A Few Critiques From A Catholic - 09/27/2002
I can’t leave without commenting upon your site. First, it is apparent that your site is catering to individuals that already have their minds made up regarding faiths other than a flavor of conservative evangelicalism. Your listing of major world religions is another reason why someone should flee this sight as fast as they can, and as I intended to, until I saw your “hook” titled The Roman Road to Salvation. As a Catholic, I could not help but click on the link and wonder further into the twisted mind of another undereducated, brainwashed, prejudice individual with too much time on their hands. Your reference to Catholicism as a cult is comical. Your faith, as the rest of Christianity, is an offshoot of Catholicism. The very least you can do is to live and let live. If it wasn’t for the Catholic church defending the teachings of Christ, you & me, as well as all of Europe & the US, just may be praying to Allah 5 times a day.
You also state that Catholics use a different bible. That is true but it is the bible that all of Christianity used for roughly 1500 years before the reformation. The question should be…”why did the protestants take the books out of the old testament?” If you had done the proper research you might have addressed the bible issue in a little different light. Have you forgotten that for most protestants these books, although they aren’t contained in the bible, are part of a separate set of biblical books called the Apocrypha. And what of these books? I challenge you to find anything in them that contradicts a teaching in the rest of the bible. Also, this is the set of books that Jesus referenced during his ministry. Why don’t you research the origins of the bible and find out about the separate councils that took place long ago and how they decided what books should be contained in the bible.
Lastly, your take on salvation is old and tired. Catholics believe, along with the rest of Christianity (hopefully anyway), that salvation begins and ends with faith in God through his son Jesus Christ. I will leave you with a few things to chew on regarding salvation and knowing if you are “saved”:
"See then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off" (Rom. 11:22; see also Heb. 10:26–29, 2 Pet. 2:20–21).
"As the Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8), but I’m also being saved (1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Like the apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13)."
p.s.: Here are a few Christian facts for you as well: )
**Christmas was instituted by the Catholic church and it means Christ’s’ Mass
**The Catholic church, in her authority as Christ’s’ church, changed the observance of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday
**The Catholic church defined the doctrine of Original Sin and instituted baptism as washing away of this Original Sin and becoming marked as a Christian…instead of circumcism as covanent baptism was introduced
**The Catholic church has a couple thousand years of intellectual contributions to the world…the most of any other religion
**You have this website…sad…
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Thank you for contacting us and sharing your thoughts and concerns. I'd like to take this opportunity to address some issues you raised. The fact that we profile various cults and religious movements on our website can offend adherents of those cults. However, we do receive emails from Muslims, Mormons, etc., who may disagree with us, but recognize that what we do we do out of love. The only reason people should "flee this site," as you say, is if they are afraid to hear the truth in love. That Catholicism is featured in our section on cult apologetics is anything but comical. It is, however, accurate. It is accurate according to The American Heritage Dictionary, which defines a cult as: "a religion or sect considered extremist or false." While we do not deny that Catholicism shares many commonalities with biblical Christianity, there are also glaring differences. The Roman Road to Salvation is not a "hook" as you describe. All the verses in that section were taken from the Book of Romans -- hence the name.
You said, "I could not help but click on the link and wonder further into the twisted mind of another undereducated, brainwashed, prejudice individual with too much time on their hands." We suggest you read Matthew 22:37-40, when Jesus detailed the greatest commandments (love). When we profile a cult, we do so with love for the people that adhere to those beliefs. When you voice objections to material, your message is more readily received when not laced with spiteful insults.
You said, "Your faith, as the rest of Christianity, is an offshoot of Catholicism." That's not entirely accurate. My faith is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles of the first century, as found in the Bible. Roman Catholicism did not exist as such until the third or fourth centuries. The Protestant reformation was a return to biblically sound doctrine. You also said, "If it wasn't for the Catholic church defending the teachings of Christ, you & me, as well as all of Europe & the US, just may be praying to Allah 5 times a day." Do you really believe God would allow his church to fail? Do you really think God would not sustain his church (see Matthew 16:18)? You asked why we can't just "live and let live." That philosophy is not Biblical. Jesus gave us the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), and Jude instructs us to contend for the faith (Jude 3). I could not find a "live and let live" verse. When dealing with issues as important as salvation of the human soul, "live and let live" becomes "live and let die."
You are misinformed or misled regarding the Bible and the Apocrypha. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (a definitive Catholic source), St. Jerome was hesitant to include most of the apocryphal books in the canon, due to numerous errors. Even after he did concede to include them (in the fourth century), they were not decreed to be inspired scripture until April 8, 1546 at the Council of Trent. So for 1100 years, they were part of the canon, but not officially scripture. The reason for this is again, because of the numerous errors. It appears they were ultimately accepted at Trent, because without doing so, the Catholic Church had no scripture upon which to base the doctrine of purgatory, invocation and intercession of the saints, the worship of angels, the redemption of souls after death, etc. What of these errors? There are too many to include in this space, so let me just share with you some of the following comments from Catholic scholars in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
On the Book of Judith:
"St. Jerome, who excluded Judith from the Canon, nonetheless accepted the person of the valiant woman as historical (Ep. lxv, 1)."
"Against this traditional view there are, it must be confessed, very serious difficulties, due, as Calmet insists, to the doubtful and disputed condition of the text. The historical and geographical statements in the book, as we now have it, are difficult to understand..."
"St. Jerome, while rejecting in theory those books which he did not find in his Hebrew manuscript, yet consented to translate Judith because "the Synod of Nicaea is said to have accounted it as Sacred Scripture" (Praef. in Lib.). It is true that no such declaration is to be found in the Canons of Nicaea."
On I & II Maccabees:
"The following are the main objections with some real foundation: (1) The campaign of Lysias, which I Mach., iv, 26-34, places in the last year of Antiochus Epiphanes, is transferred in II Mach., xi, to the reign of Antiochus Eupator; (2) The Jewish raids on neighbouring tribes and the expeditions into Galilee and Galaad, represented in I Mach., v, as carried on in rapid succession after the rededication of the temple, are separated in II Mach. and placed in a different historical setting (viii, 30; x, 15-38; xii, 10-45); (3) The account given in II Mach., ix, differs from that of I Mach., vi, regarding the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, who is falsely declared to have written a letter to the Jews; (4) The picture of the martyrdoms in vi, 18-vii, is highly coloured, and it is improbable that Antiochus was present at them."
In fact, if you'll look at the Catholic Encyclopedia, you'll find discussion of "problems" or "errors" with most of the apocryphal books. Perhaps you should ask yourself why the Jews and Protestants have rejected the divine inspiration of the Apocrypha. The scribes of the day did much more than function as an early precursor of "Kinko's." Being a scribe was their life. Accuracy was of extreme importance! Did you know they could not even write one word from memory? They had to check each letter they copied to ensure it's accuracy. The Masoretes developed a system that included finding the middle letter in a verse or of an entire text. If that letter ever changed, they threw out the text! The point is, the Apocryphal books were rejected by these men, because of inaccuracies. It seems illogical to conclude that God would inspire error. Therefore, the errors were excluded!
You said, "your take on salvation is old and tired." On the contrary, while salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is 2000-years-old, it is also awe-inspiring and wonderful! You present some passages to support the Catholic doctrine of justification. According to Catholic doctrine, baptism washes away sin to the point of that baptism. Sin after baptism must be cleansed through adherence to the sacraments. I won't clarify each verse you mention, as that would take up more space than I've already taken. Let me just point to the thief on the cross, who was saved on the basis of his faith. Jesus told him "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43). This man was not baptized, and Jesus did not say, "Come see me after purgatory." No, Jesus said they would be together in Paradise THAT VERY DAY.
You said, "Christmas was instituted by the Catholic Church and it means Christ's' Mass."
We are aware of the etymology of Christmas. So it was a Catholic idea to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Good job! We never claimed to disagree with everything Catholic. On a side note, the Chinese invented the fork. Weird, huh?
You said, "The Catholic Church, in her authority as Christ's' church, changed the observance of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday."
I could spend way too long discussing the "authority" of Catholicism as Christ's church, but I'll stick to the Sabbath change. Why was it changed?
You said, "The Catholic Church defined the doctrine of Original Sin and instituted baptism as washing away of this Original Sin and becoming marked as a Christian…instead of circumcism as covanent baptism was introduced"
Original sin was hardly a new concept in the third and fourth centuries. Paul spoke extensively on man's sinful nature in the first century. And water doesn't wash away sin -- the grace of God does that. Baptism was also around long before the advent of Catholicism (third or fourth century). Jesus was baptized. The disciples were baptized. They baptized a lot of other people. All in the first century. The Catholic Church did introduce infant baptism, and consequently, the method of baptism by sprinkling.
You said, "The Catholic church has a couple thousand years of intellectual contributions to the world…the most of any other religion".
Congratulations. We're more focused on the spiritual contributions here. In that regard, the Catholic Church introduced pagan practices into Christianity that weren't there for the first few hundred years.
I think you'll find that the information we present on Catholicism is quite factual. We used the Bible and Catholic sources in our research. This may not make you any less angry, but I hope it answered some of your questions. I hope you know our reason for doing what we do. Whether you are a Catholic or Protestant is not our main concern. We do pray that you will realize that official Catholic doctrine frequently departs from the gospel of Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible. We pray that you will come to a full realization that God could and did preserve his Word, his Church, and the unending and untransferrable priesthood of Jesus Christ - our only intercessor (see Hebrews 7 & 8). We pray that God will bless you.