27 May, 2013

Response to Matt Slick's "The Gospel of Roman Catholics" at CARM

(Matt Slick) “The Gospel for Roman Catholics

by Matt Slick

This paper is written in two parts.  The first explains and documents the Roman Catholic Church's position on justification.  The second part presents the true gospel in contrast to the Catholic Church's position.  If you want to go straight to the gospel presentation for Catholics, simply scroll down the page.

Because of the great emphasis on Sacred Tradition within the Catholic Church and because so many Roman Catholics appeal to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, the Word of God is often placed after the Catholic Church itself in relation to authority.  Because of this, many Catholics appeal to their works, in combination with the sacrifice of Christ as a means of being justified before God.  The Council of Trent expresses this plainly:

    "If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema." (Canon 14).”

(Cristoiglesia) I see that you divide the Gospel as the Gospel according to Matt Slick and the Gospel according to Christ’s own Church. It is your knowledge attained over a few decades compared with knowledge attained over 2000 years by the Church. I see that you are continuing the work of the Humanist John Calvin who labored to create a syncretic blend of Humanism and Christianity. Calvin desired a god that served man rather than the orthodox God that man was created to serve.  Such is the legacy of Scholasticism which placed man at the center of all creation instead of God.

Now to your accusation against Christ’s Church….. It is clear in Scriptures that Jesus created and founded the Catholic Church. In His Word we learn through construction vernacular, that Jesus is the High Priest and cornerstone of the Church. We further learn that Jesus ordained the office of prime minister and appointed St. Peter as the first to hold that Holy office fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah in Chapter 22 of the biblical book he authored. He prophesied the establishment of an enduring office of prime minister as one of the signs of the true Messiah. Jesus in the process of fulfilling all prophecy indeed appointed St. Peter.

Mat 16:17-20(KJV)

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

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.

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

It is significant to note that had not Jesus done this then it would have put into question His veracity as the Messiah. As an enduring office this holy office will remain until the Parousia when Christ will come again to judge the quick and the dead.

The twelve disciples are the foundation stones of the Church.

  Ephesians 2:20 (KJV)

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Revelation 21:14 (KJV)

14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Upon this enduring foundation of rock is built upon through apostolic succession is the Church.

This is testified to by St. Ignatius who wrote in his letter to the Smyrnaeans in describing the Church that, the Church are those who gather around the bishops. He said, “Where the bishop is there is the Church”. (St Ignatius was the disciple of St. John and St. Peter and served as the 3rd bishop of the bishopric of St. Peter at Antioch. Being the disciple of two of the disciples of our Lord was a unique privilege of only two people St. Ignatius and St. Polycarp. It is believed that he received holy orders from St. Peter himself. He was martyred by being eaten by the beasts in the Coliseum in Rome)

Matthew 7:24-29 (KJV)

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

This is Jesus speaking in parable of the firm and enduring foundation of His Church. This is the Church that the gates of hell will never prevail against. Indeed, this very same Church represented by apostolic succession endures to this day as testimony to the veracity of the builder Jesus Christ. So as one can easily see from the divine teaching that Jesus Himself is the cornerstone of the Church and authority over all. His Church by its divine mandate of authority from Christ is “the pillar and foundation of the truth”. And, thirdly the Bible of which the New Testament was written by the Church and about the Church, by divine inspiration, is the inspired Word of God to those of the New Covenant and God’s Kingdom established on earth. Combined with the Torah at the end of the 4th and early 5th centuries at the African Synods led by St. Augustine, the Christian Canon is established by the authority of Christ given to the Church. It is by the same authority of the Church to establish Canon that the Church has the authority to interpret the Canon and no other interpreter. Certainly the Bible tells us that the Scriptures are not for private instruction but are instead to be understood in the community of the Church.  So it is clearly by Christ’s teaching that the truth is from three sources:

1.       Jesus
2.       His Church
3.       Bible

Both the Church and the Bible are the result of the charism provided by Jesus and the indwelling of the Church by the Holy Spirit.

Your claim that the Catholic Christian depends on “works” for justification is simply a prevarication of and about the faith of Catholic Christians. Pardon me for stating the obvious but yours is a non sequitor argument against Catholics either illustrating ignorance or an attempt to obfuscate the true teaching and faith of Catholics. I pray it is the former.
(Matt Slick)Justification is the legal declaration by God upon the sinner where God declares the sinner righteous in His sight.  This justification is based completely and solely on the work of Christ on the cross.  We cannot earn justification or merit justification in any way.  If we could, then Christ died needlessly.  "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (Gal. 2:21).  Because righteousness cannot come through the Law (through our efforts of merit), the Bible declares that we are justified before God by faith:

    "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28).
    "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3).
    "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).
    "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
    "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8).

However, in Roman Catholicism, justification by faith is denied.

    "If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ's sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified ... let him be accursed," (Canon 12, Council of Trent).

Which are we to believe? The Roman Catholic Church or God's word? 

(Cristoiglesia)What the Church denies and condemns is the heretical teaching that one is justified by dead faith or a faith where there is no evidence through the fruits of the spirit in evidence.  We are to believe the Church as it is the enduring Church which is the “pillar and foundation of the Truth” and not the doctrines of men like those taught by Mat Slick and John Calvin. These latter two sources are without any authority to teach. Only the Church has the authority from Christ to teach.

Some say that justification is a legal act of God in which He declares the sinner to be worthy of heaven even though he continues to be a sinful creature. In this view of justification there is no internal renewal or real sanctification whether instant or through a lifelong process but simply an external application of the justice of Christ.

To Catholic Christians and many other Christians, justification is understood differently. We understand from Scriptures that justification is not the covering of sin but the eradication and the beginning of true sanctification and simultaneous renewal. The soul is transformed into goodness instead of being a sinful soul with sins covered by Christ’s blood. We see Scriptures saying that forgiveness results in a complete removal of sins. The only time the Bible mentions the covering of sin is in the context of one man’s sin being forgiven by another. One should note that we have no power to forgive another’s sin, therefore the context is that we do all we can and cover or overlook those sins against us. In relation to God and His removal of sin the Scriptures use quite different terminology such as “blot out”, “blotting out”, “clears away” and “takes away”.

Catholics see justification as a rebirth and supernatural life in a former sinner:

(Joh 3:5 DRB) Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

(Tit 3:5 DRB) Not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the laver of regeneration and renovation of the Holy Ghost.

That creates an inner renewal of the soul:

(Eph 4:23 DRB) And be renewed in spirit of your mind:

Resulting in complete sanctification:

(1Co 6:11 DRB) And such some of you were. But you are washed: but you are sanctified: but you are justified: in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God.

Through this glorious process initiated by God’s grace the soul becomes beautiful, holy and worthy of heaven where nothing unclean is allowed. It is not an ugly sinful soul hidden under the blood of Jesus but instead one sanctified by Him and created anew for His glory.

Matt Slick) “Furthermore, the RCC states that justification is received not by faith, but by baptism.   The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph, 1992, that "...justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith."   This means that faith is not the instrument of obtaining justification; instead, it is an ordinance performed by a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.

Furthermore, baptism is only the initial grace along the road of justification.  The Roman Catholic is to then maintain his position before God by his efforts.”

(Cristoiglesia) The Church does not deny justification by faith as you proclaim but we do proclaim that the benefit of the atoning sacrifice on the cross is that we  are cleansed of original sin and actual sin at baptism which creates a soul void of both actual and original sin. We are in a state of justification. The Christian after the initial justification of Baptism maintains that justification through  obedience and devotion that is the result of God’s continuing salvific grace.   

 (Matt Slick)  "No one can MERIT the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. 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," (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), par. 2027).

The problem here is that the RCC is teaching us to "merit for ourselves and for others all the graces need to attain eternal life."  You cannot merit grace.  Grace is unmerited favor.  Merit is, according to the CCC, par. 2006, "...the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment..." CCC 2006.  This means that merit is something owed.  By contrast, grace is something not owed.  Therefore, the RCC is teaching contrary to God's word regarding grace and justification.

(Cristoiglesia) Initial salvation comes through the encouragement of the Holy Spirit bringing us to faith and sanctification. This grace given by God is unmerited and certainly not earned. Catholic teaching is that all works are not the result of our own efforts but are produced by His grace. At judgment God will see our works produced by His grace as meritorious. Through God and His grace working in our lives we earn our salvation. Catholic teaching in regards to merit is very similar if not identical to the Protestant monergistic view, meaning that all is of God, approach rather than a synergistic approach, some of God and some of us, as Catholics get accused. The actual view of Catholics is that God does all the work and we do all the work. Catholics give all the credit to God but also understand that their response to grace is deserving of merit.

The way I see it is that we respond to God’s promises He is obligated to fulfill a debt He has incurred through His promise. We through His grace put faith and trust in those promises. Since God promises us eternal life by our faith then He has created an obligation for Himself. It is God’s promise that makes it a merit and not our work because God represents to us justice and truth and by us responding to His commands through the Spirit He has created a debt deserved by crediting us with merit even though it is through Christ and the Holy Spirit that we responded to His commands and will.

(Matt Slick) The sad result is that in Roman Catholicism, justification before God is a process that is maintained by the effort and works of the Roman Catholic.  This is a very unfortunate teaching since it puts the unbearable burden of works righteousness upon the shoulders of the sinner.  By contrast, the Bible teaches that justification/salvation is by faith.

    "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).
    "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
    "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8).

(Cristoiglesia) You are either misunderstanding Catholic teaching on justification or are intentionally laboring to create a straw man to argue against that you can defeat with your arguments. The Church does not teach that it is by the sinner’s efforts that we are justified but instead the Church teaches that justification is by grace and faith. The Church condemned “works righteousness”  (Pelagianism) Council of Carthage 418AD, Council of Ephesus in 431 AD and the second synod of Orange in 529 AD.

Certainly the teaching of Jesus, His Church and the Bible is that  justification/salvation is by faith but not faith alone as the heretics teach.

(Matt Slick) The Gospel for Roman Catholics

The Gospel for Roman Catholics is the same as for anyone else and it is obtained by grace through faith in believing and trusting in Jesus alone, who is God in flesh, for the forgiveness of sins.  Salvation is not found in a true church.

(Cristoiglesia)I agree that there is but one Gospel for all men. We are called to be faithful and to believe and trust in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice. His sacrifice is sufficient for our salvation.

You say that “salvation is not found in a true Church”. Am I and others supposed to believe that it is found in a false counterfeit church like the sects of the Protestant rebels?  If salvation is not found in the true Church founded by Christ which is the Catholic Church then why did Jesus pray that we be one in unity in His Church?

John 17:20-26(KJV)

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

You would have us to believe that Jesus desires that we be outside of the Church He founded but Jesus clearly reveals His will of unity which is not seen in the 30,000+ sects of the Protestants and Restorationist  sects. Instead we see disunity and confusion among them. Each having some measure of truth dispersed among a greatness of heresy. You are clearly wrong by any measure as Jesus founded one Church built on an enduring foundation and not the sand of heresy as the Protestants but the solid foundation of the fullness of truth of the Catholic Church. The Bible says of this Church that the Holy Spirit protects it from doctrinal and error in moral teaching. Jesus truly says that we can put our trust in His Church as it is truly the “pillar and foundation of the truth” as the Bible clearly states. Jesus said in His colloquy at Capernaum and recorded in John 6 that we must eat his Body and drink His Blood for eternal life. That Body and Blood can only be confected by a valid clergy whom the Protestants reject.  So it is this divine feast and sacrifice of our Lord that Protestants are absent from. As a result they reject His Commandment that He says allows us to abide in Him and Him in us. He further says that unless we eat His Body and drink His Blood that we have no life in us. Protestants are absent from this continuous feast and sacrifice that we share in with Christ to the Father. Protestants cannot even discern the Body and Blood of Christ which St. Paul says condemns the non-believer. May our  Lord have mercy on them for refusing His sacrifice to the Father.

(Matt Slick) Salvation is not found in being good.   Salvation is not found in good works.  Salvation is not found in a sincere heart.  Salvation is not found in making up for past sins by efforts of restoration, or penance, or indulgences.  You can never do enough to please God.

(Cristoiglesia) God has created everything good including all of humanity. But, we are all born with a propensity to sin and the free will to resist that sin or embrace it. St. Paul addressed this in the following:

Romans 3:23 -For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God.

If one uses their free will to sin they are separating themselves further away from an eternity with God. Without repentance that will die in condemnation but if they live a life of repentance they will be saved by God’s grace.

Now, we know that God’s mercy is without limits but He is also just. Acknowledging this teaching we realize that we do not know who will be saved for sin may be private or public, both kinds of sin are known to the sinner and to God and it is by this unrepentant sin that we will be judged. We do know that all are called to salvation but that few respond fully to the call. We know that the path to salvation comes to a narrow gate where many will be unable to enter.

Mat 22:14- For many are called, but few are chosen.

Luk 13:24- Shall seek... Shall desire to be saved; but for want of taking sufficient pains, and being thoroughly in earnest, shall not attain to it.

Here are some of the fallacies of believing that all will be saved or that all good people will be saved, other than the fact that none of us are worthy of salvation on our own. It is natural for people to want to depend on God’s mercy alone for salvation but as I said before God does not provide mercy at the exclusion of justice. There are also those who believe that God will even save those who have no desire to be saved. This is an example of mercy without justice for it would not be just to save someone without a desire to be saved. He does not give mercy to those who do not desire it from Him. He allows us and indeed prompts us to come to Him by preparing us all to surrender to His law written on our hearts. This law is sufficient and without it no one would be convicted to follow Him and desire Him. Our conscience is formed by this law which is intuitive and not learned by hearing His Word or by anything but recognizing His creation which the Bible says is sufficient knowledge to come to faith and desire Him. In this we surrender to Him and become obedient to His will to desire Him. By that and a devotion to repent of our sins is sufficient for salvation. It is the path to the narrow gate that Scriptures teach. It is His grace through the Holy Spirit that we are called and convicted of His will which is contained in His law circumcised upon our hearts. His grace is not forced upon anyone but one must surrender to Him to receive it. It is a free gift that one can refuse and we must recognize that many will refuse His gift and fail to surrender to His law which has the result of one condemning them. So, as much as we desire as Christians that God’s mercy be extended to all people both good and bad, it will only be given to those who surrender to His law and recognizing His sovereignty while living in His will. It is by having a desire for His Grace and repenting when we fail through our sinfulness which results in His mercy.

For those who believe that all good people will be saved we must understand that none of us are good enough. We all sin through thought, word and deed. As a result it is only through Christ’s salvific work that we can be justified by our contrite repentance and be deserving of His mercy. We do please God when we are obedient to His will and we will have salvation on our last day if we are free of unrepentant sin. We do please God when we are obedient to His will and we will have salvation on our last day if we are free of unrepentant sin.

(Matt Slick) Because God is so infinitely holy and righteous, and because we are sinners, we are incapable of pleasing God by anything that we do.  In fact, our righteous deeds are considered filthy rags before God (Isa. 64:6).  You can do nothing to earn forgiveness or keep forgiveness.  Salvation before God is not administered to us through an earthly priest in the Catholic church by the sprinkling of water, or giving of penance, or recitation of formula prayers.  Salvation for the Christian is not kept through the effort of the person who hopes and tries and worries about being good enough to stay saved.

(Cristoiglesia) I guess you never read in the Bible that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Phi 2:12(KJV)
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

We are forgiven when we ask for forgiveness with a contrite heart.

(Mar 2:5) And when Jesus had seen their faith, he saith to the sick of the palsy: Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.

(Mar 2:6) And there were some of the scribes sitting there and thinking in their hearts:

(Mar 2:7) Why doth this man speak thus? He blasphemeth. Who can forgive sins, but God only?

(Mar 2:8) Which Jesus presently knowing in his spirit that they so thought within themselves, saith to them: Why think you these things in your hearts?

(Mar 2:9) Which is easier, to say to the sick of the palsy: Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say: Arise, take up thy bed and walk?

(Mar 2:10) But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (he saith to the sick of the palsy):

(Mar 2:11) I say to thee: Arise. Take up thy bed and go into thy house.

I do not think that you do not believe that Jesus has the power to forgive sins. Certainly we both agree that He does and the verses you gave confirm this fact. If Jesus has this power a God I am sure that you can agree that He has other Divine powers as well. He exercises this power in giving the apostles and the successors the authority to forgive sins acting in persona Christi for He knew that this continuing authority would be needed in the ministry of His Church. But when one hears the Words of the priest that they are forgiven it is the will of Jesus that does the forgiving.

Christ instituted the sacraments purposefully. The sacrament called reconciliation or penance is what we call our actions when we go to confession. Going to confession and confessing to a priest is the normative way of reconciling oneself back into God's family when we have committed a mortal sin. It is the biblical way corresponding to Jesus' teaching as recorded by the apostle John:
(Joh 20:22) When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.

(Joh 20:23) Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

What we learn from John is the authority given to the priests is not only to forgive sins but also to retain sins. Jesus commanded the authority to be used. It is the duty given by Jesus for the priest to measure the contrition of the penitent and act accordingly.

However, one must repent and pray sincerely to God as an act of contrition before one enters the confessional. The priest represents Jesus by acting in persona Christi and for the entire family of God represented by the Church militant who is harmed by the sin of another. No sin is private but all sin affects others. Jesus described this relationship as a vine with Him as the vine and we as the branches (John 15:5). If one member of the branch is sick then all the branches are affected and suffer as a result. Because of our familial relationship with each other Jesus created a means of confession so that all those affected in His family are represented by the priest as is God. The acts of sin and forgiveness are not private matters.

(Matt Slick)Such error can only lead to despair and hopelessness and a desperate and unwarranted dependence on the Roman Catholic Church as the only means by which salvation can be distributed and maintained.

(Cristoiglesia) Jesus established His Church for the purpose of distributing His grace to the faithful. We do not distribute salvation but instead Christ’s Church provides the means by which through grace one may endure to the end in faith. The Church as a result represents hope and not despair and hopelessness that you claim but instead it is the fountain of God’s salvific grace.

(Matt Slick) In this error, people far too often seek to work their way to heaven by being good, by doing what the Catholic Church teaches them to do, by prayers to Mary, by indulgences, by the Rosary, and by a host of other man-made works.

(Cristoiglesia) It is by God’s grace that one is good and not by works although we are called to respond to God’s grace with works. In that way we reflect God’s love for humanity. We pray to fulfill God’s greatest Commandment to love one another so we pray for one another out of this love.  We invite others of the Church like the blessed mother of God to be our prayer partners as the Bible teaches that the prayers of the righteous are of great benefit to us and others. By indulgences we show contrition. When we pray and reflect on Christ through the Rosary it brings us closer to our Savior. Surely prayer is not a man-made work as Jesus gave us example to pray for one another. And neither are any of the other acts of devotion to God that you claim are man-made.  

(Matt Slick) Remember, in the RCC, salvation is through the Church and its sacraments, not through Jesus alone, by faith alone.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, salvation does come through the Church and the Sacraments truly provide us with salvific grace to endure to final salvation.  Our salvation was atoned for by Jesus alone on the cross. Faith alone is a Protestant heresy that is condemned in Scripture. See the Epistle of James.

(Matt Slick) “This is exactly how the cults of Mormonism and the Jehovah's Witnesses work who both teach that true salvation is found only in their church membership and in following the revelation and authority of their church teachers and traditions.
Are you tired of the works requirement?”

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, but their Church was not founded by Christ for the purpose of the salvation of mankind like the Catholic Church. The Church is not only the fullness of truth but also the arbitrator of truth.

Matthew 18:17-18(KJV)

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

(Matt Slick) “In great contrast to the position of the Roman Catholic Church, if you want to be forgiven of your sins, once and for all, then you need to come to Christ (Matt. 11:28).”

(Cristoiglesia) God forgives all who come to Him with a contrite heart but He does not forgive those without contrition for their sins.

(Matt Slick)” You need to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior (John 1:12; Rom. 10:13).  You need to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins (John 14:14), and trust in Him alone and in nothing that you can do.”

(Cristoiglesia) Correct but this is not a onetime occurrence but an ongoing occurrence to endure to final salvation.

(Matt Slick) Remember, your good deeds have no merit before God (Isa. 64:6).

(Cristoiglesia) We do good deeds in response to God’s grace. We must maintain a living faith and not fall into a dead faith as St. James warns.

(Matt Slick) “Furthermore, if you have faith, it is because that faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29).  If you believe, it is because God has granted that you believe (Phil. 1:29).  It is not because you were baptized, or have been good, or have been sincere.  It is all of God.  The Lord must receive all the glory for salvation because it completely and totally rests in Him.  Salvation rests in Christ alone and it is received by faith apart from works.”

(Cristoiglesia) Correct except works are a response to God’sgrace.

(Matt Slick) Please read the following scriptures carefully.

        "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Rom. 3:23).
        "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Rom. 6:23).
        "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed," (1 Pet. 2:24).
        "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him," (2 Cor. 5:21).
        "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it," (John 14:14).
        "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29"Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls," (Matt. 11:28-29).
        "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name," (John 1:12).
        "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (Gal. 2:21).
        "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28).
        "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3).
        "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).
        "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).

(Cristoiglesia) Done

(Cristoiglesia)A suggested prayer

This suggested prayer is not a formula, but a representation of biblical principles by which you might better understand the true gospel and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior.  It is not a formula derived from Sacred Tradition or Stamped with the seal of the Roman Catholic Church's approval.  Its principles are derived from scripture:  we are sinners; God is Holy; we cannot earn salvation; salvation is a free gift; prayer to Christ; Jesus is the only way; receiving Christ; faith; etc.

    "Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner and that I have offended you by breaking your Holy Law.  I confess my sins to you Lord and ask forgiveness from you and do not ask anyone else to be forgiven of my sins against you.  I acknowledge who you are, God in flesh, creator, humble Lord, who bore my sins in Your body on the cross and I come to you alone and trust you alone, by faith, that you will forgive me completely of my sins so that I will have eternal life.  I ask you Lord to come into my heart, to be my Lord, to forgive me of my sins.  Lord I trust in you alone, in the work of the cross alone and not in any church, not in any saint, not in Mary, not in any priest, but in you alone.  Lord, Jesus, I receive you, and come to you, and ask you to forgive me and justify me by faith as I trust in you alone.     Thank you.”

(Cristoiglesia) Do you not see how this prayer is blasphemous before Christ who personally created the Church as the ark of humanity from and evil and seductive world? You insult the saints that have endured to final salvation and directly insult Jesus’ mother whose ministry given by Jesus to her from the cross is to lead humanity to her Son and to help the faithful in His Church to endure to final salvation.

(Matt Slick) If you are a Roman Catholic and have trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins, then welcome to the body of Christ.  Welcome to salvation and the free gift of forgiveness in Jesus.

(Cristoiglesia) We do trust in Christ alone for salvation.

(Matt Slick) Next, I strongly recommend that you read the Bible regularly, talk to Jesus daily in prayer, and seek to find a church that teaches and focuses on Jesus as Lord, Jesus as Savior, and sticks to the Bible alone.

(Cristoiglesia) You have described the Church except you have placed the Bible as an authority that it does not have without the Church.

Our Lord after his resurrection and before He ascended to heaven called together the disciples on a hill in Galilee and told them to teach all nations. Christ instructed them to teach all the doctrines, commandments and laws that He had taught to them. It is significant to note that these instructions are not constricted by the lifetimes of the disciples but was to be taught for all times which would be completed at the Parousia. This meant that the disciples were to have successors and that their oral teaching would be for all times protected by Christ which extended to their successors. In this way Christ assured that truth would be taught for all time to humanity. This was the great commission.

To those deep in Scriptures it seems quite odd that there are some who think that the disciples fulfilled their commission given to all by writing Scriptures and that they left no successors to continue the fullness of truth and the authority given by Christ in that commission. If this was the intent of our Lord it is odd that not all the disciples did what some suppose our Lord commanded which is to write Scriptures. In fact, only five disciples continued their teaching by writing Scripture. To those who believe that it is the Scriptures that continue the great commission then it is difficult to ignore that less than half of the disciples followed Christ’s commission. The disciple Matthew wrote a Gospel. John wrote a Gospel and three epistles. Peter wrote two epistles and James and Jude wrote one apiece. If the written Word was so important in Christ’s structure of the Church then it would be logical that there would be at least one epistle from Jesus; perhaps in which He would instruct us to give the written Word His only authority and not the 12 disciples as was His instructions in the great commission. But of course, it was obviously not His intent for His teaching to be spread only from written means but instead through the solid foundation He had built on which the disciples would continue to build with their successors which passed on the chrism from Christ through the disciples and their successors which has resulted in infallible truth for all times.

Another oddity for those who believe only in the written Word is why the Church founded by Christ existed for only a half century as a teaching Church and then is replaced by inspired books alone?

With changing circumstances it would seem reasonable that there be someone or some authority that can apply the apostolic teaching to the change of circumstances lest there be chaotic frustration instead of the application of truth. Take for example the doctrines; these doctrines may be studied with an almost equal danger of error as truth if there is no infallible teacher. An infallible authority would not restrict an enlightened development of truth for those who are seeking the question of what Christ meant in His teaching. Without it there is great possibility and indeed a certainty of error because there is not a word of Christ’s teaching that has not been subject to diverse interpretations. Many of these interpretations are compelling either by their scholarship or their application but are in contradiction of one another. Consequently the following question is illustrated by these facts; how are we to know the truth as these words surly are not enough for the truth to be known? Therefore it is necessary to have an infallible teacher to separate the diversity of opinions into the truth of Christ’s teaching. There must be revelation to satisfy the seeking soul instead of a growing set of diverse opinions and confusion. So, there must be an infallible teacher with the authority from Christ and of Christ as were the disciples for the truth to be known. The question is to those following Sola Scripture is whether the truth is essential or does it remain forever elusive depending on individual interpretation?

I believe the Scriptures demonstrate just how essential Jesus believed the truth to be. Before His death He gave certain men the authority to teach. He sent out the 72 disciples to teach with His authority. He said to them as well as the original 12, “He that hears you, hears me” which illustrates a transfer of the teaching by oral means to the Church across time to ensure the truth to all generations. It is through the oral teaching that the truth is found by the authority of Christ for truth. That truth is contained within the leadership of the Church and is today the Magisterium which is made up of the successors of those original disciples continuing the chrism given to them by Christ. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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