I have had enough of writing individual articles in reply to the individual articles that Evangelical Outreach (EO) has on its Information [sic] for Catholics website. Frankly, as a Catholic, I can only take so much of dealing with Dan Corner's grotesque caricatures masquerading as descriptions of Catholic belief and practices. They make me as sick as do the grotesque caricatures of Christians of all stripes, especially Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, that one can readily find in the news and entertainment media today. Worst of all is having to deal with Corner's abuse of the Sacred Scriptures to support un-biblical Protestant doctrines.
One thing is certainthe Bible is eternal truth. Furthermore, it was given to make us "wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus," 2 Tim. 3:15! We are to go by the Bible and use it for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). Jesus said that the Word of God will be our judge (Jn. 12:48), and the Word of God teaches that we must repent and place all (100%) of our trust in Jesus for our salvation (Jn. 3:18; Acts 20:21; 26:20; etc.). Baptism, holy communion, good works, church membership, subjection to the Pope, praying the Rosary and Mary cannot save us, according to the Bible! So why not believe the Bible? Could there be anything wrong with repenting and trusting Jesus 100% for our salvation?
Allow me to examine that paragraph, bit by bit.
"One thing is certainthe Bible is eternal truth", says Evangelical Outreach. That is quite simply not true; and, were my own style akin to that of Evangelical Outreach, I would be sorely tempted to say,
"See? What you have suspected is true!! Protestants believe The Bible is GOD. They say 'the Bible is eternal truth'. But ONLY GOD IS ETERNAL. So, Protestants believe that a BOOK is GOD!!!! That is blaspheming, sacrilegious idolatry!!!!!"
Oh, yes, that would be so easy. But, Deo gratias, I am not of such a temperament. Nor am I on a witch hunt, desperately seeking whatever I can to take out of context and distort. I should allow, rather, that Evangelical Outreach means that the truths the Holy Bible teaches are eternal truths. (If that is, perchance, not what is meant, then I shall reconsider my disavowal of the charge of idolatry.)
"Furthermore", Evangelical Outreach tells us, "it was given to make us 'wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus', 2 Tim. 3:15!" Yes! Of course! But, how, exactly, was it given? It was given by and through the Catholic Church (see my Second Maccabees and the Rest of the Holy Bible): the books of the New Testament were written by Catholics for Catholics; for centuries, the individual books were preserved by Catholics for Catholics; after those centuries, the individual books were officially recognized by Catholics as divinely inspired Sacred Scriptures that teach the Catholic faith; and preserved, protected and propounded by Catholics for Catholics until today. Yet, I have searched Evangelical Outreach in vain for even one syllable of thanks to God for giving us the Holy Bible through the ministry of the Catholic Church.
Protestantism is founded upon, and sustained by, taking writings out of context and distorting their meaning according to preconceived notions. Protestants cannot help but do this with the Sacred Scriptures, because they have ripped the Holy Bible out of its God-made context: the history, beliefs, and practices of the Catholic Church. (They do likewise with the writings of the Fathers of the Church, and the teachings of the ecumenical councils and popes.)
"We are to go by the Bible", Evangelical Outreach says, "and use it for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16)". But St. Paul did not mean that we are to go only by the Bible. If that's what he meant, why didn't he write it that way? Moreover, the scripture St. Paul meant was the Jewish Scripturesthat is, the Old Testament. But, of course, "we are to go by the Bible". Why? Because that is what the Catholic Church teaches us. And how do we know what books belong in the Holy Bible and what books don't? We know because the Catholic Church decided. And that is the only way we know. (Remember, Protestants reject some books from the Bible that the Catholic Church acceptedbut they accept no books that the Catholic Church rejected.) Still, one searches Evangelical Outreach in vain for even one syllable of thanks to God for giving us the Holy Bible through the ministry of the Catholic Church.
"Jesus said that the Word of God will be our judge (Jn. 12:48)", Evangelical Outreach notes, "and the Word of God teaches that we must repent and place all (100%) of our trust in Jesus for our salvation (Jn. 3:18; Acts 20:21; 26:20; etc.)".
Now, the one who actually believes that Jesus meant what He said, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit" (John 3:5 NIV) is trusting 100% in Jesus. And the one who dares to believe that Jesus meant what He said to Peter, "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18 NIV) is trusting 100% in Jesus. And the one actually believes that Jesus meant what He said when He told His Apostles, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven" (John 20:22a-23)that one is trusting 100% in Jesus. And the one who dares to believe that Jesus meant what He said and said what He meant, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53) is trusting 100% in Jesus.
Now, what I want to know is this: How many percentage points do they trust Jesus who explain away the clear meaning of His own plain words? Curiously, Evangelical Outreach neglected to provide us with the appropriate calculation. But I have some advice for them: stop hating the Catholic Church, and stop "knowing" that the Catholic Church is wrong, and you will find yourself able to actually take the words of the Lord at face value.
Evangelical Outreach pontificates, "Baptism, holy communion, good works, church membership, subjection to the Pope, praying the Rosary and Mary cannot save us according to the Bible!" But EO cut that sentence short: it should end, "according to the Bible according to Evangelical Outreach". Baptism, Holy Communion, Good Works, Church Membership, "subjection" to the Pope: untold millions of Christians, century after century, have accepted that each and all of these are essential to salvation, and that nothing whatever in the Holy Bible teaches otherwise. The question is this, then: why should we believe that Evangelical Outreach's interpretation of the Holy Bible is more correct than that of the Catholic Church, without which Evangelical Outreach wouldn't have the Bible at all?
And, by the way, Catholics agree completely that "Mary cannot save us".
"So why not believe the Bible?" Evangelical Outreach asks. Yes! Believe the Bible! "Could there be anything wrong with repenting and trusting Jesus 100% for our salvation?" EO also asks. Certainly not. I agree. One hundred percent. But what's wrong with taking Jesus at His word? What's wrong with interpreting the teachings of St. Paul on faith and works in the light of what Jesus taught, instead of having to explain away the Lord's clear, plain words because of what Protestants think St. Paul taught? Why not just believe the Bible?
Does one really "trust Jesus 100%" when one does mental backflips and handstands and somersaults to explain away the clear meaning of His plain words?
"Trust Jesus 100%". That's what Evangelical Outreach tells you. But don't, oh don't, oh don't you dare, actually believe what He said. That's what Evangelical Outreach also tells you. Don't you dare believe what He said about having to be born of water (John 3:15). And don't you dare believe what He said about Simon being the Rock of the Church (Matthew 16:18). And don't you even think of believing that He meant what He said when He told the Apostles that they could either forgive or retain sins (John 20:23). And, oh, no, don't you ever dare believe what He said about having to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood (John 6:53). That's what Evangelical Outreach tells you.
But, I confess, I understand where Evangelical Outreach is coming from. I mean, if you actually take Jesus at His wordwell... you just might end up joining the Catholic Church. If notwell... at least you will be able to say you trust Jesus enough to believe what He said. Which, I think, is One Hundred Percent.
As a Protestant pastor, I was committed to presenting the truth of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. I took this seriously, and building my teaching and preaching upon the foundation of Scripture alone, I believed that what I was feeding my congregation was safely palatable. As I look back, I am amazed at how blind I was. There are so many Scripture texts I either unconsciously missed, conveniently avoided, or consciously explained away.
Marcus Grodi, M.Div.
Journeys Home, page 155
Evangelical Outreach's method of interpreting Catholic beliefs and practices is the same as its method of interpreting the Sacred Scriptures: the whole is distorted through misunderstanding the parts.
EO's desperate, futile attempts to explain away the Lord's words on Peter and on the Holy Eucharist, for example, rise inexorably from the anti-Catholic bigotry that began with Martin Luther and which teaches that faith is all that really matters and that the Church has no real authority. So, anything in the Sacred Scriptures that teaches otherwiseand the evidence is overwhelmingmust be ignored, minimized, or explained away. Indeed, that is why the Protestant case is so desperate and futilebecause the evidence that must be ignored, minimized, or explained away is, indeed, overwhelming.
When reading anti-Catholic propaganda, like that of Evangelical Outreach, a necessary corollary becomes apparent. Since the teaching of the whole of Sacred Scripture has been distorted by Protestants according to the preconceived notions they bring to it and impose upon it, whatever teaching of the Catholic Church appears to conflict with Scripture thus distorted must be focused on and magnified, and thus distorted too. There really is no other way to defend the Protestant position.
Evangelical Outreach professes that its Information [sic] for Catholics webpages are "Written and Posted in Christian Love".
Let us take the case of the man, though, who is convinced that his wife is cheating on him. She is not. And he has no evidence that she is. But he is convinced.
"Where did you say you were going last night?" he asks. Some small detail of what she didthe time, the place, the personsdisagrees with what she had said she would be doing. Lies, he thinks. All lies to cover up what she was really doing.
"You did say you're just friends?" he inquires. Some innocent, irrelevant facet of her replythe briefest hesitation, a momentary catch in her voice, the turn of her head or the expression on her faceand he thinks, She wouldn't have reacted that way if they were only friends.
Finallythough nobody else who knows her would recognize the woman his wife has become in his own mindthe honest faithful wife becomes, in her husband's eyes, a faithless lying cheat.
What's love got to do with that?
The grotesque caricature of the Catholic Churchthe vile, reprehensible distortion of Catholic beliefs and practicespresented by Evangelical Outreach would be unrecognizable to any educated, faithful Catholic.
What's love got to do with it?
Most Rev. Fulton J. Sheen
There are not over a hundred people in the United States
who hate the Catholic Church.
There are millions, however, who hate
what they wrongly believe
to be the Catholic Church
which is, of course, quite a different thing.
Radio Replies (1938)
quoted by Rosalind Moss, Journeys Home, page 60