Friday, July 31, 2009

Thanks for the advice Pope Pius X....NOT

So I'm studying the Papacy as part of my doctoral studies and I came across the catechism of Pope Pius X on a theological website I frequent, who by the way, is deemed a "Saint" in the Roman Catholic Church. I found this notable section of his catechism:

28 Q. Is the reading of the Bible necessary to all Christians?

A. The reading of the Bible is not necessary to all Christians since they are instructed by the Church; however its reading is very useful and recommended to all.

29 Q. May any translation of the Bible, in the vernacular, be read?

A. We can read those translations of the Bible in the vernacular which have been acknowledged as faithful by the Catholic Church and which have explanations also approved by the Church.

30 Q. Why may we only read translations of the Bible approved by the Church?

A. We may only read translations of the Bible approved by the Church because she alone is the lawful guardian of the Bible.

31 Q. Through which means can we know the true meaning of the Holy Scripture?

A. We can only know the true meaning of Holy Scripture through the Church's interpretation, because she alone is secure against error in that interpretation.

32 Q. What should a Christian do who has been given a Bible by a Protestant or by an agent of the Protestants?

A. A Christian to whom a Bible has been offered by a Protestant or an agent of the Protestants should reject it with disgust, because it is forbidden by the Church. If it was accepted by inadvertence, it must be burnt as soon as possible or handed in to the Parish Priest.

33 Q. Why does the Church forbid Protestant Bibles?

A. The Church forbids Protestant Bibles because, either they have been altered and contain errors, or not having her approbation and footnotes explaining the obscure meanings, they may be harmful to the Faith. It is for that same reason that the Church even forbids translations of the Holy Scriptures already approved by her which have been reprinted without the footnotes approved by her.

Pretty wild stuff for the successor of Peter to say, don't you think? Just sayin'


Frontier Forest said...

Wow, was this dude way off base. Reading his distorted views on God’s inerrant Word, is Bull. Or Did this guy coin the term, “Papal Bull?”

Rick Calohan said...

Gee, you’d think the Pope had something against us Heretic-Schismatics Protestants least he become an Anathema. He obviously had something against Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura if one did not know better you’d think he was a 16th century bishop of Rome, but his Papacy was from 1903-1914 and he completed his Catechismo della dottrina Cristiana, Pubblicato per Ordine del Sommo Pontifice San Pio X in 1908.

Reepicheep said...

I feel a "Zach Attack" coming any time now...


Chad Toney said...

I'm gonna rename my catholic blog, "Reject It With Disgust" (in latin, though)!

Chad Toney said...

Seriously though, I don't have much problem with the statements. Obviously Pope St. Pius X took a more defensive and isolationist path than the Magisterium currently does when it comes to unapproved translations, but those are prudential judgments.

What's so wild about it really? I could see the first Peter saying the same thing about his epistles, if the gnostics twisted them with biased translations, heretical study notes, and edited out the sections they deemed incorrect.

Reepicheep said...

I think the statements are wild for several reasons-

1. The Bible is not necessary to be read? 2 Timothy 3 disagrees.

2. The RC Church alone is the guardian of the bible? Sorry, I and many others disagree with this.

3. The RC Church ALONE is guardian against error of interpretation? There's plenty of disagreement about interpretation within the RC church, even if they are to be considered what Pius X said. Again, I, and MANY others disagree with this.

4. There were plenty of solid, faithful "Protestant" translations by the time Pius wrote. It's patently ridiculous to inuate a general lack of faithfulness in bible translations by Protestants. Personally, as a Greek major from Moody BIBLE institute, I get a kick out of such assertions, from the Pope or any other person trying to convinces us the RC's have a corner on bibliology and translation practice and history.

I can understand Pius' concern with the laity reading the bible...there just might be a call for Reformation.

5. Take bibles to your Parish Priest? Us dummies...of course. Remember, Pius was writing in the early 1900's, not the middle ages for crying out loud. This is indeed a wild statement.

6. Protestant Bibles altered? Good thing the "Good News" bible is so reliable and literal. Not to mention the extra books Trent went ahead and added to stick it to those crazed Sola Scriptura Reformers. Again, by 1900 we didn't need the Pope to tell us what translations were unaltered. But thanks.

7. Keep your footnotes Rome...wait, never mind. There's no reason to fear opinions so long as the Scripture is accessible. Too bad Pius didn't encourage his followers to not fear the Reformers teaching. Sure sounds paranoid to me.

Other than these few brief notes, you're right's not so wild.

Zach said...

Hiya, Tony. Sorry to be so late in responding to your Catholic "turkey call". :)

I was slaving away in Omaha all week. I'm with Chad -- I understand that you disagree with what Pius is writing, but everything he writes is perfectly consistent with Catholic ecclesiology. You might as well be shocked that the Pope is Catholic.

28Q: This is undeniably and empirically true. In point of fact, the vast, overwhelming majority of Christians throughout history have not read the Scriptures due to illiteracy or scarcity of copies prior to the invention of the printing press. And let's not forget those who lived during the first 400 years of Christendom--before there was a settled canon of Scripture. Even today, there are untold thousands of Christians who are unable to read the Scriptures. So it's just as the Pope said, isn't it? Useful and recommended, but not strictly necessary.

29Q: This is standard fare. The Catholic Church considers itself the one true church of Jesus Christ. Why would it admit translations of the Holy Scriptures that it did not authorize?

30Q: In fact, the Catholic Church has been the guardian of the Scriptures. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the 4th century councils and synods established the Canon, and the monks throughout the centuries labored to copy and preserve the Sacred texts under some awfully tough conditions.

31Q: I don't think anyone was under the illusion that you would agree with this statement. Again, you know what the Church teaches about itself, so what else would you expect the Pope to write?

32Q-33Q: I think you will freely admit that quality varies tremendously among biblical translations, and biases of the translators can't help but creep into the finished product. I mean, would you recommend a Catholic Study Bible to your parishioners? And don't get me started on the issue of the Deuterocanon. Those books were in there from the fourth century on. It is the Reformers who recklessly, ad hoc, desecrated the Scriptures by removing those precious words of God. And, as we know, Luther had a mind to remove even more books that didn't fit within his system.

Finally, is there any doubt that reckless and untutored consumption of the Scriptures (which is precisely what St. Pius X is warning against) has contributed mightily to the proliferation of thousands upon thousands of Protestant denominations? Methinks Protestants would do well to adopt some of the circumspection for which you ridicule the late Pontiff, but I guess that ship has sailed.

Reformed Anglican said...

So when the PCA rejects Federal Vision without once quoting Scripture, on the basis that it is not the Puritan dogma of the Westminster Confession, that is called "Sola Scriptura"? (Not that FV, if it's adherents would ever actually tell us definitively what it is, necessarily is more Biblical than the WC, the process is the issue).

You're OK with people bringing a Preterist study Bible or a Book of Mormon to Redeemer Bible studies, and handing them out?

You're OK with atheist and Jewish academicians defining what the Bible teaches, not the small "c" catholic Church?

Puritan churches don't elevate their theology above Scripture, as if the Bible was milk for the immature, but "the Death of Death in the Death of Christ is so dense that only the truly spiritual can understand it" (a caricature, I'll admit, of what you once said at a worship service)?

Huge amounts of time aren't wasted in home Bible studies discussing differences in translation? Translations don't have theological biases?

People aren't discouraged from responsive reading, or reading along when the preacher reads Scripture, because the KJV is no longer the universal Bible of the English church as the Vulgate was the Bible of the Latin Church?

Our cultural heritage hasn't been lost because we abandoned the Bible of the English church -- people really pick up allusions to the KJV in Jane Austen when all they've ever seen is the NLT?

Apologies if this posted more than once, word verification woofed at me the first time.

Reepicheep said...


I could quibble with your take on what guardianship entails and how faithfully that was executed, but we'll go round and round.

The difference between RC's and the Reformed ultimately comes down to authority. We disagree on where the authority lies, hence you have to defend your Pope. I don't have to defend does that for itself.

My last word on this matter, for now, relates to what you say in particular:

"what else would you expect the Pope to write?"

Point taken, I would expect him to say nothing else, but I'm disappointed with it nevertheless, and to steal his terminology- a bit disgusted.

Reepicheep said...

Reformed Anglican, please identify yourself, I don't prefer to post anonymous posters. You can email me privately if you wish, but I do my best to keep our identities clear when discussing such matters. Thanks.

As for your response, where do I begin?

As it relates to the post about Pius X catechism, my fundamental problem lies with his categorization of Protestantism and the general discouragement concerning reading the Scriptures. I am fully prepared to lay out an explanation for bible translation history and the reasons Pius is wrong on several levels, but for now, I just don't get why RC's can't admit the Pope was wrong in what he said or he at least overstated his case. Using "disgust" in relationship to general protestantism hearkens back to a medieval view of the Protestants that is disappointing.

As for your shots against the PCA, etc. I'm quick to admit we need to practice what we preach regarding the authority of Scripture much more than we do.

Furher, study committees can err.

Westminster could err.

I'm not afraid to admit this.

Only Scripture is inerrant and infallible.

Rick Calohan said...

Reformed Anglican that is an Oxymoron if I have ever heard one; I presume you are a Puritan, which would please John Knox, but would not please the current Anglican/Episcopalian middle way Romanist minus the 39 Articles. Considering the Puritans had a heavy hand in the Westminster Confession I think you could understand why the PCA Committee made the following Declarations.

In light of the controversy surrounding the NPP and FV, and after many months of careful study, the committee unanimously makes the following declarations:

1. The view that rejects the bi-covenantal structure of Scripture as represented in the Westminster Standards (i.e., views which do not merely take issue with the terminology, but the essence of the first/second covenant framework) is contrary to those Standards.

2. The view that an individual is “elect” by virtue of his membership in the visible church; and that this “election” includes justification, adoption and sanctification; but that this individual could lose his “election” if he forsakes the visible church, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

3. The view that Christ does not stand as a representative head whose perfect obedience and satisfaction is imputed to individuals who believe in him is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

4. The view that strikes the language of “merit” from our theological vocabulary so that the claim is made that Christ’s merits are not imputed to his people is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

5. The view that “union with Christ” renders imputation redundant because it subsumes all of Christ’s benefits (including justification) under this doctrinal heading is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

6. The view that water baptism effects a “covenantal union” with Christ through which each baptized person receives the saving benefits of Christ’s mediation, including regeneration, justification, and sanctification, thus creating a parallel soteriological system to the decretal system of the Westminster Standards, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

7. The view that one can be “united to Christ” and not receive all the benefits of Christ’s mediation, including perseverance, in that effectual union is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

8. The view that some can receive saving benefits of Christ’s mediation, such as regeneration and justification, and yet not persevere in those benefits is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

9. The view that justification is in any way based on our works, or that the so-called “final verdict of justification” is based on anything other than the perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

I think the major objection to Federalism is clear it’s contrary to the Westminster Confession of Faith; therefore the PCA is consistent in so much as declaring that God is God and you are not.

To view the entire report of the Study Committee on Federal Vision, visit

Federal Vision: The Issue for This Generation
Melissa Morgan, Issue Number 17, October 2007

Orthodox Presbyterian Church Report

Reformed Presbyterian Church North America Report

Reformed Church US report

Rick Calohan said...

Chad & Zach Part 1: You do not have to be a Roman Catholic to understand Roman Catholicism. Christ plus something else is not Grace. It is the Roman Catholic church that preaches there is no salvation outside of the Roman Catholic Church (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus) and it is the Roman Catholic church that believes that anyone who believes you are Justified by Faith Alone is an anathema. You may not even agree with that but it is what your church believes. If you disagree with that then you can not be a Roman Catholic except in America where the church is so wishy washy about matters of faith that even they are not in accord with Rome. When Rome recants the Councils of Trent then maybe we can be at one accord on the issue of Faith.

You will not find purgatory, indulgences, the word pope, the word Eucharist, repeating Jesus sacrifices to God on an altar, assumption of Mary, immaculate conception of Mary, Mary dispensing graces to the saints, praying to saints for intercession, praying to Mary for intercession, killing other Christians in the name of Christ like the popes did, going to hell for eating meat on Fridays, going to hell if you don't attend Mass during Holy Days of Obligation, going to hell if you miss Mass on purpose, sacraments as necessary for salvation, paying money to erase your sins, flagulation or personal suffering to merit favor with God, Scapulars saving you from hell, saying rosaries to shorten time in a place called purgatory, walking through holy doors at the Vatican to shorten time in purgatory, bowing to statues while thinking of "God", walking on bloody knees to earn favor with God, meriting salvation for yourself and others, God as physical bread when eaten forgives sins, and the list goes on and on.

You will not find any of this because salvation is by faith in the savior's sacrifice, not faith in the savior plus other things.

Rick Calohan said...

Chad & Zach Part II: I do not doubt you have a zeal for God and that is commendable. I am not against Catholics. I am against error in the church that leads people astray into destruction. Having said that, sincere faith in the wrong thing can send a person to hell. You cannot count on your sincerity before God to save you.

You may feel like you are winning arguments by going into church history to find a quote from this guy or that guy or using Catholic apologists info, but you are missing the overall point. The most important point. And that is this…. ultimately you do not have your sins forgiven if you believe in other things to erase your sins besides the cross of Christ. You MUST believe what Christ did on the Cross is enough to pay for all your sins, there is nothing else needed.

To suggest there are other ways to make me clean before God is indirectly saying "Christ, what you did 2,000 years ago wasn't enough…more is needed to make me clean in your sight. Thanks, but, you just didn't do enough."

I've actually heard a few Catholic apologists who are forthright enough to say "What Christ did 2,000 years ago was not enough." That is the only logical conclusion you can make. The Catholic church teaches God initially saves you but you must then do your part in your own salvation. You merit the graces necessary to be saved. It’s a denial of Christ.

You must understand God is so Holy its impossible to get to Him apart from the one-time Sacrifice of the Cross. Please do not deny His sacrifice but embrace it.

His one time sacrifice 2,000 years ago is sufficient to forgive you of all your sins for all time….if you believe it.

Hebrews 10
10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," 17 then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Rick Calohan said...

Chad & Zach III: Meanwhile while I respect your right to believe and practice your religion as you so choose however, keep in mind your church does not.

Therefore, here is the Heretic Schismatic Prayer for Tony, me and everyone else whom by the Grace of God is saved by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Alone!

Orémus et pro hæréticis et schismáticis: ut Deus et Dóminus noster éruat eos ab erróribus univérsis; et ad sanctam matrem Ecclésiam Cathólicam, atque Apostólicam revocáre dignétur. Oremus. Diaconus. Flectamus genua. Subdiaconus R. Levate.
Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, qui salvas omnes, et néminem vis períre réspice ad ánimas diabólica fraude decéptas; ut omni hærética pravitáte depósita, errántium corda resipíscant, et ad veritátis tuæ rédeant unitátem. Per Dominum. R. Amen.

Let us pray also, for heretics and schismatics, that our Lord and God may deliver them from all their errors, and vouchsafe to recall them to their holy Mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church. Let us pray. Deacon. Let us kneel. Subdeacon R. Arise.
Almighty, eternal God, Who dost save all, and willest not that any should perish, look upon the souls deceived by diabolical fraud, that, abandoning all heretical depravity, the hearts of the erring may regain sanity and return to the unity of truth. Through our Lord. R. Amen.

The only intolarance I see seems to be against me because I believe the following that....

Salvation is by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in the Scripture alone to the Glory of God alone!

Rick Calohan said...

Chad & Zach IV:

To clarify the only way you get these interpretations of Scripture is by taking what already exists today and going backwards in time into the Bible. You interpret the Bible according to what the Roman Catholic Church says, not according to what the Bible says in context of itself.

Chiefly that Sola Scriptura or Scripture Alone does not teach Christ plus non-Biblical man made traditions as the Judaizers in Galatia were guilty of and what the Roman Catholic Church is guilty of.

In my Geneva, KJV, NIV, NKJ and ESV Bibles I do not recall reading John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through the Roman Catholic Church." That is how is seems to me that the Roman Catholic teaches Tradition and Scripture, Papal Authority over the Authority of Scripture.

John 14: 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

Galatians 2:20-21. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

That damn Catholic 'and' Scripture and reason, faith and works, Christ and Mary—which always seems to add something to what the Bible says and what Christ has said.

Apostolic succession is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as told by His Apostles Peter (Greek: Petros small pebble), James (HIS BROTHER ITS IN THE BIBLE), John, and Paul as it is written in the Bible that is the written word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and without error in the original manuscripts. The Bible is the revelation of God’s truth and is infallible and authoritative in all matters of faith and practice. Not the Pope, not Tradition, but the Bible.

Zach said...


You wrote to Reformed Anglican:

Using "disgust" in relationship to general protestantism hearkens back to a medieval view of the Protestants that is disappointing.

Let's get this right. St. Pius here uses the term "disgust" with respect to Protestant versions of the Bible. Now, if someone handed one of your parishioners a Bible from which a half dozen OT books had been deleted--and which contained explanatory footnotes contrary to the WC--would you think their looking on it with "disgust" to be a disappointingly medieval reaction?

Honestly, if the use of insensitive language like "disgust" is the primary reason you consider the Pope's words to be "wild" (rather than just objectionable in a pedestrian sense due to their standard-issue Catholicity), I would think that you'd have taken some offense at the medieval terms thrown the way of Catholics in this very comb box. I seem to remember the term "idolator" being tossed around once or twice by a certain commenter. :)

Qayaq said...

There is almost a sense in which reformed people refer to confessions and creeds the way Catholics refer to the church or the Pope, a Paper Pope if you will.

Rick Calohan said...

The only problem with your statement Qayaq if you will is that our Reformed confessions and creeds are Biblically based, the Pope is not.

The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647)Chapter XXV.
Of the Church.
VI. There is no other head of the Church, but the Lord Jesus Christ;(n) nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.(o)

(n) Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22.
(o) Matt. 23:8, 9, 10; II Thess. 2:3, 4, 8, 9; Rev. 13:6.

Reepicheep said...

The whole line of reasoning is wild to me.

I certainly appreciate your attempted justification Zach, but I stand by my assertion that Pius makes some wild claims here.

Two more that are "wild" are the proclamations that the church is the sole guardian of the bible. He means the "RC" church, therefore I have to disagree. I do not think the RC Church has done a faithful job identifying the Canon, let alone be considered much of a guardian. I know what you'll respond with, so save your key strokes, you won't convince me this isn't a wild claim on the part of Pius.

Further, his similar claim that the RC Church is impervious to interpretive error? No person or church can claim that, especially a guy who occupies an office that is the result of an interpretive error. Again, I know what you'd respond with, but I firmly believe such a claim is wild.

Scott Lyons said...

Reepicheep, I understand why Pius X's statements sound wild to you. That being said, and some comments already address this, I think you would agree that it is true that some translations/interpretations do damage to the Scriptures. And if they do damage to the Scriptures should they not be reviled? They should. The contention is rightly on who gets to decide what is a proper interpretation. Protestants, in general, are happy to give magisterial duties to their ThDs. I find more solace in allowing the successors of the Apostles to possess all such magisterial duties. Today we Catholics are free to read the NASB or the NIV or what have you, though other translations are offered to us. Most of the Bibles I own are translations offered by Protestants. I don't particularly like the current translation (NAB) given to American Catholics ... but such is life.

On the necessity of Christians to read the Scriptures, not only is it a matter of historical fact that for most of Church history Christians did not read the Scriptures, it continues to be unnecessary (though strongly encouraged) because the proper place for the Scriptures are in the liturgy of the Church. The proper mode of the Scriptures are to hear them. We hear the Scriptures read to us in a cycle of three years, two if we attend daily Mass. That doesn't mean we cannot read the Scriptures for ourselves, or by any means should not. We are encouraged to with the words of St Jerome, "Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ."

One last little item that doesn't concern this particular post and may seem rather silly, but it means something to me. It's about your screen name, Reepicheep (Loyal to the King). One is hard pressed, in my mind, to be loyal to Aslan without also being loyal to the kings and queens he has set over Narnia. Unless, of course, one is simply unaware of the authority provided.

Rick, Christ and the Church are the whole Christ. Therefore soteriology cannot be properly discussed without discussing ecclesiology. Nothing is being added to Christ when we talk about the necessity of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Christ gave us the Church - it is through her that we find salvation. If you must have it your way, then strip it all back - no prayers to receive Jesus, no blood covering my sins, no sola scriptura, etc. These are all additions to Christ - at least with the "Christ plus something else" spiel (and nowhere to be found in the Scriptures).

Salvation can be properly understood as being by faith alone in our Lord's sacrifice, but only if by "faith" you mean more than assent, more than simple belief. It is faith working through love. And salvation does not mean simply getting to heaven, it means sharing in God's life. It means, becoming by grace all that Christ is by nature. St. Athanasius says, "God the Word became man so that man by grace might become God." That, brother, is salvation.

Reepicheep said...

Thoughtful comments, even if I disagree with your ecclesiology. thanks.

Regarding my choice of screen name, I agree, we should be loyal to the kings/queens God has appointed. Simply put, I don't think the Pope counts as one. With all due respect, of course.

Rick Calohan said...


Then if Christ is the Church and all your man-made non-Biblical traditions are part and parcel of the Church. Then explain to me why the Roman Catholic Church rejects the Authority of Scripture?

“Christ Endorsed the Authority of the Bible
Perhaps the strongest argument that the Bible is the Word of God is the testimony of Jesus. Jesus claimed of the Bible: divine authority, indestructibility, infallibility, ultimate supremacy, factual inerrancy, historical reliability and scientific accuracy. And if he is the Son of God, then the Bible is the Word of God.
What Do You Think?
In the end it comes to this: we submit to the authority of Scripture because we submit to the authority of Jesus. Harsh? I don’t think so. “
To view the other 15 reasons go to:

Matthew 15:1-6

1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” 6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.

Or have you heard or read that in the last two or three years depending on your mass attendance or adherence to the Liturgy of the RCC?

Rick Calohan said...

“St. Athanasius says, "God the Word became man so that man by grace might become God." That, brother, is salvation.”


Your making Athanasius sound Mormon it almost equates to Mormon doctrine that as God became man, man can become God.

Saving Faith
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647)
Chapter XIV.
Of Saving Faith.

I. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls,(a) is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts;(b) and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word:(c) by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened.(d)

(a) Heb. 10:39.
(b) II Cor. 4:13; Eph. 1:17, 18, 19; Eph. 2:8.
(c) Rom. 10:14, 17.
(d) I Pet. 2:2; Acts 20:32; Rom. 4:11; Luke 17:5; Rom. 1:16, 17.

II. By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein;(e) and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands,(f) trembling at the threatenings,(g) and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come.(h) But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.(i)

(e) John 4:42; I Thess. 2:13; I John 5:10; Acts 24:14.
(f) Rom. 16:26.
(g) Isa. 66:2.
(h) Heb. 11:13; I Tim. 4:8.
(i) John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Gal. 2:20; Acts 15:11.

III. This faith is different in degrees, weak or strong;(k) may be often and many ways assailed, and weakened, but gets the victory;(l) growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ,(m) who is both the author and finisher of our faith.(n)

(k) Heb. 5:13, 14; Rom. 4:19, 20; Matt. 6:30; Matt. 8:10.
(l) Luke 22:31, 32; Eph. 6:16; I John 5:4, 5.
(m) Heb. 6:11, 12; Heb. 10:22; Col. 2:2.
(n) Heb. 12:2.

See how Biblical that is?
1 Peter 2: 2 1As 2newborn babes desire that sincere milk
of the word, that ye may grow thereby,

2:2 1 The second is, that being newly begotten and born of the new
seed of the incorrupt word drawing and sucking greedily the same
word as milk, we should more and more as it were grow up in that spiritual
life. And he calleth it, Sincere, not only because it is a most pure
thing, but also that we should take heed of them which corrupt it.
2 As becometh new men.

Zach said...

I do not think the RC Church has done a faithful job identifying the Canon. . . I know what you'll respond with, so save your key strokes.

Save my keystrokes? Perish the thought! :)

Do allow me, however, to ask you a simple question with respect to the canon: Why do you consider, say, the Epistle of James to be God-breathed Scripture?

Zach said...

It gives me no pleasure to note (well, okay, a little pleasure) that Rick has offered several outstanding Modern Examples of Disappointingly Medieval Ecumenical Language (hereafter "MEDMEL").

I'd say "Antichrist" and "son of perdition" are way meaner than Pius's rather benign expression of papal disgust.

Matt said...


Hi there. I found your blog via Chad. As a Catholic (formerly a reformed protestant) I do take issue with your understanding of Pope St. Pius X's statements here.

With your having stated that you know the Catholic responses pretty well I'm not going to waste too many pixels trying to convince you.

I would, however, recommend you to a website I write for with some fellow reformed-to-Catholic converts named Called to Communion (though Chad or others may have pointed you there before. It's the stated purpose of the site to foster real dialog between Catholics and our reformed brothers. Some of the work over there may clarify some of the things I think you're misunderstanding about the Catholic position.

To briefly touch on a couple of your points, first of all I think you're really overlooking Pope Pius's recommendation that "[Scripture]'s reading is very useful and recommended to all."

In my experience of the reformed faith, I've never run into someone who taught that "The reading of the Bible is not necessary to all Christians" including the illiterate, the mentally retarded, covenant children who cannot yet read, etc.

The Scriptures are absolutely central to the Catholic Church and its reading has been recommended, with proper guidance, throughout the history of the Church.

Additionally, you state several times in your responses to St. Pius's statements that you and many others disagree with them, but this begs the question. You're assuming that you and many others have standing from which your disagreement, with all due respect, makes a difference.

God has given authority and promises to guide them into truth from Christ, through the Apostles to the bishops they ordained and their successors. Standing outside of that succession, what the opinions of you and those who agree with you against the Catholic Church any weight or bearing on anyone else?

Again, I mean that in the most respectful way possible, my opinions don't have that standing either, but it's a question that has to be raised.

There's been a great discussion in the comments in this thread and in this podcast from Called to Communion that discuss these issues in more detail.

Sorry for the shameless plug, and it's great to see the irenic dialog going on on your blog. I look forward to reading and commenting in the future!

In Christ,


Matt said...


Sorry, typo in my last comment. The 5th paragraph down should read:

"I've never run into someone who didn't teach that "The reading of the Bible is not necessary to all Christians" including the illiterate, the mentally retarded, covenant children who cannot yet read, etc."

Sorry for the mistake.

In Christ,


Reepicheep said...

Welcome, thanks for your comments.

I grew up Roman Catholic, much of my family remains so. So our treks are opposite.

I am fine with such dialog, but in my experience it consistently ends with a stalemate of sorts over the issue of authority. You think the bishops have it, I think Scripture has it. Yes, I know full well whatyou will say next...I'm not convinced. As an example, I appreciated much of what you said, then you said-

"God has given authority and promises to guide them into truth from Christ, through the Apostles to the bishops they ordained and their successors. Standing outside of that succession, what the opinions of you and those who agree with you against the Catholic Church any weight or bearing on anyone else?"

I do not see the scriptural warrant for the doctrine of Apostolic succession, so therefore I reject the authority you ascribe to the "magesterium".

The Apostles were prophets of God used to to pen Scripture. The Apostolic faith is contained in teh Bible. God has indeed gifted His church with men able to teach and preach God's Word and oversee His Flock as undershepherds. Their authority however does not come from their office title but from their faithfulness to the Word of God. These teachers of the church are desribed as elders. Elders are accountable to Scripture by the plurality of elders.

I differ with you, Zach, and Chad, on the very nature of the Church, etc.

Dialogue is good, I'm all for it, but in the end, I'm guessing we'll remain pretty stayed in our positions.

Reepicheep said...


Very briefly, There are multiple criteria for determining canonical books.

1.Apostolic authorship
2.Apostolic endorsement (like Paul endorsing Luke's Gospel)
3.Consistency of the message and it’s broad scope of application
4.Early Church acceptance of the book as Scripture

The first two are most important.

The book of James is interesting and admittedly complex, but nevertheless it meets the above criteria. Interestingly, the James who wrote this book is very likely the James who was not an Apostle but rather the brother of Jesus who was the key elder of the Jerusalem Church (dare I say bishop?). I find it interesting that James ruled on the content of the Gospel in the very presence of Peter...hmmm...if there was to be a Pope, why not James? RESIST responding...this post is way too long already.

Scott Lyons said...

Reepicheep, thanks for your respectful comments.

Rick (and others), the Roman Catholic Church does not deny the authority of the holy Scriptures. It denies my authority and your authority to make them say whatever we will. This is Pius X's argument. Of course the Catholic Church believes in sacred Tradition, and she believes in it because of the Scriptures (the Scriptures themselves are part of sacred Tradition):

"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us" (2 Thess 2.15).

"Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." (2 Tim 1.13,14)

"The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim 2.2).

The emphasis in these passages is that sacred Tradition (both oral and written) are taught, are passed on. And though most of that Tradition was written for us in the Scriptures, some of it was not. Even St John the Evangelist says that not everything that Jesus said and did was written down. If it were, why do we argue so much about what the NT Church looks like? Nowhere does St Paul or the other Apostles tell us what it looks like. We get glimpses. We get epistolary correctives to bad practices. But while we don't have it completely written, it was still faithfully passed on. The Scriptures are easier for us because they're written. We feel as if we can know what the Apostles intended because we have it in writing. The heretics also felt this way. Even heretics are lovers of the Scriptures. It takes the Church to say what is orthodoxy and what is heterodoxy - not in denying or contradicting the Scriptures but by rightly interpreting them (examples of this are the teachings of the Trinity, of the hypostatic union of Christ, and of the compilation of the New Testament canon.)

And Yes I have heard Matthew 15 in the past two or three years. (More than likely I have heard it more often than any given non-liturgical Protestant has heard it in theirs, unless their pastor happens to be doing a study on Matthew.) But understand that Jesus was not denying all tradition here - but man's tradition. If he were denying sacred Tradition then St Paul could not have written what he wrote (see the texts above) without also doing damage to the integrity of the Scriptures. Let me reiterate, the proper place for the Scriptures is to heard in the liturgy. That is not to say that it is improperly read by the individual - at all. But that its first place is liturgical, to be proclaimed and heard, in the setting for which it was written. Your questions, your attacks, cannot be and ought not to be on tradition itself, but rather on those traditions that are contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures. And I will stand with you there. (Though I imagine we will disagree there as well.) : )

Concerning St. Athanasius: I am not making him sound Mormon - those are his words. And they do not mean that we become part of the Trinity, but that we share in the Life of the Trinity, as St Peter says (2 Peter 1.4) - that when the Incarnation happened it changed everything, God had become Man. Now by grace we can become ("like" - for your sake) God. Not in our natures, but in our energies (from our Orthodox brothers). By grace we can love like him, be compassionate like him, do more than Christ himself did, be co-heirs with Christ, etc. This is what Christ gave/gives us, and is not an overreaching on our part. We are Christ's brothers. He is our Lord.

Peace be with you

Rick Calohan said...

Peace also be with you Scott, but I do not believe we can be brothers in Christ if your Roman Catholic Church refers to those of us whom believe in Justification by Faith Alone in Christ Alone as an Anathema Heretic and Schismatic do you refer to your brothers in that light?

I am sure you know the differences between Catholic and Protestant Theology allow me to highlight for those who do not.


• We are all sinners.
• We need a Savior.
• Jesus is God.
• Jesus died as a sacrifice for our sins and paid for our sin debt.
• If we repent, we can place our faith in Jesus to Save us.
• It is by Faith that we are Saved not by works.
• Salvation is given to us as free gift from God. It cannot be earned.

This is considered the Biblical Gospel.

What if a church proclaims a different gospel? Paul writes, “If any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:9

A different gospel results in a separation God’s loving Grace by leading the believer of the false gospel into eternal separation from God - a terrible and awful situation.

Is it fair to say that the following is a false gospel?

• We are all sinners except Mary the mother of Jesus.
• We need a Savior but must be saved through the Church.
• Jesus is God.
• Jesus died as a sacrifice for our sins and paid for our sin debt but we pay for our
sins burning in Purgatory before we can go to heaven.
• If we repent, we can place our faith in Jesus to Save us
but we must fulfill the Sacraments.
• It is by Faith that we are Saved AND by works.
• Salvation is given to us as free gift from God. It is conferred (created like
flowers and air) not imputed.
Any these statements, except "Jesus is God," disqualifies the true Gospel. Yet, all of these statements refer to Catholic Doctrine.

I’m not making this up it is in the Bible if you choose to read it for yourself and not be blinded by the authority of the bishop of Rome, Cataclysmic Catholic Dogmas, gross idolatries and man made non-Biblical superstitions from the occult of Rome.

Matt said...


I don't usually hijack other people's blogs for the sake of Catholic apologetics, but you made such a tidy list, I had to respond.

The Catholic doctrines you claimed to be unbiblical are as follows:

• We are all sinners except Mary the mother of Jesus.

Not exactly. Mary was not sinless because she didn't need a savior, but precisely because she had one. Mary was merely given the free gift of salvation prior to her birth rather than after it.

There are two ways to be saved from falling in a mud puddle. One is for you to fall in and someone to pick you up and clean you off. The other is for someone to stop you from falling in in the first place. That is what happened with the Mother of God.

• We need a Savior but must be saved through the Church.

The Church, the Scriptures say, is the pillar and ground of truth. It is, again according to the Scriptures, the Jerusalem above, which is the mother of us all. The Apostles themselves forsake abandoning the assembly (the ekklesia in Greek, which is the word from which we derive the English "Chuch).

If you think you can be saved while breaking biblical commands, abandoning the pillar and ground of truth and forsaking your heavenly mother the Church, you've a strange notion of being obedient to the Scriptures.

• Jesus is God.

Well, let's be clear, fully God and fully man. But I'm sure you believe that too.

• Jesus died as a sacrifice for our sins and paid for our sin debt but we pay for our
sins burning in Purgatory before we can go to heaven.

The Catholic Church in no wise teaches that the debt of one's sins is paid for in any part by time spent in purgatory. Furthermore, the doctrine of purgatory is aptly described by St. Paul when he speaks of our words being tested by fire and some being saved by, as if by fire, after this life is over.

• If we repent, we can place our faith in Jesus to Save us
but we must fulfill the Sacraments.

Well, yes, you must, because the Scriptures tell you to. They also tell you to love your neighbor, give up your possessions and care for the poor in order to be saved.

Indeed, the only description listed by Christ himself between those who enter paradise and those who go to everlasting judgment is what they did or did not do for the poor.

• It is by Faith that we are Saved AND by works.

Yea and verily, as St. James says "So we see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." Coincidentally, this is the only time the phrase "by faith alone" appears in all of Sacred Scripture, preceded conspicuously by that troublesome word "not".

• Salvation is given to us as free gift from God. It is conferred (created like
flowers and air) not imputed.

I'm not sure where you've been getting your information, but conferred does not mean created. But you are right that the Catholic Church teaches is that Christ's righteousness is not inputed to believers (i.e., God does not act as if we have Christ's righteousness even though we do not. Rather the Church teaches that we are infused with Christ's righteousness, such that we actually become holy. In St. Peter's words, we become partakers in the divine nature.

So, all that said, I really just don't think you've given the views of the Catholic Church a fair shake. They have deeply biblical roots as are well documented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It's available at any bookstore and I highly recommend that every protestant read it, not necessarily so they become Catholic (though that would be great) but so they understand what they're arguing against when they talk to Catholics.

All the best,


Rick Calohan said...


Grace and Peace to you in the name of the Lord! Amen. Most of us, as humans, naturally think of ourselves as generally ‘good’ people. We think to ourselves that as long as we’ve never done anything seriously wrong and lived a fairly good life that God will accept us into heaven when we die. We have this preconception because we look around at each other, and all that we see is someone else’s righteousness which is not that much better or worse than our own. Thus, we come to the conclusion that the subjective standard must be no greater than the average person. Jesus dealt with this belief in His day:

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 5:20 (NASB)

In the eyes of the people, the scribes and Pharisees were the most religious, pious, and righteous men on the planet! It would be like saying, “Unless you are a better person than Billy Graham [or whoever the most righteous person of modern times in your eyes is], you will not go to Heaven.” Jesus basically stated that it is impossible for a man to enter heaven the way he is! Why would He say this? To determine this, we must look at the Scriptures, which Jesus said were “spoken…by God” (Matthew 22:31 NASB). All Scripture quotes are from the NASB.

God expected man to live a life free of any sin, and this was God’s covenant with man (i.e. the basis of man’s right standing with God):

The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” -Genesis 2:16-17

And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” -Matthew 19:17

“…for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.” -Romans 2:13

“However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”” -Galatians 3:12

However, all have sinned and are under God’s wrath:

“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;” -Romans 3:19

“…for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” -Romans 3:23

“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” -Ephesians 2:3

All works that are considered ‘good’ in man’s eyes still cannot overcome or cover man’s sins:

“For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” -Isaiah 64:6

“Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.” -Galatians 3:21

Thus, salvation is impossible if it is based on the actions of men:

“And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”” -Luke 18:24-25

Rick Calohan said...

Matt II:
The Good News
Mankind is corrupt in the eyes of God, Who is the ultimate standard, and justly deserves God’s wrath for our sin. However, what is impossible to man is possible with God:

“When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ” -Matthew 19:25-26

Thus, God, in His infinite love, has provided a way of salvation for all who believe in Christ:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” -John 3:16-18

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” -Ephesians 2:4-7

This salvation is a free gift:

“…being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;” -Romans 3:24

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” -Ephesians 2:8

It is completely unearned:

“Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness…” -Romans 4:4-5

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9

“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” -Titus 3:4-7

No amount of good works can ever give someone a higher standing before God:

“…just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.” ” -Romans 4:6-8

By His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, Christ has merited all things necessary to save believers from God’s wrath:

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” -Romans 5:9

“…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE ISAPPOINTED.”” -Romans 10:9-11

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE…” -Galatians 3:13

“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” -Hebrews 10:14

Rick Calohan said...

Matt III:

The Gospel of the Grace of God

“…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”” -Romans 10:9-11

If you have been convicted of these things, please cry out to God for Him to save you. Weep over your sins against the God whom you owe your whole life and very existence to, and turn from them. Run to Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, as your once for all sacrifice that satisfies God’s righteous wrath against you and place your whole trust in Him and Him alone. Then, He will forgive you of your sins, and you will have eternal life.

If you have done this, you will want to find a church where this message is preached and where you can fellowship with other believers. Go and be with the community of the Redeemed.

You now know the gospel of the grace of God:

“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” -Acts 20:24

Salvation is by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in the Scripture alone to the Glory of God alone! Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria!

Frontier Forest said...

I would have responded earlier but it has taken me 2 days to read all this spiritual volleyballing.
So who won the battle? Some mighty good hits on both sides. Jesus won the victory for all who will call Him Lord over us! “For we are more than conquerors through Him that first loved us.”
(Actually been on the road trying to drumb up some new biz.)

Reepicheep said...

More importantly, let's hope the Yankees win their 27th World Series Championship!