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????? Question ?????
Q : I HAVE FRIENDS who are Catholics. They are sometimes very kind and seem to have Christian/Biblical principles working in their lives. However, I definitely do know how strange Catholicism and its true beliefs are.
So, what I’m basically asking is: how can a crazy religion like Catholicism produce (in some instances) Biblical morality? I am confused; can you help me understand this? (M.W., USA)
ANSWER: (Taken from David B. Brown’s book “Seven Myths of Denominationalism”)
Does this mean to imply that everything taught within the denominations is wrong? If those things which are being done right are being done because they are commanded or authorized by the word of God, then those things are right. We contend, however, that, even if they are consistent with the word of God, if they are being done because they are commanded or authorized by any authority other than the word of God, they are vain attempts at salvation by works. For, they are works of man, not works of God. Indeed, they might be the same as those commanded by God, BUT, IN REALITY, THEY ARE BEING DONE IN OBEDIENCE TO MAN AND NOT TO GOD.
Give this considerable thought. Let us illustrate with an example. The Roman Catholic stand against abortion is a brave and courageous stand for what is right. However, those Roman Catholics who obey this command do not do so because of Biblical authority. If you do not believe this, just ask one of them to give the Biblical reasons for why they believe abortion to be wrong. They cannot answer. Their answer is that the church teaches (or the Pope teaches) them that abortion is wrong, and this is the reason that they do not engage in it. Is this obedience to God, or to the Pope? True, it is consistent with Biblical precepts, but unless they recognize where and why it is commanded of God, it is faith in man and not God!
A Tidbit of History
T here was, in the latter part of the sixteenth century, a man in Italy who was a child of God, taught by the Spirit. His name was Aonio Paleario. He had written a book called, “The benefit of Christ’s Death.” That book was destroyed in Italy, and for three centuries it was not possible to find a copy; but two or three years ago, an Italian copy was found, I believe, in one of your libraries at Cambridge or Oxford, and it has been printed again. It is perhaps singular, but this man did not leave the Romish Church, as he ought to have done, but his whole heart was given to Christ. He was brought before the judge in Rome, by order of the Pope. The judge said, “We will put to him three questions; we will ask him what is the first cause of salvation, then what is the second cause of salvation, then what is the third cause of salvation?” They thought that, in putting these three question, he would at last be made to say something which should be to the glory of the Church of Rome; so they asked him, “What is the first cause of salvation?” and he answered, “Christ.” Then they asked him, “What is the second cause of salvation?” and he answered, “Christ.” Then they asked him, “What is the third cause of salvation?” and he answered, “Christ.”
They thought he would have said, first, “Christ;” secondly, “the Word;” thirdly, “the Church;” but no, he said, “Christ.” The first cause, Christ; the second, Christ; the third, Christ; and for that confession, which he made in Rome, he was condemned to be put to death as a martyr. My dear friends, let us think and speak like that man; let every one of us say, “The first cause of my salvation is Christ; the second is Christ, the third is Christ. Christ and His atoning blood, Christ and His powerful regenerating Spirit, and Christ and His eternal electing grace. Christ is my only salvation; I know of nothing else.” (“Charles Spurgeon Autobiography,” written around the1860's)