Are Catholics Saved and Are They Christians?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Are Catholics Christians?  Are Catholics saved?  Catholics go to confession before a priest; is this wrong?  Can Catholics ever be sure that the sacraments can save them?  How can Christians know if Catholics are saved?  Can a Catholic ever be sure of their salvation?

Roman Catholicism:  What is it?

The word Catholic literally means universal.  It does not mean a specific denomination per say.  It refers to a generally held and universal belief more than it does refer to a denomination.  The Catholic Church was the dominant force when it was able to convert the old Roman Empire, from the inside out.  During the many early years of Christianity, the church at Rome defended the veracity of the Bible, protected the belief of the Trinity, upheld the truthfulness of Jesus’ birth from the Virgin Mary, and built these beliefs in what is commonly called the Creed.  The Creed was a multifaceted document that stated the untenable beliefs of the Bible, of the holiness of God, and the prevention of heresies that came from many different sects.

Many of the early church patriarchs stated that these foundational beliefs were “catholic”; that is they were held universally in the church.  If any of these beliefs were not held by a church, then that particular faith or church was said to be heretical.  In other words, in a religious denomination or church did not believe that Jesus was both God and man, that the Bible is the perfect and infallible Word of God, and that God was three personages in One (the Trinity), then that church or denomination was a false church teaching a false gospel.

Catholic Church Doctrines

The Pope is said to be infallible.  Catholics confess their sins to the priest.  This church believes that is it the one and only true faith.  They understand that baptism saves, even in infancy.  They think that the sacraments are essential to salvation and that the Eucharist keeps them from sin.  And they believe that Mary is the co-redeemer and that they need to make intercessory prayer to her to reach God.[1]    This seems to tie works to their salvation.  That is, works alone are not enough to save.  Even so, the doctrines of the church may not be perfect, but God can still save those with imperfect understanding since Jesus alone saves.  What church has perfect understanding of all scripture?  What church is without error?  What believer knows all biblical doctrine without fault?  None do.

Are Catholics Saved?

I have heard other Christian’s state that since Catholics depend upon works they are not saved.  Other believers say that since they believe in works they are not truly Christians.  In fact, God alone knows for certain if they are saved or not.  I have known Catholics that live out their faith and profess a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  I have also known Catholics that show utterly no belief in God by their behavior or language.  I am not in a position to say whether a person is saved or not saved.  God is the only One Who knows their heart.  I will not venture to even guess because this is none of my business.

I had a co-worker who was a devout Catholic.  Last year she committed suicide and her church family at the service stated that she was going to hell…some thought she would be in purgatory for thousands of years.  Ironically, I asked this lady if she believed in Jesus Christ, if He was born of a virgin, if she believed that He died for her sins, if He died and was resurrected.  She believed all of these things, so in my humble opinion, I believe that I will see her someday in heaven.  The question of whether a believer can commit suicide and still be saved will be in a future article but from my understanding of the Bible, I believe that someone who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior is securely saved.

Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” John 6:37 and 10:28-29 states, “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” and “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

The Final Judge

No human alive can look into the heart of another.  Only God alone knows the heart and He alone knows for certainty whether they have saving faith.  I am a finite being.  I am in no position to know if a particular Catholic is saved or not.  That is God’s prerogative alone.  Yes, some Catholics may not be actually saved, but I can also say that there are some who profess to be Christians who may also not be saved.  We are told to work out our own salvation, to make our profession sure, and to depend upon Jesus Christ and His atoning work at Calvary to save us.  We are saved by faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone.  And if a Catholic believes that Jesus Christ died for their sins, that He rose again, that He was both God and man, and that He alone can save, who am I to question anyone’s profession of faith.  Here by the grace of God am I.

Was this Article Helpful?

If this article was helpful to you, please consider linking this article to your own blog or sharing this through the social buttons to the left. You might also find some of these other good Christian Answer articles helpful:

Does God Still Work Miracles Today?

What is Speaking in Tongues?

Does The Bible say What the Devil Looks Like?

Sources

The Holy Bible, New International Version

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

1.   Understanding Roman Catholicism, ©1995 by Rick Jones. Chick Publications

Ontario, CA.  (p 252, 125).



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{ 111 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam June 9, 2011 at 9:32 am

Nice article Jack. You touched upon a controversial subject and came around to the truth of the gospel. Grace alone. Thanks for your boldness in putting out the truth! Well done.

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Fred June 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Jack, it is very unfortunate that your co-workers church family did not have a proper understanding of the teachings of the Catholic Church. This is a quote directly from the Catechism:

“We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.”

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Ben January 23, 2015 at 7:12 pm

Chapter and verse please. No Catechism

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GiGi July 30, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Please view the website attached. Catholics are Christian too and there are a lot of misconceptions (Pope infallibility, confession, Mary’s role in the Church, etc) out there. The Bible is very present during the Mass and many, like many dominations, adhere to Jesus and the Lord but there are those that only profess faith without really believing in the Lord. I have been in the Catholic Church, fallen away, and have returned to it so I have questioned it myself.
You can also see these websites for more information about Catholicism:

http://listverse.com/2009/07/13/top-10-misconceptions-about-the-catholic-church/

http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/04/20/top-15-misconceptions-about-catholics/

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/a/faq-cc.html

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Ben January 23, 2015 at 7:34 pm

Tell me what’s so good about catholic church. “Call no man father”, “Body of Christ”, “And God spake all these words, saying, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”

This could go on most of the night, but I chose to not do that. If you study God’s Word you will see how many hundreds of times it says not to do something that the CC cult says you must do. Also, the same number where it says you must do something where the CC cult says you must not do. You figure it out.

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Ever Searching July 30, 2011 at 6:15 pm

“And if a Catholic believes that Jesus Christ died for their sins, that He rose again, that He was both God and man, and that He alone can save, who am I to question anyone’s profession of faith. Here by the grace of God am I.”- this is true from any Christian denomination too but I have to say the Catholic Church doctrine section is full of misconceptions, not fact.

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Amy Lee July 30, 2012 at 1:12 am

It is NOT the Catholic church doctrine that is full of misconceptions, but rather people are. The doctrine of the Catholic faith has NOT changed for thousands of years and has survived thru the ages and thru thousands of other denominations that had spinned-off it. The Catholic Faith and doctrines has remained unchanged all thru the millenia and will continue to be so for many more millenia.

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Ben Drake August 14, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Amy, you are very correct. The corrupt cc has basically not changed. It started out totally corrupt and remains so today.

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Jack Wellman July 30, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Fred, thank you for such a compassionate response. I was so impressed by your love for this lady’s state. Thank you and thank you for your comment my friend. Your love for God is displayed by your words.

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Jack Wellman July 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Thank you “Ever Searching” for your comment. I understand what you are saying. I also think that there are many evangelical or protestant churches that have many misconceptions. Some churches believe in the rapture, some do not. Some believe you are saved by works some believe you are not. Some believe in the coming milliniuem and others do not. God does not base our salvation, thankfully, on our perfect understanding or none of us would have a chance. I can not judge others and am in no position to do so. I do believe there is no perfect church that teaches all doctrines and have all beliefs perfect. I thank God that we can be imperfect yet be perfectly forgiven because we are saved on our belief on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, His resurrection, His death on our behalf for our sins, and whomever believes in Him shall be saved.

God alone knows the condition of their heart and whether they are truly saved. Even my doctrine at the church I am under-shepherd must have some mistakes but the primacy of the blood of the Lamb of God covering our sins overcomes much. To this I am most thankful.

I once heard that there will be three surprises in heaven when we get there:

The people we thought for sure would be there will not be.
The people we thought for sure would not be there will be there.
How in the world did I ever get here.

Thank you again for your comment. It is flavored with compassion, caring, and there is no judgmental flavor to it. And for that I am thankful. You comments are input are always welcome here and I thank you for visiting us. I am still a work in progress; ever learning and ever growing yet never achieving perfection until that Great Day of the Lord’s Second Advent.

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Jack Wellman July 30, 2011 at 8:59 pm

GiGi, I also want to thank you for your input. The links were very beneficial and helped and I believe they will also help those who visit them. Once again I lean on the ageless axiom of those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior:

In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity (or love).

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GiGi July 31, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Mr. Wellman,
I appreciate your kindness and willingness for discussion not monologues with denial of differing opinions and views like I have see in other blog postings. I appreciate your ecumenical conversation!

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Jack Wellman August 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I appreciate your response and thank you again. The Body of Christ, the church, is made up of many members and no two are alike. Just like people differ, so too do churches in their beliefs. Just looking at nature, God loves variety and so too are churches differing in some ways but most agree on the main thing: we worship Jesus Christ and acknowledge that He was crucified for us to redeem us and to have an eternal relationship with God and to be with Him some day forever and into eternity. May God continue to use you as a means of bringing the peace of God to others as you have to me and this site. May God also richly bless you in all things.

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Franz Dinar Osida, RN December 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm

I come from the Philippines which is around 90% Catholic. My family’s mixed in faith. My mom and I are Protestant in heart and practice while my dad and sister are Catholic. And we used to go to Catholic church together since it’s sort of the cultural Sunday thing here.

I do believe that as long as you confess that Jesus is your savior, that you believe in His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection, and accept it with all heart and soul, you have just won the eternal benefits of the gospel. God does not look at the creed or denomination but in the faith, as what we believe in the church I am now placed in.

Where I live sadly, Catholicism has become more of like a tradition than a profession of faith. I am not Anti-Catholic but I do shudder at the reliance on practices here like wiping the statues of saints or sculptures of the Nazarene for healing, or going to church merely to cleanse one’s self of guilt, praying the rosary while cursing at young kids for being noisy and the often-visited self-flagellation of repentant sinners and their eventual crucifixion.

Catholics defend icons as a representation of the saint’s holiness, and that praying to it is like praying with a Bible. Also in Catholic belief, saints can intercede your prayer to God, like “praying for someone”. That’s where the cookie crumbled. I don’t want a religion that makes me do things. I wanna do things for God not as a requirement but as a love offering. And many here are actually leaving the Catholic church to be Christians and feel more the essence of a loving God who does not require from them too much and loves them all the same.

Catholicism here has strayed from what is said in Ephesians… that we are saved by faith, and not by good works which includes rituals, novenas, and charity work. Sadly that is the impression here, that it is solely by how you behave in this world that God can save you. I always tell the ones God has entrusted me to for discipleship that “we have already been saved, all we have to do is claim it and live it”. And as we believe in our church, “you can never do anything to make God love you more or even love you less”.

Well I think this sounds more like a blurt out of my hurts but the Christians need representing in our television soaps! I have never seen a soap opera here featuring a devout Christian family, showing people the real essence of living in Christ… with faith and complete surrender to Him, not an attitude of “God I will pray the rosary right now cause my hubby’s in a coma”.

I believe Catholics too have the right to be saved, and they can be saved. Just that there needs to be a re-tuning in theology and beliefs.

Just comes to show no matter whether you’re Catholic or Protestant or Born-again Christians, we should always remember that Christ died for us to rid us of sin. He has sealed the deal and all we have to do is claim it. Whatever we do for God is not a requirement for salvation, but a sign of surrender and worship to Him.

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Jack Wellman December 16, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Well said Franz. I believe that no single believer anywhere has all truth and that we must place our faith in Christ and not in works. I appreciate your comment and thank you for it. Your words are so full of love and grace in Christ. Amen to your comment its not what we do but what Christ has done. Please come back and visit us again Franz. Thank you.

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Rachel January 7, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Thank you so much. I’m in the middle of a long, extensive debate with my fiance about how to raise our future children. He is Catholic, I am Lutheran. I started out very open minded, but the more I researched the Catholic practices the more certain I am that I am not comfortable raising my kids that way. If they choose to become Catholic later in life, I will respect their decision. My fiance is not yet sold on Lutheranism (part of it is that the Catholic church demands that its member raise their children Catholic, and force their spouses to submit to it. I say “force” because that is what it feels like to me). I want to thank you and say that this website has been very helpful in our discussions and I’m praying that God will lead us both to believe whatever is true so that we can both serve him better. God bless you!

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Jack January 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Rachel, thank you so much for visiting our website. We try to write about some of the more difficult issues that Christians encounter in their walk with Christ. I am thrilled that you are researching these things for to have a family that is on the same page is going to be so beneficial to adding stability to your children’s faith and you and your fiances. I like that you are allowing them to choose for themselves what they desire to be once they become adults.

I too will pray that God will lead you both to have unity in the home, in your faith, and in your children’s future. That is so admirable. Your children and your fiance for that matter, are certainly most blessed to have such a godly and caring mother such as you. May God grant you wisdom, which if you ask, He promises to give you such (James 1:5).

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Rachel February 27, 2012 at 11:58 am

Hello Jack!

After much consideration and confusion, my fiance and I decided to read through the entire Catholic Catechism and compare it directly to the Bible. The Catholic church states that it has always grounded its doctrine upon the Bible, but we have found that it is not so. In many ways, the Catechism plainly states the direct opposite of the Bible. Even I was a little shocked at how obvious the disagreements are, but my fiance especially was troubled. He now feels that the Catholic church deceives its members by twisting and stretching the Bible in order to fit its teachings, when it should be conforming its teachings to the Bible. Once we were able to prove (using God’s word itself) that the Catholic church was NOT predicted to remain free of error, it was easy to understand the importance of making sure that all doctrine comes from the Bible. Since the Catholic Encyclopedia admits that certain Catholic teachings are NOT drawn from the Bible, we cannot assume they are true. We have come up with quite a list of Catholic teachings which simply cannot be true if the Bible is true.

In the beginning, my fiance was quite insistent on me converting to Catholicism, and raising our future children together in the Catholic church. After much thought and soul-searching on both our parts, he has, miraculously, had a change of heart and now wishes to leave the Catholic church and continue learning the truth. I thank God that we have managed to stay together and support each other through this difficult process! I feel truly blessed and I am certain that God is leading us in the right direction. I am so thankful that we are finally in agreement on how our children will be raised, and that we will be attending one church, together, not just to please each other, but to please God. We have finally set our wedding date for this coming August and I am so excited! I can hardly wait to discover all the joys of two people being joined together in Christ through marriage. I am more excited than ever to begin having children and starting our own family.

It has taken longer than we’d anticipated to reach a decision, but it was worth it. Just as we started to feel like giving up, the answer came. We consulted numerous websites, books, priests, pastors, and church members. My fiance and I would like to thank you again for your guidance. May God bless you, and help you to continue in His ministry and lead others to God! We are so grateful!

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Jack February 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Hello Rachel. What a blessing to my heart your comment gave me. I truly rejoice at your studying which to me shows that you truly want to serve God and obey Him as much as humanly possible. I want to congratulate you. Assuredly, you and your fiance and your children are going to be blessed because you are seeking God’s will and your diligence in seeking what is best for your family proves this. I must say that you made my day and this makes it all worth it. I know that no single church or no single Christian (hey, no single pastor like me) has all truth and is free from error, but God looks at the heart and I can sense the Holy Spirit is working in you both and I know that your offspring will be godly children for they will take after their parents own heart.

Please come back and bless us again soon with your words and God’s blessing on your marriage. I am overjoyed to say the least and pray for God’s hand to be upon you both.

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Adam gorski June 13, 2012 at 3:07 am

1) bible alone is not in the bible

Reasons why
1- for thousands of years or longer God had a covedent with the Jewish people as they were nomadic with no written language or ability to write down Gods words 

2- can a child or a disabled person believe in Christ if they can’t read or write

3-  the apostles and nicene creeds established by a living church can give us a guidance for Christ as our savior.  The apostles creed may pre date the new testament right to the day of Pentecost 

4- the sacrements of baptism, eucharist, confession, comfirmation, holy orders, matrimony and anointing of the sick offer us tools for our salvation.  All sacrements are out lined through the church in the bible 

5-there were many Christians before the last book (revelations) was written in 95 ad that had Christian guidance 

6- there was not even a universal understanding of what books belonged in the bible (73 books) until the church said so at synod of hippo 393 ad through second council of Carthage at 406ad

7-the Eucharist has always been the center of main stream Christian worship service (catholic, Anglican, Coptic, lutheran, Methodist, orthodox, some Presbyterian and more) plus would still be the center without the bible as Jesus said and did 4 times in the bible. John 6:53

8-The church of the saint thomas of India existed as a trinity, baptism initiated, Eucharist centered church from the year 52ad until 1550 without western influence and a new testament 

9-we would be able to know the true nature of Christ and the traditional apostolic church just through the pre nicene writings.  Which are the writings from church fathers such as polycarp that studied directly under the apostles that walked with Jesus. 

10- if the catholic church didn’t exist we wouldn’t have a bible that they preserved through out the ages against heresies such as Arianism, and gnosticism. Also against invading barbarians, Mongols, and Islam.

11-as languages were developing and constantly changing they preserved 
the bible in the only language that has not changed and is still used for over. 2,000 years Latin 

12-for near enternity until only the last 100 years less than 10% of all Christians and before that Jewish  did not have the ability to read and were still they under the guidance of their pastors and priests believed their covadent with God

13- there are 2.3 billion trinity baptized Christians and and 1.8 billion of them recognize the apostles and nicene creed and have a sacramental understanding that baptism, and holy Eucharist are there church foundations. 

14-Jesus never left us with any actual writings he left us with 12 men

15-the bible says it is not the only rule of faith (1: Tim 3:15)
( 2 thess 2:15)

16- there was no common name in any language for Rock before peter (petros) was named  Cephas in Jesus’s native 
Aramaic in Matt 16:18

In conclusion jesus left us 12 imperfect men that under the guidance of the holy ghost were able to write a perfect book and were able to appoint successors that canonized and preserved the catholic churches perfect book that over 38,000 small splitter groups use today.  Finally  if there was no catholic church there would be no bible. 

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Rachel June 13, 2012 at 7:51 am

Hello Adam,

Thank you for your comment. First, as Catholic scholars themselves recognize, it is not necessary that the Bible explicitly and formally teach sola Scriptura in order for this doctrine to be true. Many Christian teachings are a necessary logical deduction of what is clearly taught in the Bible (e.g., the Trinity).

The Bible does say to follow Scripture as well as oral tradition. I believe there is a very simple explanation for that. When the church was first established, none of the New Testament was written yet. So of course, those who wished to learn about Christ had to rely on the oral teaching of the Apostles, or those educated by the Apostles. Since the Apostles all had firsthand accounts, they were quite a reliable source. But there is no evidence that oral tradition was needed once the New Testament was written. All Apostolic tradition was written down in Scripture. In fact, John wrote “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name,” (John 20:30-31). So although Jesus did many other miracles, John specifically mentioned that what he had written was sufficient for believing in Christ and having life in His name.

The Bible also has several passages stating that Scripture alone is enough. 2 Timothy 3:15 says, “And because from infancy you have known the holy scriptures, which can instruct you to salvation, by faith which is Christ Jesus.” Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, to the Jew first, and to the Greek.” James 1:21 says, “With meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” Consequently, the word contained in the Bible is able to save our souls.

Of course, that is not to say that the illiterate can not be saved. Anyone can learn about Scripture from those who are educated. In the same way, a person may educated themselves by reading the Bible and come to salvation without any involvement of the church.

The Old Testament was around long before the Catholic Church. Romans 3:1-2 says “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” The Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God, meaning they had the correct Canon, which they called the Septuagint. Jesus preached from the Spetuagint and He referred to it in Luke 11:51 when He said “from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah”. Abel was the first Martyr in the Old Testament (Genesis), and Zechariah was the last martyr in the Old Testament (Chronicles). The Septuagint began with Genesis and ended with Chronicles, and contained all of the same books as the standard 39 books accepted by protestants today, but they were arranged differently. For example, all of the 12 minor prophets (Hosea through Malachi) were contained in one book. This is why there are only 24 books in the Hebrew Bible today.

The Bible warns more than once that we are not to go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6, Deuteronomy 4:6, Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19).

Since the Bible is the word of God, I believe it is preserved by God Himself, not any church. I believe the Bible belongs to God, not the Catholic Church. And I disagree with you in saying that without the Catholic Church there would be no Bible.

I don’t think I’m understanding all the points you were trying to make, so I apologize for not being able to explain further.

Thank you, Adam, for you input. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

-Rachel

Jack Wellman June 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Bible is not in the Bible but neither is the word Trinity but we know its true. I disagree about there would be no Bible without the Catholic church. God is most capable of preserving His word.

You said that the Bible is not the only rule of faith? False. You quoted 1 Tim 3:15 which says, “if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” but I see nothing that says the Bible is not the only rule of faith.

Are you saying that evangelicals are not saved? What are you telling us about those who believe in Christ outside of the Catholic faith? Are they doomed to hell?

Adam gorski June 14, 2012 at 1:40 am

Are any of you speaking infallible about your personal bible interpation. I attended close to 20 different denominations before I found a home at the catholic church. The catholic and orthodox churches have a solid answer for every single verse in the bible I suggest all of you really pray over the passages you have concerns about and take off your anabaptist glass.
The Eucharist is the center of all aposltic faiths

Jack Wellman June 14, 2012 at 6:35 am

Adam, I am not going to debate here who is right and who is wrong, nor whether non-Catholics or Catholics are right. This is not what this article was intended to do. The intent was for us not to judge others from faiths or denominations that differ from ours. I am sorry you may feel that you have all truth and speak with inerrancy. I believe that many differences are reconciled by Jesus Christ Who is the Head of the Church.

Again I ask you, “Are you saying that evangelicals are not saved? What are you telling us about those who believe in Christ outside of the Catholic faith? Are they doomed to hell?” You did not answer this question.

Adam gorski June 14, 2012 at 8:15 am

“saved”
No man can judge another only god can

As apostolic faiths define no salvation outside the church.

1- all evangelicals are part of the catholic church even if they don’t realize it. All trinity baptized Christians are part of the universals catholic church. And if someone else is saved outside of that bond it is through blissful ignorance that they are still following Jesus. The bible says we are responsible for what we know. As long as an evangelical is seeking the truth his possibility of salvation is increased. As a catholic I actually have less of a chance of being saved because I am held at a higher standard because of my knowledge of the truth. But the majority of us will still go through Sheol

Adam gorski June 14, 2012 at 8:39 am

I am still not speaking infallibly it is just an opinion to the best of my knowledge

Rachel June 14, 2012 at 9:08 am

Adam,

I would like to point out that the verses I quoted do not need any “personal bible interpretation.” The words are quite plain. You also said the Catholic and Orthodox churches have solid answers for everything. Yet, from my experience, there are a number of differences between the two churches. So, they cannot both be right, no matter how solid their answers may seem. I myself attended RCIA and found many of the Catholic church’s answers and explanations to be quite shaky and even contradictory. And, I don’t know why you would give your personal opinion after you just got done saying that personal opinion doesn’t matter because the church’s opinion is infallible. I’m not trying to condemn you or your opinion. I’m just pointing out your inconsistency. Having your own opinion goes against one of the core beliefs of Catholicism. I personally believe that all believers have the Holy Spirit within us, which enables us to understand God’s word. I believe God reveals it to each individual at His own pace. When a person feels they have already had all the answers handed to them, such as by the church, they close themselves off from whatever God may be trying to show them.

May God truly bless you.

-Rachel

Ben January 30, 2012 at 3:32 am

Hey Jack thanks for the post, it has articulated things that I have been feeling are true for maybe a couple of months now. I have been all over the board with my faith recently (I am a 2nd year in college and only begun to truly understand my faith at the beginning of my first year) and have been very lost in things like lordship salvation and have dealt with catholic beliefs and some extreme false teachers all because they convinced me that their way was right when I read something online or saw some biblical evidence and i now see what I believe is the truth which is that if we believe jesus is the son of god who died for our sins and trust him for our salvation then we are saved.
I have a catholic girlfriend who is sort of in the beginning stage I was in, where she is searching to understand what her faith means to her and I really want to be able to marry her someday but up until now I have thought it would be impossible and a sin to do so, up until I found someone else that had my same view of things (you). I know that it probably isn’t under my better judgement to marry someone I can’t even sit next to at church so I haven’t made the decision that I will ask her to marry me someday yet, but I at least can see that we could raise children that would be saved or have a chance to. My greatest concern throughout all of this deciding process was that I couldn’t raise kids if i thought I wouldn’t have a good chance to at least give them a chance to be believers but i thought having a catholic wife and knowing she would want them to be catholics could ruin their chances of even wanting jesus. I now see that I and no one else have any right to decide who is and is not saved. It’s a long journey to see if this could work out but you have given me great peace of mind so thank you.
Sorry if my post seemed like babble! I tend to write things like this in a very confusing way…

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Jack Wellman January 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Ben, what an awesome post. I am glad that this article made you feel better. It is NOT babble but very good comments and I loved it. I believe that there is no church that has all truth and there is no church that has all knowledge of the Bible. I mean that each and every church, just like each and every believer, has imperfect knowledge of all doctrine in the Bible but the good news is that Jesus saves regardless of our imperfections. I am so glad you made this comment. I truly believe that there are people that go to some churches that are not saved and many in the Catholic church that are saved…there are both saved and unsaved in both of these institutions, but for me to sit in judgment of the Catholic faith, when truly only God knows for sure if a person belongs to and believes in Christ is saved. I can not look at the heart as He does and have no right to judge others based upon where they go.

Catholics believe that Jesus was sinless, died for our sins, was resurrected, and is saving a people for eternity. That is what saving faith is all about (Rom 10:9-13). God bless and thanks for visiting us and please return again soon if you can Ben.

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Ben March 19, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I cannot understand how a Catholic could profess Christ yet pray to idols and Mary. This is contrary to Christian beliefs and teachings. I do not believe that there will be professing Catholics in Heaven. I believe all the popes are in hell and I believe Mother teresa is in hell as they all have placed there trust and faith in praying to idols. While they may profess Christ they have not lived a life which demonstrates a change in their lifestyle.

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Jack March 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Ben, thank you sir for your comment. No church or denomination, no biblical scholar or theologian has all truth. Every Christian ever born has never had completely perfect faith and had no sin, so I would not say that about Catholics or any other believer. God alone knows the heart. Can you say that Mother Theresa did not demonstrate a lifestyle of a Christ-follower? She certainly appeared to in my eyes.

Think about this, there are many that I witness to about Christ who say they are Christians and yet many of them swear, curse, openly view or see movies or Internet sites over pornography. Many confess Christ, many profess Christ, yet many do not appear to posses Christ.

My point is, no one can know for sure where a person goes after they die if they have believed in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I can not know that. You say they pray to idols but even evangelical Christians have their own idols many times. I knew a Catholic lady who was so kind and tender hearted. I ask her once if she believed that Jesus came into the world thru a virgin birth, that He lived a perfect, sinless life, that He died for her sins, that he was crucified and died, and that He was raised from the dead. She said yes. I believe today that this lady, now departed, is in heaven. No one knows what’s inside a person’s heart. God alone can look at the heart.

I have no business saying some religions and their people are in hell if they state that they have placed their faith in Christ. I could be wrong and so I would not even try. Thanks for your comment Ben, but many “Christians” do not demonstrate a change in their lifestyle, so called “carnal Christians” so who knows?! God does. That’s all that matters. Thank you sir.

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Rachel March 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm

The Bible tells us that all sins, aside from denying God, are forgivable. Although I do believe there are many heresies within Catholic teaching, I believe many Catholics themselves have good intentions. I believe God knows that in their hearts they desire to please Him. The problem is, Catholics are forbidden to question the Church’s interpretation of the Bible. So they are taught ignore any biblical evidence against the Church. They are kept ignorant. Ignorance is not a sin. As Jesus Himself said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I believe that if we have faith in God and know that we are redeemed by Jesus’ suffering and death, and we do our best to show our love for God, He will have mercy on our souls. We all make honest mistakes, and all sins are equal in God’s eyes. I believe once we enter Heaven we will know the truth. Until then, we must do our best to discern matters using His word (scripture) and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

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Jack March 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Rachel, so well said. I believe that once we see Jesus, we all (including me, a pastor) will see that we’ve made many mistakes but God’s forgiveness extends to ignorance, I totally agree. I am still ignorant in many ways in worshiping God is spirit and in truth, but God will have and does have mercy on our souls. As a pastor, I don’t agree with everything the national denomination spouts as doctrine and they don’t let me question it either, so we try the best we can and put Christ as the centerpiece of our worship and we know that this is the focus of the church that Jesus Christ founded. Thank you so much Rachel for your words full of grace and love.

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Ben March 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Where in the Bible does it say that denying God is an unforgivable sin?

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Jack March 20, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Hi Ben. I believe that denying Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will send someone to hell…of their own choice. God never forces anyone to go to hell, they send themselves there. John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

If they place their faith in Christ before they die, they will not go to hell. If they deny God and then die, they will not be forgiven that for sure at the Great White Throne Judgment. Is that what you mean Ben?

Thank you.

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Rachel March 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Perhaps I should have phrased it better. I meant denying God as in denying His existance. The Bible says that Peter denied Jesus. Although Peter wanted to believe Jesus, he had doubts (as do we all at some point). Peter said to Jesus “help me in my unbelief!” But many of Peter’s actions showed him to be a righteous man. I am confident that Peter has been saved. What I meant as being unforgivable is disbelief in God. I believe eternal life is a gift from God. As believers, we accept that gift. But if someone rejects God, they are denying themselves of that gift. They are throwing away the eternal life in Heaven that God has offered them. How can you accept a gift from someone you don’t believe even exists?

Jack March 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I understand better now Rachel. Thank you so much for clarifying it. You wrote that “They are throwing away the eternal life in Heaven that God has offered them. How can you accept a gift from someone you don’t believe even exists?”

Great point. That makes great sense and that is impossible to argue with. I see what you mean. You would refuse to accept a gift from someone that doesn’t exit in your mind and so this is truly denying God’s existence. Excellent. I totally agree with your reasoning. Just as an atheist does not believe in God they would never accept a free gift from someone that they believe is not real.

I too believe Peter was saved and sometimes even the strongest Christians will deny Christ in front of others but that’s a different issue isn’t it because Peter denied Christ in that he didn’t want to be associated with Him then but he truly believe in Jesus. I think this is what you are saying. Thank you again. Loved your comment. Its spot on the mark Rachel.

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Rachel March 20, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Yes, thank you Jack. I believe you are correct. I believe if we say that we do not believe in God when really we do, it is just like any other lie. God knows that we still believe in Him, but He is not pleased that we have not told the truth.

It’s always a please hearing from you, Jack.
God bless you!

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Rachel March 20, 2012 at 11:19 pm

pleasure*

Jack March 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Thanks Rachel. You continue to bless me with your words so full of godly grace my friend.

Ben March 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I would compare idol worship to any other serious sin. I agree that it is hard to believe they could be a professing christian but if you think about it they started out believing jesus saved them. they got caught up in the supposed worship of mary. they don’t believe they worship her of course, they interpret the bible one way which supports what they believe so they think that it is what is right when they pray to mary. They see parallel between mary and the ark of the covenant in Luke which they interpret to mean she was made without sin because the ark was supposed to be flawless so that it could hold the contents it bore and the presence of god within it. I totally disagree with what they believe and I believe there are verse that contradict this but I can’t argue and say there aren’t parallels between mary and the ark. I just think that those parallels weren’t intentional and don’t mean that mary is perfect. My point is that they have a reason for what they believe and for them it doesn’t distract from their worship from god. They profess his name while doing these sins that they don’t know are wrong. If they were blatantly worshiping mary, even in a Catholic’s eye, they would get called out on it. My point is that they don’t know what they do is wrong and they do it with faith in christ. They think it is right to do. I don’t think I would blame my girlfriend for doing what she is doing because if i were raised catholic I would believe that the catholics had the proper interpretation of the bible. Sorry for the stream of consciousness. My point is that until the catholics find reason themselves to believe that what they do might actually be worship I don’t know if they will be condemned for it, they have just been tricked by a system. My girlfriend does as good of a job as living out her faith as I do for sure. She just has belief in different doctrines because she was raised with them. Most of the christian world doesn’t agree on doctrine, we have so many denominations. I think that Catholics are far off in their interpretation but I think it is impossible to judge them as condemned or saved because God will judge their hearts and I think their hearts can still be after Jesus. I imagine that if Jesus saw their behavior he would condemn the church for its beliefs and perhaps the leaders of the church for misleading so many, I can’t say that for sure of course, but I think he would have mercy on those that were tricked into believing that prayer to the dead was all right. Do you see what I mean? Jesus brought mercy on those that needed it not because they deserved it but because he loved them. I don’t think a Catholic is necessarily condemned for having certain beliefs. they can still live out their faith, it will just be clouded by their actions that go against the bible. We all sin and prayer to mary is not a lot different than any other sin we have committed. Once again sorry for the stream of consciousness.

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Jack March 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Ben, you are so right sir. I see so much grace and love in your words. Well said. We are all imperfectly worshiping God in many ways, and I am no exception, but you are also correct, Jesus may not be happy with the way they are doing it. No apology necessary for “streams of consciousness” because I see you wanting to worship God in spirit and in truth as Jesus said to the Samaritan Woman at the well. You make excellent points. In the church I pastor, there are some things in their doctrines that I don’t agree with but we all can centralize on worshiping Christ as the centerpiece of worship services. No church has all truth and I love your line, “they can still live out their faith.” Well said my friend. I think you have made some outstanding points. Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to love the Lord you God with all your heart, mind, and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. I struggle at these and know I fall short, but God is gracious and merciful, as you said. Thank you Ben. Please do come back and visit us again. You have so much that you can add to this website on this and any other article you feel led by the Spirit to do so sir.

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Michael August 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm

this is actually not just a reply to you Ben but to all that have expressed the same opinion as you just did. I am a catholic and I will tell you the truth since you are simply not seeing the truth. Catholics do not pray to Mary we pray through Mary. Ask any Catholic Priest and they will tell you the same thing I am telling you. As for you condemning someone to hell you are likening yourself to God which in my eyes is a very big sin. Tell me what you did to help the poor and the sick. Mother Theresa did alot to help the poor and the sick. Just because someone does not believe the same things as you does not make them non-Believers. that just makes you blind to the truth. I hope you can find forgiveness in the SAME god that we all believe in no matter the Denomination be it Catholic Baptist Methodist Protestent or Pentacoastal.

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Jack Wellman August 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Amen Michael. Thank you sir…I totally agree with you and I thank God for you friend.

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Ben August 21, 2012 at 9:53 am

I would not keep silent about that, I believe praying through Mary may be worse than praying to Mary. It seems more serious to me because it seems like it isn’t so bad. Jesus Christ is the only intercessor to God. Mary most likely cannot hear all of the millions of prayers of people at once. She simply is not God. She simply is not omnipotent. She went to heaven to praise and glorify God and to serve him. She went to heaven to be with Jesus Christ, not for people to pray through her. That is a very unbiblical thing. I have given all of the money I have to help the poor and the sick and I have nothing left in my account but that does not matter. That is because I do not wish to see the church suffer and my friends suffer. I was so evil before and Christ saved me and is continually sanctifying me. Yes, believing different things from me doesn’t make someone a nonbeliever but of course to a certain extent since we all have to believe in the Gospel to be saved it would. The Gospel is what saves us, sheer grace saves us. Nothing more, love will not save us. Faith in this Gospel will save us though and that alone will save us because it is the power of God to save. Love is important, it is probably the most important thing in a Christians life, to love God first, and love others second. But our love is gross and disgusting sometimes so we of course can’t depend on it for salvation and must trust in Christ alone for salvation which is our faith. The denomination someone is in does not matter but many denomination simply teach lies, like was said before, the prosperity gospel which many believe. Ours is the gospel of Jesus Christ and it is the only one worth a life. I think that a Catholic can surely be saved but I think that once they are saved God will direct them away from the Catholic Church because it is full of many lies. Peter was not the first pope, being given the keys to the kingdom was not a pope thing. Look at Peters life, he was the apostle to the jews for his whole life and then was crucified upside down, how could he have been pope? The Catholic Church is founded upon lies even though it seems glamours and seems like truth it is not. I only wish to bring out the truth which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it is the only thing that can save us, by grace alone can we be saved.
I do not wish to condemn anyone to hell. I would hate to do that and I wish to take it back if I did that before. I wish for all to be saved and all can be saved. If I condemned someone to hell I apologize, if I did that I would like to say that instead perhaps that person is not saved now but would be saved, changed by God’s grace. I wish that for them, I do not wish hell for them. I was not saved when I wrote much of what I wrote on this page. I was saved by Gods grace at the end of February and was a very evil guy before.
The path is narrow that leads to life, the gate is narrow. If the gate were narrow would so many be on it? would so many Catholics all happen to be going through this “narrow gate” of the Catholic Church? If the Catholic Church is partially the gate, not because it is the way people are saved, but because it is the true church, then it is not narrow. The Catholic Church is not narrow it is very broad. Look at how many call themselves Catholic. I am not saying many could not be saved, but many are not saved and are tricked. I believe the way to Christ is very narrow and only by God’s grace on each individual person can they be saved. Being born into it and continuing on for all of ones life in the church does not make them any more saved than someone who has never heard the gospel, the only thing that can saved a sinner is God’s all powerful Gospel, his all forgiving grace.

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Michael August 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Catholic Churches themselves DO NOT cause people to change denominations. People do that themselves. God did infact give us Free Will. I admit I havent been to a Catholic Church since My father died but thats not because of the Catholic teachings driving me away its of my own choice in otherwords I excersized my Free Will. The reason I dont go to the catholic church is because I no longer felt welcome. And the fact that I am Open Minded about religion. As you should be. again just because you dont agree with a religion does not make you right. I know you arent trying to be right but your trying to state your opinion. just as I am. I am trying to explain to you the Catholic Beliefs. you really should do some research on the denomination before you point out the flaws in it. Because I could point out flaws in other denominations if I wanted to but I wont because not all denominations are perfect. Perfect is a man made concept. The only Human Being that was perfect was Jesus Christ. yes I called him a human being was because in his time on Earth he was a human being. Yes he was both man and god at the same time but he was still a human being. and by the way dont take what I say as an insult because its not. I am trying to help you understand. Just as I expect people to help me understand things. I will continue praying for you to recieve the understanding that you deserve. God Bless
Yours in Christ
Michael

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Ben August 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Why should I be open minded about religion? I should be as open minded about religion as the apostle Paul was. I will not be open minded about religion when I have everything I need in Jesus Christ. His saving grace…saved me. I go to my church because I love God’s people and I enjoy being there and loving each other and supporting the church. After my change of hearts when I was saved God has brought so many amazing things to my attention like the love the first believers had as we can see in the New Testament in many places. Friend, I would suggest you check these things and compare where you are at with where the early church was at so that you can learn from them and learn to have such a powerful love with Christ showed us how to have. It is such a blessing to be saved. I can live every day with joy in my heart because of what God has done for me in saving a wretched man and the way he guides me is simply incredible.
Yes, no denomination will ever be perfect, that would be silly to say. We all have the truth though in God’s word so through the Holy Spirit we can all be directed towards similar things. Many denominations probably ignore the convicting power of the Holy Spirit in some areas and I do not blame them for this since I ignore it as well often times but God can guide his people through these imperfections surely. For example, some denominations are starting to think it is okay for people to have a homosexual relationship and to profess being a saved Christian as well. They very clearly ignore the Holy Spirit almost entirely because the people that enjoy homosexual relationships almost certainly still have much sin to repent of and have not been saved yet. Anyone can be saved though of course.
Not that it matters what denomination we are a part of, but I simply choose to ignore that I would be a part of any denomination since I simply seek to know God’s truth anywhere I go. I call myself at home at a certain church I go to and even if I knew what denomination our church was I wouldn’t identify with it because it is unnecessary is it not? Thank you for your prayers friend but I do not believe God will drastically change my view of the Catholic Church since I have only found what I believe to be the truth through the wisdom I have received from Christ’s grace.

Michael August 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Why have an open Mind? well I’ll tell you not everyone thinks like you do and its insane to think that people should think exactly like you. I will not bother arguing with you because it seems to me that you are unwilling to hear truth. you say I should read the Bible. I have news for you brother I have read the bible numerous times. and I am involved with a very good bible study group. although I agree with you on the Homosexual part because it is a sin but it is also not an unforgivable sin like you so liked to put it. the only Unpardonable sin is to deny God. I mean so what if certain denominations want to change there views on the topic. If you dont like the churches views on it there is a simple solution to that dont go to the church. I’d also like to remind you that just going to church is not going to get you to heaven its what you do outside of the church along with attending church that will aid you in going to heaven. and by saying that nobody should be open minded towards religion just shows hypocrisy. Like I’ve constantly stated to everyone not just on here but other places as well choosing one denomination over the other does not ensure that you have a place in heaven. I’ve attended several different churches some of them I liked some of them I disagreed with right now I’m attending a Methodist Church and I really like it the people there are welcoming the pastor is excellent at explaining things to the congregation the list goes on and on. like I said before just because you dont understand a certain denomination does not mean there teachings are false. I know I am not perfect. I do sin.
everyone sins even christians. one thing I do suggest for you and you may not want to but I’m still going to suggest it actually sit down and talk to a Catholic Priest and ask questions. I asked the pastor of the church I’ve been attending questions about the Methodist teachings and got some great info from him. Just like I talked to my favorite Priest at the Catholic Church I used to attend about My own Denomination and I gotta tell you I got some great info from him. this was before I recieved my first communion which didnt happen until I was 15. you might be surprised at what the priest might tell you. I’m not saying that you should choose a different denomination than the one you chose I’m just suggesting that you find more out before you judge a denomination. and dont talk to me like you have been saved longer than I have I was saved when I was 15 the first time the second time I was 17. I was saved twice because I lost faith in God. yes I went to church every Sunday because I truly believed that by just attending church I would go to heaven and after I was saved the second time I reallized that simply wasnt true. I whole heartedly say that I live by the bible to the best of my abilities. I say to the best of my abilities because no one can say for 100% that they live by the bible because that would be likening yourself to Jesus because he was the only one that truely lived by the bible since most of the bible atleast the new testament was about him. Even his disciples fell to temptation atleast once in there lives. Where as Jesus was tempted not once but three times by satan and all three times he resisted temptation.

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Ben August 24, 2012 at 9:51 pm

🙂 Of course I have an open mind about sin and if something is or isn’t sin and I know my theology is far from perfect. When I said I wouldn’t have an open mind I meant that I know in my heart that God has shown me the truth so I will not stray from that with an open mind but I will hold tight to it. But with things like homesexuality in the church I think it is very serious. The fact that much of the church doesn’t mind this compromise in doctrine is shocking. Homosexuality has always been a sin and it is not God’s will for two men or two women to be in this kind of a relationship. The bible makes that clear. I will not be open minded about that. And yes that sin is very forgivable. Any homosexual person can come to Christ but I think that to come to Christ for most would mean to abandon homosexuality immediately through a repentant heart. Maybe some wouldn’t abandon it until later but any who doesn’t abandon it has work in their heart to be done until they do abandon it.
And I don’t know where you are getting all of these weird ideas about me like that I think homosexuality is unpardonable or that I am absolutely close minded and think only my theology is correct or even that I think going to church will get me to heaven. I go to church because I love to go to church. The only reason I will get to heaven is through sheer grace from God and faith in Jesus Christ from that grace.
I think that many denominations have truths that other denominations may not have. I also think that many churches practice much sin within their church and it is sad that so many have not repented of that. I don’t even know what congregations most of the churches I go to are. I wouldn’t never go to a church thinking it is a good one because of its denomination but anyways, that has nothing to do with this article.
I definitely don’t consider myself perfect, I am very sinful, I struggle with much sin in my life and I can hardly say I’ve been truly saved longer than anyone. I only truly accepted Christ at the end of February. That’s when God changed my heart and started to work in me. And I definitely should find out more about denominations I don’t know about before judging them. Based off of faithful Catholics I know and hours upon hours of reading and research I have some knowledge about Catholicism. I don’t know much though but I believe what I do know is very significant so I don’t feel uncomfortable speaking about it. I feel that talking to a Catholic priest would be a great way to understand what they believe more since it would be a primary source and not some internet reading. Maybe Ill read some of the Catechism eventually as well since that is as good as talking to any priest most likely. Thank you for your suggestions!

Geri March 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm

The writer of this article in not well educated on the Catholic religion. It is too bad that articles are written like this and taken as truth. Please consult real Catholics before to discuss what the teachings are prior to writing more about that religion.

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Jack March 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Thank you Geri for your comment. I was actually raised in the Catholic church and attended catechism. I did consult Catholics and have many fine, godly friends that attend the Catholic church. May I ask which there is in this article that you find erroneous? I surely can be corrected and will admit error when shown, so I humbly ask for you to tell me where I am mistaken so I can publicly correct it Geri. Thank you so much for any insight you might be able to give me.

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Ben March 25, 2012 at 3:20 am

Yes, I agree with Jack. I don’t see where he is in error. I’m not a Catholic and never was, but my girlfriend is, and my stereotypical view of Catholicism has slowly been stripped away and I have a deep respect for them now. I do believe that they take the eucharist and believe they receive grace from it and they confess their sins to priests to ensure that they don’t have any unconfessed sins. They are baptized at birth if they are born in the church (typically) and believe it is as good as any baptism. They believe that when the pope is speaking of church doctrine and addressing the church that he is infallible. They believe that Mary is the mother of God and was saved from original sin and they believe that she is the ark that held jesus just like that ark that held the 10 commandments and the presence of God. I have talked to her extensively about this and she gets a lot of her more detailed info from her parents who are very educated and dedicated to their faith. If there is any error in Jack’s statement then it must have only been in minor opinion differences or something. If you have a different opinion of the catholic faith then please stand up for yourself and speak out to let us all know what is in error. It would be to all of our benefits! 🙂

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Jack March 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Ben, thank you so much my friend. I am not anything like the Word of God…I have made, will make mistakes. I freely admit that. I am not condemning anyone for being a Catholic. On the contrary, there are no churches or denominations that do not have at least some errors or mistakes in doctrine, being finite and human.

I have told my congregation during the sermon that “Part of my sermon today will be completely perfect!…the part where I read out of the Bible.” I appreciate your support Ben. I embrace those in the Body of Christ in love. Even Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world (John 3:17) so what gives me any right to do so. We will all stand before the throne of God to give an account for ever word and deed we have done in this life.

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Jan April 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm

You need to review what the Catholic Church actually teaches before you write an article. It is called good journalism which is obviously difficult to find these days. Your article would have been well written had it not been for glaring misinformation and untruths.

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Jack April 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Thank you Jan for your comment. Please tell me where I was wrong and I would gladly acknowledge it with pleasure. Is the source or citation that I used for Mr. Jones wrong or what. I appreciate your comment and would love to correct any mistakes that there are in this Jan and what “glaring misinformation and untruths” there are in it. I took journalism courses and the one rule of journalism in High School and college is that we should never critique another without offering the writer a solution and never criticize without showing them their error. Again, I thank you for your visit and your comment.

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Fred April 13, 2012 at 8:38 am

Jack,

I commend you for your writings on this topic and what I believe is a sincere attempt of opening a dialogue on the topics that unfortunately continue to divide the Christian community. When I read the words that Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23, I recognize that He saw these divisions would occur and He clearly did not want that to happen. I believe that the Holy Spirit is working through you to help heal the divisions that the enemy has created by striking the Shepherd and scattering the sheep. The dialogue in this forum is a great way to help us share our understandings and our faith with each other.

I also believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I believe that when He said those words, He called us to know the Truth by knowing Him. You have said that “no church has all truth”. I agree that as the church, we are made up of sinners and none of us are perfect, but I believe that God does wish to reveal Truth to us by allowing us to know His Son. The church is the body of Christ, but Jesus is the head. By being humble and recognizing the Truth may not always be the words we want to hear, but asking the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds, we can begin a journey to know the Truth in ways that we, as sinners, may have felt were never possible.

Regarding Jan’s comments, I’m not exactly sure which parts of your article contain misinformation, but I would suggest listening to the following explanation on why Catholics believe in papal infallibility:

http://www.catholic.com/video/scott-hahn-explains-papal-infallibility

It is the best explanation I have ever heard and I hope that by sharing this, it will help overcome one of the topics that continues to divide the body of Christ. Please know that my prayers are with you and all of our fellow Christians who seek the Truth.

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Jack April 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Fred, thank you sir for your gracious words which are so edifying. I loved the explanation for which Mr, Hahn so clearly revealed to me. I wish I had heard this prior to writing this article. Please come back again soon to visit us Fred.

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Kevin Heaney April 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Hi Jack
I went to a Catholic School and at the age of 7. I committed the unpardonable sin. I blessed myself with my lefthand and my God fearing teacher saw it was Her Godly mission to systematically strip Me of myself-worth,self-esteem and dignity.40 years later I look back on my wasted life and I forgive them because I now know that was God’s plan for my life and it was the only way I would truely accept Jesus Christ as my savior and God as my heavenly Father. God does punish and rebuke the one’s He loves to make them obey Him. God is Love.

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Jack April 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Hello Mr. Heaney. Please forgive my late response to this very important question sir. Let me say this that if you are worried about committing an “unpardonable sin” this tells me that you have not committed it. The thing is that there is no sin that can not be forgiven except of not believing in or trusting in Jesus Christ.

We are all sinners as 1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” But the good news is in the next verse, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I am a sinner even though I am a Christian. I am not sinless but I tend to sin less than before conversion. The difference is that we still sin, but we are forgiven when we confess the sin and God is just and faithful, as He says to, “forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” That’s why they call it the “Good News!”

God bless sir. I hope this helps. No one is beyond the reach of the cross or past the redemptive work of Calvary.

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Michael August 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Hello Kevin
Blessing yourself with your left hand is not the unpardonable sin like some catholics would believe. that is actually a very forgiveable sin. the only unpardonable sin is to deny god. I know Jack has already replied and this is a late reply but I just noticed your comment.

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Fred April 17, 2012 at 9:50 am

Here is a link to an excellent posting on this topic. I’ve read many viewpoints and this description is simply outstanding:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2012/04/are-catholics-born-again-christians.html

The comments to the posting are excellent as well, including: “We have much more in common than we differ on”

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Jack Wellman April 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Fred, thank you so much sir. I am still a student and learning every day and I will check out the website and see what is says. I appreciate knowing more about the brothers and sisters in the faith in the Catholic church. What I really loved about what Father Longenecker said was “it would be wrong to suppose that they [Catholics] don’t care about spiritual maturity, keeping the converts committed and living the life of faith. They do, and they work hard to make sure the faith sticks. What Evangelicals need to realize is that Catholics are also “born again Christians”. We’ve repented and accepted Jesus. It’s just that we’ve done so in a different context and with some different basic assumptions–ones if you stopped to understand them–actually complement and complete what you already believe.”

Amen and amen to Father Longeneckers article. Superb work by him and great recommendation Fred. Thank you so much sir. I appreciate know more about our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Catholic church. Yes, we do have much in common and even the Evangelical churches have their differences too but these are no reason to be divisive. Thank you Fred so much for this.

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Patrick May 3, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Hi, I am a Catholic youth minister who recently gave a talk on this very subject. You can see it here:

http://youtu.be/Q68Q20wsCkI

God bless!

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Rachel May 23, 2012 at 12:14 am

Hi Patrick. I watched your video and I sent an email several weeks ago to the address provided. I’m wondering if you got my email? I’d like to hear from you.

God bless, my friend.

-Rachel

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Michael July 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Great article Jack
let me start off by saying that I am catholic and some of the comments I saw on this article are absolutely appalling in my opinion. there are alot of misconceptions about the catholic faith like some people saying that we dont read the bible when infact in all of our masses the bible IS read. I may not totally agree with all of the Catholic doctrines but I do believe in most of them just because I’m catholic does not make me less of a cristian. And to say that Catholics dont believe that Jesus is the Son of God is another Misconception. We do believe that he is the son of god we just dont put too much emphasis on it.

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Jack Wellman July 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Thank you Michael. As long as you place your trust in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, then you are a child of God. When you, or anybody for that matter, starts putting too much emphasis on the Sacraments to attain salvation, (which is seen as works), then we are adding to Jesus’ finished work on the cross as He said “It is finished.” In the Greek, it means “paid in full” basically. I agree because we are not saved or lost by our denomination but by Christ alone and having faith alone in Him alone.

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Adam gorski July 23, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Go to catholic.com to learn the fullness the the christian faith

John 6:53

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Morisio August 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Dear Jack

Like almost all the catholics who have responded to your article, I also feel that there is limited understanding of the catholic faith displayed in the foregoing e-mails. I suspect we also have similar misconceptions about non-catholics, evangelicals, pentecostals, etc.

And, please Jack, the fact that you grew up a catholic is not evidence that you know or understand the catholic faith. There are many who follow their parents to church and never grow into the faith.

I believe the difference between the catholic faith and other faiths is what we place at the centre. Unlike others who place “faith” at the centre of their relationship with God, we place “love” in that place. Where some churches believe in what they call the “Gospel of Prosperity”, we believe in the “Gospel of Love”.

Our reasons are as follows:
Firstly, the most important commandments are given by Jesus as, in short, “Love the Lord you God…” and “Love your neighbour as yourself”.

When Jesus says, “It’s not all those who call me Lord, Lord, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven”, we actually believe that He is talking about loving God and loving others. What could His Father want us to do if it’s not the most important commandments?

When He knows He is about to leave, He tells his followers that He is giving them a new commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you”. How did He love us? He died for us. Are we willing to die for others?

Faith is very important, but it is NOT enough. St. Paul says you can have enough faith to move a mountain, but if you don’t have love you are nothing.

Faith is very important, but it is not even mentioned in the final judgement. In the final judgement, we hear about works and to us works of mercy are acts of love. It’s not the works that are important to us, it is the root of those works, the spirit of those works. If they are rooted in and emanate from love, then yes indeed, they will lead you into the Kingdom of Heaven. That is what Jesus says.

If you read the words of the catechism, you will indeed find sentences and half sentences to quote against the Catholic church. Same as the Bible. It’s not the words, I tell you, it’s the spirit of those words. If you don’t read the words with a spirit of love, then you are as well off as one who has not read at all.

I have heard many a televangelist ranting and raving about faith and prosperity, without even mentioning love. How is it possible to preach about Jesus, without mentioning love. For goodness sake, GOD IS LOVE.

A man leaves his father and mother and says I want to give my life completely to do God’s work – no wife, no family, no personal ownership of property – only God’s work and you tell that man does not believe. That he does not accept “Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour?” Do not his actions and sacrifices speak far louder than his words?

You say we believe that the catholic faith is the only true faith? Yes we do. But we also believe that the Kingdom of God is far greater than the church. And some people outside the Catholic Church are received in the Kingdom of Heaven even before catholics – Why – Because they love. Is love not what His Father truly wants? What is better, to claim that you believe and “accept Jesus Christ as your personal saviour” or to do what his Father wants – to love.

A simple prayer asking Jesus to be your personal saviour is only the beginning of a very long journey.

It’s not that we believe, we will be saved by our good works. It is that we KNOW that when you love and love truely, your love will move you to action. It will compel you to do good works. Doing good works is not serving some sentence to purchase your salvation. That is selfish and unloving. GOOD WORKS IS WHAT PEOPLE WHO LOVE DO. They will feed the hungry, clothe the naked and welcome the stranger.

Catholicism is not about confessing sins to a priest, loving the mother of our Lord, infallibility or any other fancy doctrines. IT IS ABOUT LOVE and when you understand that; only then can you say you have completed you catechism or RCIA.

If it has not yet moved from head to you heart, then you have not yet got it.

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Jack Wellman August 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Thank you Morisio for your comment. In this article I am neither condemning nor judging Catholics at all. Did you read any comments that were not accurate? Please let me know so I can clear them up. I said in this article, we are saved by faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone. And if a Catholic believes that Jesus Christ died for their sins, that He rose again, that He was both God and man, and that He alone can save, who am I to question anyone’s profession of faith. Does that sound like I am being hard on Catholics? I don’t believe I am. I do thank you for showing me any error in this article where there may be some and I appreciate your comments.

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Morisio August 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Thank you, Jack for responding so quickly.

Perhaps you can clear up a few things for me. You say the catholic faith refers to a “generally held or universal”. This is not true. You have made a literal translation of the word catholic. The catholic faith is not a loose, general belief. It is based on interpretation of salvation history over millennia. A lot of prayer, meditation, study and experience has got into it.

To just say that the Pope is infallible is very simplistic. When we talk of the Pope sitting in the seat of St Peter, we mean far more than some tyrannical individual opinion. If you new the Catholic Church well, you would know that the words pronounced by the Pope in his capacity as Pope are not coming from an individual, but have gone through a process, which challenges and distils them until we believe they are indeed inspired by the Holy Spirit, the same way that those who wrote in the Bible were inspired by God. Indeed it is a Pope who, declared that the Bible is the Word of God.

To just say that catholics confess their sins to a priest presents the picture that there something sinister going on; as if it is not stated in the Bible that we should confess our sins one to another or that whatever we bind here on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever we loose here on earth will be loosed in heaven. Personally, I think it was very wise of the Church, because I feel more comfortable sharing my transgressions with someone who is sworn to secrecy than with the local gossip who I just met.

Besides, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it is to God that we confess or sins, not to a priest. If you knew the catholic faith, you would at least know that.

Many times I have experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation (a word I prefer far more than confession), and found healing in sharing and praying with someone who cares.

I could go on, but the bottom line is; If we are to discuss each other’s faith, as Christians, we should do so with love and compassion.

I don’t believe that you were hard on catholics at all. I believe there’s a lot about the catholic church which you don’t understand, and my belief in this respect is echoed by almost every catholic who has responded to your article.

In the words of Stephen Covey; Seek to understand before being understood. To you I would say; Seek to understand before misleading others.

You say, “We are saved by faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone”. I say according to the two most important commandments, Love comes into it somewhere and according to the last judgement, works of mercy (love) come into it somewhere and according to the new (last) commandment of Jesus, love comes into it somewhere.

So perhaps you can clear something for me. Where, in your “faith alone” doctrine does love feature? Is it central or is it somewhere far behind faith?

Like St. Paul, I tend to believe you can have all the faith in the world, but if you have no love, you are nothing.

Yours with Brotherly Love

Morisio

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Jack Wellman August 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Morisio. I am always learning and never will come to an end of learning in this life and I so appreciate your patience with me. I am glad you gave us more understanding of your faith and I totally respect you and all Catholics for their faith and beliefs. I see that you have enhanced this article and am so grateful and pray that others reading this will read your additions and corrections (to my) article here and I thank God that He sent you to us here my friend.

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Morisio August 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I see you don’t want to alk anymore, so you’ve decided to censor

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Morisio August 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Thanks Jack.

I apologise for thinking that you would censor me.

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Morisio August 21, 2012 at 1:06 am

Dear Jack

I would like to share with you our relationship with Blessed Mother Mary. Indeed the Bible says all generations shall call her Blessed and she is referred to as the one who is “full of grace”. Do you believe that she should be called Blessed or that she was indeed full of saving grace?

First of all, I’ll tell you what our relationship with her does not consist of. We do not worship Mary. I’m not sure if people understand the difference between worship and prayer. We do not “believe in” Mary, we know about Mary, so there’s no need to “believe in” her. We do not believe that Mary is God or half-God or anything like that. She was a human being like us.

Our relationship with Mary is on of love and very deep respect. Why? She was the first Christian. She carried God in her womb for 9 months. She accepted the responsibility to carry our Lord and bring Him into the world. She gave up the comfort of a nice relationship, taking the risk of losing the man she was going to marry, for the sake of Christ. For the sake of our salvation. She looked after our Lord in his infancy and suffered the discomfort of exile, becoming a refugee in Egypt for the sake our Lord, for the sake of our salvation. She could have simply said, “No, Lord. I am too young for that. And besides, I’m about to get married to the love of my life. How can a loving God ask me to give up all that.” In other words, she could have said , “No” to God’s plan. How many times have we said “No” to God’s Plan for our lives, because it was inconvenient?

Do we pray to Mary? YES! Why? We catholics believe in what we call the “Communion of Saints”. The simplest definition of a saint is “A friend of God”. So what does it means when we say we are a communion of saints? It means that we, who believe in and love God are one. We are one family. We love one another and we pray for one another. I have heard in pentecostal and other churches that there are groups of people who “intercede” for others. Some actually have groups of people called “intercessors”.

So what happens when we die? We, catholics are convinced that there are some people who are in heaven. People like Mary. Are they unaware of us who are left here on earth? The story of Lazarus and the rich man suggests otherwise. They are indeed aware of us and what we are doing and going through. Can they and will they pray for us? If they cared enough to pray for us in this life, what has happened to their love for us now that they are in heaven? Are they not so much more loving now that they have experience God who himself is love? Since they are in the presence of God, we believe that they can and do pray for us.

This is what it means to have a personal relationship with God. It is characterized by love, not rules and regulations like, “Right, now that you have made it into heaven, you can forget about your loved ones and spend eternity praising Me”. That’s a terrible image of God. So, if I, a humble sinner, can pray for you, what more the woman gave birth to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps, being African it’s easier for me to relate to how I can related my friend’s mother as my own and how she can relate to me as her own son. We don’t even have a word for adoption here. If we really have a personal relationship with Jesus, how is it possible for us to not have a relationship with his mother. I think if you have no love for my loved ones, then you are no friend of mine.

I have heard in horror, some non-catholics refer to Mary as “just a vessel”. Is God really like that? The ever-loving God who asks His own daughter to almost literally give up her life for the sake of His plan and then view her as “just a vessel”. In my language, we have a saying that, “Kusatenda huroyi”. It means to be ungrateful is tantamount to witchcraft. Let us be grateful to this woman who did so much for humanity and more importantly, for God. Let us show some love and respect. At the very least, let us call this woman Blessed as the Bible says.

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Rachel August 21, 2012 at 10:50 am

I know Morisio’s comment was directed at Jack, and so I will let him answer. But since I have studied (and continue to study) Catholicism in a very in-depth manner, I think I might have some things to add.

The Bible does call Mary full of grace, and it also calls ALL believers full of grace. Full of grace means that we shall be saved. That is consistent with what else the Bible says, that if we believe we shall be saved. The Bible calls her blessed, but also calls ALL believers blessed.

As for worshiping Mary, many Catholics believe in their heart that what they do is not worship. However, praying to the dead is forbidden in the Bible. My personal belief is that when you call upon someone other than God, you don’t know who is answering. It could be an evil spirit. Many people who have seen apparitions of Mary prayed to her first. The Bible does say that demons can take pleasing shapes, even the likeness of God Himself. If you read the words of “Mary” spoken at apparitions that have been officially approved by the Catholic church, it seems to me it was definitely NOT Mary who appeared.

Many Catholics claim that they “venerate” Mary and other saints. They define veneration as regarding with respect or reverence. But the Bible tells us not to venerate. In Revelation 19:10, John prostrates himself before the angel and the angel told him to stop. In Acts 10:25, Cornelius bowed down to worship Peter and Peter told him to stop. In both passages, the word is translated into English as “worship” but the Greek word is “prokuneo” which is the same word the Catholic church uses for “veneration,” as opposed to “adoration” which only God deserves. So we are told twice that veneration is not acceptable, once by Peter and once by an angel.

Many Protestants, myself included, DO have respect for Mary. She was obviously an incredibly faithful woman. She was a wonderful example of someone who trusted in God to take care of her, even while enduring immense hardship. But I do not believe that she could have rejected God’s plan. I do not think God needed her permission. God is all knowing, and if Mary were thinking of rejecting His plan, He would have known and would not have chosen her. Even so, Mary did question it. She said, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” After which she humbly accepted God’s plan, which only a very faithful woman could do.

The story of Lazarus and the rich man is one of my favorites. Perhaps those in Heaven are aware of us on earth. Or perhaps that particular story was something very special, something that isn’t a regular occurance. However, there are still no instructions anywhere in the Bible to call upon anyone other than God. Jesus was the ultimate teacher. He led by example. I am confident that He taught us everything we need to know. He didn’t forget anything. The Bible says that the saints in Heaven are “put in charge of many things” and I believe there are special duties reserved for them. So in a way, we are separate from them. They are freed of sin, we are not. They have Heavenly bodies, we have earthly bodies. Though we are still a community in the sense that we are still God’s children and His body of believers, there are still differences that cannot be ignored. But going back to the story of Lazarus and the rich man for a moment, the story says that there is a great gulf fixed between the worlds after death. Those in hell cannot escape, and those in Heaven cannot leave. We also read of the rich man begging for a sign to be sent to his family so that they might believe and be saved from his suffering. But he is told that his family has been given enough to believe. This is very important. Would God send us apparitions trying to convert people when He has already told us He’s given us enough to believe?

I would also like to point out that Jesus never called Mary His mother. At least nowhere in the Bible. He called her “woman” on a number of occasions. The Greek word actually translates more accurately to Mrs, or something meaning “a married woman.” As I stated before, Jesus was a perfect example. If Jesus did not call Mary His mother, there is no reason for us to call her “Mother of God” and certainly not “Our Mother.” She certainly didn’t give birth to us physically, and she cannot be called our spiritual mother. Jesus said we have one spiritual Father, and that is God. If we had a spiritual Mother, that would make her a God as well. But Mary is not a God. Therefore all we have is our earthly mother, the one who gave birth to us.

So to conclude, yes I have love and respect for Mary. I do not believe she was “just a vessel,” since her duties did not end after the birth of Jesus. She raised Jesus. Yes, she made sacrifices, but I wouldn’t be so quick to say that “she” did so much for humanity. What she did pales in comparison to what God did! He allowed a way for our sins to be forgiven so we could have eternal life in Him! That is what we should really focus on. And Mary was only able to do those things because of God. Mary didn’t act, God acted through her. And yes we may call her blessed, as the Bible does, but we may also call all believers blessed, just as the Bible does as well.

I realize the debate between Catholics and Protestants could go on forever. I’m not here to convince anyone. I have the great comfort of knowing that is God’s job, not mine. But I will certainly share some insight where I can. I chose not to be Catholic after much studying, both in the Catholic church and on my own. But I still continue to study the Catholic faith using Catholic sources because I find that it knowing the differences helps strengthen my own faith. I pray that others, both Catholics and non-catholics might do the same.

May you enjoy God’ blessings, as He has promised you in Scripture.

-Rachel

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Adam gorski August 21, 2012 at 11:05 am

Why I’m catholic

After attending many churches between 2004-2011for the good music or good lattes I read the bible for the first time then 20 times. I saw the protestant system as contodicting itself were every individual could decide on thier on morals and theology.

I realized I had to follow the way Jesus taught I was completely turned off by the catholic church so I started studying early churches out of Rome and Europe’s influence. I found two. The saint Thomas church founded in. 52ad and had no European contact until. 1550. And the Ethiopian orthodox church founded in acts. 8 and had very limited European contact . Both of these churches rejected sola fieda and sola scriptora and believed in all the seven sacrements. So in short they are very similar to the catholic church and developed on thier own from the time of Pentecost.

God bless

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Morisio August 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Dear Rachel

Our relationship with God need not be so mechanical. Jesus does not have to say that Mary is His mother for her to be His mother. She gave birth to Him. That is what makes her His mother.

If you had studied catholicism as much as you claim then you would know that Jesus was one. He was God and He was man, but He was not two, He was one. And like it or not He was Mary’s son.

And, yes, God did need Mary’s “permission”, if you want to call it that. He always invites us with love to participate in His Plan. He never forces us.

I am encouraged that you love and respect her for that is the Christian way, but I am surprised that you would compare her to God. She was not God. She was human. Like you and me.

Please point me to the verse where the Bible calls all believers “Full of grace”. Let’s not misquote the Bible, please.

I’m glad that you have chosen to continue studying the catholic faith and from catholic sources. I hope you are studying it in the Christian spirit of love and not to try and disprove it.

I also hope when you say you’re studying, you don’t mean off the internet. I would recommend a catholic university in your area.

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Rachel August 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Hello Morisio,

My relationship with God is far from mechanical. It is something very personal that only God Himself fully understands. Please do not try to claim to know my relationship with God.

Mary was Jesus’ earthly mother, of course. But not His spiritual mother.

And yes, I know that Jesus is God. But God, in all three persons, was around long before Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus in the flesh, but Mary did not create His spirit. She didn’t even create His body. She couldn’t have, because she was a virgin. It was all God’s doing.

I’m afraid I disagree with you in saying God needed Mary’s permission. God does not need anyone’s permission. God is supreme, therefore we must obey God. Not the other way around. Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” The Bible also says that all must obey Him, even demons must bow to Him.

Of course Mary was human like you and I. Nothing more, nothing less. Jesus was conceived without sin. Jesus lived without sin. Jesus shone brighter than the sun at the Transfiguration. Jeus suffered on the cross. Jesus was our redeemer. Jesus entered Heaven body and soul. You believe that Mary was conceived without sin, lived without sin, her apparitions shone bringer than the sin, she suffered at the crucifiction, she is the co-redeemer, and she entered Heaven body and soul. But you don’t find that a surprising comparison? I was not comparing her to God, but rather showing how calling her a spiritual mother likens her to God. Which you seem to agree is wrong.

John 1:16 says “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” Acts 6:8 says “And Stephen, full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and signs among the people.” Not only are we all full of grace, but the Bible lists specific people besides Mary who are “full of grace.” Colossians 4:6 says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Genesis 12:3 says “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you [Abraham].” Genesis 22:18 says “and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you [Abraham] have obeyed me.” So we are all blessed, including Mary, through Abraham and his offspring.

I do not need disprove Catholicism. The Bible itself does so. And true faith isn’t about “proof,” it’s about trust in God. I trust God to lead me in the way He sees fit, and He does. I study using the Bible, the Catholic Catechism, several books by Catholic scholars, official Catholic documents, and many Catholic websites. There are, in fact, many very reliable Catholic sites, including the official Vatican site.

I do not believe that denomination is important, but rather a person’s love for God. I do not believe there is anyone standing at the gate of Heaven, asking the denomination of anyone who wishes to enter, and then turning them away if their denomination isn’t on the list. So, I do believe that some Catholics may be saved, some may not. Just as some Protestants may be saved, some may not.

May the Lord continue to bless you.

-Rachel

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Morisio August 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Dear Ben

It is neither Catholic nor Christian to claim that Mary is God or that she is omnipotent. She can pray for you, the same way I can pray for you. I am not God, but I can pray for you. And you keep calling her Mary.The Bible says all generations, including ours, shall call her Blessed.

Ben, if you are saved faith alone and works of mercy are not necessary, then why did you give away all your money and why do you “have” to help the poor and the sick. I’m glad you’re doing this things, but I’m concerned that you do them because you “have” to do them. You should be doing them because you care.

There’s something I don’t understand; How is it possible for love to be “gross and disgusting”? I don’t understand. Are you talking about love or fake love?

You are right when you say we are saved by grace. And it is necessary for us to have faith for us to be saved. It is also necessary for us to love for us to be saved. These two, faith and love, are almost inseparable. If you believe, you will follow Christ and it is not possible to follow Christ without loving. Remember, the Bible says God is Love. And when you love you will want to perform works of mercy (which you refer to as good works). Your love will cause you to act.

Face it, even after you are “saved”, there are some things you will need to do. If it were not necessary for you to do anything, then why do you read the Bible regularly, go to church regularly, share your faith with others, listen to sermons, etc. Is it not necessary for you to read the Bible once you are “saved”? There are things you have to do. The only question is, what are those things? I say loving your neighbor is certainly one of them.

Please tell us which lies the Catholic Church is built on. Do you have any proof that the church or are you just slandering? Why is it so hard for you to believe that Peter was the first Pope?

Do you think that people will enter the narrow gate by church. No. You will enter that gate as an individual and many who now claim to be catholic and have no love, will surely be turned away and many who, now, are not catholic, but love others will be welcomed in.

The King will say to them, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my
Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

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Ben August 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

If Mary can pray for us as any can and that is all you are claiming then why do so many who call themselves Catholic pray to Mary or pray through Mary. You said she is not omnipotent according to Catholic or Christian beliefs so she cannot hear their prayers then I assume you mean? I would not argue with anyone that Mary cannot pray for me or any believer. I do not know if those already with the Lord can pray for those down on the earth. Maybe God would give what they ask for as well but I don’t think he would be more likely to answer Mary’s prayer than any believer’s prayer. It seems strange to me that they can still pray for us. From what we see in the story about Lazarus and the rich man, when the rich man is in hell he talks to Abraham. I have no clue if this is a true story or a parable but if Abraham truly knows all that Goes on in the earth about the rich man’s friends then maybe the can ask God for things. I don’t know but this isn’t what most Catholic I know claim. They pray to Mary for her to bring their requests before Jesus, since surely Mary, Jesus’ own earthly mother, would not be refused by her son. It seems silly to me that people would reason that way. We bring our requests to Jesus since he already tells us that if we believe, we will have what we ask for. Why ever go to Mary when we have all that we could ever desire in our Lord Jesus?
Friend, I gave away all of my money because I had a friend who’s daughter was sick and I wished not to see her die. I was simply helping out a fellow brother I saw who was in need because God put the grace in me to care about him. It was nothing I did that caused me to have the desire to help him but it was surely an act of God and God has blessed me so intensely through this simple gift and I am so thankful. I would always give away any money I can as long has God hasn’t put it on my mind to use it for a different purpose since I don’t wish to see anyone in the body of Christ suffer when they don’t have enough and I am sure millions of believers around the world do suffer this way. I just wish to give to them so that they could share in the comforts God has blessed me with.
“You are right when you say we are saved by grace. And it is necessary for us to have faith for us to be saved. It is also necessary for us to love for us to be saved. These two, faith and love, are almost inseparable. If you believe, you will follow Christ and it is not possible to follow Christ without loving. Remember, the Bible says God is Love. And when you love you will want to perform works of mercy (which you refer to as good works). Your love will cause you to act.” I couldn’t agree more.
I do all that I do because it is good for me. It is good for me to read the bible and learn and to rid myself of all the evil that used to fill my mind. I desire to do more Godly things and to live a more Holy life. I desire to look more like my Lord Jesus and that is why I am his disciple. I simply wish to know him more and I marvel at his glory so I go to church because I love to and I read the bible (though I should more) because I love to and I pray because I love to. It is because Christ changed my heart and has given me more Holy desires and erased many of my old worldly ones.
Do I have proof about lies in the church? The bible is all the proof I would point to. After looking through the New Testament no one without being previously told that Peter was the Pope would ever believe he could have been the Pope. It simply seems illogical to even believe. If he had been the pope in Rome or wherever it was then I am sure it would have been clear to Paul but Paul still speaks of him as the apostle to the Jews, not to the entire church of Jews and gentiles as a pope. There are many things I could point out but it would take a while so I will just try to point out one more thing. The sacrament of the Eucharist: so in Luke 22:19 Jesus says “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Is he physically eating his own flesh here? Has this bread been transformed into the flesh of Christ? Or is it a symbol? It appears it is a symbol here. It seems bizarre to think Jesus transformed the bread into his own flesh here so that they could all eat it with him before he was even dead. And we see later on that they eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance as Jesus had said. If they were physically eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ is that not bringing Christ’s body down from heaven again and again week after week and eating it? Is that not wrong to believe? We cannot believe that Jesus truly descends week after week as this “miracle is performed” which is supposed to transform the bread and wine. Christ will not come back to earth again until he comes again. And anyways, is it not wrong to sacrifice Christ week after week by eating him and making him as flesh to be sacrifices again and again? Was not Christ sacrificed once and for all on the cross? Yes he was and this is the sacrifices that saves, we come together to eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of Christ, to remember what he did for us and to marvel in Christ’s glory because he is the one we love. There is no need to sacrifice him week after week as I believe it is called The Sacrifice of the Mass. He should not be sacrificed week after week for any purpose. He was sacrificed and it is finished and now we remember the sacrifice, no memorial sacrificed of his body and blood would be right because it is finished. I have may picked one of the more controversial points in the Eucharist but I believe the bible makes it perfectly clear that this is not right.
I am glad you see that many will be turned away but doesn’t that Catholic Church teach that non Catholics or people that deny Catholic belief be anathema? I have seen it many times that any who goes against the church “be anathema.” Saying that those who deny the Catholic Church are anathema seems to mean that they are not part of the true Church in the Church’s eyes. I am not sure about this however since I have not read the Catechism except for excerpts. I believe that those who were saved will love as you said and this will be a sign that they are true followers but many will profess to love and to have cast out demons and to have done many good things and will be turned away. The narrow gate is of course not the gate and path of love, it is through Christ and to remain in Christ always and love and faith and many things are a part of that. To love isn’t to remain in Christ but those who remain in Christ will love. I hope I have not sounded terribly hostile as I feel I might have but I just wish to make the truth more clear.

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Michael August 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Actually its not just the Catholic Church that does this. Ive been to other churches that observe the holy communion in the catholic church its called the Eucharist. The catholic church is just the most famous church that does it.

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Rachel August 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Michael is correct. I am a Lutheran, and my church does believe in what we call the “True Presence.” It isn’t quite the same though. Catholics call it Transubstantiation, meaning that the bread and wine are literally, physically transformed from the substances of bread and wine to the substances of body and blood, while maintaining the taste and appearance of bread and wine. Catholics believe that at the Last Supper, Jesus “took bread and broke it. He gave it to His disciples, saying ‘take eat, this is My Body…'” They believe it was “bread” but at His words it was no longer bread, and the same for the wine. The Lutheran teaching of the True Presence is a bit different. Lutherans believe that while it is Jesus’ body and blood, it is still bread and wine. It is a literal transformation, but not a physical transformation. It becomes Jesus’ body and blood in a spiritual sense, while the actual phsyical part of the elements remains the same. Jesus’ spirit is literally present in the elements, but of course the spirit cannot be seen or tasted. Lutherans believe that Jesus “took bread and broke it. He gave it to His disciples saying ‘take eat, this is My Body…'” They believe that since Jesus called it both bread and body, that’s what it is. Lutherans also emphasize the fact that Jesus was alive during the event, so it couldn’t have been His physical body and blood they were eating or He would have died. But Jesus’ Spirit is not limited to His physical body.

I can understand both views, and I don’t think anyone would necessarily wrong for believing either one, since in a way they both coinside with Scripture. I can also see where some believe it is merely symbolic, since there is quite a bit of symbolism in the Bible. Jesus said “I am the vine,” but obviously He didn’t look like a vine. I take it to mean He is the vine in the spiritual sense, but I can also understand how some may believe He is a vine merely in a metaphoric sense.

For me, the key is to believe that what Jesus said is correct. We don’t have to know exactly what He meant in order to believe in it. Just like we don’t have to understand nuclear physics in order to believe in it. I also believe there is a difference between intellectual understanding a spiritual understanding. A spiritual understanding is much more important, since it is our spirits that need saving. Someday we will know answers to all of our questions. For now, the best we can do is trust God’s guidance.

God bless you, Ben, and Michael as well!

-Rachel

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Adam gorski August 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm

If Eliajh was Ussumed into heaven why not “thekos” the God barrier, mother of God, the modonna, the new arch of the new covedent???

What if Mary was on birth control, or used the morning after pill, or used and iud

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Adam gorski August 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm

At Rachel if you are reading jack chick, mike gerron, or John MacArthur to understand the catholic church I suggest you stop right away and read

Polycarp
Ignachous of Antioch
These guys actually studied with John the apostles

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Morisio August 22, 2012 at 2:51 am

Dear Ben

You’re right. We are only saying that she can pray for us. Same as you can pray for me. Like I said, we are one family and we pray for one another, because we love one another. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love, one for another”

The most important prayer we say to Mary is:

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. Blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.
(This is all taken directly from the Bible)
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

So you can see, we are only asking her to remember us in her prayers, as a member of the Christian family. Omnipotent means all-powerful. Only God is omnipotent. Mary is definitely not omnipotent.

Indeed the story of Lazarus and the rich man is a parable. But it does show us that those who are in the Kingdom of Heaven are aware of us and they can pray for us. What you have stated is what catholics believe.

We do indeed have all that we need in Jesus. But we still pray for each other. That is why some churches, not even catholics, have groups called intercessors. Even the televangelists who are so popular these days ask us to call in and have someone pray for us. There is nothing “unbiblical” about praying for one another.

I think the faith and works issue is behind us now. It seems we were only separated by semantics.

But Ben, you have not told me which lies you are referring to. Which part of the New Testament contradicts the catholic church? On the contrary, I would say the New Testament is the foundation upon which the Church was built.

“You are Peter and upon this rock I shall build my church”. I know the whole “Petros” and “Petra” argument, but that’s just trying to play with words in order to hide from the truth. Why would those two words of such similar meaning be brought up by Jesus in the same sentence, at the same time. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Who was doing that for the first 1500 years after His death and resurrection? Did you know that each and every prayer and activity in the catholic church is started and ended by the words, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. That is what we call the Sign of the Cross. We do everything we do in God’s name. Even football player, when they score goals make a sign of the cross and celebrate “In the name of God”

“Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”. Which church has continued to teach since then and continues to teach? We believe He is with us and will continue to be with us.

The Holy Eucharist is a mystery and there are many things about a mystery which cannot be explained. That is why we call it a mystery. As for the theological arguments supporting it, there’s not enough space on this website to present them. Here we deal with the lighter issues.

There is no such thing as Sacrifice of the Mass. I’m not sure where you picked that up. And we do not sacrifice again and again, we participate in the one sacrifice that was made by Christ, but like I said, there’s not enough space here.

To say that the “Catholic Church teaches that non-Catholics or people that deny Catholic belief be anathema” is not true and it present the church as some horrible tyrannical creature, which it is not. The church is the body of Christ. Obviously, if you start practicing Satanism, you cannot claim to be a catholic, so you won’t even need to be excommunicated. You will have made yourself anathema.

Anathema or excommunication is not something light or frivolous. It’s not about disagreements with the church. It’s about turning against God. Catholics are always having theological, philosophical, sociological and other disagreements and resolving them. That does not make them anathema. But let’s face it there are some things which cut you off from the body of Christ, but if you repent, then you are most welcomed to reconcile yourself to the body of Christ.

My brother, none of your questions or statements appear to be hostile. They appear to me to constitute a genuine search for truth and I receive them in the Christian spirit of love.

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Morisio August 22, 2012 at 5:14 am

Dear All

Will someone please explain to me why Martin Luther and his companions removed some books from the Bible.

People are being mis-informed that the Catholic Church added books to the bible. This is not true. The truth is that after 1500 years of Christianity, Martin Luther and his companions removed some of the books from the Old Testament and he intended to remove some from the New Testament as well, hence his reference to the book of James as an “Epistle of Straw”.

What was Luther’s justification and authority to remove these books from the Bible? Does not the Bible forbid adding or subtracting even a word from it?

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Rachel August 22, 2012 at 10:35 am

When the Catholic church originally sat down and sorted out which books were to be canonized (that is, declared to be inspired of God and officially part of the Bible) they did not canonize the “Apocrypha,” or the 7 books in question. They said that the books were not actually inspired of God. They did, however, say that the books contained some important information and they were useful to teach from, so they did include them in the Bible. They just didn’t have the same status as the other books. When Martin Luther began the Reformation, he called for the books to be removed from the text because they were not inspired, which was evident from the fact that some of the books spoke of reincarnation and earning salvation through alms giving, both of which are very nonbiblical practices. The Catholic Church was angry with Martin Luther for questioning the authority of the Church and the Pope, so they canonized the 7 books as a counter reaction to the Reformation. They declared the Apocrypha to be inspired, therefore permanently adding it to their Bibles and calling it equal to the rest of the Scriptures.

However, Jesus rejected the Apocrypha as scripture. The Bible says in Romans 3:1-2 “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” God clearly said that the Jews had the correct Canon. Jesus referred to it when He said, “From the blood of Abel [Gen. 4:8] to the blood of Zechariah [2 Chronicals 24:20], who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation (Luke 11:51; Matthew 23:35).”

Abel was the first martyr in the Old Testament from the book of Genesis, while Zechariah was the last martyr in the book of Chronicles. In the Jewish Canon, the first book was Genesis and the last book was Chronicles. They contained all of the same books as the standard 39 books accepted by protestants today, but they were just arranged differently. For example, all of the 12 minor prophets (Hosea through Malachi) were contained in one book. This is why there are only 24 books in the Hebrew Bible today. By Jesus referring to Abel and Zachariah, He was canvassing the entire Canon of the Jewish scriptures which included the same 39 books as protestants accept today. Therefore, Jesus rejected the Apocrypha as scripture.

The Apocryphal books do not share the chararacteristics of the Canonical books: they are not prophetic, there is no supernatural confirmation of any of the apocryphal writers works, there is no predictive prophecy, there is no new Messianic truth revealed, they are not cited as authoritative by any prophetic book written after them, and they even acknowledge that there were no prophets in Israel at their time (1 Maccabees 9:27; 14:41).

So, Protestants today follow the same Canon as the Jews of Jesus’ day (called the Spetuagint), which Jesus said in the Bible is correct. Catholics follow the Septuagint as well as 7 other written works, which Jesus did not call Scripture.

So yes, Luther removed books from the compilation because they were never meant to be part of the Bible. The Catholic church added them back in and, for the first time in history, called them God’s word. This was 1,000 years after the Council in which the Holy See officially rejected the 7 books as God’s word. Luther’s justification was that Jesus did not want them in Scripture. Yes, the Bible forbids adding or subtracting from the word of God. So Luther was quite justified in speaking out against the books that didn’t belong.

I must apologize to Jack for taking up so much space on his post. And may God bless all.

-Rachel

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Adam gorski August 22, 2012 at 11:15 am

@ Rachel

Codex sinicatus (the oldest complete bible)
290-310 ad was discovered in 1846 by Russian explorers in southern Egypt it has all the books of the catholic bible it is currently in a museum in London England

The sagises did not except the Septuagint but the pharisees did
Paul was a pharisees

The celebration of Hanukkah comes from the book of Maccabees all Jews did not stop excepting these books until the early 200’s as a way to undermine Christianity

Adam Gorski
Cornell university

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Rachel August 22, 2012 at 11:28 am

As I said, the Apocrypha was included in the Bible, but was not officially part of the Canon until 16th century. During the Council when the Catholic church originally sorted out which books were actually inspired of God and which were heresy, many written works were thrown out. The Apocrypha was included only because it was said to contain some useful information. But at the time, the Catholic church itself noted that the books were not inspired of God and were not flawless like the rest of the Bible. That is what set the Apocrypha apart from the official Canon. After the invention of the printing press, when copies of the Bible were made public to the few who could read, Bibles included leaflets stating that the Apocrypha was only to be read for its parables and not to be treated as actual Holy Scipture. The Apocrypha was placed either in the very begenning of the book or between the Old and New Testaments.

And the Jews always rejected the Apocrypha. Josephus (37-100 A.D), the Jewish historian also affirmed in his arguments in Contra Apion 1:7-8 the number of books in the Hebrew canon was numbered at 22, which according to Jewish numbering is the same as the 39 in the Protestant Old Testament.

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Morisio August 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

Dear Rachel

Was Luther infallible? I’m trying to find out what his authority was in changing the Bible, which had been used by all Christians for 15 centuries? If not, then can we all “correct” the Bible if we are convinced that the church missed something?

After all the arguments have been done and completed, we believe the Bible, because it carries the authority of the church behind it, expressed in Papal Infallibility.

Why do you believe in the Bible? Is it because you examined it and found that it was theologically and historically sound? If you didn’t, would you have added or removed some of the books?

Another clarification you can help me with – is it right to name a church after an individual, like the Creflo Dollar or Rachelian Church? Isn’t there something wrong with that?

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Rachel August 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Luther was not infallible. And Luther did not change the Bible. The term “Canon” applies to only the books which have been approved as perfect and inspired of God. Only canonized books are officially part of the Bible. That doesn’t mean other writings can’t be included. Many Bibles include maps, a glossary, an index, etc. Those things are not officially the word of God, therefore they are not part of the Canon. The same was true for the Apocrypha. The Catholic church decreed that the 7 books were not inspired of God and could not officially be part of the Bible. But they were considered usefeul and so they were able to be printed in the Bible, just like the maps, glossaries, and indexes in Bibles today. But Luther felt that it would be best to leave out the 7 books, since they contained error and were not inspired of God anyway. He considered them to be misleading. Consider this: if Bibles were printed with a map inside, and the map was almost accurate but not fully accurate, it might be helpful to some but harmful to others who were not familiar with the errors. Is there any real point in having an inaccurate map printed in the Bible? No. It may as well be removed, since it isn’t part of the real word of God anyway. Simply removing the map does not change the Bible. And that’s what Luther did. In fact, many Catholic leaders agreed with Luther on this point. It wasn’t until after the Catholic church realized it was being threatened by the Reformation that it canonized the books, as a mere show of authority. Up until that point, it was not mandatory that all copies of the Bible even include the Apocrypha because it was not Sacred Scripture.

You said, “I’m trying to find out what his authority was in changing the Bible, which had been used by all Christians for 15 centuries?” I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood. The Bible was not changed at all until the Catholic church changed it in the 16th century.

You also said, “After all the arguments have been done and completed, we believe the Bible, because it carries the authority of the church behind it, expressed in Papal Infallibility.” You are mistaken. The Bible is authoritative because it is the word of God. It’s authority has nothing to do with any specific church.

I follow the Septuagint, because it is what Jesus Himself taught from. Even Catholics agree with this. And it is a historical fact that the earliest manuscripts of the Septuagint contain the same Old Testament books as Protestants use today. No more, and no less. Since Jesus is perfect and all knowing, I feel most comfortable using His own words, and His own words alone. As for the New Testament, it has been studied for over a thousand years and never really been disputed, so I have no reason not to trust it.

“Another clarification you can help me with – is it right to name a church after an individual, like the Creflo Dollar or Rachelian Church? Isn’t there something wrong with that?” I would say no, there is nothing wrong with that. What a church teaches is far more important than what it is called. Are you trying to say it is wrong for someone to call themselves a Lutheran? Are you saying it elevates Luther to an unnecessary status? It is no different than a Catholic church being called Saint Mary’s or Saint John’s or Saint Peter’s. In fact, many Lutheran and Catholic churches have similar names. There are many Lutheran churches named after saints. It does not matter. They are all part of the Christian church, named after Christ Himself.

God bless you, Morisio.

-Rachel

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Morisio August 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Dear Rachel

You say the term “Canon” applies to only the books which have been approved as perfect and inspired of God. Approved by whom? By the church which canonized the 7 deuterocanonical books or by Luther or by anyone who is convinced?

“But Luther felt that it would be best to leave out the 7 books . . .” Are you sure you’re not placing Luther in a place of infallibilty?

And am I right to say you’ve just equated seven books of the Bible to a map or a glossary?

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Rachel August 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Dear Morisio,

In this case, “Canon” applies to books officially approved by the Catholic church. The Catholic church explicitely rejected the Apocrypha and did not Canonize it until after Luther and many other Cathoic church leaders suggested that to avoid confusion, it should not be printed with the Bible.

No, I am not placing Luther in a place of infallibility. Only God is infallible. And God rejected the Apocrypha.

Perhaps I should explain it this way. Many books are a compilation of a single author’s works. But sometimes other, similar works are included simply to enhance the author’s work, which is the main focus. That doesn’t mean it is from the same author. But the book is still officially known as a compilation of that author’s work. That’s how the Bible was before the Apocrypha was canonized. It was mainly a compilation of God’s word, and a few other writings were included because they contained useful parables. But for over 1,000 years, it was fully acknowledge by the Catholic church that these “other” writings were not God’s word. When Luther suggested that they be thrown out so the Bible ONLY included God’s word, many Catholics agreed that it was a good idea. But when Luther disagreed with other Catholic teachings, the church was angry and Canonized the books (saying they WERE God’s word).

No, I am not equating 7 books of the Bible to a map or a glossary. Those 7 books are not part of the Bible because they are not the word of God.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

-Rachel

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Morisio August 22, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Dear Rachel

The truth is that the Protestant Reformers removed this large section of the Old Testament, because it was not compatible with their theology and they then labeled them “Apocrypha”.

In the early Christian era, there were many manuscripts which purported to be Holy Scripture but were not, like the Apocalypse of Peter and the Gospel of Thomas, which all Christian churches regard as spurious writings that don’t belong in Scripture.

In order to combat the spreading Christianity, Jewish rabbis met at the city of Jamnia or Javneh in A.D. 90 to determine which books were truly the Word of God. These Jewish rabbis did, in fact reject the deuterocanonical books. You will be interested to know that they also rejected the gospel and other New Testament documents. The Church disregarded the results of Javneh.

The deuterocanonicals were included in the Septuagint, the Greek edition of the Old Testament which the apostles used to evangelize the world. Two thirds of the Old Testament quotations in the New Testament are from the Septuagint.

The canon of Scripture, Old and New Testament, was finally settled at the Council of Rome in 382 and reaffirmed at the Council of Hippo in 393 and at the Council of Carthage in 397.

In 405 Pope Innocent I reaffirmed the canon in a letter to Bishop Exuperius of Toulouse. Another council at Carthage in 419 reaffirmed the canon of its predecessors and asked Pope Boniface to “confirm this canon, for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in church.” All of these canons were identical to the modern Catholic Bible, and all of them included the deuterocanonical books.

This exact same canon was implicitly affirmed at the seventh ecumenical council, II Nicaea (787), which approved the results of the 419 Council of Carthage, and explicitly reaffirmed at the ecumenical councils of Florence (1442), Trent (1546), Vatican I (1870), and Vatican II (1965).

The deuterocanonical books were taken out of the Old Testament by Martin Luther, because they were not convenient to his theology. He also took out four New Testament books—Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation—and put them in an appendix. These were later put back into the New Testament by other Protestants, but the seven books of the Old Testament were left out.

The deuterocanonical books were quoted by the early church leaders. Example: St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews encourages us to emulate the heroes of the Old Testament and in the Old Testament “Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life” (Heb. 11:35). Nowhere in the protestant Old Testament do you find someone being tortured and refusing to accept release for the sake of a better resurrection. It can only be found in the in the deuterocanonical books, which Martin Luther cut out of his Bible.

Acknowledgement: In this response, I have quoted extensively from James Akin’s article “Defending the deuterocanonicals”. I recommend it for further reading.

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Rachel August 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Dear Morisio,

I’m sorry, but you have been misinformed. It is a historical fact that Jesus Himself used the Septuagint, and it is a historical fact that the Septuagint never included the Apocrypha. Catholics call those 7 books “Deuterocanonical” which literally means “later canon.” Why is it called “later canon”? Because it was not added to the canon until the Council of Trent in 1546. The rest of the Old Testament is called “Protocanonical” which literally means “first canon.”

I do not dispute that the Apostles referenced some of the Apocryphal works. The 7 books may contain some accurate accounts of things that happened, which the Apostles could reference. But that doesn’t mean the writings are inspired of God. Many people wrote down very accurate accounts of New Testament events, but their writings were not inspired of God. There are even references in the New Testament to what Catholics recognize as the Pseudepigrapha (literally “false writings”) (Jude 14-15) and even citations from pagan sources (Acts 17:22-34), but none of these are cited as Scripture and are rejected even by Catholics. The New Testament also has no direct quotations of the Apocrypha. That is quite a contrast to the references made to rest of Old Testament, which began with “thus says the Lord” or “as it is written” or “the Scriptures say.”

And yes, Martin Luther did question the authenticity of several New Testament books. But Martin Luther was no different than you and I. He was intelligent, faithful, but far from perfect. Just because he made some mistakes doesn’t mean he can’t be trusted at all. The same goes for your church. Lutherans realize that the Reformation was too much for one man alone to accomplish in a single lifetime. Lutherans base their faith on God and His words, not on Martin Luther. So it really doesn’t matter if Luther messed up a couple times.

May God continue to bless you.

-Rachel

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Morisio August 23, 2012 at 1:34 am

Dear Rachel

I’m surprised that you would say the Septuagint never included the deuterocanonicals. All of the 3 most celebrated manuscripts of it, Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus all contain the these books. On the contrary, I think it’s you who is misinformed.

On the use of the terms protocanonical and deuterocanonical, I will quote the catholic encyclopedia:

“The terms protocanonical and deuterocanonical, of frequent usage among Catholic theologians and exegetes, require a word of caution. They are not felicitous, and it would be wrong to infer from them that the Church successively possessed two distinct Biblical Canons. Only in a partial and restricted way may we speak of a first and second Canon. Protocanonical (protos, “first”) is a conventional word denoting those sacred writings which have been always received by Christendom without dispute. The protocanonical books of the Old Testament correspond with those of the Bible of the Hebrews, and the Old Testament as received by Protestants. The deuterocanonical (deuteros, “second”) are those whose Scriptural character was contested in some quarters, but which long ago gained a secure footing in the Bible of the Catholic Church, though those of the Old Testament are classed by Protestants as the “Apocrypha”.” In short, you have misinterpreted the use of the words first and second.

I’m glad you accept the fallibility of Luther. He based his Bible on the Jewish Rabbis of Javneh, who rejected the Gospels after 60 years of Christendom using the Septuagint. And he rejected the works of all the Church Council which sat before him, which included the Deuterocanonicals which are found in the Septuagint, which Jesus Himself used. It only became necessary for the church to give a clear and authoritative definition of the Canon, because of this grave error.

The legacy of this mistake is the multitude of “churches” we now see sprouting at every corner. Every Tom, Dick and Harry now believes he can decide what is the Word of God and what isn’t.

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Rachel August 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

Dear Morisio,

It was not until the Septuagint was translated into Greek that the Apocrypha was added, along with several other books. The original Old Testament was written in Hebrew. As I said before, Jesus canvassed the entire Hebrew Old Testament when He said, “From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah,” and the Hebrew Old Testament did not include the Apocrypha. If you think the Greek version is better and the Bible should be based on that, I’m afraid the Catholic church would be guilty of subtracting from the word of God, since they threw out several books which were a part of the Greek translation.

If the Apocrypha really were the word of God, it would be perfect. But it is not. It mentions three times that people can be saved by alms, which the Bible clearly denies. It mentions reincarnation too, which is clearly against Scripture. It also has some historical inaccuracies. Judith 1:5 says, “Now in the twelfth year of his reign, Nabuchodonosor, king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Ninive the great city, fought against Arphaxad and overcame him.” Nabuchodonosor was not king of the Assyrians, he was the king of the Babylonians. Baruch 6 says the Jews would serve in Babylon for seven generations, but Jeremiah 25 says it was for 70 years.

You said “Every Tom, Dick and Harry now believes he can decide what is the Word of God and what isn’t.” That’s really not a fair statement. All Protestants that follow the Bible follow the same basic one, just slightly different editions with slightly different wording. There is no talk among Protestants about changing the Bible. For those denominations that follow a different book, I would say it is apparent that they would rather follow the word of man than the word of the Lord anyway. And many Catholics use Protestant Bibles, either because they are just not familiar with the Apocrypha or they don’t believe it is Scripture. Or maybe they know that the Doauy-Rheims is known for mistranslations. You’re probably aware, too, that in the Catholic church, any decree is elevated to the status of Scripture. I will trust the word of God as infallible, but not the word of man. God is sufficient for me.

God bless you.

-Rachel

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Morisio August 23, 2012 at 10:55 am

Dear Rachel

I think it is quite clear that we are worlds apart and we are kicking a dead horse.

I suppose the important thing is that we both believe in and love God. Perhaps that is our meeting point in the Kingdom of God. I have to sign off now.

So, thank you for all your challenging arguments. May the Good Lord be ever so kind to you in all your endeavours, especially in your faith.

I will definitely keep you in my prayers.

All the best

Morisio

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Rachel August 24, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Thank you, Morisio, for your kind and sincere words.

Though we have differences, I see in you a desire to praise our Lord and be a faithful servant to Him. I pray that you will not give up on your search for the truth. Thank you also for challenging me, for it has strengthened my faith. You are my brother in Christ.

May God our Father bless you richly.

-Rachel

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Peter September 5, 2012 at 3:27 am

Racheal, you said,
“Because it was not added to the canon until the Council of Trent in 1546.”

If the Catholic Church is guilty of “adding” to the Bible in 1546, then she is guilty of adding the full canon of the New Testament to the Bible in 393 A.D. This is when the Dueteros were “added”, at the same time the full canon of the New Testament was “added”.

Melito, bishop of Sardis, an ancient city of Asia Minor (see Rev 3), c. 170 AD produced the first known Christian attempt at an Old Testament canon. His list maintains the Septuagint order of books but contains only the Old Testament protocanonicals minus the Book of Esther.

The Council of Laodicea, c. 360, produced a list of books similar to today’s canon. This was one of the Church’s earliest decisions on a canon.

Pope Damasus, 366-384, in his Decree, listed the books of today’s canon.

The Council of Rome, 382, was the forum which prompted Pope Damasus’ Decree.

Bishop Exuperius of Toulouse wrote to Pope Innocent I in 405 requesting a list of canonical books. Pope Innocent listed the present canon.

The Council of Hippo, a local north Africa council of bishops created the list of the Old and New Testament books in 393 which is the same as the Roman Catholic list today.

The Council of Carthage, a local north Africa council of bishops created the same list of canonical books in 397. This is the council which many Protestant and Evangelical Christians take as the authority for the New Testament canon of books. The Old Testament canon from the same council is identical to Roman Catholic canon today. Another Council of Carthage in 419 offered the same list of canonical books.

http://home.inreach.com/bstanley/canon.htm

The Council of Trent did not add anything to the Bible. It closed the discussion. You can read the precise text from top to bottom and you will not find a single suggestion of “adding” anything that wasn’t there in the first place. Trent adding to the Bible is Protestant myth.

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Peter September 5, 2012 at 4:44 am

Rachel, you said,
“It was not until the Septuagint was translated into Greek that the Apocrypha was added, along with several other books. The original Old Testament was written in Hebrew.”

The Greek speaking Jews had been using the Deuteros as scripture for 200 years before Christ. The Bereans were Greek speaking Jews who used the Deuteros. The decision to restrict OT scripture to Hebrew was made by Jews hostile to Christians and who rejected the message of the New Testament. If you ask me, they aren’t much of an authority as to what should be in the Bible.

You said, “
“…As I said before, Jesus canvassed the entire Hebrew Old Testament when He said, “From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah,” and the Hebrew Old Testament did not include the Apocrypha.”

Just because Jesus read and argued from the OT does not mean the canon was settled at that time, nor exactly what that canon included.

You said, “It mentions three times that people can be saved by alms, which the Bible clearly denies.”

How about some context. Here is one example:
Tobit 4:7 Give alms out of thy substance, and turn not away thy face from any poor person: for
Tobit 4:8 According to thy ability be merciful.
Tobit 4:9 If thou have much give abundantly: if thou have little, take care even so to bestow willingly a little.
Tobit 4:10 For thus thou storest up to thyself a good reward for the day of necessity.

Regarding Alms giving, or giving to the needy, see also: Matt 6: 1-4, Luke 11: 41, Luke 12: 31-34, Acts 3: 3, Acts 10: 2, Acts 24: 17, Romans 15: 25-27, 1 Cor. 16: 1-2, 2 Cor. 8: 9, Gal. 2: 10, Deut. 24: 19, Ps. 41: 1; Ps. 112: 9; Prov. 14: 21; Prov. 19: 17; Prov. 22: 9; Prov. 28: 27; Acts 9: 36; Acts 11: 29-30; Philip. 4: 18; 1 Tim. 6: 18-19).

(note: Catholics do not believe in salvation by works apart from grace, that is a myth they teach ministers in seminaries)

You said,
“It mentions reincarnation too, which is clearly against Scripture.”

Sorry, there is no such mention that I could find. A quote would be nice.

You said,
“It also has some historical inaccuracies. Judith 1:5 says, “Now in the twelfth year of his reign, Nabuchodonosor, king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Ninive the great city, fought against Arphaxad and overcame him.” Nabuchodonosor was not king of the Assyrians, he was the king of the Babylonians. Baruch 6 says the Jews would serve in Babylon for seven generations, but Jeremiah 25 says it was for 70 years.”

Both Judith and Tobit have a number of historical and geographical errors, not because they’re presenting bad history and erroneous geography, but because they’re first-rate pious stories that don’t pretend to be remotely interested with teaching history or geography, any more than the Resurrection narratives in the Gospels are interested in astronomy. Indeed, the author of Tobit goes out of his way to make clear that his hero is fictional. He makes Tobit the uncle of Ahiqar, a figure in ancient Semitic folklore like “Jack the Giant Killer” or “Aladdin.” Just as one wouldn’t wave a medieval history textbook around and complain about a tale that begins “once upon a time when King Arthur ruled the land,” so Catholics are not reading Tobit and Judith to get a history lesson.

I accept the discernment of the Catholic Church to give us the New Testament, and that should be basis enough to accept what she says belongs in the whole Bible. Every argument against the Deuteros has been refuted thousands of times, the information is there for anyone who wants it.

Peter

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GrammaAda October 4, 2012 at 2:31 am

Thank you for the very thoughtful discussion regarding this. I have been a Christian for many years, since my teens, and a Catholic Christian for the last 20 or so years. I have, in recent years, wished to leave the church but my husband truly loves it. He feels the presence of God more there than he ever has before in his life. He is in his 70s and so I feel if it makes him happy, I can certainly worship anywhere. However, there is much I find beautiful about the church. I have never, never been taught to “worship statues” or “pray to Mary.” The statues are no different than a statue or photo or painting of any other beloved person in any place of worship; you can sit and reflect next to it, or just enjoy its beauty and be inspired. What greater example of obedience than Mary? In terms of praying to saints and to Mary, this was explained to me that it is the same way that you would ask a friend to pray for you. You would not say, “Hi Joe, I’d like to pray to you because I’m having a tough time lately.” No! But you might say to your friend, Joe, “Hi, would you please pray for me, friend? I’m having a rough time lately.” This is how it was explained to me, anyway. Even the actual Hail Mary prayer says “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” It is asking Mary to pray FOR us. The cornerstone of our faith that is talked about is that Christ is the son of God, who died on the cross to save us from our sins. In my opinion, there is a lot of misunderstanding about Catholics. I once went to the Christian bookstore in town to browse and shop, and look for a gift, and this is a huge place but they had next to nothing for Catholics. I asked if they had any Catholic gifts and I got a very chilly reception; someone made a barely-audible comment about “cults” that I could not quite make out and it stung. I felt unwelcome and like someone had kicked me in the stomach. Now having said all that, part of the reason I’d like to leave is that despite what I do love about it, there’s a lot I just cannot agree with and I never will. But here’s the deal: Every church I’ve ever been to had something on some level that was a matter of opinion, that was based on someone’s interpretation of how things should be, and somebody there disagreed with it. In my opinion we should never presume to say whether or not another person is saved. We simply do not know what is in another person’s heart, or what stage their thinking is in, or what God is leading them through internally. The older I get, the more I realize I have to learn. Well good heavens. I was googling to find a comforting scripture to send to a Catholic friend in pain and I ended up here, and now it’s 1:30 am and I should be asleep! Good night, all, and blessings all around!

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Sally December 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

“Not anyone who calls me Lord Lord will enter into the Kingdom of God but He who does the will of the Father”.It’s impossible to know His specific will without a lasting relationship brought about by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit would never condone idolatory in any form…be it the most respected and favorabl woman who ever lived.there is no co-redeemer…a lot of world religions including hinduism doesn’t deny the diety of Jesus Christ..it believes Him to be 1 of the Saviors-a direct and complete contradiction to the fundamental doctrine of Christianity which professes Jesus to be the sole Savior and Redeemer of the world.Simply professing or knowing Jesus to be the Redeemer doesn’t completely qualify a believer…even devils believe that!A believer is one who has a genuine relationship with the Son of God (no matter how imperfect the relationship maybe at that point in time, as long as he/she cares to work on one).

Mary or any of the saints aren’t in a place where they can hear or see you.You have direct access to the Father through Christ alone. Speaking to or invoking any other spirits (no matter how “holy”) is not only dangerous but demonic.

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Adam gorski October 4, 2012 at 8:06 am

Recently while attending both catholic and a number of Protestant churches it is obvious to me that to follow all the catholic teachings is to love God to its fullest and the farther you deviate from that it is to love sin greater than God. Lets take birth control clearly in genesis 38 and nfp is 98% effective but almost all Protestants would rather not follow god but follow man and sin in this area

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lauren October 5, 2012 at 11:40 am

I’m speaking as an ex Roman Catholic. I am now a happy Pentacostal. This is what I do not understand about the Catholic Church (and I’m talking about the Pope, the Cardinals, the Priests, etc.).. Now, I am ‘no theologian’, however, now that I am Penacostal, I read the Bible. What baffles me now about Catholicism is why do they NOT preach the Bible. The straight up Word of God. The Holy Spirit. I speak from experience. I believe Catholics are faithful, yes. But they “some” are not spirit-filled Christians, because they are too busy with ‘religion’, and also most, I know, are not tolerant towards Evangelicals, and I believe the reason why is that they are (generally speaking) are not spirit filled. My own Catholic family will not even speak to me anymore because I received the Gift of the Holy Spirit. It hurts, and it is very sad. That is my experience. I wish we could all live in unity. There are some serious problems with the Catholic Church, and I pray for a revival in the Body of Christ. with love : )

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Rachel December 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Lauren, although I am not Pentecostal (Lutheran), my heart is warmed by what you have said here. My husband and I understand much of what you have said here (him also being a former Catholic). I am familiar with the intolerance that you speak of and yes, it is sad. But we can rejoice knowing that we have God’s love. I pray that He will keep you steadfast in spirit. God bless : )

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Ben December 16, 2012 at 12:55 am

truthfully I have been on a wild journey as a Christian observing Catholicism mostly through my girlfriend. I have learned some from John MacArthur who has a bunch of sermons about Catholicism and some from many others.
Personally I am of the opinion now that when God saves a person regardless of if they are in the Catholic Church or not that person will be absolutely 100% reborn and forgiven and will never ever ever lose their salvation because you just can’t lose it. One can’t lose something like that because it wasn’t us who gained it by our will in the first place, it was grace that bought us and grace that keeps us.
Now on Catholicism I am terribly sure that all of this adoration of Mary is idolatry. I don’t think that Catholics understand that asking Mary to pray for them is so terribly wrong. It is not like asking a friend to pray for you. The bible gives no good indication that any saint in heaven can pray for us. We can love them, I love the writers of the gospels and peter and paul and many others, but I can’t have communication with them or I can’t communicate through them to Christ. It just isn’t supported biblically. I have heard Catholics try to meander their way into an argument where they could say it was possible but it requires so much reading in between the lines that it is missing the point of everything.
Jesus is the point and we should be so in love with Jesus that other things fall away. This love for Mary is stronger with many Catholics than is their so called love for Christ. If someone has a love for one thing stronger than their love for Christ than their love for him is so terribly broken. People pray the hail Mary thing like 20 times a day I’ve heard and it doesn’t strike anyone as weird? or they do the rosary 20 times a day. Who cares about praying to Mary to ask mary to pray for us? WHO CARES. WHO CARES. WHO CARES. I want to cry inside right now I feel so terribly heart broken. We need to let our Catholic Brothers and Sisters know. I call them brothers and sisters because they believe in Jesus but that doesn’t mean I think many of them are saved. Please open your eyes Catholics, Mary would not want you to go to her. MARY WOULD NOT WANT YOU TO GO TO HER. Do you believe me? Maybe not. How about this, MARY WOULD WANT YOU TO GO TO JESUS. Doesn’t that make sense? Mary doesn’t want you to come to her. She is a simple humble girl who loved her son, the savior of the world. She knows he has all of the power and the authority in the universe. She would want you to go to him! I mean look at her at the wedding in Cana. She has the people do whatever Jesus tells them. That is wonderful. She is like “aha! I have the answer, here go do whatever my son Jesus tells you.” She gets it. She knows Jesus is the only answer. She knows she has no power and her humbleness is only a token of her brokenness. I think that the adoration of mary is not wrong in itself but I think the way it is done is 100% idolatry and so terribly skewed from what God wants. Everyone in the Catholic Church has a terribly wrong perception of Mary. They think of her as the immaculately conceived one, one who didn’t sin since she was free from original sin. They often even think of her as the coredeemer! what madness is this? Can a fallen human have any part in the salvation of fallen man? NO! Definitely not. That is to take away the glory of God. She can’t have been immaculately conceived. Sure God “could” have done that. But it was not a part of his plan. Mary was born of a fallen mother and fallen father. She was not immaculately conceived. Gosh I hope Catholics respond to anyone who is bold to tell them they are missing the point. Catholics think they have the fullness of the truth but sadly they go to the Catholic Church to find the truth and the RCC can’t save a soul. I was inside a random parish today and it had a sign that said the mission statement was something like connecting people to Jesus Christ in order to build a healing relationship with Christ AND the Catholic Church. Do you see that there? the and? That is the center of this madness. I don’t think I will convince anyone by what I have said but it is worth it to speak freely of what I have come to understand. Don’t believe your Catholic Church. Doubt them to the fullest extent of your person. I hope you do not consider me some demon driven man out to destroy the church. I love my girlfriend so dearly but I don’t see one truly good fruit come at all from the Catholic Church’s teachings. I see only fruit come into my girlfriend from the very overpowering grace of God.

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Adam gorski December 16, 2012 at 1:15 am

@ben don’t you think it’s strange that you learn about the one holy catholic apostolic church that Jesus founded from a modern anti- catholic john macarthur instead of the pre Niecene fathers such as polycarp and Ignatous of Antioch who learned directly from the apostle John ???

Ask your self why do Protestants love sin sooooo much probably because protestism is inspired from the devil

You do all these unbiblical things such as
Remarriage (4 times in the gospels)
Birth control (genesis 38)
Abortion (thou shall not kill)
Gay marriage
Deny the Eucharist (John 6, Hebrews)
Deny Mary as theakos (luke 1)
Deny confession(John 20 21-23)
Deny apostolic sussesion (acts 1)
Deny works as part of salvation (James 2:24)
Deny the papacy (Matt. 16:18)
Sola scriptora not in the bible (1 Tim 3:15)
And on and on the Heracy goes

And yes purgatory is in the bible
(1 cor 3:15)

Go to catholic.com to be saved the bible way

Or continue to embrace the devil and sin
With your Protestant Heracy by hijacking part our a catholic tradition the bible which is

Ephisians 4:5
One lord, one faith, one baptism

Currently there are 38,000 Protestant heretical secs

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Adam gorski December 16, 2012 at 1:30 am

@ Lauren the catholic church doesn’t preach the bible

If you attend a catholic church for 7 years straight you will hear the entire bible read and then they will repeat it

I’m in 2 catholic bible studies a week

It’s Protestantism that doesn’t teach the bible they pick and choose the lines that they can twist with lies

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Rachel December 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm

“If you attend a catholic church for 7 years straight you will hear the entire bible read and then they will repeat it”

False. The Catholic church goes through a three year Lectionary cycle, which covers 3.7% of the Old Testament (plus Psalms) and 40.8% of the New Testament if you’re counting Sunday masses. If you include weekday masses, it covers 13.5% of the OT and 71.5% of the NT over a three year period, which is then repeated after the three years. There are entire books which are never read from during mass.

You may someday find that there are many myths, like this one, started in order to increase attendance, thereby increasing offerings.

God bless you as you seek Him.

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Rachel December 16, 2012 at 6:15 am

Adam, I do not see how it is up to you nor the Catholic church to decide whether or not she is saved. That is quite contrary to the Bible.

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