Apologetics for the Masses #431 - What Do Catholics Believe? From a Protestant...

Bible Christian Society


http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter/unsubscribe - to unsubscribe from this newsletter

http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter - to subscribe to this newsletter


Another Protestant's Skewed View of Catholicism

General Comments

 Hey folks,

Two things:

     1) The 2nd of my series of talks that I did for the Apologetics Institute of the Diocese of Birmingham (which is in the process of being put together) is now out.  It's called, "Opening the Cage Door," and you can see it on YouTube under the title of "Accessible Apologetics": Accessible Apologetics 2: Opening the Cage Door - YouTube.  It's a little shy of 40 minutes.  If you enjoy it, please share it with your friends and family...and any Protestants you may know.

     2) If any of you own a business, or are in a decision-making position at a business - President, CFO, COO, etc. - could you shoot me an email and let me know?  Don't worry, I won't be asking you for money.  I have a project I'm working on that actually might be able to help you make some money...if you're interested...and could potentially help the Church at the same time. 


     This week I'm going to give you guys a little homework to do.  Garry O. sent me this article - What Do Catholics Believe? Differences from Protestantism (crosswalk.com) - from www.crosswalk.com, which I have printed below, that teaches us what Catholics believe, according to the Protestant who wrote the article. 

     What I want you to do is to take a little time this week, and read through the article, doctrine by doctrine, and think about how you would respond to any of the things written there about the Eucharist, Mary, the Pope, Purgatory - you know, the usual suspects. Look for things that are flat out wrong.  Look for any contradictions.  Look for the underlying assumptions that are made and ask: Are these supported by what the writer is saying and/or by the Bible?  Look for things that are close to right, but not quite and try to see if you can tell what it is that isn't quite right about what the author is saying.  And, see if you can discern any overarching issues with the methodology she uses throughout the article. 

     Ever since I got into this apologetics gig some 25 or so years ago, I have seen time and time and time again Catholics who come a bit unglued when they read an article such as this one and just automatically think to themselves: "Wow, she makes a really good case.  I don't know how these arguments could possibly be answered.  We're in trouble!  Help!"  Here's the thing, even without knowing any theology or anything about the Bible, but just using some common sense and some good ol' fashioned logic, you can immediately find things that are just not quite right in pretty much any article like this.  You just need to stay calm when reading, focus, and continually ask yourself: "Is there something about this that doesn't quite make sense?"  In other words, don't simply accept what the Protestant writer is saying as true, rather, understand that anything they are saying that is contrary to Catholic teaching is false, you just need to look for the errors - errors in logic, errors in common sense, and/or errors in the application of Scripture. 

     Write down what you come up with to help you focus your thoughts.  If you want to send what you come up with to me, feel free.  I'd love to read it.  I can't promise I'll have time to write a response, but I will read it.  And, I might use some of what you guys write in the following newsletters.

     Next issue I'll start taking apart what Lisa Loraine Baker has to say about what Catholics believe and show how little she actually knows about the Catholic Faith and how uncharitable it is for her to be spreading misinformation and outright falsehoods about the Catholic Faith.


What Do Catholics Believe?
by Lisa Loraine Baker
Contributing Writer
2021, 1 Dec


What Do Catholics Believe?

The beliefs of different Christian denominations throughout history have caused everything from minor skirmishes involving distinctives of the faith (how often to partake in communion, etc.) to major battles over non-negotiable doctrines (the Bible is God’s Word, infallible and inspired by Him. Salvation is in Jesus alone, etc.). Though Catholics and Protestants share some parallel beliefs, there are some non-negotiables as outlined below. The relationship has softened, but life-changing differences remain.

The Apostles' Creed denotes the whole Christian church as the holy catholic church. In this sense, the word, catholic, refers to the universal, true Christian Church of all times and all places. For the purpose of clarification, we will use the phrase, Roman Catholic(s) to refer to those who adhere to present-day Catholic doctrine.


Major Beliefs of Roman Catholics

Baptism is required for salvation: The Bible clearly says we are saved by grace alone, not works (Ephesians 2:4-9). To claim baptism is necessary or a prerequisite for salvation is a false teaching. Roman Catholics believe God imparts His saving grace through physical means (such as baptismal water and communion). The clergy are believed to have the God-given authority to facilitate such rituals Their ceremony (in the dominion of grace) purifies an infant from original sin, restores, and integrates the child into Christ and His Church.

The reverence of Mary: Roman Catholics give Mary (the mother of Jesus) an exalted position as mediator between man and God, and they pray to her. Scripture says, “For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5).

Mary is also said to have been conceived in her mother’s womb in the normal way but born without original sin. Catholic tradition adds she also lived a sin-free life. Romans 3:23 refutes this, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:22). Mary is not to be given special sinless status, for only Jesus lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15).

Purgatory: According to the Oxford Language Dictionary, purgatory is defined as, (in Roman Catholic doctrine), a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are atoning for their sins before going to heaven.” How are their sins removed? By praying for the dead. Protestants believe as long as a person has breath, there is a chance to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Once dead, all chances are lost, for a saved person goes to paradise (Luke 23:43) and an unsaved person goes to hell (Matthew 25:31-46; Hebrews 9:27). The gospel is Christ’s completed work plus nothing, including purgatory (Galatians 2:16; 3:5-6).

Indulgences: Are a payment to the church (the pope) for the forgiveness of sins via certain pilgrimages, building construction, or payments. This is a major sticking point for Protestants, for Jesus is the only One who can forgive sins by His grace. The work of salvation is done by Him. Our choice is to accept His work (Romans 6:23) and daily deny ourselves (Matthew 16:24).

In the book of Acts, a sorcerer named Simon sought to buy the power of the Holy Spirit when he witnessed Peter and John laying hands on people to receive Him (the Holy Spirit). Peter and John soundly rebuked him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:20-23). This passage deals with the gifting of the Holy Spirit, but forgiveness of sins is bound up within Him.

Priests/Confession: Roman Catholics believe sinners must go before a priest for absolution of sins. It is true that we are to confess to one another (Mark 11:26; James 5:16), but the priest is inadequate to forgive a person’s sins against God because he, like the Levitical priest, has sins of his own to confess to God.

The account in Luke 5:21-26 is pointed; God alone can forgive man’s sins against Him. And 1 John 1:9 refutes the belief that a priest’s intervention is necessary. The verse reads, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The pronoun, “He” refers to God. Psalm 32 is another sterling example of how we can come before the Lord with our petitions for forgiveness.

Only Jesus’ perfect atoning work brings forgiveness to we who believe in Him and ask for His forgiveness. The Bible takes an emphatic stance that Jesus is our high priest (Hebrews 4:14-16, 7:27), and no mere man can grant the forgiveness of sins that cleanses the sinner.

Eucharist/Transubstantiation: Roman Catholics believe, during the communion service, the elements they partake, (the wine and the bread) become the actual blood and body of Jesus. Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:14-23, and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 are the texts which command our regular observance of the Lord’s Table to remember what He did for us. When Jesus said, “this is My body” and, “this is My blood,” He spoke metaphorically. He died once for all sins. To say His literal blood and body are still essential today for salvific work is to say His work on the cross was incomplete at best and ineffective at worse.

Peter and the Pope: The Roman Catholic faith named the Apostle Peter as the first pope, using Matthew 16:18 as the proof text, where Jesus said to Peter, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Jesus is speaking of the truth Peter spoke in the preceding passage, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16)]. Jesus builds His church.

An honest look at the text seems to indicate Jesus was in fact speaking to Peter as the rock, but of course not in the way Roman Catholics understand. Peter was the chosen tool used to build the church. Acts 2 gives the account of Peter as he obeyed the Great Commission. Also, if Peter was who Roman Catholics say, it makes no sense that Paul opposed him authoritatively at Antioch (Galatians 2:11-14).

Since its inception, the Roman Catholic faith has elevated the pope and church councils (concerning teaching authority) to the same level as Scripture, and their authority supplants that of Scripture. Yes, Roman Catholics believe in Jesus as the Son of God and the Bible as the inspired, error-free Word of God, but they also believe church tradition has a place of authority. Ultimately, the Roman Catholic leaders hold themselves as the final authority on Scripture’s meaning and application, not Scripture itself.

Closing Comments

I hope all of you have a great week.  Please pray for me and the Bible Christian Society and please know that I am praying for you.  Oh, and, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, please keep a special intention of mine in your prayers.  Ciao!


     The Bible Christian Society is a non-profit organization that relies solely on your support to bring the truths of the Catholic Faith to tens of thousands of people throughout the U.S. and all around the world each year.  If you would like to help us do what we do, you can donate online at:


or send a check to:

Bible Christian Society

PO Box 424

Pleasant Grove, AL  35127.

                                                              Anything you can do is greatly appreciated!


http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter/unsubscribe - to unsubscribe from this newsletter

http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter - to subscribe to this newsletter

Social Media - Please click on one or more of these links to share this newsletter on social media...thanks!


Apologetics for the Masses