29 August, 2011

Refuting "CARM's" claim that the Catholic Church is not Christian

(Cristoiglesia) This is a refutation of the claims of Matt Slick about Christ’s own Church the Catholic Church claiming that the Church is not Christian even though it is the original Church founded by Jesus and the Disciples which Jesus said would endure for all times and that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

(Matt Slick)“Is Roman Catholicism and Christianity the same thing?

(Matt Slick) “No, Roman Catholicism and Christianity are not the same thing. Christianity is properly defined by certain doctrines that are revealed in the Bible.“

(Cristoiglesia) Really, so it is your contention that the Church founded by Jesus with Himself as the high priest and cornerstone, St. Peter as His prime minister fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah of the Messiah establishing an enduring office and the disciples as the foundation stones that is built upon by apostolic succession is not Christian? But, I do agree that Christianity is defined by its doctrines in accordance with Scriptures.

(Matt Slick) “It is not defined by simply saying that as long as you believe in Jesus, you're a Christian. Mormons believe in Jesus, but their Jesus is a brother of the devil in the pre-existence. The Jesus of the Jehovah's Witnesses is Michael the Archangel. So, just saying you believe in Jesus doesn't make you a Christian. This is why the Bible tells us who Jesus really is, God in flesh, creator of the universe.”

(Cristoiglesia) We agree again.

(Matt Slick) Likewise, there are essential doctrines, and if any of those essential doctrines are violated, then a church would only appear to be Christian but not really be Christian. What are those doctrines? The Bible tells us. Let's take a look.

There is only one God and you are to serve no other gods (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8)
Jesus is both God and man (John 1:1,14; 8:24; Col. 2:9; 1 John 4:1-4)
Jesus rose from the dead physically (John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 15:14).
Salvation is by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 3:1-2; 5:1-4).
The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:8-9).
God is a Trinity (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14)
Jesus was born of the virgin Mary (Matt. 1:25)

(Cristoiglesia) We are still in agreement.

(Matt Slick) So, someone who is a true Christian will believe these things and not violate them. Roman Catholicism violates two of them.

(Cristoiglesia) I agree that Christians should not violate any of the teachings of the Bible but your claim that Christ’s Church violates two of them is preposterous and makes Jesus a liar and the Bible a false teacher. Jesus says that the “Gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church” and if what you say can be proven it makes Christ a liar. Furthermore, the Bible says that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of the truth” which makes the Bible a false teacher. I must reluctantly say here that you sound unlike one who is a follower of Christ as you are bearing false witness against Jesus and the Bible. You instead sound like one who has a spirit of contention against the teaching of Jesus and the Bible and subsequently the Church.

(Matt Slick) First of all, by its practice of promoting Mary (and the Saints) to the level of God-like capabilities, they break the commandment to have no other gods before the true and living God. In Roman Catholicism, they say that Mary is the mediatrix (Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 969); Mary made atonement for the sins of man (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, page 213); Mary is the subject of preaching and worship ((Vatican Council II, p. 420); etc.

(Cristoiglesia) The Church has not “promoted” the blessed mother of God to a Goddess status. I assume you are speaking of the fact that the saints can hear our prayers as the “God-like capabilities” but you fail to make a case that this equals Goddess status in the eyes of the Church. Search the catechism all you want and you will never see any teaching of the blessed mother of God being a Goddess or even suggesting any such thing. So there is no teaching in the Catholic Church that says that the blessed mother of God is a Goddess. So, you are guilty of bearing false witness which is a mortal sin against the Decalogue. You even take the liberty of not only calling the blessed mother of God a Goddess but also claiming that the Church places her on a higher level than Her Son. One will never see any such Catholic teaching. The truth is that the blessed mother of God always points to her Son as the source of our Salvation and your claim against her and the Church is a direct insult to her who would never allow such blasphemy as the Church teaches that Christ is the source and foundation of our hope for eternal life.

(Matt Slick) Also, Catholicism violates the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone.

(Cristoiglesia) There is no biblical doctrine of “faith alone” but instead such a doctrine is entirely man-made. The biblical teaching by St. James in his epistle is that faith without works is dead faith and that is the only place in all of Scriptures that “faith alone” is mentioned.

(Jas 2:17 KJV) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

However, one does receive grace through faith. But as James says dead faith is without merit.

(Matt Slick) Paul the apostle, for example, tells us in Romans 4:5, "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness."

(Cristoiglesia) According to Josephus and supported by Scriptures Abraham was formerly an idolater before being chosen by God. This verse is saying that as an idolater he did not merit his vocation by his works. After being called and having left his country because God had called him to do so he believed in God’s promises. The faith and justice were reputed to him as God’s gift. He did not have a dead faith as St. James forbids but instead an active faith is shown throughout his life in love and in charity for others. Your supposition that Abraham had a dead faith is a false understanding based on eisegesis.

(Matt Slick) But Roman Catholicism denies that and says, "...so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments," (CCC, par 2068). Also, consider this:

"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).

(Cristoiglesia) As you can see your eisegesis of St. Paul’s teaching has resulted in you coming to a false conclusion and cause you to teach falsely. The Church was clearly correct and authoritative in teaching that faith without works is dead faith.

(Matt Slick) So, even though Roman Catholicism claims to be Christian and that it is the one true church, it violates the essentials of the Christian faith. It goes beyond what is written in God's word (1 Cor. 4:6). It denies the sole and true sovereignty of the living God by promoting prayer to and the worship of Mary. Also, it denies justification by faith alone in Christ alone. It is not a Christian church.

(Cristoiglesia) Not only does the Church proclaim to be the one true Church so does Jesus, the Bible, historical evidence and patristic evidence. You have not made a case for the Church contradicting or “violating” any “essentials” of the Christian faith. Instead you attempt to make the doctrines of men and devils of the Protestant sects as “essentials” of the Christian faith without any scholarship or cogent argument for your position. You quote St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian Church as an example of the Church somehow contradicting the Scriptures without any support other than it being an egregious accusation without and foundation. Such an attack using the Scriptures of the Church is nothing less than shameful. You make the statement that the Church “denies the sole and true sovereignty of the living God by promoting prayer to and the worship of Mary” and you must know that this is false. Do you not know that the Church forbids the worship of anyone or anything but God? Certainly you are quick to quote the catechism out of context when you think it suits your purpose but quotes of the Catechism are absent when they contradict your ignorant claims. Here is what the Catechism says about idolatry of which you accuse the Church:


2112 The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see." These empty idols make their worshippers empty: "Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them."42 God, however, is the "living God"43 who gives life and intervenes in history.

2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon."44 Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast"45 refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.46

2114 Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God."47

Here is what the Church teaches about the sovereignty of God over His creation:


302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created "in a state of journeying" (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call "divine providence" the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:

By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, "reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well". For "all are open and laid bare to his eyes", even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.161

303 The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. The sacred books powerfully affirm God's absolute sovereignty over the course of events: "Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases."162 And so it is with Christ, "who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens".163 As the book of Proverbs states: "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established."164

304 And so we see the Holy Spirit, the principal author of Sacred Scripture, often attributing actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a "primitive mode of speech", but a profound way of recalling God's primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world,165 and so of educating his people to trust in him. The prayer of the Psalms is the great school of this trust.166

305 Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of our heavenly Father who takes care of his children's smallest needs: "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?". . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."167

Since “faith alone” is not a biblical teaching and is, in fact, contradicted by Scriptures it would seem by any reasonable person that based on your attack on Christ’s Church in your commentary and by using your own standards as what makes a Church Christian you have indeed illustrated that you have been a false witness against the Church in your effort to justify your own unbiblical theological errors and disobedience to the teaching of Jesus and the written Word of God. May our Lord have mercy on you. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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