Analysis of Evangelicals and Catholics Together

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Introduction


The Document begins with a pre-emptive theological strike. It is assumed outright that the Roman Catholic religion is a Christian religion.
"As we near the Third Millennium, there are approximately 1.7 billion Christians in the world. About a billion of these are Catholics and more than 300 million are Evangelical Protestants." p. 2

"As Evangelicals and Catholics, we dare not by needless and loveless conflict between ourselves give aid and comfort to the enemies of the cause of Christ." p. 4

"The mission that we embrace together is the necessary consequence of the faith that we affirm together." p. 4
Observations:

  1. The cause of Christ is not defined in this document!

  2. The mission of Christ is not defined in this document!

  3. Roman Catholicism is afforded the title of "legitimate diversity."
I. We Affirm Together:


The heart of the matter is found on page 5:
"We affirm together that we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ." p. 5

"Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ. We have not chosen one another, just as we have not chosen Christ. He has chosen us, and He has chosen us to be His together." p. 5
Observations:

  1. The word alone is missing, (i.e., faith alone, Christ alone, grace alone).

  2. Words like grace and faith have different meanings in the Roman system of thought.

  3. RC terminology is radically different in expressing the Gospel.

  4. The Apostles Creed can mean anything you want it to mean! p. 6
II. We Hope Together:


"As Evangelicals and Catholics, we pray that our unity in the love of Christ will become ever more evident as a sign to the world of God's reconciling power." p. 8
III. We Search Together:


"Because of the limitations of human reason and language, which are limitations compounded by sin, we cannot understand completely the transcendent reality of God or His ways." p. 9

"We do not presume to suggest that we can resolve the deep and long standing differences between Evangelicals and Catholics. Indeed these differences may never be resolved short of the Kingdom Come. Nonetheless, we are not permitted simply to resign ourselves to differences that divide us from one another." p. 9
Observations:

  1. We are left to assume that a lack of total knowledge of God leaves us with a lack of total knowledge of His gospel!

  2. We are told that the differences between say, Pentecostals and Calvinists, are equally as great and of same level of importance as that between Christianity and Rome!

  3. We are told, in effect, that these differences are real and severe but not fatal to the recognition that each group is in fact Christian.

Analysis of the differences: Page 10 of ECT is an attempt to mix water and oil. It makes any "agreement" meaningless:


  1. Either the gospel is a result of the Church, or the Church is a result of the gospel. These two concepts cannot mix, as the first is fatal to the gospel itself. Rome's gospel is the Roman sacramental system of works and merits. It is not the true gospel, so the preaching of it results in a false church.

  2. Either the Church is comprised of those who attend, or it is comprised of those who believe. These two concepts are not reconcilable, and the first undermines the Church and the gospel. How can the undermining of the Church and the gospel be ignored in an agreement about sharing the gospel and increasing the Church?

  3. Either the Church stands over (judges) the Scriptures, or the Scriptures stand over (judge) the Church. Get this wrong, and you get the wrong church!

  4. Either the Christian is a bondservant of the Church and its rituals, or the Christian is a bondservant of Christ and is purchased of Him. Being a slave of the Church is not the freedom Christ offers His sheep, but this is all that Rome has to offer.

  5. Either grace comes by obedience to the 7 sacraments (which is no grace at all, c.f., Romans 11:6), or Christians obey the ordinances of Christ because of their rebirth. In Rome, obedience to the sacraments causes rebirth and merits grace! But Paul chastises the whole system, saying, "Now to one who works, his wage is not reckoned as grace, but what is due." (Romans 4:4)

  6. Either the Lord's supper is a sacrifice which appeases God's anger, or we commemorate the fact that God is no longer angry! We cannot have it both ways, and Scripture assaults Rome on this point saying, "Now that we have been justified by faith we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"! (Romans 5:1)

  7. Either speaking with the dead in Christ is approved in the Scriptures, or it is condemned. There is no waffling on this issue, for the Scripture commands us that there not be found among us any who consult the dead (Deuteronomy 18:10-11). Why should Roman Catholics be found among us who consult the dead and pray to them? Isaiah tells us there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:19-20).

  8. Either one is born again because of the sprinkling of the water, or one is born again by the work of God and the power of Christ's resurrection (Ephesians 1:19-20). These are two different concepts of "born from above," which means that we cannot join with Rome in saying, "Unless one be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God." We do not agree with Rome on what it means to be "born from above." If not, then in what meaningful way can we co-evangelize with Rome? In what meaningful way do we agree, if we do not agree with them on this?
IV. We Contend Together:


"The cause of Christ is the cause and mission of the church, which is, first of all, to proclaim the Good News that 'God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.'" pp. 11,12

"Christians individually and the church corporately also have a responsibility for the right ordering of civil society." p. 12
Observations:

  1. We notice the gospel is not even mentioned in a section that presumably takes its title from Jude 3, which verse has Christians contending for something, instead of against!
  2. We notice the mandate is clearly stated here. This assumption of "Ordering society rightly" needs to be defended from the Word of God!
  3. The "We Contend" section shows us the flavor of the document:

    • Politics and law
    • Religious freedom (Why not join with Mormons & Muslims?)
    • Legal protection of the unborn
    • Schools that transmit cultural heritage
    • Parental choice in education
    • Anti-pornography
    • Free market society
    • Renewed appreciation of the Western culture
    • Renewed respect for the mediating structures
    • Responsible understanding of American role in the world
V. We Witness Together:


"There are different ways of being Christian."

"That we are all able to be one does not mean that we are all to be identical in our way of following the one Christ."

"For Catholics, all who are validly baptized are born again and are truly, however imperfectly, in communion with Christ."

"Those converted -- whether understood as having received the new birth for the first time or as having experienced the reawakening of the new birth originally bestowed in the sacrament of baptism -- must be given full Freedom and respect as they discern and decide the community in which they will live their new life in Christ."

"Three observations are in order in connection with proselytizing. First, as much as we might believe one community is more fully in accord with the Gospel than another, we as Evangelicals and Catholics affirm that opportunity and means for growth in Christian discipleship are available in our several communities. Second, the decision of the committed Christian with respect to his communal allegiance and participation must be assiduously respected. Third, in view of the large number of non-Christians in the world and the enormous challenge of our common evangelistic task, it is neither theologically legitimate more a prudent use of resources for one Christian community to proselytize among active adherents of another Christian community." pp.22-23
Conclusion:


"We do know that this is a time of opportunity -- and if opportunity, then responsibility for Evangelicals and Catholics to be Christians together in a way that helps prepare the world for the coming of Him to whom belongs the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever. Amen." p. 25.
Why Roman Catholicism is not Christianity


  1. "If anyone says that in the Mass a true and real sacrifice is not offered to God; or that to be offered is nothing else than that Christ is given to us to eat, let him be accursed." Trent Canon 1, 22nd Session.

  2. "If anyone says the sacrifice of the Mass is one only of praise and Thanksgiving...and ought not to be offered for the living and the dead for sins, punishments, satisfactions, and other necessities, let him be accursed." Trent Canon 3, 22nd Session.

  3. "If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus, and consequently the whole Christ, but says that He is in it only as a sign, or a figure or force, let him be accursed." Trent Canon 1, 13th Session.

  4. "There is therefore, no room for doubt that all the faithful of Christ may, in accordance with a custom always received in the Catholic church, give to this most Holy sacrament in veneration the worship of latria, which is due to the true God." Trent 13th Session, Chapter Five.

  5. "For in virtue of this rule of faith handed down from the apostles, even infants who could not as yet commit sin of themselves, are for this reason truly baptized for the remission of sins, in order that in them, what was contracted by generation, may be washed away be regeneration. For unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." Trent 5th Session, Paragraph Four.

  6. "Hence, to those who work well unto the end and trust God, eternal life is to be offered, both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Christ Jesus, and as a reward promised by God himself, to be faithfully given to their good works and merits." Trent 6th Session, Chapter 16.

  7. "We must believe that nothing further is wanting to those justified to prevent them from being considered to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according the state of this life and to have truly merited eternal life, to be obtained in its [due] time, provided they depart [this life] in grace,..." Trent 6th Session, Chapter 16.

  8. "If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ's sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be accursed." Trent 6th Session, Canon 12.

  9. "Since the power of granting indulgences was conferred by Christ on the Church, and she has even in the earliest times made use of that power divinely given to her, the holy council teaches and commands that the use of indulgences, most salutary to the Christian people and approved by the authority of the holy councils, is to be retained in the Church, and it condemns with anathema those who assert that they are useless or deny that there is in the Church the power of granting them. Trent 25th Session, Chapter 21.

  10. "Since the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, following the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught in sacred councils and very recently in this ecumenical council that there is a purgatory, and that the souls there detained are aided by the suffrages of the faithful and chiefly by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar, the holy council commands the bishops that they strive diligently to the end that the sound doctrine of purgatory, transmitted by the Fathers and sacred councils, be believed and maintained by the faithful of Christ, and be everywhere taught and preached." Trent 25th Session, Decree on Purgatory.

  11. "The Holy, ecumenical and general Council of Trent.....also clearly perceives that these truths and rules are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which, received from the Apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand. If anyone does not accept as sacred and canonical the aforesaid books in their entirety and with all their parts, as they have been accustomed to read in the Catholic Church and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition, and knowingly and deliberately rejects the aforesaid traditions, let him be anathema." Trent 4th Session, Decree Concerning Canonical Scriptures.

  12. "And since she [Mary] has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard." Pope Pius IX - Ineffabilis Deus, 1854.

  13. "The Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ and as pastor of the entire Church, has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 882.

  14. "The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation." Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 1129.
We could go on.

The point is that Romanism is not Christianity. It is not an alternative Christian worshiping community and cannot be construed as such by any stretch of the imagination. When Rome renounces Trent and Sacramental Salvation and embraces Sola Fide, justification through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone, and Sola Scriptura, the Bible alone for salvation and sanctification, then the Religion of Rome can lay claim to the Christianity of Christ. Until then, we remain separate religions despite all of ECT's protestations to the contrary.



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