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Geoff Hutchinson wrote:
The following question was a set of questions which challenged a new Catholic who was in the process of joining the Church. It consists of three parts on three different web pages. [Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3]

Hi, guys —

I am in the process of joining the Catholic Church and I am engaged in a major debate about the Church with a person whom, up until now, I'm unable to articulate the Faith in a clear manner.

There are three areas that we have been discussing. If you could please examine his arguments and send me a reply, it would be most helpful. His Protestant arguments follow.


Catholic Tradition versus the Bible.

Roman Catholic doctrine teaches that the Eucharist is a repeat-sacrifice of the one Sacrifice on Calvary and that Jesus comes back at the beck and call of the priest and voluntarily dies again at every Mass to help atone for sin.

This implies that the first Sacrifice was not sufficient to take away all sin. However,
the New Testament Book of Hebrews, Chapter 10 says:

11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Hebrews 10:11-18

Praying to the saints and to Mary also contradicts Scripture. The Bible teaches that God is a jealous God and we should pray to Him alone (Deuteronomy 4:15-26 and Deuteronomy 5:7-9), but elsewhere we are commanded to not contact the dead!

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Exodus 20:4-6

10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.

Deuteronomy 18:10-13

Praying to the saints or Mary is a violation of both commandments above, not to mention the mass production of images, statues and figurines where people:

  • pray to them
  • bow to them
  • leave them candles, and
  • incense offerings!

Mary and other disciples of Christ were simply men and women like us who have died; and to pray to them counts as communicating [and|or] worshiping the Dead, which dabbles with witchcraft, and necromancy, something God expressly prohibits in the Holy Scriptures! Jesus the Christ Himself, taught us how to pray, and it was to God the Father alone! (Matthew 6:5-13) Therefore, offering prayers to anyone else is against Scripture and is idolatry. Praying to Mary is a slap in God's face.

The Roman Catholic Church has taken it further and made things worse. The Pope has declared that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born with no sin (the Immaculate Conception dogma) which directly contradicts the Bible. The Bible says that all of Adam's descendents are cursed with sin from conception. Mary was conceived by a man and woman, and so bears this curse with the rest of us. Only Jesus was free of this curse, being that Mary was a virgin and was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, with no son of Adam involved. Romans 5 states:

8 But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Romans 5:8-15

Mary herself acknowledged her status as a sinner in her Magnificat (Luke 1:47), because she called on God her Savior! A sinless person doesn't need a savior. Therefore, Mary was a sinner and the Pope is making false doctrine!

  • The Pope was forced to expound on this false doctrine, because if she had no sin, which brings death, then why did she die?

The Pope said that God must have taken her bodily to Heaven. The Bible clearly lists who in history was ever taken bodily to Heaven and Mary was not one of them. Still worse, these doctrines on Mary are binding on Roman Catholics. According to the Vatican and Roman Catholic Church, anyone who refuses to believe these doctrines will be excommunicated!

  • Hmmmmm, which should you believe, the Bible or some man called the Pope?

Speaking of the Pope, how about Pope John Paul II in 1986 calling leaders from any and every religion to come and join him in Italy to “stand side by side and ask God for peace.” They came; leaders from:

  • Islam
  • Hinduism
  • Animism
  • Native Americans
  • Buddhist, and various leaders from:
    • Protestant
    • Catholic, and
    • Orthodox sects.

They prayed from their own religious writings, songs and beliefs. This “standing side by side” to pray together is tantamount to saying all religions point to the same deity, and all roads lead to Heaven. That is not what the Bible says. For instance, Acts 4 states:

10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Acts 4:10-12

So basically, the Pope invited people to worship and pray to their idols and false gods, and that was okay with him. This is another policy which is not endorsed by the Scriptures.

10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. 11 Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. 12 Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do.

Ezra 10:10-12

21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in Heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

Luke 6:21-24

If pagan religions are okay with praying beside you, then that should be a big warning sign that something is wrong with you! Obviously, you don't stand for the "one way to God through Jesus, the Christ alone, and all else is heresy and false"!

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

2 Corinthians 6:15-18

Hmmmmm!

  • Constantine and Christianity: Roman Catholicism Roots, good or bad?

Constantine is perhaps best known for being the first Roman Emperor to freely allow Christianity. Though he was not baptized until he was on his deathbed, his conversion, according to official Christian sources, was the immediate result of an omen before his victory in the Battle of Milvian Bridge, October 28, 312 A.D.

It is commonly stated, although only by Christian sources, that on the evening before October 27, with the armies preparing for battle, Constantine, alone, just as he had publicly announced he saw Apollo two years before, reported that he had a vision as he looked toward the setting sun; although Eusebius of Caesarea records the event as occurring when Maxentius' army was still in Northern Italy. At any rate, a cross appeared emblazoned on the sun, and maybe the Greek letters XP ("Chi-Rho", the first two letters of "Christ") intertwined with it; and Constantine either saw or heard the Greek phrase "Åí Ôïõôù Íéêá", often rendered in Latin as In Hoc Signo Vinces — With this sign, you shall conquer. Constantine, who believed in the pagan sun god at the time, is said to have put the symbol, the labarum, on his soldiers' shields.

The next day, the two armies clashed, and Constantine emerged victorious. Already known as a skillful general, Constantine began to push Maxentius' army back toward the Tiber, and Maxentius decided to retreat and make another stand at Rome itself but there was only one escape route, via the bridge, and Constantine's men inflicted heavy losses on the retreating army.

Constantine entered Rome not long afterwards and was acclaimed as sole Western Roman Augustus. He credited his victory at the Milvian Bridge to the god of the Christians, and ordered the end of any religious persecution within his realm, a step he had already taken in Britain and Gaul in 306 A.D. With the emperor as a patron, Christianity grew in popularity and power. It has been estimated by ancient historians that perhaps one out of every ten citizens of Rome was a Christian at that time.

In 313 A.D., Constantine and Licinius joined forces against Maximinus. Their alliance would lead to the Edict of Milan. Constantine and Licinius' Edict of Milan (313 A.D.) removed penalties for professing Christianity, under which many were martyred in previous persecutions of Christians, and it returned confiscated Church property.

After the Edict, new avenues were opened to Christians, including the right to compete with pagan Romans in the traditional cursus honorum for high government positions, and greater acceptance into general civil society. New churches were allowed to be constructed and Christian leadership became increasingly bold — Christian bishops took aggressive public stances that were unheard of among other religions.

As a result, Church controversies, which had been lively within the Christian communities since the mid-2nd century, now flared in public schisms, often with violence. Constantine saw quelling religious disorder as the divinely-appointed emperor's duty, and eventually called the First Council of Nicaea (May 20 — July 25, 325 A.D.) to settle some of the doctrinal problems, notably Arianism, plaguing the early Church.

See the Wikipedia free online Encyclopedia. I have quoted them a lot there, but I know those facts from other sources as well!

Satan had tried to kill Jesus, and that made his problems exponentially worse. Satan tried to persecute the Church and that only spread the problem. Finally, Satan figured out that to fight God and the “Church”, he would have to change tactics. Since Satan is behind all pagan idols and false gods, he could easily use a pagan general, with a history of seeing pagan visions, to see another, and give credit to the wrong source to stop the Church's persecution.

Throughout Scripture, you do not see God giving visions like that to pagans who then converted.

  • Also, if he did convert, why did he allow the pagan religions to continue in his empire?
  • Why did he not push for more evangelism?

Sounds like a “political peace” maneuver for municipal stability, rather than true conversion. Satan used him to bring the Church out into the open, and to get them involved with the public and politics again. Since the emperor now seemed favorable to “Christianity”, many “Yes Men” got into the Church too!

Note: History records it being popular to be “Christian;” God cares about repentance, not popularity. This is a big difference from what is recorded in the Scriptures about how God works!

4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

Jonah 3:4-10

These “Yes Men” were probably also the ones going for public office. Politics is politics; if you want the emperor to promote you, it is best to wear what the Emperor wears. Therefore, you have “false believers” talking a lot about church and holding public offices, organizing a new public church and proclaiming the Emperor their patron, to show loyalty, and that is how they set up the "Roman Catholic Church"! The Real "Church", in all likelihood, was probably still operating largely underground. Why change what was working well for them? They probably saw right through the "false believers" and disassociated themselves from them. Satan is the master of deceit. It stands to reason that the best way to keep a lost person lost, is to make him think he is saved, when he is not. That way, he happily ignores all salvation messages, thinking that they don't apply to him since he is already "saved"!

This would also easily explain all the corruption issues in Catholic Church leadership in the next few hundred years, the lack of good doctrine, and the increase in bad doctrine going against the Scriptures for the sake of making money! God, in His power and majesty, always preserves for Himself, loyal servants to do His work, no matter how bad it gets.

14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelite have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”

1 Kings 19:14-18

And His Scripture is living and powerful to bring people to the Truth, so long as they really want the actual Truth!

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged 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. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the Heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:12-16

  • In light of these verses above, why would people want to pray to Mary or to the saints?

And again, it explains why those standing for Scripture got persecuted! Satan's old habits die hard. What happened to the "True Church", only God knows. I am hearing a lot of "We are the original Church", as if that is some sort of guarantee of truth and correctness. Remember,
the Jews were originally the Chosen people, and they screwed up and lost it.

13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

Romans 11:13-24

  • Who says that can't happen again?

I say it has. I say the "Church" is not part of any "denomination": Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. I say if the Catholic Church was started by Constantine, then it has been a false Church from the beginning, and is still so today. The Roman Catholic Church is not the original, and they have no evidence to refute me with, only "tradition", which is a nice way to say legends.

The original is the Jewish children of Abraham, not the Catholic Church!

A pagan king shows no repentance and is credited in history as starting the Catholic Church.
The early Roman Catholic Church is plagued with bad doctrine and corruption and greed, and
this is objectively verifiable by the way.

Don't let the Roman Catholic Church deceive you!!

I firmly believe that in spite of Satan's efforts, many people in Catholic churches will get to Heaven. They are not deceived into the false doctrine and dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. However, I also firmly believe that if someone is going to hold to all tenets of Catholic doctrine and dogma, then they are deceived, and they will perish in the end for:

  • idolatry
    • praying
    • worshiping, and
    • venerating Mary and the saints, instead of God, or
  • trusting in good works, instead of surrendering to Jesus the Christ, or
  • trying to earn salvation and do penance to atone for sin, rather than repenting and sinning no more; and giving all glory for the atoning salvation to Jesus alone.

Don't forget the thief on the Cross.

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: This Is The King Of The Jews. 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 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." 43 Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

Luke 23:38-43

That man did not have the chance to be baptized, go to Confession or go to Mass, nor did he receive Last Rites, or have a chance to do penance for his sin(s) in order to get out of Purgatory. His death sentence doesn't count, because it was state imposed, not priest imposed, and yet Jesus, the Christ, said that very day, that the man would be with Him in Paradise!!

So much for the Roman Catholic seven sacraments.

The Scripture says that when people listen to Jesus' message, and reject you, they are really reacting to Jesus' message, not to you personally. It has nothing to do with Church authority
and it presumes that the “speaker” is proclaiming Jesus' message in Spirit and Truth.

RE: Scripture Alone:

Scripture Only — Much Protestant theology depends on the notion that Scripture is the sole source of truth. Yet in John 21:25, we read that not everything is in Scripture. This is what the verse actually says:

25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down,
I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

John 21:25

Obviously, God could have preserved what He wanted us to know. The rest is not needed.
No doubt it was good, but not essential, and so by the Holy Spirit's direction, those parts were not included. To say the Bible is missing parts, implies that God is not powerful enough to preserve the important truths! Besides, "everything" is an awful lot. I don't think we needed to know each step Jesus took between villages, or how long He stayed in each place, or what He ate at each mea, or where He got His clothes, etc., etc. To call it a fault, to not include everything, is foolish and naive!

In 1 Timothy 3:15, we read that the Church is the pillar of faith, not the Bible. This is what the passage actually says:

14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

1 Timothy 3:14-15

What this passage is talking about are guidelines for behavior and standards for church leadership and verse 15 must be examined in that context! God is the Pillar and foundation of Truth, and Jesus is the Cap Stone, or cornerstone, as mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament!

In 1 Corinthians 11, we are urged to hold on to all the traditions we have been taught.
This is what the passage actually says:

1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

1 Corinthians 11:1-2

  • What did Paul pass on to them?

He passed on to them the example and teachings of Christ! The teachings and examples of Christ are not traditions; they are the Word of God, aka Scripture!

  { How do I articulate the Faith to one who rejects Catholic Tradition and Teachings over the Bible? }

Eric replied:

Hi Geoff,

Let me see if I can assist you with some counter arguments.

He said:
Catholic Tradition versus the Bible.

Roman Catholic doctrine teaches that the Eucharist is a repeat-sacrifice of the one Sacrifice on Calvary and that Jesus comes back at the beck and call of the priest and voluntarily dies again at every Mass to help atone for sin.

This implies that the first Sacrifice was not sufficient to take away all sin. However,
the New Testament Book of Hebrews, Chapter 10 says:

This is all categorically wrong. We do not believe it to be a "repeat sacrifice" of the one on Calvary. We believe it to be one and the same sacrifice on Calvary — the one sacrifice of Christ made present to us. It's the way we apply the sacrifice of Christ to our sins — sacramentally.

"54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life."

John 6:54

Jesus was our Passover Sacrifice but the Jews had not only to make the sacrifice, they also had to *eat the sacrificed flesh* in order to be saved from the Angel of Death. So it is with Christ,
our Passover; we must eat His flesh to have eternal life.

"Today's sacrifice is like that offered once by the Once-begotten Incarnate Word;
it is offered by him (now as then), since it is one and the same sacrifice."

Synod in Constantinople — January 1156 to May 1157

"In the Sacrifice of the Mass, Christ's sacrifice on the cross is made present,
its memory is celebrated, and its saving power is applied."

Council of Trent — December 1545 to December 1563

He said:
Praying to the saints and to Mary also contradicts Scripture. The Bible teaches that God is a jealous God and we should pray to Him alone (Deuteronomy 4:15-26 and Deuteronomy 5:7-9), but elsewhere we are commanded to not contact the dead!

You are confusing prayer and worship. These verses forbid idolatry, but that's not what's going on here. Saints are not worshipped in Catholicism. The word in Latin for "pray" is the same as the word "ask", and that's all that prayer is; it is asking for someone to pray for you.

"16 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

James 5:16

Also, it is not a question of "contacting the dead". What is forbidden there is receiving messages from the dead. This is the essence of mediumship. Prayer to the dead is entirely
one-way; no one expects the Saint to respond verbally.

He said:
Praying to the saints or Mary is a violation of both commandments above, not to mention the mass production of images, statues and figurines where people:

  • pray to them
  • bow to them
  • leave them candles, and
  • incense offerings!

This is sheer ignorance.  No one is bowing or praying to statues, or leaving them candles or incense offerings.  The person is bowing as a sign of respect to the Saint. Again, the prayer goes to the Saint, not the statue.  The candle symbolizes leaving one's prayer in a location as a vigil.  Incense is not made as an offering to a statue or a saint.

He said:
Mary and other disciples of Christ were simply men and women like us who have died; and to pray to them counts as communicating [and|or] worshiping the Dead, which dabbles with witchcraft, and necromancy, something God expressly prohibits in the Holy Scriptures!

Again, you aren't receiving any messages from them, so it is categorically not like that.

We know the saints are involved in our prayers from Revelation 5:8, where the saints in Heaven are holding bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints on earth. We know that the saints in Heaven surround us (Hebrews 12:1, 12:23). We know that the saints in Heaven can and do intercede for those on earth. (Jeremiah 15:1) So there is a host of stuff supporting prayer to the saints.

He said:
Jesus the Christ Himself, taught us how to pray, and it was to God the Father alone! (Matthew 6:5-13) Therefore, offering prayers to anyone else is against Scripture and is idolatry. Praying to Mary is a slap in God's face.

  • So you don't pray to Christ or the Holy Spirit?

He said:
The Roman Catholic Church has taken it further and made things worse. The Pope has declared that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born with no sin (the Immaculate Conception dogma) which directly contradicts the Bible. The Bible says that all of Adam's descendents are cursed with sin from conception. Mary was conceived by a man and woman, and so bears this curse with the rest of us. Only Jesus was free of this curse, being that Mary was a virgin and was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, with no son of Adam involved.

Well, nowhere does it say that only men pass on the sinfulness gene. Jesus was sinless because He was God, and for no other reason.

Generally, any argument, that Mary "had to have sinned" based on Scripture, fails because the same verses that could be used to "prove" she "had to be" sinful, could also be used to "prove" Jesus "had to be" sinful, which He wasn't. So if there was an exception possible for Jesus, there very well could be an exception allowed for Mary.

He said:
Mary herself acknowledged her status as a sinner in her Magnificat (Luke 1:47), because she called on God her Savior! A sinless person doesn't need a savior. Therefore, Mary was a sinner and the Pope is making false doctrine!

Not true. Jesus *was* her Savior; He saved her from sin, only He saved her *before* she fell into sin, instead of *after*. You can save someone from a puddle by pulling them from it, muddy and wet, or by yanking them out of the way when they are about to step into it.

Either way, you are "saving" them from the puddle.

He said:
Speaking of the Pope, how about Pope John Paul II in 1986 calling leaders from any and every religion to come and join him in Italy to “stand side by side and ask God for peace.” They came; leaders from:

  • Islam
  • Hinduism
  • Animism
  • Native Americans
  • Buddhist, and various leaders from:
    • Protestant
    • Catholic, and
    • Orthodox sects.

They prayed from their own religious writings, songs and beliefs. This “standing side by side” to pray together is tantamount to saying all religions point to the same deity, and all roads lead to Heaven. That is not what the Bible says.

That's patently absurd.  By no means does praying alongside someone mean that all religions point to the same deity or all roads lead to Heaven. That would be like saying, eating together in the same cafeteria means you're eating the exact same food.  It's just preposterous. 

  • Why can't people pray in their own way in the same location without automatically embracing some form of syncretism?

You quoted Ezra 10:10-12:

10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. 11 Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. 12 Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do.

I think you're in trouble if you want to apply this to the Christian Church. You'd better go off and form your own country and separate yourselves from the pagans in the land.

He said:
If pagan religions are okay with praying beside you, then that should be a big warning sign that something is wrong with you! Obviously, you don't stand for the "one way to God through Jesus, the Christ alone, and all else is heresy and false"!

  • What does praying next to someone have to do with not standing for the
    "one way to God", etc.?
  • Is there some magic force that interferes with your theology when a pagan starts to pray near you?
  • What is it about physical proximity that causes everything to go haywire?

He quoted 2 Corinthians 6:15-18:

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

This is subject to interpretation. Obviously, it can't mean mere physical proximity; otherwise, we'd have to live very isolated lives. Perhaps the Amish interpret it this way, but most Fundamentalists and Evangelicals do not. Again, one would not interpret it to mean that a pagan cannot come into a Christian church service; otherwise, your evangelism would be wrong.

  • What happens if a pagan comes into a church service and secretly prays to his god?
  • Does that jeopardize the congregation?
  • Perhaps he tells the Christian next to him what he is doing; do the "pagan cooties"
    demand that that Christian absent himself to remain pure and separate?

Just some things to think about.

He said:
It stands to reason that the best way to keep a lost person lost, is to make him think he is saved, when he is not. That way, he happily ignores all salvation messages, thinking that they don't apply to him since he is already "saved"!

This applies twofold when it comes to churches who teach "once-saved, always-saved".

He said:

  • In light of these verses above, why would people want to pray to Mary or to the saints?

Because: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16

N.B./Note well, nothing prevents you from praying to Jesus as well; as well you should but as one would bring one's petitions to one's brothers and sisters in Christ on earth, so one would also want to bring them to one's brothers and sisters in Christ in Heaven.

He said:
And again, it explains why those standing for Scripture got persecuted! Satan's old habits die hard. What happened to the "True Church", only God knows.

Well, we know the gates of Hell did not prevail against Her (Matthew 16:19), and we know the words of God will never depart from Her. (Isaiah 59:20-21)

He said:
I am hearing a lot of "We are the original Church", as if that is some sort of guarantee of truth and correctness. Remember, the Jews were originally the Chosen people, and they screwed up and lost it.

The Jews did not have the Holy Spirit:

"13 But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth."

John 16:13

"26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

John 14:26

Moreover, the Jews did not *lose* the truth; rather, they did not *obey* the truth. They knew what was right and refused to follow it. Jesus rebuked them for what they did, more than what they believed theologically.

He said:

  • Who says that can't happen again?

I say it has. I say the "Church" is not part of any "denomination": Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. I say if the Catholic Church was started by Constantine, then it has been a false Church from the beginning, and is still so today.

Strange that so many Catholic teachings can be historically demonstrated long before Constantine.

He said:
The Roman Catholic Church is not the original, and they have no evidence to refute me with, only "tradition", which is a nice way to say legends.

  • If you're going to arbitrarily dismiss all written historical evidence as "legends", which
    a priori, are false, then haven't you stacked the deck?
  • Is it only a legend because it disagrees with your interpretation?
  • Real history doesn't work this way; why should this history work this way?

He said:
The original is the Jewish children of Abraham, not the Catholic Church!

A pagan king shows no repentance and is credited in history as starting the Catholic Church. The early Roman Catholic Church is plagued with bad doctrine and corruption and greed, and this is objectively verifiable by the way.

Well, this "corrupt" Catholic Church sorted out for you which books of the Bible were authentic and which were not. I can never figure out why people who believe in the Bible so distrust the Church that judged, on the basis of Her traditions, which books belonged there.

He said:
Don't let the Roman Catholic Church deceive you!!

I firmly believe that in spite of Satan's efforts, many people in Catholic churches will get to Heaven. They are not deceived into the false doctrine and dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. However, I also firmly believe that if someone is going to hold to all tenets of Catholic doctrine and dogma, then they are deceived, and they will perish in the end for:

  • idolatry
    • praying
    • worshiping, and
    • venerating Mary and the saints, instead of God, or
  • trusting in good works, instead of surrendering to Jesus the Christ, or
  • trying to earn salvation and do penance to atone for sin, rather than repenting and sinning no more; and giving all glory for the atoning salvation to Jesus alone.

You are so confused it's not even funny.

Catholics, as we have said, do not worship saints or Mary. We honor them and ask them as our brothers and sisters for prayer, not instead of praying to God, but in addition to praying to God.

We trust in the grace of God alone, not in our good works. It is the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross that is the source of all our merits. To suggest that we believe that there is no need to repent, and sin no more, is just ignorance of what we teach.

The Catholic Catechism teaches:

1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.[46]

"You are glorified in the assembly of your Holy Ones, for in crowning their merits you are crowning your own gifts." (Introduction to section on merit)

2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.

"Man's merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit. " (2008)

2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.

He said:
Don't forget the thief on the Cross.

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: This Is The King Of The Jews. 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 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." 43 Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

Luke 23:38-43

That man did not have the chance to be baptized, go to Confession or go to Mass, nor did he receive Last Rites, or have a chance to do penance for his sin(s) in order to get out of Purgatory. His death sentence doesn't count, because it was state imposed, not priest imposed, and yet Jesus, the Christ, said that very day, that the man would be with Him in Paradise!!

You're obviously not familiar with Catholic theology.

First of all, God is not bound by the Sacraments. They are guarantees of grace, but not the only way to obtain grace. Here we have an example of baptism of desire, i.e., someone who wants to be baptized, but who dies without being able to obtain water Baptism, nevertheless receives the grace of baptism.

Second of all, for someone who is baptized, there is no need to receive Confession or go to Purgatory for one's sins before Baptism.

Last Rites does not save you; it's simply the name of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick and would not be required by the thief.

The grace of the Eucharist can likewise be received extra-sacramentally, for those unable to sacramentally receive it.

He said:
The Scripture says that when people listen to Jesus' message, and reject you, they are really reacting to Jesus' message, not to you personally. It has nothing to do with Church authority and it presumes that the “speaker” is proclaiming Jesus' message in Spirit and Truth.

Nevertheless, to reject someone who represents Jesus, is to reject Jesus. One can't accept Jesus and reject the one who proclaims His teachings. It has everything to do with Church authority since they represent Jesus and are sent In His Name.

He said:
RE: Scripture Alone:

† Scripture Only — Much Protestant theology depends on the notion that Scripture is the sole source of truth. Yet in John 21:25, we read that not everything is in Scripture. This is what the verse actually says:

25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

John 21:25

Obviously, God could have preserved what He wanted us to know. The rest is not needed. No doubt it was good, but not essential, and so by the Holy Spirit's direction, those parts were not included. To say the Bible is missing parts, implies that God is not powerful enough to preserve the important truths! Besides, "everything" is an awful lot. I don't think we needed to know each step Jesus took between villages, or how long He stayed in each place, or what He ate at each mea, or where He got His clothes, etc., etc. To call it a fault, to not include everything, is foolish and naive!

To say the Bible is "missing parts" does not say God is not powerful enough to preserve the important truths, because He could have done so (and, we argue, has done so) through Tradition. Verses such as:

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:15
  • Romans 16:17
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6
  • 1 Peter 1:25
  • Jude 3
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:13
  • Isaiah 59:20-21
  • 2 Timothy 1:13f
  • 2 Peter 2:21, and
  • Romans 10:14-18

all support the idea that the Word of God is oral, as much as it is written. If you sit down and look at it, the vast majority of references to the Word of God are either clearly oral, or ambiguous; very few identify the Word of God with the written Word (2 Timothy 3:15 is a notable exception).
So it should not be surprising that there are important things that are part of the oral Tradition,
and not part of the written Tradition.

He said:
In 1 Timothy 3:15, we read that the Church is the pillar of faith, not the Bible.
This is what the passage actually says:

14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

1 Timothy 3:14-15

What this passage is talking about are guidelines for behavior and standards for church leadership and verse 15 must be examined in that context! God is the Pillar and foundation of Truth, and Jesus is the Cap Stone, or cornerstone, as mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament!

  • And how does that context relate to interpreting what "pillar and foundation of the truth" refers to?
  • In other words, how is it that you are arguing that the text doesn't say what it quite obviously says, namely, that the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth?

He said:
In 1 Corinthians 11, we are urged to hold on to all the traditions we have been taught.
This is what the passage actually says:

1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

1 Corinthians 11:1-2

  • What did Paul pass on to them?

He passed on to them the example and teachings of Christ! The teachings and examples of Christ are not traditions; they are the Word of God, aka Scripture!

You're begging the question. The teachings and examples of Christ were oral; the New Testament was not completed or even started for decades after Jesus died.

  • How do you think the truth was taught before the New Testament was started?

They are traditions whether you choose to acknowledge them as such or not. Your translation is deceiving you; the word for "teachings" is paradosis, which means traditions, as the:

  • NASB, New American Standard
  • NKJV, New King James Version
  • ASV, American Standard Version and
  • other Bibles correctly translate the word.

It's the same word used in Matthew 15:3, so I don't want to hear that he is not talking about the traditions you condemn here. As I said earlier, Scripture more often than not identifies the Word of God as something oral, i.e., a tradition. That is what Paul was passing down.


Hope this helps Geoff!

Eric

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