If you are a Catholic who sometimes ends up on a protestant site, you find yourself staring at the screen with en expression of shock and confusion. Sometimes it seems like our protestant brothers and sisters know nothing about the Catholic Church. They do however often post about the Catholic Church and that is when it becomes obvious to anyone with even the tiniest knowledge of the Church how incredibly misinformed these people are about the subject they are writing. I find this embarrassing since this is mostly coming from the pen of preaches and ministers. I am all for having a discussion about our disagreements, we have many and there should be discussion about it, salvation of souls is at stake after all, but what these ministers do is borderline lie. I hope they do it out of simple ignorance and not intentionally.
As an example here is just one of such articles.
Let’s take a journey through this article. Text from the article is in italics.
With the hope of accumulating that merit, the monk candidate then stepped foot into a life of austere devotion to Roman Catholic tradition. It would not be easy, but with enough rigor and exertion, the candidate could move himself that much closer to the possibility of heaven. (The author implies merit means earning salvation. Not Catholic teaching.)
In Catholic moral teaching, scrupulosity defines the spiritual and psychological state of a person who erroneously believes he is guilty of mortal sin and is therefore seldom in a state of grace.
In a way yes, Luther was a bit psychotic and does not represent a state of mind of a normal Catholic.
With that, the once tormented monk rested in the righteousness of Christ. Christian assurance had been rescued from the dark dungeon of Roman Catholicism. [Holy Moly! Dark Dungeon!!! ]Luther realized that truth which every Christian has embraced and celebrated: the sinner’s assurance of right standing with God depends not on man’s moral proficiency before God, but on faith in the Person and finished work of Christ. Sinners do not progressively render themselves righteous before God through works, but are instantaneously declared righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. (That’s almost exactly the Catholic position when we talk about justification. We would simply swap the word “declared” with “declared and made”. The author implies that Catholics “render themselves” righteous before God, which is a heresy the Church condemned long long long before there were any protestants. See Council of Carthage in 418.)The penalty for our sin is not gradually purged through a mixture of man’s works, saintly merit, and time in Purgatory, (All merit when Catholics speak of merit is merit through Christ’s grace. No such thing as “saintly merit” apart from Christ, as the author implies Catholic’s believe. Not so.) but instantly forgiven through faith in Christ’s sin-bearing death on the cross. Righteousness sufficient for my assurance of heaven is not accumulated through careful keeping of the church’s sacraments, but is instantly credited by trusting in the righteous Christ alone as my mediator. Luther understood that justification is by faith alone in Christ alone. (We say grace alone as faith alone is not in the bible) The result is that there is not one ounce of condemnation from God towards the sinner. (When we are in the state of grace “in Christ” that is true, when we reject Christ and are no longer “in Christ” that is not true. Surely the author is aware of many passages in the bible when one can lose his/her salvation? Consulting other Protestant groups who go by bible alone would be sufficient to show it. Not even a need for Catholic bashing! Even some protestants don’t agree with the author.) And where there is an absence of condemnation, there is a presence of assurance. (Yes, just not absolute assurance the author is talking about, see the Trent definition that follows)
“For as no pious person ought to doubt the mercy of God, the merit of Christ and the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, so each one, when he considers himself and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension concerning his own grace, since no one can know with the certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.”
If you listen carefully to contemporary Roman Catholic theologians, you will hear of assurance only in relation to those who have been canonized as saints. ( how carefully? To the point of misrepresenting everything they say? Out of context type of carefully? Which theologians has the author consulted for this article? )
If the Christian dies with unconfessed sin, not to worry. < What is “unconfessed sin” does that include turning away from Christ? As in not being “in Christ Jesus” anymore? How can protestants maintain this umbilical assertion? It even contradicts what he said before.
How do you reply to such an article? How do you deal with it? Pretty much everything said about the Church is incorrect. I will try to reach out to the author and ask him.