Skip to comments.Before you convert to Roman Catholicism... (Top Ten List)
Posted on 04/04/2008 11:01:22 AM PDT by Gamecock
Last week I received the following e-mail, and I felt it would be best to share my response here on the blog.
Dear Mr. White, For someone considering converting to Catholicism, what questions would you put to them in order to discern whether or not they have examined their situation sufficiently? Say, a Top 10 list. Thanks.
When I posted this question in our chat channel a number of folks commented that it was in fact a great question, and we started to throw out some possible answers. Here is my "Top Ten List" in response to this fine inquiry.
10) Have you listened to both sides? That is, have you done more than read Rome Sweet Home and listen to a few emotion-tugging conversion stories? Have you actually taken the time to find sound, serious responses to Rome's claims, those offered by writers ever since the Reformation, such as Goode, Whitaker, Salmon, and modern writers? I specifically exclude from this list anything by Jack Chick and Dave Hunt.
9) Have you read an objective history of the early church? I refer to one that would explain the great diversity of viewpoints to be found in the writings of the first centuries, and that accurately explains the controversies, struggles, successes and failures of those early believers?
8) Have you looked carefully at the claims of Rome in a historical light, specifically, have you examined her claims regarding the "unanimous consent" of the Fathers, and all the evidence that exists that stands contrary not only to the universal claims of the Papacy but especially to the concept of Papal Infallibility? How do you explain, consistently, the history of the early church in light of modern claims made by Rome? How do you explain such things as the Pornocracy and the Babylonian Captivity of the Church without assuming the truthfulness of the very system you are embracing?
7) Have you applied the same standards to the testing of Rome's ultimate claims of authority that Roman Catholic apologists use to attack sola scriptura? How do you explain the fact that Rome's answers to her own objections are circular? For example, if she claims you need the Church to establish an infallible canon, how does that actually answer the question, since you now have to ask how Rome comes to have this infallible knowledge. Or if it is argued that sola scriptura produces anarchy, why doesn't Rome's magisterium produce unanimity and harmony? And if someone claims there are 33,000 denominations due to sola scriptura, since that outrageous number has been debunked repeatedly (see Eric Svendsen's Upon This Slippery Rock for full documentation), have you asked them why they are so dishonest and sloppy with their research?
6) Have you read the Papal Syllabus of Errors and Indulgentiarum Doctrina? Can anyone read the description of grace found in the latter document and pretend for even a moment that is the doctrine of grace Paul taught to the Romans?
5) Have you seriously considered the ramifications of Rome's doctrine of sin, forgiveness, eternal and temporal punishments, purgatory, the treasury of merit, transubstantiation, sacramental priesthood, and indulgences? Have you seriously worked through compelling and relevant biblical texts like Ephesians 2, Romans 3-5, Galatians 1-2, Hebrews 7-10 and all of John 6, in light of Roman teaching?
4) Have you pondered what it means to embrace a system that teaches you approach the sacrifice of Christ thousands of times in your life and yet you can die impure, and, in fact, even die an enemy of God, though you came to the cross over and over again? And have you pondered what it means that though the historical teachings of Rome on these issues are easily identifiable, the vast majority of Roman Catholics today, including priests, bishops, and scholars, don't believe these things anymore?
3) Have you considered what it means to proclaim a human being the Holy Father (that's a divine name, used by Jesus only of His Father) and the Vicar of Christ (that's the Holy Spirit)? Do you really find anything in Scripture whatsoever that would lead you to believe it was Christ's will that a bishop in a city hundreds of miles away in Rome would not only be the head of His church but would be treated as a king upon earth, bowed down to and treated the way the Roman Pontiff is treated?
2) Have you considered how completely unbiblical and a-historical is the entire complex of doctrines and dogmas related to Mary? Do you seriously believe the Apostles taught that Mary was immaculately conceived, and that she was a perpetual virgin (so that she traveled about Palestine with a group of young men who were not her sons, but were Jesus' cousins, or half-brothers (children of a previous marriage of Joseph), or the like? Do you really believe that dogmas defined nearly 2,000 years after the birth of Christ represent the actual teachings of the Apostles? Are you aware that such doctrines as perpetual virginity and bodily assumption have their origin in gnosticism, not Christianity, and have no foundation in apostolic doctrine or practice? How do you explain how it is you must believe these things de fide, by faith, when generations of Christians lived and died without ever even having heard of such things?
And the number 1 question I would ask of such a person is: if you claim to have once embraced the gospel of grace, whereby you confessed that your sole standing before a thrice-holy God was the seamless garment of the imputed righteousness of Christ, so that you claimed no merit of your own, no mixture of other merit with the perfect righteousness of Christ, but that you stood full and complete in Him and in Him alone, at true peace with God because there is no place in the universe safer from the wrath of God than in Christ, upon what possible grounds could you come to embrace a system that at its very heart denies you the peace that is found in a perfect Savior who accomplishes the Father's will and a Spirit who cannot fail but to bring that work to fruition in the life of God's elect? Do you really believe that the endless cycle of sacramental forgiveness to which you will now commit yourself can provide you the peace that the perfect righteousness of Christ can not?
Whom do you imagine sits there? An autocratic French lawyer? An anti-Semitic German monk?
Oh, I know who will be sitting there and it is made very clear in Rev.20.
You will won't be looking into the eyes of the 'baby Jesus' sitting in the arms of Mary with a crown around her head, it will be the King of Kings and Lord and Lords.
You should make up your mind.
No, you have admitted you are a Roman Catholic and Roman Catholicism rejects the doctrine of salvation by faith without works.
No false witness at all.
Please show me where, during the time of Paul, "Tradition meant anything but prior tradition and "current" ("taught by us").
IOW show me where Paul even hinted that the Church would discover "revealed truth" at a later time, even many hundreds of years later.
You say I rejected the free grace of God. That’s false.
You should make up your mind.
No, because Jesus isn't a baby anymore, as you like to potray Him in your statues honoring Mary.
Do all Roman Catholics have reading problems or is it only the ones on these threads?
My my. You have made quite the Freudian slip there.
You said I "will won't" be doing something. Which is it?
I said you have rejected the free grace of God without works and that isn't false.
The two don't go together (Rom.11:6)
The 'us' is Peter, the apostles and the apostolic succession from Peter I to Benedict XVI.
I have rejected Calvinism, if that’s what you mean.
I have not rejected the Grace of God.
Admitted? My my. You have made quite the Freudian slip there.
No slip, it is evidence that you believe in a works/faith view of salvation.
It’ll just blow over their heads.
Their eyes will glaze over when they read it.
You have rejected what God says about salvation, that it is only by faith and not by works (Eph.2:8-9, Heb.11:6)
You consider it an “admission.” Not a statement or a proclamation or confession, but an admission.
Do I stand accused by you of being a Catholic?
Sloppy blends of misrepresentation, distortion, bad exegesis and ignorance do tend to make my eyes glaze over, I must say.
From the "word of Claud?"
No, I reject what Calvin CLAIMS God says....
Christian don't celebrate the Jewish holidays. (Col.2:16)
So you are free to substitute Pagan feasts and ignore theb'SHEM Yah'shua
feast days commanded by the creator of the universe ?
Happened to me, too.
And it escaped under the radar screen.
(of the moderator, that is)
I can’t speak for God’s radar screen.
You know, Chuck....I am simply amazed at how [Colossians 2:16] is constantly misquoted on this forum.
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
This is for the edification of any lurker who may be passing by and hasn't a totally twisted view of this scripture. I know you and I both agree on this.
First of all.....what is being discussed in Chapter 2?
[Colossians 2:4] And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. [Colossians 2:8] Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. [Colossians 2:18] Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. [Colossians 2:22] Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men.
How in the world can anyone read Chapter two of Colossians and think that Paul was remotely speaking of the elimination of the Divine Law of God? Who was he addressing? Previously pagan residents of the city of Colosse (Can you say Gentile).....now converted to Christianity. The verse speaks of "Meat and Drink", "Holy days", "New Moon observances" and "Sabbaths". And Paul says, "Pay no attention to anyone who criticizes you for observing these things"!
I guess the simple way to understand this Chapter is by asking yourself......If these things had been done away with, why in the world is Paul even discussing them.....with folks who probably had no prior knowledge of them?
To reiterate: Paul is talking about "Enticing words and traditions of Men! Rudiments of the World! Angel worship"!
[Colossians 2:14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. This word.....ordinance in the Greek means "Man made law"....not "God's Law". 1378. dogma (dog'-mah) a law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical)
God's Laws were not nailed to the cross......it was the same kind of dogma and man made traditions spoken of by Our Lord in [Mark 7:7] that was nailed to the cross!
So you are free to substitute Pagan feasts and ignore the feast days commanded by the creator of the universe ? b'SHEM Yah'shua
Christian's don't make an issue of any days, sabbaths or holydays.
The feasts and sabbaths were given to the Jews for a sign (1Cor.1:22), not to the Christians. (Col.2:16)
No, I reject what Calvin CLAIMS God says....
How about Peter?
See what he says in Acts 15:10, 'we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they'
No works involved.
Or, how about Paul?
'But that no man is justified by law in the sight of God it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith; but the man that doeth them shall live in them (Gal.3:11-12)'
You stated that I had falsely accused you, but since you are self-admitted Roman Catholic, my statements regarding your views on depending on a faith/works system for salvation are accurate.
And so is what the Bible says the eternal consequences are for anyone who holds those views.
Now, I am a self-admitted Christian, and if you stated that I wouldn't take you to task for stating it, I am proud of it.
You have rejected what God states about mixing faith with works for salvation (Rom.11:6).
Works are a result of salvation, they are never involved in obtaining it.
I have rejected Calvin's interpretation of what God states about salvation.
You said I "will won't" be doing something. Which is it?
So, now you are making issues out of typo's?
Even with the typo (putting in both words) anyone who could read high school English would now from the context I meant won't be seeing Jesus as a baby.
Jesus is no longer a baby, so those statues depicting Him as such in Mary's arms are nonsense.
Don't bother me anymore with your juvenile posts.
The passage you cite from Acts is Peter’s dissent against circumcision.
And somehow it's not possible to do that in a Catholic Church? Hmmmmm. You're perhaps suggesting that it's possible for us to negate God's "election" of us by our own actions? Double Hmmmmmm.
Boy, you just make it us you go along don't you!
There are no works involved in salvation-period!
A work is defined very clearly in Rom.4 as is grace.
Receiving a gift is not a work, and when you receive a present from someone you don't claim credit for accepting it, the person giving it gets the credit and the praise, you get the gift.
So, you did no work in receiving the gift, it was the one who paid for the gift that gets the credit, because they worked to pay for it, not you.
Count me out of your little game, pal. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:39-40).
And those scriptures point out that there is no salvation in any faith/works system.
So, you have rejected the very scriptures you appeal to.
Those same scriptures will be your judge when you appear at the Great White Throne judgement with all the others who mocked at grace and thought they could add to God's grace with their works.(Rom.11:6)
You posted two directly contrary verbs, castigated me for poor reading skills and now call me juvenile?
THAT is rich.
No, I am telling you what the Bible says, and it will what condemns you
Cauvin was quite the little tyrant.
Compared to the Popes?
Another fresh expression of the angrily tyrannical nature of Calvinism.
No, it is in context, or you would have shown how I was mistaken.
It is just easier to post any nonsense.
You are telling me what Jean Cauvin claims the Bible says.
Traditions of Men
Tell me I'm not veering into Calvinism again!
I agree with your observation regarding Ephesians 6:11-12.
It’s the only explanation that, IMO, covers all the observable facts.
Don't worry about my 'position', worry about what the word of God says, that is what you are going to be judged by.
Roman Catholics do that every day.
By the way, you're bearing false witness against me. 750 posted
Now, stop wasting my time.
Oh no! Tell me I'm not veering into Calvinism again!
Is that suppose to be witty?
Stop posting me such inane dribble.
I did not in #750 state that you falsely accused me of being a Catholic.
I said “rejected the free grace of God for the works of men.”
That was and remains FALSE.
The Bible is very clear in those passages.
Stop blaming Calvin for your own damnation.
I intend to reply when I reply.
Whether you want to stop losing an argument is of no consequence to me.
You attempt again to make yourself God.
Ah, but the job is already taken.
I said you claimed I rejected the free grace of God for the works of men.
How quickly they forget.
What's the difference between a muslim claiming Christians worship three gods, and a Protestant claiming Catholics have traded grace for works?