Ep. 16 – Concerns with Roman Catholicism
Doctrines within the Roman Catholic Church have sparked numerous conversations through the centuries, which are still very much alive today. Can devout Roman Catholics be genuine Christians? That is the type of question John Piper fielded from a listener on Desiring God.
On this episode, we looked at an interview by Desiring God with John Piper, titled, “Can a Devout Roman Catholic Be Genuinely Born Again?“
Quotes From John Piper’s Interview
“Before I answer that specific question, let me lay out again the reasons we should be seriously concerned with Roman Catholic teaching. At numerous levels, its contradictory stance toward Scripture produces a kind of religion that I fear has led many people astray, even into destruction.”
“Let me give seven examples of what concerns me about Roman Catholic teaching that I think we should be very concerned about and steer clear of.”
[Here’s a list of Piper’s seven examples. Each example includes more detail in the original post found here.]
- Tradition Versus Scripture
- The Virgin Mary
- Baptismal Regeneration
- The Lord’s Supper
“Now, having waved a flag of concern for those seven matters of Catholic belief, my answer to the question, nevertheless, is yes. I think there are genuine Christians who are devout and inconsistent Roman Catholics. Devout in the sense that they’re earnest, serious, and sincere. Inconsistent in the sense that their true heart embrace of Jesus is better than their mental ideas or doctrines.”
View Desiring God’s full interview with John Piper here.
Piper’s answer was hard for me to swallow. He believes that devout Catholics can be genuine Christians. My conviction is that a truly devoted Catholic is an educated Catholic. They understand the following concerns mentioned and devote themselves to them.
The seven concerns mentioned in the interview are great concerns to address. We spent the episode talking about number four — indulgences.
In summary, the selling of indulgences is a Roman Catholic belief that involves forgiveness of sins offered to those who buy papal indulgences from the Church. Roman Catholicism teaches that Christ delegated authority to forgive sins to leaders in the Church, and forgiveness can be offered to those who earn merit.
To learn more about the selling of indulgences, you can view a credible lecture on the history of indulgences by Dr. R.C. Sproul on Ligonier’s site here.
We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Salvation is not a matter of purchasing indulgences or earning your way whatsoever. “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Let’s Seek The Truth
Is there anything that spoke to you in this episode? What are your thoughts on the list of concerns John Piper provided on Desiring God? How familiar are you with the sale of indulgences? Leave a comment below and help share this episode around social media.