How does a Catholic get to heaven?


Q. How does a Catholic get to Heaven?

A. By Faith and the Grace of God. Catholics get to Heaven by the power and grace of God. The good works that we do are in obedience to Christ and in order to purify ourselves so that we can become holy as He is holy. But it is all of Grace. We cannot do anything worth while on our own.But specifically GOD communicates His Grace to save and strengthen us to journey towards Heaven, in the following primary ways:

By being born again in baptism:

  • John 3:5 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
  • 1 Peter 3:20-21 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you

By receiving communion in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

  • John 6:50 “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
  • John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.
  • John 6:53-58-So Jesus said to them, “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 yourselves.
  • He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will (CH)raise him up on the last day.
  • “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
  • “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
  • As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.
  • “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

By living life so that at death you are friends with God. This means that you die without mortal sin on your soul and live life so as to avoid mortal sin. But if we sin we must confess mortal sin to a priest in the sacrament of confession with true repentence and avoid it in the future.

MORTAL SIN

  • I John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.

SACRAMENT CONFESSION

  • John20:22-23And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
About these ads

468 Responses

  1. You cannot not get to Heaven by good works. You must confess to God..not a priest..that you believe and you must have faith whole heartedly. Romans 10:9 – That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.

    • Correct.

    • Ding Dong. Educate yourself. Catholics are Christians. Catholics believe that you get to heaven by the grace of GOD not by works or good deeds. Jesus died for everyone sins. So many people who are not Catholics think that a Catholic needs a priest for forgiveness. The priest walks you through asking GOD for forgiveness of your sins just like a preacher does.

      • In reply to Mr. Ridgeway’s comments above. You should educate yourself. I beilieve the Vatican says people are saved by Jesus AND good works. When a Catholic steps into a confessional the first thing they say is ‘Forgive me father for I have sinned’. They are calling the priest father and asking him for forgiveness. This is strictly forbidden in the bible. According to scripture, the only person that should be between humans and God is Jesus Christ. He is our mediator, all things to the Father through Him. There is no other way. No single person needs a priest to ‘walk’ them through it. It is between you and God with Christ in between.

        The RCC has a long history of usurping the Lord, in fact claiming to be infaliable and claiming to be God on this earth. They pray to statues, mainly the Queen of Heaven. They changed God’s commandments, encourage idolatry, incorperate pagen rituals and call them Christian doctrine and have changed God’s Sabbath to the first day. The only way a Catholic will enter heaven is if he/she is a lapsed Catholic and does not take part in anything the RCC has to offer.

        In the book of Revelation, we are warned about the papacy. ‘Come out of her my people so as not to share in her iniquities’. God warns us against the Church that sits on seven hills. A church that wears scarlet and purple. The whore of Revelation is exactly that. She has since corrupted most Protestant churches also.

        I state these facts not out of hatred for Catholics, but out of love of my fellow humans, millions are fooled by this ‘whore’ and it leads only one way, to hell. Forget what the Pope says. Pick up a KJV bible and study it prayfully. Your eternal soul depends on it.

        • @ Penny:

          1) It’s you who should “educate” yourself. Vatican or the Catholic Church believes that we’re saved by the merits of Christ alone. As far as the “Jesus and good works,” you should read James 2:24 again. We believe that it’s “faith working through love” (Gal 5:6). For the official teaching on Faith and Justification, examine the official documents from the Ecumenical Council of Trent (1545 A.D).

          2) For Confession to a priest, you should read Jn 20:23. While this is a legitimate ministerial function of the Church, we also understand the priest to be acting “in persona Christi.”

          3) Calling no one “father”: It’s called hyperbole. Don’t you also call your physician or minister in church a “doctor” (It’s simply the Latin word for “teacher”) or even “Mister” and “Mistress” (“Mrs.”) which are all forms of the word “master” also supposedly prohibited by Christ too?

          4) The “church that sits on seven hills”? It must disappointing for you to know that the Vatican or St. Peter Cathedral DOES NOT sits on seven hills.

          You need to come out of Fundamentalism. It’s fanaticism, anti-logic and -intellectualism. We are to be child-like, not childish.

          • Penny so many things of the Catholic Church seem logical and appear innocent accoding to scripture. But when you really study and dig deep into what the official Catechism really states it is a little scary. It contradicts scripture many times. The answer is not looking to the Catholic Church or really any church as our hope but to precious Savior. Good works will flow naturally and we will be pleasing to Him as a result of His work on the cross. We will never have to wonder if we have enough works. We will prove ourselves to be Christians and on the final day we will fall at His and praise Him because as you said it was all of Him. I have been to numerous churches including the Catholic Church. All this can be done in spite of what Christian denomination we choose. What matters is faith in Christ and not faith in a Church or it’s dogmas. Grace and peace to you in Christ’s name. Look only to Him not your performance or a priest for repentance. Yes we should confess our sins to one another but we do not need intermediates such as priests to do this.

            • Dear Steve,
              You said,

              so many things of the Catholic Church seem logical and appear innocent accoding to scripture. But when you really study and dig deep into what the official Catechism really states it is a little scary.

              Why is it scary? If what we believe is innocent according to scripture what exactly makes it not innocent in your eyes? Your opinion? Your pastor’s opinion? I don’t mean to be offensive but the Catholic Church is just not subject to the opinion of others but only to Christ.

              We absolutely do look to Jesus as our precious Savior. We never “wonder if we have enough good works.” I hate to tell you that that is a Protestant Tradition…not a fact.

              Whew! I am so glad you realize that no matter what denomination we can be saved by Faith….even Catholics. We don’t think we are saved b/c of our Church or dogmas but we do believe that our Church and its dogmas give better and clearer direction and help on the path of salvation than just the Bible alone.

              As far as confession you teach contrary to Sacred Scripture in what you say above. Here is what Jesus Himself said,

              John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

              • Nice to meet you. Could you explain if you believe in initial and final salvation, what works are required to obtain final salvation apart from baptism and repentance? Scripture teaches both Falling away and God grace keeping us from falling away. Please do not lump me into the Protestant camp. I do not believe in a closed canon. My wife and parents are both from Catholic background although they attend non demonization all churches. Just so you would have a little more info.

                Hey I have a feeling where this is going when you post that verse…The Catholic doctrine does teach that it is not absolutely necessary for the sacrement of baptism for salvation since it is not always available in certain cases, Someone who is dying or another another example would the theif on the cross. They would most likely not be able to confess to a priest either for their sins to be forgiven especially the theif on the cross. The high priest was kind the “stand in” that case and I would argue the same would seem logical when a person who truly repents outside the Cathiolic Church that the High Preist would be sufficient in those cases and in others.

                Hi again, I do not understand your comment “I don’t mean to be offensive but the Catholic Church is just not subject to the opinion of others but only to Christ.” You might want to consider that the above statement is not really true. You are also subject to doctrines which been declared infallible by the Pope when he speaks ex-cathedra. You also draw from many traditions as well that you are subject to in part or in full.

                • Dear Steve,

                  I have never heard of “initial and final salvation” as a Protestant or as a Catholic. So I can’t answer your question. But where is that in Scripture? We do not believe that we are saved by our Church or dogmas. For instance, we are not saved by the Dogma of the Immaculate.

                  • Hi, Do you believe the doctrine of original Sin?

                  • Hi Bfhu,

                    A lot of what you might believe is not directly in the scriptures. But it is in
                    your Catechism. Would initial Justification and final Justification be clearer to you?

                    • Dear Steve,
                      I know that as Catholics we are not Sola Scriptura, meaning everything MUST be found in Scripture. We have both the oral teaching of the Apostles(Tradition) and written teachings of the Apostles (Scripture). Our Catechism is a systematic theology derived from both oral and written teaching.

                      No I have never heard of Initial and final Justification either.

                    • Ok So let me ask it this way. Do you believe that baptism or repentance begins your justification?

                    • For a baby or young child Baptism. For an older person repentance. Baptism is first step of initiation into the Church.

                    • For all who believe that Christ died for there sins.

                    • I am trying to understand why you have never heard of initial and final justification. It is a very large part of the Catholic Faith and Catechism. The Catechism is huge however so maybe that is why. Anyway the Catholic Church teaches that you are not really saved completely until the end. You have the potential to be saved because you could fall away. This is called Initial Justification. Then as you live your life you need to persevere in grace so that you can be given final Salvation or final perseverance. Does this make more sense?

                    • I believe that and did not believe in “Eternal Security” even as a Protestant.

                    • So one is initiated into the Catholic Church as child and repents as an adult? What happens when a child or infant is baptized and does not repent? Are you infering that this infant baptism is initial justification?

                    • Yes. But the child must die in friendship with God in order to be saved. It is not automatic.

                    • Also as you have time could explain your understanding of why it was not until 300 ad or so that priests were to be celebrate? Most of the apostles and disciples were married as was Peter. I am familiar with the passages in Paul but are you aware of some of the history surrounding all the reasons priests were to be celibate? This is part of many reasons and why I believe the all church doctrine of the church to be scary and completely infallible. It evolves as you go and there is scripture both ways supporting marriage even among church leaders which were called presbyters in the early church. There is also scripture which warns of people who would enforce celibacy as a practice. Are you familiar with these passages?

                    • Paul was celibate. Peter we know was married at one time but on what basis do you think any of the other apostles were married? Please see this link for a history of celibacy. –>History of Clerical Celibacy It is not a dogma but only a discipline. We also have married priests in the Catholic Church. In the 14 years I have been Catholic we had a priest who’s wife divorced him and he became a priest. His family came to his ordination. At the present time our associate priest was married for many years and ordained a deacon. When she died he entered the priesthood.But we also have Catholic priests who are currently married. But they may never be a bishop. Same in the Orthodox Church. Since this is merely a discipline it could be changed and allow all priests to be married. This is unlikely since the celibate priest is a more perfect imitation of Christ who was also celibate and we will all be unmarried in Heaven. It is not an infallible issue at all.

                    • Ok. Just got this email. You are saying that a priest can marry if they choose to? The eastern as well?

              • You have the classic definition/interpretation of the Roman Catholic Church. How do you know they are correct? How do you know I am teaching contrary to sacred scripture. Is the earth the center of the universe kidding kind of:)

                • The weight of historical and exegetical evidence was way in favor of the Catholic Church. I trust the apostolic teaching contained in the Catholic Faith and not my personal interpretation of scripture alone. There is no support for it in scripture.

                  • Thanks appreciate your comment. What I said was that your very own recorded Church History states that preists we’re not celebrate until 300 A.d. 100 percent required celebacy is not anywhere in sacred scripture. It is an tradition that does line up with scripture. One other what do you mean when u said a child must remain in good relationship with. When does the cross or repentance come into the picture? At what point does a baptized child repent for the first time? Have a good night…

                  • No support for what?

              • Also notice the text says forgiven. Not forgiven by preists over and over again. It is a past present tense. Something to consider:) yes we confess our sins to each other. But where in the new covenant do you sacred scripture mentioning priests other than presbyters which had a different function. I love the Catholic Church and consider them brothers and sisters in Christ. No hard feeling but I know who has forgiven and regenerated me and it was through a man preaching a message called man the sinner. Right there I confessed to the Great high Priest and my sins were forgiven.

          • The Catholic Church is full of apostasy. Here are a few scriptures that
            contradict the church: Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth & the Life. No man comes to the Father but by me. John 14:6 For there is one God & one mediator between God & men, the man Jesus Christ I Tim 2:5

            And when Jesus came to Peter’s home, He saw his (Peter’s mother laid, & sick with a fever. And He touched her hand & the fever left her, & she arose & ministered to them. K.J Matt 8:14,15
            Jesus built His Church on the rock of Peter’s faith.
            I say to you, Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it to you. To now you have not asked for anything. Ask & you shall receive, that your joy may be full. For the Father loves you, because you have loved me, & have believed I came form God. John 16:23-27

            But she remained a virgin until her Son was born; & Joseph named Him Jesus. Matt 1:25 paraphrased edition

            …and knew her not until she had brought her 1st born son: & he called His name Jesus. Matt 1:25 K.J. Version In the old testament the term ” and he knew her” meant that he had sexual intercourse.

            and He (Jesus) taught them in their synagogue & they were astonished. They said, Whence has this man’s wisdom, & the mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother called Mary?
            His brothers James, Jo-ses,& Simon & Judas; and his sisters, are they not all with us?” Matt 13:54-56 I have recently learned that some are trying to twist the scriptures to say that Joseph was married before he married Mary, or that his brothers & sisters were actually cousins.

            The Bible doesn’t even hint at such; it clearly calls them brothers & sisters.
            Some thoughts about that: I it was so important that Mary be so pure & immaculate of a virgin, why was she not worthy to have an immaculate husband instead of a well used one? Could they not find an immaculate husband for such a pure one?
            It is unbelievable that during all the years between Jesus birth & death that absolutely not even a hint of her getting a husband that came with a built in family. When they went to pay their taxes would not some of those children go with them, or at least mention where they were & why none did.
            The next is baptism. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion in water. It says that it symbolized being, along with your sins crucified with Christ. Coming up from the water symbolizes resurrecting, & being born again with Jesus. Every one baptized in the Bible chose to be & was receiving Jesus as their savior. And they received at least one gift of the Holy Spirit which was their guide from then on.
            The smallest sin was so terrible that it was worthy of death. An innocent lamb had to be sacrificed to pay for the sins of the people. This innocent sacrificial Lamb was the forerunner of the innocent Lamb of God who would die on the cross with our sins nailed to the cross with Him. When we accept Him as our savior then we come under the law of grace that His death on the cross ushered in. Our sins are forgiven & we are no longer accused of sin. However, We are not perfect & we will sin again but they will not be held against us, except we cannot willfully sin with the idea that we will sin because our sins are forgiven. If we sin deliberately to get forgiveness we are mocking God & blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. We can throw our grace away.

            • Joan, Surkiko is a great guy and loves our Lord and Savior, but talking with him is sort of a endless because Catholic truth is always developing.

            • Dear Joan,
              You have merely been taught that these scriptures contradict the Catholic Church’s teaching. But we completely accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God. In fact the Catholic Church compiled and canonized it. It is a Catholic Book. Our doctrine preceded the canon of the Bible however. The Bible was not officially canonized for 400 years after Jesus. The pilgrims landed here 400 years ago. that is a long time. And yet, the Catholic Church spread the Christian Faith far and wide without the New Testament. And even the OT was too expensive for everyman to own one. Besides most people could not read.20% of the world population still cannot read. So, the Doctrine of Sola Scriptura never would have been invented until after the invention of the Printing Press. And still, what is a person who can’t read supposed to do? God to Hell? Or go to a Catholic Church where Scripture is read to the faithful. Conversation: Sola Scriptura vs Illiteracy Rates

              The Catholic Faith and teachings do not contradict Scripture anywhere. I was a Sola Scriptura Protestant until 15 years ago –>Why I became Catholic

              However, Catholic Doctrine does contradict Protestant interpretations of Scripture in several places. But that is not the same thing. They are Protestant Traditions not Apostolic Traditions.

              One Mediator

              Celibacy ( I am guessing that is why the passage on Peter’s mother-in-law) is not a dogma of the Catholic Church. It is a discipline. In fact we have married priests in the Catholic Church precisely because it is a discipline that can be changed and exceptions made. There is historical evidence that the Apostles were celibate from the beginning and that Peter’s wife had probably died leaving him only with a mother-in-law. But even if his wife was mentioned in Scripture proving she was still alive it would not change things. Celibacy allows a man and a woman to have an undivided heart for serving Christ in line with St. Paul in

              I Cor 7:38 he who refrains from marriage will do better

              History of Clerical Celibacy

              What we find in the Gospels is what was deemed pertinent to Salvation. It is historical but not exhaustive because Sola Scriptura had not been invented yet and Jesus left a teaching Church. He did not leave the NT or even exhort the necessity of writing the NT. We know from St. John that much of what Jesus did was left unwritten for Oral Tradition to teach verbally.

              John 20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

              John 21:25 But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

              Joseph was assigned as a protector of Mary and was not immaculate. Mary’s freedom from all sin was a special grace of God and a fitting place for God the Son to dwell for 9 mos.
              Full of Grace

              The Bible nowhere commands that Baptism be by full immersion. And you cannot prove that all the baptisms in the Bible were by immersion.

              How Was Baptism Administered in First Century?

              I have given you many things to read because a one sentence question cannot be answered with one sentence. I hope you are genuinely seeking to at least understand the Catholic Church even if you never agree with the Catholic Church. I appreciate your interest.

          • Awesome reply. God bless you and always
            hold true to your child-like nature. You have a gift; keep humble.

        • As a Southern Baptist I am curious as to where you get your information about the Catholics. When we make statements about another religion I believe it is important to state where you obtained your information about that religion.
          I have studied the Catholic Church and have many, many books written by Catholics including the Catechism. Many of the statements you made are wrong based on what the Catholic Church teaches to their people.

          In consideration of your opinion of “works” I thought I might remind you of what the Bible teaches and I used the KJV since that must be the one you are most comfortable with

          1 Peter 1:17 – And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning [here] in fear:

          Matthew 16:27
          For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
          James 2:14
          What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
          James 2:17
          Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
          James 2:18
          Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
          James 2:20 | Read whole chapter | See verse in context
          But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
          James 2:21
          Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
          James 2:22
          Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
          James 2:24
          Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
          James 2:25
          Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
          James 2:26
          For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

          The entire book of James exhorts us to do work for the kingdom.So as you can see in James 2:17 faith without works is dead. How do you justify by faith alone?

          I am always thankful that it is God Almighty, the Creator that decides who gets into Heaven, not the humans he made with our small finite minds.

    • Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the father except through him. I do agree with you that you cannot get to heaven by good works and being a good catholic. Every time I try to talk to a catholic aunt of mine about the Bible and God’s true word, she rejects it and bombards me with catholic sayings and rituals. She thinks she is already saved based on what she learned in catholic school and her confessions to a priest. I do not know how else to help take her blinders off, so that she might come to know the truth. She prays for her dead family members each time we visit their graves, as if her prayers can now save them. Help!

      • Not sure what you want your good aunt to do. Do you think that the “work” of studying the bible will get one to heaven instead?

      • Dear JI,
        She probably is saved based on her friendship with Christ. What truth do you think she does not know?

        She does not pray for salvation for her dead relatives but for love of them and for their release from purification and to enter Heaven. This may sound to Protestant ears that she does not think that her relatives are saved but that is a misunderstanding. It is a Protestant myth about Catholic beliefs. A person in Hell cannot go to Heaven no matter how many prayers are said for them. A person being purified is certainly Heaven bound.

        ..for we must be Holy as He is Holy…1 Peter 1:15
        ..And we will all be changed…1 Corinthians 15:51

        For a better understanding of this Purification please take a look at this post–>Sola Scriptura and Purgatory

      • Yes, something is wrong with the “traditional-teachings” of men/catholic church. Think about it, don’t be stupid. It’s history was for power, for “The Word” was so strong in the roman days the government had to harness “The Way” and make a “legal religion” and empower themselves. Be not deceived, read your New testament. Go with the apostles once again through the book of Acts and so forth. The “Catholic Church’s” teaching are so radical and does not co-inside with the Holy Bible. Choose whom you will serve, Jesus or an institution? Your eternal destiny depends on the right choice, be not deceived. I can name a few of many unbiblical traits, remember Jesus said “you will know them by there fruits”. Don’t pray to idols, Mary can’t save you, we have only 1 “Father” (GOD), if your in purgatory then your in hell forever- there is no second chance! (be not deceievd), baby baptism cannot save their soul- (For with the heart MAN believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation), it’s the “confessing our sins to Jesus Christ as a lost soul in need of HIM to forgive us and saving us because we cannot save ourselves”. He sits right now on the right side of the Father making intersession (praying) for us, we don’t need another “man” to do this for us! Your eternal destiny depends on your relationship with Jesus and Jesus alone, He whom has risen on the 3rd. day- because He lives, you shall live also in the last day. His resurection has overcome death, and the Holy Bible (God’s Word) He Himself says: “Because I live you shall live also”. It is between you and Jesus, no matter who you are…

      • I hope that I am not too late. I found some I copied them in a hurry so hope I got them right. There were even more but I didn’t know if I’d be interested in them so I didn’t copy them all.
        Try Lev 19:31 Lev 20:6 I thought that I had more than this. Maybe a web search of talking to the dead would help. It is my experience that if God Himself tried to tell them they would let him know He didn’t know what He was talking about. To a lot of people opinion is fact & they don’t want to wast time on what you know even if you was there & they were not.

    • Amen. 1 John 1:9
      If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is talking about Jesus not a sinner.

  2. Breanne,
    Agreed. No one can get to Heaven by good works alone. But of course as James says, “Faith without works is dead.”

    We must, of course, have faith. We confess to a priest our mortal sins in order to receive absolution and grace to strengthen us to stay on course to Heaven. We obey Christ in this matter since He conferred upon His apostles, the first priests and Bishops, the authority to hear confession and bind or loose the sins of the penitent. John 21.

    The Romans 10:9 passage is certainly true as long as one does not fall away from Christ and commit mortal (as in DEADLY) sin as explained in I John 5:16-17

    • The Bible is the word of Jesus and Jesus is the Word. The Bible also tells us that the priest must confess his sins to God because the priest is also a sinner! In the book of Timothy 2:5 for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. So, you see here that the pope uses the word of God but mixes God’s truth with his own catholic traditions. This is only one of many ways we are deceived by catholic teachings. The Bible also tells us; because they HOLD to their TRADITIONS, they make the word of God VOID. We can now see the void of false but maybe sincere catholic traditions have done to all of the catholic controlled Nations, such as the Philippines and all of the South American Countries. How can we think that we are God’s Children yet be # 1 in poverty and every criminal activity. Corruption is worst in the catholic countries than in most of the communist countries. My favorite verse in The Bible is John 14:6 Jesus said unto him,I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes onto The Father but by Me. Notice, that it doesn’t say except for the Catholics that hold to THEIR OWN TRADITIONS!

      • I think that you misunderstood. The fact that “Catholic” countries are generally poor or have heavy crimes is a human condition. All this is a sobering reminder that we fight not against flesh and blood but principalities and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm (Eph 6:12). Whenever a person’s life is turned toward God, this tension with the rulers of darkness intensifies as we are locked into combat as children of God. Darkness does not like Light. We need to glory God for raising up all the saints in these Catholic countries in spite of everything.

        BTW, we like Jn 14:6 too. As Catholics, we are also in total obedience to ALL the commandments of our Lord (Matt 28:20). When is the last time you obey the mandate “He who hears you hears me, he who rejects you rejects me” (Lk 10:16) or to tell it to “the Church” (Matt 18:17)? You’ve to read the bible from the heart of the Church and not undermining it by foolish private interpretation which leads to destructive heresies (2 Pet 1:20 – 2:3).

      • Dear James,
        The Catholic Church is the Fulness of Christian Faith. Jesus taught the Apostles. And the Apostles taught “faithful men able to teach”. All that Jesus taught them they taught the faithful. They even wrote down many of these teachings and many events in the life of Jesus. But they did not write all that Jesus did and taught because as St. John says “the world could not contain the books” if they were to try to do that.

        John 20:30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

        John 21: 25_And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written._

        I am curious. Why did you mention that our priests are sinners? Has someone taught you that we do not believe that they are sinners? How could anyone teach that with a straight face? If anyone knows that Catholic priests are sinners it is the Catholic faithful. Of course there are many holy priests but everyone knows that priests are not exempt from sin. And believe me our priests also know they are sinners. They must go to confession just like us. Even the Pope goes to confession every week. Not because he has deadly sins to confess but to receive the sacramental grace of the confession of venial sin, to aid in the growth of holiness.

        The Pope does not use “the word of God but mixes God’s truth with his own catholic traditions.” First of all, all that the Apostles taught is Sacred Tradition. Some of it got written down earlier while most of it was taught and passed down by word of mouth. Are you aware there was NO INFALLIBLE CANON OF SCRIPTURE FOR 400 YEARS AFTER JESUS WAS BORN? There is no mixture, it is all TRUTH as taught to the Apostles by Jesus. Even St. Paul exhorts us:

        I Cor 11:2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you.

        2 Thessalonians 2:15 15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us..

        2 Thessalonians 3:6 6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

        I think you will agree that St. Paul is speaking of Sacred Tradition as opposed to the “traditions of men” Jesus was talking about. Notice in the actual scripture that the condemned traditions; the “traditions of men” does not mean any and all traditions but only the ones that lead to breaking of the commandments of God.

        Matthew 15:1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

        3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.

        Catholic Tradition is not at all anything like the “tradition of man”. It is nothing less than the Words of Jesus as taught to His disciples. That is why we hold it equal to the written tradition commonly referred to as the Bible.

        Finally, your contention that Catholic countries are the most corrupt and worst in crime does not prove anything. Except, perhaps as noted by surkiko, that

        Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

        If you were Our Enemy which countries would YOU concentrate on?
        The Catholic Countries or the pagan ones? But we know that Christ will be victorious in the end.

        • Dear bfhu,
          Thank you very much for this clarifications . Also is it possible if you can mention what traditions should be followed by catholics .for e.g . Burning of candles and incense etc . Kindly share so that it will be helpful to defend against non catholics who accuse catholics that we follow traditions which Jesus abolished .

          • Dear Will,
            If anyone ever tells you that we do things that Jesus abolished ask them for the scripture to prove it. You will find they have nothing. If they come up with a scripture it will not actually say what they are trying to tell you it says. They are merely interpreting it a certain way.

            The Catholic Traditions with a capital “T” that Catholics must follow are doctrines and dogmas not explicitly spelled out in Scripture such as the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, Her Immaculate Conception, the infallibility of the pope, Purgatory etc. Lighting candles, prayer to Saints, incense are liturgical practices that we use to beautify our liturgies and our prayer. But no Catholic is bound to pray to saints, light candles or burn incense on their own. Apparitions of Mary, even those approved by Church authority are not binding. A Catholic is not bound to believe in them. The rosary is a prayer of devotion developed to substitute for the praying of the 150 Psalms for those who could not read or had no access to the Psalms at the hours of prayer. But no Catholic is bound to pray the rosary. I hope this helps.

        • Wow you seen pretty defensive? Trust Christ he is really what you need. He is the fulfillment of all traditions. If you really study the Roman Catholic Catechism there are many additions and things which do contradict scripture. Look to Christ not the church for you Salvation.

      • I will pray that you be convicted with the truth.
        You should not comment on the Catholic faith if you do not know it and it is obvious you don’t.

      • You are spot on with your commentary. Yes, I do agree with you, that even the Pope, the head of the catholic church is a sinner like the rest of us. He is not God’s replacement on earth or a symbol of God on earth. A statement told to me by catholics. No where in scripture does it acknowledge the Pope was such. Also, it is a sin to confess to a priest, when Jesus is our only high priest. Jesus Christ is the only intermediary to God. Also the Bilble tells us not to call anyone else father, who is not your natural father or your heavenly father. Calling a priest father, or the pope father, is an abomination unto God, our heavenly father. The catholic church has blinded billions of catholics to God’s truth and the truth of salvation and so shall many perish in the lake of fire with Satan and his followers. The Bible is our “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” Our creator gave us all this manual for life on earth to follow, yet very few people have read the Bible in its entirety in their lifetime. We read read manuals for other things though, like programming a DVD player etc. God is a respector of no person. The time is at hand and we need to get busy now, learning God’s word before it is too late. Jesus Christ’s return is at hand…..any day now. The new pope which will be elected soon, will be the last Pope.

        • Dear JI,
          Despite how they express themselves they do NOT mean that the pope replaces God. He is God’s representative on Earth, in time for us. He protects the Church by preventing the Pope from teaching heresy. And He Shepherds the Church for Our Lord who chooses to speak to us through the pope just as He chose to speak through Moses and the prophets in days of old.

          You say:
          it is a sin to confess to a priest, when Jesus is our only high priest.

          Where does it say this in Scripture? Where do you get this idea. Yes, Jesus is the ONLY HIGH PRIEST but He is not the ONLY priest. I do not follow your rationale.

          Please see:–>One Mediator

          Actually the Bible makes no such exceptions for natural fathers. In fact Jesus Himself, St. John, St. Stephen, and St. Paul referred to men other than natural fathers as fathers. This is another Protestant myth using a quote out of the context of all of Scripture. Please see this post:–>Scripture vs. the Catholic Church: Call No Man Father

          I applaud your love of Christ and desire that souls should be saved. Keep up the good work. But we are not saved by reading the Bible. And there is no verse in Scripture that commands for all Christian truth to be derived from Scripture alone. You have been misinformed by your teachers. ( who no doubt have good intentions)

          The Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus Himself founded 2000 years ago. It has the fulness of Truth. I hope you will keep researching the facts about the Catholic Church. Find out what well informed Catholics say what the Church believes not just what Protestants say the Catholic Church believes. Does the mainstream media understand Christianity?
          Neither do Protestants understand the Catholic Faith.

          • The Bible leads you to salvation, the believers trust and believe in Jesus Christ alone and not the/a church saves you. As a Christian, you are free to pray directly to God, anytime, you confess to God and His Son through the Holy Spirit, directly. Explain the range of “holy” people as well as the believe that if you are not a catholic you are without salvation (nulla salus). Is it the institution that grants salvation? How is it possible that Jesus founded the Catholic church?? – ?

            • We do not believe that if you are not Catholic you are without salvation. That is heresy and any Catholic who believes it is a heretic. The saying, “Outside of the Church there is no salvation” means nothing more than that Christ saves through the Church that He founded upon Peter when He said to Simon,

              You are Rock and upon this Rock I will build My Church.

              It does not in any way mean that the Catholic Church grants salvation or that Jesus will not save whoever He so chooses to save regardless of denomination or religion.

  3. If you believe in the Bible, it says that there is no other way to Heaven but through him. You cannot work your way there. God is a perfect and holy being and we are pitiful and sinful by nature. Therefore there is no way for us to get to heaven. That’s why Jesus died on the cross, to forgive our sins, so we can go to Heaven. But, on the matter of going through a priest and Mary to communicate with God, that directly against the Bible. Mary was a simple human being was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. That does not mean that Mary is in anyway higher than God. I urge you to read through the BIble, and everything I have said will be proved.

    • Correct! Plain and simple!! I was a catholic and now I am a Christian.

      • Rather silly, isn’t it? More like, “I was Catholic and now I am a non-Catholic!” And we will stand with St. Pacian (AD 310-391) to say: “Christianus mihi nonen est, Catholicus cognomen” (Christian is my name, Catholic is my surname).

        St. Pacian would go on to explain that a Christian is one who follows the correct teaching of the Catholic Church … it is sound doctrine as opposed to heresy; or as St. Vincent of Lérins would say, “that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all. This is what is truly and properly Catholic” (Common. 1.2; EuchPatr 2168, AD 434).

        • I don’t really understand why everyone is hung up the denomination of Christians. Isn’t it about following Christ and obeying the Word of God???

          • 1) Because if one is a true believer of Christ, one shall follow ALL the commandments of Christ (Matt 28:20). It’s not a cafeteria Christ who one can pick and choose what to believe or what not to believe (or cast a vote to decide what’s the morality or faith for the day).
            2) Because it is NOT those who say “Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven (not even those who prophesy in (your) name, cast out demons in (your) name, and do many mighty works in (your) name but those who does the will of the Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21-23).
            3) Yes, it is about following Christ and obeying the Word of God. But which Christ have you been following lately? Only a warm-and-fuzzy Christ of the “Jesus Christ Superstar”?
            4) Is what you are doing the will of the Father?

            Reflection: Christ established an (ONE) authoritative church on earth (“He who hears you, hears me; he who rejects you, rejects me rejects him WHO sent me” (Lk 10:16). So which church? The one which Christ said: “It’s not flesh and blood which has revealed … but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Kepha (Peter) and upon this kepha (peter) I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:17-18).

            • Thanks for your reply but I can’t say I totally agree. I was raised Catholic and my parents believe the same thing as you do….1 true church. I think there are a lot of man made rules in the Catholic church. Maybe it’s my understanding of Gods Word and He hasn’t revealed clear answers to me yet. What I hear from “man” must line up with what scripture tells me.
              I agree with you that “It’s not a cafeteria Christ who one can pick and choose what to believe or what not to believe”
              God gave us the bible – His Word to teach us how to live. That is what every Christian should strive for….to know God’s Word and to live it out.
              I am following Jesus Christ the One true living God. Whether or not I am doing Gods will – I don’t always know. But what I do know is that my relationship with Him is growing and day by day i’m getting to know Him better. The more I know Him – the more I will be able to know His will for me.

              • Dear Sonabrook,
                The issue may sound like a bunch of “denominational” squabbling but it is more important than just trying to oneup each other. As servants of Our Lord we are required to OBEY Him. That is what everyone Catholic and Protestant should strive for. But, what needs to be obeyed is different from one community to another.

                Is it possible that the only things that must be obeyed are the ones we all agree on? If that were true then we would not have to believe in the Trinity, The incarnation, Mary Ever Virgin, The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Divorce would be OK and would the practice homosexuality. Would a bare minimum of doctrines ever be able to evangelize our culture?

                Or maybe we should only believe what can be clearly spelled out in Scripture. This sounds enticing and is what most Protestant believe their church does. However, what folks are rarely confronted with is that Scripture must be interpreted. Contrary to what some say scripture does NOT interpret itself. So who’s interpretation will we use?

                Let me illustrate. The other day I was walking with a friend who I have known for thirty years. She still goes to my former Protestant Church.
                I told her about a brother of a friend who had died suddenly of a heart attack. Then i said, “At least for him it was good not to have to suffer a long illness….and before I could make the customary comment of how hard this is on the family….she stated, “There is nothing good about that because he was not a Christian. And a long illness might have brought conversion.” I hesitated b/c she does not like to be disagreed with. Then I said, “Well it can’t be true that only Christians will be saved. It doesn’t say that anywhere in the Bible.”

                “No one can come to the Father, except through Jesus”, she said.

                “Yes, and our Church agrees with that but it does not mean and it doesn’t say that you have to be a Christian. Jesus, opened the way to salvation and everyone who WILL BE saved IS SAVED through Jesus.

                “Oh, so you don’t believe in Hell? Wouldn’t everyone be saved then.”

                “Yes, I do believe in Hell but not everyone is saved. God will judge each soul. It cannot be a Universal Truth that you have to be Christian to be saved, because what about the North American Indians before Christianity came here? What about the Old Testament Jews? I don’t believe in a God who sends everyone who is not an overt Christian to Hell.”

                Our conversation went on and we ended up agreeing pretty much. I tell this story to illustrate how Protestants are often taught to interpret the verse to mean only Christians will be saved.


                John 14:6

                Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

                But that is not what it says. The Catholic interpretation is better. The many who who will be saved saved are saved THROUGH Jesus. We leave who they actually are to the Judgement of God.

                Think about the ramifications of how just this one verse is interpreted. One interpretation can lead to an attitude of pride in being a Christian and at the same time a subtle veering into just a bit of hard edged judgmentalism. Not because one wants to be judgmental but that is just where that interpretation logically leads. I know because that is what happened to me as a Protestant.

                The other interpretation leads to hope for the salvation of my friend’s brother’s soul which tends to peace and prayer for that soul. It also reinforces a sense of humility as I leave all judgement in the hands of my merciful and loving God.

                So, the teachings of whatever denomination, that we choose to follow will can have very subtle and profound effects on our spiritual and human development. Regret for an abortion that was encouraged by the teachings of one denomination. Sorrow over a lost relationship due to shunning of that sinner, even though is was a dearly loved one. We want to be sure we are following Jesus and His Truth so we don’t get led astray into sorrow and regret that could have been avoided. Or attitudes that were dictated by this church or that, that ended in damaged relationships. Despite all the sinners in the Catholic Church, and all of the nominal Catholics in the pews I am convinced that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus and has the fulness of the Truth. If you just want a church that makes you feel good then any one will do. But if it is important that you find a Church with the Truest Truth, you will have to make some effort to research and pray.

              • Hello Sonabrook,

                I’m just curious what kind of “man made rules” are you worrying about. Catholics genuflects and kneel out of reverence and awe of the Almighty God. Catholics go to church on a regular basis to worship God. Catholics made confession because we detest sins and ask for God’s grace to reform ourselves. Yes, Catholics pray, fast and give alms as part of the corporal works of mercy. Aren’t these biblical enough for Protestants?

                Or is it the doctrine of transubstantiation? It’s quite a “hard saying” so will it be easier for you to believe in symbolism with cracker and grape juice? In his days, many followers of Christ also left him because of it. Are you leaving Christ’s church over the same issue?

                But of course, the other “inconvenient” stuffs like chastity before marriage, divorces and remarriages and using contraceptives and abortifacients … believe me, even if the Catholic Church wants to bend the rules, she could NOT and would NOT because they are divine laws.

                I’m always very bemused by Protestants because being Catholic is actually so simple and liberating … whereas a Protestant always seem to be burdened down with a “book” (which is hardly self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous), its own interpreter (“Scriptura scripturam interpretatur”) and does not have a moral theology to clarify life more perplexing issues. Thus the phenomenon of church hopping or forming the newest 33,000 + 1 Protestant denomination when one disagrees with the pastor or another believer in the pew. What kind of Christ-like attitude is this?

                I think that you should plant the Catholic Church right in the NT where the first Christians would gather on the Lord’s Day to “break bread”. And then when you read about the factious and disorderly Christians in Corinth and Galatia, you may recognize the disruptive and rebellious spirit of individualism and proto-Protestantism.

                It is a treacherous world outside the bosom of the Mother Church. If you choose to travel through the wide gate and easy road, just be safe. Your Catholic parents will be waiting, praying and cheering for you when you have also fought the good fight and have finished the race.

                • Are you saying that the bible is not from God? Our life manual to live by? All I know is my parents are Catholic and took me to church each Sunday. We said grace before each meal. We never took our bible to church because we read out of the miselet. I don’t feel that I ever “chose” God on my own. When I moved out of the house, I no longer went to church. God later tugged at my heart and thanks to my up-bringing I knew who He was and that my life was truly missing something. I now go to a non-denominational church that teaches straight from the bible. No sugar coating; no taking from it what they “like” and leaving out what doesn’t work for them. Call it whatever you like but for me I am interested in growing in my daily relationship with God. If the Catholic religion caused me to know God more and grow in Him then I would still be going to the Catholic church. Thank you for your well wishes for safety. I don’t always find following God easy but I do find it well worth it.

                  • Hello Sonabrook,

                    I know that you’re very sincere in following Christ and trying to do the Father’s will. Your experience of an awakening of the faith should never have pitted the Bible vs. Church. We may have different level of emotional experience but it’s the same Lord (faith and baptism). It’s really not a very difficult concept: Christ is the Way, the Truth and Life; the Church which Christ founded is also the one True Church.

                    I’m only contrasting the “simple and liberating” feeling of being Catholic. Ever wonder how the first Christians got by without the bible for 400 years (which is also the age of America)? Printing press came around 1430 AD. Even after that, most people continued to be illiterate and even fewer knew Hebrew or Greek to able to study the bible critically. That should already say a lot that the misplaced emphasis on the importance of carrying a personal bible vs. reading from a missalette. Does the word of God change because it is read from a missalette? Does it prove that one is more faithful to the word of God by totting a bible? Don’t get me wrong. By all means, bring your bible and read to your heart’s content in church if that’s what you want. The irony is that it’s a very well known fact that Catholics hear a lot more bible during Mass than Protestants do in their services. In fact, the whole Mass is praying the scripture, something I knew even when I was very young. The Catholics go to church to worship God. The summit is the participation of the heavenly banquet on earth in the Holy Communion. The first Christians certainly knew what they were doing by coming together to “break bread” on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). You may also want to read what’s prophesized by Malachi of an universal “pure offering” (Mal 1:11) and 1 Cor 11:26 where “for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” What’s the high point of your non-denominational denomination service? A fast talking preacher with stage persona and oratory, mixed with flashy sideshows, a moving rock band and … coffee house? Please read 1 Cor 3:21 – 4:6 for yourself. And what did I mean by being burdened down with a “book”? It’s the preoccupation of “(you) search the scriptures”, “disputing about “words” (2 Tim 2:14) and ignoring the bible precept that “no prophesy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation (whereby false teachers will secretly bring in destructive heresies) (2 Pet 1:20 – 2:1). How much clearer can it be? The first pope and leader of the Apostles would add: “There are some things in (Paul’s writings) hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures” (2 Pet 3:15-16). The reading of Scripture without the guidance of the church is an occupational hazard. For the Catholics, we simply obey our Master by deferring to a church founded by Christ himself which is called “the pillar and bulwark of truth” (1 Tim 3:15) and which acts as the final arbiter (Matt 18:17). This is the only truly biblical truth, nothing of the sort of “bringing out our bibles and comparing verses” mindset of Protestantism.

                    If I may, my best recommendation for you is still to: “plant the Catholic Church right in the NT where the first Christians would gather on the Lord’s Day to “break bread”. And then when you read about the factious and disorderly Christians in Corinth and Galatia, you may recognize the disruptive and rebellious spirit of individualism and proto-Protestantism.”

                    It’s Christ most intimate prayer for Christians to remain united in faith so the world may believe. You will think that Christ has a plan for it. Many converts and reverts are indeed coming home to the Catholic Church, bringing their fervent faith, the love and knowledge of Scripture, all their talents and skills, for the enrichment of the community of the faithful and standing united with the Church in presenting the good news of salvation in a cogent and most compelling way. I think this is the Father’s will.

                    In Christ,

                    • Surkiko, the Christians did have parts of the scriptures the first four hundred years and they we’re read at the early assemblies in which bread was broken. They held them in very high regard. You do believe this right?

                  • Hello Sonabrook,

                    Remarkable story. Yeah, do some search. Truth will set free!

                    pax Christi

                  • Amen Sonabrook! You are finding your answers in God’s Word….that is what He calls us to do. Continue to read, study & meditate on HIS WORD, push in.
                    Surkiko states “The reading of scripture W/O the church is an occupational hazard.” Really? All the “rules” and canons that RC mandates can and do change on a whim. God’s word is unchanging. You do not need a mere man (pope) to interpret the Bible for you…God equips YOU to do that. Staying in God’s Word is how we get grounded in the character of Christ and learn to walk in faith, lay it all down at His feet. Continue strong your walk of faith. Trust Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. Good works/fruit come naturally with a truly converted heart in Christ. We can NEVER be good enough to get to heaven. That is what the cross is all about. We must not take that sacrifice lightly. Christ said it is finished.
                    I am a Christian, a BORN-AGAIN Christian…when you accept Christ as Lord and Savior, you confess and repent of your sins, you ask God to forgive you, you begin to grow progressively, now as a child of God, you hunger for more of His word, HIS word.
                    You can’t add human tradition to the cross. You can’t make up “feel good” things, like Mary was a perpetual virgin, like eating the REAL body of Christ day after day, like praying repetitiously (rosary), like confession with priests, like baby baptism – oh, and God ordained marriage–no where in the Bible does it say priests/bishops/popes should not marry; in fact their first “pope” Peter was married (MAT8:14).
                    You will find everything you need in the Holy Bible. I am 1 1/2 years in Christ now…(47 years old) and wow, living in Faith is beautiful!
                    There is MUCH deception out there coming at you from every angle (spiritual warfare), and especially when you really begin to press in to God’s word. Pray always for discernment so you can disarm those false teachers. Hold strong to BIBLICAL doctrine—that is why it is so important to read and study your Bible—I’ve found that even in discussions with family members who are catholics & non-believers, and recently God brought a FreeMason into my life….it’s a slippery, deceptive way they try to get around what is biblical…”the serpent is subtle”. God’s will for me is being revealed…
                    Glorify God. Trust in the resurrection of Jesus Christ to overcome sin, and live your life for God.

                    Where in the Bible does it say that people are either catholic, non-catholic, or anti-catholic? I must have missed that somewhere…
                    Christ’s church is the body of believers–faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. I agree, denomination isn’t the issue….but are you hearing biblical doctrine where you attend?
                    <> at all the catholic talking points that are regurgitated over and over from you catholics. Read the Bible…don’t point me to a RC canon or council or pope statement

                    Read REV 22:18-19.
                    And catholic belief in purgatory comes from Maccabees – catholic-added, uninspired book – apocrypha, & not God-inspired.

                    Rev 22:17-18 is a good start.
                    And where is that in the Bible that Jesus saved Mary b4 she sinned???? wow.

                    You are sinners saved by grace when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
                    God’s Blessings to You.

                    I, BFHU, HAVE CREATED A POST TO RESPOND TO JACKIE….—>THE CATHOLIC CHURCH JUST HAS TO BE WRONG!

                    • @ Jackie: It’s precisely the type of self-pontificating Christians like yourself which makes bible reading and private interpretation an occupational hazard without the humility (and obedience) of the guidance from Mother Church. Your knowledge of the bible and history is so sadly lacking. It’s even painful to observe how that every other expression of faith from you is heretical to historic and traditional Christianity. It’s precisely why the first pope (St. Peter) warned about “the ignorant and unstable” who twisted the word of God to their own destruction (2 Pet 3:16). You’re the reason why Protestantism is such a tragedy. The Devil quotes the bible too …

            • Surkiko when you say follow All the commandments of Christ what commands are we to follow that are not listed in the Bible?

          • Hello Sonabrook,

            Yes,you are right, it is about unity, it is an evangelical assignment. Jesus has prayed for it. I think it has to do with credibility, disunity of christians does not convince the world.

            • So 33,000 Protestant denominations with steep divergent core beliefs is unity? The Christian God must be chaos!

              • Why don’t we leave that for God to judge. Only He knows someones heart.

                • I can never understand Protestants. They talk about loving Jesus and believing in the bible only. When challenge, they quickly withdraw and act as if the bible really doesn’t matter at all and compose a Me-God attitude. It’s the warm-and-fuzzy religiosity and sorry, no fraternal correction needed.

                  • You speak with a lack of humility as if you have figured it out but provide no hope in all of your discussions.

              • No, the Christian God is a loving father, he loves everybody!

              • You write as if there is perfect unity in the RCC church and doctrines. There is not? Why? Why do so many Catholics I hear from who leave the Roman Catholic Faith say they never expressed faith in Christ until leaving?

          • You are so right! Amen and amen. Christ is the fulfillment of everything. As we look to Him as our sacrifice and Victorious Savior our life will have good works. We will truly love others and enter into heaven with great rewards!

    • Catholics are Christians.

      • Alex:Not necessarily…one big difference between the two is that Catholics baptize babies which is totally wrong… and also they belive the only way to get to heaven is by good works. That is also wrong.

        BFHU:Why is it “totally wrong” to baptize babies? Where does scripture prohibit the baptism of babies? You have been grossly misinformed. Catholics do not “believe that the only way to get to heaven is by good works.” We believe that good works are evidence of our faith and also help to purify us from sin and selfishness. But we are completely UNABLE to work our way to heaven. Jesus Christ is the only door to Heaven.

        • Alex & BFHU, I see both right & wrong in each of your statements. Let us use The Word of Jesus (The Bible). This is what true Christians refer to to find The Truth! Jesus is The Word! Jesus as a 30 yr. old man went to the River Jordan where he told John The Baptist that he must baptize Him (Jesus). Jesus chose to be baptized when he became of an age that he could choose for himself.
          In the Bible, Jesus said; choose curse or blessing, choose death or life, I tell you choose life. Jesus is the way, the truth and the LIFE! So we can choose to follow The Bible which is Jesus (The Word) or hold to our Catholic or Lutherian traditions and take them traditions to hell with us. Jesus said choose! The bible also tells us to be saved and then be baptized! I was once as Catholics say born a catholic. I was also kidnaped by my parents and without any choise, I was baptized and forced to be a catholic. You should also take time to realize that Jesus was not a Catholic or Lutherian! I don’t like to use any demomination to follow! I follow Christ! (Christian) Yes! A Christian is someone who follow’s Christ. The Bible tells us to test the spirits (priest,pastors, etc) to see if they are of God! There are many good & bad teachers in every denomination. Again, we are left to choose. I stopped following my parent’s decision that they made for me as a baby and CHOSE Jesus! By doing so the chains of religion were broken. I am now a TRUE CHRISTIAN! Amen!

          • You are a very confused man, James. You obviously don’t know the difference between the baptism of John the Baptist for repentance and Christian baptism of regeneration. You’ve to be grateful to your parents (instead of mocking the great Commandment to honor your parents) for claiming the covenant promises of God to Christian parents and their households: “The promise is for you and your children” (Acts 2:29). Are you going to preempt God by forbidding the children to come (See Mk 9:13-16)? In OT, the children of believers were given the sign of circumcision. How much more under the NT? Such little faith, James. You may want to re-read Jn 3:3-5 about being “born again.” There’s nothing there to suggest that “being saved” (whatever you meant by it) is a prerequisite for baptism so I would not try to limit the ways of God’s mercy. Whether one is a cradle Christian or an adult convert, we all still have to face the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of how we lived our lives (1 Cor 3:15). I just hope that for your own sake that you are buying into the cheap OSAS gospel.

            One can chose to travel the wide gate and easy road “which leads to destruction (and those who enter by it are many) … or travel the narrow gate which leads to life (and those who find it are few)” (Matt 7:13-14). It is your free will to chose to turn away from the Church founded by Christ. But be mindful that it’s a jungle of heresies and false teachers out there. You stay safe.

          • James,

            Congratulations!

          • I thought Baptism is an outward sign of accepting Jesus as your Savior. I also thought the reason you are baptized in the Catholic church as a baby is so that if you die you don’t go to hell? What is the significance of baptism to a Catholic? I know what it says in the bible about it.

            • You have defined the Protestant definition of Baptism. For a Catholic Baptism is a sacrament of initiation into the people of God and corresponds to circumcision of the Jewish covenant. You can read more about Catholic Baptism by clicking this link–>Baptism to the Catechism. We do not believe that an unbaptized baby goes to Hell. We know from John 3 that Jesus said….

              <strong

              >John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, tunless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

              And we know that Peter said,

              1 Peter 3:21Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you— not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

              So, Mother Church desires to secure a place in Heaven for all of her children. But this does not guarantee that all the baptized will be saved in the end unless they persevere in friendship with God.

      • Roman Catholics ARE indeed Christians, and by the way,…they are not the only ones who baptize infants. I am a Lutheran, and we baptize infants as well…so do Episcopalians. Your definition of a Christian is dangerously narrow, and perhaps unfounded.

      • Not if you believe in Mary and the Pope being the vicar to Christ. Maybe i should remind you that Adolph Hitler was catholic.Hitler killed 90% of the Jews in Poland; that would be a good testimony for Christ. The Catholic church has a long history in persecuting the Jews, and the bible tells us that the Jews were the apple of Gods eye.

        • Randy,
          We believe the Pope is the Vicar of Christ. Not Mary. We believe she is our Blessed Mother as it says in Rev 12. You are guilty of the sin of detraction in the way that you mention Hitler being a Catholic. Yes, he was raised Catholic. And you should know very well that he was not in any way a faithful Catholic. And you should know also that the Catholic Church did not endorse Hitler. In fact, several Popes spoke out against Hitler and his policies. Pope Pius the XII hid Jews all over Italy in Churches and convents. And, Hitler tried to have the pope assassinated. Shortly after the war he was acclaimed as a friend of the Jewish nation. In fact, the Chief Rabbi of Rome converted to the Catholic Faith after the war and took the Pope’s baptismal name as his own baptismal name…Eugenio.
          You can read this story here–>Salvation is From the Jews

          I think you owe Catholics an apology for implying that the Catholic Church approved of or was aligned in some way with Hitler.

        • A-MEN, brother ,you are sooooooooooooooo right . pray for the Catholics to be saved before Chirst comes back, God loves them inspite of the false teaching. Judy ga.

      • not all Catholics are Christians

        • Sonabrook,
          All Catholics are Christian just as all Protestants are Christian. They aren’t athiests or Buddhists. But that does not guarantee that they will all die in friendship with God. In which case these will not be saved.

          I think this is more along the lines of what you meant.

          • What is your definition of a Christian?

            • Sonabrook,
              That is a good question. I would say that people who believe John 3:16 and are baptized and consider themselves Christian. I now reject the judgemental and uncharitable practice of constantly deciding that this person was not really a Christian or that person really was a Christian.

              • I grew up Catholic. I was baptized as a baby and received 1st Holy Communion and was confirmed. None of those decisions were by my own choosing but made for me because I was raised by Catholic parents. I’m not saying I regret my Catholic up-bringing because it was how I learned about God. But I don’t feel that I was taught the true gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. I always believed that if I was a good person that I would go to heaven. I know know that I can never be good enough. After leaving home at 18 I also left the church. Eventually God made that hole in my heart cry out to Him and I began going to a non-denominational church that taught the bible. I understand that Catholics believe they are the 1st an only true church. My thing is I just don’t think God cares what church we belong to as long as we belong to Him. Not just on Sundays but every moment of every day. May we all bless Him and bring Him glory whatever church we attend.

                • Hello Sonabrook,

                  A Christian will be baptized and taught to “observe ALL that (Jesus) have commanded (Matt 28:19-20). This includes the divine scheme of an orderly assembly of God’s people with a priestly hierarchy to rule and teach (“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me”, Lk 10:16). A Christian is one who surrenders all and faithfully follows his or her Master, Christ. We are Christians because we obey and observe ALL the commandments of Christ! … or do we risk “fighting God” (Acts 5:39) by following men who are not “sent” (Rom 10:15) by Christ through his apostolic Church.

                  No, it’s not Christian to attend “whatever church” because it’s disobeying a direct command of Christ (“One Lord, one faith, one baptism”, Eph 4:5). By continuing to “protest” (as in Protestantism), we are being rebellious and prideful in perpetuating a very grave error committed by the original reformers. In this state, one continues to divide and separate Christians instead of the “one flock, one shepherd” commanded by our Lord (Jn 10:16).

                  Thankfully, many cradle Catholics continue to grow and mature in their faith over the years by remaining loyal to the teaching Church instituted by Christ (Matt 16:18). Many converts (the boldest and brightest Protestants) and reverts are returning “home” to the fullness of truth and faith, bringing their many talents and gifts to be used in the building up of God’s kingdom to His glory. Ask yourself if you are, instead, preferring to enter through the wide gate and easy way (who enter by it are many … and those who find it are few) (Matt 7:13-14). It’s not saying the “Lord, Lord” but if we’re doing the will of the Father. We do not want to be told by Christ that He never knew us because we have failed to obey ALL his commandments and are Christian in name only (Matt 7:22). It is a special grace to be humble and submissive to a Church which the bible calls “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15) and which acts as the final arbiter in matters of faith and moral (Matt 18:17). Think and pray about it.

                  In Christ,

        • The Catholics are the original bible Christians. Not all Christians are Catholic though. You are either a Catholic, or is a non-Catholic or anti-Catholic. When Chief Rabbi Israel Zolli of Rome converted to Catholicism at the conclusion of WWII, he was asked why he did not choose Protestantism. He answered, “Protesting is not attesting” … (I chose) a faith which professes what it believes (attesting) rather than protesting against what it does not believe (Protestantism).

    • Amen.! From a born-again believeing christian. The bible ALONE is the true God inspired WORD OF GOD. We do not need priests, pope benedict or mary (though a very good human). Please read the bible for yourselves, there is no such thing about all these ‘rituals’ and pugatory nonsense that the caothlic church has introduced.

      • Dear Jackie,
        I have read the Bible many times. And it does not say anywhere in there that, “The bible ALONE is the true God inspired WORD OF GOD. We do not need priests, pope benedict or mary”.

        The Bible IS the God inspired Word of God. But it does not proclaim anywhere that the Bible ALONE is the ONLY inspired Word of God.
        This is a Protestant Tradition of men begun by Martin Luther a mere 500 years ago. There are priests in both the old and new testaments. Jesus ordains Peter to be His first Pope and God chose Mary to give humanity to His son.

      • Hello Jackie,

        As Christians, we all believe that the bible is the inspired word of God. However, to say that the “bible ALONE” is the inspired word of God is very unscriptural. The latter was unknown to ALL Christians for the first 1,500 years, and is a novel doctrine (an invented man’s tradition) proposed by Martin Luther a mere 500 years ago. If you don’t believe history, then it’s not too unreasonable to ask you to show us one verse from the bible which supports your belief. This will really challenge you to “prove” your own bible-alone doctrine … that is, is “bible-alone” taught in the bible itself? If it is not, then you are not really believing in the bible-alone as you have purported to be doing so.

        As Catholics, we believe that the LIVING word of God is Jesus Christ himself (Logos), the Second Person of the Godhead. The bible may be inspired but it is not meant to be a complete replacement for our Lord, Christ Jesus. You should not limit the omnipotence of God to a written library of books.

        In Christ,

      • Then why were so many saints, ex. St. Therese of Avila, St. Faustina, etc allowed to see glimpses through the Virgin Mary of hell and purgatory in order to inform others of the danger of not believing?? Julie

        • God uses all sorts of things to bring us to Himself. As far as purgatory I would do some research on your own to see what the bible says about it. I have never seen anything in God’s Word about purgatory – only that His Son is the one and only way.

          • Sonabrook,

            First, there is no requirement anywhere in the Bible that if something isn’t in the Bible it is to be rejected. This requirement was invented 500 years ago by Martin Luther. He just made an infallible Protestant decree that it is true. And Protestants adhere to it even though it is not in the Bible, anywhere. And more than, that they accuse Catholics of believing things not in Scripture when they also believe things not found in Scripture. So amusing.

            But, the Scriptures do hint at Purgatory. –>Where is Purgatory in Scripture?

            And the Jews long before Christianity, believed in a place of purification before being allowed into “Heaven”. You can read about that here–> Where Did the Catholic Church Get the Idea of Purgatory?

            Here is a post that explains the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.

            Does God Forgive Us and Then Punish Us in Purgatory?

      • But think again. What’s being a born-again believing Christian? Believing a “bible Alone” doctrine which is itself non-biblical and unsupported by historic Christianity for the first 1500 years? Obviously, you skip a big part of the bible by disbelieving a priestly ministry, Petrine office (pope), purgatory, etc. By the way, the bible way of being “born again” is one who’s born of the “water and spirit” which is Christian baptism (Jn 3:4-6). Don’t abuse the holy family book of the Catholic Church.

    • thank you for that answer. My parents are Catholic and I don’t want them to miss that bottom line it’s all about what Jesus did for us on the cross.

  4. Daniel: If you believe in the Bible, it says that there is no other way to Heaven but through him. You cannot work your way there.

    BFHU: We all agree on this. Catholics cannot work their way to Heaven and we know perfectly well that we cannot do this. This is a Protestant myth about the Catholic Church.

    Daniel: God is a perfect and holy being and we are pitiful and sinful by nature. Therefore there is no way for us to get to heaven.

    BFHU: Absolutely correct, Daniel.

    Daniel: That’s why Jesus died on the cross, to
    forgive our sins, so we can go to Heaven.

    BFHU: True.,

    Daniel: But, on the matter of going through a priest and Mary to communicate with God, that directly against the Bible.

    BFHU: We are not required to go through a priest or Mary in order to communicate with God. This is yet another Protestant myth. But even so I would like for you to quote to us the verses in scripture say anything about this matter.

    Daniel: Mary was a simple human being was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus.

    BFHU:Yes. And because she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus, and since Jesus was God Mary is the mother of God the son. And she was also given the gift of unfallen human nature…just like Adam and Eve before the Fall.

    Daniel: That does not mean that Mary is in anyway higher than God.
    BFHU: That is very true.

    • Can you please tell me where in the bible it states that Mary was given the gift of unfallen human nature?

      Mary wasn’t perfect, just obedient by accepting God’s call on her life to bear Jesus. Mary was no different than anyone else, she was born into a fallen world just as you and I. If I answer God’s call on my life and choose to serve Him by going on the mission field, becoming a pastor, priest, or nun, that doesn’t make me anything special, but just as every one else of a sinful nature in need of Jesus to die for my sins. Jesus died for Mary just as much as he died for the rest of the world to atone for our sins.

      • Dear Donna,
        I will tell you the answer to your question if you can tell me where in the Bible it says that all religious truth is to be found in Scripture alone?

        What scripture tells us that any religious belief that is not spelled out clearly in scripture is a lie?

        Isn’t your reliance on Scripture Alone, the dogma of Sola Scriptura, itself unscriptural?

        And, yes, Mary certainly did need a Savior. And her savior is Jesus Christ. But He saved her before she sinned and by His power and her cooperation with His grace she was able to to keep from sinning. Just like Adam and Eve could have done, but did not.

        • Ok bfhu, in order to finally get the bible verse(s) that tell of Mary’s unfallen human nature and perpetual virginity, here are several verses for you to meditate upon, for your answer of Scripture alone… 2Tim3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. Read also, 1COR4:6, MAT4:1-11, Acts 17:11, Mat12:3, MARK7:13, 1TIM4:13-16…

          Catholicism is a FALSE RELIGION that is arrogantly teaching FALSE doctrine & MAN-MADE tradition, and will be taking billions of people to hell with her. Want your eyes opened….READ past Rev 12 (which one of you mentioned above) and read Rev 16-17…that is your church!! My heart aches for all the catholics whose hearts are still stone. The only way to heaven is by the BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST. He finished it. Now, by FAITH, you must accept that, or you will spend eternity in the fires of hell. That makes my heart hurt for you all and pray for your salvation- most in family are still catholic, I pray every day for their eyes (and of all unbelievers) to be opened. They will actually say, “I will never leave the catholic church” — contrast that to someone like myself who prays always for discernment and understanding – not “please God, make them all catholic” — that is arrogant! That is not trusting in God, but in yourself! God, through the Holy Spirit DOES give spiritual discernment. Your popes have you so convinced that you are too dumb to read the Bible and understand — I disagree. God’s Word tells the story – it’s all there for you.

          It is not out of arrogance that I wish you to be “changed” – a christian, a follower of Christ. It is not of believing that a BUILDING (your catholic church) will actually save you because you go to that place, but out of the humility of the TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD. Knowing that His Church is believers, believers in His finished work on the cross, we are His saints. You must be in your Bible. You cannot rely on someone else to tell you what to think and believe. Read it yourself…ask Father God to help you understand as you read.
          2Tim3:16-17, 1THES2:13, Rev22:18, 2Pet1:21

          I leave you with REV1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

          • A JackieKelmon: The most learned Protestants couldn’t find the proof text for Sola Scriptura for the last 500 years so what make you think that you can do it now?

            “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim 3:16-17).

            It is very simple logic: To say ALL apples are red is NOT to say Apples ALONE are red.

            If you know any historical exegesis at all, 2 Timothy was composed at a time when only the OT books and a scant collection of NT books were available. So St. Paul here was really only referencing to the OT or at best, an incomplete bible since most NT books were not yet written. Further, an approved canon of the Christian bible would take even longer to be established (at the local Councils of Hippo and Carthage, and approved by Pope Damasus I at the Council of Rome in AD 382).

            So very frankly, unless someone has some special training on the bible, it’s almost a sacrilege to pretend to be a know-it-all smart aleck. The rest of your post is just mindless ranting and incoherence not worthy of a response.

            • So did you read any of the verses I suggested?
              <> Sadly, if/until the Holy Spirit takes hold of you, you WILL of course see this all as foolishness. 1Cor1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
              God Bless.

          • Dear Jackie,
            I know that you want all Catholics to go to Heaven. You have been taught that we are all in danger of going to Hell because our Church is the whore of Babylon. I used to hear that as well when I was a Protestant, although not all Protestants are taught anti-Catholicism as zealously as you have been taught it.

            It is hard for me to believe that you actually think, we think we will be saved b/c of the building of our Church is in. You have been misinformed. When we talk about the Catholic Church we are not talking about a building but the Body of Christ….the Church that He founded upon Peter and the Apostles 2000 years ago.

            We too believe that we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. We will never leave the Catholic Church because it is the Church our Savior founded. Why would anyone want to be in a church founded by a man? Martin Luther, John Calvin, Chuck Smith etc. rather than be in the Church that Jesus founded? Why?

            We want everyone to be Catholic not because of arrogance but because the Church founded by Christ on the Apostles has the Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Protestants have most of that truth too. That is because they got it from the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church canonized the Bible and worked out all of the doctrines Protestant believe in. Like the Incarnation and the Trinity. The Virgin birth, baptism and salvation through Jesus.

            We do read the Bible. No pope has ever told us we are too dumb to read the Bible. I am sorry that you have been so lied to and it has caused you to be so concerned for us. Please Relax. We love Our Lord and He loves us too. He died to save us because He loved everyone so much.

            Jesus founded a Church. The Catholic Church. He did not write the Bible. He did not tell his disciples to write. We do treasure scripture however and nothing our Church believes is allowed to contradict the Bible. Our beliefs do contradict a lot of Protestant interpretations of the Bible. But that is different.

            We are God’s children and we rely on Him to teach us Truth through the Church He founded. As a Protestant I had to be my own pope and try to figure out everything for myself. I love being Catholic. Our Lord has taken such good care of us we don’t have to do all of that on our own.

            You might want to read my conversion story—>HOW CAN I KEEP MY HEART FROM SINGING

            • Pam,

              I wish to present some food for thought here.

              You wrote:

              “the Catholic Church canonized the Bible”

              Let us compare these words with the following:

              “certainly what is [the] important thing is that Scripture is the Word of God and the Church is subject to the Scriptures, obeys the Word of God and is not above Scripture. . . . the Church . . . found this canon of Scripture within herself, she found, she did not make, but found.”

              The person who wrote these words has looked at the same facts that you have and apparently has reached a different conclusion.

              Here you will find the source of these words:

              http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/02/14/pope_to_rome%27s_priests:_the_second_vatican_council,_as_i_saw_it/en1-664858

              Regards,
              Keith

              • I totally agree with your souce. There is no difference in conclusion. But the Catholic Church found many gospels and epistles and only canonized some of them.

                • Note especially these papal words: “the Church . . . found this canon . . . she found, she did not make, but found.”

                  Don’t these words, at least arguably, deny that the Church made the canon as a canon, i.e. canonized the New Testament books?

                  Is this some evidence of a significant break with tradition? Or did prior Popes speak similarly? I hope to look into this matter further
                  in Denzinger and the *Catechism*.

                  Keith

                  • No. It is not a problem at all. All the Catholic Church (popes and councils) did was officially declare some books, (that they found) to be sacred scripture, and some books not to be sacred scripture. This is how the books of the Bible were canonized. I don’t understand why you think this is a problem.

                    • Pam,

                      I agree that the New Testament as a complete whole, including all 27 books, was not officially pronounced by the church as an institution to be inspired by God until around AD 400 and that in this sense the NT was not “canonized” until that time. “Canon” would in this case mean “set of books officially recognized by the church as an institution to be inspired by God.” I think that we agree on this meaning of “canon.”

                      Accordingly, I believe that your statement on June 13, 2012, that “there was NO INFALLIBLE CANON OF SCRIPTURE” prior to this was probably a rhetorical overstatement. You would agree, I think, that a set of infallible books was possessed by the church prior AD 400, that their infallibility predated their canonization.

                      However, what continues to strike me as a possible “problem” for a Roman Catholic in the former Pope’s statement is that he apparently used the word “canon” in another sense when he said that “the Church . . . found this canon . . . she found, she did not make, but found.” His words seem to acknowledge that the New Testament was not only inspired but in some important sense *recognized* as such apart from the official recognition of the church as a whole.

                      Regards,
                      Keith

                    • Yes, the books of the bible are infallible or inspired in spite of the Catholic Church (yes, in this sense, the Church “found” the canon). However, to take out the equation of an external authority to approve (canonize) the particular books as belonging properly to the bible is begging the question: How do we know which books are inspired and belonged to the bible if not for the authority of the Catholic Church? In fact, what’s most perplexing is how Protestants will depend their faith on one man (their external authority), Martin Luther, to determine which books should belong in the Protestant bible. That is, they chose a man over the authority of the Church established by Christ. If that’s not an absurdity, I don’t know what else there is. Of course, some other more “learned” Protestants will postulate the idea that the bible is then an fallible collection of infallible books. If there’s a fallacy, this is it! I guess Protestants will say anything but denying the authority of Christ as He works in the Church which He established. On the quest about the bible, how do we witness about the inspiration and inerrancy of the bible when there are 30,000+ Protestant churches holding diagonally opposite core beliefs and moreover, ALL their individual members claiming to be the sole infallible interpreter of the bible? Some humility is badly needed. I suggest that we should learn from St. Augustine who would put it this way succinctly : “I would not believe the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not compel me.”

                • bfhu@It’s not the “Body of Christ” in a church, such as the catholic church, that is teaching false doctrine, no more than churches teaching the “i am” or prosperity gospel, or any other emergent, apostate church. Doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t saved, born-again Christians within the walls of those churches, but I think a truly born-again person would be unable to stay in those churches once they recognize them as false or apostate.
                  Gotta go now, but I do want to respond to some of your other comments.

                  • The Body of Christ is composed of all believers. Even Catholics.

                    • Couple points I will touch on…
                      I agree; the Body of Christ is believers, saints — those born again by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. And verse after verse of the BIBLE documents that. Still, unless the RCC is one’s mission field, they would be so convicted of the false teachings of that church, once they are born-again, converted, that they would be compelled to RUN, not walk, out of that church.

                      Rom3:4-7 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
                      Rom3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, ART THOU A MASTER OF ISRAEL, AND KNOWEST NOT THESE THINGS? 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
                      READ John 3 – how many times does JESUS say BELIEVE?!
                      READ the Bible, not just to read, but to understand. Ask God to give you discernment and understanding as you do.

                      Luke 11:27-28 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

                      The Bible as a whole refutes most of the teachings of the catholic church. I say most….
                      some areas of agreement: One God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit – God is the creator – Jesus sinless – Jesus resurrection…
                      some areas of disagreement: infallibility of the pope, doctrines on Mary, purgatory, mediation of saints, transubstantiation, idols, succession of popes from Peter, sacred tradition, adding to Bible…

                      Sadly, they dangle “enough” of the truth to keep billions of people entranced in the FALSE religion of catholicism.

                    • Luke 24:45-47 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

      • Although the bible was written to exemplify our lives not every teaching from the time of Christ could possibly be in the bible therefore it doesn’t mean that other phenomena did not happen that are true also which have been passed down through generations. Why is it that non-Catholics always say if it’s not in the bible it isn’t so or it didn’t happen?
        Mary was born without original sin (someone as important as Jesus was would not be expected to be carried in the womb of an imprefect human being). The Holy Spirit surely had the power to prepare Mary before her own birth to be born of complete purity and without sin. Mary is venerated (honored as Jesus’ mother ) just as you would honor your mother and father. Catholics adore only God

    • In Luke2:21-24 Sacrifice made for purification according to the Law of Moses. Mary did.Following the birth of a son a mother had to wait 40 days before going to the temple to offer sacrifice for her purification. This is in accordance to Leviticus12.

  5. gb57, the truth is this, if one stays in the catholic church, believes in its teachings, and ways, then you will go to hell.believe it or not. read the , bible, mary, praying to dead saints, lighting candles, and confession, all lies. bless you all.

    • What you wrote is true. Thanks to our Lord and Savior, I am no longer a catholic. Now I can call myself a Christian!!!! Which is a sinner saved by Grace!

    • Oh, I did not realize that there was a faith where the followers are indeed Godlike and they get to determine who does and does not go to hell. Very interesting…

    • The contrary is true. If you stray away from the teaching church established by Jesus Chirst, you risk losing your salvation by:traveling through the wide gate and on the broad way that “lead to destruction, (and those who find it are few).” You can go through life justifying all the personal sins and compromises to your faith without the guidance of the church. You may be practising anti-life by using contraceptions or support abortions, divorcing and remarrying, neglecting to make reparations (to people we’ve harmed), and worse … parttaking in the Holy Communion but disrespecting it by failing to recognize the true body and blood of Christ. We have free will, and the consequence of our choices can be very injurious to our personal faith and growth in the Lord.

  6. Dear George,
    Could you explain, using scripture, why Catholics who believe the teachings of our Church are going to Hell?

    I have read the Bible many times. I can find NOTHING about Mary, praying to Saints, (alive in Heaven, only their bodies are dead) lighting candles or confession, that the Bible condemns or contends is a lie. Please may we see your verse?

    To be clear, I contend that there is NOTHING in Sacred Scripture that contradicts anything we believe. As you search the scriptures ponder about this:

    Is it possible that ONLY PROTESTANT INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE CONTRADICTS CATHOLIC THEOLOGY?

    • Based on your explanations for Catholic traditions that are not based in Scripture, one may say that everything that is not spoken in Scripture is OK to do. I believe it is safer follow what Scripture explicitly says to do, and not to do. Ambiguity is where the devil sneaks in – so if the Bible is silent on stuff, why do something that may be sinful (or may lead someone to sin)? We can only know if we’re living according to God’s will when we can hear God speaking about it in His Word.

      I’ve been reading throughout this website, and see that many of questions asked are not answered; the answer seems to be: since the Scripture does not prohibit it explicitly (although some practices come very closely to idolatry – and seem that way to many), then it must be OK to practice them.

      From a logical point of view, it seems kind of unorthodox – since we know that God’s Word is true, we use it as the plum line for our lives in faith. It seems logical not to practice things that Bible does not speak of.

      Traditon, spoken of in the Bible, speaks of REVELATION OF CHRIST spoken and written about by Apostles. Everything that Christ taught the apostles is considered apostolic tradition.

      Human tradition – rituals, rules, regulations are generally criticized, even condemned by Jesus Himself (the Pharisees, who by wanting to observe the law perfectly, made up many unnecessary rules, that made them miss God and His intentions).

      Finally, I just wonder why you would speak so harshly about Protestants, who read the Bible and see that it does not speak about Mary being taken into heaven, and nowhere it says that she was without sin. Why is it wrong to take Jesus at His Word, when He says that He Himself intercedes for us before the Father?

      Why is it so wrong (based on what you say) to rely solely on Scripture? Isn’t Christ and only Christ enough for our salvation? Isn’t only God who can forgive, justify, sanctify and glorify? No protestant will tell you we do not need the Church, but only Christ is the foundation of the Church. No man, but Jesus. Peter – yes the first church member, the church planter ordained by God, but still a mere man. Only Christ will remain after the judgment. All else – all human tradition – Protestant or Catholic will burn in the fire. What is truly of God will remain – and that is the Word of God given to the Church.

      Just as you say that some Catholic rituals are OK because they aren’t spoken of in Scripture, why would you say that Protestant belief of ‘sola scriptura’ is against Scripture? Is it because Protestants do not follow human traditions, which are ambiguous? Is that why you think they are wrong?
      According to God, we are sinners. We are born with selfish and fallen nature, with hearts of stone – hearts that deceive us, minds that trick us and wills that make us prone to elevate and glorify ourselves. Why is it wrong to stray from traditions and doctrines that do not have strong Biblical foundation? Food for thought – if you find a verse in the Bible that condemns following the Bible and only the Bible, please let me know – it’s a matter of life and death.

      One more thing – how can we ever know if a human is right or wrong? How can we know if someone is telling the truth? I would love to hear your thoughts.

      • JIML: Based on your explanations for Catholic traditions that are not based in Scripture, one may say that everything that is not spoken in Scripture is OK to do.

        BFHU:
        You have misunderstood. One must listen to Scripture and the Doctrine taught by the Catholic Church. Why do Protestant practice contraception when God killed Onan when he did it?

        JIML:I believe it is safer follow what Scripture explicitly says to do, and not to do. Ambiguity is where the devil sneaks in – so if the Bible is silent on stuff, why do something that may be sinful (or may lead someone to sin)? We can only know if we’re living according to God’s will when we can hear God speaking about it in His Word.

        BFHU: There is nothing in the Catholic Faith that contradicts the Scripture. Nothing that is taught by the Catholic Church that is a sin. But of course, Catholics sin. But not in obedience to our Faith but by disobedience.

        JIML:I’ve been reading throughout this website, and see that many of questions asked are not answered; the answer seems to be: since the Scripture does not prohibit it explicitly (although some practices come very closely to idolatry – and seem that way to many), then it must be OK to practice them.

        BFHU:
        That is because if I can’t give Protestants chapter and verse in Scripture to answer the questions they do not consider it answered. Until a Protestant can PROVE Sola Scriptura from Scripture I am not under any Scriptural obligation to obey it. I only provide the best scripture I can to answer questions. But even when Scripture CLEARLY SUPPORTS Catholic Theology Protestants still wiggle out of it by INTERPRETING IT DIFFERENTLY. Such as,
        Savation is NOT BY FAITH ALONE>

        JIML:From a logical point of view, it seems kind of unorthodox – since we know that God’s Word is true, we use it as the plum line for our lives in faith.

        BFHU: Catholics do also.

        JIML:It seems logical not to practice things that Bible does not speak of.

        BFHU: Why? If Sola Scriptura was Scriptural then it would be logical. But since the Christian Faith of 2000 years had believed and practiced what the Catholic Church teaches, then it seems a lot MORE logical to practice the Faith of the Church founded by Jesus and His Apostles than a denomination founded by men.

        JIML:Traditon, spoken of in the Bible, speaks of REVELATION OF CHRIST spoken and written about by Apostles. Everything that Christ taught the apostles is considered apostolic tradition.

        BFHU: I agree.

        JIML: Human tradition – rituals, rules, regulations are generally criticized, even condemned by Jesus Himself (the Pharisees, who by wanting to observe the law perfectly, made up many unnecessary rules, that made them miss God and His intentions).

        BFHU: Only the traditions that nullified the word of God and examples are given. But St. Paul exhorts us to cling to the traditions he taught by word (Oral Tradition) or writing (Scripture)

        JIML:Finally, I just wonder why you would speak so harshly about Protestants, who read the Bible and see that it does not speak about Mary being taken into heaven, and nowhere it says that she was without sin.

        BFHU:
        I don’t speak harshly about Protestants. I used to be a zealous Protestant. You can read my conversion story above on a tab. But Scripture does not say Mary Sinned so why are Protestants so sure she did? It doesn’t say in Scripture that Mary died and was buried. So How can Protestants know this is what happened. Protestants forget about Sola Scriptura when it is not helpful to make their case.

        JIML:Why is it wrong to take Jesus at His Word, when He says that He Himself intercedes for us before the Father?

        BFHU: It is not wrong. We do this. Show me one place where the Catholic Church does not take Jesus at his word.

        JIML:Why is it so wrong (based on what you say) to rely solely on Scripture?

        BFHU: Because Protestants criticize the Catholic Church for beliefs not found in Scripture and yet Protestants also hold beliefs not found in scripture. And because Protestants have a limited Faith since it rejects the Fullness of the Faith found in the Church founded by Jesus and ALL of His teachings.

        JIML:Isn’t Christ and only Christ enough for our salvation? Isn’t only God who can forgive, justify, sanctify and glorify? No protestant will tell you we do not need the Church, but only Christ is the foundation of the Church. No man, but Jesus. Peter – yes the first church member, the church planter ordained by God, but still a mere man. Only Christ will remain after the judgment. All else – all human tradition – Protestant or Catholic will burn in the fire. What is truly of God will remain – and that is the Word of God given to the Church.

        BFHU:
        I agree but that Word is NOT only what got written down. Jesus is the WORD. and there were other teachings that were passed down orally.

        JIML:
        Just as you say that some Catholic rituals are OK because they aren’t spoken of in Scripture, why would you say that Protestant belief of ‘sola scriptura’ is against Scripture?

        BFHU: We do not say that Sola Scriptura is against Scripture. What I say over and over is that Protestants object to Catholic beliefs by saying, “Where is that in Scripture?” Protestants do this b/c they believe the doctrine of Sola Scriptura conceived of by Martin Luther 500 years ago.( But the Catholic Faith and beliefs have been around for 2000 years as evidenced by reading the Early Church Fathers.

        But the problem with the Doctrine of Sola Scriptura is that it cannot be found in Scripture! So Protestants criticize Catholics for beliefs that cannot be found in Scripture and yet the very foundation of why they criticize Catholics, Sola Scriptura, is not in Scripture any more than the assumption or immaculate Conception of Mary!!!

        JIML: Is it because Protestants do not follow human traditions, which are ambiguous? Is that why you think they are wrong?

        BFHU: But that is the point. Protestants DO FOLLOW CATHOLIC TRADITION! The New Testament Canon is a Catholic TRADITION. The NT table of contents is not contained in scripture.
        The Doctrine of the Trinity is Catholic Teaching that is not found explicitly in the NT. That is why Jehovahs Witnesses exist.
        The word Trinity and Incarnation are NOT found in Scripture just like Purgatory is not found in Scripture.These are all Catholic Traditions.

        JIML: Why is it wrong to stray from traditions and doctrines that do not have strong Biblical foundation?

        BFHU: Because Jesus founded a Church 2000 years ago. Christianity evangelized the known world 1500 years until Protestantism was born, claiming to know better than the Church founded by Christ. Protestantism dropped by the wayside things that Christians had always and every where believed. Everything Jesus did and taught did not get written in the books of the NT. They are precious but there also existed along side the NT Oral teachings and explanations of Scripture that Protestantism lost touch with.

        JIML:One more thing – how can we ever know if a human is right or wrong? How can we know if someone is telling the truth? I would love to hear your thoughts.

        BFHU: Regarding what exactly? In general everyday stuff….beats me. Regarding Christianity….If what a teacher or Christian says aligns with the Cathechism I would accept it. But if it contradicts any teaching of the Church, and I mean CHURCH, not some whacko priest or catholic layman, then I reject it.

    • they are IDOLS!

  7. Thank you so much for providing this material. I am in a Bible Study and this is a huge point of contention with me. I was raised a Catholic and am now a Methodist but I find it very frustrating to hear the slams against Catholics in our study. My mother and several of my friends are Catholic and they are some of the most devout Christians I know. And it’s also interesting to me that when you see this argument it is mostly Protestants saying that Catholics are going to hell with usually something less than a loving Christian attitude.

    • I agree that it is a harsh statement to say that catholics are going to hell. Actually, that isn’t true. It doesn’t matter what you “call” yourself. If you are a sinner saved by grace, you are a Christian. Therefore, you will go to Heaven. But, of course, works without being saved are like “filthy rags”, as the Bible puts it.
      So, if you are a sinner saved by grace, but still going to the catholic church, it’s ok. I just wonder why you would still want to go there. I learn more from a non-denominational church.

      • Don,
        We are saved by Grace not our learning. We Catholics are all sinners saved by the grace of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our good works do not save us. They begin the purifying process or sanctification process.

        We still want to go to the Catholic Church because it is the ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH founded by Jesus Christ. Why would anyone want to go to any church founded by mere men.
        And we also receive grace through the sacraments, especially the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist and Confession.

        • Catholic = universal = all people saved by grace of Christ alone.
          Roman Catholic is not same as Catholic. Roman Catholic is a denomination, just as all the others.

          • The Catholic Church is called the Roman Catholic Church but we do not call ourselves that. This was an epithet apended to Catholic by the Anglicans to denigrate the Catholic Church. It is used in ph books and elsewhere. But the Catholic Church is the Universal Church. We have Churches in every country. I don’t think there is a Protestant denomination that does. We are the original Church. Eastern Orthodox and all Protestant broke off from us and each other.

            Peace Be With You, Pam Forrester bfhu.wordpress.com

          • Christ founded only “one” church upon Peter (Matt 16:18). The “marks” of this church are “one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic” as professed by all Christians since Nicea. The Catholic Church is simply an abbreviated term for the true church of God founded by Christ. In about AD 110, we had the first extant recorded use of the name “catholic church” (katholike ekklesia) for the true Church as universally known (Letter of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans).

            The idea of “denominations” was simply a late American Protestantism invention. The first Protestants (that is, in Europe) were simply grouped in “state churches” as they are still … thus Church of England, Church of Scotland, Church of Denmark, Church of Sweden, etc. When Protestants came to America, the reality of being churched under political and nationalistic lines was no longer practical … thus “(Protestant) denominations” were born. Thus, the Catholic Church is not “just” another denomination. it is the one church founded by Christ and is the Mother Church. All Protestant churches were sub-groups founded by man (Lutheran – Martin Luther; Anglicanism/Episcopalianism – King Henry the Eighth; Baptist – John Smyth; Presbyterianism – John Knox; Methodism – John Wesley, etc. etc.

          • Yes, Roman Catholics follow the Pope in Rome. There are many, many catholics who do not follow the Pope.

  8. It is really sad in these days that with everything that is going on Christians can’t unite and lift each other up. I am very sad to say that I hear much more negative spoken about Catholics from Protestants than I do Catholics speaking negatively about Protestants. That is just in my expierience. I don’t know how anyone can claim to be filled with the spirit of the Lord and make those kind of comments.
    Tom’s comments make me sad. My mother is a retired Methodist pastor. I am so sorry for the pain that brings to you,Tom. I pray for those hearts to be softened.

    • Ah – but Roman Catholics ‘say’ this through belief and action – until all are welcome at the communion table, the RC message is that only RC’s are ‘saved’. The liturgy may be beautiful, and the homily loving, but then the table is closed. That’s a huge message. Maybe this is the reason many people are turing to the many independent catholic churches, such as the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch. Such churches are Independent of the dogma of Rome, yet Catholic (a word, btw, that means universal, not ‘Roman.’)

      • Ah – but the term “RC” is just another Protestant (of wannabe Anglo-Catholic) invention – because the one holy catholic and apostolic church (called “Catholic”) is one in communion with the successor of Peter, the bishop of Rome, the Pope, under one fold and one shepherd. Don’t be a “bad” Protestant by going about shopping for one church after another to fit one’s personal agenda and cafeteria-variety Christianity. The real “huge” message is how Protestantism is so far removed from authentic Christianity as to put one’s soul in jeopardy by not “discerning the body” (1 Cor 11:28-29). Like the unfaithful disciples in John 6, Protestants find “eating (Christ’s) flesh” to be a “hard saying” and instead, have opted for a pseudo Eucharist. The Catholic Church does not have open communion because she does not want Christians without proper disposition to “eat and drink judgment against themselves … for this reason many of (you) are weak and ill, and some have died” (1 Cor 11:29-30).

        Merry Christmas,

  9. Tom,

    Try to understand that there are essentially two ways to look at God’s organization of the Church:

    1.) Catholics teach that God set order in the church by placing Apostles and their successors in charge.

    OR

    2.)Protestants teach that Jesus is the head of the Church
    but while he’s in Heaven, he never intended anyone on earth to have the authority to lead.

    Now ask yourself, where in your entire life experience have you ever found it to be a good idea to tell people that no one is in charge and that they are unregulated?

    Recall that the VERY FIRST lie Satan ever told was that they(Adam and Eve) could be in charge. As the saying goes; old tricks are the best tricks.

  10. Also I should probably point out I am Daniel H., not the other Daniel on this thread. *lol*

  11. Hello, Well you’ve answered my question with a question. What is the basis of your belief then? It’s simply an assumption. I understand why you would think Mary was saved prior to her birth, but it simply doesn’t line up with what Jesus said. He died once for all of us. The perfect sacrifice without spot nor blemish. It had to be a blood sacrifice! He didn’t die once for Mary and then again at Calvary for the rest of us. It simply doesn’t make any sense at all. Ref: Romans 6:10
    10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

  12. Jesus’ death saved everyone Before Christ (including Mary’s immaculate conception) and AD =Anno Domine. We do not think Jesus had to die twice.

    • Then how could Mary be born without sin, if Jesus died after her. Makes no sense at all.

      • I believe , as Mary has said, “I am the immaculate conception” which means” she” was born “without sin” as I read it the same as Adam and Eve were born without sin. Therefore, Mary would be on the same plain, so to say, as Jesus who was without sin and therefore we can pray for Grace through Mary to the Father directly.

        • Adam and Eve were not born. They were created by God without “human birth”. makes a world of difference. Everyone after Adam and Eve – born, and born with sin.

        • I suppose you would have to believe the apparitions to buy into your theory about Mary. The Bible does not say Mary was sinless. Man says Mary was sinless. Traditions & rules set forth by mere men at various councils sets the stage for the highjacking of the UNIVERSAL church. The rock, the church, the foundation. The church is BELIEVERS. Doesn’t matter denomination. Matters of the heart. Matters of ones faith in Jesus Christ alone. Matters that He died to cover the sins of all. Matters that he rose again. Jesus is the only way to the Father. Jesus is the way, the truth, the life. When you are saved by the grace of God, you have a changed heart. Praise God.

          • Our beliefs about Mary predate all the apparitions. That is partly what validates some of the apparitions. For instance, the Church has always taught the immaculate conception of Mary. However, it was not defined as an article of Faith until the 1854.

            Then four years later the Apparition of Mary at Lourdes to Bernadette happened. All the skeptics pooh poohed it but then the priest asked Bernadette what the lady’s name was. Bernadette then asked her and reported that the lady said her name was Immaculate Conception. This child had never heard the term before being uneducated and from a very poor family.

            Besides apparitions are private revelations and in now way binding for belief upon any of the faithful even after the Church approves them. so you are mistaken that we get our beliefs about Mary from them. We get them from historical accounts that go back 2000 years.

            You are correct. The Bible does not say explicitly that Mary was sinless. But we are not bound to believe only what is in the Bible. The Bible never says anything about the Protestant dogma of Sola Scriptural. However, the Annunciation, does certainly indicate Mary’s sinlessness. Please take a look at my post –>Immaculate Conception

            Mary’s Immaculate Conception is divine teaching through men. It has been taught since the beginning of the Church so Jesus must have taught it to His disciples.

            With the rest of your comment I agree.

        • Mary said that, where again (“I am the immaculate conception”)? Did God tell you that in His Word?

          1Tim2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

          I am still waiting for the Bible verses that speak of Mary’s perpetual virginity.
          And where in the Bible does it tell us that God assumed Mary to heaven?

          • There are no verses that tell us explicitly that Mary was a perpetual virgin or assumed into Heaven. But there are no verses that constrain us to find all religious truth in scripture. That is a Tradition of men.

  13. Dear Donna,
    Just as all of the OT saints were saved in anticipation of the atonement of Christ, so Mary was saved from sin before she ever sinned by Christ her savior, her son. Her sinlessness was a great gift of grace from God. She was fully human, free of the stain of original sin she was created in innocence and purity just like Adam and Eve. Just like we all might have been born (free from sin), if not for the fault of our first parents.

    With God all things are possible. He is not bound by TIME. He is outside of it and able to save Mary from the stain of original sin by the merits of Christ Jesus. Don’t you agree that He could do this if He wanted to? I am sure you don’t think that this is too hard for the Almighty.

    Mary is exactly the same as Adam and Eve were before the Fall. The difference is she kept herself pure,with the grace and power of God to assist her. Jesus is the new Adam and Mary is the new Eve.

    • Mary didn’t have parents? She was not born? She was created, not born? She was without original sin? I always thought that Jesus was withut original sin, that His conception, His birth was a miracle of God. I wonder why God didn’t tell us in the Bible that it is true of Mary too. I always thought that the only un-created One is without sin.

      • Mary had normal parents who were born with the sin nature. Mary was conceived in the normal way. She is not uncreated. She is a creature saved from sin by her son BEFORE she was born at her conception. And by the grace of God she did not fall as did Adam and Eve.

        Adam and Eve created without sin but fell. Jesus (the second Adam) and Mary created without sin and did not sin. Both Jesus and Mary were born through a miracle. Jesus’ birth is the miraculous birth taking flesh from Mary but fathered by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s the Immaculate Conception.

        Peace Be With You, Pam Forrester bfhu.wordpress.com

    • Our you suggesting that Christ could have saved all of us as in Mary’s case (before birth) and then go on to die on the cross and then we would all like Mary be in heaven? You said Mary needed to cooperate with this grace in order to remain sinless as Adam and Eve could have done. Is this what you are really saying? John the Baptist as well never sinned. Are you saying this?

      • Well, Steve I would say God can do whatever He wants to do. But He has done what He has done. Yes, Mary could have chosen to sin. God did not remove her free will. And yes Adam and Eve also could have chosen to obey God rather than sin. I never said a thing about John the baptist being sinless.

        • Thanks for your comment so the whole plan of redemption of mankind was dependent on weather Adam and Eve sinned? So if no one had ever sinned and lived in complete obedience than no church would have ever needed to be established? Would you agree that God knew that Adam and Eve were going to sin?

        • This is what the Catholic church teaches.

          Many Catholics today are surprised to learn that Catholic tradition holds that a third person was born without Original Sin. There is a difference, however, between Saint John the Baptist’s birth without Original Sin and that of Christ and Mary: Unlike Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, John the Baptist was conceived with Original Sin, yet he was born without it. How could that be?

          John’s father, Zachary (or Zacharias), was, like Mary’s father, Joachim, subject to Original Sin. But God did not preserve John the Baptist from the stain of Original Sin at his conception. So John, like all of us descended from Adam, was himself subject to Original Sin. But then a wondrous event occurred. Mary, having been told by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation that her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, was pregnant in her old age (Luke 1:36-37), went to help her cousin (Luke 1:39-40).

          The Visitation, as this act of charity is known, is found in Luke 1:39-56. It is a touching scene of love of two cousins for each other, but it also tells much about the spiritual state of Mary and of John the Baptist. The Angel Gabriel had declared Mary “blessed among women” at the Annunciation (Luke 1:28), and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, repeats his greeting and amplifies it: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Luke 1:42).

          And while the cousins are greeting each other, “the infant [John the Baptist] leaped in her [Elizabeth's] womb” (Luke 1:41). That “leap” has traditionally been seen as John’s acknowledgment of the presence of Christ; in the womb of his mother, who was filled with the Holy Spirit, he too was filled with the Spirit, and his “leap” represents a type of Baptism. As the Catholic Encyclopedia notes in its entry on St. John the Baptist:

          Again, There is more teaching from Tradition and tradition in the Catholic church than from the totality of scripture it seems to me. Tradition is wonderful and we need it; Howeve,r so much is added as truth in accordance with the Bible. You often comment that just because the Word of God is silent on an issue then it is ok to assume that what you are trying to suggest is true?

          Have you considered that the scriptures in part were very much a part of the early church pre 400 A.D. Often scriptures were read to the people as they broke bread together on the first day of the week.

          Over 1500 years many things have been changed back and forth. If the Eurchairst is so important why would laity be denied the cup throughout a large part of History? I love the Lords supper and consider it the as intimate fellowship with Christ as prayer, fasting and meditation and scripture.

          Why do things change so much over History in the RCC but yet claim that “we are all united” in the RCC church? When I use the term “united” I am referring to what the RCC says that they are the only church united in truth.

          Lastly, What would have happened if Mary would have sinned as you suggest she never did. How do you know for certain that She did not commit any sin? And as you suggest how do you know for certain that John the Baptist may have sinned as you suggest?

          • Dear Steve,
            You are correct when you say: “There is more teaching from Tradition in the Catholic church than from the totality of scripture”

            That is because Jesus built a Church. He did not write scripture. He did not tell the apostles to write. He told them to make disciples. And this is what they did. The apostles did not have the canon of the NT because they did not begin to write the gospels until much later….and yet the Christian faith was spread abroad and based, not on reading scripture and deciding what to believe and teach, but the Christian faith was based upon what Jesus had directly taught the apostles and what they in turn taught others. As St. John says in John 20:30 and 21: 25 the world could not contain the books if all was written. This why all the teachings of Jesus were not contained in the NT and why the Catholic Church contains the fullness of Christianity. Protestants only have the NT.Which is a lot and very sacred. And God loves Protestants, too.

            I do agree with you that of course the Church possessed the books of the NT that later were canonized. But the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is based on KNOWING that the scriptures ARE the WORD of GOD, inerrant. Before they were canonized the NT books were used along with other writings that did not make it into the canon of the NT.

            Doctrine and Dogma in the Church do not change. Liturgy changes. Disciplines change. Prayers change. But the Catholic Church teaches what has always been taught for 2000 years. Therefore, for me to be a Christian and not an agnostic I must trust the Church founded by Jesus Christ Himself and not a form of Christianity founded a mere 500 years ago that has splintered into 30,000 ununited groups protesting against the Catholic Church, who only possess part of the teachings of Jesus.

            • Yes I understand what you are saying, but Christ did write the Bible. The Trinity functions as whole and the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit third person of God.

              I am still not understanding this. If Jesus commands that if you do not eat my blood and drink my flesh then on what authority does the church have to take away the blood? It is directly opposed to Christ’s words? If you are not familiar with this there was a period of time when the Lords Supper (The Blood was with-held) from the laity. So whose authority is this? How can this authority contradict the authority of Christ?

              When you have a chance you mentioned that Adam and Eve could not have sinned if they chose to. God Knew they would sin and His plan from the beginning of time was to redeem a people. Do you agree with this?

              • Steve,
                The Church withheld the cup from the faithful out of deepest reverence for the Body &Blood of Christ since it could be easily spilled. But the Blood of Christ was not withheld because the Body and Blood of Christ are present in the host by itself or the cup by itself.

                Given this fact the cup was reserved to the priest. I am gluten intolerant so i cannot receive the host but only the Body and Blood from the cup. It is a fuller sign to offer communion with the host and the cup but not a necessity in order to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.

                Yes, God, with foreknowledge knew that Adam and Eve would choose to sin. And yes He had a plan for redemption. But Adam and Eve had free will and could have chosen not to sin. God’s foreknowledge did not cause/force/make them to sin.

                • So what you are saying is that taking half of communion is as effectual as taking all?
                  When you referred to Mary as having a free will as Adam and Eve does the Catholic Church teach she could have sinned?

                  When you referenced “All have sinned” and exempted Mary and used Christ as an example to negate “all have sinned” saying the verse is not referring to Mary or Christ. How can you say this without placing Mary in the same place as a Christ? Mary had a free will to sin Jesus did not.

                  • Yes , in receiving the host or the cup we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. The Lord has provided for us who cannot eat wheat!

                    Mary could have sinned. Mary is not in the same place as Christ. Mary is a creature. Christ is God. Jesus certainly has free will I never said He did not.

                    • I am still not understanding how Mary could be sinless. Are you saying she was perfect? You cannot rencile all have sinned meaning creatures with a sinless life of a creature. It goes against scripture unless you change scripture with human reasoning.

                      While I love and respect Catholics and consider all who name Jesus as their Savior part of Gods family. Sometimes you take scripture extremely litterally and other times you contradict it with human reasoning and call it Tradition. This is what it seems to me.

                      I have a great friend who is Catholic and yes a dear brother in The Lord. All he seems to talk 90 % of the time is his favorite saint Padre Pio. He wants to be a child of Padre Pio he says. Do you see the danger in this? It is impossible to give this kind of devotion to a saint and not take away from Jesus. Just because he shared in Christs sufferings as we all do as we seek to obey Christ, does not mean we need to be “Children of a Saint” as he says. Do you see the danger in this? He claims Padre is standing at the gates of heaven and will not enter until all his children enter. These are Padres words. How do you suggest this is helpful to my friend? Do you not see how this takes away from Christ who stands the for for us?

                      We

            • You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Do you agree with this?

  14. Yes Jesus died for the saints of old~the priest’s were no longer required to burn offerings for the remission of sin, because Jesus was the final sacrifice~the lamb without spot nor blemish, but This is no way infers that Mary was born without original sin. It’s a romantic idea, but nothing in scripture old or new testament points to this idea. Her immaculate conception didn’t make her holy. She was simply faithful and obedient to the call God had on her life. No different than anyone else who’s obedient to the call of God.

    BFHU: Except she was able to keep from sinning.

    No different than anyone else who received a miracle from Jesus.

    BFHU: Of course, miracles are all by the power of God, as was her Immaculate Conception.

    Jesus said, All have sinned and All fall short of the Glory of God. No where does it infer All, but Mary.

    BFHU:Neither does it infer ‘all but Jesus’.

    Mary had other children. (She was not ever virgin) I believe the Catholic church still teaches that and it clearly states in the word that Jesus had Half Brother’s and Sisters as well.

    BFHU:The Protestant interpretation of the the verses referring to the brothers of sisters of Jesus is certainly legitimate. But there is also another legitimate interpretation which the Catholic Church teaches. And that is that these were not siblings of Jesus, half, step, or otherwise but kinsman.
    The Greek word used in these passages can be used exactly as our word for brother and sister can be used to mean an actual sibling or a close family member or other close relationship as many Pastors say, “Brothers and Sisters…” They do not mean siblings. And neither did St. Paul when he addressed his epistles to <em>brothers
    If Protestants try to force the literal sibling interpretation when adelphos is used for Jesus’ brothers then they will be forced by their own hermenutic to interpret all of the epistles and being directed only to the siblings of the author.

    If Joseph kept her a virgin throughout their entire marriage then he should get the kudos x a million!

    BFHU: St. Joseph was a very holy man. That is why he was chosen to be the husband of Mary.

    Poor Joseph~not much is stated about him in the word, nor is much honor given him, but he was an obedient servant of the Lord by keeping Mary a virgin till Jesus was Born. Under Jewish Law he could have had her stoned.

    In response to a previous point regarding sola scriptura , read John’s warning
    Revelation 22:18-19.
    18. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

    BFHU: Are you aware that this same admonition was made in the OT three times. Does that make the New Testament illegitimate?

    Deuteronomy 4:2
    You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

    Deuteronomy 12:32
    Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

    Proverbs 30:6
    Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

    God takes His Word very seriously. He’s a God of order and that’s what I love about Him and His Word. It follows very logical patterns of thought. He doesn’t mince words.

    BFHU: I totally agree.

    • When you use the comparison above about Mary and Jesus and (all have sinned), Was not Mary a human and Jesus God in flesh? Is there not a big difference? One is God in flesh and one is flesh alone.

      • Absolutely. Jesus was fully God and fully man…God/Man. He was not God under the appearance of a human. He possesses both natures and still does. Mary was fully human as God originally created human persons without the fallen nature.

  15. You still have no basis for your belief that Mary was born without original sin and lived a sinless life. And yes Jesus was sinless~He’s God! As a believer in Jesus Christ I will infer that He was sinless! My only proof I need is my belief that He’s God!

    And of course I take the whole counsel of God and read it in context. The Old Testament was a foreshadowing of the New. It doesn’t make the New illegitimate.

    I was raised Catholic and never encouraged to read the bible. I started reading it when i was in my late 20′s. By the power of the Holy Spirit God showed and continues to show me who He is and the meaning of His word. My belief hangs on the Word of God and not on the doctrine of any denomination.

    Do you believe what you believe because Catholic doctrine says it’s truth or have you searched out the word and sought out the truth from God Himself? I can’t put my trust in man, now that I have Jesus.

    My parents think I’ve left the true church and I believe I haven’t left anything~I’ve just met my Saviour in a very personal way and the Holy Spirit leads me to all truth. Besides Jesus said, The True church is without spot nor blemish and I don’t believe any church will lay claim to that.

    When I first started reading the Word, I just found some encouragement and comfort there~especially from the Psalms, but without the holy spirit, it was just that.~words When I accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour, repented of my past, then the Word became life to me.

  16. Donna, It is unfortunate that you are equating knowing the Holy Spirit and Jesus and reading the bible with not being Catholic.

    I am a protestant headed toward Converting and I don’t find your statements to be accurate in what I have seen and experienced in the Catholic Church.

    “~I’ve just met my Saviour in a very personal way and the Holy Spirit leads me to all truth. “(Donna)

    You make it sound like that is impossible in the Catholic Church. I find very much the opposite. I have enjoyed the emphasis put in Scripture, the impact of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the relationship that we have with Jesus all strongly supported in the Catholic Church.

    Blessings.

  17. I’m speaking from personal experience when I said that I was not encouraged to read the bible as a Catholic. If you’re converting to the Catholic church from the protestant faith, then perhaps it would be a reasonable conclusion to assume you’ve read the bible and had some understanding of the holy spirit and have some type of relationship with Jesus. I never had any teaching about the holy spirit nor did I ever have any classes on the bible. I grew up in the 60′s and was taught by nuns. Never owned a bible until my 20′s in the 80′s. I’m speaking from personal experience & from talking with my family & friends who are Catholic. When I asked my Dad if he thought I had to be Catholic to be saved, he said he didn’t know what you had to believe to be saved. I find that terribly sad. When I first started talking about the bible he seriously got angry with me. Anytime I mention the bible both he and my Mom act as though I’m speaking a foreign language. It’s possible that the Catholic church is changing and I have heard that some are offering bible classes. Glad to hear that.

    I’m a born-again believer, so I don’t know how that compares to what you’ve been taught as a protestant. I don’t know that I was ever taught to pray to Jesus. I do remember being taught to pray to Mary and various saints. I remember that on my own I chose to pray to God. Before I read the Bible, I didn’t know about Jesus being our advocate to the Father. Now I pray only to God in Jesus name. Until I was saved, born again, there’s no way I could understand the bible or God. I had to be born~again of the spirit. I had to realize I was a sinner in need of a savior. My Catholic baby baptism didn’t save me. I had to repent of my sin as an adult~ I was 30~and put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He had to become my Lord, my everything! A question was put to me, “If you died today, would you go to heaven?” My snap response was yes, but after I thought about it, I really didn’t know the answer to that. I thought I was a pretty good person, so why wouldn’t I go to heaven. Fact was, I was a rank sinner, desperately in need of Jesus. I’ve broken every commandment! Jesus said if you hate your brother, you’ve got murder in your heart~if you lust after anyone, you’ve committed adultery in your heart and on goes the list.

    I don’t know where you’re at with the Lord. I was going to ask if you were a Priest or Deacon. Maybe you’re a seeker still trying to figure it out. All I know is Jesus saved me and I’m forever grateful. I love the Lord and put my hope & trust in Him, not in the doctrines of man.

    I hope you search the scriptures for yourself, before taking the word of anyone else. I believe there are Catholics who’re saved, but it’s not because they were Catholic, it’s because they are born of the spirit and put their hope and trust in Jesus their Lord and Savior.

    Hope that clarifies what I said.

  18. Donna,
    I agree with what you have said and yes, as a protestant, that is all what I was raised in. I have a relationship with Jesus and know the holy spirit and know where my salvation lies.. … I just don’t personally know ANY Catholics who believe they are saved because they are baptized. Your upbringing is unfortunate, but perhaps not the norm? I love the Church and the sanctity and the emphasis on worship while in the presence of the Lord. I was raised in a non denominational Christian Church and then have spent the past 20 plus in the Methodist Church. I get tired of every church I have been to the elders bustling around to fit church to the people. The whole set up changes and beliefs are altered as time goes on and adjusted to what the people want to hear. God doesn’t Change!??! Also, it is not like being in a worship situation. People waltz in wearing WHATEVER(including pajama bottoms and bare feet!) Drinking cokes and coffee… eating, visiting and even when service begins none of this stops. No reverence at all.
    I love the Church I go to know. When you walk in, BE QUIET! People are praying. It is such a sweet attitude of worship, adoration, prayer and repentance. I have yet to meet a Catholic who has been taught to pray to Mary and not Jesus. And certainly no one who believes that anyone, but our Lord answers those prayers.

    “I confess to almighty God,
    and to you, my brothers and sisters,
    that I have sinned through my own fault,
    in my thoughts and in my words,
    in what I have done,
    and in what I have failed to do;
    and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
    all the angels and saints,
    and you, my brothers and sisters,
    to pray for me to the Lord, our God.”

    I have said this before, but when you look at the prayer we pray at Mass. This is obvious who it is directed to. I am asking Mary, angels, saints and YOU to pray for me to the Lord. That is pretty obvious that we are asking for prayer. Also, don’t be deceived that Catholics are the only ones who pray to Saints. Other protestant groups do to.

    Blessings in your journey.

  19. And just to briefly add to what happy said, technically, Protestants who believe in and confess their faith through the Apostles’ Creed should have no problem with praying to the Saints, either. The Apostles’ Creed clearly confesses, as translated by every mainline Protestant denomination (believe me, I checked), a belief in the “communion of saints.” This can be defined as a union of all Christians, both living and dead. Check the book of Revelation, especially the second half, where images of the Catholic Mass are clearly present – ex. the Great Amen and the Holy, Holy, Holy sung during the Eucharistic prayer. Not only can we pray to the saints, but we can worship with them each Sunday. And one final note on the topic – Catholics have multiple types of prayer, including intercessory, whereas Protestants seem to have only one type. When we pray to the Saints, we are asking them to intercede on our behalves; we’re not praying in a worshipful manor to them. The way I look at it, you can never have too many people praying for you – especially if they’re people of that caliber.

  20. Please go to this web site and it clears up allot of misunderstandings…
    http://www.protestanterrors.com/#20
    (WWW.protestanterrors.com)
    To claim that the Protestant reformers were given direct mission by God to reform the church requires undeniable proof, otherwise people all over the world could easily claim direct mission from God on all sorts of beliefs, then where would we be? Then each time we thought we were following the truth we would be forever interrupted by men claiming an extraordinary vocation. Is that how Jesus intended His Church to be?
    Consider the miracles sent by God through Moses so that others would believe his mission. Also consider the miracles performed by Jesus and the Apostles so that the people would believe their word. Yet the Protestant reformers, despite making the most drastic changes to the Catholic Church since its founding, have never shown a miracle or any other sign to prove their mission, as would have occurred elsewhere in Scripture with such a drastic change to the faith. Jesus did not hesitate to show signs when reforming the Church, so what audacity do the Protestant reformers have to propose changes as drastic as Jesus made without showing any signs? “Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? Otherwise believe for the very works’ sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do.” John 14:11,12
    Why should we take the Protestant reformers mere word without a sign? He who boasts an extraordinary mission from God without immediately producing undeniable signs cannot be believed.
    If there was a true immediate mission from God to reform the church, then we ask which one had the true mission; Luther, Calvin, or another reformer? Each of these men had opposing beliefs from the start which resulted in different denominations so it is quite obvious these men did not have an immediate mission from God.
    For those who would like to claim the Protestant reformers were true prophets, why did they act contrary to all other prophets before them by not showing any undeniable signs to prove their words, and by opposing the one true Church which no other true prophet has ever done?

  21. It is as simple as this.
    There is but one way to get to heaven, and that is to confess to the Lord that you have sinned, believe that Jesus Christ came to Earth and died on the cross for every man’s sins. Then ask God to come into your heart and save you. When I say that Jesus died on the cross for every man’s sins, this does not mean that every man is saved. No not at all. It means that God sent his son to die on the cross for our sins, and that if we ask him to save us then we will be saved. We do not have to do works to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. However I do believe that once saved, Christians should witness for Christ.
    And by the way, Mary was a sinner just like every other human that has been on this planet, is on this planet, and will ever be on this planet, except for Jesus.

  22. What I find most dissapointing is that Christians/Catholics/Christ followers who should be focussing on the areas of their faith that unite the body of Christ would rather spend time aruguing over details that are divisive.
    Christ died for the His bride the Church…that isn’t one specific denomination but the body of believers…those that believe in their heart that He is God and confess with their mouth that God raised Him from the dead.
    Ultimately that will determine the destination of your soul.
    If one believes and confesses and doesn’t do another thing…one’s salvation is still assured.
    It is one’s sad fate to rob themselves of hearing Christ say “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I am certain that there are soooo many things that will only be made clear once we are in heaven… I am content to wait until then.
    In the meantime …i’ll seek to live a life of salt and light for my saviour.

  23. Anna,

    If what you say is true, basically, once saved always saved, then what about…
    I Peter 3:20…..baptism that now saves you

    John 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”

    Hebrews 6: 4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace….

    26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

    I John 2:3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him . 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love[b] is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did….9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. …15 If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him... 29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

    • Explain why you use IJohn 2:3. It is very clear to a Protestant and Catholic, that once you are saved – you died to sin and sin is no longer your master. You live to God – meaning following His commandments. You cannot, however follow God without the Holy Spirit. If you are born of the Spirit (saved), you bear fruit of the Spirit marked by God’s peace and contentment. We all agree on that.
      (Romans 5 & 6)

      • Not exactly. The Once Save Always Saved Calvinist theology says that how one lives after salvation CANNOT cause one to lose their salvation.

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

  25. Its funny BFHU uses 1 peter 3:20. I will use the following verse to explain the water that Noah and his family was saved as it relates to the new testament. 1 Peter 3:21 states, ” and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge [fn] of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

    Notice that it specifys the baptism that saves is not the removal of dirt from the body but the PLEDGE (confession of faith in good conscience) that saves you. This explains what baptism is. It’s the public profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the water has no saving power in itself. It is confessing Jesus as Lord. The true baptism is in the regeneration process by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13

    John 6:53: BFHU takes this completely out of context. Jesus describes himself as the bread of life and we know from the Lord ‘s Supper scriptures Jesus said the Lord’s supper was to be done in rememberance of Him and what He did. Rememberance of Him implies a memorial (something done in memory of). When Jesus is saying those who eat of my flesh and drink of my blood remain in me, he is referring to those who have made a commitment to Christ and have taken and ingested the bread of life. When we look at what scripture says says us the bible says faith alone in Jesus alone. So when we put our faith alone in Jesus alone we ingest the bread of life. Christ dwells within us. We are regenerated.

    Both Hebrews 6:4 and 26 talks about once we have been enlightened and received knowledge. Notice this is referring to knowledge of the truth and not accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. It is one thing to say we know the truth and reject it then we gave our life to Jesus and then turned away. This person clearly is not reading what the scripture says. Of course someone can turn away after receiving knowledge of the truth and reaching enlightenment (which means understanding). Its what you do with that understanding. If you accept that understanding and confess Christ as Lord than you are saved. If you reject than you deny him.

    1 John 2:3 is talking about obeying Jesus and living as Jesus did as knowing we are saved. Notice the verse never refers to those things as saving them. Faith produces good works, but faith alone saves. So the Catholic Argument here fails miserably.

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

  27. Most folks don’t realize that Catholics and Evangelicals are coming much closer to agreement on the issue of salvation. A few years ago Catholic and Lutheran theologians produced a document that explains that most of our differences are semantic. You can read it here: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html. The document goes on to say that differences that developed after the initial debate about the roles of grace, faith and works remain a significant stumbling block to unity, but we all more or less agree on how we are saved.

    Moreover, as an ex-Evangelical, I can say that one of the things that gets Evangelicals all hot and bothered is the inference that when the Catholic Church says that you have to do this and this and this to get saved, then non-Catholics must all be damned. This is an oversimplification and misunderstanding of Catholic teaching.

    In paragraphs 4 and 5 of “An Assessment of the Second Vatican Council,” for instance, it is written:

    “The Catholic Church professes that it is the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church of Christ; this it does not and could not deny. But in its Constitution the Church now solemnly acknowledges that the Holy Ghost is truly active in the churches and communities separated from itself. To these other Christian Churches the Catholic Church is bound in many ways: through reverence for God’s word in the Scriptures; through the fact of baptism; through other sacraments which they recognize.
    The non-Christian may not be blamed for his ignorance of Christ and his Church; salvation is open to him also, if he seeks God sincerely and if he follows the commands of his conscience, for through this means the Holy Ghost acts upon all men; this divine action is not confined within the limited boundaries of the visible Church.”

    Catholics embrace Evangelicals as their brothers and sisters in Christ, and look forward to sharing eternity with them. In the meanwhile, we are bound to proclaim the truth as we understand it and continue working for that unity that Our Lord prayed for on the night that He was betrayed.

  28. I always find it interesting (in a sad way) that protestants will say that the only thing, that you must do or say to be saved, is to confess that Jesus is your personal lord and savior, Romans 10:9 ,

    which all catholic (that I know) do profess, and so they must be saved by the protestant definition. but then they believe that Catholics are doomed to hell, because Catholics also believe in other biblical passages, that support works,

    James 2:24
    Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

    Matthew 12:37
    For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    Galatians 6:7
    Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

  29. Rico – James is dealing with people who profess to be Christians, and yet they don’t evidence the reality of their faith by their works [deeds]. Over, and over again… people will say they have faith and they don’t have works, and James is saying that real faith always produces works as a result… The question is, ‘A man may say that he has faith, but will that faith justify him?’ If it is just a ‘said’ faith”—no, it won’t!

    Romans 3:20—”Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in [God's] sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

    Romans 3:28—”Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

    Titus 3:5—”He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”

  30. Your arguments are put together well but completely and utterly flawed.

    To correct one of the catholic responses: According to the Council of Trent, Protestants are not going to heaven, but hell. We were condemned in our practices. So under Catholic theology, if everyone truly understood it, that person, Matthew, would not be able to say,”Catholics embrace Evangelicals as their brothers and sisters in Christ, and look forward to sharing eternity with them. In the meanwhile, we are bound to proclaim the truth as we understand it and continue working for that unity that Our Lord prayed for on the night that He was betrayed.”

    In addition, what Catholics call faith in Jesus Christ is not true faith. Their definition of faith is completely different than Protestants. The bottom line is: What are they counting on to get to heaven? Catholics believe the 7 sacraments are how they receive grace. They call this their faith. Notice how their faith is defined. They define faith by receiving sacraments. Protestants define faith as trusting in what Jesus did alone to save us by accepting him and making him our Lord and Savior. Protestants receive grace through repentance and trust in Jesus. Catholics receive faith by sacraments. You can call a grapefruit an orange, but that does not change the fact that the grapefruit is a grapefruit.

  31. What saves us? Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” We are saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and it is not anything we can do. Therefore works have nothing to do with salvation. To imply works would have anything to do with salvation is to take away what Jesus did on the cross for us. As Paul states in Ephesians 2:9, “not of works, lest anyone should boast.” He is saying that salvation is not by anything we do or don’t do and the reason is so we will have nothing to boast about. We are sinners before a Holy and Just God. Isaiah 64:6 states, “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” This verse displays how nothing we do can measure up to God’s glorious standards. Therefore faith alone in Christ Jesus alone is what makes us right with God.

    Therefore, if works has nothing to do with salvation than what role does works play in the Christian life? James 2:26 states, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James in this passage and in the entire chapter is showing that works is the end result of faith. True faith in the Lord Jesus Christ produces works for the glory of God. Without works to prove faith, than true faith may not exists. The works don’t save the person, but shows the person has been saved by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

    How does faith produce works? When we are saved and we have experienced God’s amazing forgiveness through His grace, we have the Holy Spirit that indwells us and we are becoming more like Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18 states, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”The more we become like Christ the more we care about the things He cares about. 2 Peter 3:18 states, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” As we grow in Christ we will live for His glory alone and good deeds will flow, because it truly is the Lord Jesus Christ working through us.

    To conclude, works has nothing to do with salvation. Salvation is through the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Works are the result of True Faith, because true faith results in regenerated heart that beats to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

  32. Justin,
    I agree that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ

    Sections 161-162 the Catechism says:
    (161) “Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation …therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification…(162) Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man…

    I agree that good works are the result of True Faith and I would add that works complete our faith.

    Even Paul who no one can deny had True faith had to work at it.

    For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do … For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (Rom 7:15-20)

    our good works are part of our purification process.

    Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. (Mat 7:20)

  33. What you said contradicts the Roman Catholic view that all are saved by Faith AND Works set forth in the Council of Trent. It is clearly stated Faith AND Works, which makes it a combination that saves. So you saying that you agree that faith in Jesus Christ saves is not the same thing as what the bible says concerning faith. By stating that you agree that faith saves you are calling an orange a grapefruit when it really is an orange. No matter what you call something the definition of it and what it truly is defines it. Catholic faith = Works plus faith. Biblical faith = faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Biblical faith works comes after faith because we are “born again” and new creatures in Christ. See the scripture references from my last post. Our new nature creates works because it truly is Christ in us that is producing the fruit and not ourselves.

    As far as the Catholic view of purification and purgatory (where you go to get purified for heaven) This is a stark contrast to what the bible teaches. Purgatory is made up and the idea that you can buy your way out of purgatory through indulgences is a myth that is supported only by Catholic tradition. Interestingly enough indulgences were sold to raise money for the Catholic’s church building of St. Peter’s Basilica.

    I’m glad you mentioned Matthew 7:20. Lets look and examine the verse in its context.

    Matthew 7:19-23 states, “19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

    Notice in verse 22 Jesus explains what he means when He says those who do the will of my Father in heaven. In verse 22 Jesus talks about many who will on judgment day say they did this or that in Jesus name (notice it is all WORKS) and he will say depart from me I never KNEW YOU. Therefore this defines what the will of the Father in heaven is. The will of the Father in heaven in the verse you used is for us to know Jesus personally as Lord and Savior. We are purified through his blood and inherit his righteousness.

    • Everyone loves to refer to the Council of Trent without actually quoting their sources. Let’s see what the Council actually says about justification. The first canon of the Council’s Sixth Session (on Justification) says: “CANON I.-If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.”

      You can’t get much more straightforward than that. The Catholic Church anathematizes anyone who teaches that we are saved by works, and always has. So let’s finally bury this old dead horse y’all been trying to ride and get a new one.

      As for indulgences, the Catholic Church today agrees that Luther was in the right to preach against the abuses that had grown up around them in his day. In fact, so did (drum roll please) the Council of Trent! In their twenty-fifth session they had this to say: “It ordains generally by this decree, that all evil gains for the obtaining [of indulgences],–whence a most prolific cause of abuses amongst the Christian people has been derived,–be wholly abolished.”

      Please allow me one last word in regard to Purgatory. Protestants do not use the word, but every one of them that I know, (including my former self), believes in the concept. Surely we can all agree that we will no longer be our current sinful selves in heaven. No sinful thing can come into God’s holy Presence. That process that takes us from what we are now to what we will be then is Purgatory, (which is just a fancified form of “purging”). Catholics have dedicated substantial portions of theology and imagination to this, far more than Protestants, too be sure, and our musings have produced beliefs and practices that are indeed “strange” to the run-of-the-mill Evangelical, but the root doctrine of Purgatory is no fairy-tale, but an affirmation in the power of the Cross to change us from what we are to what He wants us to be. That process is going on now, in some mysterious way will finally be accomplished after our death, and will end directly before we come into the loving embrace of our Father.

      • Yes!!!

        If People would state what the Catholic Church actually believes with accuracy and not what their interpretation of the Catholic Church is there would be little to discuss. It is so sad that people spend sooooooo much time picking at people for their beliefs and when it comes down to it, they don’t really know what their beliefs are. I don’t find anything in that edifying or lead by the holy spirit.

        • I think it is because many, many, many catholics have no idea what they themselves believe – I come from almost fanatic Catholicism. The council may say that it is not by works. But somewhere else it says faith AND works. Does it say it is by faith alone? I mean, does it say what the Bible says we are saved by?

          • The Bible says in James 2 that it is NOT by Faith alone


            James 2:24
            You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            . and Peter says that baptism now saves us.


            1 Peter 3:21
            Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-

            and then favorite of Protestants and Catholics but interpreted differently by each:

            Eph. 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

            Peace Be With You, Pam Forrester bfhu.wordpress.com

          • Justification by faith ALONE is a major heresy. It is not taught in the bible and is not believed by any Christians before Martin Luther. Martin Luther knew this and so he inserted ALONE in Rom 3:28:

            “So halten wir nun dafur, da_ der Mensch gerecht wird ohne des Gesetzes Werke, allein durch den Glauben” [3.28]). Luther added the word “allein” (alone) to justify his new doctrine of Sola Fide. So much from someone who complained that the Catholic Church had violated the Word of God by adding to it.

  34. I’m saying that Catholics have faith, and your good works will confirm your faith, you must do good works for the glory of god, and not for your glory, so that no man shall boast.

    The catholic church has no problem if you say that only faith will get you to heaven as long as you also do good works,

    regardless if your good work proceed from your faith, or you do good works to complete your faith.

    but I think the differences are semantic. faith has to be there, and good works have to be there., or else your faith is dead.

    James 2:21-22
    Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
    You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.

    I am quoting the bible as a catholic, so it’s not Catholic versus bible, You might say catholic versus (insert_your_denomination_here). since not all protestants agree with what your saying.

    We reading Matthew 7:19-23 differently,

    “that a tree that does not bear good fruit, will be thrown in to the fire” that to me is a indication that you must do some kind of work. (faith, love, honesty)

    “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” this is more that works, not one or two, but to continue to do good works, even if you have been wronged. (turn other check, love your enimies, do onto others…)

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” >> it is not just faith, cause you have to have faith to say “Lord, Lord”

    “but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” it not just works with selfish motives, but works that are selfless, because there are righteous.

    “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles” since Jesus has been talking about works being good, he is not suddenly saying that works are bad, but he saying even if you perform prophecy and miracles don’t think your special, because these gifts were not for your benift, but the benift of others and for the glory of God, not for your glory,

    “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers” my conclusion is that you have faith by the grace of God to do good works for the glory of god, and be humble about it.

    Rev 20:12
    And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books

    St. Cyprian said “No one is safe by his own strength, but he is safe by the Grace and mercy of God.”

    Thank includes faith, and works, since there both graces given to you by god.

  35. Working on my response……will publish soon.

  36. Why are we all arguing who is going to be saved?

    The Bible was compiled to help Christians get to know God, to help them Love God and to help them be with God eternally in heaven, not as a book to be analysed and memorized for the sake of knowledge and argument.

    Isn’t it said in the Bible:Judge not others?

    If we truly believe in God and Jesus as our saviour we must trust him. Jesus said: I am the son of the living God, I am the way the truth and life, Love one another as I have loved you, Abide in me and I will abide in you, I am the wine and you are the branches…… In all these he wants us to believe him, trust him and follow in his way and be connected to him.

    However we are now accusing each other and trynig to prove who is following the correct faith as Christians. What we must do is have faith in God and faith will lead us to be good and charitable . How can we say we are faithful to God and then do uncharitable acts? do you think we will be taken to heaven just because we say “I believe”? Its easy to confess our faith by mouth and not truly believe. When we truly believe we will achieve the fullness of life and be utilized for God’s purpose for which we were created. We will be selfeless and completely at his disposal, definetely not trying to put ourselves higher than others.

    So lets stop these arguments and try to live as true Christians in Faith and doing good works since they go hand in hand. Becasue at judgement we will be asked : when I was naked did you clothe me, when I was hungry did you feed me……and so on. We can take bible phrases to prove both logics.

    I am a Catholic and I do listen to other Christian preaches and this helps me to grow in faith.

    Priase the Lord my soul, and praise his holy name!

    • Angela,
      You sound like a girl who has a sweet relationship with our Lord :)

      Amen, sister!
      What a beautiful response!
      Merry Christmas!

      • Love this! Thank you, I think the reason this whole blog causes some questions on the part of “Non Catholics” is that Catholics suggest they have a fullness of Christ that those on the outside do not have. And that they would have a better chance of gaining heaven in the Catholic than a non Catholic church. This is where I think we both have the gospel and both need to consider the importance of good works but you are either in Christ or not in Christ.

  37. All,

    I want to thank you all for the engaging conversations. I apologize for my delay in responding but I have been taking finals this week in seminary and have been unable to respond due to time constraints.

    With regards to the comments on purgatory and that Protestants believe in purgatory, I’m not going to even answer that argument because it has no basis and I have never met a Bible believing evangelical that believes in purgatory as it is no where in the Bible.
    To respond to the following comment Matthew made concerning the Council of Trent, “The first canon of the Council’s Sixth Session (on Justification) says: “CANON I.-If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.”

    You can’t get much more straightforward than that. The Catholic Church anathematizes anyone who teaches that we are saved by works, and always has. So let’s finally bury this old dead horse you all have been trying to ride and get a new one.

    I understand that the Council of Trent has been a very butchered topic and after having studied it thoroughly, more thoroughly than I would have liked, I will show you what it clearly says. Below is the first several canons of the council of Trent. I went through it line by line. Please see my remarks after each one and please keep in mind that the Bible does clearly teach salvation is through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Paul states in Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” Please refer to my earlier posts to see how works and faith are truly related according to the Bible. Its important to see what the Bible states in order to see teachings that clearly contradict the Bible.

    So below is the council of Trent Canons:
    CANON I.-If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema. –

    Comments: Matthew, if the council of Trent just stopped here I would agree with you. Unfortunately it did not.

    CANON II.-If any one saith, that the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, is given only for this, that man may be able more easily to live justly, and to merit eternal life, as if, by free will without grace, he were able to do both, though hardly indeed and with difficulty; let him be anathema.

    CANON III.-If any one saith, that without the prevenient inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and without his help, man can believe, hope, love, or be penitent as he ought, so as that the grace of Justification may be bestowed upon him; let him be anathema.

    Comments: Again this sounds right if not for the rest.

    CANON IV. If any one shall affirm, that man’s freewill, moved and excited by God, does not, by consenting, cooperate with God, the mover and exciter, so as to prepare and dispose itself for the attainment of justification; if moreover, anyone shall say, that the human will cannot refuse complying, if it pleases, but that it is inactive, and merely passive; let such an one be accursed”!

    CANON V.- If anyone shall affirm, that since the fall of Adam, man’s freewill is lost and extinguished; or, that it is a thing titular, yea a name, without a thing, and a fiction introduced by Satan into the Church; let such an one be accursed”!

    Comments: Put here to try and refute reformer theology concerning predestination.

    CANON VI.-If any one saith, that it is not in man’s power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil God worketh as well as those that are good, not permissively only, but properly, and of Himself, in such wise that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul; let him be anathema

    Comments: Put here to try and refute reformer theology concerning predestination.

    CANON VII.-If any one saith, that all works done before Justification, in whatsoever way they be done, are truly sins, or merit the hatred of God; or that the more earnestly one strives to dispose himself for grace, the more grievously he sins: let him be anathema.

    Comments: Put here to try and refute reformer theology concerning predestination.

    CANON VIII.-If any one saith, that the fear of hell,-whereby, by grieving for our sins, we flee unto the mercy of God, or refrain from sinning,-is a sin, or makes sinners worse; let him be anathema.

    Comments: Put here to try and refute reformer theology concerning predestination.

    CANON IX.-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.

    Comments: Notice this is saying that faith alone in Jesus Christ alone does not save. This is saying that if anyone says they have nothing to do with their salvation let them be anathema. NOTICE ANTHEMA MEANS TO BE ACCURSED AND ASSIGNED TO DAMNATION. So basically the Roman Catholic Church says if we believe that faith alone in Jesus Christ alone saves us we are damned.

    CANON X.-If any one saith, that men are just without the justice of Christ, whereby He merited for us to be justified; or that it is by that justice itself that they are formally just; let him be anathema.

    CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.

    CANON XII.-If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.

    Comments: Notice this is saying that faith alone in and trusting in nothing else but Jesus Christ alone does not save. Again the word anathema is used to describe the reformers who clearly believe faith alone in Jesus alone fait to be damned. ANTHEMA MEANS TO BE ACCURSED AND ASSIGNED TO DAMNATION. So basically the Roman Catholic Church says if we believe that faith alone in Jesus Christ alone saves us we are damned.

    CANON XIII.-If any one saith, that it is necessary for every one, for the obtaining the remission of sins, that he believe for certain, and without any wavering arising from his own infirmity and disposition, that his sins are forgiven him; let him be anathema.

    CANON XIV.-If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that 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.

    Comments: You starting to see a pattern? I will just paste my previous comment: Notice this is saying that faith alone in and trusting in nothing else but Jesus Christ alone does not save. Again the word anathema is used to describe the reformers who clearly believe faith alone in Jesus alone fait to be damned. ANTHEMA MEANS TO BE ACCURSED AND ASSIGNED TO DAMNATION. So basically the Roman Catholic Church says if we believe that faith alone in Jesus Christ alone saves us we are damned.

    CANON XV.-If any one saith, that a man, who is born again and justified, is bound of faith to believe that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; let him be anathema.

    Comments: So this states if we believe someone is born again. Which Jesus states as a qualification for entrance into heaven and if we believe in predestination, also in the bible, we are damned. So this is damning clear teachings of God’s Word. John 3:3 states, “3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

    Romans 8:29 states, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

    This clearly shows an anti biblical stance.

    CANON XVI.-If any one saith, that he will for certain, of an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto the end,-unless he have learned this by special revelation; let him be anathema.

    Comments: This is attacking the perseverance of God’s elect (people who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior). John 10:27-29: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”
    So since I believe in the Holy Spirit that indwells me as a believer and that it is not how tightly I hold onto God, but how tightly God holds onto me, I’m damned? That’s unbiblical.

    CANON XVII.-If any one saith, that the grace of Justification is only attained to by those who are predestined unto life; but that all others who are called, are called indeed, but receive not grace, as being, by the divine power, predestined unto evil; let him be anathema.

    Comment: More of the same against Protestants beliefs.

    CANON XVIII.-If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.

    Comment: This is saying that if we say we cant keep the commands of God and if we say that it is impossible to basically be perfect after we have received grace than we are damned. However, Paul states, “Romans 3:23-28 (New King James Version)
    23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Notice that we are all sinners and are justified by faith APART from keeping the law.
    Galatians 5:16-18, states, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.”

    Notice even after we are saved we struggle, but we are NO LONGER under the law. We have been set free because we cant keep it. Now we obey God and do good works out of gratefulness of a new heart that desires to obey God. Those works clearly though have nothing to do with salvation.

    CANON XIX.-If any one saith, that nothing besides faith is commanded in the Gospel; that other things are indifferent, neither commanded nor prohibited, but free; or, that the ten commandments nowise appertain to Christians; let him be anathema.
    Same comment as above.

    Conclusion:
    Catholics clearly condemn (anathema) protestants for their belief (and what the Bible teaches) as faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Unfortunately the Council of Trent clearly states that salvation for the Catholic Church is Faith and Works and those who don’t believe it are anathema. The council of Trent is basically stating if you don’t believe in Catholic doctrine you are anathema. So essentially the Council of Trent is saying Protestants are condemned.

    What is Salvation:
    What saves us? Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” We are saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and it is not anything we can do. Therefore works have nothing to do with salvation. To imply works would have anything to do with salvation is to take away what Jesus did on the cross for us. As Paul states in Ephesians 2:9, “not of works, lest anyone should boast.” He is saying that salvation is not by anything we do or don’t do and the reason is so we will have nothing to boast about. We are sinners before a Holy and Just God. Isaiah 64:6 states, “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” This verse displays how nothing we do can measure up to God’s glorious standards. Therefore faith alone in Christ Jesus alone is what makes us right with God.
    Therefore, if works has nothing to do with salvation than what role does works play in the Christian life? James 2:26 states, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James in this passage and in the entire chapter is showing that works is the end result of faith. True faith in the Lord Jesus Christ produces works for the glory of God. Without works to prove faith, than true faith may not exists. The works don’t save the person, but shows the person has been saved by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
    How does faith produce works? When we are saved and we have experienced God’s amazing forgiveness through His grace, we have the Holy Spirit that indwells us and we are becoming more like Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18 states, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”The more we become like Christ the more we care about the things He cares about. 2 Peter 3:18 states, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” As we grow in Christ we will live for His glory alone and good deeds will flow, because it truly is the Lord Jesus Christ working through us.
    To conclude, works has nothing to do with salvation. Salvation is through the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Works are the result of True Faith, because true faith results in regenerated heart that beats to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
    I pray brothers that you all know our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This will be my last post. May God guide you in your blogging.

    • Angela, I am sorry to continue the “argument.” But I do not feel that all of it is being done uncharitably. For us to achieve true unity in the Body of Christ, it is necessary for us to engage one another, “give the reason for our hope,” and defend the faith. If we want real peace with one another, the kind of peace that brings us to bless one another and work together for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom, we are going to have to be open with each other, speak our mind, and allow others to speak theirs. I am continuing this dialogue because there are real misconceptions about what Catholics believe, and a good deal of establishing peace between Catholics and Protestants just comes down to getting rid of these misconceptions. (As a convert to the Catholic Church, I know what I am talking about). So, Angela, I appreciate your ecumenical spirit, and bless you in the name of Our Lord, but cordially disagree with you about the best way to achieve the ends you seek.
      God bless you Justin, and grant you success in your finals. As a fellow academic, I empathize with your stress and distraction over the last few weeks. I am certain that Our Lord is crafting you into a worthy handler of His Word, as your willingness to continue this dialogue evinces.
      I realize that you have said that you are done with this blog, and thus will not respond to these comments, but I feel compelled to continue the conversation from my end nonetheless. If you want to jump back in, I will be very happy to hear from you again. Otherwise, you (and everyone else) can just listen silently as I continue my theological monologue, the ravings of a Kansas-farm boy stranded in the Negev.
      First things first. I believe that it is important to acknowledge the fact that your comments here are motivated by your love for each and everyone of us who have wandered here. You love us with the love of the Father, who does not desire that any should be lost, but share eternity in bliss with Him. You have a genuine desire to rescue us from opinions that you hold to be damnable. (So it seems to me). I applaud your efforts. God is crafting you into a soul-winner.
      Now, if I may, I want to correct a few of your statements, emphatically state our position in regards to others, and, in the process, attempt to convince you that we are on the same team you are, and that we could be working together to bring in lost sheep who truly are lost. I don’t actually believe that I am going to change your mind about anything, nor do I really want to convert you to Catholicism. All the same, ignorance is not bliss, and if I can help you hone your arguments better, all for the good. (And if all this should provoke you to take a second look at Catholicism, all the better!).
      Hold up on the ridicule about purgatory. Let’s step back and use a different word for it, with different imagery. Let’s leave Dante on the shelf. I fully realize that Evangelicals do not use the word purgatory to describe any of their beliefs about the afterlife. Very well. My point was, Evangelicals, nonetheless, believe in the concept. They have to.
      Let me explain. Justin, do you believe that when you get to heaven you will be a) made perfect and holy, without spot or stain or b) retain your sinful and rebellious nature? I hope you chose a). And if you did, guess what. You believe in purgatory.
      Let’s put it another way. Do you accept the following text of Scripture as God-breathed and infallible? Ephesians 5:5: “For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (NKJV). If Evangelicals really do not believe in purgatory (i.e., the purification of unclean souls), then they must believe that heaven is going to be empty, for the Bible clearly says that no unclean person has an inheritance there, and every one of us is unclean. Just ask Luther and Calvin. Of course, that’s just silly, so I have to conclude that even though my Evangelical brothers and sisters refuse to use the same word for it as I do, even so, they really, truly believe in purgatory.
      To help you out a bit, when I say purgatory, I do not necessarily have in mind Dante’s vivid depiction of gruesome tortures endured for hundreds of solar years for the crimes of unrepentant Christians. That mythic picture provides us with food for thought, but in the end, it’s just a myth, and is not an exact reflection of Catholic doctrine on the subject. Purgatory, although certainly an important part of Catholic theology, in large part remains a mystery, just as the true natures of heaven and hell do to a great extent. We are forced to use worldly metaphors to describe unworldly processes and experiences. This means that it is not entirely accurate to speak of purgatory as a place. I prefer to think of it as a process. It’s whatever happens to prepare us for the beatific vision, the experience of entering into the presence of our holy Creator. That process, as I stated in an earlier response, begins now. It involves pain and suffering, because it involves weaning us from self-love and self-worship, so that we can truly give ourselves in love to the Father. Moreover, “beyond the veil” of death, all of our shortcomings and mistakes and failures, as well as every one of our missed opportunities, will appear before us in crystal clarity. That regret must be excruciating to a soul preparing to gaze upon the Father. Finally, at that moment the soul is finally fully prepared to run into the Father’s embrace, and yet, the remaining uncleanness that is impeding that moment must be a great aggravation. Even if all of this takes place in the blink of an eye, in eternity, (you see how difficult it is to actually use human language to describe all of this), the suffering of the soul, we believe, is quite real, and this is why we pray for the souls of the dead.
      I do not expect you to sign on to all of that. But I hope that you can at least appreciate my efforts to bring us to some common ground on the subject. Obviously, our contrary theologies are going to take us down some very different paths on this subject, but I still maintain that our starting point is the same: We both believe that no unclean thing will enter heaven. That means you believe in purgatory, brother. (Don’t worry. I’m not telling your professors).
      You maintain that purgatory “is no where in the Bible.” You should not be surprised to learn that Catholics would disagree with you. Here is an entire web-page full of scriptural proofs for the doctrine: http://www.scripturecatholic.com/purgatory.html. I am certain that you will interpret these passages differently than we do, but you should at least give it a look before declaring out of hand that “purgatory is not in the Bible.” Let’s look at just a few of these scriptural proofs.
      2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (NIV). Saint Paul is describing a situation where even the righteous headed for heaven experience judgment for their sins, and “receive what is due” them. Hmm. Sounds like purgatory to me. You say “sinner.” I say “peccato.” You say “judgment seat of Christ.” I say “purgatorio.”
      1 Corinthians 3:13-15 is another text that Catholics smell some purgation going on in. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (KJV). Here we are told that our works shall be tried when our life is over. Some works shall abide. Others will be shown for the transitory things that they are. In other words, we will see all of those moments wasted on pleasure and self-promotion go up in smoke, and become painfully aware of missed opportunities to have laid up more treasures in heaven. Even though we will ultimately be saved, if much of our life’s works are burned up, it will be like someone plucked from the flames of a burning house. The picture is one of pain and regret experienced before proceeding on to glory. Charles Stanley includes a whole chapter in his book on eternal security in which he exegetes this text in much the same manner as any Catholic would, except he is careful not to use the p-word. That’s okay. We know what he’s talking about anyway.
      Praying for the dead suffering purification from their sins is not just a Catholic belief. We inherited it from the Jews. There are veiled references to it in the same canonical Scriptures that you would recognize with us. For instance, Gen. 50:10 describes the mourning of Joseph and his brothers for their father Jacob: “And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days” (KJV). Why not just a simple funeral with periodic mourning following, whenever they especially missed him? This kind of ritualistic period of mourning is observed by the Jews to this day. They drop everything they are doing and sit in their house for seven days, mourning, but especially praying for the souls of their loved ones.
      There are explicit references to prayers for the dead in the Deuterocanon (what you would call Apocrypha). 2 Maccabees 12:39-46 describes how Judas Maccabeus offered up prayers for the souls of his fellow soldiers who had fallen in battle:
      On the following day, since the task had now become urgent, Judas and his men went to gather up the bodies of the slain and bury them with their kinsmen in their ancestral tombs. But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain. They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden. Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin (NAB).
      I realize that you would not consider this text to be inspired Scripture in the same way we do, but it at least provides proof that praying for the dead is an ancient Jewish practice. The Catholic Church didn’t cook it up in the Middle Ages as I was taught they had done in Sunday School. Notice that the author includes a polemical jab at the nascent Saduceeanism of his day by appealing to the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead as the basis of this practice. Jesus would make a similar argument against the Saducees when He appealed to God’s designation as the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” to explain that God is the God of the living, not of the dead. The same holds true here. Judas and his companions recognized that though the bodies of their brothers in arms were slain, their souls were yet very much alive and standing before the judgment of God, and would some day be reunited with their resurrected bodies. Notice too the reference to sacrifice in atonement for their sins. Although they were sons of the covenant, they had died having made a compromise with the sin of idolatry. The text implies that this brought about their physical death. However, Judas remained hopeful that they had not sinned to such an extent as to have brought damnation upon their souls, i.e., he hoped that they had not committed what Catholics call a mortal sin. He took recourse to offering sacrifices on their behalf “that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out.” These sacrifices looked forward towards Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross, just as the sacrifice of the Mass looks back to it, and, indeed, is identical to that same sacrifice in substance. This is why we offer up masses for the dead. We are pleading Christ’s mercies, poured out in His blood, upon the souls of our loved ones who are aching to behold the Father and being purified in preparation for that moment. It is Jesus’ sacrifice that obtains that grace, of course. We merely participate in it. (Really, that’s what all prayer is, isn’t it? Participating in God’s bestowal of grace. He doesn’t need our prayers to get His work done, but invites us to make our requests and petitions because it strengthens our relationship both with Him and the rest of the body).
      Enough of purgatory. On to the Council of Trent.
      Justin, I am so happy that you actually bothered to look this text up. So many of your co-religionists go straight for the parts that are disagreeable to them and create the impression that the Council of Trent says that we are saved by works apart from faith. Now you know that that is not true, and I hope that you will help other non-Catholics better articulate their arguments against Catholic soteriology.
      That said, I am a bit surprised that you are still trying to do mouth to mouth resuscitation on this dead horse, and hoping to keep riding it in your polemic against Catholicism. It seems to me that after acknowledging that what I said was true, you cut off the rest of the canons from the first and attempt to read them as independent and contradictory statements. You also seem a bit shocked that (horror!) the Council of Trent doesn’t agree with Calvinistic Protestantism in a great many things. That was not what I was trying to say by quoting the Council’s first canon on Justification at all. Of course we disagree on a handful of core issues. I just wanted to point out that it is not fair to say that Catholics believe in salvation by works (which you still seem to want to argue). We believe in salvation by grace. We do not believe in salvation by faith alone, either. We believe in salvation by grace. Our response to grace involves both faith and works, and that is precisely where many Protestants grow uncomfortable, but please try to be charitable and attempt to comprehend that we believe that we are saved by grace just as much as you do.
      You ask us to “keep in mind that the Bible does clearly teach salvation is through faith alone” and support that with Ephesians 2:8-9, which, I grant you, would be a pretty convincing proof-text if those two verses made up the whole of our New Testament. However, I disagree that the whole Bible clearly does teach a sola fide soteriology. I understand that you are trying to argue that works just kind of naturally flow out of a life of faith. That’s the same thing I used to believe and teach. The problem is, you don’t ever find that kind of statement anywhere in the Bible. Instead, you have lots of places in the New Testament where there is a clear connection between salvation and works, texts like Matthew 7:24-27, where the wise man whose house is built upon the rock is the picture of “everyone who hears these words and does them” and the foolish man doomed to destruction is the picture of “everyone who hears these words and does not do them.” What do you do with James 2:24 that says that we are “justified by works and not by faith alone” (RSV)? That verse says the exact opposite of what you are arguing the Bible teaches so clearly. When you take the whole counsel of Scripture together, I think you are hard pressed to argue that sola fide soteriology is so clearly taught in the Bible. Paul’s words need to be taken in the greater context of Scripture, and then it begins to become apparent that he was primarily addressing the problem of what to do with Jewish ritual. Paul is saying that since we are saved by grace through faith, the external practices of the Jewish Law are no longer necessary to enter into and remain in God’s covenant, and if someone attempts to say otherwise, they are getting the cart in front of the horse by making works more significant than the grace that God is bestowing so freely on mankind through Jesus. He is not saying that works are absolutely unnecessary. He can’t be. After all, he is the same person who wrote, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12, NKJV). The next verse puts this work in its proper context. It is God who works in us. We are saved by grace, even in our works. But some responsibility for accomplishing the work is still incumbent upon us, nonetheless, or we wouldn’t have the command to begin with.
      If works just kind of naturally flowed out of our faith, I don’t think there would be so much emphasis on performing works. Why did the authors of Scripture encourage righteous living so often? It seems obvious to me that they were concerned that we just might not be as righteous as we ought; as though they did not believe that our righteous behavior would just sort of naturally flow out of a life of faith without a bit of encouragement.
      Of course it would be ridiculous for a Catholic (or anybody else) to think they could get saved by being good enough to get into heaven. That’s why the Council of Trent declared anyone teaching such an idea to be anathema. Of course it would be ridiculous to respond to God’s grace with works without faith. It’s not just ridiculous. It’s inconceivable. Just a bit more inconceivable than responding to God’s grace with faith without works.
      Here is my question for my Protestant brothers and sisters: If all we have to do is believe to be saved, then why are you all so uptight about us Catholics who do believe but are convinced that our works are important too? It’s not like any of us don’t have any faith at all, but are running around working our tails off to get into a godless heaven. Do you understand my point? What makes my faith in Jesus and His salvific work invalid and yours valid? Why should my faith send me to hell and yours to heaven? Think about it and chill.
      Justin, you say that if the Council of Trent had stopped with the first canon on justification, you would agree with me. I am not sure what you mean by that. You would agree that Catholics believe we are saved by grace? You would agree with Catholicism?
      I am curious which translation of the Council documents you are using. I have been using Waterworth’s venerable translation, available here: http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct06.html. Some of the translation that you are using seems to have been worded for the purpose of Protestant polemics.
      You rightly comment that canons four through eight of the sixth session of Trent deal with controversies with certain reformers over predestination. You might be surprised to know that the Thomistic school of Catholicism essentially agrees with Calvinism on this subject, and has never been condemned by the Catholic Church. This was because they allowed room for man’s free-will as well, as do most Calvinists. These canons were not intended to cast a blanket condemnation on the doctrine of predestination, but only to check certain excesses that had crept in among more radical reformers. The Molinists oppose the Thomists, and are roughly analogous to Protestant Arminians. The Catholic Church has chosen to allow both schools of thought to continue, declining to make a final ruling on the matter due to insufficient revelation. You can read a rather technical article on the matter here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14698b.htm. Perhaps it will interest you to know that before I was Catholic, I was a thorough-going Arminianist, and that today I consider myself a Thomist, and thus a close cousin to Calvinists.
      Justin, you misunderstand the particular meaning of anathema in the sense used by the Council fathers. Anathema can indeed mean “to curse” and “to damn,” but that is not the meaning here. Going back to the meaning of the Greek words will help us to understand what the fathers mean when they say “anathema sit.” Ana means “up.” Thema comes from the verb tithemi, meaning “to place.” Thus, together, the words mean “something placed up, i.e., apart.” The ancient Greeks used the word to describe all kinds of set apart things, including something that was holy, such as a sacrificial victim. Thus, we see that anathema has a broader meaning than “cursed, damned.” Anathema sit is technical language used in relation to the specific action of ecclesiastical excommunication. You can check this out in Wikipedia’s article on “anathema.” Notice that all of the canons you have listed here say, “If any one saith ….” The situation described is that of Catholic clergy who are sympathetic to Reformation theology. The point is, if you are a Catholic priest or bishop, if you preach any of these things, you are out of the boundaries of the Catholic Church and no longer have communion with her. The canons are not directed at you, Justin. They do not condemn you for holding beliefs contrary to Catholic teaching. Neither do they curse you. I surmise that you grew up in a faith tradition at odds with Catholicism. Very well. We bless you in the name of the Lord. If someone was a practicing Catholic and left the Catholic Church to embrace a belief system that held to the opinions condemned by the Council, even they would not be condemned to hell and cursed by the canons. The canons are aimed with pinpoint accuracy towards priests who were preaching Protestant theology but refusing to leave the Catholic Church. This was the method with which the Church resorted to sweeping them out. I don’t think that it is fair to say that the canons even curse them. In this context, anathema sit should be translated, “Let him be excommunicated.”
      The Catholic Church would never say that anyone is damned simply for holding Protestant beliefs. We are strictly forbidden by the Church to cast judgment on anybody in such a manner.
      For the next item, Justin, I think I will need to quote you:
      CANON XV.-If any one saith, that a man, who is born again and justified, is bound of faith to believe that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; let him be anathema.
      Comments: So this states if we believe someone is born again. Which Jesus states as a qualification for entrance into heaven and if we believe in predestination, also in the bible, we are damned. So this is damning clear teachings of God’s Word. John 3:3 states, “3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
      Romans 8:29 states, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
      This clearly shows an anti biblical stance.
      You have simply misunderstood the words of this canon. I will paraphrase it, in hopes that the intent will be more clear. “If any one says that a born again and justified individual is bound of faith to believe in his eternal security; let him be excommunicated.” The Council fathers by no means condemn John 3:3. This is clear from a reading of the entire document. In fact, I will quote the whole of chapter XIII from the sixth session, and highlight the especially relevant portions. I am including the whole quote, because it also addresses much of the rest of your accusations:
      CHAPTER XIII.
      On the gift of Perseverance.
      So also as regards the gift of perseverance, of which it is written, He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved:-which gift cannot be derived from any other but Him, who is able to establish him who standeth that he stand perseveringly, and to restore him who falleth:-let no one herein promise himself any thing as certain with an absolute certainty; though all ought to place and repose a most firm hope in God’s help. For God, unless men be themselves wanting to His grace, as he has begun the good work, so will he perfect it, working (in them) to will and to accomplish. Nevertheless, let those who think themselves to stand, take heed lest they fall, and, with fear and trembling work out their salvation, in labours, in watchings, in almsdeeds, in prayers and oblations, in fastings and chastity: for, knowing that they are born again unto a hope of glory, but not as yet unto glory, they ought to fear for the combat which yet remains with the flesh, with the world, with the devil, wherein they cannot be victorious, unless they be with God’s grace, obedient to the Apostle, who says; We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; for if you live according to the flesh, you shall die; but if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.
      Please notice how much Scripture permeates that paragraph that I have just cited. What of that “anti biblical stance” that you spoke of?
      Neither do the Council fathers intend to condemn belief in predestination, which, I agree, is a Scriptural doctrine. What canon XV is targeting is the belief in the eternal security of the believer. Chapter XII of the sixth session of the council addresses this issue, and if you should read it you will see that the Council fathers affirm God’s election, yet maintain that “except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God hath chosen unto Himself.”
      Granted, you very likely cannot stomach the Catholic stance on perseverance and election, nor do you, I suppose, accept with us the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. All the same, I hope you can understand that the Catholic Church does not simply sweep verses that do not suit her under the rug. We revere Scripture. The first half of every Sunday Mass is occupied with a liturgical reading from the prophets, then a psalm, then from an epistle, and finally from the Gospels. Daily Mass has less Scripture. One of the readings is left out. We are doing our best to live according to the teachings of the Bible, as interpreted by the Catholic Church. Please don’t accuse us of being “anti biblical” simply because you cannot accept our interpretations.
      We do not reject outright the doctrine of the perseverance of God’s elect, as should be evident from the paragraph quoted above. Basically, we agree with your interpretation of John 10, that God holds us securely in His grace. However, as you know, we reject the doctrine of eternal security. Though we have the reassuring words of Jesus that no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand, yet we also have texts like this one: “The love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:10, RSV). Verses like this cause us to believe that although our Father will never let us go and that no external force can rip us from His grip, yet, we by our own will can make a conscious decision to wander away from the faith.
      We can go back and forth accusing the other of holding unbiblical views and not get anywhere. Why can’t we just drop the whole “unbiblical” 2X4 we have been whacking each other with and concede that we just interpret the Bible differently and trust God to overlook whatever flaws in our theology there are, (because there must be a whole bunch of them!)?
      Let me quote you again, Justin:
      CANON XVIII.-If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.
      Comment: This is saying that if we say we cant keep the commands of God and if we say that it is impossible to basically be perfect after we have received grace than we are damned.
      Here, yet again you have misunderstood the intent of the Council fathers. You have taken a little, specific statement and inflated it to say much more. The fathers are combatting yet another excess that had grown out of the Reformation, anti-nomianism. Certain people were preaching that since it is impossible to be perfect, why should we even try? No one, not even a justified believer, can keep the commandments of God. The Council fathers are addressing this teaching. Believe me, no Catholic is deluded enough to believe that he or she is without sin, or that he or she is going to be able to live a perfect life for the remainder of their time on earth. As Saint John said in his first epistle, if any one should say that he has no sin, then he is a liar. Yet, we also believe that having been born again and infused with God’s grace has given us a share in Christ’s nature, and whereas before we were so spiritually impoverished by our sin nature that we were not able to attain a righteous life, now that we are “justified and constituted in grace” we can actually perform the commandments of God in a way that was impossible before. We realize that we are still growing in grace and the virtues of the Holy Spirit, so we will yet fall far short of our purpose, and so we have the Sacrament of Confession to restore us. But it would not give the Holy Spirit credit for the major work that He is doing if we were to say that we cannot, with His help, even attempt to live out the commandments that He has given.
      You cite Romans 3:23-28 to support your argument. I think you misuse it. When Paul says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” he is speaking about those who have not yet been justified by God’s grace. I agree that even after we are justified we continue all too often to sin and fall short of God’s glory, but that is not the heart of Paul’s message in Romans. He is trying to show how necessary God’s grace poured out through Christ’s sacrifices is for salvation. Without it, we cannot possibly hope to live the kind of life God desires. Not even the Jewish Law could enable someone to really be righteous apart from the infusion of God’s grace in their life. Faith is the hitch-pin that connects us to God’s grace and brings justification, or, (the Greek word is used with both meanings), “righteousness.” Whereas before we were not righteous, now that we have received God’s grace through faith, we have been given Christ’s righteous nature as our own. That means we can actually live according to His commandments now. That’s good news, Justin!
      When Paul uses the word law, he almost certainly means Torah. This is the conclusion of James Dunn, an Evangelical who is one of the foremost authorities in Pauline studies today. See The New Perspective on Paul, revised edition (Eerdmans, 2007) for his material. If this is so, when Paul says that “if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law” in Galatians 5:18, he means to say that for a Spirit-filled Christian to put himself under the yoke of the Jewish Law is an absurdity. This is the whole purpose of Galatians, to combat the Judaizers who were compelling Gentile believers to receive circumcision. However, it is hard to imagine that Paul has in mind commandments such as “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Surely the Spirit enables us to really love in ways that we were incapable of before He had made His dwelling in us.
      You say that “the Council of Trent clearly states that salvation for the Catholic Church is Faith and Works.” That’s not precise. Salvation is a free gift of grace. The Council clearly teaches, in the very canons that you have quoted, that we are saved by grace. No one can earn their salvation by works. No one can believe their way into heaven. God has to give the grace both to believe and to perform His will. Most of our participation in the work of salvation is just a matter of receiving more and more of His grace.
      Justin, you say that “to imply works would have anything to do with salvation is to take away what Jesus did on the cross for us.” I disagree. If we said that we could earn our salvation with our own works apart from God’s grace, what you say would be true. It would indeed do dishonor to Jesus’ amazing victory. But a transformed life that evinces the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of Jesus’ transfused life into the believer would bring glory to Jesus, would it not? Jesus tells us to let our light shine before men in Matthew 5:16. How would a life without good works lived by a spiritual slouch “trusting” in God to save him bring glory to Jesus?
      You do something that strikes me as odd. You go to James 2 for proof that “works is the end result of faith.” According to you, James is saying that works merely show “the person has been saved by faith alone.” You cite verse 26 to substantiate this, where it says that “faith without works is dead.” But the rest of the chapter ought to present some problems for you. For instance, verse 14 says, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (NKJV). Verse 21 says that “Abraham was justified by works”! To cap it all off, James says that “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (verse 24, NKJV). This is the only verse in the Bible in which the Greek text uses the phrase “faith alone.” I have no further comment. This chapter is indeed one text where the Protestants’ pet doctrine of perspicuity of Scripture seems to hold true!
      But, Justin, all in all, I don’t entirely disagree with your understanding of how works are produced by faith. I find this paragraph of yours to be quite insightful:
      
How does faith produce works? When we are saved and we have experienced God’s amazing forgiveness through His grace, we have the Holy Spirit that indwells us and we are becoming more like Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18 states, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”The more we become like Christ the more we care about the things He cares about. 2 Peter 3:18 states, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” As we grow in Christ we will live for His glory alone and good deeds will flow, because it truly is the Lord Jesus Christ working through us.
      To that I say, “Amen.” They are not our works, but the Lord’s. We merely submit to His will and enjoy the ride. I can’t agree with you that these Spirit-operated works have nothing to do with salvation, but at least we can agree that on our own, working in the flesh, we can accomplish nothing. We can agree that we are saved by grace alone through faith (but I have to leave the alone off at this point).
      God bless you, brother, and have a great Christmas season.

    • Angela, I am sorry to continue the “argument.” But I do not feel that all of it is being done uncharitably. For us to achieve true unity in the Body of Christ, it is necessary for us to engage one another, “give the reason for our hope,” and defend the faith. If we want real peace with one another, the kind of peace that brings us to bless one another and work together for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom, we are going to have to be open with each other, speak our mind, and allow others to speak theirs. I am continuing this dialogue because there are real misconceptions about what Catholics believe, and a good deal of establishing peace between Catholics and Protestants just comes down to getting rid of these misconceptions. (As a convert to the Catholic Church, I know what I am talking about). So, Angela, I appreciate your ecumenical spirit, and bless you in the name of Our Lord, but cordially disagree with you about the best way to achieve the ends you seek.
      God bless you Justin, and grant you success in your finals. As a fellow academic, I empathize with your stress and distraction over the last few weeks. I am certain that Our Lord is crafting you into a worthy handler of His Word, as your willingness to continue this dialogue evinces.
      I realize that you have said that you are done with this blog, and thus will not respond to these comments, but I feel compelled to continue the conversation from my end nonetheless. If you want to jump back in, I will be very happy to hear from you again. Otherwise, you (and everyone else) can just listen silently as I continue my theological monologue, the ravings of a Kansas-farm boy stranded in the Negev.
      First things first. I believe that it is important to acknowledge the fact that your comments here are motivated by your love for each and everyone of us who have wandered here. You love us with the love of the Father, who does not desire that any should be lost, but share eternity in bliss with Him. You have a genuine desire to rescue us from opinions that you hold to be damnable. (So it seems to me). I applaud your efforts. God is crafting you into a soul-winner.
      Now, if I may, I want to correct a few of your statements, emphatically state our position in regards to others, and, in the process, attempt to convince you that we are on the same team you are, and that we could be working together to bring in lost sheep who truly are lost. I don’t actually believe that I am going to change your mind about anything, nor do I really want to convert you to Catholicism. All the same, ignorance is not bliss, and if I can help you hone your arguments better, all for the good. (And if all this should provoke you to take a second look at Catholicism, all the better!).
      Hold up on the ridicule about purgatory. Let’s step back and use a different word for it, with different imagery. Let’s leave Dante on the shelf. I fully realize that Evangelicals do not use the word purgatory to describe any of their beliefs about the afterlife. Very well. My point was, Evangelicals, nonetheless, believe in the concept. They have to.
      Let me explain. Justin, do you believe that when you get to heaven you will be a) made perfect and holy, without spot or stain or b) retain your sinful and rebellious nature? I hope you chose a). And if you did, guess what. You believe in purgatory.
      Let’s put it another way. Do you accept the following text of Scripture as God-breathed and infallible? Ephesians 5:5: “For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (NKJV). If Evangelicals really do not believe in purgatory (i.e., the purification of unclean souls), then they must believe that heaven is going to be empty, for the Bible clearly says that no unclean person has an inheritance there, and every one of us is unclean. Just ask Luther and Calvin. Of course, that’s just silly, so I have to conclude that even though my Evangelical brothers and sisters refuse to use the same word for it as I do, even so, they really, truly believe in purgatory.
      To help you out a bit, when I say purgatory, I do not necessarily have in mind Dante’s vivid depiction of gruesome tortures endured for hundreds of solar years for the crimes of unrepentant Christians. That mythic picture provides us with food for thought, but in the end, it’s just a myth, and is not an exact reflection of Catholic doctrine on the subject. Purgatory, although certainly an important part of Catholic theology, in large part remains a mystery, just as the true natures of heaven and hell do to a great extent. We are forced to use worldly metaphors to describe unworldly processes and experiences. This means that it is not entirely accurate to speak of purgatory as a place. I prefer to think of it as a process. It’s whatever happens to prepare us for the beatific vision, the experience of entering into the presence of our holy Creator. That process, as I stated in an earlier response, begins now. It involves pain and suffering, because it involves weaning us from self-love and self-worship, so that we can truly give ourselves in love to the Father. Moreover, “beyond the veil” of death, all of our shortcomings and mistakes and failures, as well as every one of our missed opportunities, will appear before us in crystal clarity. That regret must be excruciating to a soul preparing to gaze upon the Father. Finally, at that moment the soul is finally fully prepared to run into the Father’s embrace, and yet, the remaining uncleanness that is impeding that moment must be a great aggravation. Even if all of this takes place in the blink of an eye, in eternity, (you see how difficult it is to actually use human language to describe all of this), the suffering of the soul, we believe, is quite real, and this is why we pray for the souls of the dead.
      I do not expect you to sign on to all of that. But I hope that you can at least appreciate my efforts to bring us to some common ground on the subject. Obviously, our contrary theologies are going to take us down some very different paths on this subject, but I still maintain that our starting point is the same: We both believe that no unclean thing will enter heaven. That means you believe in purgatory, brother. (Don’t worry. I’m not telling your professors).
      You maintain that purgatory “is no where in the Bible.” You should not be surprised to learn that Catholics would disagree with you. Here is an entire web-page full of scriptural proofs for the doctrine: http://www.scripturecatholic.com/purgatory.html. I am certain that you will interpret these passages differently than we do, but you should at least give it a look before declaring out of hand that “purgatory is not in the Bible.” Let’s look at just a few of these scriptural proofs.
      2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (NIV). Saint Paul is describing a situation where even the righteous headed for heaven experience judgment for their sins, and “receive what is due” them. Hmm. Sounds like purgatory to me. You say “sinner.” I say “peccato.” You say “judgment seat of Christ.” I say “purgatorio.”
      1 Corinthians 3:13-15 is another text that Catholics smell some purgation going on in. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (KJV). Here we are told that our works shall be tried when our life is over. Some works shall abide. Others will be shown for the transitory things that they are. In other words, we will see all of those moments wasted on pleasure and self-promotion go up in smoke, and become painfully aware of missed opportunities to have laid up more treasures in heaven. Even though we will ultimately be saved, if much of our life’s works are burned up, it will be like someone plucked from the flames of a burning house. The picture is one of pain and regret experienced before proceeding on to glory. Charles Stanley includes a whole chapter in his book on eternal security in which he exegetes this text in much the same manner as any Catholic would, except he is careful not to use the p-word. That’s okay. We know what he’s talking about anyway.
      Praying for the dead suffering purification from their sins is not just a Catholic belief. We inherited it from the Jews. There are veiled references to it in the same canonical Scriptures that you would recognize with us. For instance, Gen. 50:10 describes the mourning of Joseph and his brothers for their father Jacob: “And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days” (KJV). Why not just a simple funeral with periodic mourning following, whenever they especially missed him? This kind of ritualistic period of mourning is observed by the Jews to this day. They drop everything they are doing and sit in their house for seven days, mourning, but especially praying for the souls of their loved ones.
      There are explicit references to prayers for the dead in the Deuterocanon (what you would call Apocrypha). 2 Maccabees 12:39-46 describes how Judas Maccabeus offered up prayers for the souls of his fellow soldiers who had fallen in battle:
      On the following day, since the task had now become urgent, Judas and his men went to gather up the bodies of the slain and bury them with their kinsmen in their ancestral tombs. But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain. They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden. Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin (NAB).
      I realize that you would not consider this text to be inspired Scripture in the same way we do, but it at least provides proof that praying for the dead is an ancient Jewish practice. The Catholic Church didn’t cook it up in the Middle Ages as I was taught they had done in Sunday School. Notice that the author includes a polemical jab at the nascent Saduceeanism of his day by appealing to the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead as the basis of this practice. Jesus would make a similar argument against the Saducees when He appealed to God’s designation as the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” to explain that God is the God of the living, not of the dead. The same holds true here. Judas and his companions recognized that though the bodies of their brothers in arms were slain, their souls were yet very much alive and standing before the judgment of God, and would some day be reunited with their resurrected bodies. Notice too the reference to sacrifice in atonement for their sins. Although they were sons of the covenant, they had died having made a compromise with the sin of idolatry. The text implies that this brought about their physical death. However, Judas remained hopeful that they had not sinned to such an extent as to have brought damnation upon their souls, i.e., he hoped that they had not committed what Catholics call a mortal sin. He took recourse to offering sacrifices on their behalf “that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out.” These sacrifices looked forward towards Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross, just as the sacrifice of the Mass looks back to it, and, indeed, is identical to that same sacrifice in substance. This is why we offer up masses for the dead. We are pleading Christ’s mercies, poured out in His blood, upon the souls of our loved ones who are aching to behold the Father and being purified in preparation for that moment. It is Jesus’ sacrifice that obtains that grace, of course. We merely participate in it. (Really, that’s what all prayer is, isn’t it? Participating in God’s bestowal of grace. He doesn’t need our prayers to get His work done, but invites us to make our requests and petitions because it strengthens our relationship both with Him and the rest of the body).

      • On to the Council of Trent.
        Justin, I am so happy that you actually bothered to look this text up. So many of your co-religionists go straight for the parts that are disagreeable to them and create the impression that the Council of Trent says that we are saved by works apart from faith. Now you know that that is not true, and I hope that you will help other non-Catholics better articulate their arguments against Catholic soteriology.
        That said, I am a bit surprised that you are still trying to do mouth to mouth resuscitation on this dead horse, and hoping to keep riding it in your polemic against Catholicism. It seems to me that after acknowledging that what I said was true, you cut off the rest of the canons from the first and attempt to read them as independent and contradictory statements. You also seem a bit shocked that (horror!) the Council of Trent doesn’t agree with Calvinistic Protestantism in a great many things. That was not what I was trying to say by quoting the Council’s first canon on Justification at all. Of course we disagree on a handful of core issues. I just wanted to point out that it is not fair to say that Catholics believe in salvation by works (which you still seem to want to argue). We believe in salvation by grace. We do not believe in salvation by faith alone, either. We believe in salvation by grace. Our response to grace involves both faith and works, and that is precisely where many Protestants grow uncomfortable, but please try to be charitable and attempt to comprehend that we believe that we are saved by grace just as much as you do.
        You ask us to “keep in mind that the Bible does clearly teach salvation is through faith alone” and support that with Ephesians 2:8-9, which, I grant you, would be a pretty convincing proof-text if those two verses made up the whole of our New Testament. However, I disagree that the whole Bible clearly does teach a sola fide soteriology. I understand that you are trying to argue that works just kind of naturally flow out of a life of faith. That’s the same thing I used to believe and teach. The problem is, you don’t ever find that kind of statement anywhere in the Bible. Instead, you have lots of places in the New Testament where there is a clear connection between salvation and works, texts like Matthew 7:24-27, where the wise man whose house is built upon the rock is the picture of “everyone who hears these words and does them” and the foolish man doomed to destruction is the picture of “everyone who hears these words and does not do them.” What do you do with James 2:24 that says that we are “justified by works and not by faith alone” (RSV)? That verse says the exact opposite of what you are arguing the Bible teaches so clearly. When you take the whole counsel of Scripture together, I think you are hard pressed to argue that sola fide soteriology is so clearly taught in the Bible. Paul’s words need to be taken in the greater context of Scripture, and then it begins to become apparent that he was primarily addressing the problem of what to do with Jewish ritual. Paul is saying that since we are saved by grace through faith, the external practices of the Jewish Law are no longer necessary to enter into and remain in God’s covenant, and if someone attempts to say otherwise, they are getting the cart in front of the horse by making works more significant than the grace that God is bestowing so freely on mankind through Jesus. He is not saying that works are absolutely unnecessary. He can’t be. After all, he is the same person who wrote, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12, NKJV). The next verse puts this work in its proper context. It is God who works in us. We are saved by grace, even in our works. But some responsibility for accomplishing the work is still incumbent upon us, nonetheless, or we wouldn’t have the command to begin with.
        If works just kind of naturally flowed out of our faith, I don’t think there would be so much emphasis on performing works. Why did the authors of Scripture encourage righteous living so often? It seems obvious to me that they were concerned that we just might not be as righteous as we ought; as though they did not believe that our righteous behavior would just sort of naturally flow out of a life of faith without a bit of encouragement.
        Of course it would be ridiculous for a Catholic (or anybody else) to think they could get saved by being good enough to get into heaven. That’s why the Council of Trent declared anyone teaching such an idea to be anathema. Of course it would be ridiculous to respond to God’s grace with works without faith. It’s not just ridiculous. It’s inconceivable. Just a bit more inconceivable than responding to God’s grace with faith without works.
        Here is my question for my Protestant brothers and sisters: If all we have to do is believe to be saved, then why are you all so uptight about us Catholics who do believe but are convinced that our works are important too? It’s not like any of us don’t have any faith at all, but are running around working our tails off to get into a godless heaven. Do you understand my point? What makes my faith in Jesus and His salvific work invalid and yours valid? Why should my faith send me to hell and yours to heaven? Think about it and chill.
        Justin, you say that if the Council of Trent had stopped with the first canon on justification, you would agree with me. I am not sure what you mean by that. You would agree that Catholics believe we are saved by grace? You would agree with Catholicism?
        I am curious which translation of the Council documents you are using. I have been using Waterworth’s venerable translation, available here: http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct06.html. Some of the translation that you are using seems to have been worded for the purpose of Protestant polemics.
        You rightly comment that canons four through eight of the sixth session of Trent deal with controversies with certain reformers over predestination. You might be surprised to know that the Thomistic school of Catholicism essentially agrees with Calvinism on this subject, and has never been condemned by the Catholic Church. This was because they allowed room for man’s free-will as well, as do most Calvinists. These canons were not intended to cast a blanket condemnation on the doctrine of predestination, but only to check certain excesses that had crept in among more radical reformers. The Molinists oppose the Thomists, and are roughly analogous to Protestant Arminians. The Catholic Church has chosen to allow both schools of thought to continue, declining to make a final ruling on the matter due to insufficient revelation. You can read a rather technical article on the matter here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14698b.htm. Perhaps it will interest you to know that before I was Catholic, I was a thorough-going Arminianist, and that today I consider myself a Thomist, and thus a close cousin to Calvinists.
        Justin, you misunderstand the particular meaning of anathema in the sense used by the Council fathers. Anathema can indeed mean “to curse” and “to damn,” but that is not the meaning here. Going back to the meaning of the Greek words will help us to understand what the fathers mean when they say “anathema sit.” Ana means “up.” Thema comes from the verb tithemi, meaning “to place.” Thus, together, the words mean “something placed up, i.e., apart.” The ancient Greeks used the word to describe all kinds of set apart things, including something that was holy, such as a sacrificial victim. Thus, we see that anathema has a broader meaning than “cursed, damned.” Anathema sit is technical language used in relation to the specific action of ecclesiastical excommunication. You can check this out in Wikipedia’s article on “anathema.” Notice that all of the canons you have listed here say, “If any one saith ….” The situation described is that of Catholic clergy who are sympathetic to Reformation theology. The point is, if you are a Catholic priest or bishop, if you preach any of these things, you are out of the boundaries of the Catholic Church and no longer have communion with her. The canons are not directed at you, Justin. They do not condemn you for holding beliefs contrary to Catholic teaching. Neither do they curse you. I surmise that you grew up in a faith tradition at odds with Catholicism. Very well. We bless you in the name of the Lord. If someone was a practicing Catholic and left the Catholic Church to embrace a belief system that held to the opinions condemned by the Council, even they would not be condemned to hell and cursed by the canons. The canons are aimed with pinpoint accuracy towards priests who were preaching Protestant theology but refusing to leave the Catholic Church. This was the method with which the Church resorted to sweeping them out. I don’t think that it is fair to say that the canons even curse them. In this context, anathema sit should be translated, “Let him be excommunicated.”
        The Catholic Church would never say that anyone is damned simply for holding Protestant beliefs. We are strictly forbidden by the Church to cast judgment on anybody in such a manner.
        For the next item, Justin, I think I will need to quote you:

        “CANON XV.-If any one saith, that a man, who is born again and justified, is bound of faith to believe that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; let him be anathema.
        Comments: So this states if we believe someone is born again. Which Jesus states as a qualification for entrance into heaven and if we believe in predestination, also in the bible, we are damned. So this is damning clear teachings of God’s Word. John 3:3 states, “3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
        Romans 8:29 states, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
        This clearly shows an anti biblical stance.”

        You have simply misunderstood the words of this canon. I will paraphrase it, in hopes that the intent will be more clear. “If any one says that a born again and justified individual is bound of faith to believe in his eternal security; let him be excommunicated.” The Council fathers by no means condemn John 3:3. This is clear from a reading of the entire document. In fact, I will quote the whole of chapter XIII from the sixth session:

        CHAPTER XIII.
        On the gift of Perseverance.
        So also as regards the gift of perseverance, of which it is written, He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved:-which gift cannot be derived from any other but Him, who is able to establish him who standeth that he stand perseveringly, and to restore him who falleth:-let no one herein promise himself any thing as certain with an absolute certainty; though all ought to place and repose a most firm hope in God’s help. For God, unless men be themselves wanting to His grace, as he has begun the good work, so will he perfect it, working (in them) to will and to accomplish. Nevertheless, let those who think themselves to stand, take heed lest they fall, and, with fear and trembling work out their salvation, in labours, in watchings, in almsdeeds, in prayers and oblations, in fastings and chastity: for, knowing that they are born again unto a hope of glory, but not as yet unto glory, they ought to fear for the combat which yet remains with the flesh, with the world, with the devil, wherein they cannot be victorious, unless they be with God’s grace, obedient to the Apostle, who says; We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; for if you live according to the flesh, you shall die; but if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.

        Please notice how much Scripture permeates that paragraph that I have just cited. What of that “anti biblical stance” that you spoke of?
        Neither do the Council fathers intend to condemn belief in predestination, which, I agree, is a Scriptural doctrine. What canon XV is targeting is the belief in the eternal security of the believer. Chapter XII of the sixth session of the council addresses this issue, and if you should read it you will see that the Council fathers affirm God’s election, yet maintain that “except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God hath chosen unto Himself.”
        Granted, you very likely cannot stomach the Catholic stance on perseverance and election, nor do you, I suppose, accept with us the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. All the same, I hope you can understand that the Catholic Church does not simply sweep verses that do not suit her under the rug. We revere Scripture. The first half of every Sunday Mass is occupied with a liturgical reading from the prophets, then a psalm, then from an epistle, and finally from the Gospels. Daily Mass has less Scripture. One of the readings is left out. We are doing our best to live according to the teachings of the Bible, as interpreted by the Catholic Church. Please don’t accuse us of being “anti biblical” simply because you cannot accept our interpretations.
        We do not reject outright the doctrine of the perseverance of God’s elect, as should be evident from the paragraph quoted above. Basically, we agree with your interpretation of John 10, that God holds us securely in His grace. However, as you know, we reject the doctrine of eternal security. Though we have the reassuring words of Jesus that no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand, yet we also have texts like this one: “The love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:10, RSV). Verses like this cause us to believe that although our Father will never let us go and that no external force can rip us from His grip, yet, we by our own will can make a conscious decision to wander away from the faith.
        We can go back and forth accusing the other of holding unbiblical views and not get anywhere. Why can’t we just drop the whole “unbiblical” 2X4 we have been whacking each other with and concede that we just interpret the Bible differently and trust God to overlook whatever flaws in our theology there are, (because there must be a whole bunch of them!)?
        Let me quote you again, Justin:
        “CANON XVIII.-If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.
        Comment: This is saying that if we say we cant keep the commands of God and if we say that it is impossible to basically be perfect after we have received grace than we are damned.”
        Here, yet again you have misunderstood the intent of the Council fathers. You have taken a little, specific statement and inflated it to say much more. The fathers are combatting yet another excess that had grown out of the Reformation, anti-nomianism. Certain people were preaching that since it is impossible to be perfect, why should we even try? No one, not even a justified believer, can keep the commandments of God. The Council fathers are addressing this teaching. Believe me, no Catholic is deluded enough to believe that he or she is without sin, or that he or she is going to be able to live a perfect life for the remainder of their time on earth. As Saint John said in his first epistle, if any one should say that he has no sin, then he is a liar. Yet, we also believe that having been born again and infused with God’s grace has given us a share in Christ’s nature, and whereas before we were so spiritually impoverished by our sin nature that we were not able to attain a righteous life, now that we are “justified and constituted in grace” we can actually perform the commandments of God in a way that was impossible before. We realize that we are still growing in grace and the virtues of the Holy Spirit, so we will yet fall far short of our purpose, and so we have the Sacrament of Confession to restore us. But it would not give the Holy Spirit credit for the major work that He is doing if we were to say that we cannot, with His help, even attempt to live out the commandments that He has given.
        You cite Romans 3:23-28 to support your argument. I think you misuse it. When Paul says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” he is speaking about those who have not yet been justified by God’s grace. I agree that even after we are justified we continue all too often to sin and fall short of God’s glory, but that is not the heart of Paul’s message in Romans. He is trying to show how necessary God’s grace poured out through Christ’s sacrifices is for salvation. Without it, we cannot possibly hope to live the kind of life God desires. Not even the Jewish Law could enable someone to really be righteous apart from the infusion of God’s grace in their life. Faith is the hitch-pin that connects us to God’s grace and brings justification, or, (the Greek word is used with both meanings), “righteousness.” Whereas before we were not righteous, now that we have received God’s grace through faith, we have been given Christ’s righteous nature as our own. That means we can actually live according to His commandments now. That’s good news, Justin!
        When Paul uses the word law, he almost certainly means Torah. This is the conclusion of James Dunn, an Evangelical who is one of the foremost authorities in Pauline studies today. See The New Perspective on Paul, revised edition (Eerdmans, 2007) for his material. If this is so, when Paul says that “if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law” in Galatians 5:18, he means to say that for a Spirit-filled Christian to put himself under the yoke of the Jewish Law is an absurdity. This is the whole purpose of Galatians, to combat the Judaizers who were compelling Gentile believers to receive circumcision. However, it is hard to imagine that Paul has in mind commandments such as “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Surely the Spirit enables us to really love in ways that we were incapable of before He had made His dwelling in us.
        You say that “the Council of Trent clearly states that salvation for the Catholic Church is Faith and Works.” That’s not precise. Salvation is a free gift of grace. The Council clearly teaches, in the very canons that you have quoted, that we are saved by grace. No one can earn their salvation by works. No one can believe their way into heaven. God has to give the grace both to believe and to perform His will. Most of our participation in the work of salvation is just a matter of receiving more and more of His grace.
        Justin, you say that “to imply works would have anything to do with salvation is to take away what Jesus did on the cross for us.” I disagree. If we said that we could earn our salvation with our own works apart from God’s grace, what you say would be true. It would indeed do dishonor to Jesus’ amazing victory. But a transformed life that evinces the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of Jesus’ transfused life into the believer would bring glory to Jesus, would it not? Jesus tells us to let our light shine before men in Matthew 5:16. How would a life without good works lived by a spiritual slouch “trusting” in God to save him bring glory to Jesus?
        You do something that strikes me as odd. You go to James 2 for proof that “works is the end result of faith.” According to you, James is saying that works merely show “the person has been saved by faith alone.” You cite verse 26 to substantiate this, where it says that “faith without works is dead.” But the rest of the chapter ought to present some problems for you. For instance, verse 14 says, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (NKJV). Verse 21 says that “Abraham was justified by works”! To cap it all off, James says that “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (verse 24, NKJV). This is the only verse in the Bible in which the Greek text uses the phrase “faith alone.” I have no further comment. This chapter is indeed one text where the Protestants’ pet doctrine of perspicuity of Scripture seems to hold true!
        But, Justin, all in all, I don’t entirely disagree with your understanding of how works are produced by faith. I find this paragraph of yours to be quite insightful:
        
”How does faith produce works? When we are saved and we have experienced God’s amazing forgiveness through His grace, we have the Holy Spirit that indwells us and we are becoming more like Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18 states, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”The more we become like Christ the more we care about the things He cares about. 2 Peter 3:18 states, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” As we grow in Christ we will live for His glory alone and good deeds will flow, because it truly is the Lord Jesus Christ working through us.”
        To that I say, “Amen.” They are not our works, but the Lord’s. We merely submit to His will and enjoy the ride. I can’t agree with you that these Spirit-operated works have nothing to do with salvation, but at least we can agree that on our own, working in the flesh, we can accomplish nothing. We can agree that we are saved by grace alone through faith, but I can’t agree with you that we are saved by faith alone.

        • So I can eat meat on Friday??

          • Yes. For many years the Catholic Church had in place the discipline of not eating meat on Friday as a small sacrifice in union with Jesus sacrificial death on Good Friday.But, by the time of Vatican II a change was made because it was a discipline and not doctrine. Now we are encouraged to choose our own small sacrifice in union with Christ. Many still forego meat. Some spend an hour in prayer. Some may choose not to put sugar or cream in their coffee etc.

    • Amen Justin.

  38. These are some informative ideas. You mentioned some important points that I hadn’t considered before. I will subscribe to see if you post any more updates.

  39. thanks Mathew, you have given me a lot of insight and am really happy to read all your research. I have a few questions though. since it may not relate to the topic on discussion here, is there any other Catholic forum where I can place my questions? Praise the Lord and May God bless you.

  40. I don’t understand how faith alone can save a person, a person must act with their faith in order to receive salvation. It reminds me of “Do as I say, not as I do”, but instead it’s “Judge me as I believe, not as I act.” Just because someone believes truly in God does not justify their actions, and if their actions are against God, they shall not be saved, because by going against God they are denying him. Now this is assuming extremes of course.

  41. come on guys! no one has said anything about acts! the apostles who walked and talked with Jesus! Get wise!

  42. Wow….I am amazed by all the comments. So many great points.

    I was born and raised by a Catholic Family. All great and loving people. Some more knowledgeable than others regarding God’s word. I decided a few years ago (in my late 20′s) to start reading the Bible. Shortly after I began to attend a new Church. (An Assembly of God) I attended for about a year before The Lord started speaking to me. I began to feel totally out of place, overwhelmed with confusion, and a calling to find a new Church. I decided to attend a Born Again Church but had the same results and repeated moving around a few more times. Finally, I made the decision to take the time to pray and read the word on my own, so I could learn and listen for direction. In the end, I am back at the Catholic Church. Due to the fact I had developed friendships at the Churches I attended earlier, (or so I thought) I ended up with so many critics and judges in my life. It made me so sad to have to be judged and criticized by people just because I wasn’t a part of the same Church they were. I asked “are we all not Christians?”

    I think it is safe for me to say that no one is perfect, nor is a any place (Church) perfect. We could all say this or that about Churches that are not our own, but I must ask this question…Are you attending your Church because you like what they do or say or do you attend because this is the Church the Lord has brought you to? I tried at several Churches, but the Lord brought me back to the Catholic Church. I believe through my own experience that all Churches may say something here or something there that is different or not believed by another. As long as you are attending because you are called there, have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, reading the Bible and working with your personal relationship with God, love, help, forgive, lead others to the God, and remain faithful in all the teaching then we are ALL on our way to Heaven.

    I know how hurt I was when others came down on me when I was already down/lost (trying to find my place) so I refuse to do that to new/returning Christians.

    The truth is written, so no matter what man says if you want the truth just read. One should not depend on what is said at Church alone.

  43. You guys are totally misunderstanding the passage…the only way to heaven is by believing that u are a sinner and believe that Jesus died on the cross for ur sins-John 3:16-”for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on him shall not perish but have everlasting life”

    • We Catholics believe all of that. But we also believe one can lose his salvation by serious sin (mortal sin).

      • No one can lose his/her salvation no matter what they do… and ur mortal sint or whatever is no worse or better than steeling a penny… all sin is bad…God has a totally different perspective that man has…

  44. Thank you Alex!!!! This is something I keep saying, but so many battle me on that point. We are all sinners and when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior you are saved but may stumble in your walk. However, our God is a loving forgiving God.

    I am still very new at following the Lord and I just wish my fellow Christians would stick to the facts and stop adding their own opinions.

  45. Since Protestants are so fond of boasting that they are the only true Christians and believing that all Catholics will go to hell, let me also be direct and say that most Protestants are in REAL danger of going to hell. Why? Because Protestants are worshiping a book (idolatry #1), following heretics with itching ears and are largely unbelievers. If you truly belong to Christ, you will follow all his commandments about church and discipline. The favorite Protestant pastime is church hopping and a self-prescribed faith based on cafeteria variety. Frankly, most of your so-called bible knowledge is foolishness. They are just so removed from facts, history and reality. Yes, better believe in purgatory cos most of you “will never get out till you paid the last copper.” Learn some humility and repent your sins and the sin of pride of your ancestors.

  46. I totally agree with Kathy… I’m 13 and I just got saved 2 years ago and before that I kept adding my own options to my spiritual life…and I found out that… Well that’s beside the point… how can u belive in purgatory and getting to heaven by good works.. I believe in the Bible by faith and faith alone… Francis, could u please shoe me in the Bible where it says anything about purgatory or getting to heaven by works? it’s my job as a Christian to make sure everyone knows that God sent his son Jesus into the world to pay off the sins of the world so that we can live in heaven forever with him if u just believe… come on guys whose with me?!?!?!

    • I hope you are not one of those who profess “bible-alone” ‘cos that doctrine is not even found in the bible itself. Not everything is found in the bible since like John said, “There are many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (Jn 21:25). About purgatory, you find biblical inferences like in 1 Corinthians 3:14–15: “If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” If you think Catholics get to heaven by doing works, then you are very sadly mistaken or misinformed. Catholics believe in faith saves but that “a man is justified … not by faith alone … for faith apart from works is dead … but faith working through love” (Rom 3:28, Jas 2:24, 26, Gal 5:6). Well, there is also more than just believing that “God sent his son Jesus into the world to pay off the sins so we can live in heaven forever.” Read what Jesus said about the price of discipleship in the gospels. Grow in faith and love of God!

    • Dear Alex,

      I know that you have been taught that we are saved by faith alone. However, this Protestant doctrine contradicts Sacred Scripture as Francis mentioned above because James 2 clearly says that Faith without works is dead. (Martin Luther removed James from his New Testament for exactly this reason.)


      James 2:14-25
      (New International Version) 14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?… faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

      20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

      Regarding Purgatory:
      In addition to Francis’ reply the Jews long before Christ believed in the necessity for a purification after death and before entering “Heaven”.

      You can see my post –>Where Did the Catholic Church Get the Idea of Purgatory

      Also you can read one of many of my posts on Purgatory–>
      Where is Purgatory in Scripture?

      • When u talk about Abraham doing good works…Abraham was in the old testament…Jesus had not come into this world yet, so people in old testament times were looking toward the comming of Jesus as where we are looking to his second comming… And btw there is no need for a priest to be an intercessor…Jesus is the intersessor… After all…a priest is just a human, he is no better or worse than us… he’s just got a big name

        Dear Alex,
        You seem to be ignoring

        James 2:14-25 14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

        20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and NOT by faith alone.

        Kyrie Eleison,
        BFHU

    • Praise God Alex. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and to God alone be the glory. :) Stay in God’s Word…that is where you will find all your answers.

  47. Alex sweetie, I hope this doesn’t send you in to shock. I am a Catholic (Which makes me Christian). I read and I know the truth. I read the same Bible as you because my dear there is only 1 Bible. I think it is amazing how you and I, who are new at all of this, have such a great positive love for Jesus and can see eye to eye. Is that not what God wants for his people. No one person is sinless, so we must keep our minds on the truth and repent when we stumble. I know I am not perfect, but I do the very best I can. I love all people (strong and weak). God has blessed me with this great ability to love and see the best and beauty in all. Through my actions, I hope to show those who may question my faith how God works through me. As the best model I can be, I hope to lead people closer to the Lord.

  48. Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior….Accept that you are a sinner….Repent for your sins (and pray that God give you the strength to overcome your weaknesses)….Keep your heart and eye on the truth in God’s word and try with all your might to live according to it. Remain humble, don’t judge others harshly unless that is how you want to be judged on Judgement Day, Love and Respect all people. This is how you make it in to Heaven.

  49. Alex: Catholics aren’t Christians

    BFHU: Dear Alex,
    Catholics are certainly Christian. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ himself. All the Protestant denominations were founded by men either rebelling against the Catholic Church –Protest-ants–or other denominations.

    Here is one of my posts:

    Q. Are Catholics Christians?
    A. Yes. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ.

    “Upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18

    Q. Why is it called the Catholic Church?

    A. “Catholic” comes from the Greek word kataholos meaning universal. The Christian Church has been called “The Catholic Church” at least since 110 AD! We know this from a letter written by St. Ignatius of Antioch:

    “Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 Ignatius of Antioch; 110 A.D. ).

    Q. Are Catholic Christians born again?

    A. Certainly. In the Catholic faith tradition we believe that we are born again through the waters of baptism.

    Jn 3:5 “Unless one is born again of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
    I Peter 3:21…baptism now saves you..”.

    • I’m being raised in a Christian family and I’ve heard my catholic friends tell me that they don’t have the same Bible as me

    • Dear Alex,
      The New Testament for Protestants and Catholics is exactly the same. But our Old Testaments do differ. Martin Luther removed seven Old Testament books and four New Testament books from his translation of the Bible into German. He was later persuaded to replace the New Testament books. So Protestants are still missing seven books from the Old Testament used by Christians for 1500 years. You can read the whole story by clicking here–>Why did the Catholic Church add books to the Bible?

      • The catholic church teaches that you need more than Jesus to get to heaven. That His finished work on the cross is not enough for you. Right there should be enough to convict you — and it will if/when the God through the Holy Spirit claims you as His. There is so much more. That Mary, who is perpetually a virgin, can intercede between you and Father God. That Mary was assumed into heaven by God. That your sacraments save you, providing you haven’t sinned at the time you die. That when you sin, it sets you back on your sacramental road to righteousness. That you really eat & drink, over & over & over the REAL body and blood of Christ. You idolize the pope – oh I know, you say you don’t, but kissing his ring, etc, please. Idols are in every ritual you perform. Your pope prays to Mary to protect Rome. Really? Oh my. Correct me, if that is not what they teach?
        God alone can turn your hearts of stone. I pray He reveals Himself to you.

        Curious, as well on this…I don’t recall or maybe never knew what catholics believe re: rapture…where do they (your pope, et al) say you will go if you are alive yet when Christ comes in the clouds (rapture – yes, I realize the WORD rapture is not in Bible) 1Thes4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. John 14:1-3, Phil 3:20-21, Mat 24:30-36…

        Thank you.
        Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Ahhh…. Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
        Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, BUT according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we shold be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
        Amen.

        • What about this verse?

          1.Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

  50. Wow, so sorry you feel that way. But that would be your own personal belief. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus himself and was the first Church of Christianity. There are many denominations of Christianity. (Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Assemblies of God, Born Again, etc) I respect your opinion/belief but I know who I am, and that my God loves me. I don’t feel a need to battle with anyone.

    Your friends told you false information. Maybe they don’t even read the bible. My Baptist and Born Again Christian friends all read the same Bible as I do and we all have the same foundation in our faith. I do agree that there are differences in the methods of worship inside of the actual Churches, but we all believe in 1 God, the sacrafice that Jesus endured for us, and we stand strong in those truths.

    I have had my fair share of descrimination pressed upon me because I am Catholic, but I have done my research and my true Christian friends embrace me because the know that we are all one…God’s people.

    I am happy that you are saved and involved in these discussions. You must be a very mature intelligent 13 year old. Keep up your growth in your faith, I know God must be very proud of you.

  51. Somehow my posts end up all over the place instead of on the bottom. So where ever this one may land :)

    Although born and raised Catholic and still remaining Catholic, I am going to consider myself a new believer because I only started reading and researching in my late 20′s. Ok please correct me if I’m wrong. Baptism is first, then Communion, then Confirmation. These are the Sacraments. They are the necessary steps in the Catholic Church. I have done all. Since I strayed away I don’t remember much of the teaching that came along with them. However, I attend Church every Sunday and reading faithfully now and I am learning little by little.

    My question is this: What does each step represent? I mean the deep meaning behind them because I know the brief version of it.

    The reason I ask this question beside wanting to know for myself, is because there is soooo much being said against the Catholic Church for what is considered routine/ritual, but while attending many other Churches trying to find my place there were routines/rituals there that the Bible can’t explain. Ex: the presentation of a baby and the Pastor puts his hand on the baby and says his words. (I am not saying this to knock anyone because I refuse to argue) All I am saying is I believe we all have more in common than we do have differences. I COULD BE WRONG, BUT I AM BASING THIS ON MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. I am a very peaceful individual and I find that the fellow Catholics on here appear to be as well. I just want to know why we CATHOLICS are so hated? You may say you don’t hate us but if you reread your posts and put yourself on the other side of the fence, can you not feel the rage? I refuse to hate you or bash you because I choose to love you. So why must you do it to us? We are more alike than different and whatever makes us different is personal and between God and each and everyone of us. Not man on man.

    • We don’t hate catholics, at least I do not, and that is why we boldly content for the faith of Jesus Christ crucified.
      The catholic teachings are a false religion.

      • Thank you for your opinion but Jesus Christ founded our Church. It was not founded by men as were all of the Protestant denominations.

  52. Dear Kathy,

    Baptism:
    Holy Baptism holds the first place among the sacraments, because it is the door of the spiritual life; for by it we are made members of Christ and incorporated with the Church. And since through the first man death entered into all, unless we be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, we can not enter into the kingdom of Heaven, as Truth Himself has told us. The matter of this sacrament is true and natural water; and it is indifferent whether it be cold or hot. The form is: I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. (for more information see
    Baptism in the Catholic Encyclopedia and scroll down to EFFECTS OF BAPTISM..it is a long article. or see Baptism in the Catechism of the Catholic Church .

    Eucharist click here–>Catholic Encyclopedia or Catechism

    Confirmation
    click here–>Catholic Encyclopedia or Catechism

    • Thank you for taking the time to send me this information. I am going to take my time reading through each one. If someone would of asked me 10 years ago to go to Church or if I found it important to learn about my God, I would of brushed off the topic. I think it is amazing how God reached out and grabbed hold of me. Now I can’t get enough information.

      • Welcome back to Mother Church, Kathy. The work of the Holy Spirit in your life is inspiring. I would love to hear your story of conversion.

  53. It wrong to baptize babies before they are saved!!!! they don’t even understand what is going on…and baptizing them doesnt help them in any way except confuse them when they get older and if they begin to explore religions…

    • Dear Alex,
      I appreciate and am very happy that you love Our Lord and have the zeal to go out and make disciples. But, I must ask you or ask you to ask those who taught you, what scripture says “it is wrong to baptize babies before they are saved.”

      We Catholics believe, in agreement with St. Peter, that baptism saves babies, in case they die before reaching the age of reason and until a person is old enough to receive the gift of Faith.

      1 Peter 3:21Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you

      We do not believe a person who is baptized and never comes to faith in Christ will automatically be saved.

      Please take a look at my posts
      Infant Baptism,
      Do you Have to Be Baptised?,
      Baptism of Blood or Desire, and
      Baptism Does Not Save You.

    • You are correct Alex. Baptism is an outward expression of your faith in our Savior; it is your personal testimony to, and the inward assurance of, your passage from the old life to the new life.
      I was baptized just over a year ago at age 46. I invited my catholic dad to attend, and he asked “why, you were baptized as a baby”. Exactly.

    • hi alex,
      let me ask you “if parents can decide what baby can and cannot have ,don’t you think they can make a decision on baptism for there baby while they are infant..yes later- when they group they have the right to decide for themselves..

      • It’s the audacity and the sin of unbelief of the efficacy of the “one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” If only they know it’s already been dealt with as a major heresy with the sect of Montanists in the 4th Century.

      • Can a person sin knowing that it is wrong, but sin any way? thinking its is ok since he or she is going to confession weekly anyway? Thanks.

        • Dear Raymond,

          In order to actually be forgiven in confession, by God who knows our heart, even if the priest is fooled, a person must be truly sorry he sinned and make a firm resolution not to sin again.

          A person who thinks he is free to sin since he will be going to confession next week, and then goes ahead and commits the sin, will probably not have the requisite sorrow for sin needed to actually be forgiven by God.

          It is a sacrament with grace and mercy given by God. God is not like a coke dispenser, where you push your cup against the lever and get coke and neither can you go through the motions of going to confession and automatically get forgiveness regardless of the state of your heart.

          Thanks for the good question.

  54. On April 1st I gave a short explanation of how I returned. It’s definitely not as detailed and beautiful as your story, but it is all the truth.

  55. I’m glad I found this site. I am trying to understand the Catholic religion and be open minded, but even with the links above – I still do not see it. None of the versus you quote when it comes to Baptism stated anything about children. Also it states over and over that you need to believe and be forgiven, etc… An infant can not do this.

    • God bless you for your openness and charity towards your Catholic brothers and sisters.

      You bring up a good point. None of the verses in the Bible say anything about children and baptism. That’s just it. Nothing is said either for or against the practice. Even Anabaptists have to resort to tradition to substantiate their practice of refusing baptism to infants. They may use Scripture to validate their tradition, but make no mistake, it’s still an extra-biblical tradition.

      The verses in Scripture that do describe conversion experiences are all in the context of adults who have encounters with Jesus. Nowhere do you have the example of a child who grows up in a Christian home and meets Jesus that way. But it sure would be absurd to suppose that such a thing was “unbiblical,” wouldn’t it?

      I will throw out one more Scriptural reference, Matthew 19:14: Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” I can make a pretty strong argument that refusing baptism to little children is a hindrance between them and Jesus. Why would we refuse baptism to the very ones that Jesus tells us depict most clearly what sorts of subjects belong to the Kingdom of Heaven?

      Infant baptism is an ancient practice, as is attested by Irenaeus who taught that infants could be born again in the second century:

      “He [Jesus] came to save all through himself; all, I say, who through him are reborn in God: infants, and children, and youths, and old men. Therefore he passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, sanctifying infants; a child for children, sanctifying those who are of that age . . . [so that] he might be the perfect teacher in all things, perfect not only in respect to the setting forth of truth, perfect also in respect to relative age” (Against Heresies 2:22:4 [A.D. 189]).

      This was written by a disciple of Polycarp, who was himself a disciple of the Apostle John. Three removed from Jesus is pretty close. I think I’ll stick with Irenaeus on this one.

      • Ahhh…..but what DOES the bible say about baptism…. You made an assumption that b/c “baby” baptism is “absent” then surely, what? it falls under tradition?
        There is nothing EXTRA-biblical about being baptized after coming to Christ…

  56. Dear Linda,

    You are coming to the research into the Catholic Faith with a Protestant handicap. That handicap is the mind set that if you can’t clearly see something in scripture it must be wrong.

    Are you aware that the Protestant Dogma of Sola Scriptura cannot be found anywhere in scripture? Christianity was around for 400 years before the New Testament was canonized. Therefore, the Christian Faith was based on the teaching of the apostles and their sucessors. It never was a teaching of the Christian Faith that Scripture alone is true and nothing else. How could it have been when no one knew for sure which books were infallible?

    Also, the Doctrine of Sola Scriptura requires that the believer owns a Bible, and can read well. This was an outright impossibility for everyone in the ancient world except the very wealthy, who, perhaps could not read well either.

    It is still an impossibility for 20% of the world population today, who cannot read.

    Please see my post: –>Sola Scriptura and –> Catholic Beliefs oppose Scripture?

    My questions for you are:

    What was/is a believer to do without a Bible and/or without the ability to read in order to grow in love of God and holiness under the doctrine of Sola Scriptura?

    If Sola Scriptura is a foundational, God breathed doctrine, and eternal principle for the Christian Faith, where is it in Scripture or in the Early Church?

    Didn’t God know that for 1500 years of Christianity most people would not be able to own a Bible?

    What about all the people who have not been able to read for the past 2000 years?

    How could the reading of scripture be the only way to know your faith and grow for all those centuries when most people could not read and a Bible cost thousands of dolllars before the invention of the printing press?

    So Sola Scriptura is a new Protestant tradition invented by Martin Luther 500 years ago.

  57. Many of you people who leave the Catholic Church to join the Christian Church simply don’t understand.

    Mary is “indeed” the mother of Jesus Christ (the mother of God). Catholics do not think of Mary as better than Jesus Christ/God, and we do not pray “TO” Mary. We only ask Mary to pray “for us.”

    Do you see the difference? Christians and other religions don’t believe that angels and saints, and the mother of God, can pray for us. Well they are wrong.

    Think about it this way (metaphor). If your neighbor asked you to mow his lawn. Would you do it? If you are nice, then yes. But what if your own father asked you to mow his lawn? Then it would be different right? You wouldn’t hesitate to say no. In the Ten Commandments, we are supposed to honor our mother and father.

    This is the same with God. When Jesus was on earth, men from a party asked Jesus to turn their water into wine. Jesus refused. Then Mary spoke with them and said that her son would turn their water into wine. She knows her place and that she should not command her own God to do anything. So she didn’t, she simply stood there and looked at him. And Jesus instantly got up and did it. Not because the man asked him to do it, but because his mother Mary did.

    So that is the difference. Why have just you praying for something when you can ask Mary, His mother to pray for you as well. Or the saints.

    The Catholic Church is perfect, the people who are a part of the Catholic Church, are not. We cannot judge a religion on its people. Simply believe in Jesus Christ, that he is your Lord & Savior. And you will have eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. Just know that catholics in no way shape or form, pray “to” anyone other than God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are “ONE GOD.”

    Jesus: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.”

    I love you all <3

    • That’s a pretty awesome defense of Marian intercession, UniQuE. But please don’t categorize Catholics as non-Christians. That’s what a lot of the debate here has been about. Also, technically, Catholics DO pray to the saints, although there is an important distinction between prayer to God and prayer to someone else. Augustine distinguished between “latreia,” worship that is due to God alone, and “douleia,” reverence that we pay to our fellow creatures. Douleia is what we are exhibiting when we call a judge “your honor,” for instance. There are instances of this in Scripture, as well. For example, in Genesis 42:6 it says that, “Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.” Joseph’s brothers were not worshiping Joseph as a god, but they were paying him respect in the proper cultural mode of their day. The word “bow” in Hebrew is “hishtachaveh,” and it is the normal word for “worship.” This is the kind of “worship” that is offered to the saints, douleia. It is not of the same degree or even kind as the latreia that is due to the Creator God alone. As Augustine also teaches in “De Doctrina Christiana,” only God can properly be our heart’s desire. Our fellow creatures are loved for His sake, not for their own. So it is with the saints. We love them and reverence them for the sake of Father God who has manifested such great works in them and made us, with Him, sons and daughters in His celestial family.

    • Mary is the mother of Jesus. She is not the mother of God.

      • She is not the mother of the Trinity. Correct. However, Jesus was God and Mary was His mother. Therefore, Mary was the mother of God. In the first centuries a heresy arose that denied the doctrine that Jesus fully divine and fully human. So, this short and sweet saying was coined as a pithy way of affirming Jesus’ full divinity and full humanity.

        • Agree. It’s too bad so many Christians never took the time to study the history of Christology before bad-mouthing the Church of Christ.

  58. You say sola scripture cannot be found in scripture, take a look at scripture.
    Psa 119:105
    Your word [is] a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
    Jhn 8:31
    Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

    Act 17:11
    These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily [to find out] whether these things were so.
    l 1:23
    if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
    Rev 22:18
    For [fn] I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add [fn] to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away [fn] his part from the Book [fn] of Life, from the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.
    Hbr 10:7
    Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come– In the volume of the book it is written of Me– To do Your will, O God.’
    Psa 138:2
    I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

    I hope this will open your eyes. God bless.

    • It seems to me that this sort of thing has all been responded to, but for the sake of thoroughness …

      There are five problems with culling those verses as you do:

      1. None of them actually says that Scripture is the ONLY place to go for direction. With you, Catholics affirm the inspiration of Scripture, and that is what is established with those texts. But your interpreters have imposed the doctrine of Sola Scriptura upon texts such as these. This is called eisegesis, and it’s not a very helpful way to read the Bible.

      2. You are quoting Rev 22:18 out of context. That’s pretty tricky. If you read the passage as a part of the rest of the book of Revelation, it becomes pretty clear that what the Lord is referring to is NOT adding something to the Bible book (no one carried around a whole Bible back then), but adding to the specific book of Revelation. Deuteronomy 4:2 is a very similar text, and if it meant what you say Revelation 22 means, then we wouldn’t have anything more than the Pentateuch in our Bibles. Thank God that He wasn’t done speaking to us at Deuteronomy!

      3. Quoting Rev 22:18 with the implication that the Catholic Church “adds to God’s Word” is also an invalid argument, because when Revelation was completed, a few years before the death of John the Apostle, the deposit of apostolic faith was more or less sealed. There was no more revelation for God to impart to the Church. The Catholic Church does not claim to have received new truths since the passing of the Apostles. All that we do now is “unpack” them and apply them to our specific geographic and historic locales. Most of the doctrines that the Catholic Church proclaims are well-established in Scripture, a few are less so, but all of them are an inheritance that we have received from the Apostles, and no one, not even the Pope, has the right to make substantive alterations to that inheritance.

      4. For Catholics, “God’s Word” is more than the Bible. We would regard Sacred Tradition and it’s elucidation on the part of the Magisterium to equally be “God’s Word.” In fact, one helpful way to look at it is that the Bible is the core of Sacred Tradition.

      5. You have to fall back on Sacred Tradition to establish the Canon of Scripture that you want restrict your faith to. This undercuts your entire argument. How do you know which books belong and which one’s do not? Why didn’t the Apostle Paul give us a list in one of his epistles? Evidently the Holy Spirit thought having an inspired Church would take care of that problem.

      “Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by WORD OF MOUTH or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:15).

      “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the CHURCH of the living God, the PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH” (1 Tim 3:15, KJV).

  59. The only problem I have with tradition is when it goes against scripture.

    “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Romans 16:17-18

    “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5-6

    “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16

    “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” Mark 7:7-8

    “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” Matthew 15:3

    “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.” Colossians 2:8

    “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

    “… the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:8

    “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever…” 1 Peter 1:25

    “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89

    “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8

    • “The only problem I have with tradition is when it goes against scripture.”

      Then you should have no problems with the traditions of the Catholic Church!

  60. John,
    Matthew is correct. There is nothing in Catholic Teaching that goes against or contradicts Scripture. What Protestants are oblivious of is that they too believe things that are not explicitly in scripture. Such as Sola Scriptura or Scripture alone. This is a tradition begun 500 years ago by Martin Luther.

    Protestants have also been taught to interpret certain scriptures in such a way that Catholic doctrine seems to contradict scripture but it does not. The Catholic Faith simply does NOT align with Protestant Interpretation and/or Protestant tradition because the whole reason of
    being for Protestantism is to PROTEST the Catholic Faith.

    Patrick Madrid made this analogy. The Catholic Church is like a home with a large family living in it. The Protest-ant churches are like some of the children of the family who get mad and take their blankets, a tent, pillows, a lantern, food,and a book out in the back yard and camp out refusing to be a part of the family. But all that they possess they took with them from the family home.

  61. If you are a Christian you are a follower of Christ…. not Peter, or the pope or any other name.
    As for not allowing people to take communion ‘for their own good’ so they don’t call down comdemnation…. this being why some are ill or die…. here again is a different interpretation. We are sick and some die because they do not understand the power of the cross and Jesus sacrifice for us. By His stripes we are healed… if we fully understood what Jesus purchased at Calvary we would know His healing and so would not be sick or even dying.
    Brothers and sisters in Christ may we all continue to know Him better.

    • “If you are a Christian you are a follower of Christ…. not Peter, or the pope or any other name.”

      I think it’s being a follower of Christ and then some more … like are we obeying His commandments, and do we love God and love our neighbors, and are we doing the will of the Father? We cannot be complacent but always be mindful of Matt 7:21 -23.

      “if we fully understood what Jesus purchased at Calvary we would know His healing and so would not be sick or even dying”

      I seriously doubt this is all there is. We need to study John 6 on the discourse of the Bread of life and then honestly ask ourselves if we are identified with the UNFAITHFUL followers who disbelieved (because it is a hard saying”) and left our Lord.

      And until we can unite with Peter who responded “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” … any disrespectful reception of the the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is a most serious transgression against the holiness of God.

  62. I came to this website looking for answers from a Catholic perspective. I am Catholic and while I was listening to Christian radio, I learned that everyone who does not believe in Jesus is going to hell, and wanted to find out if this is true.

    What I got was words of wisdom from the original post, which I appreciate for what it is. What I saw from many of the comments was plainly numerous hateful posts. According to some, I am going to hell. I don’t appreciate that. I have a strong relationship with God AND JESUS, and I am sure that he is not happy with these people telling me I am DEFINITELY GOING TO HELL. Thanks for judging me and every Catholic you know. I am sure Jesus is very happy with all of you who judge, even though he is the only one who is suppise to do that.

    • Dear Confused.
      I am so sorry that you have received “hateful” comments. Without seeing these comments though, I do not know why you considered them hateful. Maybe how they made their remarks was not done in a very gracious way. In any case, if they were true Christians, I don’t believe that they meant to be hateful.

      Your question about hell is a great one. The Bible teaches that every one of us are sinners. Sin keeps us out of heaven because heaven is God’s dwelling place. God is righteous and holy and cannot coexist with sin. Therefore, to enter heaven, we must become righteous and holy, just like God. Jesus is the only way to heaven because on the cross, he paid the penalty for our sin which is death and hell. He died and went to hell in our place as our substitute. Therefore our sin debt has been paid in full. By confessing Him as Lord and believing this to be true, Jesus enters our lives making us righteous and holy “in him”. He gives us the free gift of eternal life which can never be taken away. What a glorious exchange, wouldn’t you say? And it’s only because he loves us.

      If you’d like to converse more, drop me a line. Would love to talk with you.

      “The wages of sin is death, bt the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” (Romans 6:23)

      • @ George Loper: You’ll be amazed by the open hatred and condescension toward Catholics from Me-Jesus evangelists who visited here. How soon they forget Gal 6:10? Anyway, you obviously believe in Geneva’s imputed righteousness so does one need to transform from within so as to be born anew spiritually?

  63. I think many hateful and bigoted fundamentalists will be very surprised when they get to the Pearly Gate to see who’s guarding it (St. Peter). In the afterlife, I’m also quite certain that many of them will continue to dispute with our Lord (the Living Word himself) by comparing bible verses from a KJV.

  64. John Piper – If you had 2 minutes with the Pope, what would you say? desiringGod

  65. Jesus loved the prostitutes.
    Jesus loved the lcrimals.
    He loved the unloveable and He said “love those who persecute you” When someone said something that Jesus didn’t agree with, He didn’t start a debate. He just loved them, and spoke to them kindly, portraying the LOVE of God the Father. As Christians, we should all strive to be more and more like Jesus. Personally, I don’t think that having an internet debate over who’s right and who’s wrong is really striving to be like our saviour, or showing any of that love. Praying <3

  66. Julia,
    Uhmmm… but… Didn’t you just tell us that we are WRONG to have an internet debate. Do you judge your assertion loving and our discussion unloving? Why? Are you not being Judgemental? What exactly was loving about your post, since you seem to judge disagreement as unloving? But enough of that….

    Have you ever read about when Jesus Cleansed the Temple? He wasn’t all sweetness and light then.
    Mark 11:15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.

    or

    Mt. 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

    25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them…. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

    or how about most of this whole chapter….

    Matthew 23:13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [14] [b]

    15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

    16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools!

    23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

    25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

    27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

    29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!

    33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

  67. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:28.

    Recorded in the above verse of scripture is a statement, made by the Apostle Paul, about certain people. To gain a clear understanding of this statement it is necessary to identify the people to whom the Apostle was referring. They are described as being “in Christ Jesus”. The statement applies to people who are “in Christ Jesus”, and to such people only. It does not apply to people who are not “in Christ Jesus”. What is the meaning of the phrase “in Christ Jesus”?

    UNION WITH CHRIST

    rom a study of the New Testament it can be seen that to be “in Christ Jesus” means to be united to Christ. This is a living spiritual union with Christ. It is illustrated by what Christ said to His disciples “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5. Those who are “in Christ Jesus” are members of His mystical body, of whom Paul wrote, “we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” Eph. 5:30. Those who are united to Christ in this way are also united to one another “we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” Rom. 12:5.

    The New Testament contains teaching about the consequences of being ‘in Adam” and also about the benefits of being ‘in Christ”. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” 1 Cor. 15:22. By nature all men and women were “in Adam” and not “in Christ”. By nature all men and women were “in the flesh’ Rom. 8:9. They were “born of the flesh” Jn. 3:6. To enter the Kingdom of God, those “born of the flesh” need to be “born again” Jn. 3:3, they need to be “born of the Spirit” Jn. 3:6. This new birth is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. It is those who have been born again of the Spirit who are “in Christ”. They have experienced “the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” Tit. 3:5 and “by one Spirit’ have been “baptised into one body” 1 Cor. 12:13.

    Those who are “in Christ” have a personal relationship with Christ, and a personal experience of Him. Not only are they “in Christ” but Christ is in them. To the “faithful brethren in Christ…. at Colosse” Col. 1:2. Paul wrote “Christ in you, the hope of glory” Col. 1:27, they had “received Christ Jesus the Lord” Col. 2:6. They were the kind of people of whom John wrote “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” Jn. 1:12. Those who are ‘in Christ’ have a personal faith in Christ. The Galatian Christians who were “all one in Christ Jesus” Gal. 3:28 were “all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” Gal. 3:26.

    People who are “in Christ” have experienced a complete change in their lives “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God” 2 Cor. 5:17, 18. There has been a dramatic divine intervention in their lives. God has intervened in their lives in creative power. They are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” Eph. 2:10. It is only people who have undergone such a change who are “in Christ”. Dear reader has this happened to you?

    To Christians at Rome Paul wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” Rom. 8:1, to whom he also wrote “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his” Rom. 8:9. Those who are “in Christ” are no longer” in the flesh” but “in the Spirit”, “the Spirit of God” dwells in them. But those in whom “the Spirit of God” does not dwell, are not “in Christ”.

    Where the Spirit of God dwells there will be evidence of His presence. In the lives of those who are “in Christ” will be produced “the fruit of the Spirit” which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance” Gal. 5:22, 23. People in whom “the Holy Spirit of God” Eph. 4:30 dwells will have “fruit unto holiness” Rom. 6:22. Multitudes of those who are “in Christ” have experienced an assurance of salvation, confessing “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” Rom. 8:16.

    Those who are “in Christ Jesus” are united to Christ. They have been born again, they have faith in Christ, they have received the Lord Jesus Christ, they have been miraculously changed, they are new creatures, they are children of God. In them the Holy Spirit dwells, in their lives the fruit of the Spirit is produced, they are holy people. They are in this blessed position as a result of divine activity. It is of such people, and such people only that the Apostle Paul wrote “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one IN CHRIST JESUS”.

  68. Dear Keith F.

    There is nothing troubling with the pope’s statement that the canon was “found”. His point was undoubtedly that the writings that were canonized were certainly infallible and inspired prior to the canonization of them as Holy Scripture by the Catholic Church. They were not made infallible or inspired by the Catholic Church. This is just logical. And yes, of course, they were possessed by the Church prior to their canonization.

    There was general agreement on the inspiration of most of the NT books that were eventually canonized. But there were different opinions and much discussion regarding other books. Some of which were later canonized and others that were not canonized.

    So my statement, that “there was NO INFALLIBLE CANON OF SCRIPTURE” prior to around 400 AD is meant to point out to Sola Scriptura Protestants that their ideas about scripture being the ONLY sure guide to faith is faulty. If they had been Christians who lived in 45 AD not a single NT gospel or letter had even been written. So how did these Christian follow Christ without a Bible?

    If you were a Christian living in 100 AD all of the NT books were written and acknowledged as authoritative….along with many other gospels and letters. So how did these Christians follow Christ without knowing which were which?

    This is the point I am trying to make with my statement “there was NO INFALLIBLE CANON OF SCRIPTURE”.

    I still do not understand why you think this would be a problem. Can you be more clear on what you think we should find troubling with the Pope’s statement? What “other sense” do you think the pope was using the word canon?

  69. Dear Jackie,
    I was a born agin Protestant-Dutch Reformed/Calvary Chapel/ Charismatic/Southern Baptist/Evangelical Free Christian. Then I found out the truth about what the Catholic Church believes and the scriptural foundation for their beliefs and I converted to the Church founded by Jesus Christ Himself. I hope you will read my conversion story by clicking on the link below.
    My Conversion to the Catholic Church

    It was the best decision of my life! After 14 years I am still thrilled and thankful to be Catholic!!!!

    • Scriptural foundation for their beliefs? No.

      I did read your conversion story last week when you posted it to another comment. We all have a conversion story or testimony. What we converted to, though, is a matter of eternal life.

      So, you are saying Jesus + nothing or are you saying Jesus + works?
      Saved or not, one cannot work his way to heaven. It IS by the grace of God…I am a sinner and do not deserve His mercy, but praise God, He opened my eyes and ears, softened my heart of stone. All Glory and Praise to God. Amen.

      (bfhu: How does a Catholic get to Heaven? A. By Faith and the Grace of God. Catholics get to Heaven by the power and grace of God. The good works that we do are in obedience to Christ and in order to purify ourselves so that we can become holy as He is holy)

  70. can those who dont receive holy communion go to heaven?

    • Yes.
      1)All those who are ignorant of Christ and who God judges worthy of Heaven. For example the inhabitants of the American Continent before its discovery by European Christians.

      2) Children who die before the age of reason and their First Communion.

      There are other possibilities as well. But, one would be putting their soul in danger of Hell to refuse reception into the Church and subsequent communion once they knew it was the truth.

    • There must be a very good reason why Christ offers his “body and blood” as food so why wouldn’t one try to partake of this most sublime heavenly meal on earth? If one does not care or refuse to come to the table of the Lord, why talk about heaven? It’s a contradiction. A Christian who obstinately rejects Holy Communion will have to explain to Christ why one rejects the wedding invitation (“Many are invited, few are chosen”, Matt 22:14). I, for one, will not want to have to be tested this way.

  71. Wasn’t Jesus a Jew? Isn’t salvation from the Jews? Didn’t John the Baptist see Jesus walking down the path and say “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world? Did Christ die so I could go to purgatory? Did the thief on the cross go to purgatory? Are my parents in hell because because they ate meat on Friday? Didn’t Jesus give his life as ransom for many? Isn’t the message so simple a child can get it? Could it be possible that there is evil in this this world that wants to take the truth and spin it so it is not the truth and drag you away from heaven? Has Jesus ever knocked on your door and wanted to be your Savior? Does it make any sense that we would need anything but Christ? Am I wrong? Am I right. Is the Bible wrong? Is the Bible right? Just on the surface, does one way make more sense than the other? How come a priest has never shared Christ with me? I don’t know, I’m just Asking. Praying for the unsaved daily. paul
    45 years a Catholic. 15 years saved by grace.

    • Amen Paul! 45 years (ex)catholic here — all praise and Glory to God, 3 years saved by grace, by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I thank God every day for saving this wretched sinner, and pray every day for all the lost. Amen.
      You are right, the message is so simple, and it’s all in His Word. The only way to spend eternity with God in heaven is faith in the LORD Jesus Christ alone. Because man cannot save himself by ANY means God sent His only begotten Son to die as a substitute for sinners. If man can achieve righteousness in any other way, then obviously the Savior need not have died. When Jesus died on Calvary and rose again on the 3rd day, HE finished the work necessary for our salvation. NOW all God requires is that we feel our need of Him and receive Him as Savior and Lord; lay aside pride and self-righteousness, people, and recognize your need of HIM.
      Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
      John 3:3 JESUS answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
      John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
      Rom 10:13 For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
      John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
      John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
      Be blessed all.

      • Thanks Jackie for your kind words. It’s pretty simple isn’t it.
        I think thats the way God wanted it. p

  72. Dear Paul,

    Paul: Wasn’t Jesus a Jew?

    BFHU: Yes

    Paul: Isn’t salvation from the Jews?

    BFHU: Yes

    Paul: Didn’t John the Baptist see Jesus walking down the path and say “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?

    BFHU: Yes

    Paul: Did Christ die so I could go to purgatory?

    BFHU: Yes. If one is perfect when they die they will not need to go to have any further purification in Purgatory.

    But since “nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.: Revelation 21:27

    ….most of us will need further work in order

    “that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:27

    Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

    1 Peter 1:15 but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct;

    1 Peter 1:16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

    Colossians 1:24
    Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

    Paul: Did the thief on the cross go to purgatory?

    BFHU: I don’t know. Perhaps suffering his crucifixion purified him. Only God knows. Or perhaps he did go to Purgatory until Jesus entered Heaven at least 3 days later.

    (John 20:17Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.)

    Paul: Are my parents in hell because because they ate meat on Friday?

    BFHU: I doubt it would be from eating meat on Friday if they were in Hell.

    Paul: Didn’t Jesus give his life as ransom for many?

    BFHU: Yes.

    Paul: Isn’t the message so simple a child can get it?

    BFHU: Yes but understanding the depth of theology is a wonderful lifetime of discovery. And children often lack the self discipline and selflessness to follow the faith.

    Paul: Could it be possible that there is evil in this this world that wants to take the truth and spin it so it is not the truth and drag you away from heaven?

    BFHU: Absolutely!

    Paul: Has Jesus ever knocked on your door and wanted to be your Savior?

    BFHU: The door to my house? No. The door of my heart? Yes

    Paul: Does it make any sense that we would need anything but Christ?

    BFHU: Like what?

    Paul: Am I wrong? Am I right.

    BFHU: I am sure we are both right about some things and wrong about others.

    Paul: Is the Bible wrong?

    BFHU: No

    Paul: Is the Bible right?

    BFHU: Yes. But the question is: Who’s interpretation of the Bible is correct?

    Paul: Just on the surface, does one way make more sense than the other?

    BFHU: Yes. The Catholic Faith makes way more sense. Every verse of scripture dovetails with Catholic theology whereas Protestantism created a lot of cognitive dissonance. I am sooooooooo much more intellectually satisfied as a Catholic than I was as a Protestant.

    Paul: How come a priest has never shared Christ with me?

    BFHU: Many priests have shared Christ with you but you did not have eyes to see. When a priest baptized you, Jesus washed you and initiated you into the Family of God. That priest is your spiritual father.

    Every time a priest gave you Holy Communion he shared the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus with you. Literally. What could be better than that?

    Every time a priest absolved you of your sins in the sacrament of confession he shared the grace and forgiveness of Jesus.

    The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus and sacramental grace is how He wanted it to be. If you don’t like the way Jesus designed His Church you can take it up with Him. But all the Protestant churches were designed by men and we know all of their names from Martin Luther to Chuck Smith. Why would anyone want to be in a church other than the ONE founded by Jesus? Who Started Your Church?

    • Dear BFUH, I can’t tell you how happy I am to know the truth. It really is true that the truth will set you free.
      I think Jesus screwed up, he should have been a Catholic.
      I consider you all my new friends. p
      FWI back in the day, meat on Friday, Hell fire for you bro.

    • Dear Jimmy, I’m not a Protestant, I’m a “Born Again”. tks

      • Dear Paul,
        I posted Jimmy’s video on my site. He does not see or monitor these comments. We are also Born Again in Baptism ala John 3. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus and we have records of it being called the Catholic church in the first century. Protestants, via Martin Luther protested the Catholic church and split off and became the Lutherans. Then others split off from the Lutherans or the Catholic Church in the same era and became Presbyterians, Baptists etc. And people kept splitting and splitting of until now there are thousands of different “denominations” in direct opposition to Jesus’ desire that we all be one. John 17.

        So, since you protest the Catholic Church that makes you a Born Again Protestant. I am a Born Again Catholic.

        • Dear bfhu, I am not a “BORN AGAIN PROTESTANT”

          I AM “BORN AGAIN”. thank you for the reply.

          • I am born-again, saved, by the BLOOD of Jesus Christ. Thank you Lord!
            Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

            • Hi Jackie, will you join me in praying daily for the unsaved. I know you probably do already. Lets do it together out of love for our friends. Thanks Paul

              • Oh yes, Paul….I do and I will! Amen! Daily, almost unceasing it seems; I believe time is short. Yay for us, sad and bad for the unsaved. My whole family, 2 grown children, 5 brothers, 2 sisters, dad, (except mom & stepdad) are unsaved, many of them still too afraid to leave the “comfort” and “ear tickling” “mass”. They, and ALL unsaved, give me great reason to stay in prayer…. God tells us what hell will be like; I wish for NO ONE to go there. He also tells us how NOT to go there.

                Luke 14:23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
                Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

                See you in heaven brother Paul, whether by death or rapture. Praise God.

              • We need spiritual revival in our churches! Not ear-tickling, feel-good, theology and “tradition”. BIBLE, the Word of God preached, JESUS CHRIST crucified, JESUS CHRIST risen! IT IS FINISHED. That’s what JESUS said. THAT’S the message. Pray for revival. Amen.

                • Thanks Jackie, I just don’t get it after two weeks of reading the Scriptures my goose is cooked and I dropped to my knees but that’s just me thanks for the reply have a great evening talk to you later Paul

                  Paul Holden paulhold@yahoo.com

        • 1Cor2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

          When you get IN THE BIBLE and take a leap away from the “tradition” that you hold so strongly to, TRUST GOD and ask GOD to take the veil away from your eyes, open your ears, turn your heart of stone, HE will.

          GOD saves!! You catholics open the Bible long enough to find a verse to massage until you make it fit some feel-good tradition. You have it wrong. Having it wrong, and just trying to be a good catholic (which I hear from a strong catholic, that ALL are gonna be ‘saved’ cuz we’re all TRYING to BECOME catholic – LOL, really? – so All will get a pass – well, providing enough people have prayed for you in purgatory and purified you enough. aiy yei yei.) will NOT get you into heaven.

          Your pope has it wrong on end times as well. STUDY to shew thyself approved. There is still time – but honestly, with prophecies that have been fulfilled in record pace, it could be any day now. Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

          I’m looking up, are you? There is no joy in knowing that so many will go to hell, but there is GREAT JOY and PEACE in my assurance of eternal security. AMEN!! Praise the Lord!

          DO YOU KNOW JESUS CHRIST??? He’s coming soon. I pray you are ready. Would love to meet you all in heaven, but you won’t be there UNLESS you accept what JESUS CHRIST did for you on the cross. HIS BLOOD was shed for the sin of all mankind……only one teensy eensy little thing you have to do….RESPOND to Him, YES JESUS! Get something done for the LORD today. You CANNOT work your way to heaven in this age of GRACE. After the rapture, it will no longer be by faith, but by works AND faith during the tribulation – and if you know anything about revelation, you know that will be near impossible. :(

  73. Jesus said ” You must be born again”

  74. you must receive the sacraments of the Catholic church to go heaven.

  75. Hi Bill, so you are saying only Catholics go to heaven?

    • The Sacraments of the Catholic Church strengthen our souls to persevere in the Faith and give us an advantage in our battle with Our Enemy. The Catholic Church does not believe that only Catholics are going to Heaven. In fact, not all Catholics are guaranteed to go to Heaven. The the Holy Sacraments are a great advantage to us. As St. Paul said,

      Romans 3:1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
      2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

      The Jews had circumcision and the oracles of God and the Catholic Church has the 7 Holy Sacraments and the oracles of God. Protestants generally only have 1-6 Sacraments (depending upon the denomination) and the oracles of God.

      • Shaking my head, sadly. Misguided. I BEG YOU to get in your BIBLE. Now! ASK GOD TO OPEN YOUR SPIRITUAL EYES of UNDERSTANDING! Find a BIBLE-BELIEVING CHURCH! FELLOWSHIP with BIBLE-BELIEVERS! Time is short. :(

      • FAITH in Jesus Christ alone strengthens us! An advantage in your battle with the enemy??? That’s what your so-called sacraments do?? No! Your sacraments are not biblical. Being a catholic, being a baptist, or any other thing you want to call yourself will NOT get you to heaven. ACCEPTING what JESUS CHRIST did for you on the cross is your ASSURANCE! NOTHING but the BLOOD of JESUS CHRIST can do that for you.

        Get saved today. Please ask God to open your spiritual eyes – then let Him transform you. 2Cor6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

        • Daily Promises, Blue Letter Bible, August 14, 2013

          Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

          Though ever vigilant, the child of God need fear no false teacher or doctrine—he need fear no antichrist—for the power and grace and love and work of God have freed the believer from all fear. If God is for us, who then may stand against us? Truly, we have been crafted much more than conquerors in the strength of Christ Jesus! Believer, take hold of your identity! Give no sway to the doctrine of the flesh! Stand firm against the passions of men! Rejoice in your holy calling and irrevocable birthright!

  76. “you must receive the sacraments of the Catholic church to go heaven.”

    Thats what Bill said. Why would he say that?

    • Our Sacraments are Biblical and Historical and several of them are scripturally linked to obtaining eternal life.

      Baptism:

      John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

      1 Peter 3:21
      Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

      Eucharist

      John 6:48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

      So Jesus said to them, “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; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”

      Confession
      John 20: 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

      2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
      19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

      Confirmation
      Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

      Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

      Annointing of the Sick

      Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

      James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders (the Greek for Elder is etymylogically the toot for priest) of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

      Priesthood
      Malachi 2:7
      For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

      • The Priesthood

        The institution of the sacramental priesthood we can find in the NT, at the Last Supper, when Christ spoke the words:

        1Cor. 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

        These words indeed are the institution of the eucharistic sacrafice, and where a sacrifice is, there must be a priest too.

  77. I’m so thankful for this website this page all the comments especially ones from surkiko and bfhu. I was thinking of becoming a protestant but because of family restrictions I didn’t, even if I did I would eventually go back to be a catholic again once I learned about it. You guys educate me on every topics I was having trouble with which are ones I used to agree with the protestants. I was going through a tough time with fellow catholics around me and I needed answers to my questions and an ease to my guilt, mostly. The people I like and trust most are really fixed on being catholics, they have no dout about it and they thought I was too, but I wasn’t and they didn’t understand what was going on with me, it would be the biggest shock to them if I told them I want to be a protestant, which I never did. When I was little I went to catholic education programs mostly they teach cute songs inspired by the bible for little kids, games, good behaviors, prayers my friends and i all loved it. But when we get older we want to learn more complex things, unfortunately we had really bad teachers who keep scaring us with all kinds of horrible tortures happening hell and purgatory so we went into a confused state and literally every young kids and teenagers in the community start to act bad. So I turned to the adults in my family hoping for some answers but I didn’t express everything I want because I was scare I would get into trouble for my questions. Truth is if I ask them now they still don’t know how to answer me, but what they did told me was stories about saints, evidences and personal experiences with Mary I believed them because as kids you believe everything easily. So I was faithful once again and this seem to happen as well to other kids in my community, since the stories get pass around, the priest reassure us and the protesting against the teachers’ scary tales. Now I’m 18 and have properly learned about hell, although it’s still very horrible but meaningful and nothing like the bad teachers taught me, so I’m thankful to all the good teachers. Thank you all so so much.

  78. quyen: HELL is as real as HEAVEN. There is no in between, you ARE going to one or the other – and forever. God has an open-ended invitation for you to accept HIS offer of eternal life in HEAVEN with Him, while you still can, but He will not strong-arm you into it. You accept, in FAITH, His son Jesus Christ, and His finished work at Calvary, in His death, burial and resurrection.
    NOTHING else will get you to Heaven: not Mary, not Peter, not your priests, not your pope, not indulgences, not attending your mass, not giving, not living the commandments, not lighting candles, not baptism, not eating bread & drinking wine, not confessing to a priest, not saying 10 Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers……………..NOTHING except the BLOOD OF JESUS!
    Thank you Lord for sending Your Son to the Cross, for me, a wretched sinner! Thank you LORD!
    You don’t become protestant or catholic or whatever. You become a CHILD OF GOD when you accept JESUS CHRIST as your Savior. When you do that, you are His Church, His Bride. GLORY be! Don’t rely on man to tell you what God tells us in HIS WORD. YOUR soul is at sake! Pray and ask God to open your eyes of understanding as you delve into His preserved Word in your King James Bible. TODAY is the day of salvation. PLEASE, please open your Bible and ask God to guide you to understanding. Time is short.
    Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior today.

    A~Admit you’re a sinner (Rom 3:23, Rom 3:10)
    B~Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12)
    C~Confess Jesus Christ. (Rom 10:9, Rom 10:13)

    Eph 1:13-14 In who ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

    Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

    LOOKING UP. :)

  79. You Catholics make me laugh on how you twist the simple truth of the gospel and change the meaning of words to justify your works driven religion. You are no better than the Muslims or the pagans.

    All sins are mortal sins, even a thought that is contrary to God’s law is a mortal sin. Even not doing the right thing is a mortal sins. You Catholics have no idea of the holiness of God. If you did your pretense of good works to earn Gods grace would be the cruelest joke ever perpetrated on humanity.propf that you do not understand the holiness of God is that you believe after death you must suffer in purgatory to purify you sins and even the scale. Your errogance to believe such nonsense is not only dangerous but will condemn you to hell and greater suffering for missguiding humanity into the same pit you will end up.

    The purpose for good works is out of gratitude for what has already been accomplished on your behalf. Out of mercy for others. Not to “retain grace”

    Wake up and read the scriptures and learn the truth. Recognize you are no better than hitler, that you are born in sin and will remain in sin till the day you die. Only Christ can rescue you from the misery of your soul by imputing his life, his righteousness and his suffering tha he has already accomplished for you. It is not of yourself but a gift from God

    Jesus, while he was on this earth hated the arrogant religious who thought they could earn heaven.

    28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

    29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    Notice the word “work” uttered by Jesus is singular? That’s it nothing else needed.

    You Catholics confuse the legal relationship with God with the family relationship.

    God created the family for the single purpose of making our relationship with Christ and God crystal clear.

    When we do the work of God by believing in Christ we become the adopted son of God.

    This is the legal relationship. God does not cut off this relationship ever. He keeps his word.

    But just like your earthly son is legally your son no matter what, you impose rules on him for his own good. If your son breaks one of the rules he does not cease being your son (legally) but he must repent of the rule he broke, he must confess that he did break this rule and he must ask you forgiveness so that the relationship between you and your soon is once again correct .

    In the same way we are forever the sons of God but are family relationship must be maintained to have a good relationship between us and God

    • Dear Sam,
      Could you give us an example of a Scripture that Catholics “twist”?

      Catholics and Protestants interpret many scriptures differently. But I would never accuse Protestants of twisting them. It is impossible to have a conversation about our differences unless we have something concrete, like scripture, as a point of reference.

      Upon what evidence do you think Catholicism is a “works driven religion”?

      We can do nothing without Christ who strengthens us. Our salvation depends upon the Grace and mercy of God. I am afraid you may have been fed a pack of lies by anti-Catholics. However, the Catholic Faith incorporates all of Scripture unlike various Protestant sects that dwell upon scripture that supports their doctrine and totally ignore any that contradict it. For instance:

      James 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

      18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

      James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.[c] 23 For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.

      26 If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

      I could site hundreds of verses that exhort us “to do” or “not to do” however good works cannot save us apart from Christ.

      Our suffering and little sacrifices of doing good works is our duty. They cannot save us apart from Christ’s Grace but as St. Paul says…..

      Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

      All sins, no matter how tiny or how serious separate us from God and cause us to need a Savior as James says,

      James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.

      However, I think you are confusing our need for a savior no matter how small the sin, with God’s definite view of some sins being way worse, an abomination. The idea that all sins are equal in the eyes of God contradicts hundreds of Scripture (do a word search on “abomination”)especially this one:

      I John 5:16 If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.

      Sam, you have been taught that all that is needed is to believe. But as we saw in James 2 “even the demons believe”. Are they then saved?

      And there are hundred of other verses where Jesus clearly tell us that we must do other things to obtain Eternal Life. Why do you ignore these?

      John 6:52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “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; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.

      Mt 5:19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

      I could go on and on.

      We are all children of God because our parents gave us our bodies but God created our eternal souls. So God loves all of us but some will choose to reject God and end in Hell. But they are all still His Children.

      We do not believe that we can earn God’s grace. Our good works and redemptive suffering are first of all a loving response to the Grace and Gifts of God. However, we also believe that along with St. Paul “they fill up what is lacking in Christ.”For more information click—>Where is the Biblical Evidence for Purgatory?

      Why Would a Born Again Believer Go To Purgatory
      Bible Never Mentions Purgatory

      • bfhu:
        JAMES was written before Romans and Galatians—James is preaching “religion”; it was written pre-church, You’ve got your dispensations wrong. You MUST rightly divide your Bible, 2Tim2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. James was writing to the “12 tribes which are scattered abroad” ~ Christian Jews of the Dispersion.

        Acts 2:38 was before the Church, as well. The church was established later in Acts after the stoning of Stephen. In fact, Acts 16:31 preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ (not repent and be baptized), Acts 16:30-31 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

        We are NOT all children of God. All people are God’s creation, but only those who are born-again are children of God. JOHN 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: ROM 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:, and 1JOHN3:1-10.

        bfhu said “Our good works and redemptive suffering are first of all a loving response to the Grace and Gifts of God” ~~~ THE REDEMPTIVE WORK WAS FINISHED AT THE CROSS. John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. You CANNOT WORK your way into heaven. And there is NO stopping off in “purgatory”! AMEN. THANK YOU JESUS. YOU CHOOSE today where you will spend eternity…it will be HEAVEN or it will be HELL. THE choice is yours. 2COR6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
        Don’t wait, if you get hit by a bus when you walk out of your house today and die, and you are unsaved, you will burn in eternal hell. :( Please accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour today.
        Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; AMEN.

        John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
        Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
        Prov 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
        Prov 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
        Isa 34:16 Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.
        Isa 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
        Prov 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
        AMEN. Glory be to God.

  80. 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

    13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

    14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

    40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

    42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]”

    43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    • Dear Sam,
      We totally agree with these scriptures of course. However, Jesus did not go to Heaven for three days while He was in the tomb and even then He did not go immediately. Remember he told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him b/c He had not ascended to His Father. I remember being taught as a Protestant that there were two parts of Sheol, the place of the dead. The paradise side and the punishment side. Therefore, Jesus and the thief probably went there on that day. But, even if they went straight to Heaven we teach that God may do whatever He wishes. But, neither Jesus nor Scripture teach that what happened with the thief is normative.

  81. Sure it is normative. I agree that no soul could enter heaven until Christ died and resurrected, because Jesus death on the cross justified not only the future saints but also the past saints. Once Christ was resurrected then the souls in paradise, (including the thief on the cross) was transferred from paradise to heaven. The unsaved are still in the temporary hell awaiting the judgement seat of god that revelations speaks of.

    I notice you deleted my scripture from Isaiah for whatever reason.

    Anyways, it is plain to see that you do not understand scripture.

    Let’s take one at a time. But first you must interpret scripture with scripture, and scripture does not contradict itself.

    Let’s take James for example. A scripture you clearly twisted in your comment above.

    ( I will continue this answer on my desk computer because I can’t cut and paste with my iPad, give me a few hours and I will answer each and every one of your questions and comments)

  82. Well, I went for a bycicle ride and when I got back fired up my desk top and my desktop has a virus. I am cleaning it up but I will have to answer you on my iPad. So I will not use much scripture till tomorrow. Today I will use plain logic.
    let me tell you a story. (fictitious)

    I had this friend of mine that I was talking to. He happened to have bought a house that I had previously owned many years before. I told him that I had burried 50 ounces of Gold under the corner tree in the back yard back in my prospecting days. I had then over time forgotten all about it. As I was old and crippled and lived thousands of miles from my friend, as we were talking over the phone. I told him, if you get that Gold out from under the tree, you can have it all, I only ask that you cremate me when I die, (for I was near the end of my life). I called him the next day and asked him if he had found the gold. He told me that he believes me about that gold but was just too busy today. Months went by and I heard he was having a hard time for he had gotten into too much debt. I called him and he explained to me he had to work two jobs to keep up with his debt payments. I asked in amazement, you mean you have spent all that gold under the tree and some? He said he had been too busy to dig it up. But when he gets time he will dig it up.

    Let me tell you another story.

    Two brothers who were owners of a circus where in town. To promote their circus and get the audience to come to the show they decided to do a tight rope act near a busy intersection by a canyon. The strung a tight rope across the canyon and started to walk across the tight rope taking turns. Soon a large crowd gathered along both sides of the canyon watching in amazement. Then one of the brothers got a wheel barrel of which the other brother promptly got in while his brother pushed him across the rope. They did this multiple times taking turns. They would walk across, run across. Then one of the brothers said to the crowd, “do you believe that I can cross the rope with someone in the wheelbarrow?” the crowd excitedly exclaimed in unison,”yes we believe”. ” Do you believe my brother can push someone on this wheel barrow across this rope?” the crowed exclaimed even louder, “yes we believe”. Then the brother asked a specific person,”do you sir, believe that I can put anyone in this crowd into this wheel barrow and push him across this rope” the man answered, “of course I believe, what do you think I am a fool? I have watched you all morning doing it multiple times with no problem, yes I believe”. So the brother told the man. “well sir, please get,in this wheel barrow an I will push you across this rope”
    Upon hearing this the man quietly walked away.

    44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

    45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

    13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

    18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

    3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

    8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

    15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

    17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    What comes first? Faith or action?

    11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

    3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

    4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

    5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

    7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

    8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

    22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

    26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

    28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

    More Than Conquerors

    31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

    “For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
    37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    The other day I was talking to a stranger. I told the stranger that I was a pilot with many years of experience. The stranger told me, “I just happen to be the owner of a an airplane but I still have not learned how to fly, would you be willing to teach me”. Embarrased, I had to decline, for I had never flown an airplane in my life.

    14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone SAYS he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[b] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

    15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

    I Never Knew You

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Build Your House on the Rock

    24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

    35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should LOSE NOTHING of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For THIS IS THE WILL of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

  83. Beautiful verses. Thank you. I hope you will read my conversion story–>My Conversion to the Catholic Church So you will realize I am quite familiar with the Bible.

  84. If you are familiar with the bible you would realize that works are the result of the grace you have been given not the grace you are earning. The results may seem the same but that is the deceit of your thinking.

    As James said true faith produces good works, false faith is dead.

    • Sam, Sam, Sam, James says nothing of the sort. It says very clearly that “Faith without works is dead”. You have written as if your interpretation is equal to Sacred Scripture. Our good works do not earn grace for us. You have been taught lies about the Catholic Faith. Faith is a free gift of God and good works are our response to His love and goodness.

      • Yes, dead faith is not a saving faith

        Submitted on 2013/10/18 at 5:39 pm
        If you are familiar with the bible you would realize that works are the result of the grace you have been given not the grace you are earning. The results may seem the same but that is the deceit of your thinking.
        As James said true faith produces good works, false faith is dead.

        Submitted on 2013/10/18 at 9:15 pm
        John 1:5
        Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
        Let’s examine this verse in context
        Let’s read a few of the previous verses
        There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
-John 3:1-4 (NKJV)
        So Jesus is telling Nicodemus that to see the kingdom of God, you must be “born again”
        Obviously Nicodemus was thinking in the material not spiritual world. So he is wondering how he can get back in his mothers womb an be born again.
        Verse 5 is Jesus answering directly this question
        One must be born of water (the material world, that is born from the mother’s womb) and the spirit (that is the spiritual world)
        In other words he is telling Nicodemus you must be born from your mother and you must be born from God.
        Let’s keep reading
        That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
-John 3:6 (NKJV)
        Jesus is reiterating what he just said. Flesh (that is born of water) and spirit (that is born again)
        How is one born again. Interesting but this is answered beginning in verse 14. So lets skip to verse 14 and beyond.
        And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 
-John 3:14 (NKJV)
        Interesting, the serpent represents Jesus, this begs to look at what happened in this incident in the wilderness. Nicodemus would have been very familiar with this story. Let’s look at it and refresh our memory.
        Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
-Numbers 21:4-9 (NKJV)
        There you go, the plan of salvation in the old testament.
        Sin
        And the people spoke against God and against Moses
        the consequence of Sin
        So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died
        Repentance and confession
        “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.”
        Salvation
        So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
        Salvation by looking at the bronze serpent. This serpent represents Jesus
        Notice, the only requirement for them to live (after they had recognized that they sinned and confessed their sin) was to look at the serpent of bronze.
        Now back to John
        And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
        that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
        Whoever believes shall not perish (the Israelites had to look at the serpent to be saved from the poison in their blood, to look was to believe)
        Not perish (not, that is it will not happen)
        Have eternal life (that is posses) this is not saying will have, it is saying that from that moment you posses eternal life. Eternal life does not begin when you die, it begins when you are born again. The Jews poison left their body the moment they looked at the serpent and they lived.
        He who believes in Him is not condemned
        As the Jew who looked at the serpent was saved so he who believes in Jesus is not condemned.
        but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
        This is the unpardonable sin. What condemns you is not believing. (not being born again)
        If a Jew refused to look at the serpent because of stubborn unbelief or rebellion he died of the serpents poison.
        For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God
-John 3:14-18 (NKJV)
        Looking at this verse in context you would have to be a contortionist to say baptism by water is the theme of the context. Nothing is further from the truth. You should be ashamed to even suggest such a thing.

        Submitted on 2013/10/18 at 10:02 pm
        Here is another viewpoint from the context of the entire book of John
        Context is the key to interpretation. You’ve heard the mantra in real-estate, “location, location, location.” Well in interpretation its, “context, context, context.” The location of a verse matters in its interpretation.
        Think of the word “hand,” for instance. What does it mean? Without context “hand” could have quite a few meanings.
        the hired hand fixed the railing
his hand was illegible
he wanted to try his hand at singing
I didn’t hold a good hand all evening
The hands read 3:25
give the little lady a great big hand
hand me the spoon, please
we can see the words meaning more clearly in context.
        The Immediate Context
        The phrase “born of water and Spirit” appears in Jesus’ night time conversation with Nicodimus. In John 3:3, Jesus says,
        I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.
Nicodimus is dumbfounded
        How can a man be born when he is old…surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!
Jesus then rephrases his earlier statement
        I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of god unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
The contrast between flesh and spirit in the last verse would seem to indicate that water stands for natural birth.
        Beyond the Chapter
        But there’s an even broader context to John 3:5 that others pick up on. Two chapters earlier, in John 1:32-33, John the baptist testifies,
        I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “the man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”
Here water and Spirit are linked in the Baptist’s ministry and testimony. John baptizes with water but Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit. If John 3:5 is linked to this verse, water could refer to baptism (or repentance which John’s baptism is often said to represent).
        A Look to the Whole Book
        But there’s still a greater context which defines the meaning of water. Water isn’t simply mentioned in these two scenes. It’s used everywhere in John as a metaphor and a symbol.
        John says three times that he baptizes in water (1:26, 31, 33)
Jesus turns water into wine (2:1-10)
Jesus says we must be born of water and the spirit (3:5)
John baptizes at Aenon near Salim because “there was much water there.” (3:23)
Jesus promises the woman by the well living water (4:4-28)
The lame man wants to get healed in the troubled waters of Bethesda (5:7)
Jesus walks on water (6:19)
Jesus invites the thirsty to come to him and drink (7:37-39)
Jesus heals blind man in pool of Siloam (9:6-7)
Jesus washes his disciples feet (13:4-5)
Water flows from Jesus’ side (19:34)
With the exception of John’s baptism and Jesus walk on water, these references do not appear in Matthew, Mark or Luke. They are entirely unique to John.
        Each of these scenes plays a crucial role in revealing the water’s intended meaning. John develops this meaning early in his gospel, contrasting water that is used in ritual and tradition with a higher, heavenly water offered in Jesus.
        John the Baptist’s Testimony (1:19-34): John says Jesus’ baptism in the Holy Spirit surpasses his baptism in water. Water here is the medium of a traditional ritual of purification. But Jesus’ in a comparative and a contrasting sense baptizes with the Holy Spirit (i.e water from above).
        Jesus Wedding Miracle (2:1-11): Jesus’ “water-turned-wine” is better than the choice wine/water which came before. The water which becomes wine is drawn from containers used for ritual purification. Though Jesus could presumably have reused the empty wine jars, he instead has the servants fill six waterpots which John says were “set there for the Jewish custom of purification.” Jesus surpasses this ritual water by transforming it into wine (spirit water) which the headwaiter testifies surpasses the wine that came before.
        Jesus Conversation by the Well (4:4-26): Jesus’ living water is greater than Jacob’s well. The well itself is a traditional site analogous to the Samaritan’s worship on the mountain. The woman points to the greatness of the well by pointing to “father” Jacob as the source and user of the water. The word “father” is again used when the topic of conversation moves from well to worship. Just as ‘father” Jacob gave the well, the Samaritan “fathers” had given them worship on the mountain. When Jesus offers the woman living water she responds by asking if he is “greater” than Jacob who gave them the well. Jesus indicates that it is by contrasting the limitations of the well water with the never-ending life-giving water he supplies. His water is “Spirit” like the true worship God seeks.
        His Healing by the Pool of Bethesda (5:1-9): Jesus’ healing is greater than the troubled water in the pool of Bethesda. Once again the waters of Bethesda are linked with tradition. While the tradition mentioned in 5:3 may not be original to John, it appears to be in line with John’s repeated use of water. While the man looks to the traditional water to heal him, he is powerless to reach it. Because Jesus reaches the man at his need, His power is revealed to be greater than the stirred water’s of the pool.
        Jesus’ Invitation to Drink (7:37-39): Jesus’ “living water” is greater than the feasts water ceremony. Jesus invitation occurs on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. On this day the High Priest poured water out in the temple as a symbol of the later day river that would flow from the temple (Ez. 47:1-12; Zech. 14:8). Jesus’ invitation and reference indicates that he is the scriptures true fulfillment. The water here is explicitly connected with the Holy Spirit (John 7:39).
        The cumulative effect of these scenes indicates that there’s more than one meaning given to water. Sometimes water is simply a clear physical liquid used for washing, drinking etc. However when associated with Christ, water signifies the Spirit (i.e. “living-water or water from above).
        A contrast between two waters (higher and lower) fits within John’s narrative’s dualism. Many of John’s metaphors and symbols have natural polarity. For instance John employees the imagery of light and darkness, life and death, above and below, true and false. Each refers to a separation between tangible world in which we live and the intangible realm of the Spirit. Because it’s immaterial, the world “above” is separate from the world “below.” For instance in John 3:12, Christ distinguishes between “earthly things” and “heavenly things” and in 8:23 He separates Himself from His opponents, stating, “You are from below I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” The higher world represents an intangible reality which man cannot perceive. The prologue asserts “No one has seen God at any time” (1:18). Yet, it also goes on to equally claim that Jesus’ physical presence “explained” or “made known” the invisible God (1:14, 18).
        Through metaphors and symbols, John constructs a ladder of understanding from the lower physical world to the higher world of the Spirit. A symbol, according to ordinary sense, is “that which represents something else by virtue of an analogical relationship.” H. Levin describes it simply as “a connecting link between two different spheres.” The symbol, “points beyond itself”, and in someway “embodies that which it represents.” Thus, John takes tangible images and infuses them with a higher connotation in order to define the imperceptible world of God.
        Water function within this dualism.

        Submitted on 2013/10/19 at 8:35 am | In reply to bfhu.
        18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
        Someone can claim to have faith but what is a faith that is not dead?
This is the crux of what James is trying to portray. 
Remember the purpose of the context.
        What is a saving faith? This is the obvious purpose of the context. It’s so obvious it comes out gleamingly clear in the statement “I will show you my faith by my works”
Notice that the purpose of the works is showing his faith. He did not say “my works are my faith, or I will gain faith by my works” no, clearly faith produces his works.
        19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
        Here James is clearly mocking the faith that is claimed in verse 18. Belief without conviction is not a saving faith. As I clearly explained in my story of the tight rope walker and as Jesus clearly explained in his parables. Salvation is not some magical prayer but its a work of the holy spirit.
        20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
        Here James is telling you that true faith has works. The emphasis is not on works but on faith. In other words. Faith without works is a dead faith, a faith without conviction. We as humans will know if we have true faith when we are tested and we see for ourselves persevere.God, being all knowing obviously knows.
        21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?
        Here James is reiterating this theme the proof of Abraham’s faith was his action in this situation. Let’s go to this incident and we will plainly see that.
        After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
-Genesis 15:1-6 (NKJV)
        notice the end of this passage? And he (that is Abraham) believed (that is with conviction not a dead faith) and He (that is God) accounted to him as righteousness. Remember, this was before Isaac was even born. This is the moment of faith not the moment of works.
        What is faith? That is the question. Abraham’s story is the definition of faith.
        In Hebrews it is also defined
        Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
-Hebrews 11:1-2 (NKJV)
        The elders being people like Abraham
        You see God chose Abraham, God accredited to Abraham righteousness the moment he believed, but by believe it was a conviction. He got on that wheel barrow. Let me ask you at this moment did God have any doubts that Abraham would have the faith that would require him to kill his son? (at least in Abraham’s mind since he never actually killed his son.)
        Now, we have clearly established that Abraham acquired the saving faith BEFORE he attempted to kill Isaac (before Isaac was actually born) and that God credited righteousness to Abraham BEFORE Abraham son was even born.
        So this establishes the fact that the meaning of what James is trying to convey is “what is saving faith and not that works save you” since he specifically mentions Abraham.
        Now, let’s continue the story of Abraham
        Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
-Genesis 17:17-22 (NKJV)
        Remember this incident happened after Abrahams belief was credited as righteousness. But God did not abandon Abraham for God had prepared Abraham for His purpose. God chose Abraham. God had already made a covenant with Abraham. Though Abraham may be suffering from unbelief he would soon turn this around. God, regardless of our human weakness, does not abandon his chosen people.
        Later Abraham circumcised his household as proof that he believes that God will do what He said He would do. Once again, faith then action.
        So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
-Genesis 17:23-27 (NKJV)
        Now let’s get to the sacrifice of Isaac
        But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”And he said, “Here I am, my son.”Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 
-Genesis 22:7-9 (NKJV)
        The key word “God will provide” Abraham was not deceiving his son Isaac here. He was 100% convinced that Isaac was going to be the father of many nations. He already had this faith and it was accounted to him as righteousness as we saw earlier. Abraham did not know how God would provide (maybe he thought God would resurrect Isaac) but he was convinced that Isaac would survive. What a beautiful picture of true saving faith.
        And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
-Genesis 22:10-14 (NKJV)
        As we can see in this story, Abraham passed the test of his faith. Obviously God knew Abraham would pass this test back when he made the covenant with Abraham (in reality God knew before the beginning of time) but now everyone knows. The angels in heaven know, Abraham knows, Isaac knows, the devil knows, future generations know, James knows, and you and I know.
        This is saving faith. Given to Abraham by God before the beginning of time.
        22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.
        James here is explicitly saying that the scripture was fulfilled. In other words the actions of Abraham willing to sacrifice his son fulfilled the fact that way back BEFORE this event happened God gave Abraham full credit for righteousness. The righteousness was credited before the action, the action proves that the faith was a saving faith (convinced of what had not yet taken place)
        Once again, faith then righteousness then Action. Abraham sacrificing his son proves that the faith that Abraham had, and the righteousness God had already given Abraham is true saving faith.
        In this order, Faith, imputed righteousness, Action that proves the faith was a living faith and not a dead faith.
        24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
        Now it becomes crystal clear what the context of this whole passage is. Faith that is true living faith is a faith of conviction, such a faith will produce good works because that is the definition of true saving faith. Like the guy who had Gold in his back yard, he had no conviction so there was no action.
        Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
-Hebrews 11:1-2 (NKJV)
        James is not saying works saves you he is saying that faith that has works is a saving faith and faith that has no works is a dead faith ( you were never saved in the first place because your actions prove it was a dead faith, a dead faith does not save) the proof I have a saving faith are my works.
        If you in anyway believe that by works you gain grace for the forgiveness of your sins than you are simply mistaken. Not only that, you do not understand the holiness of God, the justice of God, the depravity of your soul.
        God knows, and God saves you. You do not save yourself. God saves you completely, to the uttermost, even the saving faith that James is talking about is from God.
        Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith. Look into your heart and see that there is no good thing. Praise be to Jesus that while we were still sinners he died for us.
        But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the UTTERMOST those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did ONCE for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.
-Hebrews 7:24-28 (NKJV)
        Amen!

        Submitted on 2013/10/19 at 8:59 am | In reply to bfhu.
        Interesting title “conversion to the catholic church”
        As for me I was rescued from my depravity by the imputed perfect life of Christ, the imputed infinite suffering of Christ, and the imputed victory of Christ over death. A saint, acceptable to God through Christ.
        But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
-Romans 7:23-25 (NKJV)
        amen!

        Submitted on 2013/10/19 at 9:03 am | In reply to bfhu.
        You say “good works are a response to his love and goodness” which I agree but your introduction to “how Catholics go to heaven” contradicts your statement.

        Submitted on 2013/10/19 at 9:08 am | In reply to bfhu.
        As a matter of fact you missed the crucial point of getting to heaven in your introduction. You missed it completely. All you show is works.
        ” For God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son, that whosoever BELIEVES in him will have everlasting life and SHALL NOT come into condemnation”
        What a shame. If someone followed your prescription in your introduction they would most certainly go to hell.

        Submitted on 2013/10/21 at 7:44 pm
        Here is a very good explanation of the meaning of water in the book of John. This is not my writing, I got it off the internet.
        Context is the key to interpretation. You’ve heard the mantra in real-estate, “location, location, location.” Well in interpretation its, “context, context, context.” The location of a verse matters in its interpretation.
        Think of the word “hand,” for instance. What does it mean? Without context “hand” could have quite a few meanings.
        the hired hand fixed the railing
his hand was illegible
he wanted to try his hand at singing
I didn’t hold a good hand all evening
The hands read 3:25
give the little lady a great big hand
hand me the spoon, please
we can see the words meaning more clearly in context.
        The Immediate Context
        The phrase “born of water and Spirit” appears in Jesus’ night time conversation with Nicodimus. In John 3:3, Jesus says,
        I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.
Nicodimus is dumbfounded
        How can a man be born when he is old…surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!
Jesus then rephrases his earlier statement
        I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of god unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
The contrast between flesh and spirit in the last verse would seem to indicate that water stands for natural birth.
        Beyond the Chapter
        But there’s an even broader context to John 3:5 that others pick up on. Two chapters earlier, in John 1:32-33, John the baptist testifies,
        I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “the man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”
Here water and Spirit are linked in the Baptist’s ministry and testimony. John baptizes with water but Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit. If John 3:5 is linked to this verse, water could refer to baptism (or repentance which John’s baptism is often said to represent).
        A Look to the Whole Book
        But there’s still a greater context which defines the meaning of water. Water isn’t simply mentioned in these two scenes. It’s used everywhere in John as a metaphor and a symbol.
        John says three times that he baptizes in water (1:26, 31, 33)
Jesus turns water into wine (2:1-10)
Jesus says we must be born of water and the spirit (3:5)
John baptizes at Aenon near Salim because “there was much water there.” (3:23)
Jesus promises the woman by the well living water (4:4-28)
The lame man wants to get healed in the troubled waters of Bethesda (5:7)
Jesus walks on water (6:19)
Jesus invites the thirsty to come to him and drink (7:37-39)
Jesus heals blind man in pool of Siloam (9:6-7)
Jesus washes his disciples feet (13:4-5)
Water flows from Jesus’ side (19:34)
With the exception of John’s baptism and Jesus walk on water, these references do not appear in Matthew, Mark or Luke. They are entirely unique to John.
        Each of these scenes plays a crucial role in revealing the water’s intended meaning. John develops this meaning early in his gospel, contrasting water that is used in ritual and tradition with a higher, heavenly water offered in Jesus.
        John the Baptist’s Testimony (1:19-34): John says Jesus’ baptism in the Holy Spirit surpasses his baptism in water. Water here is the medium of a traditional ritual of purification. But Jesus’ in a comparative and a contrasting sense baptizes with the Holy Spirit (i.e water from above).
        Jesus Wedding Miracle (2:1-11): Jesus’ “water-turned-wine” is better than the choice wine/water which came before. The water which becomes wine is drawn from containers used for ritual purification. Though Jesus could presumably have reused the empty wine jars, he instead has the servants fill six waterpots which John says were “set there for the Jewish custom of purification.” Jesus surpasses this ritual water by transforming it into wine (spirit water) which the headwaiter testifies surpasses the wine that came before.
        Jesus Conversation by the Well (4:4-26): Jesus’ living water is greater than Jacob’s well. The well itself is a traditional site analogous to the Samaritan’s worship on the mountain. The woman points to the greatness of the well by pointing to “father” Jacob as the source and user of the water. The word “father” is again used when the topic of conversation moves from well to worship. Just as ‘father” Jacob gave the well, the Samaritan “fathers” had given them worship on the mountain. When Jesus offers the woman living water she responds by asking if he is “greater” than Jacob who gave them the well. Jesus indicates that it is by contrasting the limitations of the well water with the never-ending life-giving water he supplies. His water is “Spirit” like the true worship God seeks.
        His Healing by the Pool of Bethesda (5:1-9): Jesus’ healing is greater than the troubled water in the pool of Bethesda. Once again the waters of Bethesda are linked with tradition. While the tradition mentioned in 5:3 may not be original to John, it appears to be in line with John’s repeated use of water. While the man looks to the traditional water to heal him, he is powerless to reach it. Because Jesus reaches the man at his need, His power is revealed to be greater than the stirred water’s of the pool.
        Jesus’ Invitation to Drink (7:37-39): Jesus’ “living water” is greater than the feasts water ceremony. Jesus invitation occurs on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. On this day the High Priest poured water out in the temple as a symbol of the later day river that would flow from the temple (Ez. 47:1-12; Zech. 14:8). Jesus’ invitation and reference indicates that he is the scriptures true fulfillment. The water here is explicitly connected with the Holy Spirit (John 7:39).
        The cumulative effect of these scenes indicates that there’s more than one meaning given to water. Sometimes water is simply a clear physical liquid used for washing, drinking etc. However when associated with Christ, water signifies the Spirit (i.e. “living-water or water from above).
        A contrast between two waters (higher and lower) fits within John’s narrative’s dualism. Many of John’s metaphors and symbols have natural polarity. For instance John employees the imagery of light and darkness, life and death, above and below, true and false. Each refers to a separation between tangible world in which we live and the intangible realm of the Spirit. Because it’s immaterial, the world “above” is separate from the world “below.” For instance in John 3:12, Christ distinguishes between “earthly things” and “heavenly things” and in 8:23 He separates Himself from His opponents, stating, “You are from below I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” The higher world represents an intangible reality which man cannot perceive. The prologue asserts “No one has seen God at any time” (1:18). Yet, it also goes on to equally claim that Jesus’ physical presence “explained” or “made known” the invisible God (1:14, 18).
        Through metaphors and symbols, John constructs a ladder of understanding from the lower physical world to the higher world of the Spirit. A symbol, according to ordinary sense, is “that which represents something else by virtue of an analogical relationship.” H. Levin describes it simply as “a connecting link between two different spheres.” The symbol, “points beyond itself”, and in someway “embodies that which it represents.” Thus, John takes tangible images and infuses them with a higher connotation in order to define the imperceptible world of God.
        Water function within this dualism.
        Reading John 3:5 in light of its context
        Returning to John 3:5 we can see how this repeated contrast between two different waters fits into the phrase “born of water and the Spirit.”
        Most interpretations hold that water and Spirit exist as two distinct elements in the process of rebirth. The English word “and” implies two distinct things. This would certainly fit the apparent contrast between the lower water and the Spirit (higher water) in the scenes outlined above. But these scenes also make a comparison between water and Spirit and unlike the English translation, the Greek may suggest that water and Spirit are one thing and not two. C.H. Talbert states,
        The construction in Greek is that of two terms joined by “and” (kai) and governed by one preposition. This Greek construction normally points to one act: e.g., Titus 3:5. If two acts were involved, normally two prepositions would occur.
Though Talbert appears confident in this translation, J. Ramsey Michaels counters with a more moderate approach. He states,
        The fact that both are governed by a single preposition in Greek suggests that they are one. Yet in 1 John 5:6, the same sort of construction is immediately followed by a singling out of each element with its own preposition and definite article. The decision must therefore be made on other than grammatical grounds.
Given room to maneuver, immediate context points to water symbolizing the Spirit. “Born of water and Spirit” occurs as a reiteration of John 3:3’s phrase “born again”. The word, “again” possess two meanings. Though Nicodemus translates the word as “a second time,” the word also means “from above.” It is this later interpretation, which Jesus seems to intend. Thus Jesus, in John 3:3 and 3:5, speaks of one birth from above. According to the freedom granted by both grammar and context, Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be “born of water from above, which is the Holy Spirit.”
        shareimprove this answer
answered May 15 at 22:07
        Matthew Miller

        • I cannot comment on the whole post above because it would take a book, but I just noticed something at the end by Matthew Miller.

          Here is the actual scripture he discusses:

          John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew (again/ from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicode′mus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’

          Born anew/born again/ born from above these are all accurate translations of the Greek. But the author then mistranslates scripture based on his own authority due to his interpretation, in order to avoid the clear words of scripture.

          According to the freedom granted by both grammar and context, Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be “born of water from above, which is the Holy Spirit.”

          Jesus said no such thing. Baptism, while done physically with real water, has a spiritual effect by the power of God. Therefore, we are born of water and spirit.

  85. Could you all do me a big favor? When you are on your death bed, slipping away, could you ask Jesus to come into your life, be the forgiver of your sin, apply His work on the cross to your life, tell Him that you need a Savior, That you are sorry for your sin, and ask him to write your name in the book of life. Please?

  86. Dear Steve,

    You may be sola scripture but the Catholic Church is not. She wrote and canonized Scripture but never proclaimed that all religious truth was contained in them. That was Martin Luther. The Catholic Church has always adhered to The Teaching of the Apostles: both written and oral as St. Paul says.

    So then brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.~ St. Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

    I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you.~ St. Paul (1 Corinthians 11:2)

    Jesus gave Peter and the apostles the authority to guide His Church and make rules for the faithful when He said, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven.” This is a rabbinic phrase meaning “authority to rule.”

    Celibacy was not a requirement at first but many practiced it voluntarily in imitation of Jesus and Paul. As the years went on the Church decided a celibate priest can serve the faithful more unencumbered just as St. Paul says I Cor 7. This also weeded out people who just wanted the authority of a priest without total self giving in the first place.

    So celibacy was instituted for both spiritual and practical reasons later in Church history. But the seed of celibacy is certainly in Scripture just not the specific rule. The Church is the family of God. Whoever heard of a Father telling his preschool children that they have a curfew and must be home by 11:00 every night? This rule is not recognized as needed with preschool children but as the same children from the same family become teens the curfew rule is wisely instituted by a loving father. He is not restrained from making the rule after 10 years just because he didn’t make it and write it down when the children were born. And so it is with Church discipline. But dogma is different. Many Protest-ants try to point to changes in Church disciplineas if it was the same thing as doctrine, in order to assert that the Catholic Church just makes stuff up and then enforces it upon the faithful. Dogmas/Doctrine are beliefs taught by Jesus to the Apostles. New ones cannot be made up. Church discipline is another thing all together and is changeable.

    • A dogma cannot contradict scripture.

      • They don’t. However, they may contradict Protest-ants personal interpretation. But they may never contradict or conflict with Sacred Scripture.

    • Bfhu, I do not believe in sola scripture nor do I believe in faith without works. I also believe that one call fall away. You seem to keep inferring this so just wanted to share it again. In regard to marriage of priests – there is a group (The Latin rite) which are forbidden to marry. How do reconcile it with sacred scripture that say false teachers require ones to abstain from marriage and meats… You mention that I contradict scripture but forbidding marriage as the Latin rite is contrary to clear teaching. To refrain from marriage is a decision out of free will to please The Lord. A church which forces this is not discipline as you seem to relate with a parent giving a curfew. Many things over history the Catholic Church has gone back and forth on according to there current beliefs or current papal leadership. This is true of all Christians but to enforce celibacy is not a tradition but a false teaching. The more I talk with Catholics they seem to able to talk there way out of anything even it goes against scripture. You cannot throw Tradition over everything and say it is ok? You are not free it you “must do” something. You are burdened.

      Regarding baptism. You may have not seen my post on questions about the cross. At what point does the cross and repentance come in to play when a child gets older? So what does the cross do for you? So you infer that baptism sets you in right relationship with God. What about the cross? You need baptism and repentance. What about the Savior paying for our sin in the new convenant? I see nothing of the cross in your all your writings. Why? Do you see what Christ did for you as a motivation for obedience out of love for the Savior? I have been to many Catholic Church and they seem to be just doing a routine. Really not much joy? Why?

  87. Dear Steve,
    When you say,

    100 percent required celebacy is not anywhere in sacred scripture

    That sounds to me like a criticism from a sola scriptura sort of view point whether you consider yourself sola scripture or not.

    Also, in harmony with St. Paul, the Catholic Church does not forbid marriage to anyone. Anyone who wishes to marry may certainly do so. However, if they wish to become a priest in the Latin Rite they must give up the freedom to marry a woman, because they have been called by God to be a priest. For instance, if a man choses to marry a woman, then they give up the ability to legally marry another woman. That is just a legal requirement for marriage. It is not a forbidding of marriage. It is a forbidding of bigamy.

    You seem to want to find fault with the Catholic Church so you try to say that she forces people not to marry. You are simply wrong. Ask any priest if the Church forced him to be a celibate priest. If a priest really wants to marry he can even leave the priesthood and pursue marriage. No one must do celibacy. It is their free choice. If they feel burdened they can leave the priesthood.

    Baptism without the cross would be utterly useless. Unless you are omniscient you cannot judge the heart of a Catholic as to weather they are just doing a routine or not. You are being uncharitable.

    Catholic Culture is different than say baptist or pentecostal culture where emotional proclamations are common and outward expressions are the order of the day. The cultures are different and that is not what matters. What matters is: Is their doctrine true?

    • How am I being uncharitable by noticing that most Catholics that I know show little emotion or little difference from the world? We are known by our outward actions. I belive we are all though justified still have purification needed but I see more in other churches. They reveal our heart. I guess as I read about the New Testament like the early church and see different things. Before 300 A.D. Emotions are a part of how we were created why would not at least in some part show emotions For what God has done for us in Christ?

      I think we have different sources but it seems clear to me that the Latin rite are forbidden marriage if they are to be priests? Yes they could leave but then would not celibacy be optional but required if they are priests.

      When did you become a Christian?

    • True doctrines produce love, effections, and joy of heart. You can see this in Mary’s praise to God for being her Savior. David danced before God. Every Catholic mass I have been to is still to me maybe I have not been to enough yet to see the joy. This is confusing to me. God has done so much by forgiving us and bringing us into relationship with Him that gratefulness is good right? How do you express yours by singing, praying, kneeling and worship? I am really interested in how the Catholic Church functions. I am not Pentecostal or Baptist and there are times for reflections, liturgy and quietness before God. I like this about the Catholic Church and need more of this but there are also times for praise of God right?

  88. Thank you for sharing your conversion story! They are always encouraging how God leads people to Himself. We recently adopted two little children with special needs and my wife has asked for extra help:) it is crazy right now. If you would like to hear mine I will share as well. Love in Christ sister…

  89. Dear Steve,
    True Faith can produces love and joy of heart despite the circumstances of life. To hear the joy expressed at a Catholic Mass you must listen attentively to the words of the prayers, songs, responses of the faithful, and sometimes the readings of Scripture (depending upon what it is for the day). We are approaching AlMIGHY GOD!!! THE ANCIENT OF DAYS!!! We formally ritualize a prayerful, thankful, praise of Our Father GOD. Asking Our Lord to come and be present in bread and wine is too big,too important to leave to the puny efforts of each of us. And I love that I don’t have to try to drum up the appropriate prayers and feelings each day at mass. It is peaceful and restful this way. Do not mistake peace for disinterestedness.

    The whole point of the mass is THANKSGIVING to God for what He has done for us. This is not about emotions. As CS Lewis said, they are an unreliable barometer of Faith. What is important to Our Father is submitting our WILL to Him. Choosing to DO what is right. We are under to obligation to FEEL a certain way. As Mother Theresa told us, despite her long life of self giving love, she was NEVER rewarded with feelings of Faith and certitude..

    Mother Teresa, who died in 1997 and was beatified in record time only six years later, felt abandoned by God from the very start of the work that made her a global figure, in her sandals and blue and white sari. The doubts persisted until her death.

    The nun’s crisis of faith was revealed four years ago by the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postutalor or advocate of her cause for sainthood, at the time of her beatification in October 2003. Now he has compiled a new edition of her letters, entitled, “Mother Teresa: Come be My Light,” which reveals the full extent of her long “dark night of the soul.”

    “I am told God lives in me — and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul,” she wrote at one point. “I want God with all the power of my soul — and yet between us there is terrible separation.” On another occasion she wrote: “I feel just that terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, of God not really existing.”

    THAT IS FAITH! Serving God faithfully for 50 years despite the fiery darts of doubt and abandonment from Our Enemy. Was Satan happy with Mother Theresa? NO! What if he had convinced her to leave her work b/c she felt nothing?

    As Catholics we are given permission to NOT feel anything and yet be assured that we can’t go wrong serving Our Lord in spite of a lack of feelings of love, joy, etc. It is what we DO that counts; not what we FEEL.

    As a Protestant, many of the evangelical/charismatic services are geared to engender feelings. Their women’s retreats are geared to make you cry several times a day. Why? Because there is an unspoken belief that if you don’t have the right feelings then maybe you don’t really have faith. So, getting those good feelings or feeling inspired reassure one that they must have true faith, after all. I am not saying that DOING good is unimportant to Protestants. It is. But if they don’t have the Feelings also they wonder if that means they are not really saved.

    • I would say that yes it is about Thanksgiving and emotions. Are you suggesting that all emotions are sinful? Have you had a lot of bad experiences in churches outside the Catholic Faith?

      • Have you ever read C.S. Lewis on the four loves? I am aware, while I am not a penecostal, that there are Charismatic Catholic churches are you against that as well? If you say proper emotions in response to truth cannot lead to obedience and only thanksgiving can than you are denying a part of How God made us. Why do you obey? Only because of thanksgiving? Do you ever obey out of joy for what Christ had done for you? It is Duty and Joy.

      • Did you actually read and understand what I wrote? Or are you just trying to find fault? Did you notice this?

        I am not saying that good feelings are worthless. They are wonderful, when you can get them.

        • I read what you said. And I like your quote that they are wonderful when you can get them. But we should not be afraid of them if they are is response to the truth of all that Christ has done for us. I am confused how you are told in RCC is ok to go on serving without having emotions and understand what you mean but would you consider this thought. Christ’s beautiful words suffering for the JOY set before him endured the cross… Probably facing the hardest part of His life and yet was joyful not just flat. His obedience to the Father is what propelled Him but he was Looking to the JOY set before Him. Amen and amen. We can always have affections and emotions about Him in the mass, service or all of life. This does not mean we need to act outwardly but sometimes it does and it is ok even at mass. And in heaven we will certainly be worshipping in many ways. Yes we are not Christ and are not yet fully purified but would not it be helpful to have great affections, joys and thanksgiving as we face the more dry times in following Him?

          What kept us going when we found out the challenges of adopting a baby with cocaine in her system and possible fetal alcohol syndrome was love for this little child and Christ’s love for her. If we would not have recognized this and had felt Christ’s love for us and her it might not have been able to accept or do it as easily. Do you see what I mean? Feelings are powerful if they are truthful.

          By the way one of the most precious things you shared in your testimony was how you and your husband for a period of time have gone to and are still maybe going to different churches but yet have the same Christ in both. Thanks for sharing that in your testimony. We need to be more loving to eachother as Catholics and Protestants.

  90. Dear Steve,
    I am not fearful of emotions. I am simply saying they are not a reliable guide to truth. God Bless you and your wife for adopting a cocaine baby.

  91. Actually, I tend to agree with Steve’s general observation of the lack of the expression of joy, etc. We must interiorize but it’s also very important to externalize it or otherwise it’s like a lamp being “hidden” under a bushel. There are different places in a Mass whereby one can most definitely extend agape or even storge as a natural expression of fraternity and fellowship. We can do it during Introductory (Say “hello” to someone sitting next to you), at the recital of the Profession of Faith (“Rejoice” because of the Incarnation – Merry X’mas – our Baptism which forgives our sins, the assured Hope of the resurrection) and at Sign-of-Peace in preparation for Holy Communion. At the preface dialogue of the Eucharistic Prayer, we raise our hands joyously (“Lift up” your hearts …we lift them up to the Lord .. It is right to give Him thanks and praise) like we really believe and mean it Catholics can definitely smile (and “sing”) too …

  92. James 5:15-16
    (NRSVCE)
    15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

    Catholic Priest? Where?
    That’s fine if you want to, but I’ll tell you this I have tried to get a Priest to hear my confession and would not hear it. How can I repent if I don’t confess and if I don’t confess how can I be Saved. O! I got to join a religion first, Christ second.
    RCC is God and Jesus is Just some symbol After Mary of Course of the RCC.

    • Jesus to His apostles, the first priests in the Christian Church:

      John 20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

      • Hi, where in sacred scripture or in oral traditions does it clearly say that the apostles were the first preists? Have you ever confessed sin to a friend or to your husband? So I would assume you are saying that if you don’t confess a specific sin (mortal or venial) to a preist it will not be forgiven? Do you believe that Jesus can also forgive sins? What role does Mary play in forgiving sin?

        • Dear Steve,
          Mary does not forgive sin. Only mortal sins need to be confessed to a priest. Venial sins can be directly repented of and forgiven through prayer to Jesus/God. My husband or friend can forgive a sin against them but that is it.

          When a priest pronounces forgiveness it is as a stand in for Christ or as we say, “in persona Christi”. It is not by his own personal or human power or in and of himself but as he acts in his role as a priest of the most high God. And even so, it is God who actually does the forgiving because He is the one who is offended by our sin. If a person went to confession with a priest, but was actually unrepentant, the priest may be fooled and pronounce absolution but the sin is NOT actually forgiven because God cannot be fooled.

          • So everyone who commits any mortal sin outside the Catholic Church and does not confess to a priest will not be forgiven? It seems to me that the Catholic Church has so many inclusions and exclusions. Vatican II stated that all who continue to do well and seek good may meet on the other side. So do you believe this?

            Again John 20:23 says if you forgive sins they are forgiven; and if you retain they are retained. This is more than acting as an agent of Christ? Do you see that? Your belief and function of a Priest is more than acting as an agent if they have the power to retain sin. The early apostles may have had this authority. Do you really believe apostolic succession gives this full authority to all priests today? Can Christ not for give all my sin? Or do I need man to forgive my sin?

            • Dear Steve,
              The rules about confession apply to Catholics. God desires all people to be in Heaven with Him. He will be as compassionate and merciful as He desires to be towards all people of good will. But only He knows for sure how this works because only He knows each heart.

              You are simply wrong as regarding the priest acting as a representative of Christ to the penitent. The forgiveness and retention of sin is for the guidance and comfort of the penitent or for a wake up call if the priest discerns a lack of repentance. He is there to help us discern the true state of our soul.

              If you are not Catholic then all you can do is ask Christ for forgiveness and He certainly is able to do that if you are repentant and will to amend your ways regarding mortal sin. Catholics and non Catholics freely repent and receive forgiveness from Christ, without going to confession, for venial sin.

              • So you would belive that those acting in good will may obtain mercy in the end apart from repentance and faith in Christ? How is this possible? You are saying that I am error in my understanding of rentention as it relates to John 20:23. You are either forgiven of sin or not forgiven of sin. If a preist who is infallible and can be in error how can he retain or not retain forgive or not forgive sin (in persona Christi) perfectly? Christ can see all the motives and intents of our hearts much more effectively than preists. Do you agree?

                • Dear Steve,
                  God will judge us all. He knows all the circumstances of our lives. All the interior rebellion as well as all of the goodness hidden there. God is not a like coke machine (as my [pastor likes to say) where you can DO this or that and you will automatically go to Heaven. That is why we are told, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”

                  We all have God’s laws written on our hearts. But the Catholic Church, having been founded by Jesus Christ Himself, contains the most complete information, guidance, and sacramental graces to get us to Heaven.

                  The priest is a minister of Our Lord. He is Not God. He is not infallible. He guides us through the sacrament of confession to see that we are forgiven or more is to be repented of sincerely. He does not have the power to actually do the forgiveness or retention, that is God’s call and domain. He does not have the Keys of the Kingdom to bind and loose as the Pope has. I think you may be confusing the two.

                  • I appreciate your comments but you are not making sense. John 20:23 clearly says (if you belive in apostolic succession and the forgiiving or not forgiving of sin) that is plural. Even in your Catholic bible it is plural. It was passed not to just St. Peter but to all disciples and apostles. You are stating that I am confusing the popes apostolic succesion in retaining or forgiving sin with the apostles or presbyters retention or forgiveness of sin. Do you see what I am saying? This is why we can confess our sins to others and can confess directly to Christ for the confession of sin.

  93. God Restored Christ’s Church through Joseph Smith
    LMAO

  94. Kindly if man does not forgive sin then who does? John clearly says according to your exegesis of the above passage that man does forgive or not forgive. He is an agent of withholding forgive or forgiving. You really need to consider this.

    When you have time could you answer this? My wife’s mother when a Catholic went to confession and confessed sins to him that the Holy Spirit was convicting her of. His response was that he did not feel they were sin he said nothing of mortal or venial as far as I know. So what then? Should she still confess or did the priest have the authority to usurp the role of the Holy Spirit? Have you confessed mortal sins within the last day? If you have not will you make it to heaven on goodwill or on the merits of Christ? What do you think?

    If you have lusted or had any evil thoughts against another and miss confession for a year will you ever have hope of the joy of heaven? Will more time in purgatory be added?

  95. Dear Steve,
    Your interpretation of John 20:23 is in error.

    As for your mother-in-law I cannot say since I do not know what “sins” she was confessing. But there are a couple of possibilities.

    1) What she was confessing may have been faults or weaknesses but not truly sinful. We may confess these things but the priest cannot pronounce absolution unless there is confession of at least one true sin. I too have had this exact experience. He then asked me to confess a true sin in addition to the faults I had confessed.

    2) She may have confessed true sin that he knew had previously been absolved in confession with himself and therefore she did not need to confess it again. He may have discerned in her a lack of trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness and was trying to guide her away from an overactive conscience and scrupulosity into peace and trust in God.

    3) He could have been a priest who was in error. Since Vatican II some priests have come to believe that people should ONLY go to confession IF they have committed a MORTAL sin. And they think anyone who goes to confession for venial sin only are being scrupulous and they try to convince the person not to come to confession unless they have mortal sin to confess.

    But this is NOT what the Church teaches. The pope goes to confession every week. It is doubtful that he is confessing MORTAL sin. Even though we are not required to go to confession for venial sin, if we do so anyway, we receive sacramental graces to overcome even venial sin and progress more surely towards holiness. If this were the case she should not go to this priest again in the future. I also had this experience. After a thorough examination of conscience the priest “made light of my sins”. I knew he was a rebellious priest and never went to him again.

    Catholics are supposed to go to confession at least once a year. If they miss, they can go any time and be forgiven their sins. I don’t think missing yearly confession is a mortal sin. Purgatory is God’s call.

  96. “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. ”

    Doesnt Say Priest. (Presbyteros)

  97. One other question. As those who have received mercy apart from knowing Christ, as I think you may be inferring but correct me if I am reading into your thoughts, do they also spend time in purgatory to be purified? Do you see yourself spending time in purgatory or do you see yourself going to heaven and having the beautific vision of God?

  98. Dear Steve,

    Regarding confession. We will just have to agree to disagree. This is the root of all Catholic/Protestant differences: INTERPRETATION.

    Protestants read Scripture and decide it must mean X. And if it means X then the Catholic Church, which interprets it to mean Y is in error. It all comes down to interpretation of Scripture. The Catholic Church interprets Scripture within the historic Christian Faith since the time of the Apostles. The Protestants tend to interpret Scripture based on what they read and think. It is not that the interpretation is wrong per se, but it does not take in all that the Fathers of the Church wrote and taught, or the prayers and liturgies down through the ages since they reject all of these and rely on Scripture alone. So, in the end, Protestants ultimately believe that their interpretation is infallible. Therefore, like I said we will have to agree to disagree.

    Everyone in need of purification will need to “go to” Purgatory no matter what religion they are or are not. Yes, I do expect to go to Purgatory and I trust my loving Heavenly Father to totally purify me so that I will be holy as He is holy and not a pile of filth masquerading as pure ala Martin Luther.

    • BFHU: “Protestants ultimately believe that their interpretation is infallible.”

      This isn’t true of reformers; due to Man’s Total Depravity. Most good reformed Theologians will be the first to admit that even at are best will still interject some sort of our own thoughts when it come s to INTERPRETATION of Scripture.
      Now Pentecostals and Joel Olsten, Independent Baptist, Beth Moore T.D. Jakes and all the other pop- Christian writers and their followers would disagree with me, but they of course do not follow the reformed tradition. They follow their own minds. As you see from these pop- Christian writers that Man’s Total Depravity is truer than ever.

      “Everyone in need of purification”
      This is true, But why wait until you our dead, why not be held accountable and be purified now?
      The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand not in the future; Even if it means “giving all of your wealth or half”.
      Going to Prison for sake of the Gospel or even becoming a witness (Martyred)

      • Dear Robert,
        I realize a Protestant would never claim infallibility. But, if they realize with all humility that they are not able to infallibly interpret scripture, then why is it that they so often reject Catholic interpretation of Scripture as preposterous?

    • I agree, we need to seek to please God in all things here on earth. As Peter so we’ll say ” Make every effort to add to your faith…” We need to strive for Godliness. I respect you and your faith as well. I have problems with the many extras and especially popes determining who is canonized who is saints and who makes it to heaven and when. Why one Pope declares over 200 people saints in heaven and then another only declares 10 it just seems so unneeded and kinda of popery. Well I am not a fan of Luther as many Catholics seem to think we consider him as our leader. I really am a fan of Christ and not people or Popes, cardinals etc. There has been no prayer of mine which has been better received by a saint or person than the person of Christ himself. But Gods leading is always paramount and am open as he reveals truth to me in this life. I have enjoyed our conversation. God bless you and your family.

  99. Dear Steve,
    Popes do not determine who goes to Heaven. God does that. The Catholic Culture is very different than Protestant culture so you can’t really expect to understand it from the outside. Saints are people who led lives of heroic faith and virtue. They are canonized in order to place them before the faithful as good examples. The more the merrier. I do not know why some popes proclaim many people saints and other popes declare few. But the pope does not just do it all on his own. There are people who are investigating the life of someone many other people think deserves to be declared a Saint. Perhaps more investigations are completed during one pontificate than another.

    The reason for citing Luther, by me, is because Christ established one Church and wanted us to all be one, not fractured as Christianity is today. Protestantism exists b/c of Luther breaking away from that Church, even though the Catholic Church had many problems at the time and still does. And yet, Luther had his own errors and believed many things that Protestantism has gone forward and dropped.

    God Bless you too.

    • So would you be able to be canonized? I know you be live in oral tradition as well but could you show me examples in scripture where this was done? Did St. Peter do this?

      Are you aware canonization did not appear until the 12th century? So why did not St. Peter do this?

      Yes I do believe we all as His church has problems just so thankful we have a victorious Savior. I want to please Him as you do.

  100. Pam, you, your family and friends are in great peril.

  101. Steve,
    The canonization of the Saints is simply a method to point out good examples of faith. I could be canonized but I doubt it. We believe we are all saints and there may very well be very holy men and women who lived quiet lives of faith that equalled the lives of the canonized Saints.

    It does not need to be found in the Bible for two reasons:

    1) Our beliefs come directly from Jesus through His apostles, as did the Bible. We do not read the Bible and decide what to believe as Protestants do.

    2) It is merely a practical method and does not need to be rooted in the Bible or Tradition any more than the method a diocese uses to determine where a new Church needs to be founded.

    The Church has the authority because Jesus gave her leader the keys of the Kingdom and the authority to bind and loose, which simply meant the authority to govern.

  102. Steve: I’m quite that you will recall how it was described that a tiny mustard seed will grow into a big tree. The experience of the infant Church was the same. In the early days, Christians who were known for their holiness and/or heroic virtues (like martyrs … as in ‘Saint’ Stephen) were simply declared “saints” by public acclamation. As time progresses, the small band (sect) of Christians has also grown into a big and complex society with the common organizational issues. This can be easily appreciated as we have continued to see individualistic and even good-intentioned Christians lacking the will of the submission of faith and in their defiance of an authority on earth which God has properly ordained in His providence. It is quite natural that in the order of discipline and rules that the Church would install a formal canonization process of saints so that “modern” Christians can know confidently that a fellow believer had had lived an exemplary life and who can be considered worthy of imitation in our own walk with Christ. This “list” of saints is obviously by no mean exhaustive. The Church also recognizes that there are manyfold of wonderful “ordinary” holy men and women living out extraordinary lives quietly and anonymously. In fact, we are all called to be saints.

    • Thanks for your kind words. St. Stephen was filled with the Spirit as he spoke defending the faith. Yes he is a great example of Godliness but his example and my desire to emulate him fails far short of my love for my dear Savior. I would be dead many times over without Him. He saved me from destroying my life and many others. Christ is who lived a perfect life and not St. Stephen. Christ is the own who I look to with great faith. Yes I love St. Paul and many other Saints and am appreciative of all the means of grace all the Saints are past and present. Yes they many of them layed down their lives for the Church (Universal) and for that I am grateful. But when trials come and temptations come Jesus is who has time and time delivered me and kept me as one of His sheep. Do you see? Do you rejoice most in the Savior and his precious blood? Do you hope in His unfailing love. Do you see him in interceeding before the Father for you? I am sure you do.

  103. Steve: It is not doctrinal that Catholics must imitate “Saints.” If it’s not your cup, it’s perfectly fine. Like you said very well, Christ is the end of everything. In sharing, I do feel a particular affiliation with my namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, because of his simplicity and poverty in the spirit. There are many schools of spirituality in the Church, all are about personal growth in following Christ. You may like the classic work, “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas à Kempis.

    • Thanks for the recommendation. I have his book. My wife gave it to me. One of my wife’s songs we enjoy in worship is all creatures of our God and King by Assisi. He was a gift to the church. One other thing. When Christ used the parable of the mustard was he not referring to our faith in Him? The power to to please Him? How do you make such a leap to make it mean so much more than Christ? Was Christ referring to adding tradition upon tradition throughout 2000 years? Does the disciple not say continue in the traditions which you have been taught? To me there is no end to what the Catholic Church teaches. Kind if like what Pam inferred that we are free to add almost anything as we go because we are the church Jesus started? All who repent believe in Him are his disciples. All who turn from sin to righteousness are His Church?

  104. Dear Steve,

    The Church has the authority to govern as she and her leaders see fit. Their hands are not tied to finding a leadership model in Scripture. Protestant Churches also govern their individual Churches and denominations as they see fit and these methods are not delineated in Scripture. This is a completely separate issue from doctrine.

    The Catholic Church is absolutely NOT “free to add almost anything as we go” to our Doctrine.. We are bound by what the Apostles taught: both oral and written. NOTHING the Catholic Church teaches or believes may contradict Sacred Scripture. So we are not free to just make it up as we go.

    But we are free to reject Protestant INTERPRETATION of Scripture because it is not infallible. Protestants want to boss the Catholic Church around with their new interpretations of Scripture unhinged from history. And since they are sure that they are interpreting scripture correctly they denounce the Catholic Church. Anti Catholic Protestant teachers and pastors teach their flocks, and you, this mindset. Pride is disguised as righteous indignation and people of good will do not pick up on it. They know their pastor. They like their pastor. He knows Scripture way better than they do, so he must be the expert. Therefore they trust their pastor and become critical of the Catholic Church.

    A critical spirit is not virtuous. Humility is a virtue.

    • Steve: The parable of the mustard seed is referencing directly about the “Kingdom of Heaven” in Matt 13:31-32 (Mk 4:30-32, Lk 13:18-19). It is true that “faith” is also described as liken to a mustard seed later in Matt 17:20 (Lk 17:6). I think that it’s important that we don’t reject the obvious and literal meaning (the mustard seed being the “Kingdom of Heaven” by text proofing many chapters remote in Matt 17:20. If one does so to exclude the immediate context in chapter 13, I would think that it is to be considered “a (big) leap” as you described ironically.

      Pam has already responded to clarify “Traditions.” I have a feeling that you did not fully make the distinction between the small “t” vs. capital “T” traditions. The Traditions are in fact those which “continue in the traditions which you have been taught”. What do you have in mind when you said that the Catholic Church has had “added tradition upon tradition”?
      BTW: Francis is the same as “surkiko”.

      • There is nothing of Mary mentioned in the early church raised to the level which she has been exalted. There is nothing of the practice of indulgences which are easily abused especially in the 15th century. Are you aware that St. Clement and St. Ignatius viewed church leadership completely opposite? One believed bishops as elders plurally and one believed a singular bishop over all the churches. Do you really think that Christ intended for priests to be celibate and required in certain rites? Are you aware St. Peter was married? On one hand you and the Catholic Church claim complete unity but as every church there has been much sin recently, and over in the last 2000 years because of man made traditions Christ did not directly intend or require. Where is any mention of Joseph? He was a righteous man who I would say lived a very Godly life remaining celibate in sexual relations as you teach that is almost just as hard as being the mother of Christ. He led Mary and protected her which really was a honorable job and you rarely if ever mention Him? Yes the kingdom of heaven is referred as mustard seed but it is also mentioned clearly that we need to increase our faith to do good works. You speak very eloquently but you rarely mention the beauty of Christ and what He has done for you. Why? Catholics seem to love the Church as if iit was their savior and not a way to become more like Him.

  105. Francis,
    I am grateful for the Church and all it has passed on from generation to generation since the time of Christ. I have been to Catholic Churches quite often and have seen many similarities in my experience and relationship with Christ since being converted. Although I have been able to grow and serve others as Christian and was converted in a church that was Catholic but not Roman Catholic. I am not suggesting that the church is secondary to Christ but Christ and his death on the cross is what is of most importance. Without this we have no church. I see this seems to not be central in the Roman Catholic church at least in my experience. Few of the Catholics I know take there faith seriously except for one friend I know. The additional things Large T’s and small T’s which the Catholic Church claims we need are not clear claims that Christ made nor many of His disciples made. Why? It seems that throughout History that most of the problems within the Catholic Church have arisen from over importance on secondary things. Paul very clearly said that what is of first importance. I delivered to you what is of first importance. The Gospel. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. The gospel message is what saved me from my sin. This is my ultimate hope. This is what we will be praising him for all eternity. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. Not look at this saint or that saint or how wonderful Mary was as she said yes. Do you understand better what I am saying? It seems the Catholic Church places much emphasis on other things. Could you comment on why Joseph is almost unheard of in the Catholic Church? Was he ever considered to be a saint?

  106. Steven: It’s a bit confusing trying to decipher your usage of the term “Catholic”. May be this can be cleared up at another time.

    The Church’s position on the sanctity and sainthood of Joseph is never in question. In fact, according the ancient pious tradition, Joseph died in the “arms of Jesus and Mary” as the model of a “happy death” for us. His feast day is on March 19, and as Joseph the Worker on May 1. Pope Pius IX (1870) declared him patron and protector of the universal family of the Church. Pope John XXIII added his name to the Roman Canon (1st Eucharistic Prayer) in 1962. Pope Benedict initiated and Pope Francis recently confirmed the adding of St. Joseph to the other three Eucharistic Prayers. Many Catholic churches, schools, as well as Religious Orders are dedicated to St. Joseph. There are novenas to St. Joseph.

    Why the interest in the cause of St. Joseph?

    • The interest is that you rarely hear anyone talk of him and everyone raises Mary to the highest elevation because she said “yes to God.” Do you believe with Paul when he says that the Gospel is of first importance? What does that mean to you? Do you believe that Christ intended for all that has been added by way of tradition small t and large T?

  107. Steven: What you’ve said about the importance of keeping Christ as the centrality of our faith is very true. Without Christ, there’s no Church, no Christianity, no real hope for humanity and … no resurrection (“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain … if for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied”, 1 Cor 15:14-19). In my own faithfulness (I say in great humility), I surrender to the lordship of Christ completely. Over the years, I’ve learned to put God as Number One in my life and to live and conduct myself according to the Father’s will. It has also meant that I freely submit my will and give assent to a Church which governs in His name, the dying of the self and human pride so that I can be born into eternal life (St. Francis of Assisi).

    This morning, I read in Mark 4 (I keep the daily liturgical scripture readings) how Christ taught in parables to those who were able to understand “but to his own disciples he explained everything in PRIVATE” (Mk 4:34). In the ending of John’s Gospel, we are also told that “there are many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” The NT is properly a part of these Sacred Traditions which are passed down from Christ to the Apostles and the Church today. So yes, Christ meant the Traditions (both oral and written) to be believed even for those who are “with Christ at the margins of the Church” (Pope Francis’ homily on the false and absurd dichotomy of Christ v. Church). It is to the Church which He commanded all believers: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Lk 10:16). Believing Christ is giving it all, for the glory of God.

    • It is not Christ verses the church but what really did Christ intend His church to be? A holy people who love others and point others to Him and his plan of redemption.

      So Christ intended for preists to be celibate even though St. Peter was not? In all churches there is sexual sin. Why so much recently in the Roman Catholic Church. If it is does posses the fullness of Christ in a unique way should there be a distinct holiness which exceeds all other churches? Should not the very leaders (As a whole) be the highest examples of Godliness?

      All churches that believe the gospel and live to please God are part of the church.

      You often quote other Saints how do you really feel about Christ and what He has done for you?

  108. The more I grow in my faith the more I see my sinfulness and constant need for Christ and His church. The more I see I need fellowship and transparent honest confessing of sins to others and God. While I see growth in holiness and dependence on I still see the desire to put to death the flesh. How is this done practically in your church? Apart from mass? What fellowship do you share as believers throughout the week?

  109. Steven: So your next quarrel with the Church is priestly celibacy. I will attempt to explicate it for you.

    What make you so sure that Christ did not “intend” his priests to be celibate? According to Jewish customs, Christ (the “high priest”) himself was expected to be married by the age when he started his public ministry. He chose to be celibate. He spoke of the value of celibacy “for the sake of the kingdom” by stating that “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom it is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it” (Matt. 19:11–12). Celibates are those who have “left everything” to follow Christ (Matt. 19:27). Celibacy is a gift for the ministry, and surely, it can be even seen as a most perfect way to the call to imitate Christ.

    About Peter, his mother-in-law was mentioned but never his wife. Tradition has it that his wife had passed and that Peter had been living as a celibate widower either when he was called to follow Christ or shortly thereafter.

    St. Paul was also celibate. He even advocated the unmarried state (which would include the condition of celibacy): “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I am” (1 Cor 7:7-8). He went even further when he made the case for preferring celibacy: “Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. . . those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. . . . The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband” (7:27-34). He concluded that: “He who marries “does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better” (7:38). Further, St. Paul also instructed Timothy that the “soldiers” of Christ must avoid “civilian pursuits” since “his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him” (2 Tim. 2:3–4). This will include the institution of marriage and familial obligations in civic life.

    Celibacy is then a gift (“for the sake of the kingdom” …not all can accept this word, but only those to whom it is granted’). Are we to despise this gift from God? The early NT Church had already started to prescribe this ideal of service when she encouraged older consecrated (chaste celibate) widows who were enrolled entirely to church work (1 Tim 5:12).

    As far as for the sinners in the Church, it should not be too shocking to find both goats and sheep within the fold. After all, Christ had specifically came to save sinners (“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners”, Mk 2:17). Not to exculpate or minimize the impact of sins, the scandal of Catholic cleric sexual misconduct must be put in perspective and social context. In the past and recent decades, society has had been in steep decline due to drugs, moral decadence, broken homes, the easy availability of pornographic materials through internet, and the spirit of indifferentism and general relativism. The Church in the world is not totally immune from it since Satan is always swift in launching a blanket attack against Christ’s Church. It is already well known that sexual sins are exponentially higher in the secular sector. The world loves to demean and persecute Christians, and Catholicism is the easiest and largest target.

    You pose a valid question when you question how “If it is does posses the fullness of Christ in a unique way should there be a distinct holiness which exceeds all other churches”? Some statistics from a respected source is in order:

    The most quoted authoritative work is by Philip Jenkins, a non-Catholic and a Professor at Penn State (“Pedophiles and Priest’). The research shows that the almost all of Catholic cleric sexual abuse cases involved homosexuality (i.e., celibacy is not a factor). The incidents were 0.2 – 1.7 percentile of priests. The same study shows that the incidents with Protestant clergy were in the 2 – 3 percentile. According to a 2000 report to the Baptist General Convention in Texas, studies done in the 1980s revealed that 12 percent of ministers had engaged in illicit sexual intercourse with members while nearly 40 percent had confessed to inappropriate sexually behaviors (Terry Mattingly, Baptists’ Traditions Make it Hard to Oust Sex-Abusing Clergy).

    We can both agree that one sexual abuse incident in the Church is already one too many. What we have to be mindful is that seizing every opportunity to indict Catholicism for lack of good information is being mean spirited (To follow Pam’s cue: A critical spirit is not virtuous. Humility is a virtue). Furthermore, as in many things, we have to pray humbly for the gift of the spirit of discernment “lest we find ourselves fighting God” (Acts 5:39). According to your standards, Christ must had failed miserably in His mission: He had personally chose and called 12 Apostles with a goat in Judas Iscariot (1 out of 12, that is, 8.3 failure rate). Do you recall how many apostles and disciples were at the foot of the cross in Calvary? Oh yes, Christ should not be eating with sinners too.

    Finally, Catholicism consists of the Latin branch as well as numerous Eastern Rites in communion with the Pope. The Church acknowledges and accepts the valid custom of married priesthood in the East. In the West, we have freely elected celibacy as a norm for the ministerial priesthood as the ideal and more perfect way to do the works of the Kingdom in total dedication. Moreover, celibacy is only a discipline and never a dogmatic or doctrinal matter (meaning that it can change as necessary).

    It is possible for all of us to fall short of our own callings. The sins of a priest does not necessarily prove that he never should have taken a vow of celibacy, any more than the sins in a married vocation have proven that he or she never should have gotten married. Now, only if we also examine the laity and see how many have divorced and remarried, practised artificial contraception and supported abortion openly in defiance to God’s laws and the precepts of His Church. We should not judge a whole cleric group so quickly and harshly “lest we be judged too” (Lk 6:37).

    Are you praying in front of abortion clinics and have you joined other Christians in the marches in protecting the sanctity of life in D.C. and other localities? If no, why not?

    • That is all very beautiful and good, surkiko, but there is one error in what you said. Scripture itself attests to Peter’s wife living AFTER the resurrection of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 9:5: “Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?” Cephas is Peter’s Aramaic name.

      But this in no way discredits the discipline of celibacy that the Latin Rite requires of its priests. There are good reasons for it, as you clearly outline above. Just because the first Bishop of Rome had a wife does not mean that it is wrong for us to expect all of our Latin Rite priests to be celibate.

      • Should you “expect” someone to be celibate was you mentioned or should someone decide to do this out of reverence and for the right reasons?

        • Celibacy is a gift.

          • How can a gift be something that is expected of a person or am I reading what he said wrong.

            • Catholic understanding of “vocation” is very different from Protestant’s. A gift is given, we merely cooperate with grace … This will be another topic of discussion for a different time.

              • Thanks. I do not understand how you assume that preists and all apostles were celibate since The beginning since there is clear historical evidence that even by early church Fathers that state differently, but if you do belive that these are all secondary things to the Gospel.

                I had asked if you could define the what the Gospel is? Could you when you have a chance? Also do you consider seven days of creation literal or figurative?

                So is obedience is a gift that we merely cooperate with? So is everything in the Catholic a gift that we cooperate with? If it is a gift as you have redefined human responsibility to be then you have an easy faith to follow right? Children are a gift too. Are you married?

    • In response there are studies that show that the RCC church because of its structure hid and covered up there sins more than any other denomination because of the power they possessed in the leadership structure. Then used the gates of hell passage to sort of suggest there above the law. I am not sure I agree with you and Pam on my mean spirited attitude. I think if you knew me personally you would feel otherwise.

      Does not Paul clearly state that it is ok to marry if you choose? Why were the qualifications of overseers which included bishops, deacons, elders etc. to include the husband of one wife? This suggests that marriage was also ok. Preists we’re not celibate until later in the 3rd century because of passes down preisthood to landowners of church property and to prevent the occasional problem of nepotism. The celibacy had very little to do with serving as a single being an advantage as Paul stated.

      As for your questions about what are we doing about the crises of abortion and needy children? We have personally adopted two special needs children into our own family with one with drug addictions at birth (one is now 7 and the other 4) and we currently as a church our involved with mercy crisis pregnancy center in the city nearby. They help encourage other people to reconsider adoptions or provide them with financial needs but most of all we share the gospel the message of hope with them. We are praying for abortion as well.

      If you don’t mind me asking how do you fellowship with other believers ( prayer, giving to those in need, confession of sin etc.) throughout the week apart from mass?

  110. Matthew: Thanks for pointing out the apparent discrepancy in 1 Cor 9:5. I have studied this before, and it’s problematic with the translation of “wife” here and also by circumstantial evidence with the rest of the bible. I did a quick search just now and a good exegesis is here: http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/did-peter-have-a-wife.

  111. See here it is again:) wife does not or may not mean wife, brother may not mean brother but cousin, seven day creation may not be seven days, but yet there seemed to be such literal interpretations of other parts of scripture when backing up a Capitol T tradition. Ok in good grace I say this just don’t understand the RCC method of interpretation. If you use tradition, scripture, and church doctrine in the way in seems you can really make anything a reality?

    • Dear Steve,

      It might seem to you that the Catholic interpretation of scriptures conveniently translates words differently in order to uphold our beliefs. But you need to admit that one cannot read words from 2000 years ago, from a very different culture, and different language that have been translated into English and come to an infallible interpretation without reference to the culture 2000 years ago or the various meanings the words could take 2000 years ago.

      The historical fact is that the apostles remained unmarried as did St. Paul after becoming apostles. In light of this fact and the legitimate ways to translate Greek words there is nothing suspicious about the Catholic interpretations.

      In fact, in my Protestant Vines Expository Dictionary the Greek word in I Cor. 9:5 GUNE “(1) denotes a woman, married or unmarried (2) a wife”

      So the first and therefore primary translation is merely “woman” it can also be translated “wife” but that is by no means a mandatory translation of the word GUNE. Therefore, the choice to translate it as wife is very questionable.

      Also, the passage does not merely contain the word GUNE. It contains two words together adelphaen gunaika (sister woman) which could secondarily also be translated sister wife. What do you think that means? It certainly does not just mean wife even though for simplicity it happened to be translated for some reason into English as “wife”.

      I know this complicates things for Sola Scriptura Protestants b/c this makes reading Scripture more complex than sitting down by oneself and reading the Bible. One must have the humility to realize that sometimes more in-depth study will be required to come to the best interpretation. For the most part our English translation is very very good. But it is not infallible.

      To illustrate the difficulty of translation across cultures and centuries let me use an example of an idiom, which Scriptures also contain.

      What if someone, 2000 years from now read these words:

      Hit the road Jack.

      If they had access to an English dictionary, or even if they still spoke English, but had no clue about our culture in 2014, how might they translate that one simple four-word phrase?

      Literal translation: Someone told a man named Jack to go out and hit the road. We do not know if he was supposed to hit the road with his hand or something else. But it is very obvious that there was a man whose name was Jack and there must have been a road nearby that he was supposed to go and hit. The purpose of this strange custom has been lost to us. Perhaps when we investigate further literature from this time period we can gain an understanding of the meaning of this custom.

      And this interpretation, although perfectly legitimate could not be further from what the phrase actually means to Western English speakers in 2014.

      If this is true with a mere 4-word phrase, think of the complexity of translating the thousands of words in the Bible from two languages and the various cultures of thousands of years.

      Sacred Scriptures NOWHERE promise or advise us that one can sit down at any time in history and read the Bible and understand it infallibly. Martin Luther made that up.

      • Could you please explain what was declared council of Nivea #43 that a priest could no longer sleep with his wife before mass… How do you suggest that celibacy was originally a Catholic practice? In 385 The pope declared that priests also may not sleep with there wife. I do not understand why you claim this was a practice?

        • Dear Steve,

          The Catholic Church has always had some leeway for married men to be ordained to the priesthood, even to this day. As Francis said, most of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches(loyal to the Pope) have both married and unmarried priests as do the Eastern Orthodox churches.

          But celibacy has always been practiced by those men and women most eager and able to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and choose not marry. These have also chosen to become eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of God just like Jesus said. And as St. Paul pointed out, this is a better way to keep focused on Serving God without worldly distraction.

          But if a married man sought to be ordained to the priesthood, and he was ordained, then the rules you mentioned applied to him. If this is even true.

          But I cannot find any such rule online. The Council of Nicea does not have even #43 let alone #385. Could you please give us a link to your reference? And I think it is the council of Nicea not nevia.

          It is very likely that according to Canon Law, married priests and deacons in the Catholic Church are not to have relations with their wives once they are ordained. However, since vatican II the Church has suffered a lot of moral laxity and confusion over this issue.

          CODE OF CANON LAW #277

          1983 CIC 277. § 1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity. § 2. Clerics are to behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to observe continence or give rise to scandal among the faithful. § 3. The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation.

          Four options regarding continence and married clergy in the West

          So as I said, priestly celibacy (also practiced in other religions) has always been a practice in the Christian Faith. We have always had some married and some celibate priests. In the West, a celibate priesthood is the most common but it is not strictly universal.

          Click the link below for an excellent explanation of Priestly celibacy.

          Celibacy and the Priesthood

          • Thanks Pam,

            I have always believed this, but not understanding Francis stating celibacy was from the very beginning among all apostles. This is just not historically accurate. Have a good night…

            • Steve: When did I ever state that celibacy was from the very beginning among all apostles? You have a misunderstanding of the trust of the NT.

              • I am sorry I thought you mentioned that the apostles were celibate. What are your thoughts on Mathews def of the Gospel? Is that you Gospel as well?

      • Could you please explain what was declared council of Nivea #43 that a priest could no longer sleep with his wife before mass… How do you suggest that celibacy was originally a Catholic practice or are you only referring to apostles? In 385 The pope declared that priests also may not sleep with there wives. I do not understand why you claim celibacy was a practice in the early church.

        • Steve: After quoting how celibacy was highly recommended by St. Paul, I never said that it was already a DISCIPLINE in the early Church. Unless you don’t believe in the irrenancy of the bible, I don’t know how to make it any clearer to you.

          (Note: I will respond to your question about “gospel”, but it has to wait after the Superbowl and the rest. Why don’t you give me your understanding of it first?).

    • Pam has explained so insightfully. It’s very dangerous to put an infallible stamp on a particular vernacular translation. Putting polemics aside, time and time again, he veracity of the “traditional apostolic” explanation of difficult passages has been corroborated or confirmed as biblical scholarship increased. For the interest of Protestants, we know that the 1611 KJ had translated 1 Cor 9:5 as “a sister, a wife” inclusively. So did John Wesley in his “Explanatory Notes”.

      Here’s a helpful introduction:

      The women of the apostles in 1 Cor 9,5 have posed a riddle in the history of interpretation. With few exceptions commentators over the last one hundred years have identified them as wives and dismissed the text in a few lines. Recent research on the role of women in early Christian mission has brought a fresh assessment, concluding that the women were missionary assistants to the apostles. This essay develops an extended argument to solidify the thesis using the history of interpretation, the nature of missionary partnerships in the Pauline epistles, semantics, some important parallels from the Greco-Roman world, and the nature of ancient households.
      (John Granger Cook, «1 Cor 9,5: The Women of the Apostles», Vol. 89 (2008) 352-368)

  112. Steve: The bible is the family book of the Catholic Church so it’s not a stretch to say that there are things in there which only intimate members of the family have privy or special knowledge of . The further that one is away from the apostolic faith, the more disconnect one becomes. I can never figure out why a Christian, several centuries removed from the cradle of Christianity, will think that he or she knows better than the first Christians who walked with and talked to Christ and the Apostles. Sometimes, it’s very important to understand the historical, cultural and linquistic context and application of a word to arrive at the proper meaning of it (A great example is what has become of the fable of the blood siblings of Christ). I also wonder what gain or satisfaction one gets by “disputing about words” (2 Tim 2:14) which do not have any impact on the faith or morals? What justification or assurance of certitude one have to depart from the apostolic faith and traditions (Sola Scriptura, Private Interpretation, Justification by Faith Alone, Eternal Security, Perpetual Virginity of Mary, and the list goes on and on)? There are plenty of warnings in the bible about preaching a different gospel than what’s passed down from the Apostles. When St. Peter warned about the “ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures” (2 Pet 3:16), he was talking to his contemporaries as well as prophesying about the modern-day agnostics, heretics and apostates who want no part of the organized Church. So maybe a question from me to you this time: What justification or assurance of certitude one have to depart from the apostolic faith and traditions? I mean all the variances of doctrines which you may hold which are foreign to Christianity at least in the first 1600 years if you wish.

    To answer your next question: Why were the qualifications of overseers which included bishops, deacons, elders etc. to include the husband of one wife? This suggests that marriage was also ok.

    1) No one is saying marriage is NOT okay (so what are you objecting or protesting?)
    2) The Latin rite priesthood vow of celibacy is completely voluntary (There are no lack of lay ministries in the Church beside the ministerial priesthood. We just need to make use of our God given talent(s) to fulfill our own vocation).
    3) Not really made clear by you, but a bishop being “the husband of one wife” means exactly what it says … the big “IF” a bishop is married, he should have only one wife. It does not say that a bishop MUST be married. Most likely, it also means IF a bishop is married, he cannot marry again after his (“one”) wife passed (as is the discipline of the Eastern churches).
    4) Celibacy is not a matter of divine law but a discipline of the Latin Church. Don’t sweat on it, okay?

    Thank you for sharing your involvement in adoption and crisis pregnancy centers. You get a +++ from me, my utmost respect and esteem.

    • Ok when you use use the phrase a different gospel and twisting it.. In a short sentence or two how would you define the word gospel? What is the gospel that Paul preached?

      • The Gospel is the Good News of God’s Kingdom breaking into the world in the Person of Jesus Christ. God’s Kingdom is particularized in the Church, because the Kingdom of God exists wherever God is King. Jesus has identified with sinful humanity, to the extent of having suffered the punishment for our sin on the Cross, bringing reconciliation to the human race with the Creator. This reconciliation has resulted in our adoption as the children of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Justification is not just a legal term: we have been made righteous, not just declared righteous. Now we are finally capable to keep the Law, because it has been inscribed upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

        But I think Irenaeus stated the Gospel in a sentence:

        “God became Man so that men could become gods.”

  113. That is something we finally agree upon! What a Savior! Glad Irenaeus did not capitalize gods. So this gospel is what is most important. Thank God we are adopted as Sons and daughters! Francis (Surkiko) do you agree on this? I am sure you will have some theological tweaking on this as you like to do but can we agree we are justified by Christ and he causes us to be born again of water and the Spirit resulting in a new desire to please Him?

  114. Steve and Matthew: This has forced me to crystallize my thoughts on the Gospel …

    The formulaic one-liner will be that of the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection so that we may be saved (2 Cor 1:1-7).

    The “Gospel” is Jesus Christ, the God-Incarnate who intervened in human history bringing “good tidings of a great joy (on earth peace among men of good will)” and who has now restored our friendship with God by his redemptive sacrifice on the cross. By grace through faith in Christ, the good news is proclaimed of the inauguration of the kingdom of God with a new set of Christian ideals of mercy, compassion and humility in the teaching of the Sermon of the Mount. This Kingdom is planted in this world, a visible community of believers who are called to be witnesses of the new life in Christ because they have a personal encounter with the Risen One: “I have seen the Lord” (Jn 20:18).

    The “other gospel” will be a perversion of the above by a “rogue disciple” who has separated him- or herself from “the traditions which you have been taught” of the Apostolic Faith.

    • Matthew: The gospel of salvation is distinct from a gospel of justification. BTW, we believe in infused righteousness instead of the novelty of imputed justification of the reformed tradition.

      • Did we say anything about imputation? Just curious? See it is possible to believe (And this is what scriptures teach) that Christ will loose none of His sheep and will help us to persevere in righteousness. He is for us not against us. Each day we are more and more conformed to Him.

        • Steve: I’m not sure what you are saying. Man does have an authentic free will and can choose to rebel against God. This is whether one is a Christian or not. Are you in the OSAS camp?

          • Those who truly repent and are truly His sheep will endure. Yes I believe we have a free will. We have a free will to reject God and His Mercy and we have a free will to repent and believe in Christ. Could you define Election for me according to Catholic understanding. Would you consider Jacob or Job to be in heaven?

            Would have it been possible for Peter to have fallen away and be in Hell after He denied Christ on three occasions? Who prayed for Peter so that He would not be sifted as wheat?

          • Steve: Catholics believe that all are called, God has grace sufficient for everyone, and that He wills that all men be saved. Man, for his part, has to accept and cooperate with God’s grace by faith working through love. There is no temptation we cannot overcome, and that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. God predestined no one positively to hell, much less to sin. Unfortunately, some also freely choose to disobey God and rebel against the obedience of faith to His Church even unto death obstinately.

            <>

            There is a St. Job in the Catholic Church. Jacob would have been at least in the “Bosom of Abraham” awaiting the fulfillment time of the Christ (Did you mean Jacob and Esau” instead?). Catholics do not despair about predestination and reprobation, but instead pray for the grace of final perseverence (Roman Canon: “Count us among those you have chosen”) and reliance on God’s infinite mercy.

            <>

            Yes, but God would not reject Peter if he had sincerely repented. Peter faithfully cooperated with the grace of conversion offered him. It is Christ who had prayed for Peter that his faith may not fail … and to strengthen his brethren. This is also the promise of the special charism of the papacy so Christ’s Church will endure the “gates of Hades.”

            Lastly, St. Augustine: “Inscrutabilia sunt judicia Dei” (The judgments of God are inscrutable). There is always a veil of mystery which surpasses human understanding of “Election”. As creatures, Catholics believe that we can only begin to understand God’s nature, His omniscience, and that predestination is an unfathomable mystery. The Second Synod of Orange in A.D. 529 and the Ecumenical Council of Trent condemned the heresy of Predestinarianism.

            • Yes that is right. However are you suggesting that all Popes throughout history have received final justification no matter how they lived simply because they held the office of Pope? This sounds like predestination redefined? So does this not infer that God has a special electing and preserving grace on the Popes? There have been very Godly Popes and there have been others who have committed many mortal sins. If they did not repent are they assured of heaven based on being the Vicor of Christ? Do you belive that Christ is interceeding for you and helping you to endure?

              I do not contemplate or worry about being reprobate either because I have been given a heart that desires to please Him and and a desire to repent and change when I fall into sin. I also believe that there is much scripture on falling away as well as much scripture teaching persevering grace.

              I was referring to Job and Jacob in my previous question thank thought for asking though. The reason I mentioned Jacob was that he was the known as a great deceiver (which we all have done at some point) He wrestled with God and time and time again and was not always quick To change; however, God enabled Him to overcome these sin actions by His mercy and grace. Do you believe that Lot is in heaven?

        • Steve:

          <>

          There’s no final justification on earth until the “race” is finished for all of us. The pope is a believer like you and me. He exercises free will and needs to cooperate with grace. If he commits a mortal sin and does not repent of it, he can be damnable in hell like everyone. In fact, it’s even biblical to say that since he should know better because of his calling and religious formation, he would be more harshly judged (Jas 3:1).

          However, while not every pope was necessarily “impeccable” in his personal life, it is only the office of the papacy which is guaranteed to be infallible because of the promises of Christ. I will invite you to study the history of the papacy with a open mind, and see for yourself how the efficacy of Christ’s prayers is played out in the 2000 years of Christian history. For instance, all the Patriarchs of the East had fallen into heresy at one time or another with the Church of Rome alone standing fast to orthodoxy. Even today, Catholicism is again the lone identifiable united church body which stands fast against the accelerating trends of secularization and laxation in moral issues like abortion, use of contraceptives and abortifacients, homosexuality, etc.

          I’m not too familiar about Lot. I think the bible is silent about him after Sodom-Gomorrah. Perhaps the event changed him completely. The NT called him the “righteous Lot” (2 Peter 2:7) so he must be in heaven at the end.

      • I don’t think you understood what I was saying. When I used the word “justification,” I was not using it in the Reformed, legal sense, but in its actual sense of “making just,” not “declaring just.” In Greek and Hebrew, “justification” and “righteousness” are the same word. That is why I even brought “justification” up at all, because it is such a misunderstood term. But that is what Evangelicals are looking for when they ask about the “Gospel,” so I thought it had to be addressed.

        I take it that by “gospel of justification” you mean the Gospel according to the Reformers, with this purely legal sense of justification? Because surely the Gospel of salvation and the Gospel of how we are reborn as Children of God emulating God’s character traits, i.e., being made righteous, are the same thing.

      • Precious one, could you explain this statement to me?

        • Hi Paul, I am Steve I think we have talked before or at least you have commented on some of my posts. It is very confusing trying to understand all that the RCC believes and says.

          I think the thing that I cannot understand is that there are so many ways to God. This following statement makes one feel good because of the abundance of Mercy in which God shows. It almost seems like ALL extra Traditions. Yes, so here it is and maybe Francis can comment on it. Catholics believe in initial and final justification or final Salvation. They do place a lot of importance on mans performance in order to “Maintain through grace” There Salvation yet at the same time say God excepts others who may never have even heard of the Gospel or have done their best to please God. I see that it shows Gods great Mercy and rejoice in this but not sure what passages which speak clearly of Christ being the only way? So really they are initially and finally justified apart from the Gospel in a sense and then really are excepted by God for trying there best or as it says below “That which opens the salvation of Christ to them is their conscious effort, under grace, to serve God as well as they can on the basis of the best information they have about him.” How are they under grace if they have never repented or been baptized?

          “Every man who is ignorant of the gospel of Christ and of his Church but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity (CCC 1260).
          Obviously, it is not their ignorance that enables them to be saved. Ignorance excuses only lack of knowledge. That which opens the salvation of Christ to them is their conscious effort, under grace, to serve God as well as they can on the basis of the best information they have about him.”

        • Steve: I think Paul’s question is posed to Matthew. “Final justification” is from you (when you spoke of the popes), not in my Catholic lingo. I think that there lies most of your confusion. It is as I hinted earlier, the “gospel” is primarily about salvation but Protestants like to make it more a gospel of justification. Your follow-up question is easy but since you’ve asked Paul, I willhear his answer before commenting.

  115. I have some great news for you all. God set the whole thing straight.
    I guess that’s why they call it the “GOOD NEWS”.

    8 For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not of yourselves, for it is a gift of God.
    9 And this is not of works, so that no one may glory.
    10 For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has prepared and in which we should walk.

  116. Steve: O well, I will take a crack at it since Paul is slow in replying to you.

    Being created in the likeness of God, we have an innate sense of justice. As believers, it becomes even more prominent as we are being prompted by the quickening Holy Spirit. If something seems not just, against instinct and contrary to common sense, there’s a good chance that something is not right. Christians can become the stumbling block to evangelism when they present a deficient gospel which scandalizes Christ and obscures Christianity.

    So will a righteous atheist, Buddhist, Hindu or non-Christian go to heaven? Pope Francis affirms this possibility recently by reiterating the constant wise teaching of the Church regarding “invincible ignorance”: “Those who through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church … who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation (CCC 847). This is not a novelty. It is consistent with scripture which constantly reminds us that it’s the “doers of the law who will be justified … Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Rom 2:13-16). There’s also the pagan, Cornelius, who was called “an upright and God-fearing man” (who gave alms liberally to the people and praying constantly to God) before he was converted to Christianity. And then, there’s this sobering warning in Matt 7:21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father … Did (we) not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? … then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ Similarly in Matt 25:31-46, the Lord will separate the goats and sheep by the test of their works (For I was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, in prison). Christ did not ask if one was “washed by the blood of the Lamb” or had accepted Him as “Lord and Personal Saviors.” I seriously doubt that a rigorist appeal to a self-delusive doctrine of eternal security because of a defective understanding of the “gospel” of grace and justification” will save. In fact, it’s scriptural to say Christians – because of their knowledge of scripture and spiritual formation – will be judged by an even harsher and stricter standard that non-Christians (Lk 12:48, Jas 1:22-27, 1 Jn 2:4). Much is given, more is expected.

    We may ask, what about Jn 14:6: (Christ) the Way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. We are confident that the normative way of salvation is in Christ through His Church. Nevertheless, it will be a terrible mistake to put God in a box so as to restrict what God can and cannot do. The good thief could not be saved through the ordinary salvific efficacy of Christian baptism (1 Pet 3:21). All the patriarchs and OT righteous people were also born too “early” to merit Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the Cross. Alas, the foolishness of man’s wisdom (1 Cor 3:19). For God is eternally present in time. The redemptive efficacy of Calvary is “once for all” (Heb 7:27) which reaches forward and back in time as in one eternity. Similarly, it is the Christ who restores the friendship with God so man can now enter heaven. Christ is still the only Way to heaven for everybody, whether one is a Christian or as an “anonymous” Christian who is a God-fearing Jew or Hindu; and whether one knows it or not will not change this fact. Only at the end (on the other side of death) when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God face to face, will we fully know the way of God’s Providence. Judgment is the prerogative of God alone. According to Rom 11:33: “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established (Prov 19:21). On earth, God’s plans are revealed through His Church.

    About Grace, we are justified by it gratuitously so we cannot boast
    about it. The fullness of time is here in the outpouring of grace. However, it is not a passcode for lawlessness and disorderly conduct in God’s Church, and certainly not a license to “sin boldly” as some Christians have been led to believe. It is a serious error to think that the eternal God, Holy Spirit, was dormant and grace was unavailable in the world of OT. Christ did not come to abolish the law (Matt 5:17-18). If one thinks that “works” are not important after “conversion,” Christ has this to say: “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will NEVER enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20). Christians are supposed to do the corporal works of mercy even better now that they have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit with a new heart and new mind. Is it divine justice for God to reject the good works of a righteous and God-fearing non-Christian and instead, accept a OSAS-brand Christian who is lazy in both corporal and spiritual works of mercy? Unfortunately, most Christians are not equipped to understand the theology of grace (sanctifying-actual-supernatural-natural) so any individual Christian should not presume to possess a “full gospel” without the mind of the Church.

    Having said that, it will be neglectful for me, lest there’s a doubt, not to disclaim “universalism” completely. Even though all of us are children of God, it’s a permanent mandate from Christ to us to bring the “good news” to non-Christians in the mission of evangelization. That’s different topic of discussion for another time.

    Hope that it’s been helpful.

    • Thanks, what are you defing the word atheist to mean? It means to deny any supreme being or God exists? When you have a chance could you read Ezekial 36:26-32. Is this not a somewhat clear picture of how God saves people?

      I am not sure of how you came to know Christ as all have a different story and I am sure yours is precious to you, but I know that before I was converted I lived to please myself in everything. I was a thief, a formicator, user of drugs illegally, almost murdered, (in my heart I did) a lover of pleasure, a racist, ironically by Gods grace (I now have a beautifully blended family) a lier. I was for the most part nice to people I wanted to be but loved myself. Then I the gospel and had a new desire to repent and stop sinning and do good works. If I had not heard the gospel I would still be sinning and certainly dead. I then desired to do good works that please Him. So are you saying that before I was converted the good works that I was doing along with the many sins may have lead me to God?
      What caused me to want to stop sinning and living unjustly and live justly?

      Is it possible for someone to be living in sexual sin or be a thief for there whole life and to be granted eternal life because they did not know it was wrong? Did their good works outweigh there bad works granting them acceptance before God?

      Yes certainly some people live upright lives and come to God in different ways but does doing good lead you to God especially if someone deny that He exists?

      You referenced people sinning boldly,
      I don’t know of any Chrsitians that are choosing to sin bodly do you?

      The good theif was saved by his faith in Christ and his realizing who Christ really was. How can someone who is denying the existence of A God or Christ be considered righteous on Judgement Day. You are inferring his good works and seeking to do good will really be what saves him even though he has no faith?

      Was Paul’s conversion one of Paul doing good works that led him to Christ? Was the Jailer who was converted a conversion of good works?

      Yes you are right we cannot put God in a box referring to all the ways God has mercy on people but works and doing well seems to be almost all that matters? You may be referring to the definition of artheist which is different than what it really means. Could you define what you belive an atheist to be? Yes Christ died for all people and all people have an knowledge of Him but those who continue to suppress the truth that He exists and deny the existence of God how can they enter heaven. They enter solely on there works of justice as you seem to be inferiring while denying the existence of God? So they will be surprised to see themselves in heaven and to see that they were justified apart from faith? We need both faith and works you sometimes are confusing it what you are communicating to me. Perhaps I am too.

      Have a good night,

  117. So do you believe Christ saves all people initially and then some are finally saved based upon their grace motivated works and some fall away and are not granted salvation based upon their works?

    Do you belive that “no one seeks after God?” As Paul says?

    When you quote Romans 11:33 in what context was Paul writing?

    Lastly Cornelius was not an atheist right? He was seeking after God. How can this be used as an illustration?

  118. Steve:

    Thank you sharing your story. Do you have it in a more complete written form somewhere?

    There may be some mitigation of an atheist’s culpability for his unbelief, to the extent that Christians are even oftentimes blameworthy for it. For example, Mahatma Gandi would say this: “Oh, I don’t reject Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.” Of course, this is providing that one is not willfully rejecting God and living a sinful life. Also in the context of Romans 2: “All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law.” We must trust that even an atheist is not beyond the reach of God’s mercy if he strives to live morally as best as he can in accordance with his conscience. Like I said, grace is not the prerogative of Christians. Who is to say that God cannot give an atheist the sanctifying grace at his death bed?

    No, Catholics do not believe in a doctrine of “Works Righteousness” (It’s Pelagianism condemned at the Council of Carthage in A.D. 418 and repeated at the Ecumenical Council of Trent (Canons 1 & 2) and semi-Pelagianism (Canon 3). Man cannot save himself, earn or merit salvation by purely human efforts but through grace. Justification is a mystery which cannot be exhaustively understood by man here on this side of the pale. What we do know is that saving faith is a process of justification. There is not an initial justification and then final justification (may be more accurately to speak of “prior to” and “after” justification). I’ve read a wonderful explication of it once: (As the bible says) “I’m already saved (Rom 8:24, Eph 2:5-8), but I’m also being saved (1 Cor 1:8, 2 Cor 2:15, Phil 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom 5:9-10, 1 Cor 3:12-15). With St. Paul, I’m working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom 5:2, 2 Tim 2:11-13).”

    I believe that some of the confusion arose because we have had been talking passed each other due to the divergence of development of theological terms and soteriology between Catholicism and Protestantism. For instance, the sense of “faith” is used in different contexts in the NT and indeed, was to be of much confusion and confoundment to believers in the early church (See 2 Pet 3:16: Some of Paul’s writings were “hard to understand”). Just like the early Christological controversies, there was a need for theological exactness for clarity. At the time of the Reformation, the historic usage of the term “faith” connected to justification had come to be understood as a distinct and related theological virtue in the triad of “faith, hope and love” (and the greatest of these is love) as expounded in 1 Cor 13:13. Faith was (is) the unconditional intellectual assent in God as per Rom 14:22-23 and Jas 2:14-26. When Reformers asserted a doctrine of justification by “By Faith ALONE” (Sola Fide), it they failed to harmonize with Gal 5:6 (“Faith working through love”) and the rest of scripture. Moreover, the Reformers’ compact expression of “By Faith Alone” was both novel and unbiblical since the only time “faith alone” is ever used together is in the negative sense (Jas 2:24: “It is by works, and NOT BY FAITH ALONE that you are justified”). Like all heresies, it breeds the spirit of error like the gospel of antinomianism (Under the gospel dispensation of grace, the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation) thus Martin Luther would preach the tricky proposition that a man was justified by faith even if one were “to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day” and “be a sinner and SIN BOLDLY, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ” (Let Your Sins Be Strong, from Martin Luther’s Saemmtliche Schriften, Letter No. 99, 1 Aug. 1521). In modern time, the heresy of antinomianism is quite common among Evangelicals like Pastor Joseph Prince.

    • Thanks, I do belive an atheist (really anyone can) be saved on his deathbed but my WHOLE point if the last post was that a God gives sanctifying grace to all who are Christians Again Ezekial 36 again states I will give them a heart of flesh. No matter how many good works we do in they do not save. God gives the grace we participate in it.
      Francis the tendency for antinomionism or liscence to sin exists in all churches. Evangelical and Catholics alike. I have known Catholics who with a lack of understanding that use confession as a crutch to sin and then repent. I have gone into sin in the past and while doing am convicted but continue in a second longer than I should and then repent and turn away. This is a problem of the heart not a problem of what church we are in. Will write more later. I have mentioned before I am not a fan of Luther. Well a God bless have a good morning.

  119. One more thought. Do you believe hat the gift of santicfying grace as you mentioned can be given to an atheist or anyone with out repentance on that persons part? You seem to infer that a life of justice lived by conscience will be enough. Good works again?

  120. How does one receive this sanctifying grace as you say on their deathbed without repentance?

  121. Steve:

    Antinomianism is more than just bad catechesis. It is a whole movement (of “other gospel”) which is preached from the pulpit. It tells people that one is assured of salvation by a moment of time decision by simply professing faith in Christ, that when one has confessed and accepted Christ as Lord and person Savior — a person can never lose salvation even if he or she is to continue to sin and/or does not products good works. Reformed theology has refined this in its systematic theology, disguised as Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints (T.U.L.I.P.). In simpler terms, the theology is reduced to Once-Saved-Always-Saved (OSAS) or Eternal Security, the main tenet of beliefs for most part of Evangelical Protestantism.

    Admittedly, St. Paul’s theology of grace is complex and elusive even to me. Let me try my best to explain as well as I can understand it from the mind of the Church: We only have what’s revealed to us (and even then, it’s still shrouded in a veil of mystery) of God’s infinite love, mercy and justice. Being that we are only creatures, it’s important not to become too arrogant in thinking that we can know the mind of God in any exhaustive way. The dispensation of grace is always masked in mystery. Sanctifying Grace is a “state” (of friendship with God), not like “Actual Grace” which is a transient and temporary intervention by God. In my opinion, it will be overly rigid to require a confessed “repentance” as an absolute prerequisite for salvation. Even in scripture, there’s nothing in 2 Pet 3:21 (Baptism now saves you) or even Jn 3:5 (Born of the water and Spirit) requiring a confessed repentance. In the case of infant baptism, there are no personal sins to confess except for the faith of the believer parent(s) who trusted in the promises for his or her children (Acts 2:16-21). Anyway, even an act of confessed repentance or of cooperating with grace requires human participation so it is “work” too. If grace is truly gratuitous of God, we should not demand any overt work of “repentance” since God alone judges the interior disposition of man. We leave final judgment to God. It’s no mere coincidence that the Catholic Church only canonizes saints but never damns anyone to hell. The former because we know because of their sanctity, heroic virtues and the approval of God by the performance of miracles; the latter because it’s the prerogative of God alone and that which God has not revealed it to us.

    • I enjoy talking with you but you share so much and sometimes although you try answer the question you seem to further confuse it with more ideas. Catholism is endless in its ideas and while you have defined certain things other things get more and more complicated. The irony is that it is stated that we cannot fully know the mind of God.

      Let me state my original question a different way so to be clear. How can an atheist (who by definition denies the existence of a God or God) have a friendship with God? What is this friendship and acceptance by God based on? Is that clearer? How can you be accepted by God and have a “friendship” as you state and at the same time deny the existence of the very being you are having a friendship with?

      Lastly it seems on one hand you and RCC doctrine stress the utmost importance on continual repentence and even defines all sins as mortal or venial and then you are saying that repentence is not really necessary to have a relationship with God either in the beginning or in an ongoing way as an atheist. Why then did God not just save everyone and grant them all santicfying grace.

      Paul words are very clear and not hard to figure out when he says there is no one who seeks after God. Do you belive this?

  122. Willow Creek Community Church states that its mission is to “turn irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.” The church bases its belief on the Bible, asserting it to be inspired by God, inerrant, infallible, and the final authority on matters which it covers. Based on its understanding of the Bible, the church then draws the following conclusions:

    There is one God, eternally existing in three persons— Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— each possessing all the attributes of Deity.
    Humans were created by God to have fellowship with Him, but due to their rejection of God, they need His saving grace, which must be received by repentance and faith, in order to end the separation from Him.
    Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth and then voluntarily paid for the sin of humans with His death on the cross. This payment offers salvation for those who believe in Jesus. He rose from the dead and is the mediator between us and God. Christ will return to the earth to consummate history.
    Worship is not only done by singing, but the lifespan should be devoted to Christianity. In addition, it is believed that worship is done by everyday things.
    The Holy Spirit draws sinners to Christ and equips believers for personal growth and service to the church.
    The church’s role is to glorify God and serve those in need.
    At the end, everyone will experience bodily resurrection and the judgment. Those forgiven through Christ will enjoy eternal fellowship with God.

    • Who is the founder of Willow Creek Community Church? Do you have an unbroken continuity of the apostolic faith from the first Christians?

      • Bill Hybles is our founder. We have an awesome web sight. Please check it out. Hey I’ve got a great idea. You and Pam could come to Chicago, stay at my house, I’ve got plenty of room, I could show you around. You could check out willow. We would have a great time!!. I’m serious. In answer to your seconded question, nope, all we have is the blood of Jesus Christ.

        • Paul: I visited the website, read most of the personal testimonies, and has gone as far as listening to a podcast by Bill Hybles. He’s certainly a very dynamic preacher. Can you also do this for me? Can you check out this youtube video about a former megachurch pastor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8rgCY5lyHo, and tell me what you think. In it, Bill Hybles and Willow Creek Community Church were mentioned. Don’t worry, they were all cast in a positive light.

          • Dear Surkiko, I did listen to the whole interview. I thought Willow Creek and the So called mega churches took quiet a hit. I’ll have to say I’ve never heard a negative word about any denomination come out of the sanctuary in the 13 years I’ve been there. It’s big but it’s not big to me. I walk down the hall and always meet people you know. I think heaven is going to be kinda MEGA.
            Willow started in a rented movie theater for seven years. They sold tomatoes door to door to keep things going. The marquise on the outside of the theater read SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL. Weekend service Willow Creek Comunity Church. It’s an interesting story. Hybles had boarders in his house to help pay the bills.
            I’m so glad God loves us. I’m tired Later. paul

            • I wasn’t paying attention to the “party line” (although also important) but to the good works being done by Willow Creek outreaching to the unchurched. The part about WC’s willingness to improve its discipleship program shows the character of the church and its admirable desire to do the Father’s will more perfectly. Tell us about your spiritual background before and now WC.

  123. There are very clear things in the Bible that we cannot redefine to mean an almost universalist if approach. Yes things are very hard things to understand and on one even the Pope understands. This is why we are not to delve into what our human minds cannot understand. The eternal councils of God cannot all be known. What we can be sure of is that we have ALL fallen away from relationship with God through original sin. The means of restoration which is most clear in the Bible is the message of the cross and Christ crucified as a way back into relationship with God. This is why Paul stated that this is of first importance. When we understand all that God has done in reconciling us to him we will want to obey and will seek to please Him.

  124. Also rest assured I am not damning anyone to hell. Only Gods know everyone’s heart and He will even judge my heart. However, this does not mean that we can take everything that is hard to understand and make it fully understood as it seems you try to do with almost everything and in the end it becomes even more complicated. I love the idea and believe that God is Full of Mercy. But God is also just and has to punish sin. Thank God for the cross. Christ is what helps me live justly and to grow in mercy towards mankind. For me the gospel message changed the course of my life. I am open to other ideas of how a merciful God could show mercy, but the reason for my hope is ultimately in Christ and the Gospel. Would you agree that your hope is ultimately in Christ. Everyday we have sins of omission and commission that we could never repent of all of them. Yes we should always be repenting of everything and striving for holiness. And I am trusting that as I seek to be close to Him and obey Him he will complete the good work He began. We strive be his grace and mercy completes our striving. It is all of grace. So if someone asks me for the reason of hope that I have I am going to point then to Christ as I am sure you do. Then I point them to working out their salvation with fear and trembling out of deep gratitude for the grace and mercy shown to is in Christ.

  125. Steve:

    “Let me state my original question a different way so to be clear. How can an atheist (who by definition denies the existence of a God or God) have a friendship with God? What is this friendship and acceptance by God based on?”

    There is no stereotyped atheists. In fact, it’s commonly felt that most atheists are really agnostics. We are talking about the possibility for a limited group who are “invincibly ignorant” of the gospel and even then, only MAY achieve eternal salvation (CCC 847). This is in line with Rom 2:13-16. An “atheist” is not necessary someone who denies God. He is more likely to be a deep thinker whose reason for unbelief can be philosophical (e.g., Sufferings) and/or empirical (e.g., hypocrisy of some Christians). A particular strain of Christian explanation presented to him may have been so truncated as to be not compelling enough to convince. This is also saying that it is possible for our atheist to be convinced if a fuller and more reasonable explanation is given. He has not been willful in his unbelief. He is not anti-God, and is only trying to do God’s will as he knows it through the dictates of his conscience. This reminds me of the account of the Doubting Thomas who was skeptical about Christ’s resurrection, but would later confess his faith “My Lord and my God” after seeing and touching Christ’ wounded body. If God wills, may be our atheist will also be given the special grace of encountering personally with our risen Lord by a mystical experience or something embodying the love of God surrounding him on his dying bed. Let’s just leave something to the mystery of salvation instead of trying to dissect everything in your chimerical world of fatal contradictions.

    “Only Gods know everyone’s heart and He will even judge my heart. However, this does not mean that we can take everything that is hard to understand and make it fully understood as it seems you try to do with almost everything and in the end it becomes even more complicated. I love the idea and believe that God is Full of Mercy. But God is also just and has to punish sin.”

    Just remember that it is you who asked the question. I have simply been trying to explain a perplexing question which demands a more thoughtful answer to encompass God’s perfect love, justice and mercy. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta would state it so succinctly: When we come before the Judgment seat, we will be asked one question, “How much did you love?”

    Anyway, it seems that you are obviously not ready for theological explanation of the more difficult questions, I will not further burden you. You take care, Steve.

    • Thanks, enjoyed talking with you. You probably overlooked my question by mistake as I have asked a lot of questions regarding the RCC faith, but do you believe that anyone seeks after God on his own. What does Paul mean when he says “there is no one who seeks after God.”

      I agree with sister Theresa. “So that Christ may dwell in our hearts in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with hall the saints what is the breadth and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

  126. Steve: Since you did previously ask the question, I will stay with you a bit longer. Why don’t you TELL us what Paul meant when he says “there is no one who seeks after God” from Rom 3:11?

    • Yes, it looks like I will home on Thursday due to the storm so I will plan to respond then. Till then,Take care,

    • Francis hope u don’t mind you calling u that bt it is easier to type than Surkiko. Is Francis your real name? We have had 16 inches of snow today but I have not forgotten to respond to your question but will shoot for the weekend. Have a good night…

      • Just don’t be buried under the snow! Francis is the real name, “Kiko” is just in another language (so I am told).

        • The more I read especially in Catholic commentaries very little is said about Romans 3 “There is none that seek after God” will comment soon. Snow is done!:)

          • You raised the verse to prove ?? … that man is so depraved after the Fall that he cannot seek after God on his own?

            • I think you may be assuming why I brought this verse up. It was not because I was inferring total depravity as you seem to be suggesting. What I notice about about the Catholic commentaries is that one in particular makes no mention of fairly strong words that Paul writes and goes to works to infer that man is seeking God. Will write more need to go to work.

            • Francis, one thought to consider. Do you belive the rich young ruler was seeking God? Do you believe he repented and followed Christ? Do you believe his whole life was a life seeking after God by “keeping all the commandments as he says?

          • If you look for Catholic commentary on the Scriptures, you will find it! “Seek and ye shall find.” Here are some words from St. John Chrysostom on the passages you are referencing: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/210207.htm:

            Rom. III. 9-18

            What then have we more than they? For we have proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues have they used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes.

            He had accused the Gentiles, he had accused the Jews; it came next in order to mention the righteousness which is by faith. For if the law of nature availed not, and the written Law was of no advantage, but both weighed down those that used them not aright, and made it plain that they were worthy of greater punishment, then after this the salvation which is by grace was necessary. Speak then of it, O Paul, and display it. But as yet he does not venture, as having an eye to the violence of the Jews, and so turns afresh to his accusation of them; and first he brings in as accuser, David speaking of the same things at length, which Isaiah mentioned all in short compass, so furnishing a strong curb for them, so that they might not bound off, nor any of his hearers, while the matters of faith were laid open to them, might after this start away; being beforehand safely held down by the accusations of the prophets. For there are three excesses which the prophet lays down; he says that all of them together did evil, and that they did not do good indifferently with evil, but that they followed after wickedness alone, and followed it also with all earnestness.

            Basically, I think most Catholics would read these verses along with St. John Chrysostom, i.e., Paul always has to be taken in the greater context of the subject that he is addressing. Here, he is attempting to prove that both Gentiles and Jews stand in need of God’s Grace, in spite of whatever assistance the Jews may have received from the revelation of the Torah. He quotes the Psalms to prove that even the Jewish Scriptures make this clear.

            More and more, even Protestant New Testament scholars are coming to read Paul this way. Check out N.T. Wright and James Dunn, or look up “New Perspective on Paul.” (The “New Perspective” is actually just the old Catholic perspective!).

  127. Q: What’s the definition of a megachurch, and how many are there in the United States?
    A: Megachurches are not all alike, but they do share some common features. Hartford Seminary Sociologist Scott Thumma who, with Warren Bird, compiled the 2011 “Megachurches Today” research report defines a megachurch as a congregation with at least 2,000 people attending each weekend. These churches tend to have a charismatic senior minister and an active array of social and outreach ministries seven days a week.

    Fast Facts

    So because most Protestant congregations are only a few hundred members or attenders on Sundays, churches of 2000 attendees or more are naturally labeled mega churches. But, it may interest you to know that in my north San Diego County semi-rural Church we recently built a church that seats 1000. We have 6 masses every Sunday and about 4000 families registered as parishioners. And I know what you mean Paul, even tho there are so many members I always see people I know, even when I go to Spanish masses.

  128. Steve:

    ” …fairly strong words that Paul writes and goes to works to infer that man is seeking God”

    A commentary is limited to the author’s scope and intent. That’s why it is a good practice to consult different commentaries. About Rom 3:11, this is usually only of interest to some Christians who want to use this isolated verse to build a whole theology on it.

    “Do you belive the rich young ruler was seeking God? Do you believe he repented and followed Christ? Do you believe his whole life was a life seeking after God by “keeping all the commandments as he says?”

    This is the moral of final perseverance. The “rich young ruler” (Matt 19:16-22) was obviously seeking after God. We shouldn’t despise “good works” as if it’s something anti-God. In yesterday’s liturgical readings, we were reminded of the importance of righteous living and obeying the Commandments (Sir 15:15-20, Matt 5:17-37). But when being challenged to spiritual poverty (“would be perfect”), our rich young ruler couldn’t give up all the worldly possessions and attachments in the end. It is a lesson in discipleship of total surrender to God which is the very First Commandment. You may want to read the rest of the chapter of Rom 19.

    I think that it is very unfortunate that most Christians also never understood the virtue of “obedience of faith” (Rom 1:5). In these days of grace, I have witnessed many people (Scott Hahn, Steve Ray) who have had sacrificed family, friends, career, reputation and even livelihood to “come home” to the Church established by Christ (in total surrender and obedience of faith because it is the Father’s will). And God has continued to use them to the greater glory of the kingdom of God. Let all the people say “Amen.”

    • Again I think you feel I despise good works. I do not. I love God and desire to do good works and do many as I am sure you do. Yes of course we are saved by grace and cannot obtain favor with God by works of the law. I am very familiar with E.P. Sanders, N.T. Wright etc. one thing to consider, just because I am not fully Catholic does not mean that I am Protestant.

      Yes I belive the young ruler was trying to obey God. The question is what did Christ mean when He told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and follow Him. Why did he go away sad? Why then do the disciples say who will make it to heaven in the following verses?

  129. Thanks will read again Rom 19. Have you given up all worldly treasures? Do you plan to do that as a act of moral final perseverance?

  130. Steve: Sorry, I meant Matt 19. I think that it’s not so much of giving up “worldly treasures” but being enslaved by them. It’s not the same as saying that one’s hoarding earthly possessions, but that we are merely caretakers of what’s God’s and to be generous and giving to those less fortunate than us. Here’s my meditation on the question(s) you raised:

    ” … what did Christ mean when He told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and follow Him … Why did he go away sad?”

    I think that Christ was testing the rich man to see if he would surrender and trust in God completely. The rich man was sad because he knew that he still “lacks” what “would be perfect.” Now I know that you said that you would imitate Christ only, but we can all really learn from St. Francis of Assisi who actually took up this same challenge to the “rich man” in order to follow Christ more perfectly. God may or may not require each one of us to perform such radical or heroic deeds.

    If we follow the context of Matt 19, we will appreciate the lesson how it’s more difficult for a rich person to enter heaven, not because of the possessions but due to his love for them. In the case of our “rich young man,” it really isn’t so much about his salvation (I think that he’s saved) but about the rewards in heaven. That’s why v. 21 talks about “treasure in heaven” and v. 29 also talks about receiving “a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life,” and lastly, v. 30 talks about “many that are first will be last, and the last first.” We are not saved by works, but we are rewarded for them in heaven.

    “Why then do the disciples say who will make it to heaven in the following verses?”

    The disciples were only referencing what Christ spoke of rich people in general and how “it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Christ’s response is the assurance that it’s God’s will to save everyone, how there’s sufficient grace for everyone, and that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (v.26).

    “Have you given up all worldly treasures? Do you plan to do that as a act of moral final perseverance?”

    Of course, I’ve the hope of final perseverance but that’s not because I will have given away all my earthly possessions, but that I don’t become attached in spite of them.

    See, I have read the rest of Matt 19 with you !! Hope that I’m making sense.

  131. Steve: I am still not understanding how Mary could be sinless. Are you saying she was perfect?

    BFHU: Yes

    Steve: You cannot rencile all have sinned meaning creatures with a sinless life of a creature.

    BFHU: Why not? Adam and Eve were created without a sin/fallen nature. They were created fully human and perfectly immaculate. That is how God wanted humanity to be. Not fallen. Not sinful. Not rebellious. Adam and Eve were creatures and sinless for a while. There is nothing inherently incompatible with creatureliness and sinlessness.

    Steve: It goes against scripture unless you change scripture with human reasoning.

    BFHU: It merely goes against your interpretation of scripture. It goes against your human reasoning. Do you assert that it is impossible for God to create a person free from all sin (He did it with Adam and Eve already) and then give her all the graces needed to remain free from sin?

    Steve: While I love and respect Catholics and consider all who name Jesus as their Savior part of Gods family. Sometimes you take scripture extremely litterally and other times you contradict it with human reasoning and call it Tradition. This is what it seems to me.

    BFHU: Protestants do this exact thing as well. It is all called interpretation of Scripture. Scripture certainly demands that at times it be taken literally and at time poetically/metaphorically. But the rational for when to take scriptural literally vs non literally is rooted Christian History of 2000 years–Catholic Tradition. But the rational for Protestants to take scriptural literally vs non literally is rooted in Protestant history of 500 years–Protestant Tradition. The Bible must be interpreted. I choose the interpretation of the earliest Christians rather than the Protestants with only 500 years of history. Sorry

    ISteve: have a great friend who is Catholic and yes a dear brother in The Lord. All he seems to talk 90 % of the time is his favorite saint Padre Pio. He wants to be a child of Padre Pio he says.

    BFHU: That is a worthy goal.

    Steve: Do you see the danger in this?

    BFHU: No.

    Steve: It is impossible to give this kind of devotion to a saint and not take away from Jesus.

    BFHU: Not at all. The Saints are excellent examples of heroic virtue and faith in practice. Yes we can try to imitate Jesus but He was God. Not exactly within our grasp—ever. We can try to imitate Mary but she was graced with not having to wrestle with a sin nature. The Saints, human as we are and sinful and having practical experiences of how to wrestle that sin nature down provide us with excellent examples to follow. And there are heaps and heaps of information about their various lives and how they lived sanctity. This offers extra clarity and practicality to guide us in our own faith journey.

    Steve: Just because he shared in Christs sufferings as we all do as we seek to obey Christ, does not mean we need to be “Children of a Saint” as he says. Do you see the danger in this?

    BFHU: No

    Steve: He claims Padre is standing at the gates of heaven and will not enter until all his children enter. These are Padres words. How do you suggest this is helpful to my friend? Do you not see how this takes away from Christ who stands the for for us?

    BFHU: I have never heard that about Padre Pio not entering Heaven. But, what does it really matter? I am not sure how that helps your friend. You should ask him. It certainly doesn’t hurt him that I can see. And no it doesn’t take away from Christ. It is imitation not worship of Padre Pio.

    • So why did not God give all all grace so he would not have to send His Dear dear Son to pay the penalty? He could have given everyone grace to not sin and grace to avoid original sin.

      So if I am hearing you correctly you are saying it is good to become a son of a Saint? So if my friend talks more about the saint Padre Pio then of Christ you do not see a problem with this? He also said you have to send 6 dollars to be a member of the Padre Pio oraganizatin to help you make it to heaven. Do you still not see a problem with this?

      Could you please explain if God changes the wine to blood which is supernatural do you not think (He who can do all things) could he also not keep you from effect by the gluten? Do you have enough faith to believe He could?

      Sent from my iPad

      >

    • So again I am not understanding you correctly. If Christ says he was temped in every way yet was withou sin so that He can sympathize with us in Hebrews would He not be the best one to draw strength from in our time of need? The bible does speak of being I imitators of other saints, but to draw near in time of need best done by drawing near to Christ do you not see this? Who do you draw near to in your time of need?

  132. One other thing you keep mentioning that I only believe the last 500 of History for scripture. I believe the word of God and history goes far beyond the 2000 years of the Catholic Church.

    So one other important question. Did Mary have to be perfect and without sin in order to carry out the task of being the other of God?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 298 other followers

%d bloggers like this: