authority (which I never have). Those are ad hominem attacks – attacks against me as a person.

          I was not playing any games with semantics, as you charged, nor were you even specific as to just what words I was playing semantics with!

          Nothing in this comment string has demonstrated any error in my analysis of Romanism. You might wish it was so, but that doesn’t make it so.

          I have no more antipathy towards Romanism than I do towards Mormonism or any other false belief system. You pulled out the same cards cult members and homosexuals pull out – “hate” and “anger.” Since you cannot read my mind, you are judging my motives and my heart, which is something you are specifically told in Scripture not to do.

  11. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
    John 14:12

    According to Glenn’s ideas Christ himself must be an heretic.
    What works did the thief on the cross perform? Was Christ wrong?

    Glenn is confusing statements about usual cases with limit cases. Catholic doctrine includes salvation for late converts (without works).

  12. “What works did the thief on the cross perform?”

    He saw Christ for who He was and asked Him for salvation. Note that the thief was still alive when Christ promised to do so.

    • Placing one’s faith in Christ is NOT a work. Which is why the Bible consistently contrast faith with works. If you can contrast them, then they are not the same thing. Too many mainline denominations, having not left enough Catholicism behind, claim that faith is a work. I argued that with our Lutheran pastor many times.

  13. Off topic, but I just thought I’d add this one point: Note how there is disagreement between some of us who are normally allies. There is no knee-jerk agreement simply because one of our own expresses an opinion. No marching in “lockstep”. Just sayin’.

  14. Asking members to do GOD’s work isn’t the problem. Telling members that if they don’t do works then they can’t be saved is the problem. Again, good works are NOT required for faith – the are the outgrowth of that faith.

    My friend, this is where your argument falls apart. James 2:24 says, “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. And James 2:26 tells us, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

    What works did the thief on the cross perform?

    The thief admonished someone castigating Jesus, accepted responsibility for his own sin, and turned to Jesus in front of the crowd and asked to be remembered. Everyone else abandoned him, but he didn’t care because he had Jesus.

    Are those not good works? Maybe, maybe not. But it is a matter of opinion, so you cannot state unequivocally that the thief did not do good works. If you ask most Catholics, they’ll tell you that faith is “an act of the intellect, prompted by the will, by which we believe what has been revealed…”

    To Catholics, faith is not merely a feeling or a belief.

    There is NO one who can say they haven’t heard.

    This is false. There are many people who can honestly say they haven’t heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    In John 14:6, Jesus answers, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    Many people take that to mean that heaven is closed to those who reject Christ or haven’t accepted Him for whatever reason, including never having heard of Him.

    The Second Vatican Counsel addressed that sentiment – and nothing more. You and John have extrapolated a meaning favorable to your own prejudice, but the truth is much simpler. In the first sentence, context is provided: “Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel…”

    The veneration Catholics give Mary is nothing short of worship. They pray to her for protection, etc as if she is God herself.

    They ask her to intercede on their behalf. In fact, the famous Hail Mary proves this:

    “Hail Mary,
    Full of Grace,
    The Lord is with thee.
    Blessed art thou among women,
    and blessed is the fruit
    of thy womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary,
    Mother of God,
    pray for us sinners now,
    and at the hour of death.
    Amen.”

    Look at all the Mariology in the RCC: she is considered sinless, a perpetual virgin (because if she had sex that would have contaminated her), that she was assumed into heaven, that she is the mediator between us and Jesus, etc.

    Mary had to be sinless in order to carry Jesus, the Son of God, in her womb, otherwise sin would have passed to Jesus because Mary was a descendant of the original man, which means original sin. But God created her free from sin for a special purpose.

    I suppose every apologist who addresses the Romanist church has a misconception of them?!?!

    For the most part, yes.

    • I really don’t have the time to debate Romanism here. I posted the links to my articles which demonstrate that the RCC is an apostate and heretical organization.

      And, no, Mary did not have to be sinless to bear Jesus. Not one teaching about Mary from the RCC can be found in the Bible or for at least the first 100 years of the Christian church. Mary was a sinner, period. Works do not save you, period.

      John has apparently decided to open up his blog for Roman Catholic proselytization, for which I am disappointed.

      • Glenn

        I knew before inviting Terrance to post here that we disagreed on this issue. He asked before posting it and I thought it would be worth while. I posted on my concerns with the RCC and this is a response to it. For those who disagree with Terrance’s view, disagree with him and show him to be wrong, just like some people argued when I claimed the RCC to have gone apostate.

        The truth is Terrance and I disagree on very little, this is one of them. There’s no need to be disappointed, see it as an opportunity to correct what you believe to be errant.

        • John,
          One single blog article like this is not a good way to discuss all the various apostate and heretical doctrines of the RCC. I have already spent too much time on this here. It gets to be too much back and forth shotgunning the various doctrines rather than trying to stick to one at a time. And the way it is progressing, the general tenure is that Romanism is just fine.

          I’ve got to get to other things.

  15. Marshall,

    I completely agree. Glenn is a friend of mine. We simply have a disagreement.

  16. Sally,

    Great post,TerranceH. I’m Catholic, not a big fan of Martin Luther, but love Lutherans.

    Martin Luther was a flawed man. Toward the end of his life, as his health grew poorer, he became rather ornery and expressed a lot of hateful sentiments toward certain groups of people, particularly Jews. But I do enjoy some of his earlier writings.

    The food pantry I used to volunteer at was housed in the Lutheran Church, and people from all denominations (and no denomination) worked at it, including a pair of very quiet, shy young Mormon elders (we teased them and called them “youngers.”)

    It’s wonderful when so many different denominations can come together in solidarity for the purpose of God’s work.

  17. Great post Terrance. I’m going to re-post a comment that I made to John after his original post. I’d love to hear any comments.
    ————–
    John, I have issues with this post on a number of levels.
    First, let’s be clear that beliefs of a CHURCH are not the same as beliefs of an INDIVIDUAL. God doesn’t save us through our church affiliation or church doctrinal statement. Salvation is God’s gift to individual people.
    Second, I take issue with the way you over-simplify the message of the New Testament. This is very, very common in evangelical churches today. (which I count myself a member of) First, you write: “One repetitively clear concept taught in the New Testament is that salvation is not something to be earned.”
    I only partially agree with you.
    Have you read James chapter 2? (“faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”)
    Have you read Matthew 31:25-46? (“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…”)
    How about Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly ‘I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!’”
    How about John 5:28: “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

    But probably the biggest disagreement I have with you is about the idea of pluralism. I agree that probably the RCC has taken this too far, but I think that evangelicals today have also taken it too far in the opposite direction. There are numerous passages in the Bible that appear to support the idea that people are held accountable for whatever measure of truth has been revealed to them – that God can (and will) save some people who don’t accept Jesus in this lifetime. I’ll give you some examples:

    John 5:21-23: “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.”
    John 5:26: “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”
    John 10:39,41: “For judgement I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind….If you were blind you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”
    John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father known me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. **I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
    John 16:22: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.”
    1st Timothy 4:10 “10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people,and especially of those who believe.”
    1st John 2:2: “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only,
    but also for those of the whole world.”
    Romans 2:12-16: “12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God JUDGES PEOPLE’S SECRETS through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.”

    These verses, taken together with the ones you quoted, paint a much more nuanced picture of what happens to those who don’t believe. There are many other verses beyond these.
    I’m afraid that many evangelical churches today have “watered down” the message of the Bible into an easy “formulaic” version of salvation. God didn’t define a formula by which we are saved. He describes a RELATIONSHIP by which we are saved. Ultimately, HE is the judge of whether or not someone has the relationship or not. I suspect that when we get to Heaven someday, there will be many “non-Christians” who are in Heaven and, likewise, many people that we thought were professing Christians who end up in Hell.
    Turning the gospel message into a neat little formula is a very dangerous thing in my opinion. The statements by the RCC are just recognizing that reality is far more complicated than we sometimes like to believe.

  18. Glenn,

    “Rome says that is impossible.”

    What part of “Catholic doctrine includes salvation for late converts (without works)” didn’t you grasp?

    “We are discussing the Romanist doctrine as it stands”

    We are discussing what you say is Romanist doctrine and it isn’t.

    One interesting point:
    “And what are the “works of God”? Read John 6:28-29.
    My point is that the thief on the cross DID NO WORKS and yet he was saved!”
    That’s a contradiction. The thief would DID WORK since he believed in the one God has sent.

  19. Glenn,

    I had some time this morning to answer another concern of yours regarding Roman Catholicism.

    Roman Catholic Baptism Is Unbiblical.

    The Catholic teaching on Baptism begins with the idea that the very act of baptism “erases original sin,” and that it is required for one’s salvation. This is why babies must be baptized as soon as possible. Some quotes from the Catechism demonstrate this teaching:

    I’ve made no secret of my disdain for nitpicking over semantics, but in this case I want to make something clear. Catholics do indeed believe that baptism “erases original sin,” but in so far as it is an expression of a faith in Jesus Christ (I’ll expound later). Baptism is the first step in absolving one of inherent sin and its consequences. It does not mean that a child is a sinless creature from that day forth. The child is Guilty but has been declared Not Guilty in Christ’s name.

    You quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    Para. 1250 “Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.”

    Para. 1257 “…The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude…”

    Para. 1261 “As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God… Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,’ allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.”

    First, let me say that baptism is a sacrament. A “visible sign of invisible grace.” For something to be considered a sacrament, it must be instituted by Christ, offer forgiveness, and use an earthly element (water, in this case).

    Christ commands in Matthew 28:19, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

    In Acts 2:38, it is written: “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” Through baptism, sin is washed away, and a faith in Jesus Christ is expressed.

    Of course none of this is found in Scripture.

    Clearly it is.

    Baptism is what the Christians do because they have become Christians by being justified by faith in Christ; it is an outward, public sign of the person’s confession. There is nothing about baptism that saves a person who has not placed their faith in the atoning work of Christ. One is forced to ask why Christ never baptized anyone, and why Paul baptized only a few, if baptism was required for salvation? Faith in Christ alone is what saves us from sin (John 3:16, 36; John 5:24; John 6:47; John 20:31; Acts 16:31; Rom. 1:16; Rom. 3:22,25; Rom. 10:9; Tit. 3:5; Eph. 2:8-9, 16; et al).

    Baptism is an expression of faith in Jesus Christ, a faith that saves and redeems us all. So how can one claim to have a saving faith in Christ if one is not willing to make, as you say, “an outward, public sign of the [their] confession”? Those are your words, Glenn, not mine.

    (And based on Acts 2:38, I, too, believe it washes away “original sin.”)

    It’s clear that you understand the context of Catholic baptism, but for some reason you are unwilling to apply it. You know it, but you won’t apply it, for whatever reason.

    And why do you not include all scriptures relevant to baptism, Glenn? What about Mark 16:16, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

    I think this reinforces what I said above. How can someone claim to have a true faith in Jesus Christ if they are unwilling to express it through the sacrament of baptism…It’s precisely the reason Catholics believe baptism is necessary. If you have the chance to be baptized and refuse, then you haven’t a true faith.

    You may argue that children aren’t capable of consciously accepting and repenting at such an early age, so why do Catholics baptize infants? Well, since we know that baptism indeed washes away sins (Acts 2:38), why not give this gift to our children? We don’t ask our children if they’re hungry, do we? No. We feed them. We don’t ask them if they’re wet, do we? No. We change them. And so we give them, without questions, the gift of Christ Jesus. When they’re older, they can consciously accept Jesus Christ through a conscious faith. (Besides, nobody is born an atheist.)

    Nobody can argue after reading scriptures that Catholic baptism is unbiblical.

    • For Terrance on baptism.

      INFANTS cannot express faith. Baptism is only for those who have professed their faith. Baptizing infants does nothing for them. It does not erase “original sin” and you will not find that dogma in the Bible.

      No one HAS to be baptized to be saved. That we are commanded to be baptized does not therefore mean it is necessary for salvation. Not everyone can be baptized soon after salvation due to many circumstances.

      By the way, two things about the Mark 16:16 passage and why it should not be used to “prove” baptism is necessary for salvation. 1) it is a disputed text and not found in any of the oldest manuscripts. 2) It says that one who does not believe is condemned and says nothing about the one who is not baptized.

  20. Thanks, Tumeyn. Great response yourself.

  21. Let me also say, Glenn, that Lutherans believe baptism is necessary.

    From Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod:

    The sacrament of Holy Baptism was formally instituted by Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20). It is one of two ways mentioned in the passage by which the Church carries out Jesus’ command to “make disciples” (the other being “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”). Disciples of Jesus are made by baptizing and by teaching.

    There is no handier or better summary of the purpose and blessings of baptism than the explanation in Luther’s Small Catechism, which I’d encourage you to re-read. Baptism unites us with Jesus in his death and resurrection (1 Peter 3:21, etc.). It washes away our sins and brings us the gift of the Holy Spirit, and it gives us a new birth into a glorious new life with God (Titus 3:5-6). It both empowers and symbolizes the daily repentance that characterizes the whole life of a Christian (Romans 6:1-7).

    The Christian sacrament of Baptism had precursors in various Jewish ceremonial washings and, most of all, in the baptism of John the Baptist. We don’t normally speak of a “change,” however, from John’s baptism to that of Jesus. Both can be called a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Compare Mark 1:4 and Acts 22:16). Although John’s baptism was temporary in nature (Acts 19:4) – and there is much about John’s baptism that we’d like to know and don’t know – in essence, it gave the same blessings that our baptism gives to us.

    And also:

    We baptize babies because they are included in the Great Commission, which is a general command, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, also see Mark 16:15-16).

    Scripture does not exclude infants from baptism, rather it indicates that they need to be baptized because they are conceived and born in sin, and they need to be born again to enter the kingdom of God (Psalm 51:5, John 3:5-6). Through Baptism the Holy Spirit works to create or strengthen faith and brings the gifts of forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation (Titus 3:4-7, 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38-39). We should never deprive children of baptism, “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

    On the day of Pentecost when Peter told the gathered crowd, “Repent and be baptized.” He also said, “The promise is for you and your children” (Acts 2:38-39). Children were included in the command and promise Peter spoke. St. Paul draws a parallel between Old Testament circumcision and Baptism (Colossians 2:11-12). Babies in the Old Testament were to be circumcised on the eighth day after birth.

    I, of course, am a Lutheran, so when you call Catholics apostates for a so-called “unbiblical baptism,” you are in effect calling Lutherans (myself included) apostates. I take offense, especially considering that the Bible is on our side.

    • Oh, and I’m well aware of the Lutheran claim about baptism also. My wife was raised in the LCMS, and we worshipped at LCMS for 8 years before I got fed up with man’s tradition being placed above Scripture.

      Baptism isn’t why I call the RCC apostate. I call them apostate for their papacy, their magisterium, the claims of papal infallibility, their teachings on mortal vs venial sins, iconography and “veneration” of the saints, teaching on relics, acceptance and promotion of evolutionism.

      I call them heretical for their Mass (eucharist), indulgences, purgatory, mariology.

      If you prefer to follow a man’s religious system vs what the Bible says, more power to you. You just burden yourself.

  22. @TerranceH With All I am Blog went to the very heart of the matter and began discussion about Matt 16:18-20 (http://goo.gl/gj5vN) using early Christian leaders like Leo the Great, Augustine and Chrysotom. Eloquent and sincere Catholic apologists contributed and I grew a great deal from their explanations. I still come to the conclusion of Protestantism and Sola Scriptura but what the Catholics are trying to do is a sincere approach to simulating Early Christianity which I can respect. They just don’t believe that an individual through the Holy Spirit can grow from reading the Bible, they say that the Magisterium and Tradition are needed. So it’s Bible + Magisterium (the sum of the pope and all leaders) + Tradition. Honestly we do this in the rest of Christianity too. We rely on a speaker or the writers of great devotionals or books. Protestants say Sola Scriptura and the other 4 solae but somehow sometimes our faith gets complicated and it’s more than just Jesus. We are all vulnerable to it. We need to make sure ourselves are kept and pray for Catholics. And many Catholics are living according to what they know and they love Jesus.

  23. zanspence,

    Do you believe true faith requires some type of action on your part?

    • Something needs to be clarified.

      RCC says there are works that MUST be done to be saved. The Bible says there are NO works to be done to be saved, only that one must place their faith in Christ for salvation.

      True faith will be demonstrated by works which FOLLOW salvation.

      Rome, as well as other works-salvation systems get the cart before the horse. Salvation is only by grace through faith. All our works are as dirty menstrual cloths to God (that’s what Isaiah says). But saving faith will be followed by works.

      So to ask if faith requires works is not a clear question. The question is does salvation require works.

  24. Catholicism was the original sect and theology developed after the apostles and increase upon Constantine’s conversion. I don’t agree with Mary, angelic,saints, and relic prayers. Despite their corruption, they held Europe together and develop teachings such as lectio divina, gregorian music, chasity of priests, nuns, & monks, and multiple mass services. Things that even protestants can learn because we have went too reform in some areas. In addition, they know the language of Christ & apostles since during their time the languages were: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, & Latin. Much of the early church fathers and maybe even Paul’s writings were in Latin.

  25. Glenn,

    That’s because without good deeds, the faith is dead, and if the faith is dead, then you will not receive salvation. The Biblical basis for this is as follows:

    In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17)

    You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. (James 2:24)

    As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)

    If faith is required for salvation, and work required for faith, then it is not inappropriate to say that work is required for salvation. It’s semantics.

    • Rome says Baptism is required for salvation. Is that covered under the sort of works that prove one’s faith? NO, because one may or may not be in a position to be baptized.

      What if I am a truck-driving pagan who pulls into a motel one night, at my wits end, and finally decide to look at that Gideon’s Bible. I read the N.T. straight through and am convicted, repent and call on the Lord Jesus as my savior. After paying and feeling the burden of sin lifted from my shoulders, knowing that I have been saved by placing my faith in Jesus, I decide to walk across the street to get a doughnut at 3AM and get hit by a car and killed in the process. Do I go to hell for lack of baptism? Believe it or not, I have been told by a Church of Christ (who also preach baptismal regeneration) member that I would indeed to go to hell. My Lutheran pastor said I would go to heaven – he acknowledged that baptism was NOT required for salvation. But from Romanist I have been told that it was an unanswerable question and that at least I would have to spend time in purgatory (another totally unbiblical concept).

      This is not a matter of semantics! Rome says good works – plural – are necessary for salvation while Jesus says the only “work” was faith in HIM! (and He was pointing out that there are no works, only faith – if Jesus was calling faith an actual work, then the Bible truly contradicts itself).

      Work is not required for faith for salvation; works are the demonstration OF the salvation. Faith without works is indeed a dead faith and one that could not have been solid. But the works are AFTER the salvation as proof of the faith, and not BEFORE the salvation as if needed for it.

  26. And, no, Mary did not have to be sinless to bear Jesus. Not one teaching about Mary from the RCC can be found in the Bible or for at least the first 100 years of the Christian church.

    If Mary wasn’t sinless, then how could Jesus have been born free of sin? If, as the Bible teaches, “original sin” is passed from Adam & Eve to their descendants, then Jesus would have been born with sin unless the chain was broken with Mary. God could have created Mary free of sin. This may not be something directly stated in the Bible, but it is a logical conclusion.

    Of course, Mary could have been sinful and God could have created Jesus free of sin regardless of Mary’s nature. Who knows? The Bible doesn’t give any indication, which is why my faith, WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod), considers it an open question. There isn’t a clear answer in the Bible. And if there’s no clear answer, then you should stop admonishing the Catholic Church for what amounts to a simple disagreement between your church and theirs.

    Mary was a sinner, period.

    This isn’t clear. The Bible doesn’t say one way or the other. Logically, however, Mary is sinless, since the Son of God resided in her womb, her body, for nine-months? God hates sin.

    Works do not save you, period.

    Faith alone does not save you, because true faith requires good deeds.

    John has apparently decided to open up his blog for Roman Catholic proselytization, for which I am disappointed.

    We’re having a debate, Glenn. This is how people learn and grow intellectually and, hopefully, spiritually. There is nothing wrong with debate.

    This is John’s blog, but I am NOT speaking for John. He believes the same as you regarding Roman Catholicism, but he has allowed me to express my opinion. What is wrong with that?

    INFANTS cannot express faith. Baptism is only for those who have professed their faith. Baptizing infants does nothing for them. It does not erase “original sin” and you will not find that dogma in the Bible.

    Acts 2:38, ”And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”

    According to the Bible, baptism washes away sins – which is why it’s given to children. We give our children medicine with they are physically sick, so why not spiritual medicine when they’re spiritually sick? And being born into “original sin” is a form of spiritual sickness.

    No one HAS to be baptized to be saved. That we are commanded to be baptized does not therefore mean it is necessary for salvation. Not everyone can be baptized soon after salvation due to many circumstances.

    No. But if you have the chance to be baptized and refuse, you do not have a true faith.

    Or, is it your belief that one can deny God publicly for an entire life and still receive salvation? You said yourself, Glenn, that baptism is ““an outward, public sign of the [their] confession”?

    If someone refuses to bear this outward, public sign, then how could their faith be true?

    By the way, two things about the Mark 16:16 passage and why it should not be used to “prove” baptism is necessary for salvation. 1) it is a disputed text and not found in any of the oldest manuscripts. 2) It says that one who does not believe is condemned and says nothing about the one who is not baptized.

    You want to eat your cake and have it too, it seems. Which is it, my friend, 1 or 2? You can’t have it both ways.

    Regardless, it says you don’t need baptism to be saved because not everyone will have the chance to be baptized. But if you have the chance and reject it, your faith is not true, and that is why Catholics teach their members, who have the chance since they are Catholics, that baptism is required for salvation, simply because it is needed for that true faith.

    • Terrance,
      Mary was a sinner. The Bible says ALL have sinned. Mary in included in the “ALL.” The sin nature was avoided by not using any semen of man nor egg of woman. God created the “body” (from the very beginning). Mary was just an “incubator” of what the Holy Spirit started.

      This article doesn’t come across just as a discussion, rather it comes across immediately as an attempt to prove John’s view is wrong and why everyone should embrace Romanism as a true and proper belief system – which it is NOT.

      I never said one shouldn’t be baptized – I only state that it is NOT necessary for salvation.

      You take Acts 2:38 out of context as every baptismal regeneration professor does. First, often in Scripture when “baptism” is discussed, it is used as including everything up to that point; i.e., the recognition of the need for a savior, repentance, and placing one’s faith in Jesus. The moment one place’s their faith in Jesus, their sins are “washed” away. Acts 2:38 is simply saying to place your faith in Jesus and be baptized. The act of baptism doesn’t take away the sins – the faith in Christ does. Nowhere in Scripture do we see anyone baptized who has not first placed their faith in Christ. The claim has been made that “household” baptisms include this, but that is certainly practicing eisegesis.

      • TerranceH says:

        Jesus would be included in “ALL” too, it seems to me, since He became human for the purpose of paying for our sins.

        If God hates sin and cannot be near it (which is why it isn’t allowed in His kingdom), then how could His son incubate in it for nine-months?

        The article is my opinion on what I believe are baseless objections to Roman Catholicism.

        Every time I post a Bible verse that proves your argument wrong, you tell me I’m taking it out of context. Why am I taking out of context? It specifically says that baptism washes away your sins. In what way can that be taken out of context, for crying out loud. It seems to me that eisegesis is precisely what you’re doing by claiming everything is being taken out of context. It seems pretty straightforward to me. You’re extrapolating hidden meanings.

        • Jesus is GOD and not JUST a man. The “ALL have sinned” is contextually about man. Jesus as man was near sin every day of his life, so living inside a person with a sin nature is no different.

          The verses you have used so far have been abused to support Catholicism, and yet only Catholics understand them that way because they are told from their hierarchy how to understand them. After all, Rome says that apart from them no one can understand the Bible.

          The passage about “washing” away sins is in the context of them FIRST believing in Jesus. It is Jesus who takes away the sin – that is the context. If they don’t believe in Jesus, that baptism isn’t going to wash anything away but dirt!

  27. Work is not required for faith for salvation; works are the demonstration OF the salvation. Faith without works is indeed a dead faith and one that could not have been solid. But the works are AFTER the salvation as proof of the faith, and not BEFORE the salvation as if needed for it.

    Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Do you see why these debates are patently ridiculous? We’re arguing over, it seems to me, semantics. You say work is not required for faith, but then you admit that faith without work is dead. We’re arguing over semantics and nothing more. It all means the same thing!

  28. I’m with Glenn. I’m bored of this debate already. We’re never going to agree. Maybe if we’re lucky enough to get into that next place, Glenn, you and me can knock on the boss’ door and ask for some elaboration.

    Take Care.

  29. @TerranceH Christianity is unique from other philosophies and worldviews because it is supposed to be under girded by who we believe. Other philosophies and worldviews are under girded and the input or sustainability is dependent on more knowledge, a certain lifestyle or a mystical experience. Jesus addresses all of these approaches and says that “the work of God is to believe in whom he sent(John 6:29)”, “I am the way the truth and life(John 14:6)”, “the word became flesh(John 1:1)”, “doesn’t matter where we worship but how we worship(John 4:24)”. Jesus as the input produces an output of more word knowledge because of a desire to know him more since he is the word , deeds because of true compassion and the salvation of souls, and when He wills it the very presence of God. So it’s faith and works or works because of already established and received faith. Moreover it’s a love relationship with the Godhead that creates the greatest outputs of works that’s why He said “if you love me you will keep my commandments”(John 14:15)”. I hope that answers my stance.

  30. “Placing one’s faith in Christ is NOT a work.”

    “And what are the “works of God”? Read John 6:28-29.”

    Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
    John 6:29

    The contradiction is still there.

  31. Glenn,

    Jesus didn’t just “live inside” a supposedly “sinful person,” but developed in it for nine-months, then entered the world through it! Knowing that, it makes no sense to say you know for sure that Mary was with sin. You don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say one way or the other. The Bible says “ALL,” but that also includes Jesus, as He, too, was a human being. I’m inclined to believe there were two exceptions.

    You’ve been proven wrong repeatedly, but you manage to walk between the raindrops by claiming to have some type of special insight into the “proper context” of these Biblical verses. To me, that’s ridiculous.

    A literal interruption of 1 Pet. 3:2, Acts 2:38, 22:16, Rom. 6:3–4, Col. 2:11–12 leads one to believe that baptism saves you. 1 Peter. 3:2 says, Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

    Jesus Christ Himself said, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” ~ John 3:5

    And isn’t it curious that a Young Earther rejects a literal interpretation of the text…

    Is it necessay to be saved without being baptized? Yes. And the Catholic Church teaches this.

    From CCC 1281 & CCC 1260–1, 1283

    Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, are saved even if they have not been baptized.

    You listed parts of catechism that “proved” your point, but failed to list those that shatter it. Hmm.

    Bottom line: Catholic Baptism is 100% Biblical and its been proven numerous times.

    • Since the Bible does not even intimate that Mary was sinless, and no Christians taught such for the first three hundred years, and it wasn’t taught until after the false teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity was taught, then there is no support for the teaching except in the minds of the Pope and his ilk. Why is it so difficult for Jesus to live inside of a sinful human for 9 months, and yet it is not difficult at all to accept that he lived among sinners for over 30 years!!! If the reason He supposedly couldn’t be inside of Mary is because God can’t be near sin, then Jesus by the same logic couldn’t be living daily among sinners!

      No, I have not been proven wrong. Let’s look at what the experts say about Acts 2:38:
      From the book, “When Cultists Ask,” by Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes (two top-notch apologists):
      Acts 2:38
      What Peter means here becomes clear when we consider the possible meaning of being baptized “for” the remission of sins in the light of its usage, the whole context, and the rest of Scripture.
      First, the word “for” (eis) can mean either “with a view to” or “because of.” In the latter case, water baptism would be because they had been saved, not in order to be saved.
      Second, people are saved by receiving God’s Word, and Peter’s audience “gladly received his word” before they were baptized (Acts 2:41).
      Third, verse 44 speaks of “all who believed” as constituting the early church, not all who were baptized.
      Fourth, later, those who believed Peter’s message clearly received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized. Peter said, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Acts 10:47).
      Fifth, Paul separates baptism from the gospel, saying, “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 1:17a NASB). But it is the gospel that saves us (Rom. 1:16). Therefore, baptism is not part of what saves us.
      Sixth, Jesus referred to baptism as a work of righteousness (Matt. 3:15). But the Bible declares clearly it is “not because of righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5 NIV).
      Seventh, not once in the entire Gospel of John, written explicitly so that people could believe and be saved (John 20:31), is baptism noted as a condition of salvation. Rather this Gospel instructs people to “believe” to be saved (cf. John 3:16, 18, 36).
      It seems best to understand Peter’s statement like this: “Repent and be baptized as a result of the forgiveness of sins.” That this view looked backward to their sins being forgiven at the moment when they were saved is made clear by the context and the rest of Scripture. Believing or repenting and being baptized are placed together, since baptism should follow belief. But nowhere does it say, “He who is not baptized will be condemned” (cf. Mark 16:16). Yet Jesus said emphatically that “whoever does not believe stands condemned already” (John 3:18b NIV, emphasis added). Scripture does not make baptism a condition of salvation.

  32. Glenn and Terrance, it seems like you are both correct about baptism. Terrance is just saying that we must be baptized which is what the Bible says (John 3:5) and Glenn is saying that there needs to spiritual weight to baptism because you are believing in the son of God which is also what the Bible says (1 Cor 1:13).

    • TerranceH says:

      If we’re both right about baptism, which I suspect, then, logically, Glenn is wrong about Catholic Baptism being unbiblical.

  33. About Mary, she was mortal sinner like the rest of us. There are tons of scripture that support the inclusivity of the depravity of mankind past, present and future, here is another one: “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins (Ecc 7:20, ESV)”. Jesus wouldn’t even venerate himself above God the Father: “And Jesus said unto him, Why call me good? none is good, except one, that is, God.(Luke 18:19, KJV)”.

  34. No Jesus never sinned. He is God that came as flesh. He remained connected to God by leveraging the Holy Spirit. Isiah 9 says “a child is born, a son is given”. This prophetic description of Jesus perfectly states it. The co-eternal son of God manifested as the firstborn of Joseph and Mary. He’s not like you and I. Mary is like you and I.

  35. For those who haven’t read my post on Mary, here is the demonstration that the teaching of her being sinless is in error and unbiblical:

    Immaculate Conception: Catechism Para. 411: “Mary…was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.” Para. 491-93 “Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary…was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: ‘The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ,…preserved immune from all stain of original sin.’…By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.”

    Once the church had decided on Mary’s divine motherhood and perpetual virginity, there needed to be another way to show her complete holiness. Early church fathers said Mary was guilty of many sins, but by the early 4th century “the Latin fathers refrained from charging Mary with sin.” (The Cult p. 31) At first it was taught that Mary had no personal sin, but at the beginning of the 12th century the idea that Mary was preserved from original sin (the sinful nature) was first propagated by a British monk, Eadmer. Virtually all the leading theologians opposed the idea because it contradicted Scripture’s truth of the universality of sin. “A major portion of the credit for establishing the immaculate conception as Catholic dogma goes to John Duns Scotus (1264-1308). He argued that to hold that Mary was preserved from original sin would not depreciate the atonement but rather would magnify it: it would be an even greater work of redemptive grace for Mary to be born without sin than to be given the power to rise above it.” (The Cult, pp.31-32)

    This doctrine remained controversial for several more centuries until 1854 when Pope Pius IX defined it. This was the first dogma ever pronounced on the authority of a pope without official sanction of a council. Pius’ statement claimed this “was revealed by God, and is, therefore, to be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.” As a result of this dogma, the church says “Mary possesses all gifts, knowledge, and fruits in their fullness, and is exalted above all men and angels.” (The Cult, p.32).

    What does the Bible say about Mary and sin?

    Firstly, the Bible tells us that all people sin. This evidence is found in both Old and New Testaments. Here are some passages to examine: 1 Kings 8:46a; 2 Chron. 6:36; Job 4:17ff; Job 19; Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 143:2; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:23; Rom. 5:12; 1 John 1:9.

    Secondly, Mary calls God her savior in Luke 1:47. If she was sinless, why would she need a savior?

    Thirdly, in Luke 1:26-38 May is troubled and in wonderment. Why would this be so if she was sinless?

    Lastly, in Luke 2:22-24 Mary presents an offering for her sinful condition.

  36. As for 1 Peter 3:20, here’s what the Believer’s Bible Commentary has to say:

    3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism. Once again we are in difficult and controversial territory! This verse has been a battleground between those who teach baptismal regeneration and those who deny that baptism has any power to save.
    EXCURSUS ON BAPTISM
    First let us see what it may mean, and then what it cannot mean.
    Actually, there is a baptism which saves us—not our baptism in water, but a baptism which took place at Calvary almost 2000 years ago. Christ’s death was a baptism. He was baptized in the waters of judgment. This is what He meant when He said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50). The psalmist described this baptism in the words, “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me” (Ps. 42:7). In His death, Christ was baptized in the waves and billows of God’s wrath, and it is this baptism that is the basis for our salvation.
    But we must accept His death for ourselves. Just as Noah and his family had to enter the ark to be saved, so we must commit ourselves to the Lord as our only Savior. When we do this, we become identified with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection. In a very real sense, we then have been crucified with Him (Gal. 2:20), we have been buried with Him (Rom. 6:4), and we have been brought from death to life with Him (Rom. 6:4).
    All this is pictured in the believer’s baptism. The ceremony is an outward sign of what has taken place spiritually; we have been baptized into Christ’s death. As we go under the water, we acknowledge that we have been buried with Him. As we come up out of the water, we show that we have risen with Him and want to walk in newness of life.
    An antitype which now saves us—baptism refers to Christ’s baptism unto death on the cross and our identification with Him in it, which water baptism represents.
    The verse cannot mean that we are saved by ritual baptism in water for the following reasons:
    1. That would make water the savior, instead of the Lord Jesus. But He said, “I am the way” (John 14:6).
    2. It would imply that Christ died in vain. If people can be saved by water, then why did the Lord Jesus have to die?
    3. It simply doesn’t work. Many who have been baptized have proved by their subsequent lives that they were never truly born again.
    Neither can this verse mean that we are saved by faith plus baptism.
    1. This would mean that the Savior’s work on the cross was not sufficient. When He cried, “It is finished,” it wasn’t really so, according to this view, because baptism must be added to that work for salvation.
    2. If baptism is necessary for salvation, it is strange that the Lord did not personally baptize anyone. John 4:1, 2 states that Jesus did not do the actual baptizing of His followers; this was done by His disciples.
    3. The Apostle Paul thanked God that he baptized very few of the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:14–16). This would be strange thanksgiving for an evangelist if baptism were essential for salvation! The fact that Paul did baptize some shows that he taught believer’s baptism, but the fact that he baptized only a few shows that he did not consider it a requirement for salvation.
    4. The penitent thief on the cross was not baptized, yet he was assured of being in Paradise with Christ (Luke 23:43).
    5. The Gentiles who were saved in Caesarea received the Holy Spirit when they believed (Acts 10:44), showing that they then belonged to Christ (Rom. 8:9b). After receiving the Holy Spirit, that is, after being saved, they were baptized (vv. 47, 48). Therefore, baptism was not necessary for their salvation. They were saved first, then baptized in water.
    6. In the NT, baptism is always connected with death and not with spiritual birth.
    7. There are about 150 passages in the NT which teach that salvation is by faith alone. These cannot be contradicted by two or three verses that seem to teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.
    Therefore, when we read in verse 21, Baptism … which now saves us, it does not mean our baptism in literal water, but Christ’s baptism unto death and our identification with Him in it.
    Not the removal of the filth of the flesh. The ceremonial worship of the OT, with which Peter’s Jewish-Christian readers were familiar, provided a sort of external cleansing. But it was not able to give the priests or the people a clear conscience with regard to sin. The baptism of which Peter is speaking is not a question of physical or even of ritual cleansing from defilement. Water does have the effect of removing dirt from the body, but it cannot provide a good conscience toward God. Only personal association with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection can do that.
    But the answer of a good conscience toward God. The question inevitably arises, “How can I have a righteous standing before God? How can I have a clear conscience before Him?” The answer is found in the baptism of which Peter has been speaking—Christ’s baptism unto death at Calvary and one’s personal acceptance of that work. By Christ’s death the sin question was settled once for all.
    Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. How do I know that God is satisfied? I know because He raised Christ from the dead. A clear conscience is inseparably linked with the resurrection of Jesus Christ; they stand or fall together. The resurrection tells me that God is fully satisfied with the redemptive work of His Son. If Christ had not risen, we could never be sure that our sins had been put away. He would have died like any other man. But the risen Christ is our absolute assurance that the claims of God against our sins have been fully met.
    As the hymn writer, James G. Deck, put it, “Our conscience has peace that can never fail: ’tis the Lamb on high, on the throne.”
    So it now saves us—baptism … the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. My only claim for a good conscience is based on the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The order is as follows:
    1. Christ was baptized unto death for me at Calvary.
    2. When I trust Him as Lord and Savior, I am spiritually united with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection.
    3. Through the knowledge that He has risen, my request for a clear conscience is answered.
    4. In water baptism, I give visible expression to the spiritual deliverance I have experienced.

  37. Glenn,

    You most certainly have been proven wrong – and now you’re appealing to imagined authorities. The Catholics have “experts,” too, Glenn. Should I quote them?

    Or, I could just quote the Catholic catechism that says, in no uncertain terms, that it is possible to be saved without baptism. That alone proves you don’t know what you’re talking about. You’ve argued vehemently and often that Catholics teach one MUST be baptized in order to be saved. They don’t teach that, and the catechism I quoted proves it! So I think you owe many people an apology. Will they get it?

    Furthermore, you are still nitpicking over semantics. If you have the opportunity to be baptized but refuse, then your sins are not washed away, not forgiven, and you do not receive salvation. Refusing baptism is the same as refusing Christ. (John 3:5). And that is why Catholics and Lutherans require it of their members. It “washes away sins” because it signifies an acceptance of the faith that washes away sins! What about that very simple fact are you having trouble with?

    Regarding Mary, no, you haven’t been proven wrong – but neither have I. And why? Because the Bible says nothing on the subject! It says human beings are sinful, but that would include Jesus. God is Three, remember? Father, Son (Man), and Holy Ghost. The Man persona would most certainly have been susceptible to original sin – unless Mary was also sinless. Or, perhaps, an exception was made for Jesus only. I don’t know and neither do you, so why you continually claim to know, quoting scripture irrelevant to the issue as justification, is beyond me.

  38. You go ahead and keep posting total irrelevance to justify your prejudice, Glenn. None of what you’re posting contradicts anything I’ve said or anything the Catholics and Lutherans teach.

    • They citations about Acts and 1 Peter are not at all irrelevant. They are very relevant to the meaning of those passages, demonstrating that one is not saved by baptism, nor are sins washed away by baptism.

    • I am NOT in error about Romanist teachings. From the Catechism:

      Para. 1250 “Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.”

      Right here they say that baptism itself frees one “from the power of darkness.” That is definitely not true. They claim if the child is not baptized it is being denied the “grace of becoming a child of God.” This is patently unbiblical. That baptized child may never accept the Christian faith, so sprinkling water on him is worthless.

      Para. 1257 “…The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude…”

      No other means?!?!?! There is only ONE means and that is by faith in Jesus Christ. If they then come back and say if a person who was unable to be baptized may still be saved, then they contradict their own teachings.

      Para. 1261 “As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God… Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,’ allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.”

      Do you see that? They are so stuck on baptismal salvation that they have to just hope that children who died without baptism have a way of salvation. I think the Bible is pretty clear that infants are indeed saved.
      http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2011/04/what-about-babies-and-salvation.html

      Another interesting aspect of Catholic baptism is noted in Para. 1237 of the catechism: “Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate.”

      One is forced to ask why Christ never baptized anyone, and why Paul baptized only a few, if baptism was required for salvation? Faith in Christ alone is what saves us from sin (John 3:16, 36; John 5:24; John 6:47; John 20:31; Acts 16:31; Rom. 1:16; Rom. 3:22,25; Rom. 10:9; Tit. 3:5; Eph. 2:8-9, 16; et al).

      And, of course, there is no biblical teaching for the idea that exorcisms should be pronounced at the time one is baptized.

  39. Glenn,

    I want you to publicly acknowledge that you were absolutely wrong when you said: Rome says Baptism is required for salvation.

    I also think you should apologize for cherry-picking parts of the Catholic Catechism. You totally ignored this:

    From CCC 1281 & CCC 1260–1, 1283

    Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, are saved even if they have not been baptized.

    Please do the honorable thing and admit you were wrong, then apologize.

  40. Thanks for your clarification about Roman Catholic Baptism. I agree with what Jesus said in John 3 about the requirement of water and the Spirit to go to heaven. The water being the physical act of baptism which is what you are talking about and the Spirit being a professed belief in the existence of Jesus which is what Glenn was talking about.

    John 1 says this: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

    I don’t agree with infant baptism. Simply because a baby cannot repent and profess Jesus. Below I have a snapshot of Part 2, Section, Chapter 1, Article 1 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that establishes infant baptism. Like I said before I respect the sincere desire of the RCC to combat original sin as early as possible but I remain Protestant.

    Source: (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a1.htm)
    1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called.50 The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.51

    1251 Christian parents will recognize that this practice also accords with their role as nurturers of the life that God has entrusted to them.52

    1252 The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole “households” received baptism, infants may also have been baptized.

  41. zanspeance,

    Even some Protestant denominations baptize children. Lutherans do it. I’m a Lutheran.

    From Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod:

    We baptize babies because they are included in the Great Commission, which is a general command, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, also see Mark 16:15-16).

    Scripture does not exclude infants from baptism, rather it indicates that they need to be baptized because they are conceived and born in sin, and they need to be born again to enter the kingdom of God (Psalm 51:5, John 3:5-6). Through Baptism the Holy Spirit works to create or strengthen faith and brings the gifts of forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation (Titus 3:4-7, 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38-39). We should never deprive children of baptism, “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

    On the day of Pentecost when Peter told the gathered crowd, “Repent and be baptized.” He also said, “The promise is for you and your children” (Acts 2:38-39). Children were included in the command and promise Peter spoke. St. Paul draws a parallel between Old Testament circumcision and Baptism (Colossians 2:11-12). Babies in the Old Testament were to be circumcised on the eighth day after birth.

    Glenn’s argument is totally untenable.

  42. Glenn,

    They demonstrate no such thing. Acts 2:38 clearly says that baptism washes away sins — for what reason is totally irrelevant to your argument that baptism doesn’t wash away sins!

    It washes away sins because it is an expression, an acceptance, of Jesus Christ. It is, as Jesus said, a birth in water and Holy Spirit. (John 3:5). Why is it so? Because it is an acceptance of Jesus Christ.

  43. Glenn and Terrance I’m signing off for today. I really hope there are no ill feelings. We will continue you disagree as long as we present conclusions that have different premises. The Protestant being the 5 solae and the Catholic being Scripture + Magesterium + Tradition. I see and believe the sincerity in Catholicism I just think that it’s too much but I don’t think Catholics are evil. Let’s have an Christ believing intra-faith bond because division is a very poor witness to unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 1:10-17(NKJV):

    Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

    I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

    • I have no ill feelings towards anyone (except those who may have done me personal harm – but that is totally outside of this topic :oD)

      My ill feelings are always towards false teachings which put people into spiritual bondage.

  44. Glenn and I will disagree forever on this issue. I have no ill feelings toward Glenn. I like Glenn. We agree on more than we disagree, so it’s no big deal. At least not to me.

    With respect to you, I’m happy to hear you have no enmity toward Catholics. And it was great talking with you.

  45. Glenn,

    So you think denying children “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” is okay because they may not grow-up to be Christians? Jesus Himself said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14).

    You continue to argue that Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21 are being taken out of context, but in no other context can these verses be taken if one is sticking to a strictly literal interpretation of the text. And so Young Earthers like yourself are contradicting their own point of view.

    Peter said, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

    He then added, “For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him” (Acts 2:39)

    If he was talking to believers, as you earlier claimed, then why would it be necessary for them to be baptized? That is, if they’re already saved by virtue of believing, then what is the point? And why would Peter say, “then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”?

    A literal interpretation of the text proves that Catholic and Lutheran baptism are not unbiblical. In fact, I suggest that you evangelicals are being unbiblical.

    Furthermore, they are not contradicting their own teachings. The catechism is for fellow Catholics who, by virtue of being active Catholics, will have the opportunity to be baptized. To reject that is to reject Christ. Those who do not have that opportunity, however, are not necessarily doomed to hell, and the catechism I quoted proves that Catholics believe that.

    • Terrance
      This is getting long in tooth.

      Baptism confers nothing without the belief behind it. That’s why unbelievers do not get baptized. A baby is not a believer nor an unbeliever because they haven’t had the opportunity to accept or deny Christ. Since baptism confers nothing to a baby/infant, not baptizing them does nothing to alter their state any more than does baptizing.

      The context of Acts is that these are believers who have professed the faith; otherwise why are they coming for baptism? Baptism is ONLY for believers! The baptism does NOT save anyone! If I am an unbeliever and let someone baptize me, that does not confer salvation on to me; it just makes me wet. Baptism is a symbol of the profession of faith. Nothing more, nothing less.

      I am really not interested in pursuing this any longer. Neither of us are willing to change our views.

  46. Glenn,

    And belief if you reject baptism confers nothing.

    It’s clear from Acts that belief alone is not enough, otherwise why would he instruct them to become baptized since they were already believers? Because belief alone and baptism alone are not enough. This is what the Catholics teach. You should know, Glenn. You like to ridicule them for teaching that good works are also required.

    And certainly no child is born an atheist. They are already believers, in their souls.

    I am not interested in pursuing it any longer either. It’s boring.

  47. Glenn, you write “For those who haven’t read my post on Mary, here is the demonstration that the teaching of her being sinless is in error and unbiblical”

    I agree with you on this point. I think the idea of a sinless Mary is unbiblical. But so what? I suspect that there are lots of my beliefs that are in error. There are lots of your beliefs that are probably in error. So what?

    Are we saved by having the correct doctrine? Or are we saved by a relationship with Jesus? By all means, let’s try to be true to scripture and have the “right” beliefs. But at the end of the day, let’s all agree that doctrine isn’t what saves us. Christians since ~300AD have affirmed that the apostles creed covers the “essentials”. Everything else is just not worth losing sleep over.

    Can you name a single doctrine contained in an early Christian creed that is not supported by the catholic church today? I certainly can’t think of one. If someone can affirm the apostles creed, then they are a Christian as far as I am concerned. (and I think that the early church fathers would affirm based on the creeds that they propagated)

    • Tumeyn,
      For the very reasons you state about RCC basic teachings, I do not call the RCC a cult, and I say that there are Catholics who become Christians in spite of RCC dogma. But the RCC teachings on the issues I noted are apostate and even heretical. These things place huge burdens of guilt and anxiety on those who are saved.

      I have read and heard testimonies from literally hundreds of ex-Romanists who say that most Catholics are Catholics and have no idea what the gospel is. Their faith is more in Mary as their savior rather than is Jesus.

  48. Something for Baptists and evangelicals to think about:

    The Baptist doctrine of the “Age of Accountability” is nowhere to be found in the New Testament.

    Isn’t it strange that God provided a means for the babies and toddlers of his chosen people in the Old Testament to be part of his Covenant promises but is completely silent about the issue in the New Testament?

    Jesus seemed to really love the little children… but he never mentions even once, if the Baptist/evangelical view of salvation is correct, how a Christian parent can be assured that if something dreadful happens to their baby or toddler, that they will see that child again in heaven.

    In the Baptist/evangelical doctrine of adult-only salvation, God leaves our babies and toddlers in spiritual limbo! A Christian parent must pray to God and beg him that little Johnnie “accepts Christ” the very minute he reaches the Age of Accountability, because if something terrible were to happen to him, he would be lost and doomed to eternal hellfire.

    Do you really believe that our loving Lord and Savior would do that to Christian parents??

    Dear Christian parents: bring your little children to Jesus! He wants to save them just as much as he wants to save adults! Bring your babies and toddlers to the waters of Holy Baptism and let Jesus SAVE them!

    The unscriptural “Age of Accountability” is the desperate attempt to plug the “big hole” in the Baptist doctrine of adult-only Salvation/Justification:

    How does Jesus save our babies and toddlers?

    Gary
    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

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