Throughout the last 13 years we have made the Roman Catholic Church
our primary mission field. It has been our heart’s desire to see Roman
Catholics embrace the Lord Jesus Christ as their all-sufficient Savior
and enjoy the salvation He sovereignly secured for all who trust Him
alone. Needless to say, we have received thousands of letters, e-mails
and phone calls from disgruntled, irate, annoyed, threatening or
confused Catholics who tell us we are Catholic bashers and do not know
anything about their religion. Some are zealous for God, but without
biblical knowledge. Others have an unbending loyalty to the Pope and
his teachings. We recently received a letter which covers many issues
that are usually brought forth when Catholics are confronted with the
biblical Gospel. Following is the letter and my response.
Dear Mr. Gendron,
I hope you can open
your heart enough to truly hear what I’m about to tell you. First,
you were not a "hard-core" Catholic. You are like a lot of people
who were raised Catholic, who really did not know or understand
their faith. I was like you at one time. I was raised Catholic, but
did not practice my faith for years. But thanks to the grace of God,
the Holy Spirit, and my devout wife, I rediscovered my Catholic
faith as an adult. I love my faith and its glorious tradition handed
down from Peter and Paul and the Apostles.
Regarding your belief
in the Bible alone, who do you believe compiled the Bible? Before
the Protestant Reformation, Catholics wrote the only Bibles in
existence. The King James Bible and all Protestant Bibles are based
on the Catholic Bible, but many words were changed to justify
Protestant beliefs. You see, Catholicism was the only game in town
for over a thousand years until the Eastern Orthodox Church split
with Rome and the Protestant Reformation further splintered
Christians. The doctrines of Catholic faith have not significantly
changed in 2000 years! Yet Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:2 those
who "hold fast to traditions that you were taught, either by an oral
statement or by a letter". In 2 Thessalonians 3:6 Paul says "Shun
any brother who conducts himself not according to tradition they
received from us." The Gospel of John 21:25 states that not
everything Jesus said was recorded in scripture.
Does being born-again
mean that it is open season on Catholics? Is Catholic bashing a
requirement for being born-again? Why the constant attacks on
Catholicism, an attack on those who receive Christ in the Eucharist
on a weekly, or in my case, a daily basis? Do you really believe
that if you’re Catholic you’re going to hell? When it was written
that early Christians needed to be "born-again", the target audience
was those who were not already baptized. Taken in that context, the
need to be born-again does not apply to Catholics since Catholics
have already been baptized, and are thus reborn.
A Devout Catholic
like to address each one of your points. First, the Catholic Church
was not even around to compile the Hebrews Scriptures. The Old
Testament was closed 400 years before Christ’s life, death and
resurrection. Furthermore, it was the apostles and the eyewitnesses to
the events of Christ’s first coming who wrote the New Testament, not
Catholics. The Roman Catholic Church did not exist in the first
century. It can not be the one true church founded by Christ because
it does not profess the faith of the apostles. Its teachings and
traditions prove, beyond a doubt, that it has departed from the
warned the early church to contend for the faith against apostates. In
verse 4 of his epistle, he wrote, "For certain men whose condemnation
was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They
are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for
immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord." Jude
identifies the apostates by certain characteristics that resemble the
Roman Catholic Church. Catholics deny Jesus as the only sovereign and
Lord by supplanting His authority with an authority of their own. They
have turned the grace of God into a commodity that can be bought,
bartered or merited through indulgences and sacraments. They have
perverted the Gospel of grace into a gospel of faith plus works. They
have denied the supremacy and sovereignty of Christ and given His
divine attributes and titles to Mary and the Pope. They have denied
the sufficiency of the word and work of Christ. These are just some of
the characteristics that would convict the Catholic Church of being
apostate not apostolic.
Roman Catholic Church declares itself to be the church that Jesus
started 2000 years ago. It further pronounces that the church never
changes its dogmatic teachings. With this in mind we, once again, can
examine the teachings of the Catholic Church today and prove they do
not resemble the first century church. Nowhere in the New Testament do
Priests offering sacrifices for sins
Indulgences remitting punishment for
Prayers for souls in purgatory
Church leaders forbidden to marry
Salvation dispensed through
Rosaries, scapulars, holy water,
crucifixes & statues
"the King James Bible and all Protestant Bibles are based on the
Catholic Bible, but many words were changed to justify Protestant
beliefs." You are incorrect. The King James Bible was translated from
the original languages of Scripture (Hebrew and Greek) while the first
Roman Catholic Bible, known as the Douay-Rheims Bible was translated
from Latin in the 16th
century. Needless to say, a translation from the original languages
would be much more accurate than a translation from a translation.
Furthermore, it is not the King James Bible that departed from the
original canon but the Roman Catholic Bible. In 1546 the Council of
Trent added the Apocryphal books to the canon in an attempt to justify
the doctrine of Purgatory. Jerome rejected them when he was
translating the Bible into Latin in 450 because they were never part
of the Hebrew canon. The texts include Judith, the Wisdom of Solomon,
Tobit, Sirach, Baruch, Maccabees I & II, Esdras I & II, additions to
the Book of Esther, the Book of Daniel, and the Prayer of Manasseh.
considered the references to tradition in the New Testament appear
mostly as warnings against using them to nullify the word of God or to
hold people captive (Mark 7:7-13; Col. 2:8-9). Only three times is
tradition used in a positive sense. The few references you cited are
exhortation for Christians to follow apostolic traditions.
Please note the tense. Each reference is given in the past tense, i.e.
the tradition which you were taught, (2 Thes. 2:15); which you have
heard (2 Tim. 2:2); and, as I [Paul] delivered them to you (1 Cor.
11:2) Man’s tradition, which crept into the church after the apostles,
is what we are to earnestly contend against (Jude 3). Followers of
Jesus Christ are exhorted to earnestly contend for the faith which was
delivered to the saints at the time the last apostle went to glory.
"The faith" is made up of the Word of God and the traditions which
"were taught" by the apostles. We must contend against other
traditions because religious leaders and institutions can become
corrupt (Mat. 23). The only assurance to genuine faith is from the
objective, infallible Word of God (John 17:17).
noted that the Gospel of John 21:25 states that not everything Jesus
said was recorded in scripture. Do you know why John included
what he did in his Gospel? He tells us. "These [things] have been
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 20:30-31).
Have you believed what John wrote? Unfortunately many Roman Catholics
would have been indoctrinated to trust their clergy rather than what
is written in the divinely inspired Scriptures. Consider what John has
written about the Lord Jesus Christ:
He saves sinners from condemnation
(John 3:18, 5:24).
He came to give life to those who
are spiritually dead in sin (John 14:6).
He showed the world the only way to
the Father because sinners are lost (John 14:6).
He is the personification of truth.
To avoid deception we must trust Him (John 14:6).
He testifies to the truth. Those who
seek the truth listen to Him (John 18:37).
also answers your questions on being born-again. He wrote: "But as
many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of
God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of
God" (John 1:12-13). Please note that those who are born-again
"believe in His name." Is it possible for a 7-day old infant to
believe or have faith in anything? Please also note that those who are
born-again are born of God not of any human initiative. You can not be
born-again because you were born into a Christian family, or because
of self-will or because of your parents’ decision to baptize you. It
is God who calls and draws those He has chosen (Eph. 1:4; John 6:44;
Rom. 8:30). The Bible teaches that anyone (Catholic or non-Catholic)
who has not been born-again will not enter the kingdom of God, but
instead suffer everlasting torment in the eternal lake of fire.
I do not
know why Catholics so often refer to us as Catholic bashers. If we
really wanted to bash Catholics we would ignore them and let them
march proudly towards an eternity without Christ. It is our love for
Catholics and for our Lord that motivates us to be faithful to the
great commission. It is our compassion for Catholics that persuades us
to proclaim that Jesus Christ is sufficient to save sinners completely
and forever, a doctrine that most Catholics deny. And finally it is
our desire to exalt our Lord by exposing any teaching or tradition
that robs Him of the glory, honor and praise that He alone deserves.
It is my prayer that you will come to Jesus with empty hands of faith,
bringing nothing but your sins to the cross! Only then will you know
the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.