Flash

A Conversation Between a Protestant & Catholic

P. Why do you call yourself a Christian but reject Christ by having so many images and idols, so many false gods, in your homes and Churches? I have even see Catholics kneel before them and kiss them?

C. Yes, I have heard that many times from other Christians and it really hurts me when they say these things because the truth is for us as Catholics, idolatry is against God’s commandment so worship HIM ALONE as He revealed in His mighty and majestic Word in Exodus 20:1-5. So for all Catholics this it is a grave offense against God, what we as a Church call mortal sin to worship anyone but the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The bible teaches that not all sins are equal, "All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.” 1 John 5:13-17, from the NIV. So the Bible reveals that there are sins that are graver than others, one type of sin leads to spiritual death (mortal) and one sin does not, the ones that do not we call small or venial.

So for Catholics, as has been taught since the day of Pentecost in our Church, praying to or worshiping a statue or an image of a saint would remove us from a life of what we call "sanctifying grace," God's life and Spirit within us, this is mortal/deadly sin and a rejection of salvation, so what you
have just stated is completely against what we believe and teach as a Church. To further explain this, can I ask you a question a couple of questions?

P. Sure.

C. Can your read a person’s heart?

P. No that is the domain of God and God alone, Jesus often revealed this to the scribes and Pharisees, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?” Mark 2:8

C. Exactly, so let me share with you something we teach in our Sower ministry, “Do not make conclusions out of assumptions.” When a Catholic kisses or kneels before a statue, other Christians often assume that their posture and gestures reveal worship of false gods and mistakenly conclude they need salvation because God’s command is “You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve IDOLS for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or earth below or in the waters beneath the earth, you shall NOT BOW down or or worship them.” Exodus 20:3-4. Brother, believe it or not millions of Catholics are deeply in love with the Word, we pray, study, and in the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God do our best to live the Word daily, so we know and understand the truth about idols and statues and how ridiculous it is to think that a human being can believe that God would actually dwell in something they made, just like St. Paul courageously proclaimed to the Athenians and now the Word reveals to the world in the Acts of the Apostles, “The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, DOES NOT DWELL IN SANCTUARIES (or statues) MADE BY HUMAN HANDS.” Acts 17:24. We get this, and always have. We KNOW that is is just plain foolish to think that a person can think they can take a piece of wood/stone/gold/clay and form it into an image of their choice and say to the true and living GOD, “Come and live here in what I have made.” Please also take the time to read: Deuteronomy 4:28; 2 Kings 19:18; 2 Chronicles 32:15; Psalm 115: 4-8 and 135:15; Wisdom 13:10; Isaiah 37:19.

So the conclusions are based on the false assumption that a statue is an idol and that the person kneeling before it or kissing the image is a pagan in need of salvation because they worship this image as an idol.

P. No they are not false assumptions. As you just quoted from Exodus 20, the bible clearly says “Do not carve idols" and you do. The bible says “Do not bow down to them" and you do.
So you are pagans and need salvation.

C. Ahhhhh, now I see the cause of what you are believing. First let me make this point, God is against idols NOT images.

We follow the Word of God, for example, as quoted above, Psalms 115: 4-8, tells us things like statues and images "Have mouths but do not speak, eyes but do not see, ears but do not hear.” Again, we get it, there are no other gods, statues do not have life, a voice, a spirit, and it is beyond belief to think that someone could believe that a statue has ANY sort of power for healing and salvation. We know they are not going to get up and fly away, they do NOT possess power in any way shape or form, and any person who believes they do are being deceived by the fool, humanities greatest spiritual enemy, satan.

You see the entire issue and conclusion is based on the false assumption that every image, statue, and picture is an idol because the Word of God says not to carve these things and worship them. But did you know that God the Father is not against the image itself but against the worship of an image as a false god?

P. No, the bible says no images period and so that is what I believe.

C. If I can show you in the bible the where God commands his Prophet Moses to make and image and look at it to be healed, will you be surprised?

P. Greatly.

C. Ok, here it goes, this is what we have believed as a Church for 2,000 years.
A Christian can have all the images and statues and icons they want just as long as they worship ONE GOD, what has manifested Himself as Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is clear from the Father’s instructions to Israel on how to make the Ark of the Covenant, “Make two cherubim (angels) of beaten gold for the two ends of the cover.” Exodus 25:18.

Earlier in Exodus 20, in the ten commandments the Father clearly stated that He did not want anyone to carve ANY images from creatures above, like angels, or below, like a snake, and then make these images their idols meaning the image itself is a god and has power to heal and save the person. That IS IDOLATRY, and believing that a statue can save us or heal or empower us again is just plain nonsense and for us as Christians in the Catholic faith we are taught that is idolatry mortally wounding to our souls which means ANYONE practicing this is not saved because they reject the Christ, the Lamb sent by God or Father to die for our sins.

Just like in Exodus 32, when Moses was delayed in coming down from Mount Sinai with God's commands, the Israelites go to Aaron and said "Let us make a god for us who will be our leader." Exodus 32:1. That's idolatry, they wanted to make their own god, a god they could see and control, a god they thought would have the power to lead them. Death is the punishment for idolatry as the Bible reveals, "Thus the Lord smote the people for having had Aaron make the calf for them." Exodus 32:35.

But as you can see now the Father clearly says to Israel and now to you and I as Christians that we CAN HAVE IMAGES of angels because He commanded them to do so KNOWING THAT HE WAS THEIR GOD, and that these images only were reminders of His presence and protection and salvation.

But that is not all the bible teaches about the difference between an image and an idol. There is another example from God our Father that reveals
that.
He is in no way against His family, His sheep, we as believers, having images in our houses and Churches.
You see in Numbers 21:8 God personally commanded Moses to make a BRONZE IMAGE OF A SNAKE, and mount it on pole, in order
to stop the death and suffering of the Israelites, who were being bitten by snakes because they were murmuring against Him, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it on a pole, anyone who is bitten can LOOK AT IT AND LIVE.” NIV translation.
Are your familiar with this part of the bible?

P. Yes, I have read that, but do not see a correlation.

C. Thanks for the honesty. Jesus did see a correlation and actually uses the same revelation to prophesy about His crucifixion in John 3:14-15, "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.” Amen and alleluia to eternal life through the Blood and resurrection of the Lamb.

Brother this is big.
This is essentially important to understanding God's revelation about the difference between an image and a idol.
If Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, the fullness of revelation and Truth incarnate had any problem at all with images He would have squashed it right then and there, but instead He uses the imagery of the serpent mounted on a pole at the Father's command to Moses, to point to His own crucifixion, when He was put to death "By hanging him on a tree," Acts 10:39 to suffer and die for our sins. Amazingly clear, just as the Israelites who were murmuring against God the Father, which is a sign of disobedience, the Father allows them to continue their life on earth, not to die a physical death by being obedient and looking at the snake on the pole in Moses hands, and living. Now Jesus, our Lord and Savior, our living God, reveals that He must be lifted up on a cross to die for our sins and that “EVERYONE who believes in Him may have ETERNAL LIFE.” John 3:15. Praise be His Holy Name.

Yes, so the bible clearly reveals that
God is not against images or statues or icons but that He forbids and condemns anyone who worships any other god, whether it be human, plastic,
money, picture, imaginary like the Greek gods, whatever.

As a Church, in our worship and in our daily prayers, we kneel as a sign of respect, honor, and love for Jesus our Lord and Savior. However we know that God is reading our hearts not our knees, Jesus reads our hearts not our lips.

Yes, as Catholics, in our worship, at the time of consecration, the time we believe the Holy Spirit is transforming our gifts of bread and wine into literally the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, we kneel before the altar, which for us is both a symbol of the altar in the Temple of Jerusalem, where the passover lambs were slain and now represents the Eternal sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, dying for our sins as the Father’s Lamb, and also the table of the Last Supper.

So yes, we proudly kneel but we also know and seek to follow His Word, “If you bring your gift to the ALTAR, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, go first and be reconciled with your brother, AND THEN COME AND OFFER YOU GIFT.” Matthew 5:22.

We know as Christians that Jesus is seeking that we authentically live the Word and that we are not Christians of the lips but of the heart, that our faith is not routine but Spirit filled, that Matthew 25 is our daily experience of mercy, charity, sacrifice, generosity, tolerance, forgiveness, and love, and not a show or routine, “These people honor me with their lips but their HEARTS ARE FAR FROM ME.”

So if you see a Catholic kneeling before a statue of the Virgin Mary or a saint, please never assume or believe they are worshipping that image as a god, that is impossible for us. Rather know that we use images of saints and the Virgin as reminders of
men and women who their their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, have been saved by the Blood of Jesus. Yes, these are men and women who have surrendered their live to Jesus in their walk of faith and now we believe what the bible teaches, that they are NOT DEAD, they are the risen Church, and we ask for their love and intercession for our prayers of praise and our prayers of petition to Jesus as our Lord and Savior in all our trials and triumphs, as the Bible reveals:

"As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' He is NOT GOD OF THE DEAD BUT OF THE LIVING. You are greatly mislead." Mark 12:26-27.

To further explain to you why Catholics and Orthodox Christians even have these icons and statues in their homes and Churches, let me ask you another question.

Do you have any pictures of family members, those you love in your home or wallet? Do you have any sports memorabilia like images of a guy throwing a baseball or a football or someone shooting a basketball in your home? How about a souvenir that has an image of the place you vacationed or visited?

P. Of course, everyone I know has pictures of kids or parents or grandparents in their homes, and I am sure we all have some sort of trophy, or a teapot with some dragons on it, or a souvenir from a place we traveled to like the Lincoln memorial or Mount Rushmore.

C. So if you are so against images and statutes why do you have them in your homes?

P. I do not think of these pictures or trophies as idols. This just art or just memories.
Art is normal part of God's plan for His creation and
so are memories.
They are reminders of people I love or an accomplishment in my life.

C. Exactly.
Why would it be any different for the Pieta, or a statue of the Virgin, or an icon of a saint.
The truth is that from the beginning God revealed that those who believe in Him become PART OF HIS FAMILY. "I will be your God and you will be my people.” Leviticus 26:12. This is the power of our covenant of faith with God, it means that we are part of God's own family and so as a Church, as family members, we believe that these icons/images/statues are not and NEVER have been or ever can be idols or gods but family members who have lived a life of faith and grace and now are living in the place Jesus prepared for His family in heaven. John 14:2.

P. Bro, that is a lot of new information for me, need some time to process it, but let me just say I am totally surprised at your knowledge of the bible and especially that you are even talking about your Catholic faith.

C. Yeah, thanks for that, and just to let you know, our ministry, the Sower, through the Church and the guidance of Noel Diaz are working diligently in the power of the Holy Spirit to first bring all Catholics into a personal encounter with Jesus as their living God, what Jesus called “Metanoia,” and to live a life in the Spirit who will teach and guide them to a deeper knowledge of the Bible and their faith so as to live Jesus’ New Commandment in John 13:34 to “Love on another.” Brother, let’s break the fools attempt at dividing us as Christians, maybe not all can but between you and I let’s walk as brothers in the power of the Holy Spirit and focus on our common faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and our undying love for His majestic and transforming Word.

P. Sounds good to me bro. My pastor is having a bible study this Wednesday at 7PM can you come and listen?

C. Sure can, I love knowing more about Jesus by studying His Word. Our priest is an excellent bible scholar. He is breaking open the Gospel of Mark in a mighty way on Thursday nights at 7:30. Can you come by and study and pray with us?

P. Count me in bro.C. Amen to the Blood of the Father’s Lamb, Jesus Christ. I will see you on Wednesday with my bible and a big smile. Peace and Power in His Name.
Spread the Word.

This conversation was written by:
Joseph Borba: Director of the Sower ministry
Errol Carter: Former Protestant and now spreading the Word in life and in the Sower ministry as a baptized and Spirit led Catholic.


For comments or questions please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Peace
Power
Prayers
The Sower ministry
P. "Why do you believe that the Pope is without sin, the bible says in Romans 3:23 "All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God."

C. Can I ask you this question first? Your reply will let me know if we can have a sincere Spirit led conversation, a true fellowship in our common love for the Word and our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

P. Go ahead bro.

C. Do you ignore the verses in the bible that do not conform to or
possibly
even contradict your theology?

P. Hmmmmmm, no, that would be hypocrisy, and I am not a Christian of the lips but of the heart. If the Word challenges what I believe I need to take it to prayer and ask guidance from the Holy Spirit and do some research and study and then follow my conscience.

C. Praise His Holy Name, all the glory to Jesus. Thank you for that. Here are my thoughts about your question:

Yes, the bible is the Word of God and that is true, we know that Jesus is the Truth incarnate and sent the Holy Spirit as as “The Spirit of Truth,” to guide you and I “To all Truth,” as John 16:13 reveals.

So first of all, I want you to
know that if the Pope says he is not a sinner then he would be deceiving his very self by the very Word he preaches and believes in because the bible reveals that we have all sinned, “If we say, ‘We are without sin,’ we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8.

So that is not possible because he is the Pastor and earthly Shepherd of the Catholic Church which has ALWAYS taught that everyone is a sinner, so
yes all have sinned, including every Pope that has ever lived, all except Jesus' first disciple and mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

P. Why would the Virgin Mary be an exception? The bible clearly reveals in Romans 3:10, "There is no one righteous not even one." So your doctrine contradicts the Word and that is wrong.

C. Ok. Fair question. But whether the
Mother of God, the Virgin Mary is without sin is a completely different question, a question that we as Christians in the Catholic faith are often asked by other Christians such as yourself and because they are related let me take a moment to explain the Catholic Churches teaching on why the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, must have been without and then I will explain why you are in error in believing that the Catholic Church teaches that “The Pope is without sin.” Ok?

P. No worries bro.

C. Let's begin with one of the essential gifts bestowed upon us as God’s creation namely with the beautiful gift of “reason.” St. Paul taught and now the Word reveals that every person will be held accountable by God for not knowing Him and giving Him the glory because, “Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BE UNDERSTOOD and PERCEIVED in what he has made.” Romans 1:20. This understanding and perceiving of God, comes thought our natural gift of reason which our Creator bestowed us with. So the Bible reveals that God has created us to know certain truths through the gift of “reason” and now this gift reveals to us the truth that allows us to know and understand this essential truth that is NOT IN THE BIBLE but revealed by His Spirit and in the Church that He founded in Matthew 16;18, namely that "God cannot be born of or dwell in sin.”

So just like the Word reveals that through the majesty of His creations for example the mountains/oceans/wind/rain/snow/creatures like hummingbirds everyone through His gift of reason can know His existence and give Him the worship and glory, not through this same gift of “reason” we can know that it is
literally impossible to believe that the Father would send His Son, His Lamb, Jesus the Christ who IS GOD to be born of a sinner.

God being born in the womb of a sinner would be a contradiction of God's very being and as you know God cannot be a contradiction, for example we often hear the question, "Can God make a mountain that He Himself cannot move?" The very question is a contradiction and therefore cannot be a part of who God is, God will not and cannot contradict His "ousia," the Greek word the early Church referred to as the "essence," of God, His very Being. So for the Divine Word, God the Son, in the divine person of Jesus Christ, to become a human being, the Father choose and graced the Virgin Mary as His living “Tabernacle,” His “Ark of the Covenant,”
Exodus 25,
in whom His Son would literally dwell and be born of. Yes, to be the “Ark” in which His Son, His Word, His Lamb would dwell and be born of, the Father chose a Virgin, “And the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall call him Emmanuel,” Isaiah 7:14.

God had a plan. A salvific plan and He graced the Virgin with a MAJOR role in His plan for the world redemptions and our salvation. In His perfect plan, God knew His living tabernacle of the New Covenant, His chosen instrument must be without sin, created in the same perfection that He created our first parents Adam and Even. But know this for certain, the Virgin could have said NO I do not want to be Your "Ark," Your "Tabernacle," in which Your Son will dwell.

This is why we also call the Virgin Mary Jesus’ first disciple, because in her YES to the angel Gabriel, in her humility of allowing the Holy Spirit to “Come upon you,” and the Power of the Most High will overshadow you,” Luke 1:36, yes put more simply to impregnate her, (can anyone possibly believe the Holy Spirit would touch a sinner in this way) so acts freely of her own will to allow this miracle to happen to her and therefore she is the first to believe that Jesus is the “Son of the most High” and the Lord God will give him the throne of David,” Luke 1:32 and in her belief in her yes, she is His first disciple.

This truth therefore, in the power of the Holy Spirit, has lead our Church to believe that the Virgin Mary, as literally God’s chosen mother for His Word, His Son, His Lamb, must be conceived and born without sin, because that is God's plan, what we as a Church call “The Immaculate Conception,” because again, can you imagine that the Father would chose to allow His Son to be born in sin, when in fact He did have a choice? For me it is a solid “No way Jose."

Please allow me to further explain this important Truth using the bible, the Word of God, which we believe in, through what is known for us as Catholics as one of the three theological virtues, namely the gift of faith, God’s freely given gift for our salvation and all who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

You and I both know that Jesus is the unblemished Lamb full of grace and truth, so whoever is going to be the Lamb’s Mother must be without sin or as we say in our Church, infused with "sanctifying grace,

" God’s life, meaning Mary WAS REDEEMED, “In a more exalted fashion be the merits of her Son.” Yes, as a Church we teach that EVERYONE, including the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, did need to be saved. You can find this Catholic teaching in a book where we as Christians write down what we believe, we call it our Catechism, look for #492.

Here is another way to understand the Catholic dogma that the Mother of God was without sin. Do you remember the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant within it?

The place where Israel believed that the Father was literally present? This Ark contained the stone tablets received by Moses on which the Father’s commands were written and where the Letter to the Hebrews reveals that also contained a jar of manna and the staff of Israel’s high priest, Aaron?
Hebrews 9:4.

Read Exodus 25 and notice how God the Father gave very specific and precise commands as to how and what this ark would made and built of. So if the Father cared so much about the Ark was built, the place where He would be dwelling in Israel’s Temple, in the Holy of Holies, how much more so for His Son?

Yes, if the Father wanted the Ark of the Covenant to be built in a specific manner and as perfectly as possible, how much more so the human person who would be the "Ark of His New Covenant," the Virgin Mary, where His Son would conceive and be born?
For us as a Church the answer is “greatly."

Think of the Virgin as a “type” of this Ark of the Covenant which Luke the evangelist alluded to in his Gospel in reference to 2 Samuel 6:1-12.
The Virgin, again, specifically chosen by the Father, who cannot make mistakes, is the Fathers “Ark of the New Covenant,” which, as Hebrews 8 reveals, is a better Covenant because it is sealed by the Blood of the Lamb.

Now the Father’s Ark, is a human person, the "Ark," IS ALIVE, yes, His Virgin Mary embodies the Christ and in this "Typology," we can see that in the manna, Jesus is the Bread of Life, John 6:38 and 45, In the staff of Arron, Israel's high priest, Jesus is our High Priest, Hebrew 2:17 and 4:14, and in the tablets, the commandments written on stone, Jesus is the Word made flesh, John 1:14, and now through faith, you and I have His commands written are no longer written in stone but in Spirit through the gift of faith, written on our hearts, just as the Prophet Jeremiah prophesied in 31: 31.

But there is much more that the bible reveals to us about the Father's plans and His choice of how and to whom His Lamb, His Word would be born. For example, when speaking about the Virgin Mary, do you refer to her as blessed?

P. No, why should I?

C. Because this is what the bible teaches us to do, this is what the Father commands in His majestic Word, as the Spirit has revealed, "And Mary said, 'My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God MY SAVIOR. For He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. FROM NOW ON ALL GENERATIONS WILL CALL BE BLESSED." Luke 1:46-48.
Mary was saved, she needed salvation. and we are to call her “blessed."

P. Yeah, OK, but that is from a Catholic bible, let me see what my bible says.

C. LOL bro, that is another big misconception,too many Christians believe that the translation of our Catholic bibles are changed and somehow different than the Protestant bible. In fact I just quoted you from a bible I use a lot in my New Testament biblical studies because it is an excellent translation of the Greek, yes, that was from the NIV, a Protestant bible. Just know this truth about bible translations, all biblical scholars have access to the same ancient manuscripts and so it is not the translation that is the issue but who and how the translation is interpreted by the scholars writing the translation.

P. What? Are you serious. The Word of God says I am to call the Virgin Mary blessed?

C. Yup, but there is more from the Word. Do you remember the messenger the Father sent to speak to Mary?

P. Yes, the angel Gabriel.

C. Exactly. So as you know, the word for angel in the Greek in angelos which literally means messenger, the point being that an angel never brings their own words or message but only the Words and message of the person who sent them, in this case, the Word’s of God the Father. So what the angel says to the Virgin are literally what the Father told Him (an angel is pure spirit and neither he nor
she but let's just go with him for now) to say and this is important because there is a very very rare Greek word that Gabriel uses when addressing the Virgin Mary.

Notice Gabriel does not greet her in the expected way, he does not call her by her first name, Mary, but in the manner the Father has chosen and now the Word reveals, and in the Greek this rare word is "Kecharitomene," translated in the Latin as "Full of grace," and in the NIV, "You who are highly favored," and in the bible that Catholic’s proclaim in their Sunday worship, the Mass, the NAB, the New American Bible, the translation is "favored one."

Now the majesty of this revelation is revealed in the study of the Greek and brother I do admit that I am jealous that you are so well trained in the study of the Word and I hope and pray that all Catholics are inspired by the Holy Spirit and the constant encouragement of the magisterium (the word we use to refer to the teaching body of the Church, namely the Pope and the bishops) to daily read and pray and study the word so as never to be ignorant of Jesus or as the great Catholic biblical scholar, saint, and theologian, Jerome stated, "Ignorance of Scripture is an ignorance of Christ." He said that in 5th century AD, can you believe it?

Anyway the majesty of the Word is revealed in the Greek because the word "Kecharitomene" is in the Greek "perfect" tense. Now for those of us who are not scholars what this Greek tense refers to is "An action that has already taken place, a past action, that is now made present."

This is beautiful, we have nothing like this in our English tenses, and that is why the Greek is so important to helping us find the literal meaning of the Word, which is the meaning the author intended to say and what we see the evangelist, inspired by the Holy Spirit intended to say about the Virgin is that God the Father, "From the beginning," has chosen this daughter of Israel, this Virgin, this young girl, to be the dwelling place for His Word, His Son, His Lamb, an therefore the Father Himself has personally chosen to "Grace" her to "Favor" her, to "Gift" her, through the merits of
His Son and her Son, to be conceived without sin so that she could be the "Tabernacle," the "Ark for His New Covenant," Jesus the Messiah, the Christ.

The Father's plan, which He put into place long ago, is now make PRESENT in the words of His messenger Gabriel and are COMPLETED by the humble response, the YES, of His chosen handmaid, His Son's first disciple, as the Word reveals, "Mary said, 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me, ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD." Luke 1:38. NAB. Again, the words of a mathetes, a disciple.

Amen and alleluia. Do you see it? Do you see the majesty of the God's Word being revealed? It is so clear, the Virgin is the Father's chosen daughter. Can you imagine the Father would allow His Word, His Son, His Lamb, to be born in and of sin and a sinner? Can you see the majesty of the Father’s plan and purpose revealed in the Virgin’s “yes” to the angel Gabriel, and in her “yes” becoming Jesus’ first mathetes, His disciple, and the Ark of the New Covenant? For us as a Church this is clearly God’s revelation and Truth, His PERFECT plan.

P. Man, that is so much info give me some time to read the Word and pray and process it all and I will get back to you.

C. Fair enough, let's get back to the Pope. I have one question for you. Where did you get your information that the Pope is without sin?

P. I was once Catholic so I know the teaching of the Church and my pastor taught this to us in our Bible class.

C. Praise the Name of Jesus Christ that you were baptized into His Church and received the Holy Spirit but somewhere along the line you received and began to believe a false teaching about what we as Catholic’s believe about the Pope. He is like you and I, a sinner.

No Pope has ever even thought of saying they were without sin, and the Catholic Church has NEVER taught this. In fact just the opposite is the Truth. The first Pope, St. Peter was a sinner, “When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus and said ‘Depart from me for I am a sinful man,” Luke 5:8, and todays Pope, Pope Francis, has publicly professed that he is a sinner and last April he went to confession in public. YES, people saw the Pope confess his sins to another priest at St. Peters.

P. What? The Pope said "I am a sinner."

C. Yes. Just like that, in those exact words.

P. Where can I hear or read this?

C. Everywhere, just google it. Please always seek the Truth and you will find it. The truth is that if a person only receives or listens to the beliefs of “former” Catholics or non Catholics, or seek the truth about what Catholic’s believe in blatantly anti-Catholic websites, there is a good chance that they will be led astray from the Truth. It is kind of like asking the the Boston Celtics to write the history of the Los Angeles Lakers, if you get my drift. So please, if you have a sincere questions about Catholic beliefs and customs, always seek out an informed Catholic or a Priest for answers like these and it would also be a good idea to buy a Catechism if you are sincere about knowing what Catholics actually believe and teach, but for now just go to to this link www.americanmagazine.org/popeinterview.

P. Thanks of the conversation, I am seeking the Truth and I will look into what you have said, it is quite different from what I have heard and come to believe.

C. No problem, the Bible teaches us that we are all One Body, and saved by One Lord, Jesus Christ. As Christians we should break down the walls of division and unite in our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior and the One and Only way to salvation.

P. Amen and alleluia to that.

C. Spread the Word bro.

P. I always do.

This conversation was written by:
Joseph Borba: Director of the Sower ministry
Errol Carter: Former Protestant and now spreading the Word in life and in the Sower ministry as a baptized and Spirit led Catholic.

For comments or questions please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Peace
Power
Prayers
The Sower ministry
Scenario: A Protestant attends the funeral of his grandfather who is Catholic. He shows up early and finds a group of Catholics praying the rosary. He hears them repeat the “Hail Mary,” over and over and over again and he is appalled by their lack of knowledge of the Bible which he believes condemns this practice. When the funeral is over he approaches one of his cousins who remained Catholic and they begin a conversation:

P. Carnal, how have you been?

C. It’s all good, found a great job and giving Jesus all the praise and glory.

P. Hmmm, speaking of Jesus, can I ask you a few questions?

C. Go for it hermano.

P. Why in the heck are you still Catholic?

C. What do you mean?

P. I mean I showed up early for abuelitos funeral and its the same old thing here bro, a bunch of people praying the rosary, you guys just can’t get over praying to the Virgin over and over and over again, don’t you know that is exactly what Jesus prohibits?

C. Hermano, I know you left the Catholic Church years ago, do you think you really knew the faith you left?

P. Not perfectly but when I left I started reading and studying the Bible and now I do know what Jesus said about prayer and in Matthew 6:7 Jesus teaches this: “In prayer, do not babble like the pagans, who think they will be heard because of their many words.” It is ironic but as soon as I left the Catholic Church and joined a Bible believing Church the Pastor taught on this very issue, namely the different kinds of prayer, the pagan prayer of Matthew 6:7 which Catholics pray, reflected in what is happening in 1 Kings 18:24-29 where the false prophets cry out for a miracle to a god that does not exist named Baal and the true prayer of Elijah, the one he prayed in Spirit and truth (John 4:24) where his prayers were heard and a miracle happened.

C. There is another interpretation to that verse bro and I wish you would have started reading the Bible as a Catholic, I am sure you would have never left. But here is what you did not know about the faith you left, you left a Bible believing Church. In fact the Bible you read today you read on the authority of the Catholic Church.

P. What? No way.

C. Way. Just ask any Protestant bible scholar who has attended a legitimate seminary and he will tell you that our New Testaments have the exact same 27 books that the Catholic Church through the authority of the Spirit made her canon in the early centuries of the Church.

Our Old Testaments are the same as well with the major differenc. being that Martin Luther choose to follow the Jewish canon which contains 39 books. Catholic Christians follow the Greek version of the Old Testament called the LXX or Septuagint which contains 46 books, your 39 and seven others: Wisdom, Sirach, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Baruch, Tobit, and parts of Daniel and Esther.

The LXX/Septuagint is really important in salvation history because it was used by the early Church to evangelize those who spoke Greek. This truth is reflected by the fact that our earliest existing copies of the New Testament are written in Greek. Therefore because the New Testament was written in Greek, the LXX is the Testament most often used when the New Testament inspired authors quoted from the Old Testament. For example in Mark 7:6, when Jesus quotes the Prophet Isaiah from the Old Testament, telling the Pharisees that they “honor me with their lips,” He is quoting from the LXX.

That is a really big deal because only the Church that Jesus Himself founded was given that authority and guidance of the Holy Spirit to make that salvific decision as to what is and what is not the Word of God.

A point I enjoy challenging other Christians with is this, “If the Catholic Church was correct about which 27 books (and you agree by reading them and having them in your Bibles) make up the New Testament namely which books and letters of the first century are God’s revealed truth and His Word, then she CANNOT be wrong about the Old Testament canon and her Spirit led decision to follow the LXX and the 73 books contained therein.”

But I digress and that is another conversation, for now just check out Matthew 16:18-19 where Peter receives the keys (a sign of power and authority) and 1 Timothy 3:15 where the Church is the “foundation of truth” (revealed power and authority).

Also please understand that Catholics do not pray TO the Virgin or the saints we pray THROUGH them as intercessors. When someone says Catholics prays “to” the Virgin or a saint they are essentially believing that the prayer ENDS there with whomever they prayed “to.” This could not be further from the truth.

The actual teaching of the Catholic Church is that our prayers have access to our heavenly Father ONLY if we pray IN THE NAME OF JESUS, not in the name of His Blessed Mother whom we love and honor or in the name of any saint, but only in the name of Jesus. So all our prayers, whether we pray directly to God as we often do or whether we choose to ask for the intercession of the Virgin Mary or a saint all END in God’s presence, period.

All this is easy to know and find in our catechism. The Church that Jesus founded has always written down the essentials of what we believe and teach. And hermano please understand that through our writings, as a Church, we can empirically prove that we are the Church that Jesus founded. How? What is the evidence for this? It is the written witness of believers throughout the centuries.

For example if I asked you who started your Christian Church you would have to say “Martin Luther,” or “John Calvin,” or “Pastor Rick Warren,” or some other human being. If however you answered “Jesus Christ,” as many Christians do, I would simply ask you to show me a letter or any document from any member of your Church in the year 1,000 AD. You will not be able to do that because your Christian Church did not exist in 1,000 AD, only the Catholic and Orthodox faiths have written testimonies of faith from members of their Church in every century since Jesus Christ breathed His Spirit upon them.

Yes hermano from the Gospels themselves to the letters of St. Paul there is a Catholic witness of faith. Yes Paul of Tarsus joined the very Church he was persecuting, and so he was Catholic in practice not name because the name Catholic was not in use until coined by Ignatius of Antioch in his letter to the Smyrnaeans around the year 110.

To know this just what he taught and believed about the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus which the first Christians believed in and shared in communion with each other and Him, for example “The cup of blessing that we bless is it not a PARTICIPATION IN THE BLOOD OF CHRIST? The bread that we break is is not a PARTICIPATION IN THE BODY OF CHRIST?” 1 Corinthians 10:16. The Saints amazing testimony to the Last Supper, which as you know he was not present at meaning he had to receive it from the Tradition of the Church, as he says “For I recieved what I also HANDED ON TO YOU.” You can find this witness to the Last Supper and Jesus’ true presence in the Eucharist in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.

Then just google the Didache, the letters of Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, the Apologetics of Justin Martyr, Augustine and Aquinas, and you will find thousands of written testimonies of faith from the Catholic and Orthodox Church.

Hermano I know I just gave you a lot of info, hope you take time to check it out but let’s get back to what constitutes “babble” in prayer and intercession. The Catholic catechism says this about prayer and intercession and Jesus:

“There is NO OTHER WAY of Christian prayer than Christ, whether our prayer is communal or personal, vocal or interior, it has access to the Father ONLY if we pray in the name of Jesus.” CCC #2664.

As for intercessory prayer the catechism teaches this:

“Intercesion is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray AS JESUS DID. He is the ONE INTERCESSOR with the Father on behalf of all men, especially SINNERS.” Amen to that bro. CCC #2634

P. How come I never heard that when I was Catholic. I always thought we were praying to the Virgin like she is equal with Jesus. But either way why even use the Virgin and the saints as intercessors? They are dead, they cannot hear your prayers.

C. I do not know why you were never catechized with the truth of your faith hermano but I can tell you that the Catholic Church is on fire for the Bible and Spirit in something the Church refers to as the New Evangelization. Yes, our Pope and bishops are asking all Catholics to have a personal encounter with their living God and Savior and in this encounter to receive a transformation of life in His Spirit, we call this encounter “metanoia” from the Greek word Jesus used in Mark 1:15 which is translated “repent.”

In this New Evangelization millions and millions of Catholics are devoted to the Bible and asking to be sent by Jesus in the power of His Spirit to be His instrument of salvation and healing to every person He places before them. There is a New Pentecost taking place right now in the Catholic Church.

But carnal what you just said about the saints being dead is so unbiblical I am surprised you believe that. Don’t you remember the Sadducees? They were the Jewish aristocracy, many of them being priests, who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead and so they approached Jesus with a question about a Jewish woman who married seven brothers because each one died and the next had an obligation to marry her. Jesus just lays them out cold, it was a biblical Mike Tyson knock out blow, so bad they could not even reply:

“As for the dead not being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ HE IS NOT GOD OF THE DEAD BUT OF THE LIVING. You are greatly misled.” Mark 12 26-27. Bam. The Son QUOTES His own FATHER!! Exodus 3:6.

Hermano the Christian witness is RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. A BELIEVER IS NOT A BELIEVER IN JESUS CHRIST UNLESS THEY TOTALLY BELIEVE THAT JESUS HIMSELF ROSE FROM THE DEAD AND ALL WHO BELIEVE AND FOLLOW HIM WILL NEVER DIE.

Jesus is so clear about this essential Christian truth and so please receive what He reveals here in the Gospel of John 11:25-26 as He addresses one of His favorite people and disciples Mary of Bethany whose brother Lazarus had just died: “I AM THE RESURRECTION and the life, whoever believes in me, EVEN IF HE DIES, WILL LIVE, and everyone who lives and believes in me WILL NEVER DIE.” Amen and alleluia to His Blood and resurrection hermano.

Believe it, the saints are alive, the Virgin is alive. They now live in His PERFECT LOVE and LOVE is always an intercessor for all who seek Jesus’ love, mercy, and forgiveness with a sincere heart. These are what we call the “Communion of saints,” and we and most Christians profess this truth as a dogma, which is a permanent/never changing truth of the Christian faith.

So those who died in grace, in and with the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are not dead, they are alive with Jesus and anyone with Jesus is a person of PRAYER and INTERCESSION. Here are some more examples of how those who died in faith are alive and with Jesus and everyone who is with Jesus is still part of His body:

Romans 8:38-39 reveals that nothing not even DEATH can separate us from “The love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

First Corinthians 12:12-27 is St. Paul’s awesome reflection and now God’s revelation that the Church is ONE BODY and verse 25 reveals that God’s plan is there should be no division in the body but your belief is that if a member of that body dies they become dismembered, and that belief goes against His Word and plan. We are His co-workers on earth, First Corinthians 3:9 and death does not change this, the saints along with His angels are God’s co-workers in heaven.

1 Timothy 2:1 asks us to offer “supplications, prayers, and petitions,” for EVERYONE. And don’t forget about Revelation 5:8, where the bible reveals “incense” was a metaphor for the prayers of the holy ones on earth presented to Jesus by the elders, the saints that had gone before them. The Bible in James 5:16, also says the prayer of a righteous person is very powerful, and if the saints are not powerful in His presence and therefore His righteousness and prayer who is?

Read all of chapter fifteen on what St.Paul says to the Church in Corinth and First Thessalonians chapter four about the resurrection of the dead and you will see that the Bible clearly reveals that when people die they ARE ALIVE, they rise from the dead. Again, those who have died before us are not DEAD, all are alive and the ones who died in grace, in and with the Holy Spirit, are still part of the Body of Christ, the Church, because they are with Jesus and everyone with Jesus PRAYS on earth or in heaven.

P. Those are really insightful Bible quotes and I will reflect on them but really what is the difference between what the Father prohibits His chosen people the Israelites from doing in Deuteronomy 18:10-12, namely soothsaying and conjuring up spirits of the dead/necromancy so as to consult them and your Catholic prayers to the saints?

C. Along with everything that I have just quoted from the Bible the difference is that God is against trying to use mediums/wizards or a soothsayer to try to conjure up someone from the dead so as to use them for the purpose of knowing one’s future just like Saul tried to do in 1 Samuel 28:1-15 when he asked a medium to consult the dead. The medium had done this before but read the Word, she screamed in total fright because instead of getting one of her friends the prophet Samuel appears.

Catholics do not seek to “conjure” up the dead because they know there is no “conjuring” to be done, Jesus’ has done everything through His Blood and resurrection and they are not dead but ALIVE and so we do not seek ANSWERS from the saints but INTERCESSION to Jesus who they are present with now in praise and thanksgiving and love and prayer.

Also if you read Hebrews chapters 11 and 12 you will see how the Bible speaks of the ancients/saints who have gone before us and specifically that Jesus is the mediator of a New Covenant and that Covenant includes “the ASSEMBLY of the firstborn in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the JUST MADE PERFECT.” Hebrews 12:22-24.

P. All that may be true but you still repeat the “Hail Mary” over and over and over again, which goes against the bible as I already mentioned.

C. Ok, let’s talk about that verse, Matthew 6:7. How far do you take it?

P. What do you mean?

C. I mean how many words of prayer can a Christian repeat before they are in violation of the Word? Two, three, ten?

P. There is no number bro, just don’t repeat words and prayers over and over again like the bible says.

C. Ok, let’s go to the Word.

P. I am totally shocked that you are talking to me about the Bible, you are Catholic and Catholics do not read or study the bible?

C. Carnal, that is a caricature of a Church that has lived and breathed and proclaimed the Word, the Bible for over 2,000 years. The truth is that today millions and millions of Catholics throughout the world have a deep love for and a relationship with Jesus through the Bible. They read, pray, study the Word all the time and testify daily in word and deed to the power and salvation of the Gospel.

P. Hmmmmmm, that is was not my experience as a Catholic, I hope you are right.

C. Ok, so let’s go to the Book of Revelation 4:1-8 where the Word reveals a vision of an “open door to heaven” where there are “four living creatures covered with eyes in front and back.” As you know the Book of Revelation is written in a specific type of literature that was popular at the time of Jesus and His disciples, also found in the Old Testament called “Apocalyptic,” for example also found in Daniel and Isaiah and Ezekiel and other parts of the Old Testament.

In his vision, the author of Revelation sees the same symbols found in the writings of the prophet Ezekiel in 1:5-21. In chapter 10, Ezekiel identifies the four living creatures as “cherubim” which are angels whose sole purpose is the praise and worship of God. Cherubim are first mentioned in the bible in Genesis 3:24. You good so far?

P. Yes

C. So what happens next, on the authority of the Word of God, is that these angels, who only act in the manner of God’s will and purpose, begin to say the SAME words over and over and over again, in fact the Bible says they say these words endlessly, day and night, and God is there and APPROVING of what they are doing:

“The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.” Revelation 4:8. The seraphim in Isaiah 6:3 say the same exact words as they cry out to the Lord of hosts. They are NOT babbling, they are praising and glorifying God just like Catholics do when we pray the Hail Mary, which is very biblical, as you say “over and over again.”

So the correct hermeneutic of Matthew 6:7 is not that God is against repetition of words and prayers but that God is against praying in “vain” by not knowing to WHOM our prayers are being offered. Notice that after Jesus teaches His disciples how NOT to pray, He teaches them EXACTLY HOW to pray, and take note that it is not an accident that Jesus teaches us to begin our prayer like this “Our Father in heaven,” Matthew 6:9. Amen and alleluia.

So the Greek word Jesus uses which is often translated as “babble” is battalogeo and it literally means to “use the same words over and over again,” or “to stammer.” Remember, Jesus grew up in a time when the Roman empire conquered much of the known world and therefore the gods they worshipped and HOW they worshipped them was made public in these conquered societies.

Jesus is pointing to the problem that the pagans believed there were gods but had no idea of who God truly is, God had not revealed Himself to the Romans like He had to the Jewish faith. The Romans did not have “Sacred Scripture,” they did not know God’s name, they were never sure what words or prayers were important to God or how to praise Him, so in their prayer to the gods, Jesus who is God and would know these things, said they were just babbling.

They would literally repeat words over and over again hoping they were saying the right ones and that at least some of their words would be pleasing to their gods. But again they they had NO IDEA what prayers are pleasing to God and whom God actually is. Knowing how to pray and to Whom we pray requires revelation which only the Jewish faith and now the nascent Christian Church in an even more powerful and clear way through faith in the divine person of Jesus Christ was privy to.

For example in Romans 8:26 St. Paul tells the Church that “We do not know how to pray as we ought,” so the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. The Letter of Jude along with everything that St. Paul teaches, reveals that we must “Pray with the Holy Spirit.” Jude 1:20. Without faith in Jesus Christ no one can pray in the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit only comes to a person who has surrendered their life to Jesus in repentance and therefore is able to call Him Lord as the Bible reveals, “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:3.

So the pagans in their prayer were “babbling,” as Jesus revealed, but to equate the prayers of Catholics to pagan prayer is the work of the enemy because it is a lie and a source of division that distracts us as Christians from being united in love and works of mercy which Jesus calls us to, John 14:12. Knowing a little more of Rome’s history can also help us understand what Jesus meant by “babble” in prayer.

Pliny the Elder, a Roman philosopher and historian who died around the time that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were being written, 79AD, tells us that in the worship of their gods, the Romans had specific words that had to be exactly repeated and if any words were missed they had to start all over again. Again, Jesus tells us they are babbling because they have no idea which words they repeat are actually pleasing to God because they have no idea of the one true God (in reality their gods cannot respond because they do not even exist and are made by “human hands” and “have ears but do not hear,” Psalms 115, 135).

This has all been revealed to us by the one true God. Yes, the Church in her prayer, study, and proclamation of the Word through faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior and guided by the Holy Spirit has revealed to the world that God is a Trinity of persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and therefore we DO KNOW TO WHOM we are praying and we do know that God does hears our prayers, and we know that God is not seeking a certain “amount” of words from believers but He is more interested in the sincerity of the heart that speaks them, “These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” Mk 7:6. That is the “how” of prayer, namely humbly and with a sincere and contrite heart. See Luke 18:10-14 where the humble and contrite tax collectors prayer is heard as he goes home “justified.”

We also have received an important example of prayer from our Lord Himself. Yes, Jesus, just before He was arrested and crucified for our sins and redemption, prayed this prayer to the Father, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39.

Did Jesus repeat this prayer to His Father? Yes He did. How many times? The Bible reveals this, “He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the SAME THING again.” Matthew 26:44.

P. That is an interesting exegesis of the Word and I am shocked that I am hearing it from a Catholic. Let me bring this to my pastor and get his thoughts on the cherubim repeating the same words endlessly and how Jesus Himself repeats His prayer to the Father and I will get back to you.

C. Sounds good. Have you ever thought about coming back to the Catholic faith?

P. No, but if Catholics begin to know and love the bible I will give it some consideration because my life and relationship with Jesus is centered on His Word.

C. Mine too bro. You have my number right?

P. Of course.

C. Let’s get together one day to break open the Word and receive His joy and power together so we can worship Him in Spirit and truth.

P. Done. Just ring me up.

C. You got it. Spread the Word.

P. I always do.

This conversation was written by:

Joseph Borba and Errol Carter

For questions or comments please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Peace

Power

Prayers for Christian unity

The Sower ministry
Scenerio:
An evangelical invites a Catholic friend to his Church for Sunday praise and worship. This Catholic is part of the Sower ministry. He was baptized as an infant, received reconciliation, first communion, and confirmation but stopped going to Church when he went to college. He never left the Church but growing up Catholic he never had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, his faith was in his head and not in his heart and therefore he never experienced that transformation of heart and mind he now knows as “metanoia” where a believer receives the Apostolic faith of personal encounter and Spirit, so he did not see a need to worship on Sundays.

This all changed when he attended a Sower retreat and gave his life to Jesus and like St. Francis of Loyola his eyes “were opened just a little” to the power of the Holy Spirit and the majesty of the faith he was born into but never accepted as his own. So after the retreat he took the Sower discipleship classes and fell deeply in love with Jesus and the Bible and serving Jesus by being His instrument of evangelization. His metanoia allows him to say to his Christian friend “Sure, but that means next Sunday you will come and worship at St. Francis of Rome with me.” His friend agrees and they attend his Church that Sunday.

On the day of praise and worship, the Christian pastor is preaching about salvation and invites anyone who wants to be saved to repeat the “sinners prayer” with him and by surrendering their lives to Jesus, receive the gift of salvation. With different words but the same meaning and intent, the Catholic friend has done this on many occasions on Fridays at the Sower call to prayer so he has no problem repeating these words, “Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and I turn away from my sins and ask you to come into my heart and life. I surrender my life to you my Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you Lord Jesus for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.”

After the Catholic says this prayer his Christian friend turns to him and says “Give the glory and praise to Jesus, you are now saved by His Blood.” A conversation ensues:

C. What did you say?

P. I said “Give the glory and praise to Jesus, you are now saved by his Blood.”

C. Hmmmmm, I thought that’s what you said. So is that why you asked me to come to your Church, to get saved?

P. Yes, we are friends and I want you to be assured of salvation by giving your life to Jesus and living in a personal relationship with Him so you know that no matter what happens you are assured that you will go to heaven when you die.

C. So I was not saved before this?

P. No, you are Catholi

C. Catholics have no assurance of salvation. They worship Jesus and Mary and saints and have to confess their sins over and over again. Jesus died for all our sins on the cross, all we need to do is give Him our lives and follow His Word and we are assured by His Word of eternal life and living in the home He is preparing for us now. That is what His Word tells us.

C. Yes, John 3:16 and 14:1-3

P. Lol bro, did you just quote me the Bible? That would be a shock to me because every Catholic I have ever talked to has no knowledge or love for the Bible and even less of a clue about salvation.

C. Yes, I love His Word and live my life by it as do hundreds of millions of other Catholics. What you just said about Catholics is really messed up and offensive. Where did you get the idea that Catholics are not assured of salvation through their faith in Jesus Christ?

P. Seriously? Every Catholic I have ever asked the question about salvations says “I am not sure or I don’t know.”

C. Yes, that is often true and one reason for this is that most Catholics are not familiar with “Are you saved” language. Another reason is that some Catholics may not believe they are saved, but that is not the teaching of their Church, that is their own personal opinion.

The Catholic Church is very clear that faith in Jesus Christ in and through the Catholic Church can only lead a believer to one place and that is eternal life/salvation/heaven. This truth is given evidence by the fact that when a believer is brought into the faith, at their baptism the catechumens are asked the following questions:
“What do you ask of the Church?” Their response is “Faith.”
The next question is this:
“What does your faith offer you?” The response is “eternal life.” #168 CCC

And for further clarification we continue with the Catechism of the Catholic Church which I love to quote because I know that when I quote the Catechism I CAN'T BE WRONG, because this is not my teaching but the Churches and this is what the Church tells all Catholics:
“Faith is CERTAIN.” #157 CCC
“Faith: the BEGINNING of eternal life.” #162 CCC

So all Catholics can and should know that the Catholic faith is a faith of salvation and eternal life through the Blood and Resurrection of Jesus and His sending of the Spirit into our hearts and if they are ever asked by another Christian the ubiquitous “Are you saved” question, they can and should answer with joy and power, “By the grace of God, YES I AM.”

But now I have a question for you. Ready?

P. Always bro, I have Jesus as my shield.

C. Why do you believe that you are assured of salvation no matter what you say or how you act?

P. Because the Bible reveals that Jesus died for all my sins and if I confess and believe then I am saved, period, read it bro, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9. It is clear that salvation comes from confession and faith, there is nothing I can do to merit this, it is God’s free gift just as John 6:28-29 and Ephesians 2:8-9 reveal. There are also many other Bible verses that tell me I am assured of salvation by believing/having faith in Jesus, for example Ephesians reveals that the Holy Spirit is the mark and guarantee and first installment of my life in heaven with Jesus, “In him you have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14. In Ephesians 4:30, Paul repeats the truth that Jesus has promised eternal life to those who have faith in Him, those who believe that He died for their sins and give their lives to Him as Lord and Savior. I am saved bro, protected with the promise of the Spirit and Jesus cannot break a promise.

C. I agree with everything you have said and so does the Catholic Church. A believer’s salvation is assured by His Word and faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior and for sure salvation can never be merited or earned, salvation is always a gift and yes the Holy Spirit is the promise sent by Jesus at Pentecost upon all believers then and now to empower us to sanctification and works of love just like Ephesians 2:10 reveals. The Holy Spirit is our “helmet of salvation,” as Ephesians 6:17 reveals but I think that I now understand why you are believing what you do, so answer me this one question: What is the difference between redemption and salvation?

P. Nothing, they are the same thing, just a different Greek word is being used depending on the context.

C. That’s what I thought. No bro, they are not the same thing and the context will not change the meaning. Redemption is the English translation of the Greek word lytrosis which also can also be translated as “ransom,” as in “Jesus is the “ransom” paid for all our sins.”

What redemption means is this: “The ONE time, final, never to be repeated, never to be changed, act of love by Jesus on the cross where He is the Passover Lamb sent by His Father as the ransom, the price paid for every sin of every person ever born or yet be born.” This truth is reflected in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 6:10: “As to his death, he died to sinonce and for all.”

To further clarify this point, “Redemption” is the moment when Adam’s sin was undone, when the Blood of the Lamb tore open the veil of the Holy of Holies and heaven which was closed to humanity because of Adam’s sin, was now open again to those of faith and those who died in righteousness before the Word became flesh rose from their tombs and entered heaven:
“But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice and gave up his spirit. And behold the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and rocks were split, tombs were opened and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” Matthew 27:50-52.

Not only do the saints, the righteous, participate in Jesus’ act of love on the cross, no redemption is not for the few for for all, yes, everyone participates in redemption whether they like it or not because Jesus died for all sins and sinners, atheist/agnostic/Muslims/Hindus/Jews and Christians, everyone, just like the Bible reveals “He is the expiation for our sins and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2.

So nothing and no one, not satan, nor any human sin no matter how grave or many, can or will ever UNDO what Jesus has done on the cross, when in obedience to His Father, He suffered and died and through His death and resurrection He opened up the gates of heaven to all humanity by dying for every human sin. Jesus’ Blood was the ransom paid for us to the Father who sent Him on this very mission, to undo the sin of Adam, to redeem us from our sins and open the gates of heaven so we can enter into God’s kingdom.

His resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit is the evidence that Jesus accomplished His Father’s mission, yes, we have been redeemed as the Bible reveals, “He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption the forgiveness of our sins.” Colossians 1:13-14.

Notice the eternal and cosmic change, the deliverance and transfer of all of humanity from darkness to Light, and yes, Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection was cosmic in that all of God’s creations heavenly and earthly were profoundly affected by His act of love, our redemption. So every person ever born or to be born has been redeemed by the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and this is permanent.

C. Are you with me?

P. Yes, I believe that.

C. Ok but here is the difference between redemption and salvation that I want you to know. Just because a person is “redeemed” by the Blood of Jesus does not mean they are “Saved.” Salvation is not only a gift but also a choice. To receive the gift of salvation, and again, no one can merit salvation or do works of love and mercy for salvation, it only comes through FAITH in Jesus Christ which when accepted transforms the entire person and calls them forth to do the “works” Jesus Himself did as revealed in John 14:12. So in order to be saved I must repentant and confess that I am a sinner and personally accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, receive His Spirit and follow Him to my last breath.

P. Yes, that makes sense but if I do what you just said and repent of my sins and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior and do my best to follow Him then I am saved and nothing can change that.

C. We are going to have to go deeper into the Word to explain what you just said because my Church, the Catholic Church does not agree with your belief of ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED. If you were to say “once redeemed always redeemed,” then you would be on to something but for us as a Church salvation CAN BE LOST, because the gift can be rejected by our words and actions, our sins.

P. No way bro. Jesus died for all my sins on the cross. Period.

C. Hmmmmm. Ok. Let’s start here. Are all sins the same or are some worse than others?

P. Sin is sin, God is against all sin period.

C. Agreed, God is against all sin but the Bible does reveal that not all sins are equal. Let’s just use one of God’s beautiful gifts to humanity our gift of reason to explain and understand this. For example, a young man walks into a liquor store and walks out with a six pack of Coors lite without paying for it. The next day, the same young man goes back to the same store and tells the cashier to give him all the money he has, when the cashier refused, he shoots him dead. In your mind are the sins committed the same?

P. In that scenario no they are not the same, murder is a horrible crime and a deep spiritual sin but that does not mean that it is any more offensive to God than the sin of stealing some beer.

C. That is where we disagree and so let’s go to the Bible because I know you cannot disagree with God’s mighty Word.

P. You got that right.

C. Ok, here it is from 1 John 5: 16-17, “If anyone sees his brother sinning,if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and He will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say you should pray. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.”

As a Church we call these deadly sins “mortal” sins, and the smaller ones “venial” sins. There Church has no extensive list of exactly which sins are mortal. In the early history of the Christian Church, there were three mortal sins that if a Christian committed removed them from participation in the community and worship, those sins were: apostasy, adultery, and murder.

If a believer informs their hearts and conscience through prayer, the Word, faithful receiving of the Sacraments and the teaching of the Magisterium of the Church, the Holy Spirit will convict them of every wrong doing and reveal to them the times when their offense against God, their sin is mortally wounding to their soul. As Christians we seek holiness and do not want to commit even venial sins because as the Bible just said “All wrongdoing is sin,” and therefore an offense against God. However and this is a big big however, small sins/venial sins are not a rejection of my salvation.

Yes, the teaching of the Catholic Church is that venial/small sins DO NOT take God’s grace and Spirit from my life and soul, so if I die with venial sins I CAN AND WILL GO TO HEAVEN, I will need some cleansing of these sins if they remain unconfessed, because as you know, no contamination, no sin however small can enter the kingdom of God, this cleansing is what we as a Church call purgatory and yes that is another conversation:)

If I die however with an unconfessed deadly/mortal sin on my soul I CANNOT enter the kingdom, I rejected and lost my salvation by freely choosing to follow the fool, the enemy, satan, and so when I choose to follow satan on earth then I am choosing to follow him too where he lives, and that is the ugly and eternal personal choice of damnation.

P. What? You believe that if a believer follows Jesus all their lives and then commits one deadly sin and dies with it on their soul they are eternally damned?

C. That is what the Bible teaches.

P. No way.

C. Well I just showed you that what you believed about all sin being the same was not true, the Bible says exactly the opposite. What about that?

P. I need to study that and I will get back to you. But no way the Bible says that if a believer followed God in a faithful and righteous way all their lives and then fell away in the end in mortal sin, they are going to hell.

C. Let me read it to you. Read all of Ezekiel 18 but here is the key verse, “If the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil, the same kind of abominable thing the wicked man does, can he do this and still live? NONE of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered because he has BROKEN FAITH and committed sin, because of this, he shall die.”

So the truth is that the Bible teaches us that a virtuous person, a righteous person CAN die, which means their mortal sins have caused them to lose their salvation by choosing evil instead of good. So the Bible reveals that the “once saved, always saved” is a false gospel and a good example of what the Lutheran priest and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer call “cheap grace,” as he believed and taught, “cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring confession.” “The Cost of Discipleship,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

This is exactly what “once saved, always saved” is, a preaching of forgiveness without confession because a false Gospel has been preached that says a believer is forgiven of all their sins on the cross and therefore they do not need to ask for forgiveness for sins committed after they repent and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. We remain sinners even after repenting and giving our lives to Jesus. Jesus died for all your sins correct?

P. Yes He did. All glory and honor to Him.

C. So does that mean you are no longer a sinner? Because He died for all your sins and so you just need to believe and not worry about being a sinner.

P. Hmmmmm, that is an interesting question and I know where you are going with it because I have thought about this verse and Bible revelation many times myself, 1 John 1:8 right?

C. Dude you’re good, yes, “If we say, ‘We are without sin,’ we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” So yes, you and I are sinners and remain sinners even though Jesus died for our sins on the cross we still need to CONFESS THEM AS THEY OCCUR. This is what you are missing. To me it seems as that if you are building your entire faith and understanding of salvation on just a few verses and not paying attention to other revelations that are so important to understanding what Jesus teaches about salvation and the need to persevere in love.

P. Like what?

C. There are tons of them that speak about the day of judgment and say a believer must persevere in faith to be saved, so it’s not a moment but a lifetime of surrender and sacrifice and sanctification, always in and with the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself reveals that not all those who think they are saved are, this is a powerful revelation and please notice how surprised those who believed wrongly are:
“Not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father. MANY will say to me on that day, ‘Lord Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU.” Matthew 7:21-23. Ouch.

These were believers Jesus is speaking to, they called Him Lord and thought everything was OK as far and faith and salvation were concerned and Jesus clearly tells them they were deceived.

Another important thing to note is that all the way to eternal life is eternal life. Theologians sometimes refer to this truth as “realized eschatology,” which is reflected, as already mentioned, in the teaching of the Catholic Church, “Faith: the beginning of eternal life.”

As Catholics we ARE ASSURED of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, yes, we CAN know that if we died suddenly or in our sleep that we will enter His kingdom, yes, we can know we are saved, but we also know that the Apostolic faith means persevering to the end. Here are a few more key verses where the Bible reveals that a person is asked by Jesus to be keenly aware of their words and actions and that those who persevere to the end will enter eternal life:
“I tell you that on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37.

“Many false prophets will arise and deceive many and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:11-13. False prophets preach a different Gospel than the one Jesus Himself preached.

“You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22, Mark 13:13

“Everyday the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47.

“Now I am reminding you brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you, which indeed you received and which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2.

“If we persevere we shall also reign with Him, but if we deny Him, He will deny us.” 2 Timothy 2:12.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12. Proving takes a lifetime.

St. Paul knew He was saved through his undying faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, this Apostle to the Gentiles had suffered much and endured to the end and he knew it and he also knew exactly what would happen the moment he died as the Word now leaves us his testimony of faith:
“FOR I AM ALREADY BEING POURED OUT LIKE A LIBATION, AND THE TIME OF MY DEPARTURE IS AT HAND. I HAVE COMPETED WELL, I HAVE FINISHED THE RACE, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH. FROM NOW ON THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AWAITS ME, WHICH THE LORD THE JUST JUDGE WILL AWARD TO ME ON THAT DAY, AND NOT ONLY TO ME BUT TO ALL WHO HAVE LONGED FOR HIS APPEARANCE.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

Jesus used many examples that His listeners would be familiar with in their daily lives so as to explain the Kingdom of God and I want to try one now that I hope will help you understand that salvation is a journey of faith that has a beginning but never ends until our last breath and entering into the Resurrection that Jesus died for us to be able to experience.

I call it “Faith is like a Train.”

Let’s say that faith is a train that begins in Los Angeles California and ends with eternal life in New York New York. (Pick your own beginning and destination:) Paris, Manila, Barcelona, Barstow, Rome, Madrid, Rio). Now let’s say a person wants to take that train of faith from California to New York.

To board the train they need a ticket. No one can board without a ticket. The ticket that is needed to board the train is called faith and again, no one gets on board without the ticket of faith. But they do not have to pay for the ticket because Jesus has paid our fare, yes, Jesus paid the price on the cross so we can receive the ticket/faith as a gift.

However, a person must DO SOMETHING, they do need to show up and claim the ticket. You see, no one automatically gets to board the train to eternal life. To board the train a person must claim the ticket by becoming a BELIEVER. A believer is a person who now lives with the Holy Spirit, “For we have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God.” 1 Corinthians 2:12.

A believer is someone who has rebuked all their false gods and confessed their sins, they have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and have been cleansed of all transgressions, “You were dead in your sins in which YOU ONCE LIVED following the age of this world, FOLLOWING the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.” Ephesians 2:1. All is received through the supernatural gift, the ticket called faith. For myself and 1.2 billion other Christians, that is the Catholic faith.

Once we board the train, the conductor of the train, who is the Holy Spirit yells out, “The train of sanctification has just left for New York/eternal life. Please know this about the faith train. There are many, many stops along the way and a believer can get off the train ANYTIME they choose. Some of the cities along the way that a believer can personally choose to disembark on are called slander, murder, fornication, selfishness, anger, lust, greed, slander, hate, etc. So the name of the train is SANCTIFICATION and all the way to New York a person is being sanctified and saved as the Bible has so often revealed. Because they are on the train, because they have claimed the ticket called faith, all the way to New York/eternal life IS SALVATION, yes, they KNOW WHERE THEY ARE GOING, their ticket, their faith, gives them the certain knowledge that their journey, their pilgrimage on earth, their train rides final destination IS ETERNAL LIFE. The conductor, the Holy Spirit guarantees this truth.

There is a salient and in my mind intrinsically important Bible verse which reveals that a believer is called to salvation THROUGH A LIFE of sanctification, this is Second Thessalonians 2:13:

“But we ought to give thanks to God for you always, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits for SALVATIONTHROUGH SANCTIFICATION BY THE SPIRIT and belief in truth.”

Do you see the power of this revelation? The Apostle is telling the community he founded that they are on a journey of salvation on the train of sanctification and the conductor of the train is the Holy Spirit. So a faith without the Holy Spirit is NOT THE APOSTOLIC faith. A believer CAN believe they ARE ON THE TRAIN leading to eternal life but if their faith is lived without the Holy Spirit they have been deceived just like the believers Jesus spoke about in Matthew 7:21.

Without the Holy Spirit there is no way for a believer to get to the final destination because as the Church through the Word teaches the Holy Spirit IS THE SANCTIFIER “But I have written rather boldly in some respects remind you, because of the grace of given to me by God to be a minister of Jesus Christ in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Roman 15:16.

The need of the Holy Spirit in a believers life should also be self-evident. We are weak, we are fragile, we do not have the spiritual power in and of ourselves to battle an invisible and cunning enemy. There are just too many false routes, too many detours, too many trials one cannot bear alone, too many bad choices that we can and do make and so God knew all believers would need an advocate, a counselor, God the Holy Spirit to enlighten and empower and guide us in these spiritual battles and temptations. Yes, faith and being on the journey of sanctification does not mean that temptations and all the sufferings and trials of the world will be hidden from us but it does mean we will be emPOWERED to deal with them in a way we never could before metanoia.

Yes, the Apostolic faith of personal encounter and Spirit is very powerful, it is like a “spiritual immunization” against the enemy. Through the Holy Spirit we are empowered with God’s love manifested in wisdom, patience, humility, self-control, obedience, trust, and hope to claim victories He has already won over slander, addictions, greed, selfishness, pride, anger, and sexual sins that we had never been able to control before.

The Good News is that with the Holy Spirit, a believer, a person of Apostolic faith, is able to unite their sufferings to Christ which empowers our faith to grow those deep spiritual roots that will be need for the journey. St. Paul taught this unification to Christ through suffering to the Colossians, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church.” Colossians 1:24.

The Apostle also tells the Christian community in Rome that the END of sanctification is eternal life, “But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification and its end IS ETERNAL LIFE. For the wages of sin in death but the GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:22-23. Amen and alleluia.

That’s all I got for you bro.

P. That was a lot. Seminary level teaching bro the kind my Pastor gives us on Sundays and I love it and will check with my Pastor on all the Bible verses and hermeneutics you have given me. Know for sure that I do not avoid any part of the Bible, I love God’s Word, and EVERY Word is important to me.

C. Praise God, all the glory and honor to Him. Hope you receive all this in the manner in which it is intended, to unite us in our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and to be sent together in the power of His Spirit to make the Gospel come alive in the hearts of every person He places before us. And don’t forget, Saint Francis of Rome for praise and worship next Sunday at noon.

P. Amen to that. Yes, I will be there. Is it OK if I bring my Bible?

C. It is more than OK, in the Sower ministry we are encouraged to bring the Bible to Mass and to show up early and spend time with the Word before receiving His true presence in the Eucharist, His Body and Blood.

P. Ok, thanks.

C. Spread the Word.

P. I always do.

This conversation was written by:
Joseph Borba and Errol Carter.
For comments or questions please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Peace
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Prayers for Christian unity
The Sower ministry
P. Hey buddy, I have been listening to my pastor talk about the Catholic Church today and the distinctive beliefs of the Catholics. We have been friends for a long time, but I never asked you what you actually believe in.

C. I hope your pastor said some great things about the Catholic Church, but I be more than happy to tell you what we believe in as Catholics. When we say we are Catholics, we are identifying our faith but we are Christians. A true Christian would believe in these five main things to be considered a Christian. 1) Jesus is God 2) The Trinity 3) The Virgin birth 4) Jesus is the Son of God 5) The Resurrection. All Catholics hold to all five of these Christian dogma. If you don’t hold to all of them, you aren’t consider a Christian.

P. Wow, I wasn’t sure if you believed that Jesus was God, but it makes sense that a true Christian would hold to those five Christian dogma and are in fact biblical. My pastor was saying that Catholics aren’t Christian, but you proved me he was wrong.

C. We consider many of our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, as brothers in sisters in Christ. We share the same beliefs, we are Pro-life, we are Pro-Traditional Marriage, we all believe that moral truth can’t be compromise even if man change the law, it doesn’t make it true. We can always get to together as Christians to march for life or defend marriage.

P. That is true, I never thought about it that way. I am Pro-Life and Pro-Traditional Marriage. We could even pray together for the protection of the unborn.

C. What else did your pastor say about the Catholic Church?

P. Well, he said that Catholics pray to Mary instead of Jesus, Catholics believe in Purgatory instead of the finish work of Jesus on the cross, Catholics believe Peter was the first Pope and they believe that Tradition has more authority than the scriptures. I never been into a Catholic Church so I can’t verify if any of what he said is true. I can tell you this, I hold that the Bible is God’s revelation and infallible and inerrant. I would agree what my pastors says, “if it’s not in the Bible, then it’s not biblical.” I would like for you to show me why do you believe in certain things that’s not in the Bible?

C. I would take your challenge, but I have to tell you that your pastor doesn’t know the Catholic Church as much you think he does. He hasn’t researched what the Church actually teaches and has been dishonest with you and the rest of his congregation. I’m glad that you are coming to me so that I may share with you that all of Catholic teachings is Biblical. What would you like to start with?

P. Let’s start with praying to Mary, I can’t see her as another mediator but Christ who is the one and only Mediator between God and man as mentioned on 1 Timothy 2:5. I can’t see how dead people can hear our prayers or have the ability to know all of them at once. Jesus has taught us to pray to the Father only in Matthew 6 when He taught us the Our Father prayer.

C. Ok fair enough, when we say that we pray to Mary or the Saints, we are actually saying that we go to them and ask them to intercede for us. There are numerous biblical examples as Christians we should be praying for others such as 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Ephesians 6:18-20, Romans 15:30-31, Philippians 1:19 and look here 2 Corinthians 1:11-“ You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us in answer to many prayers.” We can also pray on behalf of others just as much they can pray for us (1 Thessalonians 5:25, 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 3:1) and Jesus even tells us to pray for others who aren’t requesting it (Matthew 5:44). We are in a sense Co-Mediators.

P. Yeah, I get all of that, but those are people on earth not in heaven. We shouldn’t be contacting the dead according to Deuteronomy 18:11 and Isaiah 8:19

C. God is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him (Luke 20:38) and those who believed in Him and dies shall live (John 11:25-26). The love of God unites us with those departed faithful (Romans 8:38-39) and we have communion with them in the household of God (Ephesians 2:19). It makes perfect since Christ only has One Body (Ephesians 4:4) and this way we can ask them to intercede for us in prayer. Besides, they are already holy and the spirits made perfect (Hebrew 12:23) and we would benefit from the prayers from the righteous which are powerful and affective (James 5:16). Let me ask you a question. Do you remember during the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17, where Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah?

P. Yes, He was showing His glory and His disciples couldn’t see because His glory was so bright.

C. In Deuteronomy 34:5, Moses had died. Was it a sin for Jesus to be talking to Moses?

P. Oh, I never thought about that. I know God would not break His own commandments.

C. The difference with Deuteronomy 18:11 and Isaiah 8:19 is that God forbid going through Mediums and all sorts, but we ask Mary and the Saints who are a lot more alive than we are to pray for us only in and through Jesus.

P. Ok, I don’t understand Purgatory when Jesus on the cross said, “It is finish”. There is nothing else that can be added or take the only sacrifice for our sins. Purgatory is about being purified for our sins right?

C. Well, we believe what scripture tells us. No one can enter into heaven unclean (Revelation 21:27) and God’s eyes are too pure to look upon evil (Habakkuk 1:13). So, after coming into a relationship with Christ, is it possible to sin? P. Yes it is possible to sin, but He is just and faithful to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9).
 C. Exactly, if it was finished on the cross and you sin, you still need to confess those sins. What would happened if you died and did not have a chance to receive forgiveness of your sins? How can you enter into heaven being attached to sin?
P. Well, I know you can’t enter into heaven attached to sin, but if you have faith and believe in Him you shall be saved.
C. I know it’s a hard question but, we know that is that there is another place other than heaven or hell. There were spirits in prison where Jesus went down to preach to (1 Peter 3:18) and Jesus also says, “And whoever says a word again the Son of Man will be forgiven; whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either in this age or in the age to come.” In Matthew 12:32. If you can be forgiven in another age, which is another life to come, where can that be? Not in Heaven because forgiven people are in heaven. Not in Hell because it’s too late to seek forgiveness. It has to be somewhere else, where you are forgiven through purging of your sins. In 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 is the best evidence for Purgatory. To summarize it, the foundation is Christ and the works done in Christ is what is being judged. The wood, hay and stubble represents the not so good deeds and the gold, silver and precious pearls represents the good works. Each of these works are tested through fire, but the key thing is that they will suffer loss and be saved, but only as through fire. The suffering we go through on earth (Hebrews 12:7-8,11, 1 Peter 5:10, Proverbs 3:11-12) would be a divine suffering or chastisment in Purgatory which is to suffer loss and the fire is God’s all consuming (Hebrews 12:29) and refiner (Malachai 3:2-3) love. Fire can also be a metaphor for purity (Luke 3:16).
P. I’m actually surprise how much biblical knowledge you have and I have never considered the verses you have given me. I have to pray about these verses. How about Peter being the first Pope? I don’t find the word Pope in the Bible or even a hint Jesus made him a leader of the Church. Jesus is the head of the Church according to Ephesians 5:23.
C. Not a bad objection, but we have to consider what happened when Jesus first met St Peter. In John 1:42 is when Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter/Rock. I don’t think Jesus change’s Simon’s name just for the fun it. When you think about Abram’s name is changed to Abraham or Jacob’s name is changed to Israel proves a change of status and something permanent about them. Let’s look at Matthew 16:18 very clearly, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” We know that Peter means rock and by changing his name earlier points to this moment that now on “this rock” Jesus will build His Church upon Peter.
P. Jesus is the rock, look at 1 Corinthians 10:4-“and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ.”
C. That is very interesting you point that out, but Abraham also shown to be the rock as well, Isaiah 51:1-2-““Hearken to me, you who pursue deliverance,  you who seek the Lord;
look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were digged. 2 Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him and made him many.” The Rock referring to Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:4, if you notice is the supernatural drink, which of course a type of Jesus you gives you Living Water if you recall in John 4 with the Samaritan woman and well. This Rock following the Israelites is a Jewish Tradition, because you won’t find that anywhere in the Old Testament. In other verses a stone is a metaphor for Jesus like 1 Peter 2:4,7 and Ephesians 2:20.
P. Yeah I see what you are saying, in Matthew 16:18 how can Peter be a Pope in just that verse alone?
C. Well, in verse 19 is a sure clue, Matthew 16:19-“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The keys denotes authority and jurisdiction and teaching authority. Jesus has the keys of Death and Hades (Revelation 1:18) and the keys to the House of David (Revelation 3:7) in which He gave to Peter. Also, Jesus echoes Isaiah to which the Jews would understand very clearly about handing over the keys of David to His steward Eliakim. Isaiah 21:21-22-“and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” Notice, Eliakim shall be a father to the inhabitants as the Pope shall be a Father of the Church. The term Pope comes from the Latin word papa. Also notice, the key of the house of David is placed on his shoulder and he shall open that none shall shut and shut that none shall open. It’s the same as binding and loosing which is all familiar to the Jews. Binding and loosing is the permit or to forbid.
P. I have to admit that going to the Old Testament for cross reference makes sense, but I can’t get over the fact that I have to look to one person.
C. Well, Jesus told St Peter that he would pray that his faith will not fail him and when he turns again to strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:31-32) and the fact that Jesus singled out St Peter to be a shepherd of the flock (John 21:15-17). I think that is a big task and it’s a leadership task. In the first 15 chapters of Acts St Peter is the one preaching and healing and in Acts 15 is a clear example of Authority, where St Peter declared by the power of the Holy Spirit that Gentiles do not need to get circumcised to be a Christian, but by faith in Jesus. After he had spoken, everyone remained silent.
P. Yeah, I do remember those passages and Peter did take on a leadership role in Acts. I do however look up to scriptures as authoritative and Tradition seems to be contradictory to the Bible.
C. We Catholics believe in the three legged stool which makes the Church stand. We believe these three things are all equally authoritative and without one the Church will fall. Those three things are Scriptures, Tradition and the Magisterium. We know that man-made tradition is bad (Matthew 15:6, Mark 7:8, Colossians 2:8), but we do see that not all tradition is bad. Scriptures and Tradition are equally authoritative (2 Thessalonians 2:15) and St Paul mentions Tradition elsewhere (1 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Timothy 1:13, 2:2, 3:14). This is essentially the handing down of the teachings orally. When you think about the how the Early Christians did not have the full canon of the Bible, they had to resort to Church Authority and oral teaching. Jesus did say in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” He did not tell His disciple to write but to preach to all nations.
P. That’s true but doesn’t that make scripture void? Scripture has authority and is the word of God and has the final say, 2 Timothy 3:16-17-“ All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
C. Catholics agree with 2 Timothy 3:16-17 one hundred percent, but it doesn’t say, “It has the final say”, what it does say is scriptures are inspired by God and is profitable and the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. You know what’s interesting is that being mature in the faith stands out more. Here is the scripture, Ephesians 4:11-13-“And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipment of the saints, for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;” If you notice scripture is not even mentioned but apostles, prophets, evangelist and pastors and teachers are equip for the work, building up the bod of Christ to attain unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood. This is maturity of faith which is greater than being complete.
P. I have never consider that. You know what? I’m very interested in the next Bible study you guys will have. In the meantime we do have lots of things in common and I would be willing to go with you to the March for Life, because I believe we have a duty to defend life.
C. Amen! This coming Friday as St Francis of Rome @ 7:30 pm. I’m excited that you will join us as we unite to fight for life of those who can’t defend themselves. We are their voices. Also, you are right about us having lots of things in common. It’s unfortunate that doctrine separates us, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t brothers in Christ. If we can unite for a greater cause, we can unite in truth and one day hopefully, you can share in the fullness of truth in the Catholic faith.
P. I will pray on that and I have lots of homework to do. I will take all the Bible verses and talk to my pastor about it. He was wrong on many things and I have learned from your perspective as a Catholic the true teaching of the Church. Have a blessed day and my God bless you.
C. May God bless you too