Apologetics for the Masses #212 - The Gospel According to Matt Slick

Bible Christian Society

Apologetics for the Masses #213 - May 10, 2013

General Comments

Hey folks, just want to remind anyone who is in the Midland/Odessa area, that I will be speaking at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Andrews, Texas, this coming Friday night and Saturday morning (May 17/18).  I believe at 6:30 PM on Friday night, and then at 9:00 AM on Saturday morning.  Call the parish if you need more information.  Would love to meet you if you can make it.


A little over a year ago, I mistakenly sent out a notice for a local Catholic men's conference here in Birmingham to my entire newsletter list, which goes to all 50 states and some 60+ countries around the world.  Well, I received a response to that email from a gentleman named Matt Slick. I know some of you are familiar with Mr. Slick since I have received emails from time-to-time asking me to respond to the anti-Catholic materials he has posted on his website.  For those of you who are not familiar with him, he has an apologetics ministry called - The Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM).  You can see his work at this website: carm.org.  

Well, his response to my email about the Catholic men's conference consisted of the following: "Hmmm…But Catholicism preaches a false gospel."   matt

So, I took it upon myself to respond to his email as follows:

"Oh, goodness me!  Of course it does...what was I thinking?!  I meant to announce the conference I'm having with speaker Matt Slick:

Topic 1: The Gospel According to Matt Slick

Topic 2: Matt Slick Traces His Line of Authority Back to the Apostles

Topic 3: The Infallibility of Matt Slick

Topic 4: We're still working on topic #4, but I know it's going to be a good one...

Can I put you down for one reservation?

God bless!


I never heard back from him after my email, but since then, I've had it rolling around in my brain that I need to take a look at his materials and write up a response.  Well, I've finally gotten around to doing so.  What I'm going to do, though, is a little bit different than what I usually do.  Instead of giving you what he says, and then following immediately with my comments, I'm going to give you what he says first, in this newsletter, and then follow up with my comments in the next newsletter.  I'm doing it this way because I want you to take a week or so to think about what he has said, and then see if you can write up a response to it.  You can call this a catechetical exercise.  I want you to see if you can hone in on the errors he makes - and, just so you know, there are indeed a number of errors in the material below - and email me with what you think he has done wrong.  You don't have to do a full analys is of the whole piece, but see if you can pick out at least one or two points where he went astray, and send them to me.  Now, I won't be able to answer all of the emails individually, but I'll sum up some of the points made in the emails I receive, and give my analysis in the next newsletter.

So, below is the first part of an article he has on his website entitled, "The Gospel for Roman Catholics."  He should really call it, "The Gospel According to Matt Slick," or, perhaps, "Roman Catholicism According to Mr. Slick."  Anyway, this is his version of what Catholics teach.  You can find the whole thing on his website under "World Religions" and then "Roman Catholicism."  So, read it over, think about how you would respond to it, and then shoot me an email with your response if you are of a mind to.  And, as I said, I will put my response to it in my next newsletter, and then I'll probably do something similar with the 2nd half of this particular article in the newsletter after that one.  And, who knows, maybe I'll look at a few of his articles before all is said and done.


The Gospel for Roman Catholics

This paper is written in two parts.  The first explains and documents the Roman Catholic Church's position on justification.  The second part presents the true gospel in contrast to the Catholic Church's position.  If you want to go straight to the gospel presentation for Catholics, simply scroll down the page.

Because of the great emphasis on Sacred Tradition within the Catholic Church and because so many Roman Catholics appeal to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, the Word of God is often placed after the Catholic Church itself in relation to authority.  Because of this, many Catholics appeal to their works, in combination with the sacrifice of Christ as a means of being justified before God.  The Council of Trent expresses this plainly:

"If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema." (Canon 14).

Justification is the legal declaration by God upon the sinner where God declares the sinner righteous in His sight.  This justification is based completely and solely on the work of Christ on the cross.  We cannot earn justification or merit justification in any way.  If we could, then Christ died needlessly.  "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (Gal. 2:21).  Because righteousness cannot come through the Law (through our efforts of merit), the Bible declares that we are justified before God by faith:

  • "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28).
  • "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3).
  • "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).
  • "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
  • "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8).

However, in Roman Catholicism, justification by faith is denied.

"If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ's sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified ... let him be accursed," (Canon 12, Council of Trent).

Which are we to believe?  The Roman Catholic Church or God's word?  Furthermore, the RCC states that justification is received not by faith, but by baptism.   The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph, 1992, that "...justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith."   This means that faith is not the instrument of obtaining justification; instead, it is an ordinance performed by a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.

Furthermore, baptism is only the initial grace along the road of justification.  The Roman Catholic is to then maintain his position before God by his efforts.

"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," (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), par. 2027).

The problem here is that the RCC is teaching us to "merit for ourselves and for others all the graces need to attain eternal life."  You cannot merit grace.  Grace is unmerited favor.  Merit is, according to the CCC, par. 2006, "...the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment..." CCC 2006.  This means that merit is something owed.  By contrast, grace is something not owed.  Therefore, the RCC is teaching contrary to God's word regarding grace and justification.

The sad result is that in Roman Catholicism, justification before God is a process that is maintained by the effort and works of the Roman Catholic.  This is a very unfortunate teaching since it puts the unbearable burden of works righteousness upon the shoulders of the sinner.  By contrast, the Bible teaches that justification/salvation is by faith.

  • "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).
  • "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
  • "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8).


Onward and upward!  I hope all of you have a great week.

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Apologetics for the Masses