"Abolish Human Abortion" and Anti-Catholicism

It's frustrating to "like" a pro-life Facebook page, only to later read a post that directly attacks my Church, my faith and my beliefs.

The first time this happened to me was the group "Pro-Life ROCKS!" One day, I checked my news feed and found this little tidbit:



When I and several other Catholics attempted to defend our faith, our posts were deleted.

Now it's happened again with the group Abolish Human Abortion. First, one of their page admins posted an anti-Catholic screed (as related by The Crescat). When many Catholics objected to this attack on their faith, the following open letter was posted.

The letter writer claims:
Those who call us "anti-Catholic" are entirely misled, and in using that label reveal that they have very little understanding of the actual issues at hand.

As a matter of fact, it shows that the letter writer (who identifies himself as "Rhology") has very little understanding as to what constitutes anti-Catholicism.

Rhology makes the following claims in his letter:
  • Our positions are fundamentally incompatible, and both sides accept that.
  • One of us has biblical justification for saying what we say, and the other does not. (Quick, someone better tell the folks at ScriptureCatholic to take their website down!)
  • We do not affirm the same gospel as the Roman Catholic Church.
  • We are not the first, nor will we be the last, people to be Gospel-focused and doing our best to proclaim the glorious Gospel of grace to people who by their own admission have a different Gospel

Et cetera.

The prefix "anti-" means "against," or "opposite of." Therefore, one who is "anti-Catholic" is against or opposed to Catholicism. Based on Rhology's statements above, he is indeed anti-Catholic. I honestly don't see how he can claim otherwise.

What frustrates me most in the entire letter is the following statement:

Being called "anti-Catholic" for proclaiming the Gospel, being evangelical, and arguing against various points of Roman theology is just wrong.
I'm frustrated because neither Rhology nor the author of the original screed (they may be the same person; I'm not certain) were doing any of that. Is it proclaiming the Gospel to call fellow Christians who love and serve Jesus Christ "satanic"?  Is it being evangelical to attack the very Church that Jesus established (as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew)? Is it really "arguing against various points of Roman theology" when one merely throws out baseless and fatuous claims that take only a few minutes on Google to prove completely false?

For example - Rhology talks about "Roman theology" and "Roman Catholicism." He completely ignores the other rites of the Catholic Church. Like so many anti-Catholics, he doesn't take the time to learn facts about the Church; he merely parrots Jack Chick tracts as though they were the word of God.

So, tell me, who exactly is preaching a false gospel?

I'm issuing a challenge here and now to Rhology and any AHA members who agree with him:

See for yourself what the Catholic Church teaches. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Read the tracts at Catholic.com. Read the posts at Little Catholic Bubble. Contact me (either by leaving a comment on my blog, or via the links to my e-mail, Facebook page, or Twitter account, above) and start a discussion with me about any aspect of the Catholic faith.

But please, don't remain ignorant. If you are going to disagree with the Catholic Church, that's perfectly all right -- but have the courtesy to disagree with Her actual teachings instead of what you mistakenly think She teaches.




There is one thing Rhology and I can agree on:

While the above is a rebuke, yes, it is a rebuke offered in love. This fight is far from over and our friends in the pro-life movement have, we pray, plenty of time to take up the good fight, to retake up the best weapon in our arsenal - the Gospel of Jesus Christ - consistently, firmly, foundationally, and in the foremost position. Take it up, wield it, use it.
Amen, Rhology. And may you and those who think like you come to realize that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is fulfilled in the teachings of the Church that He established as the pillar and ground of truth (1 Tim 3:15).

Comments

  1. Like your post, just a note, Rhology is a she. As I posted under their so-called "open letter", the whole "anti-Catholic" thing started way before this most recent outbreak and rant by Toby Harmon, although I would not be surprised to learn that he was the admin abusing his posting rights. It began weeks before Christmas and started to break loose when they linked the White House petition they were circulating to a blog that was very anti-Catholic. They wish to pretend that this whole thing was blown up suddenly and out of nowhere by some malicious Catholics made up whole cloth when all the evidence shows the exact opposite. Frankly, most of the Catholics who've gotten upset over this latest blow-up aren't even aware of all the nonsense that was said a month ago by them.

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  2. A "different Gospel", eh? I have to admit that I've tried to study a little of what both Catholics and non-Catholic Christians believe, and while we do have some different beliefs, we have the same Gospel. Of this, I am sure. Unless they mean something different than I do (that is, the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) when they say "gospel". (I suppose they could mean "good news" in that Jesus came to the earth and died to save us from our sins... But I still say we have the same gospel if those are the terms!)

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  3. I'm not a commenter, but I love this post! I am a Catholic who saw the posts on the AHA page and was rather flabbergasted by them, but had no idea what to say to them. Blessings on you!!

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  4. How sad and frustrating!! I am glad you called them out. Best to have all this aired, for clarity's sake.

    Catholic teaching is so derned easy to find, it's a real lack of integrity (or it's just laziness) to misrepresent the Church.

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  5. Hello there!

    Thanks for letting me know about this post.

    First of all, I'm a guy, not a girl.
    But I'll take "Rhology is a she" as a complimement. :-)

    Second, I must disagree that I am ignorant of RC soteriology. I have read a fair amount of that material, listened to many Catholic Answers Live sessions and apologists in debate, read the relevant portions of the Council of Trent, etc.

    Instead of challenging me to cease my ignorance, how about showing from Magisterial sources where I am incorrect, and explaining how Trent can say what it says in light of those sources you choose to cite? And then explain how Roman theology can have a consistent teaching throughout the centuries?

    Best of luck to you on that. You'll need it.

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  6. Oops, *compliment*
    Haha.

    Say, let me ask you this also: What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

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  7. Ugh. Great. I follow them on fb too. I'll have to de-follow! And...what Leila said. So much laziness.

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  8. Thanks so much for responding, Rhology!

    Second, I must disagree that I am ignorant of RC soteriology. I have read a fair amount of that material, listened to many Catholic Answers Live sessions and apologists in debate, read the relevant portions of the Council of Trent, etc.

    If this is indeed true, why are you igorant of the Eastern rites of the Catholic Church (for example)?

    Instead of challenging me to cease my ignorance, how about showing from Magisterial sources where I am incorrect, and explaining how Trent can say what it says in light of those sources you choose to cite? And then explain how Roman theology can have a consistent teaching throughout the centuries?

    Read the Catechism, Rhology (there's a link in my post). It explains (and contains quotes from) the Council of Trent as well as the Church's unbroken, consistent teaching from the past two centuries -- and much better than I ever could. Thank God for the Magisterium!

    If you could clarify what specific teaching from the Council of Trent you have a problem with, I'd be happy to explain it to you.

    As for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it can be summed up by John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

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  9. Rhology, I'm happy to join JoAnna in assisting you with this! If you could do as she asks, and point out a specific issue or teaching? It's pretty vague right now.

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  10. Hi JoAnna,

    Thank you for your reply.

    why are you igorant of the Eastern rites of the Catholic Church (for example)?

    A few things to say in response to this question.
    1) This is a question straight out of left field. What relevance does it have?

    2) RCs love to proclaim loudly and widely their unity in all dogmatic questions. Why would I need to say anything about the Eastern rites?

    3) I certainly knew the Eastern rites exist, but I don't have time to learn about all the specifics of all the different denominations within RCC. It is probably for the same reason that I'd wager you couldn't tell me much about
    -the supralapsarian vs infralapsarian debate
    -the debate over justifiable application of theonomy
    -the insider movement debate

    without googling those things.
    They haven't really appeared on your radar screen and we all only have limited time and brain bandwidth.



    It explains (and contains quotes from) the Council of Trent as well as the Church's unbroken, consistent teaching from the past two centuries

    You linked me to the main CCC search page. Yes, of course I know what the CCC is. I'm sure it quotes from Trent, yes, of course.
    This might help illustrate what I mean.

    How can somebody who is under over a dozen anathemas also be a "separated brother"?

    It's one thing to ASSERT that the Magisterium has taught consistently over the centuries. It's quite another to PROVE.



    it can be summed up by John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

    Is it possible for someone who unabashedly affirms a gospel that fundamentally includes the doctrines of sola fide and an idea of atonement that is entirely incompatible with the Roman Mass and the dogma of Purgatory to be said to believe The Gospel?
    Do you affirm that you will be responsible to suffer purgation of venial sins after you die?

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  11. Bless you for taking up the fight to remain unified.

    John 13:35 says
    By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

    This is important stuff - stick with it. I hope it all works out in the end without resorting to antagonism and aggression - that would be a pity.

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  12. Rhology, actually as a Protestant the onus is on you to prove your case. Please speak clearly. To which Catholic doctrine are you referring? Pick one. Thanks!

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  13. Rhology, actually as a Protestant the onus is on you to prove your case.

    I don't understand.
    What was unclear about what I said?
    Why is the onus on me?

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  14. We are the ones who have gone about our business for 2,000 years, preaching the Gospel and protecting the Deposit of Faith, intact. You are the ones who left the Church and rejected her authority (with no authority to start a new church). So, the onus is on you to prove that we have taught wrongly. So, what specific point of doctrine (part of the Deposit of Faith) are you saying has been reversed? Let's start with one. If you please. Thanks!

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  15. The Gospel. See the open letter and the above link about Trent's anathemas for details.

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  16. No, no, Rhology. That is a cop out. Name a point of doctrine. Be specific. Otherwise, you are just playing. Bring it to this combox (cut and paste if you must), and name the doctrine, so that we can have a discussion.

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  17. Or, if you'd prefer, I could challenge you on a specific point of doctrine that no Protestant has yet been able to answer for me. Would you prefer that we discuss Catholic doctrine, or Protestant doctrine?

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  18. Defining the Gospel properly is a cop out, according to you.
    Wow.

    If you're willing to talk about that, we can talk.

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  19. So, you can't name a doctrine. Okay.

    Let's talk about defining the Gospel, but first, tell me what your authority is. What authority do you have to define things in Christianity?

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  20. So, the Gospel is not a doctrine. Okay.

    I have no authority. I only have truth insofar as I accurately reflect what the Scripture teaches.

    What authority do you have to define things in Roman Catholicism?

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  21. Define "the Gospel", Rhology. Please, I would like your definition. How can we debate what you won't define?

    How do you know if you accurately reflect what Scripture teaches?

    I have no authority at all to define Christian teaching. Christianity is a revealed religion, and it's handed down from the Apostles and their successors to the faithful. I submit to the teaching of Christ's Church.


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    1. "Gospel" means the Good News. The teachings and revelation of Christ. There is a lot that is encompassed in that. So, name which part of the Gospel (which doctrine) you want to debate. It's a really straight-forward question I've been asking. We have to have a starting point and you won't start.

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  22. I defined the Gospel in the open letter. I invite you to read it before we continue here.

    It is possible to know accurately what Scripture teaches because the Holy Spirit illumines the believer's heart as he honors the text by following the three proper hermeneutical rules:
    1) Context
    2) Context
    3) Context

    We can apprehend the proper meaning of Scripture the same way we apprehend the proper meaning of any other text: Reading in context.

    And I agree with the prima facie meaning of your last sentences: I have no authority at all to define Christian teaching. Christianity is a revealed religion, and it's handed down from the Apostles and their successors to the faithful. I submit to the teaching of Christ's Church.

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  23. "Gospel" means the Good News.

    Right.


    The teachings and revelation of Christ. There is a lot that is encompassed in that.

    Wrong.

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  24. Rhology - Re: the Eastern Churches, it matters because ignorance of them displays a profound ignorance of Catholicism itself.

    The Eastern Churches are not part of the Roman (also called "Latin") Rite. They are not subordinate to the Roman Rite. They are under the authority of the Pope, and are the same doctrinally (dogmatically), but there are many differences in discipline between the two (for example, the Eastern churches permit married priests).

    So when you assume that there are no differences, or when you state that the Eastern Churches are subordinate to the Roman Churches, or when you refer tot the whole of Catholicism as "Roman Catholic," you show a basic lack of research into Catholicism.

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  25. Rhology, I just read your entire letter again, and I don't see where you defined what you mean by Gospel. You claim that Catholicism preaches a different Gospel (false), and you claim that the Council of Trent anathemized the Gospel (also false), but you never say what you believe the gospel is -- only that you believe Catholicism gets it wrong.

    So, Leila's right. We need to know what you define as the Gospel before we can continue the conversation.

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  26. when you assume that there are no differences

    So the Roman Catholic Church is not united. Duly noted.

    Now, I didn't assume there were no differences. I just didn't see a reason to bring up all the different RC denominations.

    If you had any idea how many RCs have insisted to me that the RCC is unified unified unified, you might think twice about saying what you've said here.

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    1. Read what I said again, Rhology, and please stop misrepresenting my words. Anyone can go and see what I actually said, so your attempts to twist my meaning come across as ridiculous.

      Doctrinally (or dogmatically), the Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic Churches are united. However, they are separate Rites, with different liturgies, and different disciplines (e.g., married clergy).

      It's like how my sister and I have the same parents, and are full biological siblings if you look at our DNA. However, our personalities are vastly different. The fact I love books and science fiction TV shows but she likes chick flicks and sitcoms does not mean we're not still sisters.

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  27. Rhology, let me try again: What doctrine do you want to talk about, that the Church has "reversed"?

    If there is not a lot (according to you) that Christ taught and revealed, then it should be very easy for you to define. Like I said, cut and paste the doctrine to which you are referring, and let's go.

    Also, let's say I am an illiterate peasant who cannot put the Bible in context because I cannot read. To which teacher should I go? How will I find him or her? How will I know who the successors of the Apostles are, so that I can be sure I won't be misled on matters of doctrine?

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  28. Let me try this, too, if it helps: I am an inquiring pagan. I have heard that I must believe the Gospel to be saved. If I ask you, "What is the Gospel?" what answer would you give me? Maybe that will help us define it. Thanks!

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  29. Why try again? I've told you several times now.

    I didn't say there wasn't a lot that Christ taught and revealed. I am correcting your view that the Gospel is the teachings and revelation of Christ.
    No, rather, it is a subset thereof. Jesus taught an awful lot of law. Law is bad news, because we cannot keep the law.


    To which teacher should (the illiterate peasant) go?

    One who teaches the Bible properly.
    But turn all this around on the RC view. How will this peasant know whether his priest is teaching proper RC doctrine? He can't know. He must trust in the providence of God. Priests are not infallible, and some priests don't teach in accord with what RCC teaches officially, just like some Bible teachers don't teach the BIble properly.
    Positing an infallible church doesn't answer your problem scenario.

    But you and I are neither illiterate nor peasants. I'd rather talk about that.

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  30. Whoa, Rhology, you do understand the difference between doctrine (or dogma) and discipline, correct?

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  31. Re: the Council of Trent and the link you provided, it's still entirely too broad. Which canon, specifically, do you take issue with? Pick one and we'll go from there.

    By the way, the use of the word anathema has evolved during the history of the Church, and today it means the same thing as excommunication. (The word anathema is no longer officially used.) A person must be a Catholic to be anathema (or, as we say today, excommunicated), and the term does not apply to Protestants. You can't be excommunicated from the Church if you were never a member in the first place. That is why you are our separated brethren.

    It is possible to know accurately what Scripture teaches because the Holy Spirit illumines the believer's heart as he honors the text by following the three proper hermeneutical rules:

    How is this possible, given that there are over 50,000 Protestant denominations (with more being created every day), all of whom claimed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit? They can't all be right. So how do you know which denomination is the correct one, if all of their leaders claimed to be led by the Holy Spirit? Do you believe the Holy Spirit would lead so many people into so much confusion?

    Is it possible for someone who unabashedly affirms a gospel that fundamentally includes the doctrines of sola fide and an idea of atonement that is entirely incompatible with the Roman Mass and the dogma of Purgatory to be said to believe The Gospel?

    I'm not quite sure what you're saying here; it's rather confusing. If you're asking of non-Catholics can be saved, yes. If your next question is "But what about 'no salvation outside the Church?," I direct you to this excellent article.

    Do you affirm that you will be responsible to suffer purgation of venial sins after you die?

    Do I believe in Purgatory? Yes, I do, because it is affirmed by both Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium.

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  32. I defined the Gospel clearly in the open letter. A couple of times, actually. You really can't see it?

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  33. Great, let's say you are right, R. Let's say that priests are teaching bad doctrine, too. But that doesn't answer my question. How does the peasant find the "one who teaches the Bible properly"?

    Or, since you said you believe in this, how does he find the Apostles' successors?

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  34. "I defined the Gospel clearly in the open letter. A couple of times, actually. You really can't see it?"

    For courtesy, could you cut and paste it here?

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  35. "So the Roman Catholic Church is not united. Duly noted.

    Now, I didn't assume there were no differences. I just didn't see a reason to bring up all the different RC denominations.

    If you had any idea how many RCs have insisted to me that the RCC is unified unified unified, you might think twice about saying what you've said here."

    This is an incorrect interpretation of JoAnna's response.

    The CATHOLIC CHURCH is united. There are different RITES within the Catholic Church that follow different disciplines (practices that are NOT doctrine/dogma). My husband is Ukrainian Rite Catholic. I am Latin Rite Catholic (Roman Catholic). However we are BOTH Catholic. One Church, different disciplines. All Catholic, unified under the Pope and Catholic doctrine.

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  36. Leila: To which teacher should (the illiterate peasant) go?

    Rhology: One who teaches the Bible properly.

    And how does the peasant know who that is?

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  37. Which canon, specifically, do you take issue with? Pick one and we'll go from there.

    My favorites from Trent are 7, 9, 11, 15, 17, 18, 19 (the first half, not the part about the 10 Cmdmts), 20, 23 (except Trent bungled it), 24, 26, 27, 29 (directly contradicting Hebrews 6:4-6), 30, 32, and 33.

    The other ones are perhaps arguable in this or that way.


    I just didn't see a reason to bring up all the different RC denominations.

    that sounds familiar. Sorta like what I said at the beginning. :-)


    There are different RITES within the Catholic Church that follow different disciplines (practices that are NOT doctrine/dogma).

    I was referring to RC teaching, and JoAnna took issue with it. You're backpedaling. It's good that you're doing so, but it must be duly pointed out nonetheless.

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    1. Heidi - "I just didn't see a reason to bring up all the different RC denominations."

      You - "that sounds familiar. Sorta like what I said at the beginning. :-)"

      It sounds familiar, because she was quoting you. See the quote marks above...

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  38. And how does the peasant know who that is?

    The same way the peasant could know the Roman priest is properly teaching Roman doctrine.


    For courtesy, could you cut and paste it here?

    No. Please read the open letter in its entirety.

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    1. I have read the open litter in its entirety, several times. You claim the Catholic Church teaches a false gospel, but you never define what the Gospel is other than to claim the CC teaches it falsely.

      Please, if it's so clear, you should be able to cut and paste your definition here and then we will have a better basis for our discussion.

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    2. I've also read the letter multiple times in its entirety. There is not a definition - not a precise one - as to what exactly the "Gospel" is.

      Please cut and paste here, if you've already defined it there, as we're obviously all unable to see it.

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  39. How am I backpedaling? You incorrectly interpreted JoAnna's answer.

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    1. To clarify - I was referring solely to the combox, where JoAnna explained the differences in the different rites and you misinterpreted her answer.

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  40. "And how does the peasant know who that is?

    The same way the peasant could know the Roman priest is properly teaching Roman doctrine."

    This is done very simply, actually, in this day and age. It's incredibly easy to see if a priest is correctly teaching Church doctrine. All of it is online. (Like the link to the CCC above). It's actually quite simple to see if someone is correct in their teaching.

    How would one do the same with a Bible-teaching pastor?

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  41. Rhology, to what session of the Council of Trent are you referring? There are several Canon 7s depending on which Session is being discussed.

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  42. A person must be a Catholic to be anathema (or, as we say today, excommunicated), and the term does not apply to Protestants.

    That's not what the canons of Trent say. It doesn't say "unless they're Protestant"; it doesn't give any conditions except "if anyone says".
    Well, I say those things. It's not unclear unless you have a desire to muddy the waters.
    I know that it's impossible to reconcile Trent's statements with more modern official RC proclamations. That is merely one more reason why you should repent of your membership in RCC immediately and believe the Gospel.

    God does not contradict Himself.
    Seriously, think. Come out from there.


    How is this possible, given that there are over 50,000 Protestant denominations

    1) Perhaps you've heard of "sin" before?
    2) 1 Corinthians 11 gives us another reason:
    18For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. 19For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.
    3) Please see here.


    So how do you know which denomination is the correct one, if all of their leaders claimed to be led by the Holy Spirit?

    Who said anything about THE correct one?


    Do you believe the Holy Spirit would lead so many people into so much confusion?

    See 1 Corinthians 11 above, please.
    And then answer the question for your own communion.


    If you're asking of non-Catholics can be saved, yes.

    That's the wrong question. I affirm Trent's anathemas. And yet Vat2 says I'm a separated brother.
    You have no explanation. The obvious solution is that Rome has contradicted herself.


    I direct you to this excellent article.

    earlier, you thanked God for the Magisterium.
    I'd rather hear what they have to say so I can be sure I'm reading something infallible. catholic.com is fallible, written by individuals. Where can I get direct info from the Magisterium?


    Do I believe in Purgatory? Yes,

    Then, sadly, you stand condemned, still in your sin. You do not believe the Gospel.

    Romans 8:32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

    Romans 4:4Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
    7“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,
    AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

    8“BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”

    Sadly, you are not the blessed (wo)man of whom David spoke, as cited in Romans 4.

    But you can be.
    Repent of ALL of your sin, including being a member of an apostate church like Rome. Come out. Believe the Gospel. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance by joining a church that believes and teaches the true Gospel unashamedly.
    You still have time, but perhaps not much. While it is still today, take the opportunity God has given you.

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    1. That's not what the canons of Trent say. It doesn't say "unless they're Protestant"; it doesn't give any conditions except "if anyone says".

      Of course it doesn't. At the time the Council of Trent was convened, all of the Protestants were baptized Roman Catholics. That is not the case today -- many people are baptized and raised outside of the Catholic Church (myself included).

      You were talking about historical context earlier -- you should try applying it to your own viewpoints.

      You'll be happy to know that I do believe in the Gospel. I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, and He died to give me eternal life. I've believed that all my life, and that didn't change when I was confirmed into Catholicism at the age of 22. My faith in Christ as only increased since I became Catholic (I was raised in the Lutheran church).

      Why is a belief in Purgatory incompatible with belief in the Gospel? Do you know what Purgatory is, and what its purpose is in the context of our eternal life? Why do you deny Scripture?

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    2. JoAnna said:
      You were talking about historical context earlier -- you should try applying it to your own viewpoints.

      So those who adhere to the named doctrines, who it says are anathema, are actually not anathema?


      You'll be happy to know that I do believe in the Gospel.

      Sadly, you are extremely deceived. Your 'gospel' is actually bad news b/c it leaves you unperfected.


      Why is a belief in Purgatory incompatible with belief in the Gospel?

      B/c you have to suffer for some of your sin.
      B/c Jesus is not your sole mediator.

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    3. So those who adhere to the named doctrines, who it says are anathema, are actually not anathema?

      If a baptized, practicing Catholic knowingly adheres to the named doctrines (that is, s/he recognizes the authority of the Church but rejects it), s/he will likely be excommunicated, yes. S/he has placed herself in a state of mortal sin and has separated him/herself from the Church.

      Sadly, you are extremely deceived. Your 'gospel' is actually bad news b/c it leaves you unperfected.

      If we become perfect after believing in Christ, why do so many Christians continue to sin after they believe?

      To clarify, Christ's sacrifice was perfect. But I don't see where the Bible says that His perfect sacrifice therefore makes us perfect, holy, sinless people here on earth. St. Paul himself acknowledges that he continues to sin even after accepting Christ. How can that be, if Christ's sacrifice (and his acceptance of same) made him perfect?

      B/c you have to suffer for some of your sin.

      Yes... that's entirely Scriptural. We suffer the consequences of our sinful actions. But Purgatory is not a PUNISHMENT for sin, but rather a PURIFICATION of our attachment to sin, as that attachment makes us unclean and nothing unclean can enter heaven. (Revelation 21:27)

      I really encourage you to read Leila's post that she linked earlier, because it seems you fundamentally misunderstand the doctrine of Purgatory.

      B/c Jesus is not your sole mediator.

      Yes, He is, as you can see if you read the Catechism: "480 Jesus Christ is true God and true man, in the unity of his divine person; for this reason he is the one and only mediator between God and men."

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    4. Trent 1542, before Martin Luther's separation. So everyone Christian was Catholic.

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  43. Honestly, this is like pulling teeth.

    R, can you just pick a doctrine? And, can you tell me how a peasant could pick the right Bible teacher? Please? It seems a practical question.

    And, I am surmising by your answer that you really don't know the difference between doctrine and discipline ("binding and loosing"). All the Catholic rites share the same creedal truths, moral law, valid sacraments, and Apostolic Succession. The disciplines are different, which is a-okay. This is very unlike Protestant denominations, which disagree and contradict on matters of doctrine, even doctrine that touches on salvation itself.

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  44. That's not what the canons of Trent say. It doesn't say "unless they're Protestant"; it doesn't give any conditions except "if anyone says".

    R, the Protestants at the time of the Reformation were rebellious Catholics! The Church was speaking to those folks who were baptized Catholics, and had rebelled by starting their own churches, and rejected Church authority and doctrine.



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  45. As to Purgatory. Then you believe C.S. Lewis to be in hell, then? He believed in it. I actually think you have an erroneous understanding of what Purgatory is and what it means. I explain it very clearly, here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/12/purgatory-is.html

    So, only sinners can't see the clear truths of the gospels the way you do, right? That is why so many Protestants are believing so many different things? So the question is: How do you know who is right? What authority do you have that makes you right and them wrong? Are you holier? Smarter? Do you pray more? Are there any godly folks in those other denoms who have listened to the Holy Spirit like you have? How are they wrong and you right?

    How does a peasant know which Bible teacher will give them the Truth? Serious question, please answer.

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  46. I have to go get my boys to gym practice, so I have to be quick. I'll come back tonight.

    "That's not what the canons of Trent say. It doesn't say "unless they're Protestant"; it doesn't give any conditions except "if anyone says".

    R, the Protestants at the time of the Reformation were rebellious Catholics! The Church was speaking to those folks who were baptized Catholics, and had rebelled by starting their own churches, and rejected Church authority and doctrine."

    Leila beat me to it - the context of Trent was exactly this - baptized Catholics rebelling against the Church. Just like your argument of context being important for interpreting Scripture, you need to do the same with council documents. There was no need to specify - it was directly responding to CATHOLICS who were dissenting.

    "earlier, you thanked God for the Magisterium.
    I'd rather hear what they have to say so I can be sure I'm reading something infallible. catholic.com is fallible, written by individuals. Where can I get direct info from the Magisterium?"

    http://www.vatican.va - It's all there.

    Okay, I have to run. I'll be back - there's A LOT in your answer I want to respond to.

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  47. R, I am interested in your assertion (which I agree with!) that Truth was passed down by the Successors to the Apostles. Can you tell me where they are today? Thanks.

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  48. LOL - The Gospel, as in the "good news" of salvation? Or as in titles of the gospels? All belong to the Catholic Church, all were given to you by Her.
    Let us ask you where you get your Gospel of Jesus Christ, apart from the Church who gave it to you?

    And it seems you think Trent provided freedom to adhere to heresy. This is your take away from an ecumenical council that proclaimed (among a myriad of other things) as binding, the fact that the Church and the Bible are what determine divine revelation, and a reform of the interior life of the Church? Hm.

    It doesn't contradict JoAnna's post one iota.

    Show us from any source with binding authority that, per Trent, you're free to change the gospel and make it your own.

    Nice post, JoAnna.

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  49. "I'd rather hear what they have to say so I can be sure I'm reading something infallible."

    When something has been taught by the Church since the beginning, on faith and morals, you can be sure that it's been taught infallibly. Such as: "God exists" and "Jesus Christ is True God and True Man" and "There is one baptism for the forgiveness of sins" and "homosexual acts are sinful" and "contraception is a grave sin", etc. So, the Creed and the moral law. Unchanging.

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    1. And as Heidi said, use the Vatican website if you'd like, and of course the Catechism if you are unsure of a Catholic teaching. I submit that Catholic teaching is very clear, despited the rhetorical protestations to the contrary. (Does anyone not know or can anyone simply not find what the Church teaches on contraception, or baptism, or the Eucharist, for example? It's really no secret at all.)

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  50. Had not seen this blog before so thank you Stacy for putting it up and one I'll start following. this looks like it is going to be a very interesting discussion. Looks like I might have to dust off the old theology books. Look forward to the continuing discussion

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  51. I've been do some reading over on Rho's page, and it seems that he is a Calvinist. This may be the reason for all this confusion. Calvinist beliefs are fundamentally different from our own and our starting points are nowhere close to matching up.
    If Theopedia sums up Calvinism correctly (and I admit that it may not), we may be assuming common ground that does not actually exist.
    1. Calvinism believes in predestination- namely, that some are chosen for heaven and others are destined to damnation. God made this decision at the beginning of time, and there is nothing we can do to change it. If you are one of the chosen, you will, at some point in your life, be inspired by God to repent and be saved. The grace will be irresistible, and you will respond to it. Then, you are saved and can not leave the path of grace. If you do leave the path of grace, then you were deceived and never actually saved.

    2. Calvinism believes in total depravity- man's heart is completely corrupt, and it is impossible for man to choose good. No matter what choices we make, virtuous or otherwise, they will never be pleasing to God. It is as close as you can get to the opposite of free will.

    There are other crazy teachings, but based on these two, I'm not sure how to proceed.

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    1. Thank you for your input, Tiffany! I should read Jimmy Akin's "The Salvation Controversy" again - I think he covers Calvinism in some depth.

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  52. My name is Tiffany, btw. I don't know why it didn't show up.

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  53. Sorry I couldn't jump in yesterday, but that would have only confused things it appears. JoAnna, Leila, and others are doing a great job.

    Rhology, you clearly have a passion for this, but the way you approach evangelizing reminds me of the fundamentalists I grew up around. While very loving people who intend good, they didn't approach salvation as something someone with questions could sit down and reason through.

    It was like your language which reads to really say, "Do what I'm telling you!" But then when someone new to faith says, "What exactly are you telling me though? I'm confused." You say, "Read all this stuff, save yourself!!!" And then I go try to read it, and it makes no sense. No definitions, no coherency, no construction from first, middle, to last, just words put together that are supposed to sound good, but for the life of me I can't put a finger on the meaning of it all.

    That approach to faith gets followers who follow as long as the fellowship is good, but who leave when they get bored.

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  54. Stacy, that was brilliant, and something that I would never thought of! I am so interested to R's response to it.

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  55. Stacy, yes. That's it. It's the problem with the idea that anyone can read scripture and be divinely inspired, or guided, or what-have-you to understand it. When someone with a discerning, philosophical mind wants to discuss things, it all falls back on personal revelation, which, quite frankly, has the same amount of authority on these matters as my four-year-old.

    Also, I think it's important to note that this person indeed sounds Calvinist, and per Calvinism's teachings, as Tiffany notes, the entire person is utterly depraved, including the intellect. Thus, anything that requires intellectual reasoning is automatically viewed with suspicion, because it comes from a depraved person and not the "inspiration" of the Holy Spirit. Any argument can be cut short for any reason when someone claims that "your argument comes from the devil" or "the Holy Spirit told me X". It's a ludicrous belief system, quite anti-reason. This is one of the many reasons I left Calvinism. This argument, I'm sad to say, will probably go nowhere because R seems to not even understand what you mean when you ask him to define something. That's common, too, in Calvinist circles. Intellectual debates are viewed with intense suspicion, hence his continual admonishments to "believe the gospel!" without even being able to give us an answer on what he thinks the Gospel is.

    Anyway, I'm glad y'all have the patience to engage. I'm always so grateful to be Catholic after seeing debates like this. It reminds me of my confusing, depressing teen years with no answers and a lot of accusations about me not being saved.

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  56. Okay, I'm back. Sorry I didn't make it back last night - my middle son was slightly injured (nothing serious, just a tumbling accident) at gym last night and needed a bit more nurturing than usual. By the time he went to bed, I was pooped and went to bed myself!

    I mostly have questions in response to your post. I am still looking for some definitions/answers, so we can continue our discussion fruitfully - not just talking past each other. I want to make sure I'm understanding you correctly, so help me here.

    The first point about Trent being written for Catholics, we already addressed above. Historical context is obviously VERY important when interpreting ANY council documents, just like you talked about a need for context when interpreting Scripture.

    With your comments regarding different Protestant definitions, I have a follow up question: do you recognize ONE particular denomination to be the Truth, as guided by the Holy Spirit? If so, how did you make that determination? You talk about sin and the existence of factions, but do not qualify either with a definition or reason. The Scripture you refer to talks about the need for factions being so that the Truth becomes evident - but then you seem to contradict that with the comment "Who said anything about THE correct one?" If there is not a correct, Truth-teaching church out there.....how can we be following the wrong "Gospel?"

    I gave you the link directly to the Vatican's website, where you can find ALL of the official Church teaching/doctrine and explanations. There is also a link to the Catechism from that site, so it really is all there for you.

    Regarding Purgatory, did you read JoAnna's links to the Scriptural basis for Purgatory? If so, what are your thoughts? Purgatory is something I really didn't understand until I really began to actually read and study Church documents - I grew up in the deep South and this was one of the Catholic "evils" that was always tossed around as proof of Catholicism being non-Christian, but it wasn't until I actually LEARNED what the Church taught that I realized all of those arguments against it were operating on a false understanding of Church doctrine. Purgatory IS Scriptural.

    I grew up hearing all of these things that you're throwing at the Catholics here, and came to realize that each and every one of them was based on a misunderstanding of what the Church actually taught. We can't actually have a fruitful discussion until we get some basic things defined and clarified, like just what the "Gospel" is. Let's do that.

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  57. Calah, Stacy, and Tiffany - good points. I'll be interested to here if R does subscribe to Calvinism.

    I, too, am grateful for the logic, reasoning, and consistency of the Catholic faith. I once heard it described as the "thinking man's religion" and the more I learn, the more that seems to be true.

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  58. Announcement: Lots of content here, and I am going to reply to that which merits reply. If I ignore what you said, it wasn't worth anyone's time.

    Leila said:
    Then you believe C.S. Lewis to be in hell, then?

    Very possible. I don't know.


    only sinners can't see the clear truths of the gospels the way you do, right?

    That's what 1 Corinthians 2:14-15 says, actually, yes.


    What authority do you have that makes you right and them wrong? Are you holier?

    No authority. Not holier. Just right.
    We can know b/c the Scripture says what it says and doesn't say what it doesn't say.


    Truth was passed down by the Successors to the Apostles. Can you tell me where they are today?

    They're dead. It's in the Bible.


    "contraception is a grave sin"

    LOL Please show me where "contraception is a grave sin" appears in church history FROM THE BEGINNING.
    Ie, the New Testament, since that contains the teaching of the apostles. Good luck!


    use the Vatican website if you'd like, and of course the Catechism if you are unsure of a Catholic teaching.

    the Vatican website and the CCC were actually typed infallibly and worded infallibly by the Magisterium?
    Since both were originally written in Italian, I understand, were they infallibly translated?

    If your answer to any of those is "no", then please stop saying BOTH that I don't have access to infallible info and you do. By your own standards, you don't.

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  59. Heidi said:
    There was no need to specify - it was directly responding to CATHOLICS who were dissenting.

    That's not what it says.


    do you recognize ONE particular denomination to be the Truth, as guided by the Holy Spirit?

    No.


    You talk about sin and the existence of factions, but do not qualify either with a definition or reason.

    Sometimes sin is responsible, sometimes 1 Cor 11:19 plays a part. So do the biblical exhortations to tolerance of different opinions among brethren in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 and 10.
    It's very complex, but that's a partial answer.
    And since Rome has lots of internal dissent, it's not as if you're better off.


    how can we be following the wrong "Gospel?"

    Um, b/c you've posed a false dilemma, and b/c your gospel is false. You play some part in meriting and working toward your eventual salvation.


    where you can find ALL of the official Church teaching/doctrine and explanations.

    How do you know that?
    Do you know that infallibly? If so, how? If not, why shouldn't I, by YOUR own standards, think that your answer is insufficient?


    did you read JoAnna's links to the Scriptural basis for Purgatory?

    There was nothing in there that I haven't seen a dozen times before. It doesn't deal with the central issue which I presented above in Romans 4 and 8. Until you show how "to whom the Lord will not impute sin" actually means 'to whom the Lord will impute some venial sin" and how "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies" means "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God brings the charge and man suffers the purgation", Purgatory is a non-starter.


    Purgatory IS Scriptural.

    Check again.


    each and every one of them was based on a misunderstanding of what the Church actually taught

    I hear that a lot, and it's always a canard.

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  60. Nubby said:
    Let us ask you where you get your Gospel of Jesus Christ, apart from the Church who gave it to you?

    The Scripture. God gave the Scripture. The church RECEIVED it.
    But the early church is not the same as the modern RCC. There are numerous incompatibilities. Papal primacy, papal infallibility, monarchial episcopate, Mary as Queen of Heaven, Mary is assumed into Heaven...there is no evidence anyone in the early church believed these.


    And it seems you think Trent provided freedom to adhere to heresy.

    Um, no; that's what the other RCs in the thread are saying. I'm saying it says I'm anathema since I adhere to the doctrines it says anathematises their adherents.


    Show us from any source with binding authority that, per Trent, you're free to change the gospel and make it your own.

    I don't even know what this sentence means, sorry.

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  61. Unknown said one thing that needs correction:
    No matter what choices we make, virtuous or otherwise, they will never be pleasing to God.

    No, unregenerate people don't actually make virtuous choices.
    Romans 8 and Hebrews 11 both say that unregenerate people cannot please God.

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    1. Hi Rhology,

      I just read Romans 8 and I don't see the word "unregenerate" in either the NIV or the KJV. Are you using a different translation?

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  63. Any argument can be cut short for any reason when someone claims that "your argument comes from the devil" or "the Holy Spirit told me X".

    Sorry, that bears absolutely no resemblance to Calvinism. I'm afraid your information is bad.


    Thus, anything that requires intellectual reasoning is automatically viewed with suspicion, because it comes from a depraved person and not the "inspiration" of the Holy Spirit.

    Sort of. the Scripture commands us to submit every thought to the lordship of Jesus (2 Cor 10:5), and it takes a dim view of the unregenerate human intellect (1 Cor 2:14-15). So if you want to know the truth, submit your thoughts to the Scripture.


    It's a ludicrous belief system, quite anti-reason.

    You haven't understood it, so yes, the one you were talking about WAS quite ludicrous. It's not my system though. Not even close.


    Intellectual debates are viewed with intense suspicion

    I don't know what that means, and I don't know how anyone who has reviewed my blog at all could reasonably come to that conclusion.


    hence his continual admonishments to "believe the gospel!" without even being able to give us an answer on what he thinks the Gospel is.

    You need to believe the Gospel b/c you believe a false one and are headed for hell, and so "Believe the Gospel" is the best thing I can tell you.
    And I *DID* tell you what the Gospel is. Read the open letter.

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    1. Rhology, I have read the open letter, multiple times. I'm very sorry, but I don't see where you explicitly said what the Gospel is. The word "gospel" appears in your letter 85 times. I've gone through and read each paragraph in which it occurs, but I don't see an explicit definition. Why do you refuse to simply cut and paste the section of your letter to which you're referring?

      Leila already said that the Gospel is the good news of Christ. I believe that the Gospel message can be summed up as John 3:16. Are we both wrong? If so, please enlighten us. What is the Gospel?

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  64. Rhology, you asked us to show you where in the bible contraception is a grave sin. Are you familiar with what the word 'scorcery' means in the new testament amd where it gets its roots? Witch doctos during the time of Jesus could make potions to render men and women sterile/infertile, and the greek word for scorcery was pharmacy..this is condemned as one of the sins that leads to death by St. Paul.

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  66. Friends,

    I actually agree with much (not all) of the original pro-life rocks status post. Granted, the tone is unhelpful and some of what is says is unhelpful, but as Christians, Protestants or Catholics, we can and should join together in these areas, like pro-life issues, where we are in agreement. And we can leave aside certain theological disagreements to do so, even, for the sake of not putting up obstacles, avoid doing certain peculiarly Catholic things during common events--some of the time anyway.

    But the underlying issue is that some Protestants, like Rhology, do not think Catholics are Christians. Rhology is a Protestant apologist. He and I have crossed paths here and there over the past few years. (Hi, Rhology.) I would say, it is not worth debating here about the Council of Trent, the Gospel, etc. etc. Or even trying to respond to his long post on Abolish Human Abortion. Instead, I would encourage us to focus on, abolishing human abortion. We agree on that. So let's work together on it, as so many Catholics and Protestants do every week in cities and towns across the country.

    Rhology, if you want to argue, we can always go to Triablogue or Called to Communion and argue there.

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    1. LOL, you are right Devin, but I think (correct me if I am wrong JoAnna) that JoAnna invited the discussion here and is okay with it! I don't have any illusion that we will convert Rhology to the Church, but I think it's already been very instructive. I have learned more about Calvinism and really enjoyed Stacy and Calah's comments. And the lurkers are always edified by seeing both sides presented, no?

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    2. Hi Devin,

      The post in my OP (from Pro-Life Rocks!) was actually the last in a long line of blatantly anti-Catholic postings (but the one in my OP was the first one I saw, and thus the only one for which I had a screenshot.

      The other postings talked about how Catholics worship Mary and that's why the rosary was ineffective to combat abortion, etc. etc. You might find them if you searched the page; I'm not sure if they were deleted or not.

      I agree that we should unite to abolish abortion, and compromise in certain ways when it comes to doing so. However, I don't believe that Rhology's open letter was a charitable response to the Catholics who are working along side him to abolish abortion.

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    3. And we can leave aside certain theological disagreements to do so, even, for the sake of not putting up obstacles, avoid doing certain peculiarly Catholic things during common events--some of the time anyway.

      Peculiarly Catholic things? Do you mean the rosary? The rosary is our strongest weapon after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Divine Office. Are we willing to hide our weapons against Abortion for political correctness? To avoid praying the rosary in public because our separated brethren might be offended seems cowardly at best.

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    4. Ladies, you make good points, which is why I only made suggestions as to the best way to proceed.

      Anne Marie, I carefully qualified my statement there, as I expected it could be construed as saying "don't show that you are Catholic." I myself have prayed the rosary many many times outside abortion clinics, even with Protestant brothers and sisters also there outside the clinic doing their own prayers and counseling.

      So we don't hide anything, but prudence would indicate we also don't need to shove specifically Catholic devotions in the faces of pro-life Protestants. They can and do see us praying together. Certainly there's a place to argue for Catholicism vs. Protestantism (like on Joanna's blog here!), but it need not be out on the front lines of an abortion clinic. That's all I meant. Hope it helps.

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  67. R - again, I'm on my way out to the gym (the fun of being the mom of two competitive gymnasts - we live at the gym!), but I have a quick question for you:

    If I am supposed to "repent and believe the Gospel!" like you keep telling me to, how am I supposed to do that if you cannot give me a definition of the Gospel? Your open letter - which I also have read many times - does not contain a definition. If it does, you would easily be able to cut and paste one here.

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  68. Okay, so R still hasn't told us what the Gospel is (it's the "Good News" of Jesus Christ, as we all know, but he won't even spell it out here), but we are supposed to dialogue.

    Here's my question. If Calvinism holds that our fates are predestined, and nothing we do or say can change our destiny, then why are you dialoguing at all, R? What on earth would be the point?

    Second, you say that you are right about your particular interpretation of the Bible. Why are you right? Because you are right. Seriously, that is what you said. You are right because you know that your interpretation is right and everyone else's is wrong. So, you are right not because you have authority (you admit that you don't) and not because you are holier (you admit that you aren't), but because you are "just right" because "We can know b/c the Scripture says what it says and doesn't say what it doesn't say."

    I honestly have no words.

    Anyhoo, you never answered about how the peasant could find the Bible teacher that teaches the truth? Can you help me with that? Specifically, how can he find the right teacher, if he is new to this and has no idea where to turn, and cannot read?

    One conundrum you have is that you claim we have nothing infallibly written to know what is infallible teaching (ours is a living Church by the way, we have Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture as you know), and yet you appeal to the Bible, a document which you have only based on translations and you also do not have the originals, so you have a problem based on your own premise, no? Can you know that those translations and thousands of years of copies without the original are valid and true? If so, how can you know? On whose authority? Who vouches for the veracity of all those translations and copies? You have no recourse to the originals.

    About contraception. Again, the onus is on you. The Church has never (search any history, any document, any practice) said that contraception was licit or moral. Never. So, if you are going to break 2,000 of Christian morality and teaching, including almost 500 years of very firm Protestant teaching on the subject, and go with the Planned Parenthood mentality (Margaret Sanger's pro-contraception rallying cry was "no gods, no masters"), rather than all of Christian teaching, well my friend, you are in a sticky wicket.

    Again, the onus is on you. Show me where the Church has sanctioned contraception throughout the millennia. Go on, I challenge you.

    But I guess I can't challenge you, because you are … right. Why are you right? Because you are right.

    Okay then.

    Blessing, brother!

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  69. Devin, if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen! I was just getting started! Lol jk...you're right. We should unite to fight abortion.

    (But how will we ever end abortion if we don't also put an end to the contraceptive mentality?)

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  71. Devin Rose said:
    (Hi, Rhology.)

    Hello! :-)

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  72. Rhology, if you want to argue, we can always go to Triablogue or Called to Communion and argue there.

    We would love it, as a matter of fact, if RCs would stop hating on us abolitionists b/c we dare love the Gospel and dare be evangelical. That's why we wrote the open letter.
    But if RCs want to rip us for being anti-Catholic just b/c we are evangelical, that's something else.

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    1. Catholics love the Gospel and are evangelical, too. That's why you get "hated" on (your perception, but not reality, in my opinion) when you tell Catholics that we are not true Christians, are hell-bound, etc.

      Would you like being told that you are a hell-bound heathen, even though you sincerely love Jesus Christ and strive to follow His teachings to the best of your ability? If not, why do you think Catholics should like it?

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    2. Also, Rhology, I wrote this blog post because I am tired of being "hated on" by other pro-lifers just for being Catholic. I felt that your letter, telling me that I am complicit in spreading a false gospel and am going to hell, was a clear example of being "hated on."

      Why is it okay for you to hate on Catholics, but not the other way around? Shouldn't we all strive not to hate on one another, but treat each other with love and respect as sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus?

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  73. "...b/c we dare love the Gospel…"

    Sorry to repeat the sentiments of everyone here, but please define "the Gospel". Thanks!

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  74. Here's my question. If Calvinism holds that our fates are predestined, and nothing we do or say can change our destiny, then why are you dialoguing at all, R? What on earth would be the point?-Leila

    And what a buzz kill.

    If we're predestined to reject Calvinism, what good does it do to tell Roman Catholics how wrong we are, and how we ought to repent, when from moment # 1, we were destined to reject all you had to say?

    Turning off intellect and will. Well, there goes 2/3's of the whole person.
    Why did God give those faculties again...?

    Oh, and - just a catch, from Titus 2:11- "the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men." All, not a few, not a predetermined amount. His grace is sufficient for *all*.

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  75. *you meaning Rhology, not Leila.

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  76. Sorry, I can't find it here, but somewhere, R, you said that a peasant could find the correctly teaching Bible teacher "the same way that a peasant could find the correctly teaching priest" or words to that effect.

    That is really not helpful.

    So, I'm going to ask you to elaborate on that answer, or revisit the question from different angles, and if you could take one or more:

    1) Okay, so then what is that way?

    2) A peasant would know or learn that a priest is ordained and consecrated by a bishop -- who is a successor to an Apostle. A Protestant Bible teacher would not be a bishop who was anointed by another bishop who was anointed by another bishop, all the way back to an Apostle, correct? There is a very direct and tangible connection to the Apostles in Catholicism that is simply not there in Protestantism. So, please clarify how your answer could mean anything? I am confused by it.

    3) Forget that the "error" of Roman Catholicism exists. Pretend there is only Protestantism. Your Christian faith should not be dependent on Catholicism, correct? So, pretend there is no Catholic Church (what a great world that would be, right?), and answer my question: How would an illiterate peasant know which Bible teacher is teaching the true Gospel?

    Thanks!

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  77. One other question I have, that I have been asking for a long time with no answer, is this: Can you show me the model of church in the New Testament that has folks starting up their own churches and appointing themselves as leaders without the authority and permission of the Apostles or their successors? Chapter and verse, please. Thanks!

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  78. Ok Rhology. You've convinced me.

    "Repent of ALL of your sin, including being a member of an apostate church like Rome. Come out. Believe the Gospel. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance by joining a church that believes and teaches the true Gospel unashamedly. "

    I've repented of ALL my sins and abhor what is evil.
    I believe Jesus came to save me and I choose to love HIM and serve HIM no matter the costs.
    I just don't know how to choose a church.....
    How do I know the church is teaching the true Gospel unashamedly?
    What definition of the Gospel should I use to verify that the church is teaching the true Gospel? What should I fall back on when I am confused?

    In a few weeks, I will have some visitors come knocking at my door. They quoted from Revelation and the Genesis. They seemed to know their Bible very well and asked if I wanted to know the truth. The were telling me that there is a Mother God... Should I go listen to them?

    Then The Witnesses come a few weeks later. They are very convincing too.

    There is a Presbyterian up the street, a Charisma church a few blocks down, a Non-denominational Church, another church a few blocks further that friends have been telling me is a very good church and it seems very popular. There is another service in the community hall, I don't know if it is a denominational church or just the pastor saying a service. There was also a Reform Orthodox Church that started because they wanted to get back to the Bible and felt that the Reformed church strayed from the Bible. I have their pamphlet and it said they started in 1986. There is also a Catholic Church nearby too. They have too service, one which says that they are the Eritrean community. I don't know how to choose another church.

    How should I choose which church to go to?
    Should I move to where you live since you know which church is teaching the Gospel? It seems all these churches are saying they are teaching the Gospel. How do I know which one is right? How should I judge the churches?
    How do I know I am correctly listening to the Holy Spirit about which church I should go to?
    How do I know they are interpreting the Scriptures correctly?
    With the Catholic church I can read their documents. If a priest says something contrary to their documents I know the priest is not following the Magisterial and I shouldn't attend that parish if I want to learn about RRC.

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  79. Just a comment from a lurker- I find this whole discussion so fascinating. On the one hand is the challenge to defend the position, to define it...on the other hand is a reluctance to do so to say that a person should automatically know. I've never seen this sort of dialogue before. But then I usually deal with those of the evangelical persuasion. They can tell their beliefs directly and then site Biblical references. It's the interpretation differences.

    I suppose if R is not willing to define what the Gospel is maybe he'd be willing to explain some basic beliefs of his....

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  80. Hi all! Great discussion, but it looks like it has died down a bit. For some extra reference points, Dr. Peter Kreeft is a former Calvinist and he often discusses the intellectual conversations he had as a Calvinist. While some Calvinist do shy from intellectual discussions, thy do so because it is a very intellectually based belief system. One can not be uneducated and Calvinist, if one is a true Calvinist.

    The other point is that Catholics hold to pre-destination. Calvinists believe in double pre-destination. The former is the belief that God knows your final fate in the moment He creates you. The latter belief is that He knows it and there is nothing you can do to change that path at any time.

    Since most Calvinists, if not all, hold to once save always saved, doctrine, it is not much use to talk about sin with them. The entire concept of OSAS is predicated in the idea that after actual physical salvation takes place, no sin counts against you. None. They will try not to sin because of their new heart, but no sin can be counted against them, so if they do sin, there is nothing to be done about it. The concept of falling away is impossible if one holds to OSAS. The only possibility is that the person was never saved to begin with.

    Another point from Dr. Kreeft is that Calvinists are unfamiliar with the Early Church Fathers. And if they are familiar, they are discounted as the earliest ones who were NOT following Scripture. But it was studying the Early Church Fathers that helped Dr. Kreeft in his conversion. (He has a funny story about shocking his Calvinist teachers with a question about time travel to the early Church.) Calvinists honestly do read into Scripture that the early Church was just a loosely bound group of local-based churches who just compared notes (letters) on what the other was teaching.

    Finally, to a Calvinist the question of "what is the Gospel?" is absurd. To a Calvinist the Gospel is the New Testament. Period. All of it. And only it. The lines in Scripture that "Jesus taught more but we cannot contain it all" means that anything outside of the Written Word is what we would call a discipline. For a good example, some Calvinists struggle with the word "Trinity." They acknowledge that the concept is Scriptural, but not the word. They will use the word as a descriptor, but you would likely never hear a Calvinist address God as Holy Trinity. They could, probably, but it would cause raised eyebrows sinse the word itself is not in Scripture. (Though to be clear the same problem does not exist for their non-belief of Purgatory. They don't hold that even the concept is in Scripture.)

    The website, Scripture Catholic, could be helpful to Rho's understanding at some later date, but sadly not yet. Rho is still at a point of believing that his thoughts and feelings can correctly understand and discern the difference between the Holy Spirit and demonic influence. Yes, as some of you rightly note, it is a problem of authority for him, but he has not yet had a crisis of conscience yet on that. It can take a very long time for that to happen. Older converts to the Church often note that they spent a lot of time centered on their own thoughts and didn't really struggle with the idea of who was in charge. The Holy Spirit was in charge, and they were going to follow Him. That was enough. They honestly believed that discernment of spirit was relatively easy.

    Prayers for a fruitful discussion. I won't be taking part, but I wanted to offer some insight for understanding Rho's perspective. I will be reading. It is fascinating!

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  81. For further clarification it is our doctrine of Purgatory that is most at odds with Calvinism. To explain it in our terms, for a Calvinist, all sin before the moment of being saved is mortal sin. All sin after the moment of salvation, would be venial. And since they believe that their sin is literally covered, there is nothing to be purged. We hold that our sins are covered in the same manner as we would say, "I gotcha covered." They believe in an actual covering to make it invisible. We hold that we are stripped away of our sins to our innocent nakedness, then covered in the Holy Garment. They hold that the Garment goes over our sins.

    To them, everything associated with how we deal with sin is at odds with (their interpretation) of the Gospel. Remember that they often use the terms justified and saved interchangeably. They believe they are justified and saved by faith through grace alone. Catholics teach we are justified by faith, and saved by grace through works and faith. Calvinists hold that "the works of the law" that don't save us are the same as "good works" after justification. We all agree that "the works of the law" don't save us. Circumcision does not open the gates of heaven. But they believe that good works do not either.

    For them, all work done before salvation is displeasing to God. The atheist pro-lifer who saves babies is still an affront to God. The Calvinist holds that the atheist's actions are an affront as well. We hold that the atheist cannot be saved by helping save the unborn, but that their work is still pleasing to God. It is only after justification by faith that their works have bearing on their salvation, according to the Catholic Church. And that shows why Rho is offended by Catholics saving the unborn. We do so, in his eyes in order to earn our way to heaven (because of his misinterpretation of the scriptural difference of works of the law and good works). Rho believes that our work in the pro-life movement is a problem because it displeases God. To a Calvinist, we are harming the pro-life cause through our "false doctrines" that are displeasing God. That is basically why he actually does want us gone from his cause. He honestly believes that if we get out, they will be blessed.

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  82. Thank you for your input, Debbie. What you say is fascinating, and makes me understand Rho's perspective much better.

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  83. Debbie, thank you! So interesting, and very clear! I would love, if possible, a link to Kreeft's story about time-travel to the early Church. :)

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    1. Here you go, Leila! The first link is to the audio, and the second is to the transcript. The story is near the beginning, probably the first 10 minutes. The whole talk is about 30 minutes. I like having the audio and the transcript. He is a gifted storyteller, so hearing his vocal inflections really helps. But he packs so much into his talks that I was always thinking, "Wait, I want to write that down."

      http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/03_ecumenism.htm

      http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/03_ecumenism/ecumenism_transcription.htm

      Enjoy!

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  84. So sad that this ended. It was so good I really was hoping you would get an answer to your questions. Thank You it was really fun and I learned a lot. Keep up the Great Work! Blessings!

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