Friday, July 9, 2010

John MacArthur errs on Catholicism & the Word

Pastor John MacArthur is an evangelical pastor at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA and President of The Master's College in Santa Clarita. He is the author of over 150 books, perhaps best known for his MacArthur Study Bible. He is the son of Jack MacArthur, and the fifth successive pastor in his family. He holds two honorary doctorates, one from Talbot Theological Seminary and one from Grace Graduate School.

I often listen to his radio show
Grace to You in the morning. Often he will offer some decent exegesis and advance good ideals less-common in some Christian preaching like mortification or the need to avoid sexual sin. He has even argued for Peter as the chief apostle. But when it comes to Catholicism, John MacArthur consistently misses the mark and proves himself unable to accurately portray basic Catholic teaching.

His website features a summary article called
Is Roman Catholicism Biblical?, adapted from his book Reckless Faith.

The article begins:
"Is Roman Catholicism simply another facet of the body of Christ that should be brought into union with its Protestant counterpart?"

To give you a flavor for how he approaches the Catholic Church, consider the following MacArthur quote which aired on
The Way of the Master Radio on November 9, 2006:
In the long war on the truth, the most formidable, relentless, and deceptive enemy has been Roman Catholicism. It is an apostate, corrupt, heretical, false Christianity. It is a front for the kingdom of Satan.
One would be hard-pressed to generate harsher language, no? He considers Catholicism the #1 enemy of Christianity. But John MacArthur does not understand Catholic theology. And I'd like to demonstrate that now. The following is a quotation from one of his sermons (aired 8/31/09) on Grace to You:
We certainly have much to thank Martin Luther for, but infant baptism isn't one of the things. Luther's Catechism says this, quote, baptism worketh forgiveness of sins delivers from death and the devil and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe as the Word of the promise of God declare. Well the baby can't believe. That's where Luther jumped in and said, well, surrogate faith on the part of his parents is rendered in his behalf. So baptized babies will be saved. The Lutheran Augsberg Confession says, quote of baptism, Lutherans teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that by baptism the grace of God is offered and that children are to be baptized who by baptism being offered to God are received into God's favor. This view is held by Anglicans, Episcopalians, some Reformed groups. The Roman Catholic Church essentially teaches the same thing, that the removal of sin depends on the sacrament of infant baptism. Without infant baptism, without baptism, no child can be saved. Council of Trent, 1563, based the salvation of infants on Roman Catholic baptism. In 1951, Pius XII taught that, quote, "No other way besides baptism is seen as imparting the life of Christ to little children." The new Catholic Catechism says, "By Christian baptism, one enters into the Kingdom of God, and into the Spirit of the saving work of Christ." So the answer of the sacramentalists is the baptized babies are saved, and the unbaptized babies aren't. Well, this would make salvation not an act of grace but an act of works! That is no credit to the grace of God!
What is perhaps most interesting about this quotation is how exactly it matches page 46 of Ronald Nash's 1999 book "When a Baby Dies." The exact same quotes from Luther's Catechism, the Augsberg Confession, Anglicans & Episcopalians, Council of Trent, Pius XII, and the "Catechism" are on that page, in the same order MacArthur listed them. Unfortunately, not going to a Catholic source resulted in MacArthur erring in saying Catholics teach unbaptized babies are not saved. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC#1261, specifically speaks of the hope and trust in the mercy of God to welcome unbaptized babies into His arms.

I think the following will also show that he often does not give due attention to Catholic sources before he speaks on behalf of Catholic teaching.

In his article
Is Roman Catholicism Biblical?, MacArthur asserts:
In Roman Catholicism, "the Word of God" encompasses not only the Bible, but also the Apocrypha, the Magisterium (the Church's authority to teach and interpret divine truth), the Pope's ex cathedra pronouncements, and an indefinite body of church tradition, some formalized in canon law and some not yet committed to writing. Whereas evangelical Protestants believe the Bible is the ultimate test of all truth, Roman Catholics believe the Church determines what is true and what is not. In effect, this makes the Church a higher authority than Scripture.
So is it true the Catholic Church considers all these things "the Word of God"? No. MacArthur is incorrect.

The ecumenical council of Vatican II produced a document called "Dei Verbum" (Latin for "Word of God"). Paragraph 10 clearly states:
"Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church."

Let's examine the error of some of his other claims. By "Apocrypha," MacArthur is referring to the Deuterocanonical texts of the Old Testaments which do not appear in Protestant Bibles (these books are Sirach, Wisdom, 1 and 2 Maccabbees, Judith, Tobit, Baruch, and parts of Esther and Daniel). In the first several centuries following the actual writing of the New Testament, the Catholic Church discerned by the Spirit what books constituted authentic Scripture. MacArthur, who does not accept that the Catholic Church by apostolic succession bears this guarantee of discerning such things, necessarily assigns that authority to other men that compiled the "Protestant Bible."

He said Catholics include the "Magisterium" as part of "the Word of God." This does not make sense. CCC#100 states:
"The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church..." The Magisterium is composed of the Pope and the bishops in union with him. The Magisterium is not "the Word of God" but rather the interpretive body which Catholics believe has the authoritative guidance of the Holy Spirit when interpreting the Word.

Depending on what he means by "church tradition," MacArthur is correct that a teaching on faith or morals (which would include Papal ex cathedra statements) not explicit in Scripture may come to us by the Spirit via Sacred Tradition. In Catholicism, the term "tradition" is used in a couple ways (see the
CCC for examples). Some Tradition is considered part of the Word of God as it is derived from the deposit of faith. Some tradition is not considered part of the Word, and outside the class of faith or morals. These would be disciplinary or customary practices like what colors the priest wears during what seasons, the Western discipline of celibacy for priests, what songs are sung during the Liturgy, etc. These would not be considered part of divine revelation which Dei Verbum calls "the Word of God." Such practices may change or be reversed in different cultures and eras.

MacArthur is also mistaken to think "canon law" is considered by Catholics part of the divinely revealed "Word of God." The Code of Canon Law is a legislative guide for various norms practiced in the Church. In remarks promulgating the 1983 Code of Canon Law
(Sacrae Disciplinae Leges), Pope John Paul II said, "it appears sufficiently clear that the Code is in no way intended as a substitute for faith, grace and the charisms in the life of the Church and of the faithful." There may be mentions of matters of faith or morals in Canon Law, but these are not derived from Canon Law, rather Canon Law may mention them.

Aside from his misperceptions on what the Catholic Church considers "the Word of God," MacArthur violates his own criticism. First, he sets forth the rule that "the Bible is the ultimate test of all truth" which nowhere is asserted within the Bible. Second, he criticizes the existence of an interpreting Magisterium while simultaneously appointing himself, de facto, a superior interpreter to the Magisterium. The idea that the Bible is the ultimate test necessarily depends on a human or humans correctly interpreting it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

MacArthur criticizes:
The Church not only infallibly determines the proper interpretation of Scripture, but also supplements Scripture with additional traditions and teaching. That combination of Church tradition plus the Church's interpretation of Scripture is what constitutes the binding rule of faith and practice for Catholics. The fact is, the Church sets itself above Holy Scripture in rank of authority.
The last sentence, which he also claimed earlier, is where MacArthur errs. It is also where he diffuses his own ability to interpret Scripture. Think about it. The Catholic Church considers Herself to have the Spirit-given authority to interpret Scripture. When MacArthur denies any of the Church's interpretations and sets forth the "correct" interpretation, he is placing himself above the Catholic Church, who he says places Herself above Scripture! In other words, it is nonsense to say one is "above Holy Scripture in rank of authority" just because one is interpreting it!

It is also apparent MacArthur is unaware of the Church's understanding of Her relation to Scripture, which is stated in
Dei Verbum:
[The Magisterium] is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed. (Dei Verbum, 10b)
Just as MacArthur believes of himself, the Catholic Church believes She is subject to what God says to us via Scripture. The Church cannot "create" a Tradition that contradicts Scripture, regardless of whether John MacArthur might insist the Church has done so.


  1. The Roman Catholic church has many doctrines and practices contrary to Scripture. A celibate leadership is one of many examples. It is a denial of I Timothy 3 where Paul clearly lays out the qualifications of church leadership. Part of that qualification is that a man is to be married with children. See I Tim 3:4.
    What the Roman Catholic church has done is to deny married catholic men from church leadership because they are married.

  2. I did not see one reference to scripture in your article to support your topics. God gave us his Word to use to support truth of his gospel and the Christian life. All I saw was the use of what man though and the Catholic church decided should be doctrine. I think John MacArthur is correct in his view of the Catholic Church. For one point, why would the Church that claims to be followers of God remove one of the commandments from their Catholic theology? We cannot add to or take away from the Word of God.

    1. So you and John agree that you two are above the teachings of the Catholic Church and in turn your interpretations of scripture are correct. So you are the God given authority on scripture. Is that in scripture?

  3. In this particular post, I was demonstrating MacArthur's erroneous assertions of what Catholics believe, not giving a Biblical defense of Catholic doctrine. I have other posts on MacArthur if you do a search, as well as numerous posts with Scriptural basis for Catholic doctrine - see the Labels list at right.

    As to the commandments, I am not sure what you mean. In the Biblical texts on the 10 commandments, there are some 14 "thou shall" or "thou shall not" commands. Elsewhere they are still called the "ten" commandments or 10 "words." So it's a question of which ones are combined as the same basic command.
    Catholics group "have no gods" and "no idols/graven images" together in the 1st commandment. Most Protestants separate these as commandments 1 and 2, so their 3rd commandment is "do not use God's name in vain" whereas the Catholics have that command as #2. Where this is made up is in the 9th and 10th commandments, where Protestants group "don't covet neighbor's wife" and "don't covet neighbors belongings" as one command as #10. Catholics separate these as #9 and #10.
    See this chart for a visual aid:
    See also numbering in Jewish, Lutheran, and other traditions:

  4. I think you all are wrong; The God of the New Testament is the same God of the Old Testament and He don't change: Mal.3:6 the 10 Commandments are valid for all to day and yet almost all people that worship a Jewish Messiah that worship on the Sabbath as His custom was and His disciple did the Same and Paul had to prove he kept God's Laws and preached even to gentiles on the sabbath-Acts 13, and after the vow Paul saved his head. In Zech.14 it even say during the 1,000 years will keep the Feast of Tabernacles and from one New Moon and Sabbath to another ALL flesh shall come and worship before God.Isaiah 66:23 & Yeshua(Jesus) says at the end time Pray your flight isn't on the Sabbath-Furture! Also it's not a Jewish Sabbath--it was made at Creation for ALL mankind! Think about- He is the Same, Yesterday, today and Forever Hebrews 13:8

    1. Everyone who follows the teachings of the Roman Catholic Cult WILL END UP IN HELL!!! Do not complain later to Jesus, no one told you. Read the Bible and compare the teachings of the Bible with the false teachings of the RCC. That's it!

  5. Pastor John MacArthur is correct in his comments regarding the Roman Catholic Cult. The RCC made Mary to a co-mediatrix equal to Jesus - nowhere in the Bible. The Pope calls himself holy father, where Jesus teaches you should no one call father, for only God in Heaven is your Father. The pope is definitely not holy! The RCC claims that the bread and the juice changes into the flesh and the blood of Jesus - nowhere in the Bible and whoever believes this deserves nothing else than hell.

  6. MacArthur and fundamentalism in general are a hopeless case. They combine ignorance and bigotry so as a Catholic I find it a waste of time to challenge their false unbiblical teachings.

  7. Hi Mr. Entile, I am a Catholic "revert" on his way back out because I have seen the error in my ways, and much of them from following friends and family back to the dead tradition of the RCC. I prayed countless rosaries, blindly trusted the Church leadership, yet what woke me up was first how powerless observing the sacraments was in having any effect whatsoever at eradicating my shameful sins, second the enigmatic provocative unclear heretical statements of late by Pope Francis, and third the marvelous sweet powerful invigorating truth of the Holy Word of God which as I read it pointed out my false humility & piety, my utter hypocrisy, my spiritual blindness, and abject spiritual poverty in defeating my sin. I entreat you Mr. Entile turn from your secret sins, turn from your shame, and turn to Christ. I have, and that is why I am leaving the Roman system that has only weighed me down like Jesus warned of the Pharisees in Matt 23. Like 2 Tim 3:5 Priests and other Catholic Leaders have a "form of godliness, but deny its power" since they trust and lead others to trust in the sacraments, rather than putting 100% trust in the expiatory death of our Great Lord. I implore you to keep listening to MacArthur as he speaks the truth, and read the Bible yourself, compare it to what he says. Then compare the Bible to what the Catholic Church teaches. Unless you have some ulterior motive, if you seek the truth with all your heart God will reveal it to you, and you can have the courage to leave the meaningless system of faith + works salvation which is RCC. In all sincerity, and in the abundant grace of our Lord Jesus Christ - Paul Sampietro (Sinner)

  8. Hi, Paul, thank you for your sincerity and comments. I do not have much of a response, as there are no specifics but rather personal reflections and a gratuitous denial of Christ's operation through sacraments. I think this blog and other apologetic sites give due consideration to divine revelation with regard to the sacraments and delve into sacramental typology in detail. Catholics likewise rely entirely on Christ's sacrificial work for our salvation, so it seems there is either lack of communication or lack of knowledge somewhere. As detailed in the above article, orators like John MacArthur misrepresent Church teaching and cannot be considered reliable to espouse the basis of those teachings.

  9. Sam, you lie when you say, "Catholics likewise rely entirely on Christ's sacrificial work for our salvation." The Catechism P 1263 states "By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as punishment for sin." The Catholic Church clearly teaches baptism is a necessary component of salvation, among other works, yet like the thief on the cross, we can only be justified through faith "apart from works," (Romans 4) or in other words faith alone. I will pray for your conversion to true Christianity, and freedom from the Pharisaical Roman System, which breeds one of two things: either living in fear in an endless cycle of sin/guilt/confession/communion, or otherwise a snooty self-righteous disposition of false humility looking down on candid Bible-believers. Looks like for the time being you have affected the latter.

  10. Paul, there is no lie. You say, "Sam, you lie when you say, "Catholics likewise rely entirely on Christ's sacrificial work for our salvation." The Catechism P 1263 states "By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as punishment for sin.""

    Permit me to explain the communication problem here. Catholics do not see baptism as something alien to Christ's work. In fact, Paul says in Romans 6:4 that it is in baptism where we are joined to Christ's death and resurrection.

    Preachers like John MacArthur do not recognize Christ in this way. Thus, he would impose his own doctrine, that baptism is alien to Christ's work, and read it into Catholic theology, which instead recognizes baptism as the sacrament of Christ's work. I would argue this is just what Paul said in Romans or Peter in 1 Pet. 3, for example.

    The Catechism further confirms this when citing Romans 6:4 as Christ's sacrifice at work through the sacrament. So we do not believe what you are saying, that sacraments are something in addition to Christ when in fact they are one in the same. Preachers like MacArthur do not recognize Christ's presence in sacraments, other Christians, etc. as much as Catholics. And I would argue Scripture supports the Catholics position soundly.

  11. Sam, I'm afraid you failed to address the means by which the thief on the cross was saved, and you're missing the point in those verses about baptism. If there were any work, act, or deed we could perform to help merit salvation, be it baptism, reception of the Eucharist, penance, rosaries, asceticism, fasting, works of mercy, alms giving, observance of holy days of obligation, then what did the apostles die for? Why was Paul arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and eventually martyred? Was it because Paul was trying to administer the Eucharist to people? Or maybe it was because he was so passionate about telling people about the Queen of Heaven and her co-redemptive power? Or perhaps it was because Paul knew that if he did not tell people about the wonderful news that if they believed in Jesus + got baptized + received Holy communion + remained in a state of grace + went to confession to a priest if they did happen to fall -- that they would not merit eternal life? No, Paul was in chains for the gospel, and he died for the truth that we are saved by God's grace, through faith, and that not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph 2:8-9) For all your study and striving you have failed, just as I did for far too long to see the great wealth God has lavished upon us, and you are still trying to earn some favor with God. He loves you and me regardless of our works. While we were still dead in our sin He died for us, and His work was complete. All we have to do is accept the great gift of salvation, and the mechanism by which we activate that wonderful glorious salvation is Faith, and faith "apart" from works. Once again, in all sincerity and in the sweet grace, and perfect peace none can take away, Paul Sampietro (Saved Sinner)

  12. Your reply does not confront the baptismal verses I cited which state in baptism we die and rise with Christ, and in baptism, which involves water like the story of Noah, and Peter says baptism now saves you by removing guilt. This baptism, as I already said, is to receive Christ. It's not a human work. The premise of your posts here are espousing something Catholics do not believe, so there is no need for me to try to defend the idea that we are saved by our works instead of Christ because we don't believe that.

    It's important that we stay focused on typology here to really grasp what is understood by Catholics. Like Peter, who grasped the account of Noah and the Ark as a type of baptism, we also recognize other Biblical types of baptism in accord with Peter's interpretive pattern. Another example is Moses leading the Israelites "through water" in the Red Sea, escaping "slavery." This episode aligns with Paul and Peter's catechesis on baptism, that through the waters of Christ, we are saved.

    As for the thief, we are not told whether or not he was baptized. Perhaps he was. If he was not, Catholics already recognize what is a baptism of desire (CCC#1259) for those who die before they are able to receive baptism normatively. So pointing to an exception would not refute Catholic theology because our understanding includes God's working in an exceptional way for persons who are not normatively able to come to Christ. Other examples of this in Scripture include the centurian's servant who is healed because of the faith of the centurian (Mt 8:5-13), or the paralytic who was healed and forgiven because of the faith of his friends (Mk 2:3-5), or the Canaanite woman whose daughter is healed of demonic affliction at the intercession of the mother (Mt 15:22-28). In other words, God doesn't play little games of "gotcha" and would not hold the thief to his predicament if he was not formally able to be baptized.

    Additionally, the thief, whom you incorrectly said did no works or penance in Christ:
    1. Made a public profession of faith.
    2. Repented of his sins, admitting his guilt.
    3. Preached the truth of Christ (which also was obedience to the 8th commandment about not bearing false witness)
    3. Embraced suffering in union with Christ. (Rm 8:17)
    4. Followed Christ to the best of his abilities for the remainder of his life.

    Shouldn't we do the same. All this is inherently intertwined with his faith, as James tells us how faith and works are a singular body (2:26).

  13. Hi Sam, using OT typology is a weak argument for baptism making us God's children, since it is a NT institution, and the practice of baptism by RCC does not match the practice found in Acts. Also, how can baptism be understood as "receiving Christ" when the baby is not even cognizant?

    We should do works only out of thanks for what God has already done past-tense, not out of a present-tense fear, guilt, or desire to somehow earn salvation. You have many Scriptures and Catechism references, but you are missing the whole point of the New Testament. Read Ephesians Chapters 1-3, and you can see how it delineates the past-tense adoption, riches, inheritance, salvation, power that every believer in Christ already has, but if you read it to any Catholic it is a veritable foreign language to them. Why, because the Catholic church turns the gospel on its head, and keeps its true followers in the dark. The gospel which Paul presents in all his letters is that we are saved by God's grace through faith in Christ alone (Read Colossians Chapter 2), and then we do good works out of thanks, not obligation (simple message: salvation by faith, unto good works) Catholicism, while it acknowledges "the Faith," it bypasses simple unfettered faith in Christ to get to the stuff that makes you really "spiritual" - works. The Catholic message is basically: good works, unto salvation, which is the reverse of the powerful saving gospel taught by the New Testament. Why did Mother Teresa do so many good works, that even the whole world marveled at, yet she confessed privately, "There is no God in me." I pray God may open your eyes, and that as you study the truth of God's word through the Bible He may bring you to life as He did for me. It is one thing to know about Jesus and to even know the scriptures, and it is another thing altogether to know Jesus personally, intimately, and to have the scriptures burn within you as you read them.

    Luke 24:32

    And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”

    Does your heart burn for scripture, or for sacraments?

  14. Paul, your dismissal of baptism in typology of the OT is not a qualm with me. It is a qualm with Peter.

    1 Peter 3:20-21 in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ...

    That is an example of Peter referring to baptism and an Old Testament type which reveals the NT reality. It's silly to say a NT institution cannot have an OT type. In fact, you can't understand the latter without grasping the former.

    The rest of your post is likewise a diversion or founded on the fundamental flaw pitting a sacrament versus Christ. It is important to recognize the harmony between sacraments and Christ in order to properly understand what Catholics believe. I won't retread what has already been said to refute this. In other words, I do not chase the ignore-repeat method of argumentation.

  15. I was born a Roman Catholic, and in my teens, came to know the good news of salvation, that we are saved by faith alone, and not by works. This teaching was taught in our schools, that we have to do more good works than bad works in order for us to get to heaven. But as a child, I never had the assurance that I was good enough for heaven so I grew up fearing death and fearing God. Everytime I sinned, I always pictured God frowning upon me and being disappointed with me. When someone shared Ephesians 2:8-9 that salvation is a free gift and it is not by works lest anyone should boats, I felt so much freedom and right there and then, I thought to myself, I could die anytime without fear of hell. At that moment, I felt the loving arms of Jesus embrace me. I started studying the Bible and for once in my life, appreciated Jesus' teachings on love, forgiveness of sins, sin, grace, mercy, commitment, dying to self, ohhhh, and sooo much more. The Roman Catholic Church taught me sacraments, traditions, and repetitious prayers that didn't mean a thing at all. I went to church every Sunday, had confessions regularly, but never felt intimacy with God. He was so distant and was never a Father to me. It is not religion that can save us, but only a relationship with the one who is perfectly able to love us even while we were still in our transgressions. There are so many faulty teachings of the RCC that I often wonder why so many people can get so blinded. God's Word, the Bible, is crystal clear about so many doctrines that can either bring you to heaven or to hell. But I believe, from experience, a changed and transformed life is a perfect example of what Christ as revealed in the Bible can do to a person. I have seen drug addicts, immoral people, etc. turn to the Lord not because of traditions and sacraments but because God's Word of truth touched their hearts. The Bible is infallible as our God is infallible.

  16. Sam, you twist the scripture.

    1 Peter 3:21-22 reads:

    "There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him."

    The apostle Peter was careful to qualify his statement, saying "not the removal of filth of the flesh," basically, not water baptism which is outward, but "the answer of a good conscience toward God," basically, inward repentance. So what is the ark in 1 Peter 3 a metaphor for if not something outward? Not outward water baptism Peter makes plain, but rather inward baptism (baptism of the Holy Spirit) into Christ's death/resurrection. That is the ark we must board to be rescued from the flood of God's wrath, which will come to punish sin.

    You also have not answered my other objections/questions:

    1. "Faith apart from works" (Rom 3, Eph 2, Heb 11),
    2. "Paul was beaten/killed for what?" (Acts),
    3. "What does your heart burn for?" (Luke 24)

    Here are some more:

    1. Read the entire book of Acts, then compare it to your practice in everyday life, living out your Catholic faith. What things are similar? What things are different?
    2. Read the entire book of Hebrews, then compare it to the practice you observe of the Catholic priesthood. Why do they not agree?
    3. Read the entire book of Revelation, and ask yourself if you are ready to meet the bridegroom, and which church does the Catholic church resemble of the 7 churches in chapters 2 &3?

    Rona's testimony is similar to mine, and I agree wholeheartedly. Romanism puts a ceiling on earth, and hides heaven from the lost sheep longing for deliverance from their burdensome sins. What did Jesus always say after he healed someone...."Your observance of the sacraments has healed you?".....No. "Your faith has healed you!" Likewise Mr. Entile, you will need to exercise your faith if you ever want to be healed from those sins you hide.

    You are right when you say that you "do not chase the ignore-repeat method of argumentation." Instead you have chosen the ignore-pontificate method. Please see that the Catholic Church is rooted not in the early practice of the Church (Book of Acts), but rather in paganism, and that is why it is such a stretch to justify its doctrines with the Bible.

    Once again in the all-sufficient Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    Paul (ex-hypocrite currently undergoing rehabilitation in intensive care by the cleansing of the Word)


  17. Paul, my apologies for the delay, I have been busy with several projects. I won't give much attention with the parts of your post that are gratuitous assertions, but I'll say just a couple things.

    1 Peter 3:21 reads:

    Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    You dismissed the verse by interpreting baptism as "outward" because Peter mentioned physical filth. But he says Baptism is NOT like this. Rather, it clears the conscience through Christ's resurrection. It would appear your analysis and presumably MacArthur's is not able to reconcile this, whereas Catholic teaching can because Catholic teaching does not falsely dichotomize the sacraments and Christ's saving work. I point out "false dichotomy" at the risk of repeating ad nauseum, but that is at the heart of the error of MacArthur's theology and why it does not withstand scrutiny against Scripture such as 1st Peter. It is Catholics who thus rely on Christ through baptism which Peter says is operative through Christ's resurrection. Paul says the same in Romans 6:4 that we die and rise with Christ in baptism. No dichotomy.

    You can research Dr. Scott Hahn's work on Hebrews, Revelation, and the Catholic liturgy which are completely supported and fulfilled in the liturgy. His book The Lamb's Supper is recommended as a starting point. If testimonials are to your liking, his Rome Sweet Rome testimonial (he was a scholar in the Presbyterian tradition) is his testimonial.

    You'd have to be more specific where in Romans 3, Ephesians 2, or Hebrews 11 says anything about works done in grace through faith not having any role in our salvation. I presume MacArthur would not want to deny the power of grace, but perhaps he unwittingly does if that grace permeates the works of God's children. Certainly Matthew 25's "sheep and goats" figure specifically judges on the basis of the actions of the people. The problem, once again, is that MacArthur's tradition deny's that Christ's grace has the power to raise up our works, or that the branches do not really bear fruit "because of" the vine, etc… But otherwise, Catholics, of course, do not disagree with anything in those chapters you mention.

  18. Lutherans also do not teach that un-baptized babies go to hell. MacArthur loves to argue with straw men. They make it easy for him to win arguments. It also creates the illusion that only his seminary and his teachings and his disciples are true preachers of the Word of God. When everyone else's position is so ridiculous, its easy to ridicule them. If MacArthur actually tried to understand his opponents before attacking them, his followers wouldn't be so arrogant self-assured.

  19. I agree I love being a Catholic and being in a relationship with Jesus and I do not understand where all the hate comes from. I think it is ignorance on the fundamentalist part. I say come to mass and experence the holy spirit for themselves!

  20. I left the Catholic church when I read the bible. I left the Catholic church when I read the Catholic catechicism. I compared the bible to the catechicism, and the bible opened my eyes, the catechicism did not open my eyes.