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.)
No Assurance, Necessary Torment (Surely the author is not saying that the Catholic Church teaches that torment is necessary for salvation?)
The section on Luther’s life is not too bad, mostly it is Luther speaking for himself.
Anyone knowing a bit of Luther’s history knows that he suffered from scrupulosity.
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.
 Assurance Rediscovered section (this section is quite bad, it misrepresents the Churches teaching at almost every line)
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)
We are now in the Assurance Denied section.  The quote from Trent should be as 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.”
The Church simply states that your assurance of salvation is not at the same level of certainty as revealed faith.  You can have moral assurance but not certainty of faith kind.  That’s why the bible says that not everyone who says “Lord Lord” will end up in heaven. If the author actually read that section from Trent, he would not make all the mistakes he made up to this point.  The Catholic Church teaching is not a secret, anyone can look it up.
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?  )
 Biblical Assurance section is finally where the author presents his version of Protestantism, not to be confused with other versions of Protestantism teaching the opposite.
Lets just focus on few passages he quotes:
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).   Yes that’s biblical!  Exactly what the Catholic Church teaches!
“To be justified here refers to having been declared in an absolute, unalterable state of perfect righteousness by God through Jesus Christ.” < not biblical. Incorrect interpretation of the text. Reading a doctrine into the text.  
 “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).   Yes that’s biblical!  Exactly what the Catholic Church teaches!
The consequence of union with Christ (“in Christ Jesus”), is a state of no-condemnation. << YES! Correct, exactly what the Catholic Church teaches. We call it “state of grace”

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.

2 thoughts on “Dear protestants, before you write against the Church, learn what it teaches.

  1. Hello, Matthew. I’ve started reading your blog after participating in one of these conversations with you. As a former Protestant, I share your frustrations tenfold. After all, these people are spouting the same lies I used to spout. It’s as upsetting as it is humbling. All I can say is that these conversations matter. These people might become Catholics one day.

    When I entered the largest Baptist university in the world, I thought I was smarter than everyone else. After all, I had good grades and was captain of the debate team. I was determined to fight the good fight against Catholicism (I had gone on an anti-Catholic mission trip to Brazil the year before) but Christ changed my heart. I met some strong witnesses for the Catholic faith and found myself inexplicably drawn towards the great Catholic thinkers. Why did I love the Summa Theologica so much? After all, it was written by a Catholic, right? Why did I find Martin Luther so offputting? Why was EVERY work of fiction that I loved in college written by either a Catholic or Orthodox writer (seriously, The Fratricides, The Brothers K, The Moviegoer, Brideshead Revisited, short stories by Flannery O’Conner…)? God was speaking, and I did not like what he was telling me. It took me four years. I cannot believe I waited that long now, what a waste of time!

    I just wanted to encourage you to keep up the good fight. Even if they don’t admit it, I’m sure that your words are challenging them. It happened to me, and I kind of believe that if God can change my bull-headed mind he can change anyone’s mind.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely, Kara

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s