devotional

09OCT
2020

To a Roman Catholic for Discussion

For a few short weeks now, I’ve been in talks with a Catholic gentleman to enter into debate. I proposed we debate a certain idea, record the talk and post it. He agreed. It was a social media interaction that had gained some traction. We agreed to debate, but then the gentleman instead presented that he simply wanted to ask me questions. He didn’t want to debate Scripture, but instead wanted me to try to answer forty-five questions that he felt I likely couldn’t answer as a Protestant. I agreed to his idea. He would not send me the questions ahead of time. He would ask his questions and then give me time to answer. He says he’s a former Protestant who’s gone Catholic. We have not yet made the question and answer session happen. Recently in private conversation he learned of my vocation and offered some kind words on it. He said I was, “Doing the Lord’s work.” I thanked him for his kind words, but mentioned something to the effect that as a Roman Catholic today he could not agree that I was actually a servant of Jesus. It is perplexing to me that so many are unaware of what makes Christians and Catholics to differ. In any case, to not appear to simply be biased against him for no good reason, or to offer any unnecessary offense, I offered back what follows.
To anyone reading this, I post it here to ask you to consider the matter in your own life. They are indeed well worth considering. We can do so in respect to all, humility and conviction. Below is unaltered what I sent via private message to the gentleman I still hope to speak to regarding these and other matters soon.

Jeromy, as a Protestant pastor and theologian, I feel it fair to offer you a bit of a short explanation. If we can dialogue/debate, and I hope we can, please forgive what may appear as dogged inability to reason. Twitter/texting, as you likely know, presents a challenge (when in opposition to anything) all its own to showing love, patience or kindness. Christian virtues easily lost in translation. The provocative nature of debate can often be softened by voice tones or coffee simply impossible by keyboard. I am, however, biblically, theologically and historically opposed to Rome’s modern view of the Christian religion. And I have spent the better part of my life considering why. I am nearly 43 years old. I appreciate your kind words. And again I thank you for them. I could wish that you approve my faith even, but you’re apparently unaware of what I teach. I don’t mean to in any way unnecessarily offend, and let me say, grace to you and peace from Christ my Lord, but it’s not derangement to be convicted on the essential (foundational) doctrines that evidence our distinct differences. That evidence your faith’s modern apostasy and recognize how they must divide us when the truth of it is brought to bear on the foundation of the Faith. I can today no more thank God for a learned priest’s work than I can thank a Russian soldier for his sharpshooting diligence against the US.

A few random facts for truth’s sake so you at least know from my own “mouth”-

  1. Water baptism required for salvation and accomplished as taught in Rome. This matter alone divides us entirely and irreconcilably. One of us would have to repent of our view on this to enter the kingdom of heaven. 
  2. Justification by faith alone. See point #1 as an out-working. Probably needn’t say more now. 
  3. The sacerdotal (medieval) scholastic intrusions that rob the historic 2,000 – 4,000 year-old Faith I practice of its true and pure devotion. 
  4. I am myself condemned by Rome in denying the ability of man to cooperate with God for salvation. Session 6, Council of Trent (alone) confirms this, as still upheld by the modern CCC in its prologue (and throughout) as the finest example of catechesis in your church’s current lens view of Christian history. 
  5. I deny the papal office. Peter, one of my teachers, was no pope, and therefore none follow. There is no visible head. I find popery in fact, as a student of Scripture and its history, anti-Christian. The early church (in any sense speaking of it as a conglomerate) simply held no such view of a monarchical episcopate. It is above all things demonstrably un-apostolic. Both the EO church and us Protestants (the world over) have always denied the western church’s 5th/6th centuries developed claims on this as nothing more than tradition at work. This is a theological problem between you and me that is unbridgeable. Everything you practice as sacrament comes to you from an illegitimate office I deny. No authority, no graces communicated as taught. It then becomes sin. No pope, ergo no vested priesthood, ergo no sacraments endowed. 
  6. I deny the eucharistic “miracle” and call it in practice a modern day (it is by no means ancient) disregard of the Gospel by turning the Lord’s propitiation from a perfect sacrifice received by faith to an imperfect sacrifice that never perfects anyone. This is an out-working, see point #5.
  7. I deny the treasury of merit. No one deposits, no one withdraws. 
  8. 3 of the 4 Marian dogmas are late medieval or modern heresies leading to an idol in a false and un-biblical/dishonoring of Mary that I must abhor. I honor Mary. What modern Rome does with her blessed memory pains my very heart. It has become nothing short of a developed (not in any sense ancient) Mariolatry. 

I don’t mean to accuse without grounds. These are settled matters fixed between us. By pushing the broom here I’m not creating the dust. I’m simply seeking to sweep and bringing in the water. This is the work of the church in every generation.

We do not both have the Christian Religion today. I contend that I do. I trust in God and the word of his grace (Acts 20:29-32). From this, from and on Christ, my own accepted modern un-inspired traditions (as a Reformed Baptist (http://www.vor.org/truth/1689/1689bc00.html ; http://biblecia.com/article/statement-of-faith/) find a warm, humble/humbling, God-honoring and firm accord. It distances me from people, yes…just as my Lord promises it would. 

In short, I affirm and practice Sola Scriptura…just as many Catholic priests have done throughout history, and long before Rome’s current apostasy. Since the Reformation, we’ve come to recognize and codify this necessary stance as believers in the ancient church, but it’s what Christians have always practiced, following Jesus’ own earthly modeling of it, literally from our start. Everyone is welcome to the table who wishes to dine, but Rome has no seat at the head. Reformed Baptists have no exclusive seat. I stand in a long line of defenders of the Faith who can clearly see Rome’s traditional drift that now callouses hearts against the Lord and his beautiful, life-changing, sanctifying Gospel. 

I am jealous for his honor. This is what opposes me to anything that is not. I am just a man. But my faith is not ultimately from men. Please try to pardon any unnecessary offense. 

 


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