Friday, September 28, 2012

Only Bad Catholics Can Go To Heaven

With the impending retirement of the current Pope, Roman Catholicism has been prominently brought into the global spotlight. One of the sad realities of this high profile is that many unbelievers in the world look to the Pope as the worldwide representative of Christianity. But the differences between biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism remain as stark as they ever have. So what are the vital differences? There are many, but for the sake of space I will point out some of the major ones.

One of my classmates recently said to me that "all roads lead to Rome... except for the one that goes to heaven." This statement rings so true in the light of church history. A true study of history will reveal, however, that the Church of Rome grew out of a continual slide into apostasy over many centuries (I recommend the book "The Church of Rome at the Bar of History"). The Reformation of the 1500s was a necessary recovery of the Gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. And nothing has really changed in this 500 year old  stand off with regards to the doctrine of Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Neither has the central issue over Christ (and not the Pope) being the Head of His Church!

Before I continue I must state two disclaimers. First, when I use the word "Catholic" I am referring to the Roman Catholic religion, not to be confused with "catholic" when used in it's universal sense such as "catholic church" when it means universal church. Secondly, this article does not suggest that every person attending a Catholic congregation is not a Christian. I believe there are true Christians attending Catholic churches - but this is in spite of, not by virtue of, true Catholic doctrine. Hence the title "Only Bad Catholics can go to Heaven" because, as you will see, the only way someone could find true salvation in a Roman Catholic church is by seriously violating their own belief system. (I must thank Matt Slick at CARM [Christian Apologetics Resource Ministry] for much of this information).

For by grace you have been saved athrough faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Roman Catholic doctrine denies justification by faith alone and says:

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

Anathema, according to Catholic theology, means excommunication, the exclusion of a sinner from the society of the faithful. Roman Catholic theology therefore pronounces a curse of excommunication, of being outside the camp of Christ, if you believe that you are saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus.

When the Roman Catholic church negates justification by faith alone, it necessarily implies that we must do something for justification, for if it is not by faith alone, then it must be by faith and something.

Catholicism teaches that certain things must be done by people in order to be justified and to keep that justification. Of these acts, baptism is the first requirement. Consider these quotes:

Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that we too might walk in newness of life (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 977).

Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted to us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God's mercy (CCC, par. 2020).

According to Roman Catholicism, baptism is only the first sacrament of forgiveness. Good works, according to Roman Catholicism, are also required and are rewarded with going to heaven:

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

The above quote clearly states that heaven is the eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. Catholic theology asserts that works are a predecessor to justification in direct contradiction to God's Word which states that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Rom. 3:28).

In the CCC, par. 2010, it says:

Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification.

How does anyone merit for himself the undeserved kindness of God's grace? Grace is by definition unmerited favor. This is an utterly false teaching. So how does the Catholic church get around this apparent dilemma that grace is unmerited but it is obtained through our merits? It states:

Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify (CCC, par. 2023).

This is the crux of the problem. Roman Catholic theology asserts that God's grace is granted through baptism and infused into a person by the Holy Spirit. This then enables him or her to do good works which then are rewarded with heaven. Basically, this is no different from the theology of the cults which maintain that justification is by grace through faith and your works, whether it be baptism, going to the true church, keeping certain laws, receiving the sacraments, or anything else you are required to do.

Maintaining Your Justification

Because the Catholic view of justification is a cooperative effort between God and man, this justification can be lost by man's failure to maintain sufficient grace through meritorious works. Roman Catholicism teaches that works are necessary for attainment of justification. According to Catholic theology, penance is a sacrament where a person, through a Catholic priest (CCC, par. 987), receives forgiveness of the sins committed after baptism. The penitent person must confess his sins to a priest. The priest pronounces absolution and imposes acts of penance to be performed.

Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as the second plank (of salvation) after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace (CCC, par. 1446).

Acts of penance vary, but some of them are prayer, saying the rosary, reading the Scripture, saying a number of Our Father or Hail Mary prayers, doing good works, fasting, and other such things. Is it by doing these acts of penance that the Catholic is able to regain his justified state before God? In essence it is earning one's salvation. Think about it. If you do not have it and you get it by saying prayers, fasting, and/or doing good works, then you are guilty of works righteousness salvation, which is condemned by the Bible.

What is even more frightening is that this post only scratches the surface of this wicked works righteous system. We could also discuss the Catholic denial of Jesus as our only mediator between God and man (contrary to 1 Timothy 2:5) by teaching people to pray to Mary as their mediator. Then there is also the issue of the blasphemous Catholic teaching that during every mass the priest has the power to call Jesus Christ down to die on the cross again (contrary to Hebrews 7:27). On and on it goes. Only bad Catholics can go to heaven because the only way for a Catholic to find true salvation is by completely ignoring the teaching of a religious system that has no saving power and trusting the Bible instead.


Anonymous said...

I would not be surprised to learn that Beckwith was practicing spiritual formation i.e. contemplative prayer and lectio divina before he ever decided to join the Roman Catholic church.

Keep Contending for the Truth

Anonymous said...

Should Christians vote for Rommney or Obama? I hope this topic can be raised.

Anonymous said...

Got a good link

How to approach people in non-adversarial ways with the Gospel

They can be a better approach of how to share Christ with someone then forcing them into fear and causing them to feel guilty.

Men are also wicked so they will not want too naturally come to know Christ. So you can yell all you want they will just walk away! Ravi is right we need to ask the Lord for wisdom of knowing how to share the Gospel. Shoving the Gospel down someone throat is not always the best thing to do. :)Or just trying to convince your friend that the Bible is reliable or that he or she is a wicker sinner. And in doing so you ruin your friendship with that person cause he sees you as bible shover.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous who asked about voting. I saw this posted by Johanna Michaelsen and thought you might like to read it.


I would like to make a statement in light of the fast-approaching presidential election and all the heated political discourse surrounding it:

I am NOT a Democrat. Neither, any longer, do I consider myself a Republican. I am, upon considered reflection, a Constitutional Conservative. For whom am I voting? A thorny question. I have serious matters of profound and fundamental disagreement with both candidates. However, please note: I AM voting! For whom?

I am voting for the candidate least likely to engage in the promotion of infanticide. I am voting for the candidate most likely to actively support Israel and Jerusalem as her undivided capital. I am voting for the candidate whose party did not clearly and unmistakably boo God and Jerusalem three times at their convention.

I am voting for the candidate who is not an avid fan of Saul Alinski or Cloward and Frances Fox Pivin. I am voting for the candidate who does not, enen to this day, hang out with known, unrepentant terrorists and card-carrying Marxists, Communists, Socialists, Globalists and Statists. I am voting for the candidate who respects and embraces our Founding Fathers and our Constitution and who will enthusiastically uphold and promote the principles of personal responsibility and Capitalism. I am voting for the candidate who has not deliberately undertaken the systematic undermining of our God-given liberties and freedoms, including the freedom of speech and religion.

I am voting for the candidate least likely to bow to Saudi despots and I am voting for the candidate who will be the least likely to incorporate sharia law into our courts while demanding that religious organizations violate their conscience in the name of governmental expediency. I am voting for the candidate whose first political instinct is not to abjectly apologize to terrorists who burn our embassies and murder our diplomats because someone in our country dared exercise his freedom of speech.

I am voting for the candidate most likely to support the 2nd Ammendment, regardless of the pressure from the U.N. I am voting for the candidate who may still stand something of a chance of turning us from the brink of economic disaster...

Still, the fact is, no candidate is perfect or my first choice. It seems clear to me that our current leadership is part of God's judgement on our land. Unless He grants us true revival and genuine repentance, no change in leadership will save us from what is coming. This is the most important election of our lifetime. Not to vote this time around is simply not an option for those who love this land and the freedom we have taken for granted.

It is my prayer that true shepherds and watchmen on the wall will begin to have the courage to speak truth to their flock, rather than studiously protecting their politically correct posteriors. If they wait much longer, it will be too late. Ezekiel 34:1-13; Jeremiah 5:19-31; 18:5-12, 15; 19:4-5, etc.

Anonymous said...

Thank for that post!

Then would you vote for Brian Mclaren or Rob bell if they were running for election base on moral grounds? Who would you choose? Perhaps the pope and another religion how would you choose? How about Hitler? They all love him but turned out to be fatal! He just did not came to power the people wanted him cause he promise big!

Remember the people will vote for the antichrist and even Christians will be involved cause of his spectacular wonder and outcomes!!! So this is where it is leading, just look at the good things and separate the spiritual stuff.

Are you going to be part of this too??? I pray you will not! So vote for Obama or Rommney? Neither cause they both spiritually are not for the Lord!!

Besides it does not matter who enters politics it will not control how the Lord will run things. :) So its best in my opinion to stay out of it if you can! Lest you will regret it. In some countries you have to vote and so I would just submit with out entering any thing...this is what you should do

Do not vote and reason cause well that leader is the best for moral grounds. The antichrist will do just this and deceive many christians! The mark? Many today say they won't receive it but at the time will reasons its only a mark, its the law its an offense not too. Besides I don't stand with it, I am only doing it cause I need food and it just required. So it should be okay! It might be a little hidden mark or something but Christians will reason like this too..

So if you vote for a mormon then you are voting for his spiritual values too. You cannot says its just political. And how about Obama? He has done some very wicked things? Are you saying your innocent of it too? You wanted him so you are very much guilty cause you gave him a tick!

Cause again someone can say well the mark is just a political thing and nothing more. Or just unknowingly causing suffering to millions of questions cause of the reason its just political and nothing more! Like hitler. Will you want to have blood on your hands?

You see how little things can really put you in a deep hole?

As cameron says you can't compromise no matter! And just saying that your voting just for his good ideas is spiritual compromise!!!

Have you not read Chritless Christianity? Or Evangelicals uniting with Catholics for the sake of social justice? Or how about just using Rick warren and Rob bell teachings cause its so powerful and inspiring???


I am guilt my self as I write this since I am careless in my votes in the past. I would scrutinize every value of that person before I give him or her my vote! Yes I too have overlooked their spirituality

Anonymous said...

I disagree to your post. I will vote if I do not, I do not have any right to complain about the government because I did nothing to get that evil man out of office and he cares nothing for life the unborn or the the born.

It is not describing Brian McLaren as he is one of Obama's spiritual advisers:

Yes God is sovereign, but He also gives us free will.(No, I am NOT an open theist.) If you think God is sovereign don't you think that God could use the office of the presidency to save Romney? He could get so overwhelmed with the responsibility that he would fall on his knees seeking God.

We are not voting for a church leader I am not uniting with Romney by voting for him for President. I am not saying I agree with his theology, because I don't (I have read the God Makers.)

"Evil triumphs when good men do nothing."

Obama=Hitler and I have the God given freedom of voting to get him out and I am going to use that freedom.

newtaste said...

A great post. More like this.

The Catholic education system has a very long history of physically abusing children with the use of canes and straps etc. Maybe you could cover this.

Andy Morrison said...

newtaste: you'd find that secular schools had just the same level of corporal punishment as catholic. i'm no fan of Rome, but that's a strawman.

My family left the RC church when i was an infant. They were devout and passionate catholics. my parents were challenged to read the bible for themselves and found it didn't align with the teachings of Rome, and by the grace of God they chose to believe God's word rather than the doctrines of men. As an aside: they subsequently found far more legalism in pentecostalism than they ever found in the RC church.

Anonymous said...

Cameron, you use to be an intelligent fellow. What has happened? You are just writing crazy stuff now. You need to repent. You are now the most un-Christian person I know. You cannot win, you cannot break even, you can only lose.

Cameron Buettel said...

Anonymous, if you're going to engage in such strong name calling then you should qualify your comments. What exactly is it that makes me so "un-Christian." What am I going to "lose". Whether you like them or not, I explain how I arrive at my conclusions and it would be nice if you could extend me the same courtesy . . . and also show some concern for the error of my ways . . . and also name yourself!

Anonymous said...

Jesus said you should love everyone and do not judge (let he Who has not sinned cast the first stone, etc...)

In your blogs you are trying to be too holy. There is no way anyone can live up to the expectations you aspire too. You are not revealing anything new. This is a rehash of old material. I too was involved in a cult in the 80's . Eventually the bar is set too high and eventually people leave causing friction and separation between parents and children, husbands and wives. Years later you will find out how everyone 'sinned' when they were supposed to be holy.

I believe your motivations are honest bad your judgement is clouded.

My advice is that You need to chill out and relax before it is too late

You also need to come up with justification references to something other than the bible as I would expect people now know it is not to be taken literally in a modern society. The literal interpretation of the bible has pretty much been discredited due to references such as

As a father I find this deplorable.

Cameron Buettel said...

Anonymous, why not try dealing with my claims and proving their error. Also, do you really think it is loving to ignore sin? Is it loving not to warn people who are heading for hell? If you saw a blind man walking towards a cliff would you warn him to change direction or would you "lovingly" leave him alone? Would you say nothing so that you could remain anonymous? Don't expect me to post any more of your comments if you won't name yourself.