Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tim Staples' Straw-Man

Last February pop Roman Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid hosted fellow apologist, Tim Staples', short article here.

The article boasts:

"A bedrock Protestant argument against the Papacy gets reduced to rubble."

To the mainline Protestant who argues against Romanism, this statement is nothing short of a lie. "Bedrock argument" hardly describes the "petros/petra" line some Protestants like to use against the Roman Catholic Papacy. In fact, I would go so far as to say this argument doesn't make the list for many Protestant defenders, since there are a great number of Protestant theologians who readily and happily admit that "Peter" in the Koine Greek means "rock". The folks that I have seen promulgate the "petros/petra" argument are usually the Jack Chicks or KJV Onlyists, a group that does not at all represent the standards of Protestantism, whether in doctrine, action, or apologetic argument.

So right before we even delve into the article itself, the headline gives us reason to pause and consider its grossly exaggerated lie.

You participate in an employee Bible study every day on your lunch hour. This particular Monday, Fred, a new employee, is introduced to the group. He announces he's a former Catholic and is also a part-time minister at a nondenominational “Bible church” in a nearby town.

As you begin, Fred opens his Bible and begins to “explain” why the papacy is “unbiblical.” The other Catholics in the room look to you expectantly. They know you've been attending a Catholic apologetics training course at your parish, and as you look around, you realize you're the only one in the room who is ready to respond.

You take a deep breath and interrupt. “Fred, what exactly is your main objection to the Catholic teaching on the papacy?”

Fred's response is as blunt as it is sincere. “It's unbiblical.”

You grin to hide your nervousness. “Actually, it is biblical, and if you turn to...”

“No, it's not.”

“Yes, it is.”

Right away the reader is implicitly told through this very unrealistic dialogue that Fred the Protestant is simply a sincere idiot who immediately cuts into the Catholic's explanation, nearly transforming the discussion into a "No it isn't," "Yes it is" ad nauseam. Had this article been aimed towards Jack Chick disciples or King James Onlyists, I could see some reality in this scenario. But, since this article boasts that it will crush a "bedrock Protestant" argument, the scene is in complete misrepresentation. Had Mr. Staples truly intended to offer a substantial realistic Protestant viewpoint for Fred, he would not have had Fred bluntly interrupt the Catholic's response to the subject being biblical. Any Protestant would welcome such interaction from Roman Catholics, especially when focused on specific scriptural passages Catholics wish us to believe describe or prefigure the Papacy.

What Staples has presented thus far is a very Roman Catholic misinterpretation of a Protestant's response to the argument. But it gets even more interesting...

Man, oh man, this is getting off to a great start, you think to yourself in exasperation as you open your Bible to Matthew 16:17-19 and read aloud: “And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' “

“That passage does not refer to Peter as the rock!” Fred emphatically declares. “Contrary to the erroneous Catholic interpretation, it refers to Christ as the rock. For 30 years, I believed that Peter was the rock, but then I found the original Greek proves he wasn't. There's a distinction between the two “rocks” in Greek. The text actually reads, 'You are petros,' which means small pebble, 'and on this petra,' which means massive boulder, 'I will build My Church.' The first rock is Peter, the second rock is Christ. See? Christ didn't build the Church on Peter, but on Himself.”

Fred's response is, in short, a straw-man. Protestants who steer clear from this unstable argument find no point at all in Staples' article. Instead of using the words Staples gives Fred, allow me to speak for Fred in a more realistic way after the Catholic's citation of the biblical passage,

"Actually, interesting you should start the passage from verse 17. If you don't mind I'd like to make sure the context of the passage is taken into consideration so please allow me to read from verse 13. I'll be reading from the ESV. '13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"' Now, sir, why do you suppose Christ asked this question?"

Catholic: Well, He's asking them whether the people believe in His divinity.

Fred: Right, and further, He's wanting to know what they themselves believe of His divinity, as He clearly gets to the point in verse 15, "Who do you say that I am". What happens next?

Catholic: Peter immediately answers. I'd like to stress that it is Peter who answers for all the apostles.

Fred: Noted, though that bears no indication that Peter is the supreme leader of the apostles, which is what you were implying by your statement, correct?

Catholic: Well, I do think that is significant...

Fred: Let's get back to that. Now, Peter answers first, right? Is this Peter's own words or divine revelation?

Catholic: Divine revelation, of course. Scripture makes that clear in verse 17, "flesh and blood have not revealed this to you."

Fred: Quite significant! Peter has just confessed Jesus to be the divine Messiah, the Son of God. Christ builds upon this by stating this was not some random thought on Peter's part, but a direct revelation from God the Father Himself. If we want to follow along in the context of the passage, take into consideration the grammatical structure of the Koine Greek, and compare the whole of the New Testament we cannot conclude that Peter alone is the "petra" Jesus is referring to.

Catholic: Oh? I'd like proof of this if you don't mind.

Fred: Certainly. Allow me to quote Reformed Baptist Dr. James White--

Catholic: Him! Oh I don't listen to him! He's so arrogant and his doctorate is uncredited, invalid.

Fred: Well, I could argue those points, but be that as it may let's suppose for the sake of argument that he is, as you claim, a nasty man without a valid doctorate. Does this invalidate his argument? If he's on par with us credential-wise then it should be perfectly easy to refute him and I'll simply be emberresed using him as a reference.

Catholic: Alright, fair enough. What's your quote?

Fred: Dr. White points out in Matthew 16:18:

As we simply translate the passage and attempt to ascertain the meaning, we note that Jesus begins with direct personal address to Peter. "And I say to you (soi)" is singular, addressed to Peter and to Peter alone. This is continued in the first part of the main statement, "You (su,) are (singular) Peter." This is known as direct address. Jesus is speaking in the first person, and Peter is in the second person, being directly addressed by the Lord. Up to this point, all is clear and understandable.
Then we run into the phrase at issue. kai. evpi. tau,th| th/| pe,tra is indeed singular; there is only one "rock" in view. The issue is, to what does tau,th| refer? As a pronoun, it has an antecedent, a referent that it is pointing back to. Rome insists the referent is Peter.* But if it is, why use a demonstrative pronoun at all? Jesus has used two personal pronouns of Peter already in this sentence, soi and su,. He could have easily said, "and upon you the rock," (evpi. se, or evpi. soi, th/| pe,tra). But again, He didn’t. Instead, he switches from direct address to the demonstrative "this." I have expressed this, in non-technical language, as going from second person, "you, Peter," to third person, "this rock." "This rock" is referring to something other than the person who was being addressed in the preceding phrase, something that we find in the immediate context. A natural reading of the passage (one that I truly believe would be nigh unto universal if history had not fallen out as it did, with only one "apostolic see" in the West, the continuance of the Empire in the East, etc.) makes it plain what must function as the antecedent of the demonstrative pronoun:
15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
The confession that Peter gives of the Messiahship of Jesus is the central thought of the entire passage. It is the reason for the trip to Caesarea Philippi. Jesus indicates that Peter has just been the recipient of divine revelation. God, in His grace, has given to Peter an insight that does not find its origin in the will of man, but in God the Father Himself. The content of that confession is, in fact, divine revelation, immediately impressed upon the soul of Peter. This is the immediate context of verse 18, and to divorce verse 18 from what came before leads to the errant shift of attention from the identity of Christ to the identity of Peter that is found in Roman Catholic exegesis. Certainly we cannot accept the idea, presented in Roman theology, that immediately upon pronouncing the benediction upon Peter’s confession of faith, the focus shifts away from that confession and what it reveals to Peter himself and some office with successors based upon him! Not only does the preceding context argue against this, but the following context likewise picks up seemlessly with what came before: the identity of Jesus as Messiah. Hence, the logical antecedent for tau,th| is Peter’s confession. Such not only commands the most logical grammatical sense, but it also commands the obvious teaching of the rest of the New Testament itself! While Peter falls out of view by Acts 15, the centrality of the Messiahship of Jesus continues in the forefront throughout the recorded history of the primitive Church.
Hence I have suggested that the shift from the direct address of Peter to the use of the demonstrative pronoun, pointing us back to something prior, specifically, the confession of faith, that will function as the foundation of the Church Christ promises to build, is significant and must be explained by the Roman apologist who seeks to present an interpretation that is to be binding upon all Christians.

So you see, sir, the issue at hand isn't as simple as you make it. Greek grammar is incredibly vital when discussing this sort of thing

Catholic: I, uh...yes, of course. But, well, there are other Protestants whom I respect as doctors who DO indeed say Peter was the rock!

Here, dear reader, is where we resume Staples' article as it leads into the Catholic gentleman's point in the dialogue...

“I understand your argument, but there are problems with it. Petros is simply the masculine form of the feminine Greek noun petra. Like Spanish and French, Greek nouns have gender. So when the female noun petra, large rock, was used as Simon's name, it was rendered in the masculine form as petros. Otherwise, calling him Petra would have been like calling him Michelle instead of Michael, or Louise instead of Louis.”

“Wrong.” Fred shakes his head. “Petros means a little rock, a pebble. Christ didn't build the Church on a pebble. He is the Rock, the petra, the big boulder the Church is built on.”

Of course, we do not confess this sort of straw-man defence, so there really is no point commenting on it.

You take a deep breath, calm your nerves a little, and continue. “Well, what would you say if I told you that even Protestant Greek scholars like D.A. Carson and Joseph Thayer admit there is no distinction in meaning between petros and petra in the Koine Greek of the New Testament? [Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996), 507; D.A. Carson, “Matthew,” in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor's Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984), vol. 8, 368.] As you pointed out, petra means a 'rock.' It even usually means a 'large rock.' And that's exactly what petros means, too — large rock. It does not mean 'pebble' or 'small stone,' as you've been told. The Greek word for 'pebble' or 'small stone' is lithos, not petros.

First, it is erroneous to call Joseph Thayer a "Protestant Greek scholar" since he was not Protestant at all, but Unitarian. Unitarianism is distinct from Christianity in that it denies the doctrine of the Trinity clearly taught in Scripture. Christ is regarded as supernatural, but certainly not God Himself in human flesh. For Mr. Staples to claim Thayer was Protestant is just as gross an error as saying Pope Benedict 16th is a five-point Calvinist. Be that as it may, despite Staples' error the Thayer Lexicon is definately a valuable tool to the biblical student. My own personal copy is an 1889 edition, and though quite valuable it is somewhat outdated. This is why most biblical students and scholars prefer the Bauer-Danker Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature over Thayer's.

Second, let's consider what Thayer actually said in his lexicon.

πέτρᾳ ...Mt. xvi. 18 [some interpp. regard the distinction (generally observed in classic Greek; see the Comm. and cf. Schmidt, Syn. ch 51, 4-6) between πέτρᾳ, the massive living rock, and πέτρος, a detached but large fragment, as important for the correct understanding of this passage; others explain the different genders here as due first to the personal then to the material reference. - Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, 1889 ed., p. 507, emphasis mine

Πέτρος (an appellative prop. name, signifying 'a stone', 'a rock', 'a ledge' or 'cliff'; used metaph. of a soul hard and unyielding, and so resembling a rock.................This is not the place to relate and refute the ecclesiastical traditions concerning Peter's being the founder of the church at Rome and bishop of it for twenty-five years and more; - Ibid, p. 508

Contrary to Mr. Staples' claims, Thayer does indeed distinguish between 'petras', the massive living rock, and 'petros', the detached but large fragment. Given this information it is easy for the casual reader to realize that Peter cannot be the 'masculine petras' Jesus intends to build His church upon. Therefore, the Roman claim fails.

But let us also consider what Carson says regarding the passage. From the Expositor's Bible Commentary:

18 And I tell you… : Weiss sees a contrast between Jesus and his Father, as if Jesus were saying, “Just as the Father revealed something to you and thereby honored you, so now I do the same.” But the formula is common enough in places without such a contrast, and this may be an unwarranted refinement. The words simply point to what is coming.

that you are Peter… : The underlying Aramaic kepa (“Cephas” in John 1:42; 1Cor 15:5; Gal 1:18 et al.) was an accepted name in Jesus’ day (see on 4:18). Though B.F. Meyer (pp. 186-87) insists that Jesus gave the name Cephas to Simon at this point, Jesus merely made a pun on the name (4:18; 10:2; Mark 3:16; John 1:42). Yet Meyer is right to draw attention to the “rock” motifs on which the name Cephas is based (pp. 185-86, 194-95), motifs related to the netherworld and the temple (and so connoting images of “gates of Hades” and “church”: see below.) The Greek Kephas (Eng. “Cephas”) transliterates the Aramaic, and Petros (“Peter”) is the closest Greek translation. P. Lampe’s argument (“Das Spiel mit dem Petrusnamen—Matt. xvi.18,” NTS 25 [1979]: 227-45) that both kepa and petros originally referred to a small “stone,” but not a “rock” (on which something could be built), until Christians extended the term to explain the riddle of Simon’s name is baseless. True, the Greekpetros commonly means “stone” in pre-Christian literature; but the Aramaickepa , which underlies the Greek, means “(massive) rock” (cf. H. Clavier, “Pe÷troß kai« pe÷tra,” Neutestamentliche Studien, ed. W. Eltester [Berlin: Alfred Topelmann, 1957], pp. 101-3).

and on this rock … “Rock” now becomes petra (feminine), and on the basis of the distinction between petros (above) and petra (here), many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church. Peter is a mere “stone,” it is alleged; but Jesus himself is the “rock,” as Peter himself attests (1 Peter 2:98) (so, among others, Lenski, Gander, Walvoord). Others adopt some other distinction: e.g., “upon this rock of revealed truth—the truth you have just confessed—I will build my church” (Allen). Yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretation, it is doubtful whether many would have taken “rock” to be anything or anyone other than Peter.

1. Although it is true that petros and petra can mean “stone” and “rock” respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry. Moreover the underlying Aramaic is in this case unquestionable; and most probably kepa was used in both clauses (“you are kepa and on this kepa “), since the word was used both for a name and for a “rock.” The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses. The Greek makes the distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name.

2. Paronomasia of various kinds is very common in the Bible and should not be belittled (cf. Barry J. Beitzel, “Exodus 3:14 and the Divine Name: A Case of Biblical Paronomasia,” Trinity Journal [1980]: 5-20; BDF, par. 488).

3. Had Matthew wanted to say no more than that Peter was a stone in contrast with Jesus the Rock, the more common word would have been lithos (“stone” of almost any size). Then there would have been no pun—and that is just the point!

4. The objection that Peter considers Jesus the rock is insubstantial because metaphors are commonly used variously, till they become stereotyped, and sometimes even then. Here Jesus builds his church; in 1 Corinthians 3:10, Paul is “an expert builder.” In 1 Corinthians 3:11, Jesus is the church’s foundation; in Ephesians 2:19-20, the apostles and prophets are the foundation (cf. also Rev 21:14), and Jesus is the “cornerstone.” Here Peter has the keys; in Revelation 1:18; 3:7, Jesus has the keys. In John 9:5, Jesus is “the light of the world”; in Matthew 5:14, his disciples are. None of these pairs threatens Jesus’ uniqueness. They simply show how metaphors must be interpreted primarily with reference to their immediate contexts.

5. In this passage Jesus is the builder of the church and it would be a strange mixture of metaphors that also sees him within the same clauses as its foundation.

None of this requires that conservative Roman Catholic views be endorsed (for examples of such views, cf. Lagrange, Sabourin). The text says nothing about Peter’s successors, infallibility, or exclusive authority. These late interpretations entail insuperable exegetical and historical problems—e.g., after Peter’s death, his “successor” would have authority over a surviving apostle, John. What the NT does show is that Peter is the first to make this formal confession and that his prominence continues in the earliest years of the church (Acts 1-12). But he, along with John, can be sent by other apostles (Acts 8:14); and he is held accountable for his actions by the Jerusalem church (Acts 11:1-18) and rebuked by Paul (Gal 2:11-14). He is, in short, primus inter pares (“first among equals”); and on the foundation of such men (Eph 2:20), Jesus built his church. That is precisely why Jesus, toward the close of his earthly ministry spent so much time with them. The honor was not earned but stemmed from divine revelation (v.17) and Jesus’ building work (v.18). - emphasis mine

While Carson allows for Peter to be the rock which Christ builds His church, he makes perfectly plain and obvious that this in no way whatsoever bolsters Roman Catholic claims to Peter being the first Pope. In fact, Peter isn't even the sole foundation! When taken as a whole, the New Testament does not so much as even hint at any supremacy supposedly given to Peter. The Greek Orthodox Churches hailed the Bishop of Rome as primus inter pares, first among equals, because of the (historically inaccurate) tradition that Peter founded the church in Rome. However, these same Orthodox Churches will in the exact same breath point out that they do not in any way shape or form regard the Bishop of Rome as Supreme, Universal Bishop, Head of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. They will, by use of Scripture and history, prove with ease that early Christianity never heard of the Papacy nor operated under one Universal Bishop as Roman Catholic churches do today.

With these citations quoted in context, it becomes clear why Mr. Staples refused to actually quote them.

“In Matthew 4:3,” you continue, “the devil cajoles Jesus to perform a miracle and transform some stones, lithoi, the Greek plural for lithos, into bread. In John 10:31, certain Jews pick up stones, lithoi, to stone Jesus with. In 1 Peter 2:5, St. Peter describes Christians as 'living stones,' lithoi, which form a spiritual house. If St. Matthew had wanted to draw a distinction between a big rock and a little rock in Matthew 16:17-19, he could have by using lithos, but he didn't. The rock is St. Peter!”

Indeed, 'lithos' does mean 'small stone', but as we have seen from the previous citations this doesn't present any issues whatever for the Protestant. The detached boulder is Peter, the rock itself is Christ.

Wilma, the VP of finance and a member of your parish has a thought, “Fred, how do you explain the fact that Jesus addresses St. Peter directly seven times in this short passage? It doesn't make sense that He would address everything to St. Peter and then say, 'By the way, I'm building the Church on Me.' The context seems pretty clear that Jesus gave authority to St. Peter, naming him the rock.”

The exact number of times a person is mentioned means absolutely nothing. In fact, the Apostle Paul is mentioned more than Peter in the books of Acts! The New Testament epistles are penned mostly by Paul, with only two short letters by Peter. Most of the thick of Christian doctrine comes from Paul's quill rather than Peter's. Wouldn't it make sense that the meat of doctrine should come from Peter rather than Paul or any other Apostle, that is, if Peter were truly the first Pope?

Fred shakes his head. “I don't think so. And even if petros and petra mean the same thing, Jesus surely made the distinction with His hand gestures or tone of voice when He said, 'You are rock, and on this rock I will build My Church.' “

Betty, another young Catholic in the group, chimes in. “I don't think it's much use to conjecture about what Jesus' hand gestures or voice intonations might have been, since we can't know what they were. And doesn't that kind of speculation contradict your belief in the 'Bible alone' theory? Anyway, speculation aside, we do know that Jesus definitely said, 'You are rock, and on this rock I will build My Church.' Going from the text alone, His meaning seems crystal-clear to me.”

Staples' portrayal of the Protestant objection is just plain insulting. No Protestant who is serious about his biblical knowledge would ever use this 'argument' against Rome. I believe it speaks for itself regarding Mr. Staples' attempts at any sort of Protestant/Catholic dialogue.

You notice several heads nodding in agreement. Fred's isn't one of them. “But getting back to the Greek, Fred,” you say, “notice Matthew used the demonstrative pronoun taute, which means 'this very,' when he referred to the rock on which the Church would be built: 'You are Peter, and on taute petra,' this very rock, 'I will build My Church.'
“Also, when a demonstrative pronoun is used with the Greek word for 'and,' which is 'kai,' the pronoun refers back to the preceding noun. In other words, when Jesus says, 'You are rock, and on this rock I will build My Church,' the second rock He refers to has to be the same rock as the first one. Peter is the rock in both cases.
“Jesus could have gotten around it if He'd wanted to. He didn't have to say, 'And,' kai, 'on this rock I will build My Church.' He could've said, 'But,' alla, 'on this rock I will build My Church,' meaning another rock. He would have then had to explain who or what this other rock was. But He didn't do that.”

Let us recall Dr. White's observations regarding this:

The issue is, to what does tau,th| refer? As a pronoun, it has an antecedent, a referent that it is pointing back to. Rome insists the referent is Peter.* But if it is, why use a demonstrative pronoun at all? Jesus has used two personal pronouns of Peter already in this sentence, soi and su,. He could have easily said, "and upon you the rock," (evpi. se, or evpi. soi, th/| pe,tra). But again, He didn’t. Instead, he switches from direct address to the demonstrative "this." I have expressed this, in non-technical language, as going from second person, "you, Peter," to third person, "this rock." "This rock" is referring to something other than the person who was being addressed in the preceding phrase, something that we find in the immediate context. A natural reading of the passage (one that I truly believe would be nigh unto universal if history had not fallen out as it did, with only one "apostolic see" in the West, the continuance of the Empire in the East, etc.) makes it plain what must function as the antecedent of the demonstrative pronoun:
15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.


Fred flips through his Bible. “God says in Isaiah 44:8, 'And you are My witnesses! Is there a God besides Me? There is no Rock; I know not any.' And 1 Corinthians 10:4 says, 'And all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ.' See? These passages tell us Peter could not have been the rock of Matthew 16:17-19. Only God — Christ — is a rock.”
“That's a good point,” you say. “Yes, God is called 'rock' in Isaiah 44:8 and elsewhere. But notice that just seven chapters later in Isaiah 51:1-2, God Himself calls Abraham the rock from which Israel was hewn. Is this a contradiction? No. Jesus is the one foundation of the Church in 1 Corinthians 3:11, but in Revelation 21:14 and Ephesians 2:20, we're told that the Apostles are the foundation of the Church. Jesus said He is the light of the world in John 9:5, but the Bible also says in Matthew 5:14 that Christians are the light of the world. Jesus is our 'one teacher' in Matthew 23:8, yet in Ephesians 4:11 and James 3:1, it says 'there are many teachers' in the Body of Christ.
“Are these contradictions? Of course not. The Apostles can be the foundation of the Church because they are in Christ, the one Foundation. The Church can be the light of the world because she is in the true Light of the world. A teacher can teach because he is in the one true Teacher, Christ. In the same way, St. Peter is indeed the rock of Matthew 16, and that doesn't detract from Christ being the rock of 1 Corinthians 10:4. St. Peter's 'rock-ness' is derived from Christ.

Indeed sometimes titles used of God and Christ are given to patriarchs and disciples. This in and of itself is not the issue and is a clear attempt to dodge the real problem at hand. That problem being that neither in Rev. 21:4 or Eph. 2:20 is Peter even hinted at being the Head of the Apostles. Roman Catholics read late interpretations into the text which simply are not there. To read any text in context means the reader must allow the author to define his own terms and words and allow the author's thoughts and points to be completely and readily understood through the text itself. As Carson noted, Peter was held accountable to the church instead of being its sovereign head.


“Aside from everything we said earlier about the Greek,” you continue, “there's an even stronger case that can be made for Christ meaning Peter was the rock on which He would build His Church. When Jesus gave Simon the name 'Rock,' we know it was originally given in Aramaic, a sister language of Hebrew, and the language that Jesus and the Apostles spoke. And the Aramaic word for 'rock' iskepha. This was transliterated in Greek as Cephas or Kephas, and translated as Petros. In Aramaic, nouns do not have gender as they do in Greek, so Jesus actually said, and St. Matthew first recorded, 'You are Kephas and on this kephas I will build My Church.' Clearly the same rock both times. “And just as Greek has a word for 'small stone,' lithos, so does Aramaic. That word is evna. But Jesus did not change Simon's name to Evna, He named him Kephas, which translates as Petros, and means a large rock.”
“No way,” Fred shakes his head. “There's no evidence in Scripture that Christ spoke in Aramaic or originally gave Simon the name 'Kephas.' All we have to go on is the Greek, and the Greek says Simon was called Petros, a little stone.”

All of this is very true, but, as we have already pointed out, this makes no doctrinal impact at all for the Protestant. In fact, the Roman Catholic must misinterpret the passage in order to fit their late dogmas into Scripture. Of course, Staples makes our Fred look arrogant and ignorant, which again is simply insulting.

“Actually, Fred, you're mistaken on both counts. The second point we've already discussed, and as far as your first point, well, take a look at John 1:42. 'Jesus looked at [Simon] and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).' See? St. John knew that the original form of the name was Kephas, large rock, and he translated it into Greek as Petros, or Peter.” Just then, your watch beeps 1:00, signaling the end of your lunch hour. You close in a quick prayer, then grab a Catholic apologetics tract from inside your Bible and catch Fred on his way out. “Hey, Fred,” you smile warmly. “I really appreciate your input in this group, and I'm glad you've joined us. You're going to add a great new dimension to the group. Welcome!” You extend your hand to shake his. Fred shakes politely, but you can see on his face that he's not pleased with the way the day's discussion went. But he's a good sport and he promises to be back tomorrow for “round two,” as he calls it.
On the way out, you hand him the apologetics tract and smile inwardly at the odd look he gives you as he slips it into his Bible. He's clearly not used to being on the receiving end of a tract, especially not one that's handed to him by a Catholic.

I realize that this short work is that of an amateur responding to a professional Roman apologist, but I do believe the facts contained herein with their context fully considered will allow the reader to compare posts and ponder the information provided.

In short, we may summarize that 'petros' means boulder or large detached piece of rock, whereas 'petras' means massive rock, and is therefore distinct. We may also conclude that though Christ builds His church on all the Apostles, Peter's primacy is no way equal to Popish supremacy. The earliest documents of the Christian church, the New Testament, do not hint at such a supremacy. But suppose Peter held such a supremacy, this still does not account for his supposed successors, the bishops of Rome. The Bible is completely silent regarding Peter's successors, and their invented infallibility cannot be sustained through scriptural references.

Once again, I believe the facts speak plainly for themselves.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Slight Makeover

Over time you will see many things on this blog change. I have seen through the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures that the Reformed Faith best expounds the biblical doctrines, especially concerning Predestination and the Elect. As I am so very new to this particular teaching, I will not be posting too many apologetic posts on the subject until I fully understand it intellectually. There is a great difference between understanding it with the heart of a guitly sinner, and understanding how to properly expound and defend it against objections. And, of course, we will have many posts concerning Rome's false doctrine. All those links you see to the right will remain exactly where they are, as they are excellent sources to look up and compare against actual history and the Holy Writ.

Monday, March 8, 2010

An Update - Rejecting and Renouncing Roman Catholicism

I've talked with some of you about this already, but for the rest of you still oblivious, here's a little piece of information you should know.

About two years ago I entered the Roman Catholic Church, convinced that it alone was the only true Christian Church. Some of you still remember the interesting dialogues that took place, the rather hateful notes I would post up on Facebook almost every day against Protestantism, and the clear change that took place in me personally. Thanks to organizations like Catholic Answers, or men like Steve Ray, Dave Armstrong, Art Sippo, and other well-known Roman Catholic apologists, my way towards Rome seemed the best idea. Seemed...the best idea.

Unfortunately, there were a few things which, after deeper research and honest inward searching and prayer, just fell apart under scrutiny, fell apart under Christ's light. There are many things that fall under this category, but the main one I'd like to focus on is the Papacy. This note isn't an apologia for my renouncing and rejecting Roman Catholicism, but rather an attempt at giving everyone a fair explanation.

The Church of the Apostles, those first pastors and bishops, was unlike anything we see in modern Rome. In fact, the Roman Church of that time was Greek, no different than any of the other Greek Churches. Further, the Roman See was not even occupied by St. Peter, according to the very correct Church Historian Eusebius. He was not Rome's bishop. He never pastored Rome personally, but instead helped spread the Gospel there along with St. Paul, both of whom shed their blood there for the sake of Christ. For this reason the Roman Church was so highly esteemed, but even more so because Rome was the great city, which ruled the known world at the time. Naturally the Church there held a primacy, not to be confused with the miedeval corruption of supremacy. As time move on, the primacy of honor fell to Constantinople as is recorded in the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople:

"The Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome because Constantinople is New Rome."

According to later Christian legend which worked its way into certain early documents unverifiable by actual history, Peter was Rome's first bishop, however as said before the earliest histories tell us he NEVER had a See in Rome. He AND St. Paul appointed Linus as Rome's first bishop, according to Eusebius whose testimony no sound person will dispute. St. Peter also appointed successors in Antioch as well, so in the truest sense the Antiochan bishops may also claim succession from St. Peter.

Then all of a sudden the Bishop of Rome - the Pope - is infallible when he speaks ex cathedra. Again, along with his supposed supremacy, papal infallibility is also not to be found in the Holy Scriptures nor in the church fathers, nor in the Ecumenical Councils. But wait, see what Pope John XXII said concerning this in Quia Quorundam,

"Because the father of lies is said to have so blinded the minds of certain [men], that they by [means of] false madness have obscured Our constitutions—not without much punishable temerity, unless they retract and lean themselves [once more] upon the truth, which these contain—of which one begins: “Ad conditorem canonum,” the other indeed: “Quum inter non nullos,” arranged diligently by previously held deliberation certainly as much with Our brother Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, as with many Archbishops and Bishops, and other prelates of the [local] churches, and not a few masters of sacred theology, and professors of both [kinds] of law [i.e. civil and canon], and promulgated on the counsel of Our aforementioned brothers: lest by daring [and] pernicious deeds their pestiferous doctrine shake the souls of the simple so much, and prevail to lead them into the deviation of their own errors, on the counsel of certain brother [cardinals] We judge soberly to make provision concerning this matter, as follows [below]. Moreover, they have used as much as word as writing to impugn the aforesaid constitutions, for the alleged reason, as is shown: They say that “That which the Roman Pontiffs had defined by [means of] the key of knowledge, in faith and morals, once for all, persists unchangeable to such an extent, that it is not lawful for a successor to call it again into doubt, nor to affirm the contrary,” although concerning those things, which have been ordained by [means of] the key of power, they assert it to be otherwise."

Yet this very subject is reversed in the First Vatican Council,

"Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.

So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema."

Anathema, totally condemned, damned to eternal hell fire, without hope of everlasting life. According to Roman Catholicism I am damned, under the anathema because I reject this invention of papal infallibility, and will not hail the Pope as the Supreme Bishop of the Church. It is not enough to look to Jesus alone for salvation, says the [traditional] Roman Church quite clearly, but one must hold to the papal dogmas as well for salvation, and all the infallible degrees such as the Immaculate Conception, a dogma which I also must reject because it was not found in Scripture or the early fathers and Christian tradition. Mind you, Mary is esteemed as the Mother of God and cleansed by the Holy Spirit to bear Christ, but she was not born sinless according to the earliest fathers, and no thought of merits is to be found in their writings as described in the papal decree.

"Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff." - Pope Boniface 8th, Unam Sanctum

Pope Innocent III ( A.D. 1198-1216 ) "With our hearts we believe and with our lips we confess but one Church, not that of the heretics, but the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside of which we believe no one is saved." Denzinger 423

Note that it specifies the Roman Catholic Church, meaning all must be in communion with her for salvation.

Pope Pius IX "If any man does not enter the [Roman] Church, or if any man departs from it, he is far from the hope of life, and salvation." Ubi Primum

In Rome's eyes I am far from any hope of salvation since I departed from her. But may I be damned in Rome's eyes and saved in Christ's arms. When salvation is dependant not only on Christ, but on which Church you belong to, despite your faith in Christ according to the Scriptures and the fathers, there is a serious problem at hand. It is a heresy, and cannot be tolerated by the people of God.

There are many more quotes from the popes and certain Roman Councils on this subject, much which would put modern Roman Catholics into a bit of a panic. Vatican Council II certainly reversed quite a few dogmas, which any decent researcher will easily find after examinging carefully all the documents. This is no development of doctrine: it is instead a full-blown evolution of Roman dogma, and full of contradictions. But we'll save that for another day.

Now, I already know Roman Catholics who are Christians, that's not the point here, although salvation is an essential doctrine to be clear on, but we'll save it for another time. The fact is the traditional Roman Catholic system demands subjection to the Papacy for salvation, an adherence to dogmas which cannot be sustained from Scripture or the Fathers or Councils. Nowadays, Rome says practically anyone can be saved. If the Lord tarries, within the next twenty years we'll see new dogmas affirming that.

But to show how the older catechisms contradict this new Roman Catholic Catechism, allow me to provide some quotations.

From "Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine" by Fr. Michael Muller, Adapted for the Family and More Advanced Students in Catholic Schools and Colleges with the Approbation of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, 1876AD. Containing the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, this catechism is without error according to the Holy See:

Lesson XII.—No Salvation Outside of the Roman Catholic Church.

Q. Since the Roman Catholic Church alone is the true Church of Jesus Christ, can any one who dies outside of the Church be saved?

A. He cannot.

Q. Why not?

A. Because one who does not do the will of God cannot be saved.

Q. Is it, then, the will of God that all men should be Catholics?

A. Yes; because it is only in the Roman Catholic Church that they can learn the will of God; that is, the full doctrine of Jesus Christ, which alone can save them.

Q. Did Jesus Christ Himself assure us most solemnly, and in plain words, that no one can be saved out of the Roman Catholic Church?

A. He did, when He said to His Apostles: "Go and teach all nations, and teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. He that believeth not all these things shall be condemned."

Q. Did Jesus Christ assure us in other words of the damnation of those who die out of His Church?

A. He did in these words: "He who will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican." Matt. xviii. 17.

Q. Can you give some further proofs to show that no one can be saved out of the Roman Catholic Church?

A. From these words of Jesus Christ: "Other sheep I have who are not of this fold. them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and they shall be one fold and one shepherd." John x. 16

Q. How can you show from these words of our Lord that all who wish to be saved must be Roman Catholics?

A. Because in this passage He plainly declares that all those of His sheep who are not of His fold (that is, of His Church) must, as a necessary condition of their salvation, be brought to that fold.

Q. What do the Fathers of the Church say about the salvation of those who die out of the Roman Catholic Church?

A. They all, without exception, pronounce them infallibly lost forever.

Q. What did St. Augustine and the other Bishops of Africa, at the Council of Zirta, A.D. 412, say about them?

A. "Whosoever," they said, "is separated from the Catholic Church, however commendable in his own opinion his life may be, he shall, for the very reason that he is separated from the Union of Christ, not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." John iii. 36.

Q. What does St. Cyprian tell us about the salvation of those who die out of the Roman Catholic Church?

A. He says that, "He who has not the Church for his mother cannot have God for his Father;" and with him the Fathers in general say, that "as all who were not in the ark of Noah perished in the waters of the deluge, so shall all perish who are out of the true Church."

Q. Who are out of the pale of the Roman Catholic Church?

A. All unbaptized persons, unbelievers, apostates, excommunicated persons, and all heretics.

Q. How do we know that unbaptized persons are not saved?

A. Because Jesus Christ has said: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John iii. 5.

Q. How do we know that unbelievers are not saved?

A. Because it is said of them that they do not please God. "Without faith it is impossible to please God."

Q. How do we know that apostates are not saved?

A. Because to fall away from the faith is a great sin, which makes one lose the kingdom of heaven.

Q. How do we know that persons justly excommunicated, who are unwilling to do what is required of them before they are absolved, are not saved?

A. Because the sin of great scandal, for which they were as dead members expelled from the communion of the Church, excludes them from the kingdom of heaven.

Q. What is the meaning of the word heretic?

A. Heretic is a Greek word, and means simply a chooser.

Q. Who, then, is a heretic?

A. A baptized person who chooses among the doctrines proposed to him by the Roman Catholic Church, to accept such doctrines as they please him, and to reject the rest.

Q. How do we know that heretics are not saved?

A. Because St. Paul the Apostle assures us that such a chooser or heretic is condemned. "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid; knowing that he who is such an one is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment." Tit. iii. 10, 11.

Q. Are there any other reasons to show that heretics, or Protestants who die out of the Roman Catholic Church, are not saved?

A. There are several. They cannot be saved because
1. They have no divine faith.
2. They make a liar of Jesus Christ, of the holy Ghost, and of the Apostles.
3. They have no faith in Christ.
4. They fell away from the true Church of Christ.
5. They are too proud to submit to the Pope, the Vicar of Christ.
6. They cannot perform any good works whereby they can attain heaven.
7. They do not receive the Body and Blood of Christ.
8. They die in their sins.
9. They ridicule and blaspheme the Mother of God and His Saints.
10. They slander the spouse of Jesus Christ—the Catholic Church.

Q. Why is it that Protestants have no divine faith?

A. Because they do not believe God in those whom He has appointed to teach.

Q. Who is the teacher among Protestants?

A. Every one is his own teacher, his own law-giver and judge in matters of religion.

Q. Was there ever a time when God left men to themselves, to fashion their own religion, to invent their own creed, and their own form of worship?

A. No; from the beginning of the world God established on earth a visible teaching authority, to which it was the bounden duty of every man to submit.

Q. What follows from this?

A. That Protestants, by refusing to submit to that divine teaching authority, cannot have divine faith.

Q. What is the act of faith of a Protestant?

A. O my God, I believe nothing except what my own private judgment tells me to believe; therefore I believe that I can interpret Thy written word—the Holy Scriptures—as I choose. I believe that the Pope is anti-Christ; that any man can be saved, provided he is an honest man; I believe that faith alone is sufficient for salvation; that good works, and works of penance, and the confession of sins are not necessary, etc.

Q. Is this an act of divine faith?

A. It is rather a great blasphemy against God; it is the language of Luther, who, according to his own avowal, learned it from the devil.

Q. But if a Protestant should say—"I have nothing to do with Luther, or Calvin, or Henry VIII., or John Knox; I go by the Bible" what would you answer him?

A. In that case you adopt and go by the principles and spirit of these men, and you change the written Word of God into the word of man.

Q. How so?

A. Because every Protestant interprets Holy Scripture in his own private manner, giving it that meaning which he chooses to give it, and thus, instead of believing the Word of God, he believes rather his own private interpretation of it, which is but the word of man.

Q. Now, what is man without divine faith?

A. Such a man is profane, and devoid of all religion; and for refusing all obedience to his Sovereign Lord, he will never enjoy His presence, or see clearly what he is not willing to believe humbly.

Q. How do Protestants make a liar of Jesus Christ?

A. Jesus Christ says: “Hear the Church." "No;" say Luther and all Protestants, "do not hear the Church, protest against her with all your might!”

Jesus Christ says: "If any one will not hear the Church, look upon him as a heathen and a publican." “No,” says Protestantism, “if any one does not hear the Church, look upon him as an apostle, as an ambassador of God."

Jesus Christ says: "The gates of hell shall not prevail against my Church." "No," says Protestantism, “’Tis false; the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church for a thousand years and more."

Jesus Christ has declared St. Peter, and every successor to St. Peter—the Pope—to be his Vicar on earth. "No," says Protestantism, "the Pope is Anti-Christ."

Jesus Christ says: "My yoke is sweet, and my burden light." Matt. xi. 30. "No," said Luther and Calvin "it is impossible to keep the commandments."

Jesus Christ says: "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." Matt. xix. 17. "No," said Luther and Calvin, "faith alone, without good works, is sufficient to enter into life everlasting."

Jesus Christ says: " Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish." Luke, iii. 3. "No," said Luther and Calvin, "fasting, and other works of penance are not necessary in satisfaction for sin.”

Jesus Christ says: "This is my body." "No," said Calvin, "this is only the figure of Christ's Body, it will be­come his body as soon as you receive it."

Jesus Christ says: "I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery." Matt. xix. 9. "No," say Luther and all Protestants, to a married man, “you may put away your wife, get a divorce, and marry another."

Jesus Christ says to every man: “Thou shalt not steal." “No," said Luther to secular princes, “I give you the right to appropriate to yourselves the property of the Roman Catholic Church."

Q. How do Protestants make a liar of the Holy Ghost?

A. The Holy Ghost says in Holy Scripture: "Man knoweth not whether he be worthy of love or hatred" (Eccles. ix. 1); "Who can say: My heart is clean, I am pure from sin"? (Prov. xx. 9); and "Work your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philip. 11. 12). "No," said Luther and Calvin, "but whosoever believes in Jesus Christ, is in the state of grace."

Q. How do Protestants make liars of the Apostles?

A. St. Paul says: "If I should have faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." 1 Cor. xiii. 2. "No," said Luther and Calvin, "faith alone is sufficient to save us."

St. Peter says that in the Epistles of St. Paul there are many things "hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as also the other Scriptures, to their own perdition." 2 Eph. iii. 16. "No," said Luther and Calvin, "the Scriptures are very plain, and easy to be understood."

St. James says: "Is any sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, in the name of the Lord." Ch. v. 14. "No," said Luther and Calvin, "that is a vain and useless ceremony."

Q. Now, do you think God the Father will admit into heaven those who thus make liars of His Son Jesus Christ, of the Holy Ghost, and the Apostles?

A. No; He will let them have their portion with Lucifer in hell, who first rebelled against Christ, and who is the father of liars.

Q. Have Protestants any faith in Christ?

A. They never had.

Q. Why not?

A. Because there never lived such a Christ as they imagine and believe in.

Q. In what kind of Christ do they believe?

A. In such a one of whom they can make a liar, with impunity, whose doctrine they can interpret as they please, and who does not care about what a man believes, provided he be an honest man before the public.

Q. Will such a faith in such a Christ save Protestants?

A. No sensible man will assert such an absurdity.

Q. What will Christ say to them on the day of judgment?

A. I know you not, because you never knew Me.

Q. Can a man be saved who has left the true Church of Christ—the Holy Catholic Church?

A. No; because the Church of Christ is the kingdom of God on earth, and he who leaves that kingdom shuts himself out from the kingdom of Christ in heaven.

Q. Have Protestants left the true Church of Christ?

A. They have, in their founders, who left the Catholic Church either through pride or through the passion of lust and covetousness.

Q. Who were the first Protestants?

A. 1. Martin Luther, a bad German priest, who left his convent, broke the solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, which he had made to God, married a nun, and became the founder of the Lutherans.
2. Henry VIII., a bad Catholic king of England, who murdered his wives, and founded the Episcopalian or Anglican Church.
3. John Calvin, a wicked French Catholic, who was the founder of the Calvinists.
4. John Knox, a bad Scottish priest, who was the founder of the Presbyterians or Puritans.

Q. What great crime did these wicked men commit?

A. They rebelled against the Church of Jesus Christ, and caused a great number of their Catholic countrymen to follow their bad example.

Q. What will be the punishment of those who wilfully rebel against the Holy Catholic Church?

A. Like Lucifer, and the other rebellious angels, they will be cast into the everlasting flames of hell.

Q. Who has assured us of this?

A. Jesus Christ Himself, the Son of God.

Q. What are His words?

A. "He who will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican." MAtt. xviii. 17.

Q. What does Jesus Christ tell us in these words?

A. He tells us plainly that he who is out of His Church, and does not obey her, is before Him as the heathen and publican.

Q. What follows from this?

A. It follows that, as the heathen is damned, so, also, all those will be damned who die out of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Q. Can a man be saved who is too proud to submit to the Head of the Church of Christ, and despises Jesus Christ in His representative—the Pope?

A. He cannot; because Jesus Christ says: "He who despiseth you (the Apostles and their successors) despiseth me."

Q. Do Protestants despise Jesus Christ in the person of St. Peter and his successors?

A. They do; for Luther taught them that whoever does not oppose the authority of the Pope cannot be saved. 1 Vol. Germ. Edit., f. 353.

Q. Do you think Christ can admit into Heaven him by whom He is despised?

A. This is impossible, and of such a one is true what St. Paul says: "He that resisteth the power that is from God, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist purchase to themselves damnation." Rom. xiii. 1,2.

Q. Can any one enter into the Kingdom of Heaven without good works?

A. No.

Q. How do we know this?

A. Because on the last day of judgment Christ will say to the wicked: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire. For I was hungry and you gave me not to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink." Matt. xxv. 41, 42.

Q. Do not Protestants perform such good works?

A. Many of them do.

Q. Will they be saved on account of such good works?

A. By no means; because works, however good in themselves, performed outside of the church established by Jesus Christ, are not accompanied and vivified by divine faith, without which it is impossible to please God, and, therefore, they do not, they cannot merit the everlasting joys of Heaven. As faith without works is dead, so also works without faith are dead and cannot save the doer from damnation.

Q. What does Jesus Christ say of those who do not receive His Body and Blood?

A. Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you shall not have life in you. John vi. 54.

Q. Do Protestants receive the Body and Blood of our Lord?

A. No, because their ministers are not priests, and consequently have no power from Jesus Christ to say Mass, in which, by the words of consecration, bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

Q. What follows from this?

A. That they will not enter into life everlasting, and deservedly so, because they abolished the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

Q. What was the consequence of the abolition of Mass?

A. By abolishing the Mass, they robbed God the Father of the infinite honor which Jesus Christ renders Him therein, and themselves of all the blessings which Jesus Christ bestows upon those who assist at this holy sacrifice with faith and devotion. "Wherefore the sin of the young men (the sons of Heli) was exceeding great before the Lord, because they withdrew men from the sacrifice of the Lord." 1 Kings ii. 17.

Q. Do you believe that God the Father will admit into heaven these robbers of His infinite honor?

A. By no means; because if those are damned who steal temporal goods of their neighbor, how much more will those be damned who deprive God of His infinite honor and their fellow-men of the infinite spiritual blessings of the Mass.

Q. Can a man be saved who dies in the state of mortal sin?

A. He cannot; because God cannot unite Himself to a soul in heaven who, by mortal sin, is His enemy.

Q. Do Protestants commit other mortal sins besides those above mentioned?

A. Very many besides.

Q. How do you prove this?

A. If it is a mortal sin for a Roman Catholic wilfully to doubt only one article of his faith, it is also, most assuredly, a mortal sin for Protestants wilfully to deny not only one truth, but almost all the truths revealed by Jesus Christ.

Q. Do they die in the sins of apostasy, blasphemy, slander, etc.?

A. They do, because all die in mortal sin who, having grievously offended Almighty God, are nor willing to confess their sins.

Q. How do we know this?

A. Because Jesus Christ assures us that those sins which are not forgiven by His apostles and their successors, by means of confession, will not be forgiven. "Whose sins you retain they are retained." John xx. 22, 23.

Q. Are Protestants willing to confess their sins to a Catholic Bishop or priest, who alone has power from Christ to forgive sins? "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them."

A. No, for they generally have an utter aversion to confession, and therefore their sins will not be forgiven throughout all eternity.

Q. What follows from this?

A. That they die in their sins and are damned.

Q. If any one loves God, will he also love the Mother of God and the Saints?

A. He will, undoubtedly.

Q. Do Protestants love the Mother of God and the Saints?

A. They do not, or they would not ridicule and blaspheme the Mother of God and the Saints.

Q. What follows from this?

A. That Protestants will never be admitted into the company of the Saints in heaven, whom they have ridiculed and blasphemed on earth.

Q. Would a great king of this world punish most severely one who slanders the Queen?

A. He would.

Q. Is the Catholic Church the Spouse of Jesus Christ, the King of heaven and earth?

A. She is, and St. Paul assures us that "Jesus Christ loves His church, that He died for her in order that He might have a glorious church, having neither spot nor wrinkle, but holy and without blemish." Eph. v. 25-27.

Q. Have Protestants ever ceased to slander her?

A. Never.

Q. How do they slander the Spouse of Jesus Christ?

A. The Protestant Episcopalian book of homilies, for instance, says: "Laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages and degrees of men, women, and children of entire Christendom had been drowned in abominable idolatry."

Q. Is idolatry a grievous sin?

A. It is one of the most grievous sins that can be committed.

Q. Could Protestants ever prove that the Catholic Church, the Spouse of Christ, became guilty of this sin?

A. Never; on the contrary, all know that the Catholic Church has abolished idolatry and has always held it in abomination.

Q. What follows from this?

A. That Protestants commit the great sin of slander against the Spouse of Christ.

Q. Can they commit this great sin without accusing Jesus Christ at the same time of having abandoned that glorious Spouse, whom He loves so ardently?

A. They cannot.

Q. What follows from this?

A. That the vengeance of Jesus Christ shall sooner or later overtake Protestants for committing the sins of horrid blasphemy and slander.

Q. But is it not a very uncharitable doctrine to say that none can be saved out of the Church?

A. On the contrary, it is a very great act of charity to assert this doctrine most emphatically.

Q. Why?

A. Because Jesus Christ Himself and His apostles have taught it in very plain language.

Q. Is it not great charity to warn one's neighbor when he is in danger of falling into a deep abyss?

A. It is indeed.

Q. Are not all those who are out of the Church in very great danger of falling into the abyss of hell?

A. They are.

Q. Is it not, then, great charity to warn them of this danger?

A. It would be as great a cruelty not to warn them.

Q. Are all those who are out of the Church equally guilty and damnable before God?

A. No; some are more guilty than others.

Q. Who are least guilty and damnable?

A. Those who, without any fault of theirs, do not know Jesus Christ or His doctrine at all.

Q. Who are most guilty and damnable?

A. Those who know the Catholic Church to be the only true Church, but do not embrace her faith, as also those who could know her if they would candidly search, but who, through indifference and other culpable motives, neglect to do so.

Q. What are we to think of the salvation of those who are out of the pale of the Church without any fault of theirs, and who never had any opportunity of knowing better?

A. Their inculpable ignorance will not save them; but if they fear God and live up to their conscience, God, in His infinite mercy, will furnish them with the necessary means of salvation, even so as to send, if needed, an angel to instruct them in the Catholic faith, rather than let them perish through inculpable ignorance.

Q. Is it then right for us to say that one who was not received into the Church before his death, is damned?

A. No.

Q. Why not?

A. Because we cannot know for certain what takes place between God and the soul at the awful moment of death.

Q. What do you mean by this?

A. I mean that God, in His infinite mercy, may enlighten, at the hour of death, one who is not yet a Catholic, so that he may see the truth of the Catholic faith, be truly sorry for his sins, and sincerely desire to die a good Catholic.

Q. What do we say of those who receive such an extraordinary grace, and die in this manner?

A. We say of them that they die united, at least, to the soul of the Catholic Church, and are saved.

Q. What, then, awaits all those who are out of the Catholic Church, and die without having received such an extraordinary grace at the hour of death?

A. Eternal damnation.

Q. But are there not many who would lose the affections of their friends, their comfortable homes, their temporal goods, and prospects in business, were they to become Catholics? Would not Jesus Christ excuse them under such circumstances from becoming Catholics?

A. As to the affections of friends, Jesus Christ has solemnly declared that: "He who loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me," Matt. x. 37; and to the loss of temporal gain He has answered: "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?" Mark viii. 36.

Q. But would it not be enough for such a one to be Catholic in heart only, without professing his religion publicly?

A. No; for Jesus Christ has solemnly declared that, "He who shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him the Son of Man shall be ashamed when he shall come in his majesty, and that of his Father, and of the holy angels." Luke ix. 26.

Q. But might not such a one safely put off being received into the Church till the hour of death?

A. This would be to abuse the mercy of God.

Q. What might be the punishment for this sin?

A. To lose the light and grace of faith, and die a reprobate.

Q. What else keeps many from becoming Catholics?

A. It is this; they know very well that, if they become Catholics, they must lead honest and sober lives, be pure, and check their sinful passions, and this they are unwilling to do. "Men love darkness rather than light," says Jesus Christ, "because their deeds are evil." There are none so deaf as those that will not hear.

Q. What follows from what has been said on salvation in the Roman Catholic Church alone?

A. That it is very impious for one to think and to say that it matters little what a man believes provided he be an honest man.

Q. What answer can you give to a man who speaks thus?

A. I would ask him whether or not he believed that his honesty and justice was so great as that of the Scribes and Pharisees in the Gospel?

Q. In what did the honesty and justice of the Scribes and Pharisees consist?

A. They were constant in prayer, they paid tithes according to the law, gave great alms, fasted twice a week, and compassed sea and land to make a convert and bring him to the knowledge of the true God.

Q. What did Jesus Christ say of this justice of the Pharisees?

A. He says: "Unless your justice shall exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matt. v. 20.

Q. Was, then, the righteousness of the Pharisees very defective in the sight of God?

A. Most undoubtedly. Their righteousness was all outward show and ostentation. They did good only to be praised and admired by men; but within, their souls were full of impurity and malice. They were lewd hypocrites, who concealed great vices under the beautiful appearance of love for God, charity to the poor, and severity to themselves. Their devotion consisted in exterior acts, and they despised all who did not live as they did; they were strict in the religious observances of human traditions, but scrupled not to violate the commandments of God.

Q. What are you then to think of those men who say: "It matters little what a man believes, provided he be honest"?

A. That their exterior honesty, like that of the Pharisees, may be sufficient to keep them out of prison, but not out of hell.

Q. Should a non-Catholic say: "I would like very much to believe the doctrine of the Catholic Church, but I cannot," how would you answer?

A. That, without doubt, it is the will of God, that "all men be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Tim. ii. 4; but it is, at the same time, the will of God that you should earnestly employ all the proper means to acquire this necessary knowledge; otherwise, you plainly show that you do not sincerely desire to believe.

Q. What are the means you speak of?

A. Sincerity of heart which must prove itself,
1. By a most earnest desire to know the true religion,
2. By a diligent and persistent search for it,
3. By fervent and frequent prayer to God for the gift of faith,
4. And lastly, by a firm resolution to trample underfoot every obstacle that might hinder or retard one from embracing the known truth.

Q. But will one not lose his dear liberty if he believes and does what the Roman Catholic Church teaches?

A. No; on the contrary, he will then only enjoy true liberty, for he only is free whom the truth makes free.

Q. Cannot God do all things that He pleases?

A. He can.

Q. Why?

A. Because He is supreme Liberty itself.

Q. But can God sin?

A. He cannot.

Q. Are not the angels and saints in heaven free?

A. They are perfectly free, because they partake of the liberty of God.

Q. But can the saints sin?

A. They cannot.

Q. Is it, then, a mark of liberty to be under the power of sin, in following your passions, and so going to perdition?

A. This is no power or mark of liberty at all.

Q. What is it, then?

A. It is rather a mark of weakness and misery.

Q. What does the power of sin imply?

A. The possibility of becoming a slave of sin and the devil.

Q. Are those then truly free who are greatly under the power of sin, and thus go to hell?

A. They are rather the miserable slaves of sin and of their passions.

Q. What must necessarily become of them if they remain under this power of sin and of their passions?

A. They will become the slaves of the devil in hell for all eternity.

Q. Who, then, can call himself truly free?

A. He who wills and does what God wishes him to do for his everlasting happiness.

Q. If God, then, as we have seen, wishes that men should be saved only in the holy Roman Catholic Church, does a man lose, or does he enjoy liberty, when he believes and does what the Church teaches?

A. Then, indeed, he enjoys true liberty, and makes a proper use of it.

Q. What do you say of a man whose power of will is very great, and who hardly experiences any difficulty in following the teaching of the Church?

A. Such a man is truly free.

Q. Do Catholics, then, who faithfully live up to the teaching of the Church, enjoy greater liberty than Protestants and unbelievers, who believe and do as they please?

A. They do, indeed, because they are the children of the light of truth, that leads them to heaven, whilst those who live out of the Church are the children of the darkness of error, that leads them finally into the abyss of hell.

Q. If no one can be saved except in the Roman Catholic Church, what are all who are out of it bound to do?

A. They are obliged to become members of the Church.

Q. Does not common sense tell this to every non-Catholic?

A. It does.

Q. How so?

A. Because every non-Catholic believes that every practical member of the Catholic Church will be saved.

Q. What follows from this?

A. It clearly follows that when there is question about eternal salvation and eternal damnation, a sensible man will take the surest way to heaven.

Q. Will every one who is a member of the Catholic Church be saved?

A. No; only practical members will be saved; but those who are dead members, that is, bad Catholics, will be condemned to hell.

Q. Who is a practical member of the Catholic Church?

A. He who firmly believes all the truths contained in the Apostles' Creed, keeps the commandments of God and of the Church, and uses the means of grace, that is, the sacraments and prayer.

Q. Where do you learn all this?

A. In the Christian doctrine.

Q. Whose duty is it to teach the Christian doctrine?

A. This is the duty of the pastors of the Catholic Church.

Q. Is it very pleasing to God to instruct men in the Christian doctrine?

A. Yes; it is one of the holiest works, and most pleasing to God.

Q. Whose duty is it to attend to the explanation of the Christian doctrine?

A. This is the duty of all, but especially of those who are more or less ignorant of the Christian religion.

Q. Is God much pleased with those who eagerly listen to the explanation of the Christian doctrine?

A. God is so pleased with them that He often showed His pleasure by miracles.

Q. Is God also much displeased with those who do not care for the Christian doctrine?

A. God is so displeased with them that He often showed His displeasure by frightful punishments.

Q. What should we do when we hear the Christian doctrine explained?

A. We should listen to it with the intention of profiting by it.

Q. What do you call the book which briefly contains the Christian doctrine in the form of questions and answers?

A. The Catechism.

Q. Of what, then, does the Catechism treat?

A. The Catechism treats of what we must believe, of what we must do, and of the means of grace which we must use; that is, of the sacraments and prayer.


Not only Protestants, but Orthodox as well, are damned to eternal hellfire according to the traditional Roman doctrine.

“In the second place, we ask whether you and the Armenians obedient to you believe that no man of the wayfarers outside the faith of this Church, and outside the obedience to the Pope of Rome, can finally be saved.” - Pope Clement VI, Super Quibusdam, 1351AD

Another thing contrary to the Gospel is Rome's traditional teaching that infants and damned to hell if they die without baptism. Interestingly enough the East never had this problem, but only the West.

Of the many alledged heresies of John Wyclif, Pope Martin V at the Council of Constance formally and officially condemned the following proposition:

"Those who claim that the children of the faithful dying without sacramental baptism will not be saved, are stupid and presumptuous in saying this." - Session 15, 1415AD

Once again, the idea that it is stupid to say dead unbaptized children burn in hell is utterly condemned formally by the pope. Rome, at least traditional Rome, taught, proclaimed, and professed that all unbaptized dead infants suffer torments in hellfire. Wyclif taught against this, and was condemned for it.

From the very same Council,

"This holy synod, therefore, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, repudiates and condemns, by this perpetual decree, the aforesaid articles [of John Wyclif, his teachings, pamphelts, and books] and each of them in particular; and it forbids each and every Catholic henceforth, under pain of anathema, to preach, teach, or hold the said articles or any one of them.” - Session 15

This Roman Council infallibly declared Wyclif a heretic, his teachings heresies, plainly noting he was of "cursed memory", and that any Roman Catholic holding to any of his teachings was under the dreaded anathema. This is a perpetual decree, said the Roman Ecumenical Council, and anyone not holding to it is damned in Rome's eyes. Again, the Greek Churches never proposed or had this problem, but only the Roman Church.

To be certain unbaptized infants perish in hell according to Rome, let us turn to what another pope and council says,

“If anyone says that recently born babies should not be baptized even if they have been born to baptized parents; or says that they are indeed baptized for the remission of sins, but incur no trace of the original sin of Adam needing to be cleansed by the laver of rebirth for them to obtain eternal life, with the necessary consequence that in their case there is being understood a form of baptism for the remission of sins which is not true, but false: let him be anathema.” - Council of Trent, Session 5

It is quite clearly implied that unbaptized infants perish in eternal hellfire if they should die. Further, the Roman Catechism - or also called the Catechism of the Council of Trent - once the universal catechism by replaced by the new one, declared thus:

"Since infant children have no other means of salvation except Baptism, we may easily understand how grievously those persons sin who permit them to remain without the grace of the Sacrament longer than necessity may require, particularly at an age so tender as to be exposed to numberless dangers of death." - Catechism of Trent

Interestingly enough, Limbo was first a Pelagian fable, a heresy denounced by Rome but revived by scholastics like Thomas Aquinas. It was never a Roman Catholic dogma, and therefore subject to change. Pope Benedixt 16th goes against traditional Roman teaching in asserting unbaptized infants see Heaven should they die. In fact, he proclaims Wyclif's heresy, and according to Rome is under the anathema himself!

"The doctrine which rejects as a Pelagian fable, that place of the lower regions (which the faithful generally designate by the name of the limbo of the children) in which the souls of those departing with the sole guilt of original sin are punished with the punishment of the condemned, exclusive of the punishment of fire, just as if, by this very fact, that these who remove the punishment of fire introduced that middle place and state free of guilt and of punishment between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation, such as that about which the Pelagians idly talk” – Condemned as false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools." - Pope Pius VI, Auctorem Fidei, 1794AD

Besides the Second Vatican Council contradicting much of Rome's old teachings, thus calling to question whether this Church is truly the one and only Church, infallible, and a means of total salvation, the very fact of the papacy being built on a falsehood is enough for a faithful member to renounce his religion and hold fast to Jesus Christ.

For so long I had left Him, and now recently, amidst my mistakes and sins, am rushing back into His arms. I lied to myself in thinking I had found the truth in Rome, and in turn I lied to others. I apologize to you all.

There is so much that cannot be all told here. The Scriptures and Church history speaks for itself as a testimony against Roman Catholicism, the ever-changing, ever-evolving Church, and her papacy. It is so unlike Apostolic Rome that it cannot truthfully be called 'Apostolic' anymore. The essential truths have been compromised, the Gospel tarnished, and Christ removed from His throne and in His stead a man, the pope, as supreme head over the Church. Christ, visible in the Eucharist, is the true Head of the Church and no other. Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, and other Protestant groups proclaim the mystery of the Eucharist, but the Greek Churches even more so, maintaining that ancient biblical and historical doctrine of the Last Supper. Transubstantiation is a false doctrine not declared in Scripture, and on that note I will say even the Presbyterians and Reformed Churches proclaim a very sound Eucharistic teaching, naturally contrary to Rome's and perhaps to Luther's, but certainly rejecting Zwingle's teaching all the same. Given the description of the Eucharist from a Reformed perspective, I would seriouslly find no reason to reject it. But how unlike this teaching does Rome preach! Contrary to all that is taught in Scripture, contrary to St. Paul's own words,

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. - Col. 1:15-23

Not a word of a visible head besides Christ, but rather this Apostle stresses that Christ IS VISIBLE, the Icon of the Invisible God, and that HE THE VISIBLE CHRIST is ALONE the Supreme Head of the Christian Church. No bishop has the right to such authority, no human creature should dare take this role for himself, for it belongs to Jesus alone, Him alone, and no other. The Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing even to the joints of bone and marrow: let the Holy Scriptures speak then and bring you into His light, out of the mangled interpretations from popes and cardinals, and let the Holy Spirit lead you out from the lies proclaimed in Rome.

I bear no hatred against any Roman Catholic: I love them, many of whom are my dearest, most dearest friends, and I hope will remain that way. If you are honest with yourself, honest with Christ, you must examine the claims of the Roman Church and see if you truly follow Christ, or the evolved teachings of men. I say all of this knowing full-well my relationship with some Roman Catholics will never be the same again, and perhaps that may well be, but so be it for the sake of Christ. If I am condemned by Rome then so be it, let me be under the anathema. I know in whom I believe, and I know He is faithful to the end, even though I am many times faithless to Him. But I look forward to eternal life, not to this present world, though I'm thankful to be where I am, I press onward in His Truth, drawing ever-nearer to Him in my pains, despite my sins, knowing He is more than ready to forgive.

This is it. I pray for you all, and I ask you to pray for me. Do not think this was a sudden choice, but it spanned almost a year if not more of continual searching, and now I've found Him again, or rather He found me. A prodigal has come home.

God, may Your Truth be shown, may Your Word speak, may Your Light show the way and guide us in Your Truth. Amen.

Christ, have mercy. Amen.


In case any of you are wondering which church I'm leaning towards now, I'm sincerely seeking out the Reformed Christian faith. That's the "Calvinist" faith specifically, and believe me I'm just as much surprised about this as you are! But I haven't found the doctrine of grace preached and taught so faithfully according to the biblical texts as I have found in Calvinism. I don't think I have much of a choice, but this freedom I'm feeling inside me despite my INNUMERABLE sins is a bit of a good sign. A bit ;) Don't be surprised if I announce I'm attending the local Presbyterian church in town. God bless all.