In the last post we discussed how the term anti-catholic can be used unfairly. In this post, I want to show you that Christian compassion demands that we address the differences between the two religious faiths.
As you have seen from my class and blog posts, Catholics and Christians have an entirely different understanding of the gospel. In fact, when the delegates of the Council of Trent gathered together, they had as their earnest intention to defend “the gospel.” In their mind, the eternity of millions was at stake, and they had to defend the truth. In doing so they issued the following decrees or canons.
CANON 9: "If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema."
CANON 12: "If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ's sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified ... let him be accursed"
In both of these decrees the Council of Trent condemns the Biblical gospel.
The delegates earnestly believed that the Protestant teaching promoted a false gospel that leads people to Hell. Their goal was not to stir up pogroms against Protestants, but to preserve the “Catholic gospel”, protect the Catholic Church from false teaching, and rescue hell-bound Protestants along the way. I do not fault them for this. These are the compassionate implications of their belief system.
However, we should realize that Trent drew a line in the sand. In condemning the true gospel, they are protecting a false gospel. One that is a false hope to millions, and will lead to damnation if fully embraced. My aim in teaching the Catholic class is to help our flock see the differences so that they will not be swept up in the cultural current of blind tolerance. Rather, in Christian love we should approach Catholics who are blinded to the truth, present the biblical gospel and thereby prepare them for eternity with Christ.
Can these classes and posts be used as a weapon against Catholics? Absolutely! But in the end, while such teaching wielded by unregenerate bigots may make Catholic’s stay on earth a little more uncomfortable, the true teaching in the hands of loving Christians will rescue them from an eternity in Hell.
We are not anti-Catholic, rather we love Catholics. We love them so much that we want them to embrace the biblical gospel so that we can spend an eternity together worshipping the Savior.