Pope John Paul II is seen through flowers in St Peter's Square during a beatification ceremony, November 4, 2001. The 81-year-old Pontiff beatified eight people, elevating two women and six men to one step from sainthood.
THE Pope has amended a Vatican pronouncement that the Roman Catholic Church was the "only way to salvation", saying that Heaven is open to all as long as they are good.
He said at an audience that "all of the just on Earth, including those who ignore Christ and his Church" were "called upon to build the kingdom of God". His words repeated what was pronounced at the Second Vatican Council 40 years ago, but were clearly intended to repair harm to religious dialogue caused by a document issued in September.
The document, signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Pope's chief of doctrine, said that the way of salvation was "only in the unique and universal Catholic Apostolic Church". The amendment follows criticism of the pronouncement, which called other faiths "gravely deficient" as a means to salvation....
Colossians 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
THE HOLY FATHER
The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful. LUMEN GENTIUM, 23
Matthew 23:9 "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven."
"The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: 'For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.'" #816 '[UR 3 # 5.]" "...all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation..." #846
On May 7, 2001, Pope John Paul II told 2,000 youth gathered at the Greek-Melkite Cathedral of Damascus that "you cannot be a Christian if you reject the Church founded on Jesus Christ."-From article "Pope Meets with Youth of Various Christian Confessions," Vatican City, 5/7/01 (VIS) reported by the Catholic Information Network, 5/9/01, N. 86
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13 The Apostle Paul gives step by step instructions on how to be saved:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10
Notice, no church is required. So if Catholicism is right, then the Apostle Paul is also a liar. And since he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is a liar as well.
Catholic friend, you personally may not believe this, but your pope does. And it is an official doctrine of your religion.
Since the Bible and Catholicism clearly disagree, here are some questions you must answer:
â€˘ If the Catholic church is necessary to escape hell and reach heaven, would not God have clearly stated it in His Wordâ€¦ at least once?
â€˘ Why would Jesus repeatedly lie by saying that salvation is available through faith in Him?
â€˘Are you willing to call Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul and the Apostle John all liars? For your religion to be right, you must.
â€˘ For centuries, Bible believing Christians have contended that this unbiblical doctrine was created to keep members in bondage. Was it?
â€˘ Lastly, you must again answer the question, "Which will I obey and serve, the traditions of men, or the Word of God?" You cannot say "both" because each says the other is wrong.
Someday you will stand face to face with Jesus Christ. You will look Him right in the eyes. You might want to start thinking about how you are going to tell the Lord that you rejected His teachings and obeyed the traditions of sinful men because you assumed He was lying.
"For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of menâ€¦" Mark 7:8
"All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate 'for the sake of the kingdom of heaven' ... Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church's minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God." Pg. 395, #1579
"Marriage is honourable in all..." Hebrews 13:4 "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife..." 1 Timothy 3:2 "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well." 1 Timothy 3:12 "...the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." Genesis 2:18 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines o f devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." 1 Timothy 4:1-3 A married pope? Few Catholics realize that Peter, the "first pope," was a married man:
"But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever..." Mark 1:30
This Simon is none other than the Apostle Peter. (See Matthew 4:18 and Matthew 10:2.)
Interpreting God's Word Are Catholics able to interpret God's Word for themselves?
"The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him." Pg. 30, #100
Can only the pope and the leadership of the Catholic church properly interpret God's Word? Let's go to the Bible and see how God feels about this teaching. When Paul and Silas preached in Berea, the people:
"... received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11
In other words, they interpreted the Scriptures for themselves with the help of the Holy Spirit.
"And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?" Mark 12:24
Why did Jesus chastise the Sadducees for not knowing the Scriptures if it was impossible for them to interpret them?
And why did Peter, Catholicism's first " pope," declare the following?
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." 2 Peter 1:20
Why does Paul instruct us to study the Bible if we can't interpret it?
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
Jesus admonished the Jews to:
"Search the scriptures..." John 5:39
Why would He do that, if He knew they couldn't interpret them?
Who does the interpreting?
The Bible reveals that the Holy Spirit, not a group of men, will interpret Scripture for God's children and will help them to understand all things:
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:26 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth..." John 16:13
The Apostle Paul recognized that the Holy Spirit was the One who taught him:
"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." 1 Corinthians 2:13 "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." 1 Corinthians 2:12
Why are Christians commanded to memorize the Scriptures if they can' t understand them?
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Psalm 119:11 "Keep my commandments, and live... write them upon the table of thine heart." Proverbs 7:2-3
The following verses of Scripture should alarm anyone who believes they need a church to interpret the Bible for them:
"These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie , and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." 1 John 2:26-27
Could God's position be any plainer?
Why is the Catholic church so determined to interpret the Scriptures for you? Is it because they want to control you and keep you in bondage to Catholicism?
Are they afraid that if you read the Scriptures for yourself, you might discover that Catholic doctrines are contrary to God's Word?
Do you really believe that all non-Catholics are groping around in spiritual blindness, needing the Catholic church to interpret the Bible for them?
You must settle these things in your own mind, but your most important decision is:
"Who will interpret Scripture for you... the Holy Spirit of God or the Roman Catholic church?"
Your answer to that question will determine who you will obey and eventually where you will spend eternity:
"O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. " Psalm 119:97-99
When the pope and other Catholic leaders, who claim to be infallible, disagree with God' s Holy Word, then God must be wrong. Are you willing to accept this?
The Catechism further alleges that other Catholic leaders have also somehow achieved this state of infallibility:
"The pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church' s shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals." Pg. 235, #890 "The infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors extends to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed." Pg. 495, #2051
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Romans 3:10
Sacraments to be saved?
"The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation." Pg. 292, #1129
What are the sacraments?:
"There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony." Pg. 289, #1113
These seven sacraments are nothing more than a series of good works. As we have already seen in previous chapters, the Bible states repeatedly that good works will never save anybody:
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight..." Romans 3:20
Here is what God thinks of our good works:
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags..." Isaiah 64:6
Opinion: "only to have them lost for 1500 years" -While the Catholic Church was seeking to control the world through religion, true Christians were running for their lives from the Catholic holocaust that ran for centuries. God has always had His people, faithful to Him and His Word. They had no part in the Roman Catholic Church. Through much of history, organized religion has hunted and slaughtered God's people.
One Last Shot, I can't resist! It makes no logical sense to me, that Jesus would give the keys of the Kindom to Peter, only to have them lost for 1500 years till Martin Luther found them again. At least he should have warned Peter not to hand them over to them Catholics. But, Luther tried to change the Bible by adding words, and dropping Books. Maybe yours is the "Different Gospel" that St Paul warned us about. Maybe those keys were never lost in the first place.
Hope the following can shed some light on the subject. SermonAudio.com is opposed to the official doctrines of the Catholic Church and is unapologetically a Protestant site.
25. What is the official teaching of Rome on the Pope?
The Creed of Pope Pius IV Section X states: 'I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church for the Mother and Mistress of all Churches, and I promise and swear true obedience to the Bishop of Rome the Successor to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles and Vicar of Jesus Christ.'
26. What text in Matthew's Gospel does the Church of Rome use to support her claims for St. Peter being the first Pope?
Matthew chapter 16 and verse 18: 'And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' The meaning of this text is obvious. Jesus having heard from the disciples the various notions which were entertained of Him, asked them: 'But whom say ye that I am?' and Peter, always more forward than the rest, replied: 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Jesus, having pronounced him blessed, as every believer is (Psalm 32:1), said: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' Christ in addressing Peter said: 'Thou art Peter,' using the word 'petros', which signifies a stone, but in referring to the rock He used the word 'petra', which means properly 'an immovable rock'. He does not say: 'Thou art Peter, and upon thee I will build my church', but 'upon this Rock.' The Rock he had confessed was Christ the Son of the living God, as though He said: 'Thou art Peter, a living stone in this spiritual edifice, but upon this immovable foundation I will build my church.'
27. Were the Fathers unanimous in their interpretation of the Scripture?
The Fathers of the church, as the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kenrick, USA, who attended Vatican I, himself acknowledged, were divided. Eight say the Rock means the twelve apostles as a body. Sixteen say it refers to Christ Himself. Seventeen say it refers to St. Peter and forty four say it means the faith which Peter professed. It is clear that the Rock of the church is the infallible Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
31. What eight Scriptures show that there is no foundation in the Scriptures for the Papacy?
Scripture one: Christ taught that all the apostles were equal. Matthew 23:10: 'Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ; and ye are all brethren.' Matthew 23:11: 'But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.' In Mark 10:42, when the disciples strove among each other for supremacy, Jesus said: 'Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and their great ones exercise authority upon them.' Mark 10:43: 'But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister.' Mark 10:44: 'And whosoever of you will be the chiefest shall be servant of all.' Mark 10:45: 'For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.' From these passages it is evident that Christ conferred no superiority upon Peter, for if He had the strife could not have arisen, and Christ would have referred to His grant of supremacy to Peter.
Scripture two: Peter himself nowhere alludes to such supremacy. He says rather: 'The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ.' (I Peter 5:1) He here calls himself an elder and witness, but nowhere the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth.
Scripture three: Peter was sent by the other apostles to Samaria: 'Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John.' (Acts 8:14) Just think of 'His Holiness' the Pope being sent by the Cardinals to preach the Gospel! It is well known that for many years Popes have not preached at all.
Scripture four: A council of the apostles and brethren was held at Jerusalem, Peter was present, and yet the sentence of James was followed (Acts 15:6-29).
Scripture five: The apostle Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 11:5 that he was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles, which is inconsistent with the notion of Peter's supremacy.
Scripture six: Peter, James and John are called pillars. 'James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars.' (Galatians 2:9)Because Peter was a pillar he was not the foundation.
Scripture seven: 'Paul withstood Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed.' (Galatians 2:11) It is hardly the attitude to an 'Infallible Pope.'
Scripture eight: When Paul enumerates the various officers of the church he does not say: 'First the chief apostle' or 'the vicar of Christ, Jesus Christ upon earth' or 'the father of kings and princes,' but 'apostles' (Ephesians 4:11).
42. How did Vatican II define the power of the Pope? Vatican II - Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (18 November 1965):
'This sacred synod turns its attention first to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon sacred Scripture, it teaches that the church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. [â€¦] WHOSOEVER, THEREFORE, KNOWING THAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS MADE NECESSARY BY GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, WOULD REFUSE TO ENTER HER OR REMAIN IN HER, COULD NOT BE SAVED.' (Paragraph 14)
'But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is simultaneously conceived of in terms of its head, the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, and without a lessening of his power and primacy over all, pastors as well as the general faithful. For in virtue of his office, that is as vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he can always exercise this power freely.' (Paragraph 22)
'Therefore his definitions of themselves and not by consent of the church are justly styled irreformable for they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit promised to him in blessed Peter. Therefore they need no approval of others nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment.' (Paragraph 25)
We're glad to have you in our little discussion on theology. We hope to shed more light than heat, especially on some unfortunate misunderstandings about the Catholic Church's teachings. I'm not trying to "sell" membership in my Church, but instead to help everyone understand the facts. As I've said before, if half the false stories passed around about the Catholic Church were true, I would never be a Catholic.
As before, I'd like to ask for a few ground rules for this discussion:
1) If you attempt to state a CC position, you MUST quote an authoritative Catholic source. "The Catechism of the Catholic Church" will do. It isn't fair just to repeat slanderous stories "someone told you".
2) Don't claim theological infallibility. If the Pope isn't infallible in your view, then you can't be either.
3) Don't claim to speak for God. We all have opinions and differences of perspective, and you have a right to yours.
Ok with everybody? Fine, let's dive right in. Ken made a shotgun of statements, many not pertinent to this discussion of whether "Heaven open to everyone, says the Pope", as the article is entitled.
Your Point #1A: "No archeological (sic) evidence that Peter was ever in Rome".
Response to Point #1A: There is no archaeological evidence that Jesus existed, yet you believe in him, don't you? This is a matter of faith, not archaeology. As a matter of fact, Peter's bones were discovered in an excavation under the main altar in St. Peter's Basilica, just where old traditions placed them. They were radiocarbon dated, and an announcement was made to this effect in 1968. All this is documented in a finely-researched book entitled "The Bones of St. Peter."
Your Point #1B: "keys to kingdom of God given to all believers, not to St. Peter."
Response to Point #1B: Funny, that's not what the Bible says. "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:19 RSV). Catholics take this Bible passage literally. In addition, the Early Church fathers, who were taught by the Apostles, took this passage literally. For 2000 years, the tradition of the Church has taken this literally. Today, one billion Catholic Christians take this passage literally. I don't understand how anyone who didn't take the plain meaning of this passage could call themselves "Bible believing" or "fundamentalist".
Your Point #2A: "to my mother Mary was a mediator".
Response to #2A: I will not say anything about your mother, as I'm sure she's a fine woman. But if one person gets their theology wrong, that does not mean that the actual Church teaching is wrong. For example, you haven't gotten the "Ave Maria" prayer correctly. Let me break it down: "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (Luke 1:28). "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus" (Luke 1:42). "Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death". This final phrase does not say she is a mediator. Do you see the word mediator in there? This phrase asks her to pray for us. I'm sure that you have many times asked a Christian friend to pray for you when sick or in trouble. I know I have. Mary does not cease to be a Christian because she died and went to heaven. We can ask her to pray for us just like any other Christian friend.
Your Point 2B: "...petitioned by some Catholics to bring Mary into status of mediator. This is either a deliberately false statement...".
Response to Point 2B: Ken, please look at www.sermonaudio.com. My comments were posted to an article on this website describing how some Catholics are trying to change doctrine so that Mary would be co-redemptrix. The article is called "Mary: Mother...and Savior" and the URL is: http://www.sermonaudio.com/new_details.asp?9220 I took the position that Mary is NOT the redemptrix or savior. Look around, you'll find it.
Your Point #2C: "...the Pope's words are treated as the Words of God...".
Response to Point #2C: This is an unsupported argument. Either back it up with quoted facts, or retract it. If you have the facts on your side, it should be easy for you to make a solid case.
Your Point #2D: "I challenge you to abstain from the sacriments (sic) of your church".
Response to Point #2D: Sorry, Ken, but I'm going to follow Jesus Christ's instructions, not yours. He gave us the sacraments. Here's a few of his instructions, for starters: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:53-54 RSV). "And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19 RSV).
Now I challenge you, not to disobey the word of Christ as you would have me do, but instead to fulfill it. Take communion. The earliest Christians followed this basic remembrance of the Last Supper by blessing and breaking bread, then eating it.
Your Point #2E: "Your church teaches that it is the only true way to God."
Response to Point #2E: Please read the article! It specifically states that the Pope announced that "Heaven is open to all". That is what we are commenting on, and many Protestant posters have taken issue with what they perceive as a too-liberal attitude by the Pope. So which is it? Are the gates of Heaven too wide or too narrow according to the Pope?
"The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (2 Peter 3:9 RSV) is accepted literally by the Catholic Church to mean that the Lord wills all men to be saved. The Church does not teach "that it is the only true way to God". You once again claim to state Catholic doctrine without supporting evidence. Please back up your assertions with quotes from The Catechism or other official documents.
This discussion has been invigorating. Thanks for participating, everyone. I'm grateful to this website for so graciously publishing my comments. I hope we have cleared up some misconceptions and built a bridge of understanding. May the Lord favor us with his grace, and use our common baptism to bring us separated brethren together.
Mr. Brubaker, I am weighing in on this a little late, and can see the debate is quite heated. 1. There is not one shread of arheological evidence that Peter was ever in Rome. As pretended to this day by the Catholic Church. The keys to the Kingdom of God are: repentance and faith in Christ, and they are given not to Peter but to all who will believe. 2. My mother who was a Catholic until her conversion when I was fifteen prayed like this, Hail Mary! Full of Grace, Blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus! Pray for us now and in the hour of our death, amen. To my mother Mary was a mediator between her and God. She has since come to the knowledge of the truth by Christ that He is the only mediator between God and man. You say in one of your responses that it has been petitioned by some Catholics to bring Mary to the status of mediator. This is either a deliberately false statement or one made in ignorance. For good Catholics, Priests, Nuns for centuries have prayed this prayer which gives Mary the status of mediator. I agree with you it is a shame that more protestants do not have an inkling what the Roman Church teaches. But they do know as well as you that the Popes words are treated as the Words of God, as so it is taught in your Catechism. And has been so always. I challenge you to abstain from the sacriments of your church. Further tell the Priest of your parish of your intent and see the treatment you recieve from the Official Body of the Church. For it is by these sacriments that one affirms and attains his faith. Your church also teaches that it is the only true way to God. All other belief systems are false. The Catholic church is not a denomination it is a Faith. And one must hold that faith to recieve Gods forgiveness, Blessings and Heaven.
Hello Steve Rauen, and all my separated Protestant brothers and sisters. I am grateful to be able to engage in a productive discussion about the unity of Christians, with myself taking the viewpoint as one raised in the Catholic faith. What a terrific website you have! Whoever is the webmaster is a very smart person. Thank you for letting me post.
I'd like to ask those participating in this discussion to agree to a couple of baseline rules:
1) Don't present tenets of the Catholic faith as if you are a Catholic theologian (unless you are). Our doctrines are clearly stated in thousands of approved books, the most accessible being "The Catechism of the Catholic Church". Please cite references from this work, or you may well be conducting a "straw man" debate, in which you attack positions not officially held but entirely constructed from imagination or rumor. Believe me, if half the stories they tell were true, I wouldn't want to be a Catholic either. ;-)
2) Please do not assign to yourself theological infallibility. If John Paul II, who speaks 12 languages, holds a doctorate in theology, and has dedicated 60 years of chaste life to his God isn't recognized by you with theological infallibility, then you cannot properly claim such infallibility for yourself.
3) Don't claim to speak for God. Although you may have a Bible and have read it extensively, possibly you have not have been selected as God's mouthpiece on Earth. Then again, maybe you are. ;-}
Now we can begin, in a spirit of brotherhood and mutual respect. I made 5 enumerated points on the doctrine of salvation as I was taught. My thesis is that those 5 points are acceptable to most Protestants. I would be grateful if you would respond with your perspective on whether we can agree on them. If so, we have a basis on which to connect. If not, then refute point-by-point those doctrines of salvation.
If you do not want to find common ground with other Christians, then we may as well not even try. I believe that you want to exchange ideas, perspectives, and experiences with other people of faith, so we all can dissolves old mistrusts and hatreds, finding union in our common baptism in the Lord.
Based on my last posting, I received a very kindly and supportive email from a Mennonite who agreed that Christians need to forgive old hurts between denominations. If a Mennonite can forget the terrible injustices done to them by sinning Catholics over the centuries, then maybe we can all get a little humble, admit our shortcomings, and tear down a few fences. Our Holy Father gets down on his knees and kisses the ground of each country he visits, to apologize for old wrongs committed and to give thanks to God. We must do no less to each other.
"Tiny details," Walt? "Close enough?" NO! The differences mean everything and have fixed,eternal consequences. But let's face it: your comments mirror the "compromising" spirit of the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14): ("can't we all just get along"; "I'm OK, you're OK"; "if we all pull together, we can make this a better world"). It sounds sweet to our ears - this celebration of the "human spirit" - but it's all false, unbiblical trash. YES!- we can and should work together in good common causes, such as the pro-life movement; that is not the argument. But you're talking about treating the symptoms of a "spiritually-impoverished" society, not applying the cure. That is, until you mentioned taking the gospel to the world. Which brings us back to the central issue: there is only one true, saving gospel (THE cure)- that of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16-17, 4:5, Eph. 2:8-9). The Catholic "gospel" (NO gospel at all- Gal. 1:6-10) will only confirm the lost in their justly-deserved condemnation (Jn. 3:18, 36). So Christians and Catholics have; 1)two different gospels. 2)two different Fathers (Mt.11:27, 17:5; John, chapters 1,3,5,6,8,10, 14,15,17, especially see John 8: 37-47). We are only "brothers" in the sense of common humanity and as culturally-defined christians, not as Biblically-defined CHRISTians (read those passages). 3)two different Christs. The Christ of Scripture is all-sufficient, all-powerful, THE Head of the Church, THE way, truth, and life, the ONLY way to the Father, and not subject to a "priest" conjuring Him up for every RE-sacrificing of the mass (Heb. 10:12). His creation- Mary, His mother only in His humanity - does not share in His authority, ability to save ("co-mediatrix"), or glory (Isa. 42:8, John 17), and stood in need of salvation herself. The sinner does not have "veto power" to accept/reject Him; if the Father has given that soul to the Son (John 6, Eph. 1), that sinner WILL RECEIVE Him as Savior and King, by the undeniable, convicting call of the Holy Spirit, applying Christ's blood and perfect righteousness to his account. There's no doubt about it, and the salvation that is grounded in Christ (the only one there is) can NOT be lost; it's God's promise made effective in and by God Himself (Rom. 8:28-30,38-39). Flee to Christ ALONE or perish forever. That's eternal reality, because God has said it!
Easy, guys, let's be productive here. I had a Catholic education, and my understanding of salvation is basically the same as Steve Rauen's. So let's stop shouting at tiny details and focus on the real problems: 1) 50,000 abortions per year 2) A pagan society that worships money 3) People treating each other like objects 4) A breakdown in the belief in God or his rules.
The Devil laughs his tushie off every time he can get us to fight against each other. Want to find theological differences? Start looking at a society whose dominant pagan culture makes Madonna's books and videos bestsellers. Does everyone remember that a girl at a prom had a baby in the bathroom and threw it in the dumpster, then went back to the prom?
Just for the record (and I'm no expert like all of you are), here's what my Catholic school taught me about salvation: 1) It's an unmerited gift, we can't earn it. 2) Jesus Christ gives it to us. 3) We have to accept him as our Lord and Savior, or we don't get the gift. 4) We are expected to live a holy life, following the commandments. 5) It is possible to turn our back on God, and reject our salvation, and lose Heaven.
Is that close enough for everyone? Can we stop squabbling like little kids now? Can we refocus on the real problem, of spreading the gospel to a spiritually-impoverished world?
D.M.- Only this one last time will I attempt to remind you: you argue with God Himself. If I'd set out to define reality for you, I'd be as wickedly presumptuous as you. But GOD DEFINES AND HAS DEFINED REALITY. If you don't "allow" Him to define reality for you (through His infallible written Word), His reality will really crush you, without remedy, and for eternity. One last time: God's universe, God's rules. We aren't dictating the rules; we are reminding people of what God has said. The Rulemaker has spoken in His Word: "YOU are guilty of all"- James 2:10 (yes- your favorite book of "refuge" accuses you- that's reality). The Holy GOD has said that you stand before Him naked in your self-righteousness, because "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved"-Acts 4:12; "ONE Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus"-1 Tim. 2:5. You stand before the Holy God saying, "No, thanks; I've got my own righteousness, Son of God. I'll be fine. Give it to someone who needs it." You reject "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS"- Jer. 23:6, preferring your own filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). If you don't trust in Christ Jesus alone and completely, you have none of Him. THAT's reality, and GOD has spoken it! I will plead with you, a fellow sinner, one last time, though I will continue to plead your case in prayer through the ONE Mediator, Jesus Christ: flee to Him! Repent and believe; GOD commands it (Acts 17:30)! (If you need a Bible, just say so via the e-mail link; I'd be thrilled to send you one).
I am not in the habit of allowing anyone to define my reality. Its not "my" membership in "Christianity" thats in question. But, you folks with your "hard hearts", and unforgiving minds, continue to make the Body of Christ bleed. Instead of greeting each other as Christian brothers, you and your friends, greet us as the enemy. You all make the Body of Christ a laughing stock, to the Non-Christian world.
Agreed: I don't consider you a Christian, but a "christ-and-ian";(I call you "friend" because you don't indicate whether you are a sir or a madam); Christ does not specifically speak of "faith alone," nor does He speak of the "trinity," for that matter, but both doctrines are plainly taught in Scripture. You need to read and study the inspired letter of James again, paying close attention to the context, and to whom it was written. Then you need to compare it with other inspired Scripture (letters of Paul, John, Peter, or the gospels, for example). Upon prayerful, honest consideration of the whole of God's Word, you will see that you can not support any teaching that adds ANYTHING to the person and finished work of Jesus Christ for the salvation of any sinner. Your "church" has "for over 2000 years" added works to faith in Christ, as well as scores of unbiblical inventions like the abomination of christmass. I will certainly not have a merry christmass, but I do celebrate the grace of God the Father through His Son Jesus, His annointed One (singular), on a daily basis. Stick solely to God's Word (ALL of it, and to it ALONE) sir/madam, and you'll get to the truth. THIS is where we part company: Sola Scriptura vs. whatever propped-up sinners say; faith in the ONE mediator vs. any number of 'em, and faith plus nothing vs. faith plus works by a spiritual corpse; external grace from above vs. internal, infused "grace"; imputed righteousness of Christ vs. obtained, earned righteousness of filthy sinners; ONE head of the church, Who is Christ, not a sinner in need of salvation himself. You'd do well to consider these differences, even if it means losing some sleep, or else you'll wake up in a hopeless eternity. I will continue to pray for you: that you will be granted true repentance and true faith (they go together), so that God is glorified in your salvation and in your service to Him AFTER your conversion. THEN I will consider you a Christian, because then you will be what you want to be called. Glory be to God alone daily!
Let us both be honest Steve Rauen from Kent, we are not friends, you don't even consider me a Christian. But I don't lose any sleep over that. This is not confusion, this is "Difference of Opinion". I have over 2000 years of Christian thought on my side, and I believe the words of Jesus himself. My Church believes in Salvation as a "Gift" from God (Salvation by GRACE), we further believe in Salvation by Faith, where we part company is "Faith alone". Nowhere in my Scripture, and nowhere in the word of Jesus, do I see "Faith Alone" promoted. The Letter of James specifically says that you are not to believe in "Faith alone". You don't have a problem with me, Steve, you have a problem with the Letter of James. Merry Christmas all !
AMEN Steve AMEN. Only if are friend D.M. can see the real truth. but he's looking at it from a confused R.C point of view. I was a Catholic at one time then on Nov 6th 1996 I was save by the Grace Of God. Only if D.M. can see this from outside the view of the R.C.C. but that will not happen as long as he holds to the views of his church. In a cult the way to heaven and salvation is AWAYS by way of their church. In the Word of God The way to Salvation Thru Christ only not in any church or good works to some how get Salvation
Thank you, D.M., for commenting once again. Now we can better understand the source of your confusion. I believe it's this: as has been the case in your church from the start, justification and sanctification are confused in your mind. But in justification, all the doing is done by God. In sanctification - the result of and response to God's gracious act of justification - the believer does have his part. There's where the confession with the mouth comes in. There is no doing on the part of the sinner to achieve justification. There is no doing BEFORE being justified/saved. There IS (necessarily) doing by the believer AFTER being justified/saved; this is the process of sanctification, living a holy life, bearing fruit, doing the good works he/she was created to do, IN RESPONSE to God's completely gracious salvation of utterly hopeless sinners bound for an eternity in hell, apart from that unmerited declaration by God the Father, applying the blood of His Son and imputing HIS perfect righteousness to the accounts of all of His elect, through the instrument of faith. If you hear anyone making confession with the mouth (or anything else) a CONDITION of salvation, they are revealing their own woeful misunderstanding of the gospel, and they are probably yet in their sins. So it's simple: just as regeneration precedes faith, justification precedes sanctification. One who is dead can do nothing, much less make himself alive. It's impossible for good works to precede faith, and therefore, it is impossible to merit faith and salvation. Faith IS a gift, from the living God to the dead sinner, and it's the INSTRUMENT of salvation, not a meritorious act. Jesus Christ is the SOLE source of merit for each and every person of the multitudes who will be saved! Any person who does not approach the Father through the Son (John 14:6, 1 Tim. 2:5) has no hope whatsoever. Since you missed my first point, I was suggesting that your arrows were aimed at God Himself, since He has clearly revealed His unfailing plan of salvation through His inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word, and you choose to take issue with that plan and His supreme, unalterable will. HE has declared HIS will, and we are reminding people of what He has said. We take the Lord at His Word; we don't take issue with Him, as you seem determined to do. Not a wise course, friend!
I believe that I will think twice, before my arrows deflate your un-christian pride. We Catholics believe in "Gods Grace Alone", what a shock!. We Catholics believe in "Faith in Jesus Christ alone as our Savior, and God", thats two shocks. And we believe in two sources of truth from Christ through the Apostles, one oral, one written, and passed on to each succeeding generation. Feel free to read that last sentence till it sinks in. But even Y'all dont believe that Salvation is the work of God alone. As Y'all so often say "unless you confess with your mouth...". It seems that a gift isn't really a gift unless you accept it, and God cant do that for you, can he ? Thus endth the Lesson !
NO SURPRISE THE ANTI CHRIST BLASPHEMING AGAINST THE PURE GOSPEL WHICH IS SALVATION IN CHRIST ONLY. IGNORANCE AND IDOLATRY, BOTH PROMOTED BY HIM, IS THE FALSE MESSAGE ALWAYS ENCOURAGED THROUGH THE CENTURIES BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. BILLY GRAHAM ALSO SAID THE SAME LIE YEARS AGO.
Thank you Steve from WA. So many people chose to ignore Philippians 2:8-9. By grace ALONE am I going to heaven. How can people sincerely rely on another sinner, such as the Pope, to get them to heaven?
Sorry, friend, but think twice about where you direct your arrows! Salvation is by God's grace ALONE through faith in Christ ALONE, Who is revealed through Holy Scripture ALONE. Salvation is entirely - from start to finish - the work of God ALONE, and for HIS glory! Clearly contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic church, no matter which sinner is speaking!