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Ask a Protestant today what is the biggest threat to orthodox Christianity today, and he might mention nominalism, the sexual revolution, or old fashioned liberalism. But if you would have asked a Protestant the same question a hundred years ago, he would have almost certainly mentioned the Roman Catholic Church. Until fairly recently—we are only talking about a few generations—Protestant and Catholics in this country were, if not enemies, then certainly players on opposing teams.

Today, much of that animosity has melted away. And to a large extent, the thaw between Protestants and Catholics has been a good thing. Protestants and Catholics have found themselves to be co-belligerents in the culture war, defending the unborn, upholding traditional marriage, and combating moral relativism and secular humanism. And in an age which discounts doctrine, evangelical Protestants often share more in common theologically with a devout Roman Catholic steeped in historic orthodoxy than they do with liberal members of their own denominations. I personally have benefited from Catholic authors like G.K. Chesterton, Richard John Neuhaus, and Robert George. I have respected the Catholic Church for taking principled, unpopular stands on moral issues.

And yet, the theological gulf between Protestants and Catholics is still wide and in places very deep. If we care about the doctrines that were most precious to the Reformers we must not dare to assert that the “Reformation is over,” as if all the theological hills have been laid low and all the dogmatic valleys made into a plain.

Below are a number of points which still separate Catholics and Protestants. No doubt, many Roman Catholics don’t actually believe (or even know) what Catholic theology states. I am not claiming to know definitely what Catholics think and practice in all these areas. But by seeking to understand official church documents we can get a good idea of what Catholics are supposed to believe. And what they should believe include a number of points sola Scriptura Protestants cannot affirm.

The Church
Since Vatican II, the Catholic Church has softened its stance toward Protestants, calling them “estranged brothers.” Nevertheless, to be a part of the church in its fullness one must be immersed in the Roman Catholic system of sacraments, orders, and under the authority of the Pope. “Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who…are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules here through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops.” Further, the Pope is considered infallible when he speaks ex cathedra (from the chair); that is, when he makes official doctrinal pronouncements. The Catholic Church also has seven sacraments instead of two-Eucharist (or Lord’s Supper) and baptism like Protestants, and then penance, holy orders, marriage, confirmation, and last rites.

Catholics have a larger biblical canon. In addition to the 66 books in the Protestant Bible, Catholic Bibles include the Apocrypha, with books like Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccebees, Sirach, and Baruch. Catholic teaching also elevates Tradition more than Protestants do. Granted, many evangelicals suffer from ignoring tradition and the wisdom of the past. But Catholic theology goes beyond just respecting the past; it sacralizes it. “Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence,” states the Catechism. Likewise, the Magisterium has the authority to make definitive interpretations. “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living, teaching, office of the Church alone…to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.”

Lord’s Supper
Central to the Catholic faith is the Mass (their worship service). Central to the Mass is the celebration of the Eucharist. Catholics believe that bread and wine are transubstantiated into the actual, physical body and blood of Jesus Christ. The elements are offered as a sacrifice from the church and a sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s work on the cross. This is not simply a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice, but the same atoning work: “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice…the sacrifice [of the Eucharist] is truly propitiatory.”

Catholics teach that “justification is conferred in Baptism.” The waters of baptism wash away original sin and join us with Christ. Baptism is not merely a sign and seal of grace, but actually confers saving grace.

Mary is not only the Mother of Christ, but the Mother of the Church. She was conceived without original sin (the immaculate conception) and at the end of her earthly life “was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things” (assumption). She intercedes for the church, “continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation,” and is “a mother to us in the order of grace.” Mary was more than just the faith-filled mother of Jesus: “The Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.”

Those who die in God’s grace, but still imperfectly purified, are assured of eternal life, but must first undergo purification in purgatory. Because of the presence of this intermediate state, the Catholic Church has developed the practice of prayer for the dead. “The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.” Concerning the salvation of those who do not hear the gospel, the Catholic Catechism states “Those 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.”

It is not really fair to say “Catholics teach that you can earn your salvation.” That may be what many Catholics believe, but the official teaching of Rome is more nuanced, but still troubling. The Catechism summarizes: “Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.”

Catholic teaching rejects the Protestant understanding of imputed righteousness. The question is this: is the righteousness whereby we are forgiven and made right with God a righteousness working in us or a righteousness reckoned to our account? Catholics say the former, Protestants the latter. The difference is between infused and imputed righteousness-infused righteousness is like having $100 in cold hard cash in your actual possession, imputed righteousness is like having $100 wired to your account. According to Catholic teaching, justification is more than God’s declaration of our righteousness based on Christ’s work, it is also a renewal of the inner man and reconciliation with God. Of course, these are good things too, but Catholics make them present in and through justification, rather than by faith alone. The Council of Trent, from the 16th century Catholic counter-reformation, declares: “If anyone says, 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 grace and charity that 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 favor of God: let him be anathema.”

Should Catholics and Protestants treat each other decently and with respect? Of course. Will we labor side by side on important moral and social matters? Quite often. Can we find born again Christians worshiping in Catholic churches? No doubt. Are there still critical doctrinal issues which rightly divide Protestants and Catholics? Absolutely. We do neither side any favors by pretending otherwise.

Sanctify us by your truth, O Lord; your word is truth.

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32 thoughts on “Is the Reformation Over?”

  1. a. says:

    ever continuing ‘reformation’ prayer’…
    that heart-eyes be ever enlightened, by faith of the chosen of God-those purchased from among men by Jesus; unto knowledge of the truth from God who cannot lie; about every spiritual blessing and the riches of His inheritance through the anointing to know the truth and that no lie is of the truth…

    the truth of our great Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ…our only mediator of the of the better covenant; our only merciful and faithful high priest who made propitiation for the sins of the people for Jesus said, “Behold, Father, I have come to do Your will, and by this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. By one offering, He has perfected for all time, those who are sanctified. Christ entered the holy place once for all, through His own blood, through the eternal Spirit, offering Himself without blemish to God, obtaining eternal redemption and cleansing our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
    Jesus said “ But My righteous one shall live by faith”; so, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful Hebrews 9-10 verses

  2. Well thought out work here!

  3. JohnM says:

    Thanks for laying out the differences. Most of these are reasons why, with such due respect as is warranted, I am not/will not be a Roman Catholic.

    However, if we consider justification to be something separate from “renewal of the inner man and reconciliation with God” we should also emphasize that justification does not occur without renewal and reconciliation also happening. The alternative to renewal is the same old person, and the alternative to reconciliation is continuing alienation from God, neither of which describe the justified person.

  4. Phillip says:

    Kevin, it would appear that with your article we have March, 1994 all over again; The document, Evangelical’s and Catholics Together. It should be read over again for clarification that the Roman Catholic Church is an apostate church. Have condemned “sola Fide,” and “justification by faith alone.”. The declared “common faith” of Evangelicals and Catholics is built on sand. I am old enough to remember the Saturday morning radio program, Let’s Pretend. Is orthodoxy doing so?

  5. Colin says:

    “No doubt, many Roman Catholics don’t actually believe (or even know) what Catholic theology states.”

    Stay classy, Kevin. A RC could say the same for any number of Protestant denominations.

  6. Excellent, explanatory, and gracious. Thank you.

  7. There is absolutely an unfinished reformation. We need to understand the biblical gospel about the coming kingdom to this earth, that the empowering presence of God’s Spirit is still available to every believer today, that immortality is conditional (there is no immortal soul), and the fact that there is only one person who is God and this is Yahweh, the Father of the genuine, now glorified man Jesus Christ.

  8. Brent says:

    Chuck, way to go throwing out the clear teachings of Scipture for your watchtower theology. Jesus is YHWH in the flesh, the God of Glory. Jesus clearly taught that there is eternal life and eternal death. Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the truth of Scripture, just like Catholics. You may want to read John 1, Colossians 1, Philippians 2, and John 6-8 once again in the orginal greek, not your watchtower mistranslation.

  9. Joe Edwards says:

    as a lifelong evangelical who is not protesting anymore, I would come and any thoughtful reader to a multi CD set entitled What Still Divides Us? this is a high-powered Catholic and Protestant debate on solo scriptura and the doctrine of justification and salvation. This was held that an unknown large Evangelical Protestant church in Southern California attended by close to 1600 people most of whom were cheering for the Protestants. the discussion here will provide significant insight into the doctrines of the historic Catholic Church and are only part of the reason why we have become Catholic. I choose to focus on what unites us in our common love for the Lord Jesus Christ. the Catholic team includes Patrick Madrid, Dr William marschner and Bob Sungenis.

    it is a rather lengthy debate and is unfortunately not available on YouTube as far as we can see. the Protestants include Dr Robert Godfrey, president of Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido California. Dr Rod Rosenbladt Lutheran professor of theology and Scripture and apologetics at Cordia University. And dr. Michael Horton, reformed Episcopalian author and host of the White Horse in radio show. blessings

  10. Well done, Kevin! Your careful distinctions are refreshing to read. Thank you.

  11. Gary Maske says:

    Kevin, I will confine my comments to three of the issues you raised.

    First, the Roman Catholic statement “justification is conferred in baptism” is a false gospel against which Paul pronounced anathema, Galatians 1. It is not simply a heresy but a damnable heresy. It is “another gospel: which is not another.” Justification is conferred by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Sola fide. Remember, this is why the Catholics and Protestants originally divided, and nothing has changed. It makes no difference how Catholics qualify their statement. The statement on its face admits no qualification. Let us not mince words here. Let us not dissemble. Let us not try to “find a grain of truth” in a patently false teaching. The gospel is very straightforward. All believers are supposed to preach it, not just evangelists. Paul was very, very clear about what the gospel was, and he made a very clear pronouncement against those who would falsify it. Millions of professing Christians–both Protestant and Catholic–subscribe to the idea “go to church, get your baby baptized, and you’re good to go.” And why not? “Justification is conferred in baptism!”

    Second, the statement “the sacrifice of the Eucharist is propitiatory” is again, not just heresy, but damnable heresy in that it involves the work and Person of Jesus Christ. It is adding to the finished work of Christ. The Lord’s supper is a remembrance, according to the Institutor’s own words. Neither do the elements change into Christ’s body and blood. This doctrine is an egregious corruption of our Lord’s teaching in John 6:53ff. The Catholics have taken the Lord’s teaching that a real identification with Him such that one drinks His blood and eats His flesh, spiritually speaking, is necessary, otherwise “ye have no life in you,” i.e., you are dead in your sins, and they have formalized it such that the average Catholic believes that “going to church” and thereby “participating in the Eucharist” is propitiatory! Heresy is false doctrine that may be held, erroneously, by true believers in Jesus Christ. Damnable heresies, by contrast, are another matter entirely. “The sacrifice of the Eucharist is propitiatory” is damnable heresy, and we have on record in the New Testament the distinction between “heresy” and “damnable heresy,” cf. Titus 3:10 and II Pet. 2:1. (By the way, when Christians, and unbelievers, associate heresy with burning at the stake, as is so often the case, this is not due to the teaching in the New Testament but to the historical record of churches–both Catholic and, to a far lesser extent, Protestant–who burned heretics. The apostles never did this or taught this. Therefore let us recover teaching regarding heresy and damnable heresy as, not the province of Inquisitors or Crusaders, but as a right judgment of spiritually-discerning Christians who are to “prove all things,” and to “judge righteous judgment.”)

    No doubt many Catholics, some of whom are saved, do not subscribe to their church’s stated positions. The same is true of Protestants with their articles of faith. But we are speaking here of what these groups profess, not what they practice. When Christians make ecumenical alliances they are identifying themselves as tacitly approving of the official positions of these denominations. Do we really want to be identified, rightly or wrongly, as tacitly sanctioning the idea “justification is conferred in baptism,” or “the sacrifice of the Eucharist is propitiatory?” If someone wrongly identifies me with sanctioning these ideas due to my participation in an ecumenical alliance, he is nevertheless justified in doing so, and in doing so I may be contributing to his spiritual confusion.

    Third, the question of whether we should associate with one another on moral and social issues is misleading because it fails to distinguish between 1) associations of Christians from among the various denominations, and 2) associations of Christians as sectarian representatives. The first is taught in the NT, i.e., we are to endeavor to preserve the unity of the church. I readily welcome fellowship with Christians from whatever denomination. (The question of assembling with them in their churches is distinctly different from the question of associating with them outside of the churches.) But why should I not separate from those representing themselves, not as Christians, but as members of a denomination on record as preaching a false gospel? I will associate with them as Christian brethren but not as “Catholics,” the latter which is unavoidable in “ecumenical activities” pertaining to moral and social matters. This is not a matter of semantics. The question is, are these people looking for fellowship on the basis of their Christianity, or on the basis of their sectarian, “denominational,” distinctives, or, worse, on a denial of the significance of our differences, which includes a difference over what the gospel is? For example, I will readily participate with Catholics in pro-life activities not affiliated with any church; I am not willing to participate in pro-life activities associated with a Catholic church. If I were to do the latter, social and moral concerns might triumph, but it would be at the expense of spiritual concerns, which are not temporal but eternal. Our first duty is to preach the gospel, and social and moral concerns can never take precedence. There is room for both endeavors, but when they collide the gospel takes precedence.

  12. Ryan says:

    I think one could argue that it is over, as in my opinion the RCC is the church today that most closely resembles that which was laid out in Luther’s 95 Theses.

    As for the rest of it – most of the teachings presented here are taught in many Protestant churches as well. Frankly it seems as though the “Reformation” being outlined here is not contra certain Catholic teachings, as the Reformers were, but rather contra everything that isn’t Neo-Reformed Evangelicalism.

    When we’ve redefined “Reformation” to mean something Luther himself wouldn’t be welcome in, then perhaps it’s time for us to say that yes, the Reformation is in fact over.

  13. Cody says:

    “As for the rest of it – most of the teachings presented here are taught in many Protestant churches as well. Frankly it seems as though the “Reformation” being outlined here is not contra certain Catholic teachings, as the Reformers were, but rather contra everything that isn’t Neo-Reformed Evangelicalism.”

    Would you care to expound upon that?

  14. Jim says:

    Lutherans, uberProtestants that they are, nonetheless reject that baptism is “merely a sign and seal of grace,” and reject that the Supper is “simply a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice.”

  15. Arnold says:

    I would like to add that the author is wrong to place the practice of prayers for the dead after development of the doctrine of Purgatory. It is a fact the early Christians also prayed for the dead. This is a practice that has existed for almost 2000 years in both the western and eastern churches. Only Protestants have rejected it and not all of them either. Today is the Feast of All Souls and we prayed for our dearly departed relatives and friends. This tie to them is part of what is meant by the communion of saints.

  16. JimmyV says:

    An excellent article showing the (sadly) divisions btw the universal Church (RC and Eastern Orthodox) and the numerous Protestant churches with their various doctrines. Still, we should begin each discussion with the petition our Lord made – that they be one as the Father and Son are one.

    Unfortunately, the main principle of the Reformation – a reaction against a united spiritual authority – and is not a particular movement but a general one. Thus, it has been an especially difficult heresy for the Church to correct.

    Just to point out one obvious error with the Reformation. Marriage is not a sacrament, but a state-civic institution. This of course, has led to many problems not confronting this holy sacrament btw a man and a women; including divorce, remarriage, contraception, abortion, broken families, and now, the state claiming authority over the definition of marriage itself!

    Also, the Reformation needs to get back to its historical roots. It did not start out to destroy Catholicism or to erect another united counter-relgion. It was seen as a debate within Christendom on which some kind of ultimate decision would be taken for all.

  17. JimmyV says:

    This of course, has led to many problems now confronting this holy sacrament btw a man and a women;

  18. David Naas says:

    Absolutely hilarious. The pomposity of commentary , that is.
    I have some very good Mormon friends. According to them, the arguments their church uses against Protestants are much the same as the ones you use against Catholics. And you all wonder why the unchurched millions want nothing to do with a collection of hatemongering bickerers. (Forget the “social issues”, the theological mud-slinging is sufficient to make atheists of anyone. And as for the self-congratulatory arrogance…)
    I am rather glad the things I believe do not depend on Pharisaical snobbery. Am I pharisaical myself for my dislike of them? Possibly. But I just do not like bullies of any coloration.

  19. Bob in Maryland says:

    As a Catholic reading your article, I appreciate the even-handed and non-judgmental way you presented the doctrinal differences between Catholics and Protestants. (By the way, I must be a good Catholic, since I agreed with every one of what you listed as Catholic beliefs.) And as JohnM writes above, “Most of these reasons are why I am not/will not be a [Protestant].” Interesting that every one of your descriptions of Catholic dogma are things that the Early Church Fathers would not only have agreed with, but actually wrote about in practically those very words.

    Are you or any of your commenters here aware of the text of the earliest Christian prayer (other than those we find in the New Testament itself) to which we still have the original words? Here it is:

    “We fly to your patronage, O Holy Mother of God. Despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.”

    Dates to the 3rd Century (and possibly even to the 2nd). Sounds kinda Catholic, doesn’t it?

  20. JM says:

    Since Jesus Christ specifically and unambiguously answered the question, “What good thing shall I do to have eternal life,” I think it is best to believe His answer and to do what He commands, unless a person wants to hear that he is not approved to enter into eternal life when he dies.

    Matthew 19:16-17 “Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” NKJV

    Jesus does indeed first give to every person the choice to become reconciled with God as His gift to them. But, faith alone, without good works (obedience to God’s commandments) will not guarantee any person eternal life.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” NKJV

    So, in order to be approved by Jesus to inherit eternal life at the time of his physical death, he must still be reconciled to Him through obedience to His Father’s will, which means that he has been obedient to His commandments.

    Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” NKJV

    These preceding three verses (Ephesians 2:8-10) cannot be separated. Faith working through love (good works) is what continues to save us after our initial gift of reconciliation with God. Faith working through love of God and neighbor is what continues to justify/save us until we are approved to enter into eternal life at the time of our death.

    Galatians 5:6 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” NKJV

    James 1:21-22 “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” NKJV

    James 2:24 “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” NKJV

    Matthew 7:21-23 “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he 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 evildoers.’” RSV

    A person will lose his eternal salvation if he dies with unrepented mortal sin on his soul. (1 John 5:16-17 RSV) Mortal sin separates us from God’s Holy Spirit of Grace. The Holy Spirit’s abiding presence (Sanctifying Grace) within us at the time of our deaths is our only guarantee of eternal life. If the Holy Spirit is not present in our souls at the time of our deaths, we will not be approved to enter into eternal life with God.

    The Holy Spirit is no longer abiding in an evil-doing person’s soul at the time of his death because his mortal sin had caused Him to leave his soul when he committed the mortal sin. (Galatians 5:19-21 NRSV)

    Because he did not repent of his mortal sin, the Holy Spirit did not return to live in his soul and so his salvation was no longer guaranteed by His abiding presence.

    And so this evil-doing person will therefore not be approved to enter into eternal life even though he was once saved by God’s grace at an earlier time in his life. This once-saved, but now evil-doing person had earlier prophesied in Jesus’ name, he had earlier cast out demons in Jesus’ name, and he had earlier done good works in Jesus’ name, but all his earlier good works were done in vain because his later unrepented sins condemned him to hell. (Ezekiel 18:24)

  21. Raul Alessandri says:

    Mary provided the egg for the incarnation of the Son of God. As a consequence, she is closely affiliated with the Mystical Body of Christ, the “neck” joining the Head and the body of the Mystical Body and this Mystical Body is the “ONE, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic” one. Concerning the “symbolism” of the Eucharist, how can one understand statements like “I am the bread of life”, “I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you”, and “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed”. The Son of God, who became Incarnate, can also undergo ‘Panification’. The summary of this article is that the essence of the Protestant Reformation is Anticatholicism.

  22. Bob in Maryland says:

    Chuck LaMattina’s comment (near the top of this thread) is Exhibit A demonstrating a fatal flaw behind the doctrine sola scriptura. Without a clearly recognized final interpretive authority (a “Supreme Court” as it were for doctrine), no one has any basis for declaring Chuck’s nonsense to be what it is – nonsense. After all, according to the logic of sola scriptura, Chuck has the same right of personal interpretation as does any other reader of Scripture, and who’s to say which interpretation is correct? And for that reason, I thank God that He has not left us rudderless, but has left us with the Magisterium, which Christ Himself promised would be led by the Holy Spirit into all truth. (“I will not leave you orphans”, He said.)

  23. Ron says:

    I protest! When did the protestant Church fall asleep and stop protesting. The doctrines that divide us all relate either directly or indirectly with the gospel. Protestants and Roman Catholics teach different gospels, that is why as Charles Spurgeon said, “No peace with Rome”. I pray that you will stop reading books written by enemies (G.K. Chesterton, Richard John Neuhaus, and Robert George) of Christ and His gospel and pick up a Bible.

    Your article will get a lot of positive feedback from both sides but not from true believers of the gospel.
    Gal 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

  24. Bob in Maryland says:

    “Protestants and Roman Catholics teach different gospels”

    Ron, you really need to drop by a Catholic church during Mass. You’ll hear the exact same Gospel preached as at any Protestant church. Or read some Chesterton, or James Martin, Dorothy Day, or Pope Benedict XVI (try his three-volume “Jesus of Nazareth” for starters). Once again, same Gospel.

  25. JM says:

    For Gary Maske:


    John 3:5 “Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” NRSV

    Baptism washes away our sins. Therefore Baptism sanctifies and justifies/saves us.

    Mark 16:16 “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.”

    Acts 22:16 “And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.”

    1 Corinthians 6:11 “And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

    Jesus Christ is present physically in our time period through the Eucharist (His body and blood) made present again in every Mass. Jesus’ sacrifice is a perpetual sacrifice which was done once for all time and when It is re-presented to His Father by the priests through Jesus Christ the High Priest in every Mass, It continues to make reparation to God for the daily sins of the world. Jesus Christ is not sacrificed again. His one-time perfect sacrifice is re-presented to His Father for the remission of the punishment for our on-going personal sins.
    1 Corinthians 11:23-25 “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.”

    At the consecration of the bread and wine which was commanded of His priests/apostles by Jesus our High Priest; this bread and wine is changed miraculously by the Holy Spirit into Jesus’ literal flesh and blood which, after consecration, still looks and tastes like ordinary bread and wine, but is not.

    John 6:53
    So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

    Please note that Jesus does not say, “unless you eat the bread that will hereafter symbolize my flesh and drink the wine that will hereafter symbolize my blood…..”

    Also, in the Scripture you referenced in the gospel of John, you will see that many of His Jewish disciples stopped being Jesus’ disciples when they found out that they would have to literally eat Jesus’ real flesh and blood. This command was abhorrent to them and that is why they stopped being Jesus’ followers. Jesus did not call them back and say, “Oh, don’t go, you misunderstood me. I meant this to be only symbolic.” Instead, He sadly watched them depart from Him, never to return.

    Since Catholics believe what Jesus taught, they are not heretics. There are no such doctrines as “faith alone” and “once saved, always saved” or “Scripture alone” in the gospel of Jesus Christ.


    Jesus Christ specifically and unambiguously answered the question, “What good thing shall I do to have eternal life,” I think it is best to believe His answer and to do what He commands, unless a person wants to hear that he is not approved to enter into eternal life when he dies.

    Matthew 19:16-17 “Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” NKJV

    Obeying God’s commandments is what one must do in order to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” as Paul commands us to do in Jesus’ name.

    Philippians 2:12 “Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;”


    Unless a person is still saved at the time of his death, he will not inherit eternal life. Paul warns:

    1 Timothy 4:16 “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

    Notice that Timothy was obviously already saved at the time of this letter yet he was warned to continue in the faith through obedience so that he could continue to remain saved.

    Adam’s sin caused the spiritual alienation of all mankind from God and his sin made it impossible for any person to enter into eternal life with God after he died. Jesus’ sacrifice made it possible for all mankind (those who died before His sacrifice and those who died after His sacrifice) to become spiritually reconciled to His Father. Those who were and are living on earth after His sacrifice now access this reconciliation with God through water baptism.

    When we are reconciled to His Father through water baptism we become His disciples and the Holy Spirit moves into our souls/hearts/minds and lives within us and it is His presence within us (His Sanctifying Grace) which continues to save us. If the Holy Spirit is still present within us when we die, we will be approved to enter into eternal life with God.

    If we return to sin after baptism, we once again alienate ourselves from God and unless we repent again before death, we will not be approved to enter into eternal life and Jesus tells us this in:

    Matthew 7:21-23 “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he 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 evildoers.’” RSV.

    Hebrews 10:26-27 “ For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” NRSV

    Revelation 2:10 “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

    Luke 8:13 “The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away.”


    Jesus established a church hierarchy of apostles/bishops/priests and commanded them to make disciples for Him by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He commanded them to teach these new disciples to obey all that He commanded so that they could inherit eternal life when they died. (Matthew 28:18-20)

    Jesus never told the apostles to write everything in a book so that people could then decide for themselves what His gospel teaches instead of listening to the apostles and their successors who He authorized to speak for Him after He ascended into heaven. (Acts 1:26, 2 Timothy 2:1-3, Luke 10:16)

    2 Thessalonians 2:15 “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.”

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

    We are commanded to obey the oral traditions and the written traditions of the church.

    Catholic teaching is not heretical.

    Best wishes. :)

  26. Ron says:

    America was warned !

    The man who wrote the preface to the 1833 edition of John Fox’s Book of Martyrs gave a grim warning to America that we did not heed. Here is his warning.

    To the American people, within a short period, the attention of the Pope of Rome has been directed to North America, and systematic efforts are now making, under his immediate patronage, and at his expense, to introduce and establish this corrupt system, in various parts of our land. Already, Catholic Churches are being erected; Catholic priests and emissaries are arriving by scores; publications, designed to eulogize and recommend the system are circulating abroad. The question presents itself to the American people: “Shall this system find encouragement in the land of the pilgrims?” Such a root of bitterness, we wish not to see planted here. Yet, while friends of truth should not be needlessly alarmed, neither should they sleep. A holy vigilance should guard well the approaches of an enemy, whose triumphs here would be the ruin of that fair fabric which cost our fathers so much toil to erect. What friend of Zion does not tremble at only the possibility that papal darkness and papal thraldom may overspread even a portion of our country.

  27. Simon says:

    Christian (small “o”) orthodoxy is clearly subjective here. For Protestants, the RCC is a threat to orthodoxy as the articles suggests. For the RCC it would no doubt be Protestantism. This begs the question, what are the definitive ways one can determine Christian orthodoxy? For the Church it has always been the dogmas determined by the Ecumenical Councils, the liturgy of the Church and the Canons of the Church. Orthodoxy must be defined in this way. So we can measure the extent of orthodoxy by reference to whether the creeds and councils are subscribed to or not. We know that the first 7 Ecumenical Councils are held in common by Catholics and Orthodox. Protestants, however, do not hold to all these Councils. For example, they explicitly reject the 7th Ecumenical Council. Furthermore, they do no like some aspects of Councils that they generally subscribe to. For example, Protestants will implicitly and sometimes explicitly reject the title given to St Mary- the Theotokos, the Mother of God, despite generally agreeing with the Christology in the 3rd Council. So here we see that that the Church has given us a standard or canon for Christian orthodoxy. Furthermore, we see that Protestants do not adhere to all of these canons. So for Protestants to raise the question of Christian orthodoxy is truly unusual. Rather they use the Scriptures apart from the Church as their rule for orthodoxy. This is not right. The Scriptures as taught by the Fathers are authoritative. The Scriptures alone are not authoritative as evidenced by the current state of the Protestant world. So lets be clear what we mean by orhodoxy – even mere orthodoxy. Protestantism is barely orthodox by historical Church standards. Christ’s Church is the pillar and the ground of truth. As NT Wright has said, “Jesus said all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. He didn’t say all authority will be given to the books you chaps are about to write!”

  28. Catholic friend says:

    St. Irenaeus wrote this in 189 AD
    In the Church God has placed apostles, prophets, teachers, and every other working of the Spirit, of whom none of those are sharers who do not conform to the Church, but who defraud themselves of life by an evil mind and even worse way of acting. Where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and all grace.

    [The spiritual man] shall also judge those who give rise to schisms, who are destitute of the love of God, and who look to their own special advantage rather than to the unity of the Church; and who for trifling reasons, or any kind of reason which occurs to them, cut in pieces and divide the great and glorious body of Christ, and so far as in them lies, destroy it […] For they can bring about no ‘reformation’ of enough importance to compensate for the evil arising from their schism. . . . True knowledge is that which consists in the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place.
    St Augustine wrote this
    “I would not believe in the gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.” (Against the Letter of Mani called ‘The Foundation’5:6
    Pray for Christian unity

  29. Ron says:

    Isa 2:22

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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