A Pope Calvinists Can Admire and Pray For

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by PastorSBC1303, Nov 24, 2005.

  1. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    Found this on a blog and thought it was rather interesting reading...

    http://www.internetmonk.com/index.php/archives/a-pope-calvinists-can-admire-and-pray-for#more-226

    BHT reader Bob Myers sent me the text to this article from Banner of Truth Magazine. It is by Westminster West professor Peter Jones, and recalls a meeting some years ago with a certain Vatican Cardinal named Joseph Ratzinger. IM readers who have appreciated my essays on the Roman Catholic Church will enjoy this hopeful and constructive piece. Apologies if I’m breaking any major laws in republishing.

    Any time I can catch Calvinists doing things that some would find disturbing, I want to publicize the mischief

    Thanks Bob


    Somewhere in the personal library of the new Pope, Benedict XVI, is a leather-bound copy of Calvin’s Institutes, and (surprisingly) a copy of my article, “1 Corinthians 15:8: Paul, the Last Apostle.” In the hundreds of stories that will appear about the new pope, this trivial fact will not appear.

    In 1988, representatives from the French Reformed Seminary of Aix-en-Provence in southern France where I taught for 18 years were guests at the Vatican through the auspices of some very orthodox French priests who loved Christ and the Scriptures and who wanted us to visit Rome. We were shown the more protected tourist sites, such as Peter’s tomb and the pagan necropolis under St. Peter’s Cathedral. We were also received in the private quarters of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who at the time was serving his seventh year as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This same Ratzinger is now Benedict XVI.

    Who is Ratzinger? For liberal observers, he is Papa Ratzi, the polarizing, ruthless enforcer, the “papal rottweiler,” disciplining Latin American “liberation” theologians, denouncing homosexuality and gay marriage, and reining in Asian priests who see non-Christian religions as part of God’s plan for humanity. For Bible believers, his courageous positions, made in the light of a deep and informed commitment to biblical theism, have created a bulwark against rising world paganism.

    Who is Ratzinger? Here is my personal testimony, for what it is worth. This very powerful ecclesiastical figure, even then the No. 2 in the Vatican hierarchy, warmly received us, an unimpressive group of French orthodox Protestant/Reformed theologians, for two hours. In the first hour, in fluent French, he gave a magnificent overview of the state of theology and of the dangers of German liberal theology in particular. His critique of Bultmann was superb. We Protestants then took an hour to present the case for orthodox Protestant theology. Cardinal Ratzinger listened with rapt attention. Our time together was not a casual, nor perfunctory “audience,” but a genuine theological exchange. I was impressed by his intellect, by his linguistic ability (fluency in at least five languages), by his theological wisdom and by his openness to biblical theology. As we left, we gave him a bound copy of Calvin’s Institutes, and he graciously accepted my article on the apostle Paul as the last apostle. Clearly my article did not change his mind about the papacy, but I have it on good authority that he has been reading the copy of Calvin’s Institutes. So that was that, I thought. However, the next day while sight-seeing in Rome I happened to meet his secretary, a French priest. “How did the Cardinal enjoy our visit?” I asked. Without hesitation he replied: “The Cardinal said he wished there was a seminary like that in the Catholic Church.”

    I have rarely thought about that moment, until today. As the presiding Cardinal announced in Latin: “Habemus papam. . . .Josephus…,” I knew it was Ratzinger and I stared at the photo I have had on my study wall for many years, drawn strangely in to an event of global proportions.

    I began to put things together. When Ratzinger said in his homily at a pre-conclave Mass in St. Peter’s, denouncing the essence of paganism: “We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value ones own ego and ones own desires”; When, in his first address from the Vatican balcony he spoke of the “joy in the risen Lord, trusting in his permanent help”; When, in his first papal homily in the Sistine Chapel, addressing all Christian churches, he said: I take this opportunity to send all of them my most cordial greetings in Christ, the only Lord of all”; I did think: “That’s the same Ratzinger I met for those two hours seventeen years ago.”

    How do Protestants respond, seeing that Rome often masks the pure Gospel of grace and sometimes places Christ behind Mary and even the Pope? The massive glistening white marble statue of Mary on a hill dominates the city of Santiago, Chile, with the head of the Serpent under her feet, while a small figure of Christ on a little cross below, to the left, is hardly visible.

    How do we respond? This morning, Robert Godfrey, historian and President of Westminster Seminary in California (where I am adjunct professor and scholar in residence), ended our daily chapel by announcing the name of the new pope. He then did something few Protestants do. He prayed that the Spirit might lead Benedict XVI into a deeper and fuller understanding of Scripture and the Gospel.

    Knowing what I learned about this man in that short but meaningful encounter, surely this prayer is not in vain.
     
  2. jarhed

    jarhed
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    I have printed your article and comments so that I may fairly represent this in my institute class on Cults. The majority of our time has spent exploring the intricacies and abominations of the cult which this vaunted leader of yours leads. You are very cordial in your comment that "rome often masks the pure Gospel of grace..." and so on. No, they do not mask it, they preach another gospel. They preach that salvation is in the Holy Mother Church (Rev.17). They preach that it is in the Sacraments. They preach that Mary, Eternal, Virginal (still), Sinless, and Ascended is an ESSENTIAL AGENT in your salvation, Sir! The Catholic Church in Brazil has MURDERED some of your SBC colleagues within the last 2 years. They burned a town, at the call of a priest, which IFB had built with the aid of the locals around thier new church. By any count the Church which this man heads up has murdered well over a million ana-Baptists, and it is a FACT that the office of inquisition still exists.

    I am frankly shocked, even with Calvinistic leanings, that anyone who claims the name of Christ could utter the soft-soaped trash above.

    Call me hateful, but the Catholic Church is an institution built on homosexuality, religious prostitution, papal dogma, absolute political power, and suppression of descension. Those are present and historical facts. This man has NOTHING whatever to do with the God I serve. He serves a different God, a different Gospel, and a different Goal. LET THEM BE ACCURSED.

    S o S a i t h T h e L O R D!
     
  3. pinoybaptist

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    Dear Jarhed:

    What you said about the Catholic Institution is true, and no one who has ever been a Catholic, regenerated, and converted will argue against that.

    But the institution is not the man, no matter how forcefully the man may represent the institution.

    God elected His people from mankind, not from the institutions that fallen and corrupted mankind puts up.

    Saul, in his own words, persecuted and imprisoned Christians, and was among the principals in Stephen's death.

    Yet he turned out to be one of God's own, whose names were written in the Book of Life from eternity past.

    The writer wrote a prayer about a person, not an institution. As a former Catholic, it is my desire to see that those of God's own who are imprisoned in such hellish doctrines be liberated by the Holy Spirit.

    My people call it timely salvation for those who already have eternal salvation in Christ.
     
  4. Ps104_33

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    I wouldnt get our hopes up. When a man reaches the position of pope, he is too far gone and reprobate.
     
  5. PastorSBC1303

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    I do not believe that anywhere in the OP did I say that I agreed with the article or that it was my thoughts. I posted it because I thought it was some interesting reading that others might enjoy.

    So please do not make me out to be a Catholic supporter or fan.
     
  6. pinoybaptist

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    So was Paul. He would have been the equivalent of a militant Jesuit today.

    He would only be too far gone if it were men trying to work his will on him.

    But if it were God....is there anyting impossible with God ?
     
  7. mioque

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    "So was Paul. He would have been the equivalent of a militant Jesuit today."
    "
    Today's Jesuits that I know of don't travel around arranging the murder of people they disagree with.
     
  8. jarhed

    jarhed
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    I do not believe that anywhere in the OP did I say that I agreed with the article or that it was my thoughts. I posted it because I thought it was some interesting reading that others might enjoy.

    So please do not make me out to be a Catholic supporter or fan.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I sincerely ap. for my misinterpretation! AND I rejoice in it. Calvinisim I disagree with, but the doctrines of Rome, and thier evil modes of promulgation (which spawned radical Islam among others) have condemned more souls to a devils hell than any other "thing" in human history. I rejoice in your answer, Sir!
     
  9. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    Thanks. God bless. [​IMG]
     
  10. Kiffen

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    My question is, What is wrong with praying that God would "lead Benedict XVI into a deeper and fuller understanding of Scripture and the Gospel."?

    I am certaintly no supporter of the Roman Catholic Church (though I am personaly more disturbed by TBN and even some IFB Churches more than the Pope [​IMG] ) though I am not saying God could not truly Reform them to a more pure Gospel and away from the deficient one they now proclaim.

    So what's wrong with praying for him?
     
  11. jarhed

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    This fellow praised him for his openness, for his "theological wisdom"...among other alcholades...the fact is, he is the head of the great whore of Rev.17. He leads an institution which leads men to hell. He is a political figure in a perfect ecumenical position for Daniels 70th week. HE HATES EVERYTHING GOD STANDS FOR! He is no encouragement to Bible-believers! I am a Bible believer, and my prayer for him is not a d e e p e r understanding of God's word, but a realization of his need of a Saviour. The fact is that CATHOLOCISM is a CULT...it is not Christianity. It is Mariolatry. It is Icon worship. It is works, works, works.

    There are two religions, friend. DO and DONE. Romanism has NO theological understanding, just a thirst for power by enslaving the masses in a fear of purgatory. It is a religion of DO.

    Where is all this soft soap language for the Catholic Church coming from? HMMMMMMMMMMMM
     
  12. jarhed

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    OOPS, I forgot something. TBN and those evil soul winning IFB churches (Lord, please forgive me for being an IFB), as BAAAAAAAAAAAAD as they may be can't stand in the shadow of Rome. Hitler and Stalin can't stand in the shadow of Rome. Rome is, in fact, the most diabolically offensive institution that has ever been hatched in hell and fomented on earth. Do you really want to SAY that Bible-believing people offend you more???? Wow. Stunning
     
  13. Kiffen

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    That is a mere interpretation. There is no solid Biblical fact to say he is the head of the great harlot of Rev.17. That is mere theory not fact. True he preaches a weak deficient Gospel but what is your basis to say HE HATES EVERYTHING GOD STANDS FOR? He does hold to the Virgin Birth, Trinity, Deity of Christ, Perfect Humanity of Christ, Death on the Cross for sinners, Resurrection. He certaintly does not hate everything God stands for.

    A deeper understanding of God's word does bring one to Christfor "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God" (Whether he knows Christ or not I do not know). Mariolatry is a major error in theology but we can also find major errors in many Protestant churches. Rome does not teach we are saved by works. Rome teaches we are saved by Faith in cooperation with one's works. Their error is teaching man cooperates with God by his works and not embracing the Protestant understanding by Faith Alone. Then again neither do many evangelical Christians.

    Romanism great error remains their lack of understanding of the finished work of Christ and a weak view of original sin. So we agree. We should pray they be enlightened as Luther was to the pure Gospel.

    Maybe I am a Jesuit! :eek: No, serious. What soft soap language? I have stated Rome has a deficient, weak Gospel (I don't think I am on the Pope's Christmas card list with that sort of language) but I will not say they are the Devil incarnate or that all Roman Catholics are going to Hell. Many are saved despite of the official teachings of the Church I would dare say.

    Neither Luther or Calvin believed all Roman Catholics were lost. When only about 35% of Baptists attend Church I might need to take a close look at the deficient easy believism gospel preached by many Baptists over the last 40 or so years. BTW My Church actually has a Reformation Heritage month and I have taught on Rome’s many errors and heresies.

    For one thing I did not say all IFB churches but some. More later

    I will never say that Paul Crouch, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Creflo Dollar, John Hagee and the rest of TBN are Bible believing people. Believe me I could stand Mass at St. Peter’s Cathedral more than I could the TBN Praise a Thon, And some of the Easy believism taught in some IFB churches over the years rivals or possibly supercedes Rome’s deficient gospel.
     
  14. mioque

    mioque
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    "When only about 35% of Baptists attend Church I might need to take a close look at the deficient easy believism gospel preached by many Baptists over the last 40 or so years."
    "
    That's a low percentage, considering that we erect a much higher barrier for membership than most other churches do.
    To become a baptist you must make a conscious choiche for Christ, take theology lessons and get dunked in a pool. That's a lot harder than showing up at church on your mother's arm at the tender age of 3 weeks, so that an elderly gentleman can put salt on your tongue and put water on your head.
     
  15. mioque

    mioque
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    jarhed
    Time for a story.
    The king of Italy and Mussolini meet eachother for the first time. The king asks Mussolini: "What is Facism?". Mussolini starts explaining with big sweeping gestures that Facism stands against Communism and Capitalism and Socialism and Clericalism and Freemasonry and...
    He get's interrupted by the king who asks him: "You stand against a lot of things, but what do you actually stand for?".
     
  16. DHK

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    Luther, Calvin, Knox, and the other reformers would roll over in their graves to see the great ecumenical movement going on today as so many of the "Protestant" churches make their way home to Rome, in cooperation with her. Everything that Luther fought for seems to be in vain when viewed through the eyes of many Protestants today. Ecumenism is on a fast train being propelled by the Charismatic movement.

    Luther, Calvin and Knox were devout Catholics. Luther never came out of the Catholic Church, but tried to reform it from within; thus the name of "Reformers." One of the doctrines that he pleaded with the Pope and Catholic hierarchy to reform was "justification by faith," that doctrine that had opened his eyes to the truth of God's Word. But his plea was met with an emphatic NO!
    Luther was eventually excommunicated. Following him, his followers, along with the followers of Calvin and Knox were persecuted, tortured, burned at the stake, martyred for the cause of Christ--hundreds of thousands of them.
    The Council of Trent was convened. The Council came up with 100 anathemas (curses) against Protestantism, one of which is: "justification by faith alone." If you believe in this doctrine (Rom.5:1) you have the curse of Rome on you. Not John Paul II, Not Pope Ratzinger, not any of the former popes have ever rescinded any of these 100 anathemas against our precious faith. They know they are there. They can't rescind them. They can't apologize even for the Inquisitions, the murders, the Bible-believers that they burned at the stake simply because they believed the Bible, and not Rome. Why? Because the Pope is infallible, and they cannot go against the infallible decrees of the previous popes. Thus the decrees of the Council of Trent and all of its horrible anathemas will stand, and no apology will ever come, ecumenism not withstanding.
    Bearing this in mind, can a man have such a hardened conscience to history, as well as anti-biblical doctrine (that I have not yet to touch on) and still be saved?
    DHK
     
  17. mioque

    mioque
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    DHK
    "Bearing this in mind, can a man have such a hardened conscience to history, as well as anti-biblical doctrine (that I have not yet to touch on) and still be saved?"
    "
    God knows and you don't.
     
  18. GeneMBridges

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    Keep in mind, the Roman communion today is not the Roman communion of the time of the Reformers. (It's actually in even worse shape). Recent studies have shown that, contrary to Rome's current assertions (and those of Trent), there was remarkable consistency with respect to a great many doctrines we Protestants take for granted, particularly those relating to "Tradition" and the nature of Scripture. The epistemological differences expressed @ Trent are only the expression of one of two streams of thought within Medieval Scholasticism that began to diverge around the 13th century, and we can find Popes who declare they believe in justification by faith alone and in Sola Scriptura, along with Popes like Liberias and Honorius who promulgated heresy.

    Many of Rome's current dogmas have no root in the time before Trent, including papal infallibility, Petrine primacy as taught by them from Mt.16 and Luke 22, and the Marian dogmas.

    Trent anathematized Protestants, but, while the confessions of Protestants stridently spoke specifically to Rome and called the Popes anti-christ, they never fully condemned all Roman Catholics in the same sense, and we do not do so today, in that we exercise a fair amount of grace with them on a case by case basis.

    Typically, we give more leeway to the average member than priests, bishops, etc...because most Catholics are (at least in my experience) pretty clueless about the full range of dogmas in their church. Trent's anathemas are all built on a definition of saving faith that is dogmatic faith, that is, you must believe in Christ and accept other dogmas (like papal infallibility) on the pain of losing your salvation.

    Now, as a rule, Protestants, particularly those in the Reformed tradition, differentiate between a credible profession and a saving profession of faith. Herein lies the difference. Evangelical Calvinists and Arminians, Presbyterians and Baptists, Lutherans and Pentecostals, can claim unity in Christ and accept each other's credible profession of faith as valid, on the basis that our faith is undivided. In Roman theology, faith is divided between your faith in Christ, your congruent merit, and the congruent merit of the saints. Therefore, we say that a Roman Catholic, if they are consistent with Rome's current confessional standards, cannot give a credible profession of faith.

    Some Protestants accept "evangelical Catholics," who, while retaining some of the practices of Rome, teach justification by faith, believe the Chair of St. Peter is empty, repudiate papal infallibility, repudiate Marian dogmas, and accept the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. There are very few of these Catholics, but those that accept them accept them as they would an evangelical Lutheran, because they are, in many respects attempting to do what Luther attempted to do. Most of us call on Roman Catholics to leave their communions, as surely as we would call one of our own to leave an apostate Baptist church.

    We Protestants draw a distinction between a credible profession of faith and a saving profession of faith. For purposes of church membership, cooperation with other denominational entities, etc., since we cannot know of a certainty who is or isn't saved, we only require a credible profession of faith. At a minimum what constitutes a credible profession must include a saving profession. Both a saving profession and a credible profession must show the faith of your church to be undivided, eg. in Christ alone.

    To be a Christian is to be, among other things, a Christian believer. One must believe certain things, and not believe certain other, contrary things. On the one hand, some dogmas are damnable dogmas. On the other hand, the Bible lays out certain saving articles of faith. This is God's criterion, not mine. I didn't invent it. By the same token, how God applies that criterion in any individual case is up to God, not to me. I'm not the judge, God is the Judge. To take a concrete example, Scripture teaches sola fide (faith alone) (Romans; Galatians). I'm saved by faith in Christ. And I'm saved by the sole and sufficient merit of Christ.

    But in Catholic dogma, one is saved by the merit of Christ plus the merit of the saints plus one's own congruent merit. And this results in a divided faith." This, folks, is where Catholics say one thing and then do another. They say that Christ is the only way of salvation, but their Catechism and their doctrine states categorically that salvation is by grace through faith and the merit of Christ, and the saints, and your own, and their decrees have, over the years accreted doctrines and declarations that add to the content of saving faith.

    That is why a Catholic cannot give me a credible profession of faith. I'm more prone to give a Catholic church member a pass on the credible profession of faith than I am a Catholic bishop or the Pope or some of their lay apologists (Art Sippo, Dave Armstrong, Sungenis, etc.), given what I know you have to accept, since half my family is Catholic.


    Any of the following creeds/confessions could supply the basis for a credible profession of faith:

    1. The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Christian Relgion

    2. The Formula of Concord

    3. The Baptist Faith & Message (any version)(http://www.sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.asp)

    4. The C&MA statement of faith
    (http://www.cmalliance.org/whoweare/doctrine.jsp)

    5. The JFJ statement of faith (http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about/statementoffaith)

    6. The EFCA statement of faith (http://www.efca.org/about/doctrine/)

    7. The Campus Crusade statement of faith (http://www.ccci.org/statement_of_faith.html)

    8. The AG statement of faith (http://www.ag.org/top/beliefs/truths.cfm)

    These are all broadly evangelical affirmations of faith. Notice, not all are Reformed. By contrast, Trent or Vatican II does not supply the basis for a credible profession of faith. Still, it is possible for a Catholic to be saved, unlike a Muslim or Mormon or other suchlike.

    Praising the new Pope for his openness is not endorsing his theology. Remember this guy was, literally, the head of the Inquisition before elected. The fact that he sat down and listened to a group of Protestants, particularly Reformed Protestants, give a presentation of their theology is something the Popes in the days of the Reformers never would have done.

    I can assure you that the folks at Westminster are not cozying up to Rome, particularly when they are running a Reformed Baptist Institute that stands exactly contrary to everything for which Rome stands, They are simply graciously giving praise where it is due. If Louis Farrakan listened to me preach and accepted a theology book from me, I would praise him for doing so too. It doesn't mean I endorse his theology or his politics. I certainly would pray for him and encourage others to do so. I'm not spiritual enough to know who is reprobate and who isn't. I've seen meth addicts, homosexuals, and diehard atheists be converted; I will certainly pray God opens the Scriptures to Pope Benedict. Do I think he's reprobate? Truthfully, yes I do. Am I firm in that? No, because I believe in the God that created the universe ex nihilio, and we are urged in 1 Timothy 2 to pray for all social classes of men, even kings, even those who persecute us or stand against us, like Popes. God can open His eyes and save His soul.
     
  19. Kiffen

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    I agree. I said nothing about ecumenicalism with Rome. My point was that neither Luther or Calvin believed every Roman Catholic was lost nor did they view them as a cult. They referred to the Pope as Antichrist only because he claims authority as the vicar of Christ. I think we should pray for the Pope that the Holy Spirit will open his eyes to the pure Gospel. I will say that I do not admire the Pope because of his anemic weak theology and his false claim to be the head of the Church on earth.

    Luther equally condemned the Anabaptists not just because they practice believers baptism but because they also preached free will doctrine. I think Luther and Calvin would view the great emphasis on free will by modern Baptists and Evangelicals to be closer to Rome's view of Faith cooperating with God's grace than that of Faith Alone in Christ alone. Modern Baptists if they look at much of their emphasis on free will, will see that they may have more in common with Rome than they realize. Just being Anti Roman Catholic does not mean one is orthodox.

    Neither you or I can say if God will reform Rome. I agree that Rome has a deficient weak Gospel but so do many Baptist Churches that do easy believism evangelism. Personally the theology of Joel Osteen, TBN concerns me more than Rome.


    I don't know anything about his hardened conscience to history. Every Church and every Denomination has skeletons. One is saved by faith in Christ alone and if he is trusting in Christ alone for his salvation then he is saved. I don't know if he is or not.
     
  20. jarhed

    jarhed
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    I am having a hard time with all of this "Luther" stuff. I have read Luther. He "says" grace out of one side of his mouth, but then praises works out of the other. He says "grace through faith" and then includes Baptismal Regeneration. I am not a LUTHERAN...Luther killed my forebears. I am not a Calvinist...Calvin killed my forebears. I am not a Protestant...Protestants KILLED my forebears in Virginia and North Carolina! I AM A B A P T I S T. A separatist. An independent Bible believer. Mr Kiffen, you asked me what I stand for: "What saith the scripture?" "If ANY MAN preach ANY OTHER GOSPEL from that ye have heard from us, LET HIM BE ACCURSED. It is not a confused or watered down Gospel as you assert...it is a DIFFERENT Gospel. He cannot be mostly faith and partly works, no sir...as the Bible says it is either FAITH (all) or WORKS (all). You cannot mix the two. There is no common ground.

    As for Rome not being the Great Whore, well who else is drunk with the blood of the Saints, lives on seven hills, and holds hands with the Kings of the Earth???????????? Sure, sure, just Biblical interpretation. Whatever. So is salvation by Grace through Faith. You can "call" it whatever you want, but if you try to find another answer for WHO is the WHORE...well, good luck.

    If it looks like a snake, smells like a snake, bites like a snake, rattles like a snake, and changes its skin like a snake...well, maybe its just a dog. Could be I suppose, but unlikely.
     

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