Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A "free willingness" to oppose Christ for a false gospel, part II

To hear Mitch Pacwa emphasize free will as a way to rail against “absolute assurance of salvation” or absolute assurance of heaven, you would think that free will must be pretty important. But that’s not true at all. At issue is not our free will, the real issue is the central act of Jesus for our salvation, our rescue from hell. Christ’s savage death and glorious resurrection means everything for us in this life and the next. Although Mitch is a Bible scholar, his take on the supposed worth of what he calls our “free will” is totally at odds with the words of Christ himself in holy scripture.

As we explained in our last blog, Mitch has whittled down the issue to the point that we can see with ease the false gospel of Roman Catholicism that he preaches. It’s a false gospel that explains Christ died for us only to give us a mere “opportunity” to get to heaven someday—to make heaven “possible” for us. This is the key reason free will is so important to Mitch and why he preaches it as so important to others. If our salvation is only a possibility, he reasons we must have the free will choice to choose it.

Mitch’s false gospel proposes that our free will is so important that it actually serves as the tie breaker—deciding which way it will be for us, heaven or hell! But in our last blog, we saw that Christ’s disagreed with that assessment. Jesus’ own words soundly oppose the suggestion that Mitch or Mitch’s friend Billy Graham or anyone can make a free will decision for heaven or hell. Why? Only because Jesus himself insists that he and his Father in heaven make such decisions (see specific Bible verses at last blog). Here’s some more verses from Christ:

“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you….” (John 15:16)

“Thou has given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou has given him.” (John 17:2)

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37)

The apostle Paul confirmed all that Jesus said by insisting that we were chosen…
In him, we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. (Ephesians 1:11)

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the one he loves.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)

“All who were destined for eternal life came to believe.” (Acts 13:48)
Jesus, the Lord himself and the apostle Paul unmistakably confirm that we were chosen for everlasting life-- and not that we choose everlasting life. So why does Bible scholar Mitch teach to the contrary? Folks, Mitch is a good Jesuit soldier who tells us what his church insists is truth whether that’s what Jesus and the apostles tell us or not. And sadly, and obviously, it is not.

As we mentioned earlier, it is Mitch’s false gospel, the gospel that Mitch explains is held by Roman Catholicism and many Protestants. This false gospel is the real basis for Mitch’s emphasis on something that he can find no where in the Bible, no matter how long he has studied it – free will – it’s just not there folks. You can look until the cows come home.
Despite his extensive educational background, Mitch can't point us to any verses in the whole Bible that indicate that any of us has the free will that Mitch insists is so very important for us to believe in. That’s why, Mitch falls back on the one weak argument that he and other second-hand Roman apologists run to when things get serious—gospel serious—James Chapter 2. There’s one verse there that Roman Catholic apologists seem to cherish more than all the words of Christ. We’ll get to that in part 3 of our blog series.  -- bro. Jim

Friday, September 4, 2009

Responding to the false free will gospel of no assurance, Part I

First, if you think for a second that I don’t like Mitch Pacwa, you’re wrong. It’s hard for me to think of a man who seems more dedicated and longsuffering than Mitch, who has formally studied the scriptures for many years as a Jesuit priest. And that is just more reason that I must love Mitch enough to tell him he’s headed to hell, if he continues to preach this “other” gospel that Paul so soundly condemned. (Galatians 1:8-9)

In attempting to explain why he and other Roman Catholics cannot know for sure whether they are going to heaven, (see Sept. 3, 2009 blog) Mitch shows you that man’s “free will” and not Christ, is at the center of Rome’s twisted gospel of no absolute assurance in Christ’s work as well as no absolute assurance in their own free will, as Mitch put it the other night:

“The only reason we don’t like to say it is “absolute” (assurance) is that…going back to the first thing I mentioned, we do believe in free will. And, because we believe in free will, we as Catholics, believe we chose—matter of fact—many Protestants also believe this now…”

Mitch is certainly correct from the standpoint that Roman Catholics (and some Protestants) are indeed told they cannot believe they have any assurance of salvation, despite the fact that they are taught that Christ died for them. So what is the real worth of Christ’s death on the cross for the Roman Catholic?

Mitch himself has said it before, Christ sacrifice gives him, and those who believe like him, no more than “a chance” to attain heaven through faith and works, based on the “willingness” of their own “free will.”

“Because of him (Jesus), I have a chance of not going to hell and a chance to get to heaven.” (Pacwa, EWTN Threshold of Hope - 9-9-08)

Their “gospel” is that Christ died only for the forgiveness of sins and the mere “possibility” of their salvation and no more. Jesus did no more than make salvation possible. In other words, he didn’t actually save anyone (according to Mitch and company).

And as Mitch indicates in his “explanation” which you can read on my Sept. 3, 2009 blog, there are many Protestant churches that believe the same way.

“…many Protestants also believe this now—they don’t follow Luther or Calvin. And they do…Billy Graham for instance, says ‘Make a decision for Christ.’”

Of course, those who read the Bible find that Jesus repeatedly addresses the matter of who is able to choose him. Jesus clearly tells us NO ONE. So, whether you believe you have a free will or not, you are included among NO ONE who can come to him…unless…

NO ONE can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. (John 6:44)

NO ONE can come to me unless it has been granted him by my Father. (John 6:54)

NO ONE knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Luke 10:22)

Clearly, if, as the Roman Church teaches, everybody has a “free will,” Christ himself is telling us that no one has the ability to use a free will to choose him. Anyone who has read the Bible closely, knows better than to argue such a thing, including Mitch Pacwa.

Mitch himself got sidetrack as he was trying to explain this free will stuff and in doing so he linked it directly to the twisted gospel he preaches.
More on my next blog.—bro. Jim

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Roman Church teaches no assurance of heaven because of our free will. They call Jesus "Lord" but ignore his promises.

A pointed illustration of the sad state of what once was the true church. Now it is no more than a giant monster that doesn't even know the assurance of salvation the Lord purchased for those who believe in him and his completed work on the cross.

This learned Roman Catholic Jesuit scholar, Mitch Pacwa, explains why Roman Catholics do not believe they can know they are going to heaven, in other words, why they do not believe in assurance of salvation or assurance of heaven.

(The following word-for-word transcript comes from the show "Threshhold of Hope" which aired live on EWTN-TV Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009 at 9 p.m. C.D.T.).

The show begins with Pacwa answering a few questions submitted from viewers at home:

Dear Father Mitch,
On another EWTN show (The Journey Home), someone told a story where he asked the local priest if he was saved and the priest replied “Only God knows who is going to heaven.” What can a Catholic, who believes in Jesus Christ and is living in obedience to God, hope to expect regarding salvation and going to heaven? Richard from California

Pacwa word-for-word answer: Well, here’s one of the things. The Catholic Church says you….we don’t have absolute assurance of our salvation, but we can have moral assurance.

Now, what are we talking about there? Absolute assurance is one that comes in some denominations where they, first of all, have begun the whole process by denying freewill to choose grace.

So, for instance, Luther and Calvin taught that you don’t have free will to choose grace, you have free will to choose which sins you’re going to commit, but you can’t even say “yes” to faith (Pacwa hands lifted in the air quizzically). God makes you say "yes," to faith or… you don’t get grace and you don’t say "yes."

Now, in that kind of understanding, then, if you get the grace of faith, it’s because God gave it to you and made you take it…cause you can’t choose it on your own (hands back up in the air in exasperation).

He (God) made you take it, and since…God won’t take back what he made you take, then you can have complete assurance, and so that would be an absolute kind of assurance. Ok? That would be one position.

The Catholic position is, we know what Christ has taught, including a, a,a, we know some things he didn’t say. He never said you are justified by faith alone, allrighttt?

The only time that the Bible even mentions being justified by faith alone…is once. Once. Now a lot of people say, well, that should be enough. God said it once and that’s enough for me. I, I agree with you and it’s enough for me too, as long as you keep in mind is what it (really) says is: you are NOT justified by faith alone (big smile) in James, chapter two.

So…that would be one thing. You know, not justified by faith alone…but you are justified by faith and you are saved by hope, and unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you cannot have eternal life. And we also see in 1 Peter, chapter 3, aaa around verse 19, “baptism now saves you.”

So, what we know is that our Lord has given us this richness of salvation, and in giving us that richness, he has also given us the ability to say that, well, if I do believe, if I have accepted these gifts he’s offered me, then I can be sure, you know, rrrelatively sure, or morally certain that I am going to go to heaven. And you can accept that that’s where I’m going to go. Of course, most people are aware, I don’t deserve it. Y’know, who deserves to go to heaven? I mean, yyyou can’t go on saying “I believe and therefore I deserve,”…nobody, not, not, Protestants, not Catholics believe that.

It’s not a matter…it’s a free gift, it’s God’s grace. But, you also have a sense of being able to say that “I have done what Christ has asked of me, to the best of my ability and I hand myself, I commend myself to him…and pray like the publican, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner.” And we can trust in his mercy. So we can have that kind of confidence.

The only reason we don’t like to say it is “absolute” is that…going back to the first thing I mentioned, we do believe in free will. And, because we believe in free will, we as Catholics, believe we chose—matter of fact—many Protestants also believe this now—they don’t follow Luther or Calvin. And they do…Billy Graham for instance, says “Make a decision for Christ.” Now, that would be contrary to Luther and Calvin, because they say that you CAN’T make a decision, but many Protestants know, of course, you make a decision for Christ. And they do that, invite Jesus into their life—motivated by grace and moved by grace—just as we (Catholics) believe. But, what we also believe, is that, while we make a decision for Christ, we still have freedom to turn away from him. So we don’t ever claim absolute assurance. As if, “once I am saved, I am always saved.” We gave a sense that, God has given me this grace, and all these many graces, and I want to do everything I can to preserve until the end. And, by preserving, a, a —read Hebrews by the way—chapter 10, beginning right around verse 20 or so. You see that that need for perseverance is essential, so that we stay faithful all the way to the end. - Mitch Pacwa

Quick note from bro. Jim:

Mitch Pacwa is so well educated that it is sad to hear his halting response to a very basic question. It is all the more sad to listen to this error of "free will" and see how it so thoroughly twists the gospel of Roman Catholicism. At the very least, Pacwa's explanation seems to be undermined by a "free willingness" to totally ignore scripture and the centrality of Christ. Please see my series of responses, which I will start posting tomorrow on Sept. 4, 2009.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why Christian mysticism virtually vanished from the Roman Church following the Council of Trent

(The following is from the late John A. Mackay who headed theology at Princeton from the 1930s to the 1950s--he wrote it as a side comment to a book review in 1959.)

What can only be described as a supreme aberration from Biblical and classical Christianity has resulted in two post-Tridentine manifestations. First, that glorious Christ-centered evangelical mysticism which marked the lives of so many of the medieval saints, Francis of Assisi, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, became condemned, was discouraged, and is no more.

The great tradition of direct, uninhibited communion with the Risen Christ, which goes back to St. Paul, disappeared progressively in the Roman communion. It was replaced by a devotional life that in a mediated way became centered in the Eucharist, or that found its supreme popular expression in an unmediated devotion to Mary. In the meantime, that profoundly evangelical Christo-centric mysticism, which marked pre-Tridcntine Catholicism passed into and enriched the devotional life of Protestant Christianity.

Second, visions of the Virgin began to replace visions of Christ, who became increasingly remote and unrelated to the events of history. The Virgin of Guadalupe appeared as an ethnic reality; the Virgin of Lourdes as a therapeutic reality; the Virgin of Fatima as a cosmic, history making reality.

Once again the Hispanic Catholic tradition, which has been under criticism in certain Roman Catholic circles in France and the United States, has provided the needed symbol for the new Mario-centric development of Roman Catholic theology and devotion in our time. For the Virgin of Fatima, in accordance with the symbolism which adorns her shrine on a Portuguese plateau, has been crowned by the Holy Trinity.

Our Lady has been constituted The Executive Director of Deity in everything that relates to humanity. She controls all life and history. Moreover, according to a distinguished Roman Catholic thinker, writing in a book which appeared a few years ago under the title Mary and Modern Man, it is the humanity of Mary and not the humanity of Christ that must be taken as the inspiration and pattern of true human selfhood.

In the new Mariology the "riddle" of Roman Catholicism reaches its highest degree of complexity. It is the potent growth of the Fatima cult, together with the progressive deposition of Jesus Christ from direct relationship to human life, that constitutes the supreme spiritual issue between Roman and non-Roman Christianity today.

By knowledge and by temperament, the distinguished author of The Riddle of Roman Catholicism is unusually fitted to lead the way in shedding light upon the particular phases of the "riddle" which, to the reviewer of his outstanding book, appear to have basic relevance.

John A. Mackay
Chevy Chase, Maryland