Protestant attacks on Catholicism

Hi, I’m a non-denominational Christian, currently considering joining the Catholic faith. I have some questions

I was baptized Lutheran, but always went to a non-denominational church during middle school and high school, so I have pretty much been protestant my whole life. We never talked about Catholics in my youth group, because my church taught us about faith in Christ being the most important thing about being a Christian. As far as we knew, the Catholics had it, so we didn’t need to worry about it.

Lately, I have been trying to learn more about my faith and I seem to keep running into more fundamentalist Protestant sites than simply moderate Christian sites. Though I have come to like the Catholic Church more so than the Protestant Churches over the past year, I have run into some Catholic beliefs that have raised some concern. Perhaps you guys could help explain a thing or two for me.

One thing that bothers me is that from what I have been reading, it seems that the Catholic Church seems to be more lenient to the idea of non-Christians, (i.e. Buddhists, Muslims, even atheists) of being saved than Protestants. The one thing that brought me closer to the Catholic Church was the idea of there being salvation for those who do not hear about or even do not come to accept Jesus, but I was surprised at the idea that some people without Christ might have a better chance at being saved than those who believe in Him in a different way (the Protestant way). Is this true?

In my experiences, the Protestants I have known have never had a problem with Catholics and feel that we are all part of the Body of Christ, which I always believed as well. But I was shocked to hear so many fundamentalist Christian groups claim that Catholics are going to hell. This is something I simply cannot believe.

It seems like there are so many sites and books that make this claim and Biblically back up the argument that Catholic beliefs do not line up with The Bible. Some of their arguments are well done as far as I can tell, but I simply cannot accept their belief that Catholics of all people are not saved…Are there any books or websites that offer a Catholic rebuttal to these fundamentalist arguments against the RCC?

The very site you are on now has a ton of resources on this topic.

catholic.com/library/anti_catholicism.asp

In the Apologetics section of the forum there is more discussion.

Also, the site’s founder, wrote a fantastic book called Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians”. It’s a cpmpelling read. He basically dismantles dozens of fundamentalist claims and takes no prisoners in doing so. :thumbsup:

Well, I think the first thing to keep in mind is that all who will be saved are saved through Jesus Christ. I would say that most Catholics would say that Orthodox and Protestant Christians have a better chance of getting to heaven than non-Christians. That being said, I think it is important to recognize the concept that is clear in the Bible that the more God has given you, the more he expects from you. In other words, those who are Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant have the Bible and believe in Christ. Therefore, the standard for them is set higher than for those who have never heard of Christ. I wouldn’t say it gives non Christians a better chance (for one thing, we don’t know if God will save them, rather we simply hope that he will).

Think about it this way. Lets say you are a very strong man and you are asked to move 50 100lb sacks of flour across the room. Now lets say you are a very weak man and are asked to move 50 80lb sacks of flour. The standard for the strong man is higher, but it might well be easier for him.

In my experiences, the Protestants I have known have never had a problem with Catholics and feel that we are all part of the Body of Christ, which I always believed as well. But I was shocked to hear so many fundamentalist Christian groups claim that Catholics are going to hell. This is something I simply cannot believe.

It seems like there are so many sites and books that make this claim and Biblically back up the argument that Catholic beliefs do not line up with The Bible. Some of their arguments are well done as far as I can tell, but I simply cannot accept their belief that Catholics of all people are not saved…Are there any books or websites that offer a Catholic rebuttal to these fundamentalist arguments against the RCC?

The thing to keep in mind is this; The Bible can be interpreted many, many ways. Its one of the reasons why the Catholic and Orthodox churches both reject the notion of personal interpretation of scriptures as being authoritative (not that we discourage reading the Bible or trying to figure out what it means for us; just that no one should say that this is what the Bible absolutely means here). Most Catholic beliefs and practices are rooted firmly in the Bible.


Bill

Faith44,

Congratulations on doing some homework on Catholicism.

Growing up Lutheran, wouldn’t give you the mightmare of some Fundamentalist beliefs, because Lutheran is probably the closest Protestant sect, to the RCC. If I understand you correctly, the Church doesn’t claim that Protestants have a smaller chance of getting into heaven than non-Christian religions. My understanding is, if anything, that the opposite would be true. But ultimately, I think the Church is trying to say, we don’t know the depth of God’s mercy. We’ll leave the judging to him.

Unfortunately, being told we are going to hell is something just about every Catholic I know has faced. That they are even judging us so vehemently, and have propagandaists(sp?) like Jack Chick and Dave Hunt, tells me that they are the ones who are mislead, not us. The very bible they preach from tells us that we are not to judge, and that the true church will be persecuted. Hmmm, like you just mentioned about salvation, the Catholic church doesn’t do this to other religions. They are mostly misinformed about the Catholic faith and following the rants some leader feeds them.

Learn the Catholic response to these arguments and you will feel much better. I think you will find that the Catholic faith is the fullest Christian faith. There are plenty of places to find Catholic responses to these arguments. This website is a great place to start. There is a heading on the side for anti-Catholicism. There is also Catholic Online,EWTN, American Catholic, and Scripture Catholic. All are websites.

But as a last thought, don’t expect the haters to change their ways. They are not always open to hearing our side. They actually believe we worship Mary and statues. And what they will never want to get is that the bible was written for the church, not the church written for the bible. What did Christians do before the New testament was written? We don’t base our religion on scripture alone, because we are guided by the Holy Spirit, and were so from the beginning. Protestant churches have to go by the bible, because they have no such guidance promised to them. In some cases I see their rejection of RCC much like a rebellious teenager. They came from us and had their reasons for breaking off. If they don’t deny us so badly, then what do they have? They’re existence would no longer be justified. So they better get some good shots in to make themselves feel better. Who cares if they haven’t done their homework, or bore false witness against their neighbor. (It’s only one of the ten commandments…found in their bible.:dts: )

Just my thoughts. I will say a special prayer for you as you reflect on faith. I hope you enter an RCIA program.

I wouldn’t say that they have a “better” chance, since their salvation is not based on faith, but rather, on ignorance. Would you rather go to Heaven to be with the One you love, Jesus? Or because you are too ignorant to be allowed to go to Hell?

Either of these is better than going to Hell, of course, but I think it is better to come to Heaven because of our love for Jesus, and not merely because we are disqualified from going to Hell.

In my experiences, the Protestants I have known have never had a problem with Catholics and feel that we are all part of the Body of Christ, which I always believed as well. But I was shocked to hear so many fundamentalist Christian groups claim that Catholics are going to hell. This is something I simply cannot believe.

It seems like there are so many sites and books that make this claim and Biblically back up the argument that Catholic beliefs do not line up with The Bible. Some of their arguments are well done as far as I can tell, but I simply cannot accept their belief that Catholics of all people are not saved…Are there any books or websites that offer a Catholic rebuttal to these fundamentalist arguments against the RCC?

Yes, there are lots of books, and also lots of web sites. Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie is probably a good starting place. Other authors to look for include Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, of course our own Karl Keating, and Steve Ray, who all deal specifically with answering Evangelical fundamentalists.

Hi Faith44,

I concur with ibkc - I highly recommend this website ( catholic.com ) and Karl Keating’s book. These two resources were highly instrumental in my coming to the Catholic faith. Steve Ray also has many writings online at www.catholicconvert.com .

Another good site is John Martignoni’s ( biblechristiansociety.com ). He has many free mp3’s available for download that defend Catholic doctrine from a Biblical perspective.

Like you, I was raised Protestant (Pentecostal) and many of my peers did not believe that Catholics were “saved.” I had many misconceptions about the Catholic faith and many were rebutted in Karl’s book.

The weakness of the Protestant arguments is that they do not translate Scripture within the context of the entire body of Scripture (both Old and New Testaments). We also need to refer to how the Early Church Fathers translated it - they would far better know the authors’ intents than we would. For example, St. Ignatius (who was a disciple of St. John the Apostle) would have a far better idea of St. John’s teachings than I would reading it 2000 years after the fact.

I’ll see what else I can dig up when I get home later.

I recommend Amy Welborn’s “Prove It: Church” book.

It answers Fundamentalist claims logically, and in a way that’s easy to read.
I haven’t quite finished it yet (even though it’s short), but it’s helped make things about the Church more clear to me as well, even though I’m a cradle Catholic.

I only have a simple answer right now Faith 44: God doesn’t play favorites. If He did so He wouldn’t be God because, as St. John tells us, “God is love.”

The Holy Catholic Church has a responsibility to protect/preserve and teach the Truth. Most other Christian religions have some of the truth, but the Catholic Church is the only one which has the fullness of truth.

So we say, in varying degrees that we are in communion (coming from two words - “common” and “union) with the other Christian religions but that they are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

i believe you will greatly benefit from this website

salvationhistory.com/ look also for Newman apologetics resources.

GOOD!!! I used to go to a “non-denominational” church as well (at the same time attending masses with my dad) and I made the same choice it looks like you’re considering.

I was baptized Lutheran, but always went to a non-denominational church during middle school and high school, so I have pretty much been protestant my whole life. We never talked about Catholics in my youth group, because my church taught us about faith in Christ being the most important thing about being a Christian. As far as we knew, the Catholics had it, so we didn’t need to worry about it.

That, as you mentioned below, is actually fairly rare for “non-denominational” churches, which tend to lean towards fundamentalism.

One thing that bothers me is that from what I have been reading, it seems that the Catholic Church seems to be more lenient to the idea of non-Christians, (i.e. Buddhists, Muslims, even atheists) of being saved than Protestants. The one thing that brought me closer to the Catholic Church was the idea of there being salvation for those who do not hear about or even do not come to accept Jesus, but I was surprised at the idea that some people without Christ might have a better chance at being saved than those who believe in Him in a different way (the Protestant way). Is this true?

no, not true. the person with the highest moral culpability has the hardest time being saved. Thus fully educated catholics of strong character must always strive to act according to the word of God. Those in ignorance of the word of God, well, we trust in God’s mercy to forgive them for never being properly educated on the church.

This entails 2 things: ignorance born through never having heard, or never having PROPERLY heard explanation of church teachings. and second, the wholehearted attempt to follow as best as possible the moral law as they understand it in their belief structure. So if the pigmy on the african island never hears about God, but he firmly believes his coconut tree is divine and provides his moral law, worships it with all his heart as he understands best to do, so then we entrust him to the mercy of God. In the same way, if our protestant bretherin who believe wholeheartedly that their way is correct and are never PROPERLY exposed to catholic truth in such a way as that a reasonable person would realize and follow truth, yet they continue to worship and avoid sin to the best of their ability, so we likewise trust in God’s mercy equally to the trust we have for our pigmy on the island.

In my experiences, the Protestants I have known have never had a problem with Catholics and feel that we are all part of the Body of Christ, which I always believed as well. But I was shocked to hear so many fundamentalist Christian groups claim that Catholics are going to hell. This is something I simply cannot believe.

If you’re going to become Catholic, get used to it. It’s suprisingly common to be told such things as:

  1. you’re going to hell
  2. you worship the pope/mary/whore of babalon/waifer god
  3. you’re all idolitors
  4. you follow man-made traditions over the bible
    All of these, and more, will be said to you, and all of them are patently untrue. Just remember, if you decide to become Catholic: blessed are you when you are persecuted in My Name.

It seems like there are so many sites and books that make this claim and Biblically back up the argument that Catholic beliefs do not line up with The Bible. Some of their arguments are well done as far as I can tell, but I simply cannot accept their belief that Catholics of all people are not saved…Are there any books or websites that offer a Catholic rebuttal to these fundamentalist arguments against the RCC?

There really aren’t. 99.9% of arguments against the catholic church’s ACTUAL teachings are based on

  1. false exegisis (improper understanding of a particular verse),
  2. incomplete exegisis (trying to discern meaning from a verse without consideration for other verses which may lend context or clarify),
  3. or improper translation (such as the use of the word repetitive prayer rather than the appropriate word “babble”)

The MAJORITY of arguments against “Catholic beliefs” are spot-on… with one minor problem: they aren’t ACTUALLY what catholics believe. We agree, it would be wrong to worship a statue, a pope, Mary, angels, saints, etc. That’s why we DON’T worship them… and yet SO MANY people claim we do. It would be wrong to think that each communion is a NEW sacrifice of the Christ, but we don’t think that either. etc and so on and so forth.

I hope that helps to clear things up. If you have more questions just drop me a line via message. a great resource would be your local RCIA teacher as well. You could sit through the course and learn, if at the end you want to be catholic, GREAT, but if not, then you’ve still gained knowledge as to what catholics actually believe.

Faith 44, the RCIA recommended by Promethius 95945 should help you avoid some of the more hard line attitudes and comments such as "we’re idolaters and going to hell’, if you chose to go that route.

From what I know and have heard from those who teach the RCIA you are given good core Catholic teaching, and it is done using a balanced approach.

And for goodness sake, keep your sense of humour.It will come in handy for those instances where you happen to encounter a few bumps in the road.

I work with the sick and dying - some of them over 100 years old. When I use this probing question to see “where they are at” :

"When we were young, we were given the impression that God was a big mean man waiting to hit us with a baseball bat any time we did something wrong…correct?"

…you’d be surprised the number of times I got “yes” for an answer from them or a nod of the head in agreement. When that would happen, I used to add the following (bear in mind I live in Montreal):

***“Now you know God wouldn’t use a baseball bat like that…God is Canadian - he’d use a hockey stick.” *** So far , with this little anecdote I’m batting 1000. It never fails to bring a broad smile out on their faces.

Take your Catholic faith seriously, but take yourself lightly.
:slight_smile:

Wow! These are some great responses! I just got back from a long day at school. I’m a college student and Monday is my busy day (I have class from 1:40 until 9:30pm, ahh!)

I want to give some individual responses later this week when I get some free time. Until Thursday, I have some major studying to do!

I just want to say though that I really appreciate everyone taking the time to read my post and respond to it. Even though I have been a Christian my whole life, I never explored the depths of the many different Christian faiths until about a year ago. Nor had I really read The Bible in depth.

One year later I have been consistently studying Christianity from every point of view. And I actually read the entire New Testament (that’s probably always a good thing for a Christian to do, lol) still working on the Old Testament (I’m only on Ruth at the moment).

But anyway, over this past year of spiritual searching, I have somehow constantly been circling back to the Roman Catholic Church.

Keep reading bro ! The book of Ruth is a great example of how God doesn’t play favorites.

I’ll be praying that your exams & studies go well.

God bless you.

I’m not going to lie, this is a mega long post. Sorry for the late response everyone. You’ll probably be most interested in my individual responses to you. I have to split this one up into 4 parts, lol.

I definitely agree with you there. I like to try and interpret things from the Bible myself, but usually don’t feel 100% comfortable unless I have spoken with a priest regarding my interpretations as well.

Great analogy as well. I’ve always felt that people in other faiths have a connection with God, but perhaps it might not be as strong as it could be. I always prayed that He would see their heart looking for a relationship with Him, rather than only see that they may be looking in the wrong area.

My thoughts exactly. The one thing I notice more than anything with the fundamentalists is how judgmental they are. I know of some that will say some of their own deceased family members are in hell. It shocks me to hear that sometimes. I couldn’t bring myself to say that about who most would consider to be the worst human beings by any standard.

Unfortunately, being told we are going to hell is something just about every Catholic I know has faced. That they are even judging us so vehemently, and have propagandaists(sp?) like Jack Chick and Dave Hunt, tells me that they are the ones who are mislead, not us. The very bible they preach from tells us that we are not to judge, and that the true church will be persecuted. Hmmm, like you just mentioned about salvation, the Catholic church doesn’t do this to other religions. They are mostly misinformed about the Catholic faith and following the rants some leader feeds them.

I guess that I will have to start getting used to that then. My Catholic friends said they have dealt with it several times in their lives. One of my best friends said that his rugby coach was a fundamentalist that often criticized him during practice for being Catholic.

Learn the Catholic response to these arguments and you will feel much better. I think you will find that the Catholic faith is the fullest Christian faith. There are plenty of places to find Catholic responses to these arguments. This website is a great place to start. There is a heading on the side for anti-Catholicism. There is also Catholic Online,EWTN, American Catholic, and Scripture Catholic. All are websites.

I will be sure to check these out. Thank you.

But as a last thought, don’t expect the haters to change their ways. They are not always open to hearing our side. They actually believe we worship Mary and statues. And what they will never want to get is that the bible was written for the church, not the church written for the bible. What did Christians do before the New testament was written? We don’t base our religion on scripture alone, because we are guided by the Holy Spirit, and were so from the beginning. Protestant churches have to go by the bible, because they have no such guidance promised to them. In some cases I see their rejection of RCC much like a rebellious teenager. They came from us and had their reasons for breaking off. If they don’t deny us so badly, then what do they have? They’re existence would no longer be justified. So they better get some good shots in to make themselves feel better. Who cares if they haven’t done their homework, or bore false witness against their neighbor. (It’s only one of the ten commandments…found in their bible.:dts: )

Just my thoughts. I will say a special prayer for you as you reflect on faith. I hope you enter an RCIA program.

I know what you mean about them not doing their homework. I now feel like I hardly knew anything about Christianity at all before doing my resent research. My grandparents have always been protestant and they are the ones that me to pray every night and taught me a lot about Christianity in general early on in my life. They believe ever word to be true in the Bible, but neither of them have actually ever read the entire thing, not even the New Testament. They don’t even know where the Bible really came from.

The only encounter they had with Catholics that I know of was early in my grandfather’s life when he wanted to know the fate of his relative’s miscarried child. With weeping eyes he said, “The Catholics told us that he went to a place called purgatory.” and that was the end of it. He decided that he wouldn’t be Catholic and I believe that my grandmother based her opinion on Catholicism off of that story as well.

It seems strange to me that they have believed without a doubt that everything in the Bible is infallibly true 4X longer than I have even been alive, yet I probably know way more about it than they ever will (in this lifetime).

I think I will be checking out an RCIA program. Thank you for the kind words and your prayer.

Agreed. It is good to be in God’s grace and be able to show our praise and appreciation for it.

Yes, there are lots of books, and also lots of web sites. Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie is probably a good starting place. Other authors to look for include Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, of course our own Karl Keating, and Steve Ray, who all deal specifically with answering Evangelical fundamentalists.

I’ll check it out. Thanks for the advice.

Perfect! I feel like I really am on the Catholic’s side when it comes to these claims, but I don’t always know how to retort to fundamentalist accusations.

Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll check it out. Once this semester is over with, I’ll have a lot of reading to do over the summer, haha.

Amen to that brother!

The Holy Catholic Church has a responsibility to protect/preserve and teach the Truth. Most other Christian religions have some of the truth, but the Catholic Church is the only one which has the fullness of truth.

So we say, in varying degrees that we are in communion (coming from two words - "common" and “union”) with the other Christian religions but that they are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

That makes sense to me. I feel like I just need to come to a full understanding as to what I have been missing in my Christian faith all this time. Primarily it has been the belief stemmed from Vatican II that not all non-Christians are immediately assumed to be damned that has motivated me to learn more about Catholicism. So now I want to learn about what Catholics practice that protestants don’t.

Thanks for the support.

Essentially, that is the same example I have brought up to my pastors and other Christians countless times throughout my life. There are a great number of people who believe that those people would go to hell. I hadn’t realized that ignorance was such a severe sin…:wink:

If you’re going to become Catholic, get used to it. It’s suprisingly common to be told such things as:

  1. you’re going to hell
  2. you worship the pope/mary/whore of babalon/waifer god
  3. you’re all idolitors
  4. you follow man-made traditions over the bible
    All of these, and more, will be said to you, and all of them are patently untrue. Just remember, if you decide to become Catholic: blessed are you when you are persecuted in My Name.

There really aren’t. 99.9% of arguments against the catholic church’s ACTUAL teachings are based on

  1. false exegisis (improper understanding of a particular verse),
  2. incomplete exegisis (trying to discern meaning from a verse without consideration for other verses which may lend context or clarify),
  3. or improper translation (such as the use of the word repetitive prayer rather than the appropriate word “babble”)

The MAJORITY of arguments against “Catholic beliefs” are spot-on… with one minor problem: they aren’t ACTUALLY what catholics believe. We agree, it would be wrong to worship a statue, a pope, Mary, angels, saints, etc. That’s why we DON’T worship them… and yet SO MANY people claim we do. It would be wrong to think that each communion is a NEW sacrifice of the Christ, but we don’t think that either. etc and so on and so forth.

Don’t forget that you all worship crackers, haha. I’m not kidding, I seriously read an anti-Catholic website claiming that you believe Christ be comes the bread during communion and that you worship the bread…what a ridiculous claim…

I hope that helps to clear things up. If you have more questions just drop me a line via message. a great resource would be your local RCIA teacher as well. You could sit through the course and learn, if at the end you want to be catholic, GREAT, but if not, then you’ve still gained knowledge as to what catholics actually believe.

Things are definitely being cleared up. I’m considering the RCIA course this summer. Thank you for your post.

Definitely a good point to bring up. I always thought that our understanding and interpretation of scripture would differ as the generations go on. Plus I also think it is important to keep in mind the context of the scripture in the time period. Though I feel most scripture is timeless, it can sometimes be a little tough to apply them to modern times.

I’ll read up on those sources. Thanks for the help.

Great advise! It’s always good to keep a sense of humor about things, almost no matter what the case. You’ve got some great character there and it sounds like your take the faith very seriously. Thank you for your response.

Thanks a lot everyone. I really appreciate you all responding to me. I’m reading up more and talking to a Catholic Priest tomorrow. I made a list of questions and he and I are going to have a one on one to help explain some things.

I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing. Again, thanks a lot for the advice everyone!

God Bless!

It’s great to hear back from you! Best wishes in your studies. :slight_smile:

Ever hear of transubstantiation?? The RCC does believe that the bread becomes Jesus. They don’t worship the bread per se but definitely there is adoration of the bread. That’s why the Priest stares so intently at it after the consecration. When I was in Catholic School practicing for first communion the Priest used to say “now remember boys and girls this isn’t Jesus yet”

PEACE

Adoration is worship and no, it is not adoration of bread, it is adoration of Jesus.
Geez, you just accused us of worshipping bread. :mad: You might as well have mentioned our “wafer god.” Nice.

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