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Rediscovering Catholicism

I made my first encounter with Evangelicals when I did my Master degree at Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.  Directly I was appealed by their zealousness and love to Christ, Scripture and evangelism.   While they are not the first Protestants I met in my life they looked different in term of zealousness and eagerness to live and to share their faith.   At the same time I also sensed their dislike or even hate to Catholicism.  I remember on my first day in the institute (all students stay in the provided dormitories inside the institute) I was introduced to one former Catholic turned Evangelical from the Philippines.  He gave me strange look upon knowing my Catholic upbringing, as if I did something terribly wrong.  Nevertheless after some time I decided to join Bible study with one Evangelical – let me refer him as my evangelical mentor.   He is Navigators trained person and former student who then worked at the Institute and was one of the leaders of the Evangelical Fellowship (AITCF) in the campus .   For those who do not know the Navigators, it is Christian ministry founded by Dawson Trotman (1906 to 1956) with the aim to train and to equip Christians for evangelism.  The goal is to make (obedient) Christians (1) place Christ at their centre of life, (2) have fellowship with another Christians (Evangelicals), (3) witness to non-Christians, (4) pray and (5) read/study Scripture.  Through my evangelical mentor I was introduced to memorizing verses of the Bible.  The first verses I memorized were Assurance of Salvation (1 John 5:11-12), Assurance of Guidance (Proverbs 3:5), Assurance of Victory (1 Corinthians 10:13) and Assurance of Forgiveness (1 John 1:9).   As I spent more time with him, more verses I managed to memorize.   I was not aware that gradually he transformed me into evangelical Christian.  There was hardly any opposition from my side, despite of many years of Catholic upbringing.   I was like empty or blank sheet on which my mentor wrote without having to erase anything. What happened to me is common to many Catholics who make friends with Evangelicals – in fact Catholics are their easy and favourite target of their evangelism.  Most Catholics are not trained to defend and to explain their faith and therefore become easy prey of their evangelism.   They are favourite target because they, though being nominal or cultural Catholics, are already equipped with fundamental beliefs that Catholics and Protestants share like Trinity, Divinity of Christ, Virgin birth etc. –  the Evangelicals do not have to start from zero to convert them.  I was aware that my evangelical mentor expected me to join their fellowship on Sundays, and I was really attracted to do so.  One (and the only) thing that hindered me was their arrogance, especially those who were former Catholics.   By arrogance I meant they acted as they were special and better quality Christians. While I agree they knew more about Bible and they expressed their relation with Christ in their daily life, I didn’t like the way they looked down at those who were not Evangelical, be they Catholics and non-Christians. My evangelical mentor is not former Catholic but he nevertheless openly expressed his anti-Catholicism to me.  At one time he said Catholics worship idols because Catholic churches have statues inside.   He told me that purgatory was unscriptural and that the Bible says all Christians are saints, or the title saint does not belong to only selected persons as according to Catholic Church (now I know that he was wrong, the Catholic Church does acknowledge communion of saints on earth, in heaven and purgatory).  I was defenceless; my knowledge about my faith and Scripture was not enough to argue with him.   He expressed his arrogance by saying countries with Protestant majority are wealthier than those with Catholic majority like the Philippines, Mexico and South American countries.   He belongs to group of Evangelicals who believe that if you are Evangelical or at least Protestant, God will bless you materially (not all Evangelicals or Protestants share this view).  His worst statement was when he said South Africa, then was still under apartheid, was blessed by God because they were governed by Protestants (Dutch Reformed Church). I call it worst statement because it made me look at him in different way – in other words I stoped looking up at him as a role model.   I always don’t like arrogant people.  I am not saying all Evangelicals are arrogant – in the course of time I met Evangelicals who show respect and love to others and who do not look-down at others.  Despite all of these negative things I continued having weekly meeting with him for one-to-one Bible study until I completed my Master program.  While I never joined their fellowship (they did put my name as member but I attended their Sunday service only couple times) he managed to turn me into Evangelical.  I believed in distinct Evangelical beliefs like salvation by faith alone, that we do good works because we are saved and not for being saved, that the Bible is the only and highest authority and I only read Protestant Bible (66 books).  Obviously as good Evangelical I ignored Virgin Mary and stopped saying Rosary.

After completing my master program I got scholarship to continue my study at the University of Tokyo , Japan.   My Evangelical friends made sure that I made contact with local Evangelicals – they gave me names and addresses and even contacted and informed them about my arrival.   So I joined evangelical fellowship of foreign students in Tokyo – we met once a month for fellowship and Bible study.   At the same time I hopped from one church to another, mainly because somebody from that church invited me.  Then I faced another new challenge, this time from my Muslim friend.  He gave me booklets written by the late Muslim apologist from South Africa, Ahmed Deedat.  By Grace of God I managed to overcome this challenge – it even strengthened my faith in Christ and in God’s words.   The other thing I learnt is you get distorted view if you learn Christianity from non-Christian source.  Then I realized that all the time I myself only listened to what my Evangelical friends told me about Catholicism.  No matter how sincere they are, they are not reliable source of information.   I made up my mind to start learning about Catholicism.  Yet it was not easy to get reliable source on Catholicism in Japan (then there was no Internet).  Anyway I started attending Masses at Franciscan Chapel Centre in Roppongi , Tokyo.  I went there on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning I attended Protestant service.   Then one day I met a friend who invited me to his church.   It was a small church with only few members as compared to Tokyo Baptist church in Shibuya , my Sunday (Protestant) church that time.  But what shocked me was not their small size but their attempt to “steal” me from Tokyo Baptist church.  They encouraged me to switch to their church.  The pastor told me that he used to be a member of Tokyo Baptist church until he discovered that the pastor (then Pastor Richard Horn) did not believe the Bible is God’s words.   This was quite serious allegation!   I did not bother to check whether the allegation was true or not – after all I was not an official member of Tokyo Baptist church even though I attended their Sunday worship regularly.  But I kept on asking myself why they did that?  At that time I naively thought all Protestant churches are same, i.e. they believe and teach the same thing.  Their different names (or denomination) are just names, something like franchise names in business.   Thus MacDonald and Burger King have different names but they sell the same (or more or less same) hamburgers (BTW I don’t like fast-food).  Anyway I decided to examine the beliefs of different Protestant churches.  To my dismay I discovered that although all of them declare that the Bible alone as their final and highest authority, they disagree with each other on its interpretation.   They use the same Bible (66 books) and claim they are guided by the same Holy Spirit, yet they produce conflicting teachings.  This happened not recently but it has been going on and on since Reformation.  At the end what they practise is not “sola scriptura” (Latin for Scripture alone) as authority, but their interpretation of the Bible alone as authority.  The Reformers seized the authority to interpret Scripture from the Catholic Church and passed it to whoever can read the Bible. While it may sound appealing and certainly looks more “democratic”, it is the source of the establishment of many churches with contradicting teachings.   Many Evangeliclas told me that they do not need (Catholic)) Church to interpret the Bible for them – they have the Holy Spirit who will guide them on one to one basis.  It sounds good but if the Holy Spirit guided Martin Luther to teach that Baptism regenerates and is applicable to infants, the same Holy Spirit will not guide others to teach Baptism is only symbol and applied only to adults after they profess their faith in Christ.  Something is wrong here!  Which one of these churches I should belong to?  How do I know I choose the correct one?  An evangelical or “Bible only” Christian will answer that I should choose the one who place the Bible as the final authority and Christ as the centre.  Unfortunately there are many who make that claim and yet they disagree with each other.   Their disagreement is not restricted in non-essential matters like whether Christian men are allowed to dance with opposite sex or not, but even in serious matters like whether our salvation is assured or conditional, whether Christ died for all or only for some, whether Baptism is necessary for salvation or not etc.  Others  might say to choose church that will make you feel comfortable and will help you to grow spiritually – in other words use your own judgment, but how do we know we make correct judgment?  Then the words of Christ in the Gospel gave the answer: And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the power of death shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18, RSV).   I knew I must return home, to the Church Christ promised to be built on Peter.  I never look back.

I did not transform into Catholic overnight – it took me years to finally dismantle what my evangelical mentor painstakingly built in me. I spent time investigating and studying what the Catholic Church really teaches, especially on essential issues like salvation, justification and Scripture – and to this day I am still learning as there are still many things within Catholicism I still do not know. From what I already learnt (and I can say with confidence I have sufficient knowledge) please read my brief posts on salvation in Catholicism and Justification: contrasting Catholic and Protestant’s position. I also spent some time investigating formation of books of the Bible, especially those of Old Testament – under Old Testament category you can find what I wrote.

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110 Comments

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  1. Tom / Oct 30 2007 12:16 pm

    This was so refreshing to hear. I felt alone in my dealing with the barage of insults from the bible only crowd. I began to feel unarmed to argue my faith. Keep up the good work.

  2. tiber jumper / Nov 3 2007 10:09 pm

    Beautiful story, articulating your personal experience with sola Scriptura was truly eye opening. Keep up the great work. The Church is gaining more and more Catholics like you! To the Glory of God!

  3. arnold / Jan 21 2008 5:39 pm

    The catholic church is founded by christ a hundred million churches,heresy,persecutions,Blasphemy and stupidity can never
    destroy his Body. on judgement Day the catholic church will
    be vindicated and all the lies and deceptions of its opponents will
    be revealed.

    • candidsoul888 / Sep 23 2011 3:19 pm

      Little correction, please – and know that I’m not doing this out of arrogance or pride, since humility is one of the authentic signs of sanctity: The Catholic Church, being the Mystical Body of Christ, Himself [and in that body are incorporated those faithful to her teachings] will be sitting in judgment against all those heretics and deceivers who opposed and mock Him in His Body.

  4. Mark / Jul 1 2008 8:04 pm

    Sad story.

    Fell for the oldest Catholic argument in the book. “Protestants are all different – therefore I must go back to the ‘one true church'”.

    Last time I checked, there was way more diversity in the Catholic church. It just happens they have an authoritative head who can claim unity despite the obvious.

    Just have a read of the Catechism’s remarks on Mary, all of them (there’s lots), then read every single reference to Mary in the 66 Books.

    That’s just one of hundreds of reasons why I’ll never go near the Catholic Church. Rule 1. The Church is never wrong. Rule 2. If you disagree, see rule 1.

    “Don’t think, let the church think for you. Don’t read the bible yourself, let us read it for you. Don’t come to Christ for yourself, let the priest go for you. We write God’s Words today, tradition is Sacred of course.”

    If the church is infallible, why did they utterly condemn Protestants to anathema hell at Trent, but recently say that we’ll be OK?

    Christ will never be ruled by a church. Amen.

    • Rohini / Dec 26 2009 8:41 am

      Thank you Vivator. You are a true apologist. You managed to say everything I always knew to be true! I had a similar journey as you because in my family, we were cultural Catholics, though God-fearing. I was never taught properly about the riches of grace in our wonderful Roman Catholic Church and drifted into Protestantism because I was so attracted by their emphasis on the personal love of God. That is one thing I really appreciate about the Protestants. Also, I am a verbal learner and I loved the emphasis on the Word of God. It took me a few years to discern their heresies. But again, I have to thank them because they confused me so much so as to make me want to explore the riches of my own Catholic faith 😉 I love the Word more than ever now because 2 days at a Charismatic Catholic Retreat in Mumbai gave me a peace that 10 years of Bible reading and Protestant ‘interpretation’ could not do. In fact, I was confused beyond imagining and may have put many people off Christianity during those years. The reason I’m writing this is to express the answers to common Protestant challenges in a coherent manner (and without getting into an oral quarrel which just leaves bad feelings).

      I’ve experienced the ‘less than respectful’ attitude of the Protestants towards the Church, I remember their contemptuous looks whenever the word ‘Catholic’ was mentioned, all of which has played on my mind and pushed me to get to the bottom of the whole Truth which I have done in a very objective way, if I say so myself. I used to challenge my priests and my family members with the same questions and knew all the answers typically given by the Catholic Church but this retreat gave me such integrated Scriptural knowledge and an experiential knowledge of TRUE teaching. Protestant preachers are fond of talking about authority (usually to serve their own interests). Well, Martin Luther and Henry VIII evidently didn’t think obedience was so important. The stakes were HUGE but they thought nothing of tearing the Body of Christ into fragments for their own selfish ends. No wonder they are called wolves in sheep’s clothing! Martin Luther’s problem was that he had a troubled relationship with his father, he was superstitious and neurotic and could not BELIEVE in the abundant channels of God’s grace that the Church administered. If he had lived in this century he would have been diagnosed with OCD, going to Confession sometimes several times a day!! I cannot imagine how he could be taken seriously by so-called Reformists. Every pastor who defects to start a new denomination cannot have much use for ‘obedience to authority’. Who appoints this authority anyway? It is self-appointed! I’ve experienced both Catholicism and Protestantism and I know without a shadow of a doubt which one is the TRUE CHURCH:

      Catholicism WORKS! It is not a ‘Church of works’! If, by works, you mean ongoing sanctification, then, yes, it preaches GRACE which gives us the OPPORTUNITY to REPENT through the sacrament of reconciliation, i.e be washed clean. Heaven was opened for us; It was accessible to us, Christ did not win us an unconditional pass to eternal life. ‘Run in such a way that you may obtain the prize’. Repentance must be coupled with BELIEF or FAITH and then, produce fruit. ‘Faith without works is dead’. Catholics do not try to EARN salvation; no one can! Salvation was God’s initiative but there must be an ongoing response to His gracious initiative. Good works are meant to be a grateful response to His grace, not a duty and a burden. God’s justice cannot just sentimentally overlook people’s sin and say ‘Oh now, let’s dress them up in white robes and make them look pure and holy!’ Christ’s grace is to give us the opportunity to grow in sanctification through the sacraments and prayer and the Eucharist. Protestants take salvation for granted; their presumption of salvation as a one-time event is masqueraded as ‘humility’. ‘How can you deny Christ’s saving work?’ they ask, appalled. The Catholic position does not deny Christ’s saving work, it doesn’t want believers to fall into presumption. Only witness the sad decadence of nations that have embraced this heresy – the permissiveness of the European and American society and political system are proof positive of the consequences of twisting the Gospel for one’s own convenience. Making God out to be a sentimental fool who is not concerned with our attitudes or behaviour after accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour is no better than Muslims believing the silly notion that God in His Infinite sentimentality, miraculously substituted Jesus with some other person on the Cross!

      DO CATHLICS BELIEVE IN THE WORD OF GOD?
      EVERYTHING has a scriptural base in the Catholic Church – if you sincerely want to know the Truth, read ‘Rome Sweet Home’ by Scott and Kimberley Hahn and Francis Beckwith’s ‘Return to Rome’.

      Do CATHOLICS WORSHIP MARY AND THE SAINTS?
      NO! We do not worship Mary nor the saints. We only worship the Triune God. MAry is to be venerated and revered in her role in God’s plan of salvation. When we say the Rosary, we are repeating SCRIPTURE – i.e the HOLY SPIRIT”S WORDS through ELIZABETH and the ANGEL GABRIEL. This sanctifies us; it gives us a ‘dose’ of grace. Also, the Rosary is a plea asking Mary to pray FOR us, much as you would ask someone in your prayer group or your mother to pray for you. We are praying TO God WITH Mary. I’m amazed how much the Protestants go ON and ON about Abraham, David, Jacob, Gideon, Esther, Ruth etc all of whom were very important in God’s long relationship with Israel. How can they, then, IGNORE the role of Jesus’ mother?!?! Mary our spiritual Mother (not divine), was given to us by Jesus Himself and our older brothers and sisters, the saints are Catholics who serve as an example through their life of prayer and penance in cooperation with God’s grace in their sanctification (remember, we have to work at it with fear and trembling). They are God’s gracious means of enabling us in our own sanctification. Protestants take the verse about being ‘saved by grace and not through works’ as an easy way out of the tension of the narrow path. The narrow gate we have to walk is the tension between our flesh and our spiritual lives in Christ. It’s something Luther would not handle and the Enemy tempted him to lead the Body of Christ to be torn apart. It continues to be torn apart by quibblers and charlatans everyday. There are 5 new denominations every week! If you have the intellectual and spiritual honesty, i.e, if you want to make an HONEST SEARCH, attend a Catholic Bible Study (done by Word Ministers, clergy or lay people), all your doubts and questions about the Church instituted by Christ Himself will be wiped away. There is never any Protestant bashing at the Catholic Church. There is only patient longing for the Prodigal to come home. I challenge doubtful and stubborn Protestants to undergo Bible study from a Catholic source with respect, suspending prejudice and judgment, just as I did with Protestantism. If the Catholic Church were eager to get numbers, She would admit people without any lengthy initiation like RCIA. But She insists on Her members knowing the whole Truth and the scriptural basis for it. Not so, however, for Protestant megachurches! You can church-hop much like a job which is what it is to most Protestant preachers. There are sincere people among them, of course, but they have, as my friend Vivator says, a confused individualistic interpretation which breeds confused congregations who keep looking for answers and trying to ‘get’ more faith so they can get God to ‘bless’ them or more commonly still, to bless their finances.

      Regarding individual Bible Interpretation:
      It is inconceivable that God means for every individual to interpret the Bible for him/herself. That would mean 6 billion plus churches, all living unto themselves. That would be chaos and as you can see, it IS! I mean, the Protestant phenomenon is fertile ground for charlatans and prosperity gospel preachers. The ‘Hmm, what can God do for me today?’ gospel is especially rife in the United States of America. Individualism is the scourge of the 20th and 21st centuries; it is what has bred Humanism which is the big enemy of Christianity. Civil ‘rights’ to abort the unborn? Are civil rights above God’s law? The Protestant church has created a monster which it cannot handle. Honestly, if you take the Bible out of context, you can make the Word say anything you want It to. And you do! Protestant America has made a God in its own image – a Capitalist Republican, with the US as His favourite, sanctioning any number of righteous wars against hapless nations like Vietnam, fighting Communism by force and guile rather than through prayer and diplomacy.

      Regarding the Sacraments:
      The next disagreement with the Catholic Church is that we have ‘rituals’. They are only rituals for people who are lukewarm or who see them as such. Is Bible reading a ritual? It can be. I have had miraculous physical healings not once but TWICE after Confession (one of the best things about the Church), even though I may have told my friends the same weaknesses and failings a thousand times. The sacraments are abundant channels of God’s grace! The priest administers God’s grace. Why have Protestants robbed their church by taking away the sacraments?!? It’s a mistake to think that one has to be intellectual and clever to be redeemed. Even unlettered people who don’t understand the Bible but come in simple faith, can be sanctified through the sacraments. It is not ‘sola scriptura’ nor ‘sola fidelis’. The Separated Brethren have done themselves a great disservice and it saddens us. And by removing holy pictures and statues, icons etc, you are pretending that we are not human beings, humble creatures with senses! God’s grace is imbibed through our eyes, our food, our ears, our hearts and so on, not just our intellects. One person may feel closer to God through the sight and fragrance of candles or a work of art like ‘The Pieta’. Or a beautiful painitng or stained glass window. ‘Creation for the Creator’ is a wholesome tenet! Everything can be holy. Idol worship refers to FALSE idols, that is worship of creatures. This does not refer to legitimate pictorial representations of the Lord and the Apostles, His mother, the Holy Angels, and the saints. We are not worshipping these statues, they are an aid to our creaturely senses. I may add that Protestant churches are the bleakest, most sterile looking buildings I have ever been in.

      Why does the Roman Catholic Church make such a ‘big deal’ about Divorce, Euthanasia,Contraception and Abortion?
      Have you ever stood up for the unvarnished and unpopular Truth? And what has been your experience afterwards? It has become politically correct to bash the Roman Catholic Church. People only throw stones at fruit bearing trees. When unbelievers ridicule or reject Christians because of our zeal, we have no problem in believing that we are being persecuted! That’s exactly what the Catholic Church suffers. Which Protestant denomination would be so unequivocal about grave issues like abortion and contraception, euthanasia and other Pro Life concerns? Or divorce, for that matter? It would be too afraid of losing members, maybe even the pastor himself. Or herself! Proud people mock at the Roman Catholic Church, but they have a grudging respect for Her all the same because She is more concerned about safeguarding the Truth than pandering to half baked populist ‘Christians’.

      Do Catholics worship the Pope?
      The shocking thing is that people have dared to say that the Pope is the anti-Christ because the Roman Church is a Church of works! How prejudiced and how ignorant! The Pope is a fallible human being but he IS infallible ONLY in the matter of safeguarding faith and guiding morals. He can lose his temper. He is fallible. He can complain in suffering. He is fallible. He goes to Confession to a humble ordinary priest every week. God in His wisdom may decree something which to our human understanding may not seem ‘democratic’ or ‘humanist’. However, when it comes to setting out the CODE of TRUTH and MORALS and FAITH, the Pope is God’s infallible instrument, through the Holy Spirit and the authority vested in him by Christ Himself.

      Paedophilia in the Church:
      The Church is made up of human beings. Priests are fallible. That does not mean they are not channels of God’s grace. The point is, the Church is for sinners to be redeemed and a priest can be redeemed if he truly repents, humbly accepts God’s grace and works on his own sanctification. The priest is consecrated, not like Protestant preachers who marry and divorce numerous times. Talk about immorality! Celibacy can be a struggle but not everything that is a struggle is to be conveniently done away with. You face it honestly and work through it. Paedophilia and pornography are everywhere, not just in the Catholic Church!

      The Church is not trying to come up with some doctrinal innovation every other day, or a nuanced spiritual principle which gets God to make your life more pleasant, prosperous or exclusive. In other words, it is sincere, and not trying to sugarcoat the TRUTH. (The Protestant Prosperity Gospel is a travesty of the Good News) Mostly, those ‘preachers’ come back to what they know best – sowing and reaping, tithing and harvesting – a big raise, or huge growth in business etc. Mike Murdock is one example. Their belief is that Jesus Christ fully endorses capitalism and the American Way. Money Money Money!!! It’s an obsession – because Protestants don’t have the sacraments, they measure God’s favour by how wealthy and ‘prosperous’ one is. Hence Benny Hinn’s big mansion and private jet, Joyce Meyer’s big mansion, flashy clothes and private jet, and various others. It’s the American Way! Protestant preachers tell you you’re not blessed because you don’t have enough faith and if you ‘sow’ in their ministry, you’ll be ‘blessed’; do you mean that one can ‘measure’ God’s ‘favour’ through worldly prosperity? You got that job because you had God’s ‘favour’? So the other guy who didn’t get it and goes to the same church as you, and more often, didn’t, because he doesn’t? Mary,the Mother of Jesus, was favoured but I doubt she was very rich. ‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.’ 2 Timothy 4:3.

      The Roman Catholic priests almost always tell us about compassion for the have-nots. It was Pope John Paul II who made endless efforts to bring down Communism in the USSR through prayer and diplomacy. That was just one of this charismatic and holy man’s contributions. I could go and on about him.

      In short, the main difference between Protestant and Catholics is that the first denies the Cross of Christ and the second embraces it to reach Christ. Suffering may be allowed by God because you have faith! He wants you to accept His Will, whether it seems pleasant or unpleasant to you. It’s not always ‘name it and claim it’. Resignation to God’s Will is something that sanctifies us.

      For the record, I consider myself to be an Evangelical Catholic 🙂

      God bless you.

      • Moe / Apr 22 2016 4:17 pm

        Love this! I am an evangelical Protestant currently on the path to conversion through RCIA. I am finding that thete are so many preconceived notions (many of which you touched on) and falsities about what the Catholic Church is within some Protestant communities. The lack of knowledge could almost be described as embarrassing. In my short experience, the Catholic Church has done more to aid in the growth of my faith in three months than my previous church did in a year! There is a process for a reason!

    • RJP / Jul 19 2013 8:45 am

      I would caution readers here with this warning:
      You will rarely, if ever, see Vivator admit to error in this blog.

      * He claims not to censor comments unfairly, but he does again and again. Thus you the reader will not always see good rebuttals to his comments.
      * It is obvious that Vivator has never studied logic. The number informal logic fallacies that he commits here is staggering and would require an entire book to document.
      * He censors comments if they are too “sarcastic” but has no problem telling a writer that “you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that.”
      * Spend time here and you will see how intransigent Vivator is even in the face of overwhelming evidence..
      Examples:

      – He chastises a reader for stating Rome’s doctrine of indulgences, claiming the practice is an archaic one. The reader provides clear evidence that the practice continues… and Vivator says nothing.
      – He belittles the biblical (he says “Protestant”) idea of imputation… but won’t admit that the “treasury of merit” imputes merit to penitents.
      – He ridicules Calvinism’s doctrine of predestination, and will not, even with Catholic citation sources, admit that Thomas Aquinas’s doctrine of predestination is virtually identical.
      – A reader cites Irenaeus’s support of ‘sola scriptura’ and this is ignored.
      – A reader raises the issue of how the ancient church fathers side against Rome’s interpretation of Matthew 16:18 “thou art Peter and upon this rock..” and its alleged support for the papacy, and Vivator abruptly closes discussion on the topic.
      – A reader tries to correct Vivator’s mischaracterization of Luther’s position on works – and Vivator does not allow the posting, and continues to falsely portray Luther’s true position.

      I would be very careful about the information presented here. If someone can be wrong on so many issues, isn’t it at least possible that his reasons for ‘returning’ to Roman Catholicism might also be wrong? It seems to me that he is trying to reconcile the ‘faith alone’ doctrines he learned from evangelicals with his newer Catholic understandings – but this simply cannot be done.

      I’ll be very surprised if this comment sees the light of day. And I would be very surprised if Vivator would have ‘returned’ to Rome had he known the full extent of theological problems within Catholicism.

      • vivator / Jul 21 2013 9:12 pm

        Do you ever notice that some newspaper and magazine may have reader corner (or something like that) where readers can write on certain topics published in newspaper/magazine? First the readers are not under any obligation to write something. The newspaper/magazine reserves the right to publish or not to publish – they are not under any obligation to publish every letter from the reader. There is not censorship here – you totally use the wrong word. By using the word censor you (and those with the alias Sc59) admit that those unpublished comments contain obscene (adult only) or sensitive materials that need to be censored. I experienced the same thing – my comments on other blog are sometimes unpublished but unlike you I am not mad at all. Why should I? It is childish and immature behavior. I do recognize that the owner of the blog, like the publisher of newspaper or magazine, reserves the right to publish or not to publish my comment. I do not and never invite you or any reader to visit my blog and there is no obligation to leave any comment. You visit my blog and leave your comment freely or in your terminology you were unconditionally foreordained from eternity to visit my blog and to leave comment – which means there is nothing you can do.
        Anyway you do give me good feedback – I am too sarcastic. Have you checked anti-Catholic blogs? There are many out there. Do they do the same?
        if I do not respond to any comment it does not mean I cannot answer it. First I am not under any obligation to answer any comment and SO ARE the readers. You accuse me doing something NOT according your standard or concept but why on earth I should follow your standard or concept? Whom you think who you are that I should listen to you? I am not under any obligation to make anyone satisfied with my answer and neither are you.
        When I decided to return to the Catholic Church I did not become Catholic overnight. It took some time to learn and to realize how my evangelical friends misunderstand Catholicism – something that you are still doing now. Finally I NEVER try to reconcile the ‘faith alone’ doctrines I learned from evangelicals with my newer Catholic understandings. They are things that both can agree and there are things that both always disagree – just read my post on comparing Justification as according to Catholic Church and according to Reformers.

      • RJP / Jul 22 2013 7:39 pm

        You write: “…why on earth I should follow your standard or concept? Whom you think who you are that I should listen to you? I am not under any obligation to make anyone satisfied with my answer and neither are you.”

        Yes, I have a standard and a concept – one pulled from scripture: “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Indeed the name of my Savior is synonymous with the very idea of truth (John 14:6). Because I am a slave to Christ, I am also a slave to trut – not a slave to a church, man, or system.

        True, my standard is not the world’s standard. I am not surprised at the charge of “angry” and “childish and immature.” Because truth isn’t contradictory, I expect contradictions to be reconciled with intellectual honesty, from myself and you – because there are impressionable minds reading this blog.

        If I spend three to five hours writing a thoughtful response to one of your posts – yes, I expect you to show it. Especially when I see the kind of comments you do allow. So I think it is important to let people know your style before they spend time reading your blog or posting to it.

        When preparing for my Catholic confirmation, I was the one who put up my hand and asked the teacher “But how do we know, at age thirteen, whether we are of the true faith?” All I remember of the reply: “Those people who leave the Catholic religion (for another faith) do so before they really know their OWN religion..they should know their OWN religion before they leave…” I never forgot that challenge and decided to make it one of my life’s goals.

        You claim I misunderstand Catholicism… I assure you I understand it well. In fact, I dare say that if I don’t understand it then there are millions who don’t understand it. Perhaps it deserves to be misunderstood – with all of its contradictions, man-made traditions, and conflicts with scripture. Perhaps that is why your evangelical friends misunderstood it.

        In fact, I think you misunderstand Catholicism.
        The Catholicism I know is the one I learned growing up in the church and is quite representative of the popular understanding – not the ivory tower version you discovered later in life. For instance, you claim a version of Catholicism that is not merit-based – but the popular understanding I grew up with and know today is the same one all my Catholic friends know, the one all my Catholic relatives know… which is the same one that says salvation IS merit based. The reason this idea of a merit-based salvation is so popular is because it happens to agree with official Catholic teaching. The Catholic Catechism says your system is merit based, and The Catholic Encyclopedia says your system of salvation is merit based.

        So for you to say that Catholicism is not merit-based… shows me you are a victim of your own misunderstanding regarding Catholicism. What you can never undo is what you learned as an evangelical.

      • vivator / Jul 22 2013 8:10 pm

        You quoted John 14:6 but you totally missed 1 Tim 3:15 that says the foundation of pillar of truth is the church. Inspired by the Holy Spirit Paul would not write about your church established fifteen century later by men. You also missed the scriptural truths that Christ made divine promise to be His Church to the end of age, to send the Holy Spirit to guide in truth and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against His Church. Scripture nowhere says those promises are valid until the Roman emperor Constantine legalized Christianity or until fifteenth century. What you found and to which you rely on now is your own truth, not biblical truth. For sure many Catholics misunderstand or are ignorant of the teachings of the Church simply because they rely on what they hear from other, not from official teaching of the Church – you are one good representative sample, this explains why you are easily misled just like lamb in the slaughter house. You are wrong to say that I never undo what I learnt when I was evangelical – I already threw away all evangelical teachings not in agreement with those of the Catholic Church.

      • RJP / Jul 24 2013 7:36 am

        You write: ” You are wrong to say that I never undo what I learnt when I was evangelical.”
        Why then do you work so hard to make Roman Catholicism compatible with ‘salvation by grace alone’ when it isn’t? You say Roman Catholicism is not a merit-based system when in fact it is a merit-based system of salvation.

      • vivator / Jul 28 2013 7:14 am

        Catholics believe in justification and salvation by grace – we are not monergist, so we don’t subscribe to monergist understanding of by grace alone. Catholics believe we enter heaven if we die without any mortal sin. Those who died with mortal sin, even only one, will go to hell – their zillion good works will not save them and you still thing Catholics salvation is merit based! For scriptural support read Ezekiel 18:24. For sure every Catholic commits sin, mortal or non-mortal and God through His Grace always moves us to repent and to ask forgive. As about merit open the Bible to discover that Scripture does say God rewards us for our good works (Proverbs 13:13, Psalms 18:20, 2 John 8, Revelation 22:12 etc.) and He even rewards our good works with eternal life (John 5:28-29, Romans 2:6-7). In contrast the Reformers taught that our good works are imperfect, defiled and sinful acts. Catholics believe our merits comes from God – they are gifts from Him and that’s why there nothing unfair if God does not take into account if one dies with mortal sin as stated in Ezekiel 18:24. Catholics DO NOT collect points of reward from merits to be exchanged for salvation

      • RJP / Jul 24 2013 7:49 am

        Your entire argument rests upon your claim that the word “church” in 1 Timothy 3:15 refers to the “Roman Catholic” church. But it doesn’t.
        That claim has been refuted many times in this blog, but you persist in using it as a defence of Rome. Your intransigence confirms what I wrote on July 19th, 2013.

        Not only was there a church in Rome, but many others existed… some much earlier than the one at Rome.
        My New Testament tells me there was a church in Corinth. Was this the Roman Catholic church? No.
        There was a church in Galatia. Was this the Roman Catholic church? No.
        There was a church in Ephesus. Was this the Roman Catholic church? No.
        And so on, and so on…

        You are equivocating on the word “church.”

      • vivator / Jul 28 2013 7:17 am

        You are entitled to disagree that the church in 1 Tim 3:15 refers to the Catholic Church – then the question is where is that church now? Did it become extinct?. The fact that there were churches in Rome, Galatia, Ephesus etc. does not deny the existence of ONE church – Scripture refers the Church as the Body (singular, not Bodies) and the Bride (singular, not Brides) of Christ. Your church established fifteen centuries later or more is simply man-made church!

      • RJP / Jul 29 2013 8:46 pm

        Not only am I “entitled to disagree that the church in 1 Tim 3:15 refers to the Catholic Church,” I am compelled to do so because of the Word of God, conscience, and logic. If you begin by rightly interpreting the word “church,” your other questions questions are answered.

        For those who are not prone to the fallacy of anachronism, this might help:
        http://turretinfan.blogspot.ca/2011/02/solo-scriptura-sola-scriptura-and.html

      • vivator / Jul 29 2013 9:27 pm

        For strange reason you avoid answering my question: Did the church referred in 1 Tim 3:15 become extinct or annihilated? The fact that you are compelled not to believe that the church in 1 Tim 3:15 is the Catholic Church does not automatically make you believe is correct. The Church was born on the day of Pentecost and should have been existing to this day – otherwise Christ failed to keep His Divine promise that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against His Church.

      • RJP / Aug 1 2013 1:09 pm

        He who asserts, must defend. Your assertion that 1 Tim 3:15 refers to Roman Catholicism cannot be supported biblically, historically, or logically. And the failure to defend your position is not improved by asking a totally separate question about Rome’s alleged indefectibility. (see #4 of Keith Mathison’s work at the link below)

        The church is comprised of all true believers. We still have true believers today – thus Christ’s promise to preserve His church is intact

        This work by Keith Mathison, http://turretinfan.blogspot.ca/2011/02/solo-scriptura-sola-scriptura-and.html
        answers Rome’s claims, including some of yours:

        1. Rome claims that the Roman ecclesiastical hierarchy was instituted by Christ.
        2. Rome claims that Christ appointed Peter to be the visible head of the whole Church and gave him jurisdictional primacy.
        3. Rome claims that the bishops of Rome are the successors of Peter.
        4. Rome claims that the Church is indefectible.
        5. Rome claims that the pope is infallible when he speaks ex cathedra.
        6. Rome claims that the teaching Magisterium of the Roman Church is infallible.
        7. Rome claims that ecumenical councils are defined in terms of the papacy.
        8. Rome claims that the “oneness” of the church is to be defined in terms of faith and communion with Rome.
        9. Rome claims that the “apostolicity” of the church is to be defined in terms of origin, teaching, and succession in office.
        10. Rome claims to be THE church founded by Christ.

      • vivator / Nov 2 2013 3:32 pm

        Everybody, me and Keith Mathison has freedom to write whatever he think. What Mathison wrote is based from his point of view and nobody is under obligation to agree with him. You too don’t have to agree with me.
        I don’t see any relation of your statement “The church is comprised of all true believers. We still have true believers today” with 1 Tim 3:15. Just like your reference to Mathison, you simply try to pull me to other direction to avoid answering the question where the Church mentioned in 1 Tim 3:15 is today. If you cannot answer it, just admit it!

      • RJP / Aug 5 2013 7:57 pm

        On July 28, 2013, you write: “Catholics believe in justification and salvation by grace…”
        No. Not exactly.
        Rightly stated, you believe in grace + something more; what God did on the cross was not sufficient:

        Catholic Catechism, #1477:
        ‘This treasury (of Merit) includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they ATTAINED THEIR OWN SALVATION and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.’

        Catholic doctrine teaches that we can earn salvation for ourselves and others by works.

        Catholic Catechism, #2027
        No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can MERIT FOR OURSELVES and FOR OTHERS all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.

        Here, dear Vivator, I want to be very charitable…
        The two quotes above from the Catholic Catechism are no surprise to those who grew up in the Catholic Church. That is the gospel according to Rome that we all know – and it is truly regrettable that you were not a practicing Catholic growing up and thus able to know this by your own experience. If you’d had the benefit of such an experience… you would understand that the glossed-over version of the Catholic apologist is the not the same Catholicism that is known by millions of Catholics around the world. Are you truly comfortable knowing that (in your case at the least) you had to take extraordinary measures to finally get a version of Catholicism that you could actually swallow, but one that millions of others will never know – which is a version for academics who can bend the waxed nose of Catholicism any way they wish… like the way you will bend or minimize the two authoritative Catholic Catechism citations from above. Just about every Catholic apologist I know has a story like yours.. where they were only marginal Catholics growing up and didn’t really see the real ‘works’ of the system.

        The Gospel, or ‘good news’ of free grace has been so obscured by Rome’s accumulated barnacles over the centuries that it is truly life-changing when the Spirit of God opens the eyes of a person to see the unadulterated free gospel for the first time. I believe that you may know that God’s grace (alone) is sufficient and that reconciling this with Catholicism is embarrassing – that is why you work so hard to downplay the ‘works’ aspect of Catholic salvation. But now that you have invested a good portion of your life in defending the horrible doctrines of Rome, the prospect of changing to ‘grace alone’ is… too much.

        I thank God Almighty for the Scriptures, and for the grace to believe the Gospel of free grace, which you ought to be very careful not to compromise or ridicule:

        “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

        “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

        “If, in fact, Abraham was justified [saved] by works, he had something to boast about — but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Romans 4:2-5

        “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3

      • vivator / Nov 2 2013 6:12 pm

        You keep on confusing Catholic teaching with your pre-defined belief of what Catholic Church teaches. To help you to clear your confusion, consider this hypothetical but possible case: A missionary went to a remote place in the middle of nowhere to preach the Gospel and he managed to make all indigenous people Reformed Christians (to make easy for you). My question for you: (1) Can he claim that he contribute in salvation of those indigenous people? (2) Does the salvation of those people depend on his missionary works? A missionary must work – he is not on vacation or retirement. If your answer to both questions is (and is supposed to be) NO, it should help you to understand Catholic understanding of grace & merits.
        In the above case Catholics believe that God through his grace FIRST moves that man’s heart to go to that remote country as missionary (the initiative does NOT come from that man freewill) and He too will provide all the necessities. Nobody is forced to work as missionary, at least not that I know – so he cooperated with this grace, went and worked there and through his works God gave the indigenous people ANOTHER grace that enables them to believe. Thus grace given to him that enables him to work as missionary “merits” grace that enables indigenous people to believe. Yet the missionary cannot claim any contribution because everything is grace even though he did cooperate. This should help you to understand # 2027 and # 1447. Catechism # 2009 says our merits are God’s gift and because they are gift we, saints on earth and saints in heaven can merit grace for other (like the above missionary) or for oneself. Salvation of those indigenous people does not depend on his missionary works either because God Himself can directly give grace to believe to those people. So why then He needs missionary? The Catechism # 2008 explains that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. He can do everything by Himself because He is God, but He let us “help” Him like working as missionary mentioned above – He even gives us grace that enable us to help him and TO DO GOOD WORKS. Without grace given through Christ we can do nothing (John 15:1-5). You may be surprised to see I use the word grace many times and it is, in fact, one of the reasons why I remain Catholic. Catholic teaching on salvation is grace based, without denying our freewill and merits. Calvinism, on the other hand, (1) denies freewill in the so-called monergistic regeneration, nowhere taught in Scripture and (2) teaches our good works are defiled and polluted with sin. The problem with the former is it inevitably leads to double predestination as God regenerates the Elect and bypasses the Reprobate – a decision He makes unconditionally from eternity. Yet according to Scripture (Matthew 25:31-46) the phrase “prepared for you from the foundation of the world” is applied only to the Elect, which Catholics also believe but NOT to the Reprobate. In verse 41 Christ said hell is prepared for the devil and his angels, not for Reprobate and the phrase “from foundation of the world” is not there. This is against your belief that God decided from eternity to bypass Reprobate from being monergistically regenerated. The problem with the latter is by declaring missionary (of the above case) work is defiled and polluted with sin for sure you will demoralize him. God is our Father – you believe that. If you are a father with children will you tell your children that their works are imperfect and polluted with sin? Human father is not perfect but God is our perfect Father in heaven.
        Scripture is supposed to be your highest authority, isn’t it? Does Scripture require us to do good works? Read Luke 10:25-28 and just by one verse it is crystal clear that we have to obey the two greatest commandments to get eternal life. For sure Scripture does not teach salvation by works and neither do Catholics believe such thing, which you keep on falsely accusing. As mentioned above we can do good works only by God’s Grace and when God rewards us for our good works, which Scripture affirms in many places, it is gift from him. Catholics DO NOT believe we collect points of rewards through our works to be exchanged for eternal life, just like you may collect Air Miles points. Catholics believe we enter heaven upon dying when we die without un-repented mortal sin. Those who die with mortal sin, even only one, will go to hell – their zillion good works will not save them. For Scriptural support you may read Ezekiel 18: 24. There is nothing unfair when God does not take into account good works of any who dies with un-repented mortal sin because good works are only possible with His Grace. We commit sin from time to time but God always takes the initiative and gives us grace to repent.
        I understand as Calvinist you keep on boasting salvation by grace alone through faith alone. May be it is the time for you to investigate. Below is what Reformed scholar Sproul wrote:
        Justification is by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone. Saving faith is not a “lonely” faith, having no works following as a companion (Faith Alone, page 156). Can you see works there? There is work component in your system of salvation, though, for sure you will hide it under the mask of faith alone.

      • RC1959 / Aug 9 2013 7:51 pm

        In defending Roman Catholicism’s system of cooperative salvation, you write again and again…: “Catholics believe our merits come from God – they are gifts from Him..”

        Question: could you have refused to perform these “gifts” of meritorious works?

      • vivator / Nov 2 2013 3:14 pm

        Answer: Yes and that’s what synergism is. God through His Grace moves us to do good works and we may cooperate or refuse His Grace but we CANNOT have initiative to do good works without FIRST being moved by His Grace. Most, if not all monergist will say it that is the case then everything depends on man free-will, not on God’s Grace. The Elect cooperate because God give them EFFICACIOUS Grace, NOT because they have better or stronger free-will than the Reprobate. Thus in synergism our salvation depends on Grace, not on our free-will. Why God does not give the Reprobate efficacious grace is because He has mercy to whom He will and harden whom He will – I am sure you are familiar with this verse. The difference with Calvinism is in Catholicism the Reprobate end up in hell NOT because they are unconditionally foreordained from eternity by God (as in Calvinism) because it will contradict many verses saying God calls everybody for salvation. The Reprobate in Catholicism does not receive efficacious Grace but God still give them sufficient grace – this means they end up in hell because they choose so in using their free will.

      • RJP / Jan 25 2014 4:05 pm

        You say “Thus in synergism our salvation depends on Grace, not on our free-will..”
        Your own official Roman Catholic sources don’t agree.
        From the Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13407a.htm

        “Man may receive or reject this inspiration of God, he may turn to God or remain in sin. **Grace does not constrain man’s free will…**

        …This disposition is FOLLOWED BY justification itself, which consists not in the mere remission of sins, but in the sanctification and renewal of the inner man by the VOLUNTARY reception of God’s grace and gifts…”

        The Catholic Encyclopedia makes it very clear that God’s initial grace is not sufficient. It must be ratified by man’s free will cooperation. The Encyclopedia continues further by asserting that a man’s works are what predisposes him to cooperate:

        “This change [of man’s inner disposition] happens either by reason of a perfect act of charity elicited by a well disposed sinner or by virtue of the Sacrament either of Baptism or of Penance according to the condition of the respective subject laden with sin..

        Against the heretical tenets of various times and sects we must hold
        * that the INITIAL grace is truly gratuitous and supernatural;
        * that the human will REMAINS FREE under the influence of this grace;
        * that man really cooperates in his personal salvation from sin…”
        Catholic Encyclopedia

        Your continued alibi of “..but our (Roman Catholic) works are God’s gifts to us..thus not really works that contribute to our salvation..” is bogus for at least two reasons:
        1) Official Catholic sources say man’s merits do indeed contribute to one’s salvation.
        2) God does not need his own gifts any more than he needs yours.

      • vivator / Mar 9 2014 6:49 pm

        Please read my latest post of which title is: Synergism and Monergism: which one is scriptural? of which pdf file you can find at https://vivacatholic.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/synergismmonergism1.pdf.
        It will answer your questions.

  5. vivator / Jul 5 2008 2:05 pm

    I do not deny that there are Catholics who disagree with the teaching of the Church, say on contraception and extra-marital sex, but unlike Protestantism and/or Bible-onlysim, we have universal authority, as you yourself admitted. You don’t have that – still you rely on the authority of your church/denomination, after al you believe that your church teaches biblically according to your interpretation of Scripture, don’t you? While you won’t admit it indirectly you believe that your church/denomination is infallible.
    Scripture refers the Church as Christ’ Body and Bride. You cannot have Christ and reject His Church at the same time. To this day the Catholic CHurch never changes her teaching on Justification – she never accepts Justification by faith alone, which you abide.

    • raj / Apr 20 2011 4:38 pm

      The fallacy of equivocation is when one uses the same term in a different sense. http://www.fallacyfiles.org/equivoqu.html
      Vivator does this with the meaning of the word “church.” When the New Testament uses the word “church” it isn’t referring to the “Roman Catholic” church. To assume otherwise is also to commit another fallacy, “begging the question.” http://www.fallacyfiles.org/begquest.html

    • Will / May 2 2011 9:11 pm

      Perhaps Vivator, you could tell us on why this papal decree does not apply to you:

      Pope Alexander IV (1254-1261) in “Sextus Decretalium”, Lib. V, c. ii:
      We furthermore forbid any lay person to engage in dispute, either private or public, concerning the Catholic Faith. Whosoever shall act contrary to this decree, let him be bound in the fetters of excommunication.

      Looks to me like your “universal authority” isn’t so universal, and that you have privately interpreted and opposed a clear papal directive.

      • vivator / May 3 2011 6:09 pm

        You confused church discipline with dogma – the former is changeable while the latter is not. Example of the former is fasting before Eucharist, at present Catholics are required to fast one hour – in the past it is used to be longer. Other example is priest celibacy in the western Catholic Church. Eastern Catholic Church allows married men to be ordained priests to this day, so did the western Church in the past – we even had married Pope. Whether the Church will change it or not depends on Pope decision. The decree you quoted is found in 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05034a.htm). 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 1325 still forbade Catholics to engage in debates or conferences with non-Catholics without dispensation. Since it was church discipline, it was superseded by later papal decree. Thus the late Pope Paul VI wrote (emphasis in bold added):
        “The Sacred [Vatican II] Council exhorts all the Catholic faithful to recognize the signs of the times and to take an active and intelligent part in the work of ecumenism. … Catholics, in their ecumenical work, must assuredly be concerned for their separated brethren, praying for them, keeping them informed about the Church, making the first approaches toward them. …
        The attainment of union is the concern of the whole Church, faithful and shepherds alike. This concern extends to everyone, according to his talent, whether it be exercised in his daily Christian life or in his theological and historical research.” (Unitatis redintegratio, 4-5)
        For complete text of Unitatis Redintegratio click http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_unitatis-redintegratio_en.html

        Thanks to http://catholicus-maximus.ning.com/ for the information.

      • whoathere / Jul 29 2013 10:03 am

        I read the DECREE ON ECUMENISM, UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO which you cited in defence of your apparent violation of Sextus Decretalium which “forbid(s) any lay person to engage in dispute, either private or public, concerning the Catholic Faith.”

        Far from defending you, the DECREE ON ECUMENISM indicts you further.
        1) Nothing in the DECREE ON ECUMENISM specifically repudiates the Papal decretal, Sextus Decretalium, as is the case with other abrogated church disciplines.
        2) Your blog is apologetic in nature while The DECREE ON ECUMENISM speaks about Ecumenism, which is decidedly different from the tenor and nature of Catholic apologetics.
        3) The DECREE ON ECUMENISM actually condemns your activities here with greater specificity. From #9 of the DECREE ON ECUMENISM:
        “We must get to know the outlook of our separated brethren… Most valuable for this purpose are meetings of the two sides – especially for discussion of theological problems – where each can deal with the other on an equal footing – provided that those who take part in them are truly competent and HAVE THE APPROVAL OF THE BISHOPS. From such dialogue will emerge still more clearly what the situation of the Catholic Church really is. In this way too the outlook of our separated brethren will be better understood, and our own belief more aptly explained.”

        May I ask… if you “have the approval of the bishops” in “discussions of theological problems” with the “separated brethren”? This required approval is consistent with the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which “forbade Catholics to engage in debates or conferences with non-Catholics WITHOUT DISPENSATION.”

        Thus it is clear that in both cases, 1917’s Code of Canon Law.. AND.. 1964’s DECREE ON ECUMENISM UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO, a special “dispensation” or “approval of the Bishops” is required for you to engage in this type of activity.

        To summarize… the 1964 Decree does not supercede the 1917 prohibition of your activity in this blog. Rather, it affirms the earlier prohibitions of the activities you are engaged in here; and reaffirms the fact that Catholics engage in plenty of their own “private interpretations.”

    • UAW / Nov 3 2013 4:12 pm

      An excerpt from: http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.ca/2013/10/a-brilliant-and-clarifying-closing.html?m=0

      “It was very effective of Dr. White to bring all those other books up front and stack them up like that; those works that Roman Catholics are going to need to study in order to figure out if they can understand the gospel and the truth of God’s Word. Or they just take the easy way out and say, “I just believe what the Pope and my priest says without worrying about studying it for myself.” The Romanist claim is that they make things clearer and easier by having an infallible interpreter who can tell them the right interpretation of a Bible passage. When one starts reading all the official documents of Rome and the massive complicated books to try and understand, comparing that with the simple Scripture of Romans 5:1; or Galatians 2:16 or Galatians 3:1-8; or Romans 3:28or Romans 4:1-8 or Ephesians 2:8-9 or John 5:24; 3:16; 20:30-31; or Acts 13:38-39; or Acts 16:31, or Philippians 3:9; or Mark 1:15; it is very clear on which method is clearer for the aveage person to do to understand the gospel.”

      • vivator / Nov 3 2013 9:26 pm

        The owner of beggarsallreformation and you urge Catholic not to listen to the Pope and priest but listen to Dr. James White. My question to both of you: what makes you believe that Dr. White is able to interpret the Bible correctly? Was he certified by God Himself to interpret the Bible?
        Below are two main problems with the Gospel according to Calvinism, which average person can easily point-out:
        1. The Gospel of Calvinism teaches double predestination, i.e. God from eternity unconditionally foreordained some to hell and He accomplishes by bypassing them from being monergistically regenerated. Yet according to Scripture (Matthew 25:31-46) the phrase “prepared for you from the foundation of the world” is applied only to the Elect, which Catholics also believe, but NOT to the Reprobate. In verse 41 Christ said hell is prepared for the devil and his angels, not even for Reprobate, and the phrase “from foundation of the world” is not there. Your belief directly contradicts the Bible. Scripture in a number of places (1 Cor 15:22, Titus 2:11) says God offers salvation to all. Scripture also says in Numbers 23:19 (KJV): “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Through your double predestination you make God a liar for not keeping His promise in 1 Cor 15:22 and Titus 3:11.
        2. The Gospel of Calvinism teaches that our merits is defiled and polluted with sin. According to Scripture God is our Father in heaven. If you are a father and your child draw a picture for you, will you tell him/her that his/her work is defiled and polluted with sin? If you know how to treat your child with love, how much more God, our perfect Father in heaven can treat us, His children with love? You simply turn Him into Quality Controller with zero tolerance.

      • UAW / Nov 4 2013 9:40 am

        Listen again to what Dr. White says in the video and you’ll hear him say that one ought to heed the Word of God, not Rome or Dr. White himself. That is in keeping with 2 Timothy 3:14-17.

        It amazes me that you continue to confuse ‘double predestination’ with ‘equal ultimacy’ or what is known as ‘hyper-Calvinism.’
        But please note: hyper-Calvinism is NOT ‘Calvinism.’

        It has rightly been said elsewhere in this blog that if you have a problem with ‘Calvinism’ then you also have a problem with Thomas Aquinas’s doctrine on predestination which is virtually identical to Calvin’s. Not to mention Augustine’s:

        “Therefore the mercy is past finding out by which He has mercy on whom He will, no merits of his own preceding; and the truth is unsearchable by which He hardeneth whom He will, even although his merits may have preceded, but merits for the most part common to him with the man on whom He has mercy. As of two twins, of which one is taken and the other left, the end is unequal, while the deserts are common, yet in these the one is in such wise delivered by God’s great goodness, that the other is condemned by no injustice of God’s. For is there unrighteousness with God? Away with the thought!”
        Augustine of Hippo, Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints, Book II, the Ante-Nicene Fathers (Available from http://ccel.wheaton.edu/fathers/npnf1-05/c12.2.htm) chapter 25.

        As for your scripture references, they too have been dealt with elsewhere in this blog, and are no support for your view.

        Re.: your point #2, I quote from Brian G. Mattson, http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/double_luther.html

        “The view that Luther maintains is also the view of the other major Reformers, including John Calvin, as well as earlier St. Augustine and Johann Staupitz. This view may be called asymmetrical predestination, as it pictures God electing and reprobating in eternity past with reference to man as sinner, not as creature.

        Therefore, when God had before him the entire human race, he viewed mankind as fallen. This is why Luther constantly writes that God “damns the undeserving” as well as “elects the undeserving.”

        God, in His act of election and reprobation, saw both kinds of men as “undeserving.”

        The implications of this are such that God had no need to create the reprobate with fresh evil in them, as if it were possible for Him to be the author of evil, but rather, His decree of reprobation was passive. God simply “passed over” the reprobate in the exercise of His saving mercy.

        One may wonder how this differs from “single” predestination. Quite simply, in single predestination there is no “decree of reprobation,” while in asymmetrical double predestination there is, albeit a passive decree.”

      • vivator / Nov 4 2013 7:52 pm

        You endorsed what Dr. White wrote because you agree with it and reject as heretical whatever you disagree. The basis, then, is your judgment – for sure you (or anybody else) are free to make judgment about anything under the sun but what makes you think I (or anybody else) should believe in your judgment? Being able to quote verses from Scripture does NOT automatically prove what a person writes/teaches is correct. Anybody can do the same thing including non-Christians or pseudo-Christians like Jehovah Witnesses or followers of iglesia ni cristo of the Philippines – even the devil quoted Scripture when he tempted Christ (Matthew 4:5-6, Luke 4:9-11).
        I am fully aware that Calvinists believe in non-symmetrical double predestination. If you read carefully, you should note I wrote “bypassing them [Reprobate] from being monergistically regenerated”. Compare with what Sproul wrote “To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves” Can you see any difference in principle?
        Source: http://www.the-highway.com/DoublePredestination_Sproul.html
        You need to provide proof that Aquinas teaching on predestination is close or same with Calvinism. The fact that Thomists believe in unconditional election does not make them Calvinists. You wrote “As for your scripture references, they too have been dealt with elsewhere in this blog, and are no support for your view.” I must say it is quite a clever way to avoid saying you cannot answer the points I raised in No. 1. Show me from any resources you can get how to reconcile your double predestination view with Matthew 25:31-46.
        I checked the link you provided and claimed it tackles No. 2, even downloaded pdf file, read and search using any keywords related to No. 2 – and there is none. The article deals with Luther view on predestination, whether he supported single or double predestination. It has nothing to do with No. 2.

      • UAW / Nov 25 2013 10:29 am

        You write that I “need to provide proof that Aquinas’s teaching on predestination is close or same with Calvinism”… That has already been amply supplied here in this blog, using your own Catholic sources:
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/salvation-in-catholicism/#comment-2502
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/salvation-in-catholicism/#comment-2536
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/salvation-in-catholicism/#comment-2164

        #2 is an attempt to answer your continual and erroneous objection that Augustinian, Thomistic, and Calvinist predestinations are unbiblical and pernicious acts of God. Once again for the reader… if you insist on saying Calvinism is unbiblical or pernicious then you are forced into admitting that Thomistic predestination is unbiblical and/or pernicious. But Roman Catholic theology forbids you from going against Thomism. Yet you do so anyway, again and again, in spite of Rome’s clear prohibition.

      • vivator / Nov 30 2013 7:00 pm

        Your Calvinists friend through their comments wrongly understood Aquinas position. You may read the following post in a blog written by one Reformed Christian who plainly denies any similarity between Aquinas and Calvin position.
        http://deovivendiperchristum.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/thomas-aquinas-1225-1274-on-predestination-grace-and-free-will-in-comparison-to-the-canons-of-dort/

      • UAW / Nov 25 2013 10:49 am

        As to your challenge: “reconcile the double predestination view with Matthew 25:31-46″…
        Two things:
        1) The last time someone posted a response to this challenge, you deleted the comment.
        2) Why would you even take a position on this passage when there is no official interpretation on it from Rome?
        Throwing back at you your criticism of James White: “..what makes you believe that Dr. White is able to interpret the Bible correctly? Was he certified by God Himself to interpret the Bible?”
        Indeed, what makes you believe that You are? And if Rome is certified by God to interpret the passage, show me its official teaching on it.

      • vivator / Nov 30 2013 7:02 pm

        Here you made false statement – there is no comment that dealt with Matthew 25_31-46 for simple and obvious reason: I never cite those verses as argument against Calvinism before. You simply made clever excuse for not admitting your inability to reconcile those verses with your Calvinist double predestination belief. Does the Catholic Church officially claim to have the truth from Christ? Yes, you can read Catechism of the Catholic Church # 889 to 892. If you need scriptural support you can read 1 Tim 3:15 – certainly Paul did not write about your or James White church who came into existence fifteen centuries later.

      • UAW / Jan 29 2014 9:27 am

        You did in fact censor a response to your challenge of Matthew 25:31-46. True that in that case you used the passage to defend Rome’s work-based salvation.. nevertheless you censored it. Thus I have no assurance that you’ll not censor again. And if you are willing to live with the contradictions that result from your view of Matt 25, what is the use?

        And contradiction is indeed the case here where you use Matt 25 in support of what… Hell is for the devil and his angels only? …in utter defiance of other biblical texts that make it clear that people are born with a sin nature (which you cannot blame on a Calvinist God) and thus are bound for hell. You favour instead a sort of universalism – but no, not really:
        When convenient, you use the free-will-of-man card as the reason anyone would end up in hell. But elsewhere in this blog you state clearly that salvation does Not depend on man’s free will. [For the record, Roman Catholic salvation does in fact depend on man’s free will]. This type of contradiction ought to make you reconsider your intransigence since contradiction is the sign of a failed argument. You are not alone in this dilemma, hell is a continuing problem from the Catholic point of view, as you’ll see here: http://turretinfan.blogspot.ca/2014/01/the-roman-catholic-problem-of-hell.html?m=0

        Let me assure you that the argument from silence that you cite from Matt 25 does not support your view against the doctrines of grace, or ‘Calvinism’ as you put it.
        Our sin nature, may I remind you, is the result of Adam’s ‘free will’ which presumably was a purer free will than ours, since he was not born into a sin nature. Do you have a reason to believe that your free will is superior to Adam’s, and that you would have chosen better than he did? Certainly Adam could never live with contradictions of the magnitude of yours.

        Interesting is your response above, dated Nov 20, 2013… where you cite a “Reformed Christian who plainly denies any similarity between Aquinas and Calvin position.”
        This is clearly an overstep on your part, as the author there is rather splitting hairs.
        What’s more surprising is that you would appeal to a Reformed Christian to support your argument, choosing not to engage with your own authoritative Catholic sources which were cited in spades by ‘FourFingersBackAtYou’ and that show clearly a nearly indistinguishable Aquinas from Calvin on the subject of double-predestination. https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/salvation-in-catholicism/#comment-2502
        If you prefer what the Reformed Christian says over and above the Catholic Church.. why not go whole hog and buy what he says about salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone?

        You simply have nothing to say on the matter of Aquinas’ double predestination that could obviate what has already been put in stone by Rome itself. Your continued intransigence on this matter is what would have branded you a heretic 500 years ago, since you dare to go against Aquinas and the Roman Catholic magisterium. Who knows if you’d have survived such blatant disrespect for Aquinas and the written words of the Magisterium?

        You prove again and again that Catholics engage in private interpretations of Roman doctrine all the time, all while criticizing Christians for interpreting the Bible for themselves. Which makes me wonder: if you are willing to make private interpretations of Roman Catholic doctrine, why wouldn’t you think you can interpret the Bible for yourself?

      • vivator / Mar 9 2014 6:42 pm

        You keep on repeating the same silly and clever excuse that I censored comments that gave answers to Matthew 25:31-46.to cover up your inability to defend your unscriptural and false belief. Why don’t you reproduce that comment or asked the one who wrote it to resend? I challenge you to do that.
        You wrote “in utter defiance of other biblical texts that make it clear that people are born with a sin nature “. Your knowledge about Catholicism is defective. Catholics do not deny that we are born with original sin and sinful nature. Neither do Catholics promote universalism as you falsely accused.
        I am tired of answering the same false charges: (1) that Catholic salvation depends on our free-will and (2) Catholic salvation is work based. So I just wrote a post of which title is: Synergism and monergism: Which one is scriptural?. You can read pdf file of the post at:https://vivacatholic.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/synergismmonergism1.pdf
        Your knowledge of Catholicism is defective because your source is non-reliable like turrentin.blogspot.ca. In my post I cited a number statement from Francis Turrentin which should surprise you because he taught works are necessary for salvation.
        Your question “Do you have a reason to believe that your free will is superior to Adam’s, and that you would have chosen better than he did?” You put in my mouth what you want to believe about Catholic, i.e. our free-will governs over God’s grace. This is simply your caricature of Catholicism – the article I wrote above will clarify your misunderstanding.
        Why I quoted from Reformed Christian is obvious. FourFingersBackAtYou trusts only articles written by the same fellow Reformed Christians and so do you (that explains why you defend him/her). For sure Reformed Christians contradict each other, even their gurus’s – don’t believe me? Just read the post I mentioned above.
        Finally you wrote “You prove again and again that Catholics engage in private interpretations of Roman doctrine all the time, all while criticizing Christians for interpreting the Bible for themselves. Which makes me wonder: if you are willing to make private interpretations of Roman Catholic doctrine, why wouldn’t you think you can interpret the Bible for yourself?” My response why don’t you apply what you wrote to yourself. If you don’t get it below is what I mean, imagine I write the following to you:
        You prove again and again that Reformed Christians engage in private interpretations of Catholic doctrine all the time, all while criticizing Christians for interpreting the Bible for themselves. Which makes me wonder: if you are willing to make private interpretations of Reformed doctrine, why wouldn’t you think you can interpret the Bible for yourself?”

      • It is What it is / Mar 12 2014 8:51 am

        With thanks to “UAW,” you asked for proof of my comment that you censored/deleted in response to your June 1, 2011 post under the category: Salvation in Catholicism.

        Here is that censored post, with minor points added or deleted for clarification of the first two paragraphs…only punctuation was changed in the section on Matthew 25:

        Contrary to Vivator’s implication, monergism is not transformed into ‘synergism’ because of the participation of evangelists, missionaries, or parents (in the case of infant baptism). Any addition of these third parties as necessary to salvation makes it rather, a mediation. And on that the bible is clear: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5. Therefore the attempt to refute the monergistic salvation of babies in Catholic baptism by redefining it as a ‘synergism’ between parent, child, and God – fails.

        Evangelists and missionaries do not save souls – they merely bring the good news of the gospel to sinners. It is God alone who changes the heart of those sinners for salvation. Thus monergism and evangelism are not mutually exclusive. That God uses intermediate means to bring about His will (which He does all through the Old Testament and New Testament) does not diminish His monergistic work.

        Vivator asks for an interpretation of Matthew 25:31-46, a text used in support of the view that works play a role in salvation. But with no official Roman Catholic interpretation of this passage you have to wonder – is this an honest question? Add the prohibition against private interpretation (Catholic Catechism #100) and you wonder what possible chance there is to persuade with even the best biblical exegesis. The Roman Catholic prohibition against private interpretation is a fiction of course, as Catholics do and must engage in private interpretations of Catholicism, and of the bible. You saw earlier in this thread how Vivator’s private view of indulgences differs from that of Pope John Paul II’s; not to mention what he does here by holding a view of Matthew 25 that is not supported by an official Roman Catholic interpretation of this passage.

        Even with the best biblical support there is little hope of changing the mind of someone who does not value the bible as ultimate authority. Therefore the following is offered to those who are led by the Lord to know the truth:

        First, you would think that a view of Matthew 25 contradicting scripture would be enough to change one’s mind. Thomas Schreiner writes in 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law: “In every context in which “works of law” is found, a polarity is established between justification/receiving the Spirit by works of law, or by faith (cf. Gal. 2:16; 3:2, 5, 10-12; Rom. 3:20-22,28).”

        Indeed, why force the Scriptures into contradiction when a perfectly coherent alternative exists? The immediate context is clear that this passage supports the sovereignty of God (i.e.: monergism):
        1) Matthew 25:34 says the Kingdom of God was “prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Martin Luther: “How do they merit what is already theirs and was prepared for them before they were in existence?”

        2) The worthiness of merits is not the same as the consequences of rewards.
        Again Luther: “What then is the meaning of all those Scriptures which promise the kingdom and threaten hell? Why is the word ‘reward’ repeated so often in the Scriptures? ‘There is a reward for thy work’ (2 Chron. 15:7). ‘I am thy exceeding great reward’ (Gen. 15:1). Again: ‘Who rendereth to every man according to his work’ (Job 34:11). And Paul says in Rom. 2: ‘To those who by patient continuance in well-doing seek eternal life’ (v.7); and there are many similar statements. The answer is that what is established by all these passages is simply a consequence of reward, not in any way a worthiness of merit…
        The reason why the future consequences of a good and a bad life are declared in the Scriptures is that men might be instructed, disturbed, awakened and terrified. As ‘by the law is the knowledge of sin,’ and instruction concerning our impotence – by which, however, it is not implied that we ourselves can do anything; so by these promises and threats comes a warning of what follows upon the sin and impotence which the law has pointed out – but they do not ascribe any worthiness to our merit.”
        It stands sure, therefore, that merit is not proved from reward, not at any rate in the Scriptures…” Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther.

        3) Thus the righteousness described in Matthew 25:31-46 leaves no room for the Catholic doctrines of cooperative merit or infused righteousness. The ‘righteousness’ of Matthew 25:31-46 is the same righteousness of Philippians 3:9-10: “…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” And what better proof-text for imputed righteousness than 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that IN HIM we might become the righteousness of God.”

        Vivator denies that grace and merits are infused and asserts “only righteousness…is infused or imputed in us.” This is a distinction without a difference because in Roman Catholicism righteousness is conveyed by means of grace and merit. Catholic Catechism 1987: “The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ” and through Baptism.”

        Vivator clearly hates double-predestination – not surprising from someone whose ultimate authority is not the bible. The biased interpreter looks at a conclusion (or the caricature of one), decides he doesn’t like it, and so will not see the biblical evidence. But the unbiased interpreter looks at the biblical evidence and goes to where that evidence leads. Paul grappled with this in Romans chapter 9. More on the biblical doctrine of monergism here: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/qna/double.html
        All the ‘straw man’ attacks in the world upon the biblical doctrines of grace will not fix the inconsistent and unbiblical doctrines of Catholicism.

        I leave you with this blessing from St. Dionysius of Alexandria, Letters and Treatises:
        “During which time I was much struck with the steadiness, the desire for truth, the aptness in following an argument and the intelligence displayed by the brethren, whilst we put our questions and difficulties and points of agreement in an orderly and reasonable manner, avoiding the mistake of holding jealously at any cost to what we had once thought, even though it should now be shown to be wrong, and yet not suppressing what we had to say on the other side, but, as far as possible, attempting to grapple with and master the propositions in hand without being ashamed to change one’s opinion and yield assent if the argument convinced us; conscientiously and unfeignedly, with hearts spread open before God, accepting what was established by the exposition and teaching of the holy Scriptures.”

      • vivator / Mar 15 2014 11:12 am

        I did decide not to publish your comment, received on Jul 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm (according to file in my hard-disk). As mentioned by UAW, your comment/reply on Matthew 25 is about the role of works on salvation, not on double predestination. That time I did not use Matthew 25 to support Catholic belief that God predestines no one to hell.
        To reply to your not published comments:
        1. Catholics also believe that Evangelists and missionaries do not save souls. Only God through Christ does that! The issue is whether God monergistically make them work as missionary or they work synergistically as missionaries. Scripture says in Mark 16:20 (RSV): And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked [Greek sunergountos from Greek verb sunergeo, meaning to work together] with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.
        Perhaps you don’t know that some (not all) monergists, believe that monergism takes place only in regeneration – what comes after that is synergism. In 2011 I did not know that either!
        2. Like UAW you make clever excuse to avoid answering Matthew 25 by writing “no official Roman Catholic interpretation of this passage”. Did you already read ALL Church documents to come up with that statement?
        3. You wrote that my private view on indulgences differs from that of the late Pope John Paul II. Can you elaborate?
        4. You falsely accuse me of not treating the Bible as authority. For sure the Bible is my authority, but NOT your (and/or your man-made church) interpretation of the Bible as authority. Do not confuse these two.
        5. Matthew 25:34 supports Election and Catholics do not have problem with that. It has nothing to do with monergism. To bring back the issue of double predestination, I wonder why you don’t cite verse 41 that clearly rejects the idea of double predestination you believe.
        6. You are entitled to rely on Luther’s statement on merits but I am not. He and other Reformers consider good works as defiled, imperfect and polluted with sin. We do not merit eternal life from good works in the same way we merit our salary. God rewards us with eternal life for our good works as testified in Scripture (John 5:25-29; Romans 2:6-7). When God promises something He will fulfill it.
        7. Phil 3:9-10 and 2 Cor 5:21 do not support imputed righteousness that implies we use righteousness of Christ to cover our unrighteousness. The definition of being righteous is given in 1 John 3:7 – there is room for neither monergism nor imputed righteousness in that verse.
        8. Do I hate double predestination? Double predestination is not scriptural. Why should I believe something taught by the Reformers but not taught by Scripture?

  6. Pingkian / Jul 15 2008 3:40 am

    Hi There.
    I am butting in. I don’t intend to be rude or hostile or negative. If I sound that way, it is not my intention.

    I’m hurt to read the comments and replies before my own. I stumbled onto your blog b/c you had commented on mine first.
    I’m hurt because you (a Catholic) and the others and the protestants are all individuals who believe (I’m assuming, please forgive if I’m mistaken) that Jesus of Nazareth is the only begotten Son of God who became flesh so as to live a sinless life to be the spotless Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. You all believe that He died, was buried, and was risen, and lives as Lord or lords. You all confess that you are sinful and need Jesus in your life as Savior.
    Many believers under the vast umbrella of Christendom have a common belief in these and other essential teachings. Praise God! Yes?
    Many more believers under the vast umbrella of Christendom have variations in their beliefs that contradict and clash, but are non-essential doctrines and dogmas. Yes?
    We can nitpick at each others’ doctrines until the cows come home (weird saying). But in the end, we will see many people in heaven that we argue and event hate (yikes) and we will be embarrassed because we will all probably find that we got a lot of things wrong. But the great thing is that we got the important stuff right. Amen?

    So, I think we different people who believe and follow the Lord Jesus Christ in different ways, people who call on the One True God, are being watched by the majority of the world who are lost and are under the blinding veil of sin and the devil. They are the ones we need to minister to.
    The lost are the ones we need to share Christ with.
    They are the ones we need to target with our blogs.
    They are the ones that scoff at all of us because we preach Christ, yet we pull each other down.

    If a Hindu, or Muslim were to stumble onto this blog, after reading your posts (good stuff by the way (this from a protestant-bibleonlyist) . If they begin to ponder and become interested and drawn to Christ by your post and continue to read the comments, and see that Christendom is quarreling amongst itself, how then will they think of what we each say?

    John 13:35
    “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    I URGE YOU AND, THE REST, NOT TO GLORIFY YOUR DENOMINATION OR CHURCH OF CHOICE OR BIBLE OF CHOICE OR WHATEVER. BUT GLORIFY GOD. DELETE THE COMMENTS PEOPLE PLACE THAT ARE FRUITLESS. KEEP THE GOOD.

  7. Andrea Ludwig / Jul 19 2008 9:05 am

    It was interesting to read about your spiritual journey here. I do not agree that Jesus ever said on this rock {Catholicism} I will build my church. Incidentally, no one taught me to dislike Catholicism. I just came to my own conclusions while reading the Bible and being led by the Holy Spirit. He promises to lead us into all truth.

  8. Andrea Ludwig / Jul 20 2008 9:34 pm

    I would like to formally apologize for being arrogant, though, in my past discussions with you. I walked right in to that one, didn’t I? Meaning, you state here that you hate the arroagance of born again Christians, and I was certainly arrogant and adamant about my beliefs.

    I am still adamant but I can lose the attitude. =)

  9. Bob Nagel / Jul 30 2008 12:28 am

    I stumbled upon this blog and I have to say, thank you for writing this piece. I too had a very similar situation (to a lesser degree: I never attended their Sunday service, only their Friday night worships) this past year, as a sophomore at college. Navigators challenged my comfort in the Catholic way, if by undermining my core confidence in the Church and faith. The common phrasing was, “it’s a relationship, not a religion.” I began questioning this idea by saying, “why not both?” This problem was not all-encompassing, as you noted, since there were wonderful people in Navigators who really had a tolerance for different opinions.

    Of course, God always provides a lesson from tempation, as I have become obsessed in learning all the ins-and-outs of the Church, the beliefs, the reasoning, the Tradition, the Magisterium, etc. All of this has brought me closer to God, and I cannot be any more happier than I am tonight.

    Thank you again, as I had been searching for someone who had dealt with a similar experience and found peace in the Church as a result.

    • jeegie312 / Mar 2 2010 11:19 pm

      “it’s a relationship, not a religion.”
      re-legio =to tie (bind ) again, it is actually our relationship with GOD. religion and relationship is all the same play of words……..

  10. Samson / Oct 22 2008 11:55 am

    First of all, i used to be member of The Navigators when i was in undergraduate.
    The problem with The Navigators is because their teaching is somewhere between orthodox protestantism and revivalism movement, so in most of the part of this world, their position always stucked between those two giant protestant body. Actually many protestants see The Navigators teach some ecumenical missionary/evangelism, in that sense its not surprising if there are many catholics join The Navigators as i had seen back then in my college days. So , my first opinion about this blogger story, that she aboviously knows little and shallow about protestantism. And she depart from very weak stephold to be her/his to be stabbed back to her/his protestantism as far as accoding his/her own claim.
    Catholics would never have problem with The Navigators. The superiority of The Navigators method lies in their simple, discernable and very practical for layman to grasp the essence of christian faith, which is very crucial and critical phase for every ‘baby-faith’ to have strong ground to grow, e.g. the assurance of salvation.

    Secondly, about diverging interpretation of scriptura solaist amongst the alleged protestantism movement, once again, the blogger posed a false problem, not only in fact there are myriads of catholic orders, cults, subcultures and genres, but also catholicism in the 21th centuries shows its compromities with most popular ideologies and movements, from evolution darwinism, socialism, and even nazi-ism. Then why should bother with protestantism ? Anyway it is the blogger attempt to separate Reformation paradigma sola fide-sola gratia-sola scriptura-sola cristo-sola ecclesia, into an impulsive notion of peticularization of ‘sola scriptura’, which most catholic scholars will doom it under ‘sola scriptura is not biblical’ condemnation.

    Lastly, in modern protestantism such as Karl Barth, Kierkegaard and so on, bible is not regarded as the revelation of God, BUT, it refers to The True Revelation of God, vis a vis, only JESUS is The Only True Revelation of God. In this sense and perspective there is NO discripancies amongst JESUS-onlyist believers. Only Holy Spirit can move person to JESUS-only faith, and the SAME SPIRIT gives every believer very distictive and unique gift and manifestations. This THE SAME SPIRIT is what Jesus means as THE FOUNDATION of His church (please re-read the full account of matthew 16:18, Peter was moved by Holy the SAME Spirit to be Jesus-onlyist, the SAME SPIRIT that move and call new believers in this modern days).
    THIS IS THE ROCK, the very foundation of UNIVERSAL church, every where even in the planets out of this earth, the UNIVERSE, the SAME SPIRIT can call a soul to be JESUS-onlyist. .. why bother rome or even jerusalem …. ??

  11. vivator / Oct 22 2008 9:28 pm

    Dear Samson,
    Thank you for your feedback. Let me clarify first that I am a male. While I never claim I know everything about either Catholcism or Protestantism, before you conclude that I know little about Protestantism, I recommend you to read my posts on Justification, salvation, baptism.
    Any Catholic who join Navigators will be eventually driven away from Catholic Church, regardless whether the person who invites him/her has such intention or not. My evangelical mentor, being Navigators trained person, used their technique to implant and cultivate versesProtestantism in me.
    If you have no problem with different interpretation of the Bible then it is your problem. Because we are humans with freedom Catholics may individually disagree on some teachings or practices but very few will go and establish their own churches – if they do they are no longer part of the Church. Compare it with Protestant churches – even those with the same “generic” name, i.e. Baptist or Anglican, may not believe the same thing. Scripture refers the Church as Christ’ Body and Bride, not Bodies and Brides. A Body does have parts and members, each has distinct function but they act as one (1 Cor 12) – if one part suffers the whole Body also suffers. Protestant and “Bible only” churches, while all profess to be Christ centered, they don’t act together as one Body (even if they belong to the same denomination).

  12. Nathan Lee Lewis / Dec 23 2008 12:22 am

    Great site and great mission Vivator! Please let’s dialogue. I almost came to the Catholic Church before finding Orthodoxy. I love The Coming Home Network and became friends with Jim Anderson there.

  13. Jim S / Feb 15 2009 9:14 am

    The Lord called me to lead a bible study in a convelescent hospital. There are both Catholics and Protestant believers.
    A while back one of the residents stated boldly; The Roman Catholic Church is the only real church of God… Then another resident added, no the prodestant church is the real church of God. Then one of my favorites in the group, quitely yet firmly declared: There is one God, and one Church. This 100 year old women named Frankie said it so well.
    By the way, I was brought up in the Catholic Faith, became an athiest. The Lord saved me in 1988. I have been an evangelical since. I am strongly considering worshipping in the Catholic faith. Why ? Many reasons. But perhaps the main one is simply that I feel called by God. He has revealed to me the changes made in the Catholic Church that He has implimented. Without comprimise. The Lord is saying to my spirit that I will be used for His Great Commission in a more fruitful way in the Roman Catholic Church.
    Is there only one church ? Yes. Does that mean that all beleievers are in the Catholic Church only ? No. For this one man, it simply means the Lord of hosts will forgive us our sins if we will humble ourselves undo belief. The very faith to believe is from Him, although God has always exspressed himself in humanity. The best example of this is that He came in the humanity of Christ. God has always used humanity, starting with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, all the way to right now. God will continue to use us in His great commission to save whom ever He will save. The part of that equation that we cant seem to grasp is that He would want that none would perish, and that all would have everlasting life. Did our Lord and Savior not die for all ? Ofcoarse He did. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. Does God use us to spread the Word ? Does God embrace that there can be many dem=nominations of Christianity ? Was it His will for these numerous groups of beleievers ? Perhaps not ! Although He works all things for good for those who Love God, according to His will and purpose. His purpose is that we would have unity and Love to reach the lost. As for this one man, I simply believe He is calling this one man to worship in my Catholic roots, for Him to work through me… I pray that all beleievers will have the unity in the Spirit. Let us dowse the flames of the evil one. He has always and will always divide us, if we fall for his lies. When I say us, I mean all beleivers. The body of Christ is the Church. Plus nothing. If our enemy can divide us in our Love, he will prevail. Let us reflect on: 1st. Corinthians; Knowledge puffs up, but Love builds up.
    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…
    Brother Jim

  14. Tod Zechiel / Feb 22 2009 6:29 pm

    Actually, the Navigators now have a Catholic ministry for Catholics teaching doctrine from the Roman Catholic church. It is called the Navigator Catholic Discipleship and is run by Navigator staff Mr. Richard Cleveland. Please see his website – http://www.emmausjourney.org/

    I would anticipate that the Protestant arm of the Navigators will eventually have some type of sensitivity training toward Catholics as more Navigator staff become familiar with the tension you describe above.

  15. Mike / Mar 1 2009 1:44 am

    Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

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  16. Michele / Jul 28 2009 8:01 am

    Wonderful witness…

  17. black hattitude / Oct 17 2009 6:15 am

    hello,

    thanks for the great quality of your blog, each time i come here, i’m amazed.

    black hattitude.

  18. Roger / Nov 2 2009 11:26 pm

    I hope that it is not too late for you to re-examine the basis for your return to Rome. After all, objective truth both historical and Scriptural, ought to be more important than ego and the confirmation bias. You wrote: “Then the words of Christ in the Gospel gave the answer: And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the power of death shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18, RSV). I knew I must return home, to the Church Christ promised to be built on Peter. I never look back.”

    Given then the importance of this pivotal interpretation for you (that Peter is the rock upon which the church is built)- had you given any thought to whether this interpretation passed the doctrine test established by the Roman Catholic Church itself? For the benefit of your readers, here is that test for correct doctrine:
    “Furthermore, to check unbridled spirits, it decrees that no one relying on his own judgment shall, in matters of faith and morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, distorting the Holy Scriptures in accordance with his own conceptions, presume to interpret them contrary to that sense which holy mother Church, to whom it belongs to judge of their true sense and interpretation, has held and holds, or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers, even though such interpretations should never at any time be published.” –The Council of Trent, 4th Session, the Canonical Scriptures, Rockford:Tan (1978), pp. 18-19

    The First Vatican Council, meeting in 1869-70, reaffirmed Trent’s position:
    And as the things which the holy Synod of Trent decreed for the good of souls concerning the interpretation of Divine Scripture, in order to curb rebellious spirits, have been wrongly explained by some, we, renewing the said decree, declare this to be their sense, that, in matters of faith and morals, appertaining to the building up of Christian doctrine, that is to be held as the true senseof Holy Scripture which our holy Mother Church hath hel and holds, to whom it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Holy Scripture; and therefore that it is permitted to no one to interpret the Sacred Scripture contrary to this sense, nor, likewise, contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.–Philip Schaff, Dogmatic Decrees of the Vatican Council, as found in The Creeds of Christendom, Vol II, New York:Harper (1877), p. 242

    These two decrees dogmatically affirm that:
    1) Only the Roman Catholic church has the authority to accurately interpret Scripture.

    2) No one, not even the RCC herself, is to hold an interpretation contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

    This means Rome has given us a standard, an authoritative Roman Catholic standard, which we may use in judging the RCC. By this standard then we can examine the doctrine of Petrine supremacy, and learn that no “unanimous consent of the Fathers” exists for this dogma. In fact it is quite the opposite, the early church Fathers almost universally interpreted the rock of Matthew 16:18 to be Peter’s confession of Christ or Christ himself, rather than Peter. William Webster did a thorough study of this in his book The Matthew 16 Controversy.

  19. vivator / Nov 4 2009 8:09 pm

    Dear Roger,
    So now you agree that no Catholics can make their own doctrine. You are wrong to say that eraly church fathers universally interpret the rock in Matthew 16:18 to be Peter’s confession of Christ or Christ. below is what Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon wrote in around 170 AD, showing primacy of Church of Rome:

    Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre-eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.
    The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy [2 Timothy 3:21]. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles.
    Irenæus, Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 3.2-3
    Extracted from Anti Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1

    • Mike / Jun 11 2010 9:38 pm

      I did a little homework on this, reading William Webster’s: “Scripture and the Facts of History Compel Me, a Former Roman Catholic, to Remain a Committed Evangelical Protestant.” You should be able to find this with a Google search.
      A few excerpts:
      “Johann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger taught Church history as a Roman Catholic for 47 years and was one of the greatest and most influential historians in the Roman Church of the 19th century. He sums up the Eastern and Western understanding of Matthew 16 in the patristic period in these comments:

      In the first three centuries, St. Irenaeus is the only writer who connects the superiority of the Roman Church with doctrine; but he places this superiority, rightly understood, only in its antiquity, its double apostolical origin, and in the circumstance of the pure tradition being guarded and maintained there through the constant concourse of the faithful from all countries. Tertullian, Cyprian, Lactantius, know nothing of special Papal prerogative, or of any higher or supreme right of deciding in matter of doctrine. In the writings of the Greek doctors, Eusebius, St. Athanasius, St. Basil the Great, the two Gregories, and St. Epiphanius, there is not one word of any prerogatives of the Roman bishop. The most copious of the Greek Fathers, St. Chrysostom, is wholly silent on the subject, and so are the two Cyrils; equally silent are the Latins, Hilary, Pacian, Zeno, Lucifer, Sulpicius, and St. Ambrose.”

      “Of all the Fathers who interpret these passages in the Gospels (Matt. xvi.18, John xxi.17), not a single one applies them to the Roman bishops as Peter’s successors. How many Fathers have busied themselves with these texts, yet not one of them whose commentaries we possess—Origen, Chrysostom, Hilary, Augustine, Cyril, Theodoret, and those whose interpretations are collected in catenas—has dropped the faintest hint that the primacy of Rome is the consequence of the commission and promise to Peter! Not one of them has explained the rock or foundation on which Christ would build His Church of the office given to Peter to be transmitted to his successors, but they understood by it either Christ Himself, or Peter’s confession of faith in Christ; often both together. Or else they thought Peter was the foundation equally with all the other Apostles, the twelve being together the foundation–stones of the Church.” (Apoc. xxi.14).

      “Roman Catholic historian, Yves Congar, readily acknowledges that the early Church fathers are not supportive of the teaching of Vatican I and that a consensus of the fathers is nonexistent regarding its dogmas.”
      And from Irenaeus, Webster adds:
      “Irenaeus, the second century church father, says:

      We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.

      How did Irenaeus know what the apostles taught and preached orally? He has a record of it in the written scriptures. What the Scriptures and Irenaeus are telling us is that the Church is built upon the gospel as it is defined in the written word of God:

      For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Rom 1:16).

      In Him you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise (Eph 1:13).”

    • Mike / Jun 16 2010 9:19 pm

      Did some boning-up about Irenaeus and learned that he held many non-Catholic positions.
      Irenaeus criticized “they who gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures” as heretics. He believed in sola scritura, for both the material and formal sufficiency.
      Irenaeus believed that Scripture and the church’s unwritten tradition are identical in content.
      Irenaeus rejected the Apocrypha.
      Irenaeus believed in the perspicuity of Scripture.
      Irenaeus did not hold the Roman Catholic view of tradition as a second source of revelation, nor did he believe tradition was divinely authoritative.

      Whew! Now I see why the Pope himself has written that the early church fathers are dangerous grounds for support on many questions.

      • vivator / Jun 18 2010 7:30 pm

        Mike, refer to my post on 18 June to read my response

    • vic / Apr 22 2011 9:54 pm

      Hello Vivator,
      I hope it is mere oversight on your part to falsely accuse “Roger” of making the claim that the early church fathers “universally” interpret the rock in Matthew 16:18 to be Peter’s confession of Christ or Christ. His actual words were “almost universally.” You did not address his main point, instead changing the subject to Petrine primacy.

      What of his main thrust, that the Vatican pronounced “No one, not even the RCC herself, is to hold an interpretation contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.” And for the sake of intellectual honesty is it true that the majority of Church Fathers did NOT believe the “rock” was Peter?
      Thank you.

      • vivator / Apr 23 2011 9:25 am

        Hi Vic,
        Why don’t you investigate yourself whether the majority of Church Fathers believe the “rock” in Matthew 16:18 to be Peter confession of Christ? Some of their works in English are available online or at many libraries. The rest remains untranslated, which you can access at 217 volumes of Patrologia Latina (in Latin) and 166 volumes of Patrologia Graeca (in Greek). Do not rely either on Catholic or non-Catholic source (like Webster book) but examine and satisfy yourself.

      • LetYesBeYes / Jan 15 2012 2:03 pm

        This should help:
        The Patristic Exegesis of the Rock of Matthew 16:18, The Most Extensive Documentation of the Patristic Understanding of the Rock of Matthew 16 in the English Language, Spanning the Third to the Eighth Centuries.
        Compiled by William Webster

        http://www.christiantruth.com/articles/fathersmt16.html

      • vivator / Jan 15 2012 6:26 pm

        Thank you for the comment. I did read Webster other book “The Church of Rome at the bar of history”. For those who did not bother to double check his claims what he wrote is pretty convincing, i.e. when he defended Protestant 66-book Bible as legitimate canon. Because I did some study I found out he covered up facts that did not support his hypothesis. In short his works are neither historically reliable nor trustworthy. You may read what I wrote about his hypothesis that the canon of the Bible is the 66 books of Protestant Bible in:
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/how-reliable-william-webster-study-on-canon-of-old-testament/

      • LetYesBeYes / Jan 16 2012 9:42 am

        Wikipedia describes how John Henry Newman coined the term “poisoning the well” to describe “a rhetorical device where adverse information about a target is pre-emptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing everything that the target person is about to say.” This is what you’ve done here: the issue was the Rock of Matthew 16… then you switch to the subject of canonicity, where you have an apparent difference of opinion with Mr. Webster; thus amounting to a ‘red herring’ argument too.

        Is this the level of reasoning I can expect from Catholic apologists? Should we hold you to the same standard whereby allegations of error on your part should discredit everything else you say?

         

        Nevertheless I looked at your critique of Webster’s work on canonicity https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/how-reliable-william-webster’-study-on-canon-of-old-testament/
        and found it unpersuasive.

         

        Aside from the difficulty of following your writing: no quotes around the Webster citations, awkward syntax, etc., one has to slash past a number of logical errors: hasty conclusions, arguments from silence, equivocations, and anachronisms, to mention a few. This makes one wonder whether your aim is simply to defend your Roman Catholic presuppositions, or whether you truly seek the objective truth.

      • vivator / Jan 16 2012 6:57 pm

        If Webster is not reliable and not trustworthy in his works on canon of Scripture, what makes you think I have to believe in what he wrote on papacy? You defended him because what he wrote meets your agenda while mine does not. You are fully entitled to have your opinion and so am I. Discussion is closed.

      • UHumbug / Jul 31 2013 7:41 am

        You write: “If Webster is not reliable and not trustworthy in his works on canon of Scripture, what makes you think I have to believe in what he wrote on papacy? You defended him because what he wrote meets your agenda while mine does not.”

        This is exactly what you do with the early church fathers. Where they “meet your agenda” : you will cite them; where they disagree: silence!

      • vivator / Nov 2 2013 3:20 pm

        If that is your conclusion, then why you tolerate and promote what Webster did and do not tolerate what I did? If you ask me to be silent then to be consistent you should ask Webster to do the same, which for sure you won’t, will you? T

  20. Roger / Nov 5 2009 6:48 pm

    Dear Vivator,
    You write: “So now you agree that no Catholics can make their own doctrine.” Actually, no. What I said quite plainly is that Rome establishes doctrine but that individual Catholics make their own private interpretations of those doctrines, thus the “cafeteria-style” Catholicism practiced by so many.

    You say I’m wrong about the earliest interpretations of the “rock” in Matthew 16:18 by quoting Irenaeus, with no reference at all to the “rock” of Matthew 16. There are over forty early church fathers who interpreted the “rock” of Matthew 16 differently than you do, from Augustine and Athanasius to Gregory the Great, and Jerome, and Origen.

    I do see that Irenaeus of Lyons believed in the second century that Peter and Paul had been the founders of the Church in Rome and had appointed Linus as succeeding bishop. Your quote, to be fair, is more about a (purported) papal succession than to a Petrine primacy.

    Regarding Petrine primacy, it is eminently important to know the early church fathers’ interpretation of the “rock” in Matthew 16. If your interpretation of the “rock” is correct, it seems reasonable to expect many or most of these early church fathers to agree with you.

    Am I to understand that you prefer to see this your way, against the clear teaching of the Council of Trent and Vatican I not to interpret Scripture against the unanimous consent of the Fathers?

  21. vivator / Nov 5 2009 9:32 pm

    Dear Roger,
    It seems you missed this sentence: “For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre-eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere”. Irenaeus wrote not only about apostolic succession but also the primacy of Church of Rome.

    You riased the issue of different interpretation of “rock” in Matthew 16. In fact Catechism of the Catholic Church # 424 says: “On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church”. and # 881: “The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the ‘rock’ of his Church.

  22. Roger / Nov 6 2009 7:30 pm

    Dear Vivator:

    Your argument in support of Petrine primacy is conditional upon the final clause: “,inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.” Your citation is about succession, a hotly contested succession, as this citation from Wikipedia states: “Regarding the Roman Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:18-19, Jaroslav Pelikan writes, “As Roman Catholic scholars now concede, the ancient Christian father Cyprian used it to prove the authority of the bishop—not merely of the Roman bishop, but of every bishop,” referring to Maurice Bevenot’s work on St. Cyprian.”

    FYI: Wikipedia uses the Irenaeus quote under the rubric of “Apostolic succession.”

    So the argument stands, you cannot show a unanimous consent of the Fathers regarding the interpretation of “the rock,” and apparently the matter is still not settled:

    CCC #424 says: “On the rock of this FAITH confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church”.
    CCC #552 says: “Christ, the “living Stone”, thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church.”
    CCC #881 says: “The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the “rock” of his Church.”

    Which is it? Peter’s faith? Peter himself? It cannot be both: things that are different are not the same.

    • miniRJ / May 1 2013 6:41 pm

      Roger you are correct…
      The evidence is overwhelmingly against Rome’s interpretation of Matthew 16:18-19. Pretty well strips them of their biggest scripture support for the papacy…
      http://web.archive.org/web/20080724090630/http://www.christiantruth.com/fathersmt16.html

    • miniRJ / Oct 30 2013 7:08 am

      “…there was no such thing as a Papacy in the early centuries, and even Leo I cannot really claim to be the “first Pope.” Many church history textbooks unfortunately are misleading and anachronistic, by writing things like, “Pope Leo I” or “Leo I the first Pope” or “Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome from 590-604 AD, the ‘first Pope'”. Even Gregory in 601 AD did not claim to be univeral bishop and in fact rebuked John of Constantinople for making such a claim. Gregory wrote the the Emperor Maurice:
      “Now I confidently say that whosoever calls himself, or desires to be called, Universal Priest, is in his elation the percursor of AntiChrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others.” ( Gregory I, bishop of Rome, 590-604 AD; Book VII, Epistle XXXIII
      From Beggars All, http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.ca/2013/10/cyril-of-alexandria-was-real.html?m=0

      • vivator / Nov 2 2013 2:40 pm

        It depends on which historian you rely on – the ones that agree with you agenda or the opposite ones. No problem with Pope Gregory refusal to use the title “Universal Priest” because it is not a title ever given to a pope – at least not that I know. Keep in mind that not every statement from any Pope is considered infallible – a letter to Roman Emperor or other is not infallible statement for sure. You can read Catechism of the Catholic Church, available online for free, to know about conditions of infallibility. If you still have problem with Pope Gregory statement consider that in 1 Corinthians 7:12 what Paul wrote was not from Christ, but from himself – yet we still consider it inspired.

    • FourFingersBackAtYou / Apr 2 2014 6:23 am

      A link here to the Called to Communion site that allowed a full article by an Evangelical Reformed Protestant, on the historical issues of the mono-episcopate, apostolic succession, and the early church in Rome and how they relate to the Papacy claims:

      http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.ca/2014/03/just-in-case-you-havent-seen-this-yet.html?m=0
      This is the actual link to the article at Called to Communion:
      http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2014/03/the-quest-for-the-historical-church-a-protestant-assessment/

  23. vivator / Nov 6 2009 7:34 pm

    Dear Roger,
    If your knowledge is based on book written by former Catholic and Wikipedia then no wonder you have negative perception on the Catholic Church. Irenaeus ststement is crystal clear in showing the primacy of Church of Rome – you don’t need to be rocket scientist to do tha. There books written by Catholics that provide historical supports of papacy but if you already make your mind not to accept it, you will never accept it.
    Discussion is closed on this matter.

    • Rohini / Dec 27 2009 3:09 am

      Thank you Vivator. You are a true apologist. You managed to say everything I always knew to be true! I had a similar journey as you because in my family, we were cultural Catholics, though God-fearing. I was never taught properly about the riches of grace in our wonderful Roman Catholic Church and drifted into Protestantism because I was so attracted by their emphasis on the personal love of God. That is one thing I really appreciate about the Protestants. Also, I am a verbal learner and I loved the emphasis on the Word of God. It took me a few years to discern their heresies. But again, I have to thank them because they confused me so much so as to make me want to explore the riches of my own Catholic faith 😉 I love the Word more than ever now because 2 days at a Charismatic Catholic Retreat in Mumbai gave me a peace that 10 years of Bible reading and Protestant ‘interpretation’ could not do. In fact, I was confused beyond imagining and may have put many people off Christianity during those years. The reason I’m writing this is to express the answers to common Protestant challenges in a coherent manner (and without getting into an oral quarrel which just leaves bad feelings).

      I’ve experienced the ‘less than respectful’ attitude of the Protestants towards the Church, I remember their contemptuous looks whenever the word ‘Catholic’ was mentioned, all of which has played on my mind and pushed me to get to the bottom of the whole Truth which I have done in a very objective way, if I say so myself. I would challenge my priests and family with the same questions and knew all the answers typically given by the Catholic Church but this retreat gave me such integrated Scriptural knowledge and an experience of the Holy Spirit. Protestant preachers are fond of talking about authority (usually to serve their own interests). Well, Martin Luther and Henry VIII evidently didn’t think obedience was so important. The stakes were HUGE but they thought nothing of tearing the Body of Christ into fragments for their own selfish ends. No wonder they are called wolves in sheep’s clothing! Martin Luther’s problem was that he had a troubled relationship with his father, he was superstitious and suffered from a guilt neurosis which is basically unbelief and denial of Christ’s saving work.. HE was the one who refused grace through the sacraments and the doctrine of sanctification along with them. If he had lived in this century he would have been diagnosed with OCD, going to Confession sometimes several times a day!! And the fruit of this schism – he ran off with a nun and had four kids. Every pastor who defects to start a new denomination cannot have much use for ‘obedience to authority’. Who appoints this authority anyway? It is self-appointed!

      I’ve experienced both Catholicism and Protestantism and I know without a shadow of a doubt which one is the TRUE CHURCH:

      Catholicism WORKS! It is not a ‘Church of works’! If, by works, you mean ongoing sanctification, then, yes. The Protestants have twisted the words ‘grace’, ‘faith’ and ‘works’ altogether, to create a loophole where none exists. The Catholic Church preaches GRACE which gives us the OPPORTUNITY to REPENT. Heaven was opened for us; It was accessible to us, Christ did not win us an unconditional pass to eternal life. ‘Run in such a way that you may obtain the prize’. Repentance must be coupled with BELIEF or FAITH and then, produce fruit. ‘Faith without works is dead’. Catholics do not try to EARN salvation; no one can! Salvation was God’s initiative but there must be an ongoing response to His gracious Initiative. Good works are simply the fruit, a grateful response, as it were, to His grace, not a duty and a burden. God’s Justice cannot sentimentally overlook people’s sin and say ‘Oh now, they’ve accepted My Son so I will dress them up in white robes and make them look pure and holy!’ Christ’s grace is to give us the OPPORTUNITY to grow in sanctification through the sacraments and prayer and the Eucharist. Protestants take salvation for granted; their presumption of salvation as a one-time event is masqueraded as ‘humility’, a deadly and false humility. ‘How can you deny Christ’s saving work?’ they ask, appalled. The Catholic position does not deny Christ’s saving work, She doesn’t want believers to fall into presumption. Would you, as a Judge, have clemency on a person who misused your mercy and grace? Only witness the sad decadence of nations that have embraced this heresy – the permissiveness of the European and American society and political system are proof positive of the consequences of twisting the Gospel. Making God out to be a sentimental fool who is not concerned with our attitudes or behaviour after accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour is no better than Muslims believing the silly notion that God in His Infinite sentimentality, miraculously substituted Jesus with some other person on the Cross!

      DO CATHOLICS BELIEVE IN THE WORD OF GOD?
      EVERYTHING has a scriptural base in the Catholic Church – if you sincerely want to know the Truth, read ‘Rome Sweet Home’ by Scott and Kimberley Hahn and Francis Beckwith’s ‘Return to Rome’.

      Do CATHOLICS WORSHIP MARY AND THE SAINTS?
      NO! We do not worship Mary nor the saints. We only worship the Triune God. Mary is to be venerated and revered in her role in God’s plan of salvation. When we say the Rosary, we are repeating SCRIPTURE – i.e the HOLY SPIRIT”S WORDS through ELIZABETH and the ANGEL GABRIEL. This sanctifies us; it gives us a ‘dose’ of grace. Also, the Rosary is a plea asking Mary to pray FOR us, much as you would ask someone in your prayer group or your mother to pray for you. We are praying TO God WITH Mary. Jesus grew in obedience and though God is Sovereign, Jesus can never refuse Mary anything. ‘The prayer of a righteous man availeth much.’ When she asked Him to turn water into wine, she precipitated the public ministry of Jesus, which she knew would lead to the Cross. Such is Mary’s concern for us, such is her selflessness. Whether spiritual or temporal, our petitions and prayers of thanksgiving get an extra special touch when presented to God through her. I’m amazed how much the Protestants go ON and ON about Abraham, David, Jacob, Gideon, Esther, Ruth etc all of whom were very important in God’s long relationship with Israel. How can they, then, IGNORE the role of Jesus’ mother?!?! Mary our spiritual Mother (not divine), was given to us by Jesus Himself and our older brothers and sisters, the saints are Catholics who serve as an example through their life of prayer and penance in cooperation with God’s grace in their sanctification (remember, we have to work at it with fear and trembling). They are God’s gracious means of enabling us in our sanctification. Protestants take the verse about being ’saved by grace and not through works’ as a verse which denies the thunderous cry of the rest of Scripture. The narrow gate we have to walk is the tension between our flesh and our spiritual lives in Christ. It’s something Luther would not handle and the Enemy tempted him to lead the Body of Christ to be torn apart. It continues to be torn apart by quibblers and charlatans everyday. There are 5 new denominations every week! If you have the intellectual and spiritual honesty, i.e, if you want to make an HONEST SEARCH, attend a Catholic Bible Study (done by Word Ministers, clergy or lay people), all your doubts and questions about the Church instituted by Christ Himself will be wiped away. There is never any Protestant bashing at the Catholic Church. There is only patient longing for the Prodigal to come home. I challenge doubtful and stubborn Protestants to undergo Bible study from a Catholic source with respect, suspending prejudice and judgment, just as I did with Protestantism. If the Catholic Church were eager to get numbers, She would admit people without any lengthy initiation like RCIA. But She insists on Her members knowing the whole Truth and the scriptural basis for it. Not so, however, for Protestant megachurches! You can church-hop much like a job which is what it is to most Protestant preachers. There are sincere people among them, of course, but they have, as my friend Vivator says, a confused individualistic interpretation which breeds confused congregations who keep looking for answers and trying to ‘get’ more faith so they can get God to ‘bless’ them or more commonly still, to bless their finances.

      Regarding individual Bible Interpretation:
      It is inconceivable that God means for every individual to interpret the Bible for him/herself. That would mean 6 billion plus churches, all living unto themselves. That would be chaos and as you can see, it IS! I mean, the Protestant phenomenon is fertile ground for charlatans and prosperity gospel preachers. The ‘Hmm, what can God do for me today?’ gospel is especially rife in the United States of America. Individualism is the scourge of the 20th and 21st centuries; it is what has bred Humanism which is a BIG enemy of Christianity. Civil ‘rights’ to abort the unborn? Are civil rights above God’s law? The Protestants have created a monster! Honestly, if you take the Bible out of context, you can make the Word say anything you want It to. And you do! Protestant America has made a God in its own image – a Capitalist Republican, with the US as His ‘favourite’, sanctioning any number of righteous wars against hapless nations like Vietnam, fighting Communism by force and guile. THAT is SELF-IDOLATRY; Roman Catholic priests never talk about money at all! It was Pope John Paul II who made endless efforts to bring down Communism in the USSR through prayer and diplomacy. That was just one of this charismatic and holy man’s contributions. I could go and on about him. Idolatry is NOT the innocent representation of our Lord’s face and person. And neither are the Democrats any better; I would venture to say that humanists are the Anti-Christ.
      I can’t even begin to address the 10,000 Protestant interpretations of the Book of Revelations and other books of the Bible which mostly star the USA as the world’s defender and hero and Israel as the helpless heroine. I mean, please. Get over yourselves.

      Regarding the Sacraments:
      The next disagreement with the Catholic Church is that we have ‘rituals’. They are only rituals for people who are lukewarm or who see them as such. Is Bible reading a ritual? It can be. I have had miraculous physical healings not once but TWICE after Confession (one of the best things about the Church), even though I may have told my friends the same weaknesses and failings a thousand times. The sacraments are abundant channels of God’s grace.! The consecrated priest administers God’s grace. Why have Protestants robbed their church by taking away the sacraments?!? It’s a mistake of the Protestants to think that one has to be intellectual and clever to be redeemed. Even unlettered people who don’t understand the Bible but come in simple faith, can be sanctified through the sacraments. The Separated Brethren have done themselves a great disservice and it saddens us. It is not ’sola scriptura’ nor ’sola fidelis’. And by removing holy pictures and statues, icons etc, you are pretending that we are not human beings, humble creatures with senses! God’s grace is imbibed through our eyes, our ears, our hearts and so on, not just our intellects. One person may be inspired through the sight and fragrance of candles or a work of art like ‘The Pieta’. Or a beautiful painting or stained glass window. ‘All of Creation for the Creator’ is God’s original purpose! Everything can be holy. Idol worship refers to FALSE idols, that is worship of creatures or worship of self. This does not refer to legitimate pictorial representations of the Lord and the Apostles, His mother, the Holy Angels, and the saints. We are not worshipping these statues, they are an aid to our creaturely senses. I may add that Protestant churches are the bleakest, most sterile looking buildings I have ever been in.
      There was this wonderful anthropologist on TV who explained that primitive tribes would adopt an animal as their mascot because they saw in that animal, characteristics that they felt they had and that made them successful. As strong as an ox, or graceful as a horse or sly as a serpent or wise as an owl, etc. That was the beginning of nature worship which is nothing but self-idolatry. That sounds exactly like what the American idea of God is. A Republican, wheeling dealing Capitalist who wants your tithes. Humorously, he said that is the tithing system were in the New Covenant, the hymn books all over the world would have to be changed: ‘One tenth to Jesus I surrender, one tenth to Him I freely give.’

      Why does the Roman Catholic Church make such a ‘big deal’ about Divorce, Euthanasia,Contraception and Abortion?

      Have you ever stood up for the unvarnished and unpopular Truth? And what has been your experience afterward? In the world, it has become fashionable and politically correct to bash the Roman Catholic Church. People only throw stones at fruit bearing trees. When unbelievers ridicule or reject Christians because of our zeal, we have no problem in believing that we are being persecuted! That’s exactly what the Catholic Church suffers. Which Protestant megachurch would be so unequivocal about grave issues like abortion and contraception, euthanasia and other Pro Life concerns? Or divorce, for that matter? It would be too afraid of losing members, maybe even the pastor himself. Or herself! Proud people mock at the Roman Catholic Church, but they have a grudging respect for Her all the same because She is more concerned about safeguarding the Truth than pandering to half baked, populist ‘Christians’.

      Do Catholics worship the Pope?
      The shocking thing is that people have dared to say that the Pope is the anti-Christ because the Roman Church using that same old misinformed line about Her being a Church of works! How prejudiced and how ignorant! The Pope is a fallible human being but he IS infallible ONLY in the matter of safeguarding faith and guiding morals. He can lose his temper. He is fallible. He can complain in suffering. He is fallible. He goes to Confession to a humble ordinary priest every week. God in His wisdom may decree something which to our human understanding may not seem ‘democratic’ or ‘humanist’. However, when it comes to setting out the CODE of TRUTH and MORALS and FAITH, the Pope is God’s infallible instrument, through the Holy Spirit and the authority vested in him by Christ Himself.

      Paedophilia in the Church:
      The Church is made up of human beings. Priests are fallible. That does not mean they are not channels of God’s grace. The point is, the Church is for sinners to be redeemed and a priest can be redeemed if he truly repents of his sin, humbly accepts God’s grace and works on his own sanctification. The priest is consecrated, not like Protestants who marry and divorce numerous times. Talk about immorality! Celibacy can be a struggle but not everything that is a struggle is to be conveniently done away with.

      The Church is not trying to come up with some doctrinal innovation every other day, or a nuanced spiritual principle which gets God to make your life more pleasant, prosperous or exclusive. In other words, it is sincere, and not trying to sugarcoat the TRUTH. The Protestant Prosperity Gospel is a travesty of the Good News. Mostly, those ‘preachers’ come back to what they know best – sowing and reaping, tithing and harvesting – a big raise, or huge growth in business etc. Mike Murdock is one example. Their belief is that Jesus Christ fully endorses capitalism and the American Way. Money is an obsession – because Protestants believe there is no spiritual obligation left on earth, since they believe there is no need to grow in grace, they have figured out what to do with their time on earth – grow RICH, PROSPER! They measure God’s favour by how wealthy and ‘prosperous’ one is. Hence Benny Hinn’s big mansion and private jet, Joyce Meyer’s big mansion, flashy clothes and private jet, Creflo Dollar’s Rolls Royce, (a sign of God’s ‘favour’) and various others. It’s the American Way! Protestant preachers tell you you’re not blessed because you don’t have enough faith and if you ‘sow’ into their ministry, you’ll be ‘blessed’; Can God’s ‘favour’ be measured through worldly prosperity? You got that job because you had God’s ‘favour’? So the other guy who didn’t get it and goes to the same church as you, and more often, didn’t, because he doesn’t? Mary,the Mother of Jesus, was favoured but I doubt she was very rich. ‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.’ 2 Timothy 4:3.

      In short, the main difference between Protestant and Catholics is that the first denies the Cross of Christ and the second embraces it to attain fuller union with Him. Suffering is not the enemy. It may be allowed by God BECAUSE you have faith. He wants you to accept His Will, whether it seems pleasant or unpleasant to you. It’s not always ‘name it and claim it’. Resignation to God’s Will is something that sanctifies us.

      I have seen the chaos and confusion and contempt and exclusivity of the Separated Brethren and I have seen the enduring devotion and humility of the Roman Catholic Church. YOU SHALL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUIT.

      For the record, I consider myself to be an Evangelical Catholic 🙂

      God bless you.

    • Will / May 2 2011 8:24 pm

      Vivator’s answer here in a nutshell shows the difference between Roman Catholicism and biblical Christianity:
      A purported interpretation by Irenaeus used to supersede the words of Christ. (even words of Christ as interpreted by a majority of EARLY church fathers).

      • vivator / May 3 2011 4:52 pm

        When you wrote “biblical Christianity”, which one you are talking about? There are myriads of churches or denominations out there who claim that the Bible is their only authority yet they don’t teach exactly the same thing.

      • UHumbug / Jul 26 2013 9:18 am

        Nice diversion…
        you might convince a non-Catholic about the alleged “unity” of the Catholic church, but any Catholic or former Catholic will readily accede that there is little uniformity among Catholics despite its monolithic veneer.

        Will’s point is a good one…the Catholic church has been, and is still, all too willing to let the church fathers trump the clear teachings of Christ.

  24. Jim S. / Dec 27 2009 9:45 am

    WOW, Vivator I have need for clarification.
    Rohini, you said much…
    Half baked populus christians.
    Lets not go on bashing. To stand firm for the Catholic faith is of God.
    The rest ! Well ???
    I agree the protestant christians tend to bash more than the catholic. There is one God and One Church. Was Luther of God ? Yes. Was Luther and the Pope then and every pope since falable ? Yes, you said so yourself. Are we to say that only Catholic believers are of God ? Absolutely not.
    What we can say is that God would want that none would perrish…One God, One Church.
    You were pretty hard on the evangelical church. I understand that you are tired of the persecution for the Catholic Church. Oh well, condider it pure joy my brotha from anatha matha.
    You say your an evangelical Catholic, praise god. Keep in mind there are other believers to view and read your comments. Are they to draw neared to our Lord ? Or will they cause more division…?
    Vivator;
    As for my calling back to the Catholic faith, well ?
    I am a bit afraid to make the jump back to the Catholic mass. I find myself intimidated about the lack of my understanding of the mechanics of the service.
    Also please exspain what it is about the Sacraments that Rohini was discussing that I and my family may be lacking ?
    In Christ,
    Jim S.

    • vivator / Dec 28 2009 10:21 am

      Hi Jim,
      Thank you for the comment. There are a number of things you raised in your comments. First about bashing evangelicals – sorry if you feel that way and I can assure you I don’t have that kind of intention. My intention is to share my thoughts on issues that divide us. Many evangelicals misunderstand Catholic’s belief and that’s what I want to clarify – it is OK with me if they disagree with Catholic teaching as long they disagree with what the Catholic Church really teaches, not with what they think she teaches. Is the Pope infallible? Yes, but under certain condition, i.e. not every word He says/writes will be infallible – you can read Catechism of the Catholic Church # 888 to 892. Are only Catholics believers in God? Certainly not, you may read Catechism of the Catholic Church # 836. As about “mechanics of the Mass” and Sacraments, I would like to recommend you to read book by Thomas Howard: (1) Evangelical is not enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament and (2) If your mind wanders at Mass.

      • Hayzeus / Nov 14 2011 2:21 pm

        Hello vivator,
        Sorry, wasn’t sure where to place this question:
        I wondered if you are a member of Opus Dei or any other RC fraternal organization(s)?
        Thank you!

      • vivator / Nov 14 2011 6:41 pm

        I am member of Knights of Columbus but not member of Opus Dei (numerary, super-numerary or associate).

  25. Tod Zechiel / Feb 13 2010 3:05 pm

    Vivator:

    Your website is one of the best Catholic apologetic sites I’ve read. Given your past tension with the Protestant ministry of the Navigators, I took the liberty of referencing your site on the Navigators’ Facebook. See my post on 13 Saturday 2010 http://www.facebook.com/Navigators?v=wall&viewas=1827649144

    Since the Navigators now have a Catholic ministry with Catholic staff and doctrine, I believe your site may help the Navigator Protestant staff understand the tension between Protestant and Catholic students within their respective ministries.

  26. Rohini / Jun 14 2010 2:18 am

    Let me paraphrase: The early Church Fathers did not agree that Peter was the appointed successor to Christ on earth; rather, Christ was building His Church on the fact that He was the Messiah and or/ that Peter confessed this truth.

    I’d be willing to agree that the papacy is not infallible. However, the early Church Fathers collated the Scriptures that you call the infallible Word of God. How do you explain this? Why does anything have to be infallible? You don’t trust yourself. That’s why there is so much confusion; everyone wants to be right and make the other fellow wrong. It’s because people have a misdirected aggression towards others when anger should be pointed to the ridiculous ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ or ‘I’m wrong you’re right’ dominance/ submission model. Christ said ‘I’m OK, I’ve just made you OK’ Go ahead and enjoy yourself and enjoy Me’.

    Please aim for psychological soundness rather than being theologically right; this is all just neurosis.

    • Mike / Jun 16 2010 8:54 pm

      Rohini,
      I assume you wish to be “right” regarding your own comments? If not, why should one take what you say seriously?

      It is okay to believe in absolute truth. Christ did, He was no relativist: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
      And He was certainly not “ridiculous” to make such a “dominant” claim.

  27. Rohini / Jun 18 2010 1:56 am

    So Ireneus said Scripture and unwritten tradition are identical? There you go!

    • raj / Apr 20 2011 5:13 pm

      Correct; when Scripture and tradition diverge you get heresy.

      Here is an example of where the Catholic cooperative (God and man) idea of salvation diverges from the biblical idea of salvation: Galatians 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

      Will you bet your eternal life on the interpretations of men in Rome, or the clear Word of God that says salvation is started and completed by God alone. Galatians 3:10-15.

      • vivator / Apr 20 2011 8:28 pm

        Dear Raj,
        Judging from the issue you raised I guess you are monergist. , You believe God saves us without our cooperation – that’s why you reject Catholic belief that God saves us with our cooperation or known as synergism. Contrary to what you wrote synergism is not Tradition but it is rooted in Scripture. In Revelation 3:20 while Jesus took the initiative to knock at our door, it is up to us to open the door to welcome Him or not – note the conditional statement starting with “if”. In the parable of the wedding banquet (Matthew 22:1-14) the invited guests were able to reject the invitation and those who accept may be thrown out if they don’t wear wedding gowns. The parable nowhere says the king will provide wedding gowns for those accept the invitation.
        I checked Galatians 3:10-15 – it says something else, perhaps you want to cite from Philippians 1:6: “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (RSV). Is this the verse that you think supports monergism? Well, I don’t see the word “alone” or “only” in that verse, even in Greek, hence it does not support monergism. As an analogy, any good father will complete his duty to raise his children until they become mature and independent. Yet this require his children cooperation – they may refuse, say by running away from home and joining the wrong crowd.
        If you need example of Tradition I can provide one: Apostolic succession. Catholics believe that the apostles appointed bishops as their successors and pass to them the authority they received from Christ. This will answer the issue you raised in your other comment. Because of this apostolic succession Catholics can claim that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ.
        I wrote a number of posts related to monergism – you can read them by clicking category “monergism” in my blog.

      • raj / Aug 7 2013 2:43 pm

        What exactly is it about Galatians 3:10-15 (below) that you feel is discordant with salvation “by God alone” i.e. monergism?

        “10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:10-15

        This passage makes clear that if works have anything to do with salvation, as is the case with Rome’s cooperative system of salvation, then you had better be perfect: “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law.” Those who try, Paul says, are cursed!
        James agrees:
        “10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” James 2:10

        Your point about Phil. 1:6 is lost on me: “…Well, I don’t see the word “alone” or “only” in that verse, even in Greek, hence it does not support monergism.”
        Philippians 1:6 reads: “6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
        I guess I’m curious as to why you’d need the word ‘alone’ or ‘only’ when it is implied there is only one God who begins the work, and only one God who completes the work. St. Augustine said the same thing over and over.

        About your interpretation of Rev 3:20… It should be interpreted in light of other scripture, like John 6:44; and John 6:37, otherwise you force the Bible into contradiction.
        44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day
        37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
        Also, one should never allow an indicative (Rev. 3:20) to supplant an imperative, like say Romans 10:9: “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

        Re. the alleged apostolic succession: even Roman Catholic theologians admit that the early “successions” were rife with anachronism and interpolations.

      • vivator / Nov 2 2013 10:25 pm

        Galatians 3:10-15 does not support monergism because synergist also believe that salvation is works of God from start to end. We do cooperate but we DO NOT CONTRIBUTE to our salvation. To help you to clear your confusion, consider this hypothetical but possible case: A missionary went to a remote place in the middle of nowhere to preach the Gospel and he managed to make all indigenous people Reformed Christians (to make easy for you). My question for you: (1) Can he claim that he contribute in salvation of those indigenous people? (2) Does the salvation of those people depend on his missionary works? A missionary must work – he is not on vacation or retirement. If your answer to both questions is (and is supposed to be) NO, it should help you to understand Catholic understanding of grace & merits.
        In the above case Catholics believe that God through his grace FIRST moves that man’s heart to go to that remote country as missionary (the initiative does NOT come from that man freewill) and He too will provide all the necessities. Nobody is forced to work as missionary, at least not that I know – so he cooperated with this grace, went and worked there and through his works God gave the indigenous people ANOTHER grace that enables them to believe. Thus grace given to him that enables him to work as missionary “merits” grace that enables indigenous people to believe. Yet the missionary cannot claim any contribution because everything is grace even though he did cooperate. This should help you to understand # 2027. Catechism # 2009 says our merits are God’s gift and because they are gift we, saints on earth and saints in heaven can merit grace for other (like the above missionary) or for oneself. Salvation of those indigenous people does not depend on his missionary works either because God Himself can directly give grace to believe to those people. So why then He needs missionary? The Catechism # 2008 explains that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. He can do everything by Himself because He is God, but He let us “help” Him like working as missionary mentioned above – He even gives us grace that enable us to help him and TO DO GOOD WORKS. Without grace given through Christ we can do nothing (John 15:1-5). Catholics have no problem with John 6:37 & 44 because everything is grace centered. You may be surprised to see I use the word grace many times and it is, in fact, one of the reasons why I remain Catholic. Catholic teaching on salvation is grace based, without denying our freewill and merits. Calvinism, on the other hand, (1) denies freewill in the so-called monergistic regeneration, nowhere taught in Scripture and (2) teaches our good works are defiled and polluted with sin. The problem with the no (1) is it inevitably leads to double predestination as God regenerates the Elect and bypasses the Reprobate – a decision He makes unconditionally from eternity. Yet according to Scripture (Matthew 25:31-46) the phrase “prepared for you from the foundation of the world” is applied only to the Elect, which Catholics also believe but NOT to the Reprobate. In verse 41 Christ said hell is prepared for the devil and his angels, not for Reprobate and the phrase “from foundation of the world” is not there. This is against your belief that God decided from eternity to bypass Reprobate from being monergistically regenerated. The problem with no (2) is by declaring missionary (of the above case) work is defiled and polluted with sin for sure you will demoralize him. God is our Father – you believe that. If you are a father with children will you tell your children that their works are imperfect and polluted with sin? Human father is not perfect but God is our perfect Father in heaven. If you are a father you will complete your work to raise your son and so does God as stated in Phil 1:6. It does not support monergism – when you raise your children are they passive as implied by monergism? John 6:44 and 37 are favourite verses of Calvinists. Read John 17:9-12 and explain why Judas, who was given to Christ by God the Father became lost.
        Scripture does not teach salvation by works and neither do Catholics believe such thing, which you keep on falsely accusing. As mentioned above we can do good works only by God’s Grace and when God rewards us for our good works, which Scripture affirms in many places, it is gift from him. Catholics DO NOT believe we collect points of rewards through our works to be exchanged for eternal life, just like you may collect Air Miles points. Catholics believe we enter heaven upon dying when we die without un-repented mortal sin. Those who die with mortal sin, even only one, will go to hell – their zillion good works will not save them. For Scriptural support you may read Ezekiel 18: 24. There is nothing unfair when God does not take into account good works of any who dies with un-repented mortal sin because good works are only possible with His Grace. We commit sin from time to time but God always takes the initiative and gives us grace to repent.

  28. Rohini / Jun 18 2010 2:12 am

    Thank you Vivator. You are a true apologist. You managed to say everything I always knew to be true! I had a similar journey as you because in my family, we were cultural Catholics, though God-fearing. I was never taught properly about the riches of grace in our wonderful Roman Catholic Church and drifted into Protestantism because I was so attracted by their emphasis on the personal love of God. That is one thing I really appreciate about the Protestants. Also, I am a verbal learner and I loved the emphasis on the Word of God. It took me a few years to discern their heresies. But again, I have to thank them because they confused me so much so as to make me want to explore the riches of my own Catholic faith 😉 I love the Word more than ever now because 2 days at a Charismatic Catholic Retreat in Mumbai gave me a peace that 10 years of Bible reading and Protestant ‘interpretation’ could not do. In fact, I was confused beyond imagining and may have put many people off Christianity during those years. The reason I’m writing this is to express the answers to common Protestant challenges in a coherent manner (and without getting into an oral quarrel which just leaves bad feelings).

    I’ve experienced the ‘less than respectful’ attitude of the Protestants towards the Church, I remember their contemptuous looks whenever the word ‘Catholic’ was mentioned, all of which has played on my mind and pushed me to get to the bottom of the whole Truth which I have done in a very objective way, if I say so myself. I would challenge my priests and family with the same questions and knew all the answers typically given by the Catholic Church but this retreat gave me such integrated Scriptural knowledge and an experience of the Holy Spirit. Protestant preachers are fond of talking about authority (usually to serve their own interests). Well, Martin Luther and Henry VIII evidently didn’t think obedience was so important. The stakes were HUGE but they thought nothing of tearing the Body of Christ into fragments for their own selfish ends. No wonder they are called wolves in sheep’s clothing! Martin Luther’s problem was that he had a troubled relationship with his father, he was superstitious and suffered from a guilt neurosis which is basically unbelief and denial of Christ’s saving work.. HE was the one who refused grace through the sacraments and the doctrine of sanctification along with them. If he had lived in this century he would have been diagnosed with OCD, going to Confession sometimes several times a day!! And the fruit of this schism – he ran off with a nun and had four kids. Every pastor who defects to start a new denomination cannot have much use for ‘obedience to authority’. Who appoints this authority anyway? It is self-appointed!

    I’ve experienced both Catholicism and Protestantism and I know without a shadow of a doubt which one is the TRUE CHURCH:

    Catholicism WORKS! It is not a ‘Church of works’! If, by works, you mean ongoing sanctification, then, yes. The Protestants have twisted the words ‘grace’, ‘faith’ and ‘works’ altogether, to create a loophole where none exists. The Catholic Church preaches GRACE which gives us the OPPORTUNITY to REPENT. Heaven was opened for us; It was accessible to us, Christ did not win us an unconditional pass to eternal life. ‘Run in such a way that you may obtain the prize’. Repentance must be coupled with BELIEF or FAITH and then, produce fruit. ‘Faith without works is dead’. Catholics do not try to EARN salvation; no one can! Salvation was God’s initiative but there must be an ongoing response to His gracious Initiative. Good works are simply the fruit, a grateful response, as it were, to His grace, not a duty and a burden. God’s Justice cannot sentimentally overlook people’s sin and say ‘Oh now, they’ve accepted My Son so I will dress them up in white robes and make them look pure and holy!’ Christ’s grace is to give us the OPPORTUNITY to grow in sanctification through the sacraments and prayer and the Eucharist. Protestants take salvation for granted; their presumption of salvation as a one-time event is masqueraded as ‘humility’, a deadly and false humility. ‘How can you deny Christ’s saving work?’ they ask, appalled. The Catholic position does not deny Christ’s saving work, She doesn’t want believers to fall into presumption. Would you, as a Judge, have clemency on a person who misused your mercy and grace? Only witness the sad decadence of nations that have embraced this heresy – the permissiveness of the European and American society and political system are proof positive of the consequences of twisting the Gospel. Making God out to be a sentimental fool who is not concerned with our attitudes or behaviour after accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour is no better than Muslims believing the silly notion that God in His Infinite sentimentality, miraculously substituted Jesus with some other person on the Cross!

    DO CATHOLICS BELIEVE IN THE WORD OF GOD?
    EVERYTHING has a scriptural base in the Catholic Church – if you sincerely want to know the Truth, read ‘Rome Sweet Home’ by Scott and Kimberley Hahn and Francis Beckwith’s ‘Return to Rome’.

    Do CATHOLICS WORSHIP MARY AND THE SAINTS?
    NO! We do not worship Mary nor the saints. We only worship the Triune God. Mary is to be venerated and revered in her role in God’s plan of salvation. When we say the Rosary, we are repeating SCRIPTURE – i.e the HOLY SPIRIT”S WORDS through ELIZABETH and the ANGEL GABRIEL. This sanctifies us; it gives us a ‘dose’ of grace. Also, the Rosary is a plea asking Mary to pray FOR us, much as you would ask someone in your prayer group or your mother to pray for you. We are praying TO God WITH Mary. Jesus grew in obedience and though God is Sovereign, Jesus can never refuse Mary anything. ‘The prayer of a righteous man availeth much.’ When she asked Him to turn water into wine, she precipitated the public ministry of Jesus, which she knew would lead to the Cross. Such is Mary’s concern for us, such is her selflessness. Whether spiritual or temporal, our petitions and prayers of thanksgiving get an extra special touch when presented to God through her. I’m amazed how much the Protestants go ON and ON about Abraham, David, Jacob, Gideon, Esther, Ruth etc all of whom were very important in God’s long relationship with Israel. How can they, then, IGNORE the role of Jesus’ mother?!?! Mary our spiritual Mother (not divine), was given to us by Jesus Himself and our older brothers and sisters, the saints are Catholics who serve as an example through their life of prayer and penance in cooperation with God’s grace in their sanctification (remember, we have to work at it with fear and trembling). They are God’s gracious means of enabling us in our sanctification. Protestants take the verse about being ’saved by grace and not through works’ as a verse which denies the thunderous cry of the rest of Scripture. The narrow gate we have to walk is the tension between our flesh and our spiritual lives in Christ. It’s something Luther would not handle and the Enemy tempted him to lead the Body of Christ to be torn apart. It continues to be torn apart by quibblers and charlatans everyday. There are 5 new denominations every week! If you have the intellectual and spiritual honesty, i.e, if you want to make an HONEST SEARCH, attend a Catholic Bible Study (done by Word Ministers, clergy or lay people), all your doubts and questions about the Church instituted by Christ Himself will be wiped away. There is never any Protestant bashing at the Catholic Church. There is only patient longing for the Prodigal to come home. I challenge doubtful and stubborn Protestants to undergo Bible study from a Catholic source with respect, suspending prejudice and judgment, just as I did with Protestantism. If the Catholic Church were eager to get numbers, She would admit people without any lengthy initiation like RCIA. But She insists on Her members knowing the whole Truth and the scriptural basis for it. Not so, however, for Protestant megachurches! You can church-hop much like a job which is what it is to most Protestant preachers. There are sincere people among them, of course, but they have, as my friend Vivator says, a confused individualistic interpretation which breeds confused congregations who keep looking for answers and trying to ‘get’ more faith so they can get God to ‘bless’ them or more commonly still, to bless their finances.

    Regarding individual Bible Interpretation:
    It is inconceivable that God means for every individual to interpret the Bible for him/herself. That would mean 6 billion plus churches, all living unto themselves. That would be chaos and as you can see, it IS! I mean, the Protestant phenomenon is fertile ground for charlatans and prosperity gospel preachers. The ‘Hmm, what can God do for me today?’ gospel is especially rife in the United States of America. Individualism is the scourge of the 20th and 21st centuries; it is what has bred Humanism which is a BIG enemy of Christianity. Civil ‘rights’ to abort the unborn? Are civil rights above God’s law? The Protestants have created a monster! Honestly, if you take the Bible out of context, you can make the Word say anything you want It to. And you do! Protestant America has made a God in its own image – a Capitalist Republican, with the US as His ‘favourite’, sanctioning any number of righteous wars against hapless nations like Vietnam, fighting Communism by force and guile. THAT is SELF-IDOLATRY; Roman Catholic priests never talk about money at all! It was Pope John Paul II who made endless efforts to bring down Communism in the USSR through prayer and diplomacy. That was just one of this charismatic and holy man’s contributions. I could go and on about him. Idolatry is NOT the innocent representation of our Lord’s face and person. And neither are the Democrats any better; I would venture to say that humanists are the Anti-Christ.
    I can’t even begin to address the 10,000 Protestant interpretations of the Book of Revelations and other books of the Bible which mostly star the USA as the world’s defender and hero and Israel as the helpless heroine. I mean, please. Get over yourselves.

    Regarding the Sacraments:
    The next disagreement with the Catholic Church is that we have ‘rituals’. They are only rituals for people who are lukewarm or who see them as such. Is Bible reading a ritual? It can be. I have had miraculous physical healings not once but TWICE after Confession (one of the best things about the Church), even though I may have told my friends the same weaknesses and failings a thousand times. The sacraments are abundant channels of God’s grace.! The consecrated priest administers God’s grace. Why have Protestants robbed their church by taking away the sacraments?!? It’s a mistake of the Protestants to think that one has to be intellectual and clever to be redeemed. Even unlettered people who don’t understand the Bible but come in simple faith, can be sanctified through the sacraments. The Separated Brethren have done themselves a great disservice and it saddens us. It is not ’sola scriptura’ nor ’sola fidelis’. And by removing holy pictures and statues, icons etc, you are pretending that we are not human beings, humble creatures with senses! God’s grace is imbibed through our eyes, our ears, our hearts and so on, not just our intellects. One person may be inspired through the sight and fragrance of candles or a work of art like ‘The Pieta’. Or a beautiful painting or stained glass window. ‘All of Creation for the Creator’ is God’s original purpose! Everything can be holy. Idol worship refers to FALSE idols, that is worship of creatures or worship of self. This does not refer to legitimate pictorial representations of the Lord and the Apostles, His mother, the Holy Angels, and the saints. We are not worshipping these statues, they are an aid to our creaturely senses. I may add that Protestant churches are the bleakest, most sterile looking buildings I have ever been in.
    There was this wonderful anthropologist on TV who explained that primitive tribes would adopt an animal as their mascot because they saw in that animal, characteristics that they felt they had and that made them successful. As strong as an ox, or graceful as a horse or sly as a serpent or wise as an owl, etc. That was the beginning of nature worship which is nothing but self-idolatry. That sounds exactly like what the American idea of God is. A Republican, wheeling dealing Capitalist who wants your tithes. Humorously, he said that is the tithing system were in the New Covenant, the hymn books all over the world would have to be changed: ‘One tenth to Jesus I surrender, one tenth to Him I freely give.’

    Why does the Roman Catholic Church make such a ‘big deal’ about Divorce, Euthanasia,Contraception and Abortion?

    Have you ever stood up for the unvarnished and unpopular Truth? And what has been your experience afterward? In the world, it has become fashionable and politically correct to bash the Roman Catholic Church. People only throw stones at fruit bearing trees. When unbelievers ridicule or reject Christians because of our zeal, we have no problem in believing that we are being persecuted! That’s exactly what the Catholic Church suffers. Which Protestant megachurch would be so unequivocal about grave issues like abortion and contraception, euthanasia and other Pro Life concerns? Or divorce, for that matter? It would be too afraid of losing members, maybe even the pastor himself. Or herself! Proud people mock at the Roman Catholic Church, but they have a grudging respect for Her all the same because She is more concerned about safeguarding the Truth than pandering to half baked, populist ‘Christians’.

    Do Catholics worship the Pope?
    The shocking thing is that people have dared to say that the Pope is the anti-Christ because the Roman Church using that same old misinformed line about Her being a Church of works! How prejudiced and how ignorant! The Pope is a fallible human being but he IS infallible ONLY in the matter of safeguarding faith and guiding morals. He can lose his temper. He is fallible. He can complain in suffering. He is fallible. He goes to Confession to a humble ordinary priest every week. God in His wisdom may decree something which to our human understanding may not seem ‘democratic’ or ‘humanist’. However, when it comes to setting out the CODE of TRUTH and MORALS and FAITH, the Pope is God’s infallible instrument, through the Holy Spirit and the authority vested in him by Christ Himself.

    Paedophilia in the Church:
    The Church is made up of human beings. Priests are fallible. That does not mean they are not channels of God’s grace. The point is, the Church is for sinners to be redeemed and a priest can be redeemed if he truly repents of his sin, humbly accepts God’s grace and works on his own sanctification. The priest is consecrated, not like Protestants who marry and divorce numerous times. Talk about immorality! Celibacy can be a struggle but not everything that is a struggle is to be conveniently done away with.

    The Church is not trying to come up with some doctrinal innovation every other day, or a nuanced spiritual principle which gets God to make your life more pleasant, prosperous or exclusive. In other words, it is sincere, and not trying to sugarcoat the TRUTH. The Protestant Prosperity Gospel is a travesty of the Good News. Mostly, those ‘preachers’ come back to what they know best – sowing and reaping, tithing and harvesting – a big raise, or huge growth in business etc. Mike Murdock is one example. Their belief is that Jesus Christ fully endorses capitalism and the American Way. Money is an obsession – because Protestants believe there is no spiritual obligation left on earth, since they believe there is no need to grow in grace, they have figured out what to do with their time on earth – grow RICH, PROSPER! They measure God’s favour by how wealthy and ‘prosperous’ one is. Hence Benny Hinn’s big mansion and private jet, Joyce Meyer’s big mansion, flashy clothes and private jet, Creflo Dollar’s Rolls Royce, (a sign of God’s ‘favour’) and various others. It’s the American Way! Protestant preachers tell you you’re not blessed because you don’t have enough faith and if you ‘sow’ into their ministry, you’ll be ‘blessed’; Can God’s ‘favour’ be measured through worldly prosperity? You got that job because you had God’s ‘favour’? So the other guy who didn’t get it and goes to the same church as you, and more often, didn’t, because he doesn’t? Mary,the Mother of Jesus, was favoured but I doubt she was very rich. ‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.’ 2 Timothy 4:3.

    In short, the main difference between Protestant and Catholics is that the first denies the Cross of Christ and the second embraces it to attain fuller union with Him. Suffering is not the enemy. It may be allowed by God BECAUSE you have faith. He wants you to accept His Will, whether it seems pleasant or unpleasant to you. It’s not always ‘name it and claim it’. Resignation to God’s Will is something that sanctifies us.

    I have seen the chaos and confusion and contempt and exclusivity of the Separated Brethren and I have seen the enduring devotion and humility of the Roman Catholic Church. YOU SHALL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUIT.

    For the record, I consider myself to be an Evangelical Catholic 🙂

    God bless you.

  29. Rohini / Jun 18 2010 2:15 am

    HOW OLD IS YOUR CHURCH?

    HOW OLD IS YOUR CHURCH?

    THIS IS A MOST INTERESTING QUESTION!!!

    THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WILL ASTOUND MANY OF YOU!

    If you are a LUTHERAN,
    your religion was founded by Martin Luther,
    an ex-monk of the Catholic Church,
    IN THE YEAR 1517.

    If you belong to the CHURCH OF ENGLAND,
    your religion was founded by King Henry VIII
    IN THE YEAR 1534,
    because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the
    right to re-marry.

    If you are a PRESBYTERIAN,
    your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland
    IN THE YEAR 1560.

    If you are a member of the CONGREGATIONALIST,
    your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland
    IN THE YEAR 1582.

    If you are a BAPTIST,
    you owe the tenets of your religion to your founder, John Smyth,
    who launched this denomination in the city of Amsterdam
    IN THE YEAR 1605.

    If you are of the DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH,
    you recognize Michaelis Jones as your founder, because he
    originated your religion in New York
    IN THE YEAR 1628.

    If you are a PROTESTANT EPISCOPALIAN,
    your religion was an offshoot of the Church Of England,
    and your offshoot was founded by Samuel Seabury in the American Colonies
    in the 17th Century.

    If you are a METHODIST,
    your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley
    in England
    IN THE YEAR 1744.

    If you are a UNITARIAN,
    then Theophilus Lindley is the founder of your church, in London
    IN THE YEAR 1774.

    If you are a MORMON (LATTER DAY SAINTS)
    your modern religion was started by Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York,
    IN THE YEAR 1829.

    If you worship with THE SALVATION ARMY,
    your sect began with Willian Booth in the city of London
    IN THE YEAR 1865.

    If you are a CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST,

    you recognize that your religion was begun
    by Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy
    IN THE YEAR 1879.

    If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as
    “CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE”,

    or “PENTECOSTAL GOSPEL”,

    Or “HOLINESS CHURCH”,

    or “PILGRIM HOLINESS CHURCH”,

    or “JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES”,

    Or any of the MULTIPLE THOUSANDS OF STOREFRONT CHURCHES,
    then your religion is one of the thousands of new sects founded by men
    WITHIN THE PAST 150 YEARS!

    If you are a

    ROMAN CATHOLIC,

    Then you know that your Church was founded
    IN THE YEAR 33

    BY JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD,

    AND IT IS STILL THE SAME CHURCH!!!

    • raj / Apr 16 2011 1:38 pm

      Really original there Rohini… when you use other people’s material, maybe you should cite your sources.

      To Vivator:
      How do you decide what to keep and what to delete? I am told that you delete good hard-hitting posts that disagree with you – please tell me that isn’t true. Especially as you allow posts from windbags like Rohini to stand.

      • vivator / Apr 16 2011 3:18 pm

        Dear Raj,
        I do not delete comments from those who disagree with me – pls browse all comments, you will see a number who disagree with me. I did reject some comments (I think less than 6 after four years), if they are written using sarcastic words. I also decided not to continue discussing with a person if I feel it does not lead to anywhere.

      • Rohini / Apr 17 2011 11:13 pm

        Actually, I don’t know what the source is: I got it as a forward on the internet and I wanted to share it.

      • Sc59 / Apr 1 2013 5:20 pm

        word is getting around that you are not being honest here… If you are in the right then let your readers decide.

      • vivator / Apr 2 2013 5:33 am

        Can you be more specific here? For sure I am NOT perfect – I do make mistakes and am not consistent occasionally but this blog is not about me. Those who cannot argue may sometimes attack me personally like calling me liar, condemn me to hell etc. They are entitled to do so but they miss the point.

      • Sc59 / Apr 2 2013 5:52 pm

        Yes… “GTY” ring a bell? Was a pretty good response you ignored. And no more pointed than many of your own postings.

      • vivator / Apr 2 2013 6:52 pm

        To answer your inquiry:
        1. I am on vacation now and have limited and non-secure access to Internet and no access to my resources.
        2. Any blogger reserves the right to publish or not to publish any comment without giving any reason. Some bloggers set rules to leave comments (which I don’t) – any comment not in line with those rules will be rejected. Thus it is NOT a matter of honesty but a matter of right.
        3. I can recycle what I already wrote – again it is not a matter of honesty but a matter of right.

  30. Rajesh Louis / Nov 20 2010 2:58 am

    “Blessed are the people who worship Jesus on this earth, being called for Eternal Salvation rather than Eternal Judgement”

    How happy are we, that we love Jesus from all our heart , mind and soul , we have already placed a reservation in heaven.

    Jesus is also very happy with everyone that more and more people are coming to him , but seems more confused now.

    It is being very tiring, now a days in heaven, all the angels and saints have been put to work by Jesus.

    The heaven has already been divided into thirty three thousand sections and work still in progress to build more.

    St John is showing that the church is indeed the Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7-9), but we have 33000 churches now

    – Show quoted text –
    Jesus is already being condemned by the satan to have more than 33000 brides wherereas this is very controrary in the bible.

    The Bible the most spiritual book for all the christians has become the most controversial book for all the christians.

    Oh no ! what is this , fights are taking place in heaven . Is it between Jesus and Satan ? i exclaimed.

    No no , somebody murmured…..this fights are of every day now. Even Jesus does not know what to do now.

    His one of the apostles, St Peter it seems is not been allowed to enter in one of the sections in heaven.

    oh marvellous ! even his mother is not been allowed to enter in some sections…… oh wat is this

    The holy spirit is confused now…..he has been highly called by some communities high & low.

    Feeling very sorry for St .John the baptist , He is sitiing alone with his community away from the apostles & Jesus.

    The whole heaven is filled with chaos, different types of worships going on….Jesus really does not know , where to go ?????????

    The early christians and the saints are being criticized very heavily for their oral traditions & Beliefs.

    Had it not been their oral traditions , the bible would not have been there and there would been no conflicts amongst the christians.

    The early christians are complaning to Jesus about the internet, languages, his mother and his qoute to let Peter to be the head of his church .

    They are constantly complaining about Jesus Hyperbole’s in his speech maily the ‘ROCK ‘ has become the major issue.

    Satan is seen slowly creeping towards heaven gates, while Peter is busy negotiating with one of the communities in heaven.

    Oh, he is on a friendly visit to Jesus, asking his permission to give an advise to him for the current scenario in Heaven.

    why not have elections here in heaven ! satan exclaimed ….which community is the best…it shud be a democratic christian community.

    Communities are excited , to prove themselves right…each one preparing to be true , but disgracing the other.

    Satan seems very happy now…..but Jesus is crying bitterly ….his body is continously being divided.

    Sources say that Jesus has to die again now.Even God is unhappy , his only son is being sent to earth to die again & again.

    The whole heaven is filled with enmity now …..communities are fighting for the body of christ.

    Hey i cannot believe what i just saw in heaven, contradictory to the first line mentioned in this letter.

    “Blessed are the people who worship Jesus on this earth, but are being called for Eternal Judgement rather than Eternal Salvation”

    Ohhhhhhh it was a very horrible dream , but good it was only a dream….otherwise the number would have increased to 66,000.

    What are we doing brothers & sisters and why we are doing it ….this is the question asked to each one of us.

    The body of Jesus is being contionously divided and the blood of Jesus is being scattered like a blood of a lamb slaughtered at a butcher’s den.

    Is this is what Jesus really wants……Noooo . Be CAREFUL rather , Cos at the day of Eternal Judgement. Jesus might say.

    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?” Matthew 7:21-22

    Quoting from the Bible itself , which has been the major tool for some communities to DIVIDE AND RULE

    Salvation thru Faith is a grace of GOD , but is it Faith , the only instrument to have salvation . hmmmm than there should be only one commandment in the Bible. LOVE THE LORD GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART , MIND AND SOUL . But Jesus has given a second commandment also …LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR ALSO AS U LOVE YOUR SELF…. It seems the second commandment is not applicable for some communities.

    The question is ” The devil also believes and has faith in Jesus that thru his sacrifice on the cross , Jesus has redeemed the world , so is devil granted a place in heaven.

    The answer is noooo…..The devil inspite of having faith in Jesus cannot do GOOD WORKS which is essential for our salvation and that is the second commandment of Jesus. Faith and Good works are neccessary for our salvation.

    We live in a modern world and man is filled with constant ideas…but we still live on traditions. It is traditions that we come across historical truths…..the passover festivals were held both in the old testament and new testament.

    The successions of the apostles were needed to build the church, had the succession not needed ,than Mathias would not have been succeeded in Judas place .

    Let us come togather to reunite the body of Jesus with a common doctrine, with a common worship and be humble in our behaviour for not everyone is called to interpret his own beliefs but rather share the same belief which is universal.

    The time has come that we shud pray for the lost sheeps in the world who have gone away from us ,bcos it is only the holy spirit to convince these sheeps to come into truth and not humans to convince them. As Jesus said “If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets,
    neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.’” Lk 16:19-31 .

  31. Tereese / Mar 23 2011 5:28 pm

    God Bless you Viator – What a great witness for the Catholic Faith. And for what its worth you can’t argue with those who don’t want to see or hear – no one wants to be wrong. The only concern should be What is Gods will? and the two commandments Jesus left us with. Catholics don’t really need to argue with Protestants – but they do need to pray and suffer, love and die for them – offering it all up to Jesus on the cross.
    There is one comment you said about Protestants being wealthier than Catholics and I find that is the case with most Protestants. They believe the way the Jews of old did – if you are wealthy and healthy God has blessed you and if not you are cursed. In fact, I would go so far as to say our Protestant brothers and sisters are very much Old Testament Jewish in their beliefs. Now before you jump on me for anti Jewish remarks – understand that I know Jews are our big brothers and they were the foundation for Christianity – but understand these foundational Jews believed in Jesus and they are the ones that established the ritual worship based on their traditions that are still in place in the Catholic Church today – Jesus as a Jew would be very much at home in the Catholic Church WHY??? Because we still worship in many of the ways the Jews used to worship and also and mostly because of the CROSS! A stumbling block for our Protestant Brothers and Sisters as well as our Jewish brothers and sisters. Like I said, “Catholics need to pray, suffer, love and die for them and we will all be happy together in heaven.
    Love to you all 🙂

  32. ToddZ / Jul 25 2013 4:23 pm

    Note to Vivator…
    The reply button for this post is defective: https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/rediscovering-catholicism/#comment-728

    • vivator / Jul 28 2013 7:19 am

      Honestly I don’t know why that happened and I dd not do anything that caused the problem. My suggestion is you reply to through other post and refer to the one you cannot reply.

  33. jane / Sep 7 2015 8:31 am

    Thank you so much for this article Viva. I, like you, was schooled as a cultural Catholic, and though there were some good aspects of this, we also missed the rich, deep heritage and understanding that is integral to Catholicism, e.g Ignatian spirituality of the Jesuits, that I have later found in life. This can mean we end up looking elsewhere for the religion and spirituality we crave, but what is in fact right in front of our noses!

  34. gunder / Jun 7 2016 2:15 am

    Dear Viva

    I appreciate the work you are doing here and I admire that you have read up so extensively and pretty much taught yourself to understand all the documents, its no mere feat (I might be wrong that you are self taught). I am a student of catholic theology and I realise that there is a difference between reading up yourself and going through a systematic process where the relearned are able to help us fast track the learning theology. I must admit I an only at diploma level and have much less knowledge that you at this stag. However while the bulk of your writing it very accurate, there have been one or 2 spots where I suspect the theological expression is not as tight as it could be.I would suggest getting a qualified priest or theologians to proof read your articles (if this is at all possible). Some theological language can be rhetorical (both Protestant and Catholic) and I look for the day when both sides use language precisely and drop the rhetorical language. It no point for any party to say Faith and quality it by ‘alone’ and then go on to imply “No wait, ..there is more, than faith”. Biblical language was at times rhetorical, but there is no need for that today.

    I also think much of the effort in debate is wasted because Protestants and Catholics start arguing from wrong premises. Its best to start the teh beginning. Like which came first, bible or church? How did the bible come about? How did the early church even understand who Jesus was? Within every church there are disagreements and there is nothing wrong in with having different opinions, but the point is are the principles do you use to guide us towards that truth that Jesus taught? And we have to acknowledge that the RC had to work out many theological issues that even the Protestants churches now take for grated. I like many others expected that all the early fathers were on the same page all the time, they were not- even Justin Marty held partly correct ideas about Jesus being eternal yet he had erroneous ideas of Jesus being subordinate. That is why we had councils to debate those issues and a pope to pronounce the decision.

    The RC church had a system – the councils where debates would be aired, scriptures to support both sides could be found, but somehow the council would take a decision guided by prayer the Holy Spirit would be taken and a someone whose authority (Pope) was recognised pronounced judgement. It is sad that our separated brethren ignore 1500 years of history to be able see where the R church comes from and it is not something that can be argued on an blog. Many Protestant converts also say that it is the DEEP study of history that brought them to Catholicism, or High Anglicism or Orthodoxy but no longer Protestantism. In Protestants churches when there is a dispute about theology, there is no debate presented in a council with an authority to help work out the interpretation to make sure it is in line with tradition that existed even before the the bible came about. Any pastor who challanges the existing theology merely leaves and start his own church. What is the logic to ignore 400 years of tradition and start all your premises on Scripture alone and on top of that to start interpretation acocrindg to 16 centre inteprepreation of Luther and Calvin. So we have 35000 different interpretations based on 1 Holy Spirit? The writer of a book is the proper guardian and teacher of its interpretation – the RC church, even if you don’t like what it has to teach.

    • vivator / Jun 7 2016 5:52 pm

      Thank you for commenting. Judging from your email you are from Singapore and in Singapore there is one group called ACT – I hope they still exist – dealing with Catholic apologetics. I did self-study and it did take some time. You mentioned that there are two spots I wrote questionable – may I know those two. If they are wrong I would be happy to revise them. Thank you for your suggestion of proof reading – but I cannot find anybody either priest or lay-man here with the same interest. Yes, I was rhetorical many times because I was mad at the comments. I understand it is not the correct way in dealing with disagreement.

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