Category Archives: Justification

Wolves Within the Gate

Ravening Wolves
The so-called evangelical church has an unseemly appetite for the demonic.

As a young lady,  Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) attended a dance one evening with her friends. During the dance, she experienced a vision of “Jesus,” and was no longer able to concentrate on the festivities. Not knowing what else to do, she slipped out of the dance to the local cathedral and cast herself down to worship the Eucharist, asking “Jesus” to tell her what to do. “He” did:
Continue reading Wolves Within the Gate

One Kingdom Too Late

Revelation 13
Roman Catholicism was 300 years too late to be “the stone that … became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35).

[This is the third installment of a three part series.]

When former Protestant, Taylor Marshall, wrote Eternal City, he sought to explain why Christianity is necessarily Roman. “The Church,” he wrote, “receives the Roman empire” from its previous custodians. But in concluding this, Marshall has mistakenly transposed two kingdoms—both of which Daniel addressed, and both of which Daniel set against the background of the rise and fall of four world empires. One kingdom is of earth and the other of heaven, and Marshall has unfortunately confused the two. Continue reading One Kingdom Too Late

Justification by Works

Fruitbearing faith justifies apart from good works.
Roman Catholics would do well to believe that Abraham and Rahab were justified by their works, instead of just saying it.

The Roman Catholic position on James 2:24 is well known and ancient. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” By these words, the Roman Catholic system of “gracious merit” for salvation by works is established, and those who believe the Roman gospel, “by those very works … have truly merited eternal life” (Council of Trent, 6th Session, Decree on Justification, Chapter 16). By James 2:24 the foundation of the Protestant religion collapses, for if “justification by faith alone” is the article upon which the Church stands or falls, says the Roman Catholic, then the Protestant religion is in vain.

But James himself says differently. It is truly remarkable that an epistle that is about authentic faith has become the centerpiece of the Roman Catholic doctrine of a final justification by works “before the judgment-seat of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Council of Trent, 6th Session, Decree on Justification, Chapter 7). But as we shall see, James was talking about something very, very different. Continue reading Justification by Works

Justification by Words

Justification by Words
Roman Catholicism teaches that Justification by Words is the same as Justification by Works. They are not the same thing.

When Jason Stellman converted to Roman Catholicism, one of the bible verses that convinced him was Matthew 12:36-37,

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Stellman believes that this text supports a future justification based on works, and was persuaded that he could no longer read it through a Protestant lens. So in his words, he switched glasses, started reading it through a Roman Catholic lens, and concluded that there will be a future justification based on works. But a closer reading of Matthew 12, as we shall see, reveals that he missed something very important. Jesus actually gave two examples of what He was talking about, and it is not what Stellman thinks. Continue reading Justification by Words

Why We Should Read Romans Jealously

Jealous Eyes
We should read Romans as if Paul was trying to make the Jews jealous. Because he was. (Romans 11:11-14)

We have spent the last week or so talking about interpreting Romans through the lens of the Jealousy Narrative. The Jealousy Narrative is imposed on salvation history by God Himself, Who said that, because the Jews had made Him jealous “with that which is not God,” He would make them jealous “with those which are not a people” (Deuteronomy 32:21). The Jealousy Narrative is seen in many places in Scripture. For example: Continue reading Why We Should Read Romans Jealously

Throwing God Off the Cliff

The scales of justice
The Jews thought it was unfair for God to “render to each according to his deeds.”

In Romans 2:6-10, we read what appears to be an explicit statement of salvation by works: God will render to each according to his deeds—eternal life to those who do well and “worketh good,” and wrath to those who “doeth evil” and disobey. Roman apologist Tim Staples of Catholic Answers explains the Roman Catholic interpretation:

Paul made very clear in Romans 2:6-8 that good works are necessary for attaining eternal life.

He cites James 2:24, as well. As we noted, Jason Stellman, a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, made the same point in his response to our post, “Romans 2:13 and the Jealousy Narrative.” There is a simple answer to Rome’s interpretation here, but to understand Paul and James, we will spend a few moments with Ezekiel, because  both apostles appeal to him so explicitly. They both implore us to be doers of the law, and not hearers only (Romans 2:13, James 1:23-24), and they get this from Ezekiel:

… they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.  … for they hear thy words, but they do them not. (Ezekiel 33:31-32)

There are other examples of their use of Ezekiel. Continue reading Throwing God Off the Cliff

“The Blonde Kids Are On Our Ticket”

Four Cute Kids
They are not mine because they look like me. They look like me because they are mine.

My wife and I are both blonde, and our kids received that attribute from us. We often dine out with another family, of which both parents and all children are brunettes. We usually get separate checks, yet our families are mixed together at the table, so we make it easy for the waiter: “The blonde kids are all on our ticket.” If the waiter separated the ticket based on which side people were seated, our bill would include the dinner of some brunettes, and their bill would include some blondes. In an environment where there are two types of people that need to be distinguished, it is easier to highlight their outward attributes than their inward ones.

But it would be a mistake to say that I pay for their dinner because they are blonde. I pay for their dinner because they are mine, and you can tell they are mine by the color of their hair. There is no causal link between their hair color and my provision for them. Continue reading “The Blonde Kids Are On Our Ticket”

Romans 2:13 and The Jealousy Narrative

Paul wrote the letter to the Roman Gentiles in order to make the Jews jealous. (Romans 11:12-14)

Late last week, we observed that Jason Stellman, a former Presbyterian minister turned Roman Catholic, succumbed to Roman arguments on the meaning of Romans 2:13, which says “the doers of the law shall be justified.” Stellman expressed in his conversion testimony that he had to rethink his exegesis in light of Roman Catholic arguments, and could no longer justify the exegetical gymnastics he used to perform in order to force Romans 2:13 to fit into his “faith alone” paradigm. After conversations with Roman apologists, Stellman could no longer deny the plain meaning of the passage, and agreed that justification cannot be by faith alone. In that post, we agreed to provide an exegesis that shows that Romans 2:13 is much simpler to expound than Stellman realizes. The sheep of Christ must not be led astray by Stellman’s inability to see what the passage states so plainly.

To understand Romans 2:13, let us go all the way back to Moses, and the rampant idolatry of the Israelites: “They provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they Him to anger” (Deuteronomy 32:16). Because of their idolatry, Moses prophesied, God would one day stir the Jews to jealousy by a foolish nation: Continue reading Romans 2:13 and The Jealousy Narrative

From the heart

I became a believer in 1990, and because I was saved out of Roman Catholicism, and into Christianity, I just assumed all of my fellow Protestants understood why Roman Catholicism was out of accord with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that will offend some people, but let’s be honest. The debate over the true church took place 500 years ago, and both sides—Protestant and Roman Catholic—concluded that the other side was in error. There have been many failed attempts since then to gloss over the differences, but those attempts always fail because one side believes in justification by faith + works, and the other believes in justification by faith alone. The two positions are irreconcilable. Continue reading From the heart