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Survey Says Many Protestants Believe More Like Catholics

November 17, AD2016 28 Comments


Heresy is running rampant in America. At least that’s what the headline on a recent article at The Federalist said.

The article, “Survey Finds Most American Christians Are Actually Heretics,” written by a young man named G. Shane Morris, states that a recent survey of 3,000 people found that “although Americans still overwhelmingly identify as “Christian,” startling percentages of the nation embrace ancient errors condemned by all major Christian traditions.” That isn’t good, I thought.  Morris had piqued my interest.

Some of the findings of the survey that Morris highlights are a bit surprising. For instance, while 69% of the survey respondents say they believe in the Trinity, only 61% agree that Jesus is both human and divine. But more than 52% of those surveyed also think that Jesus is “the first and greatest being created by God.”  Morris correctly points out that this would be Arianism, and this would indeed be heresy.  Hopefully any Catholics who were called by the survey people were in the 48% that did not agree with this statement.

Human Nature

But about one-third of the way through the article Morris says that fully “Two-thirds [of the respondents] . . . insisted that most people are good by nature, which directly contradicts scripture . . .” This statement caught me off guard because Catholic Teaching says that people are good by nature.  What’s going on here, I wondered.  A quick check of Morris’s byline info cleared up the confusion.

Morris is “assistant editor at BreakPoint, a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.” So he is an Evangelical Protestant and the article takes a Protestant point of view.  And while he does not state that this contradiction of scripture is heresy* that is the implication.

Someone reading this ‘contradiction of scripture’ statement might mistakenly assume that Morris’ interpretation is correct. They might also assume that this is one of the “ancient errors” all major Christian traditions condemn.  But the idea that ‘man is inherently bad’ is a wholly Protestant teaching that is in opposition to Catholic Teaching.

A Valid Message

The article went on to chide American Christians, especially Evangelicals, for their ignorance regarding the Bible and Christian beliefs. Morris, in fact, seemed rather embarrassed by the lack of knowledge his fellow Evangelicals exhibited in regard to “basic theological knowledge.”

And Morris’ concluding message was valid for Protestants and Catholics alike:

“Why does it matter that we’ve become a nation of doctrinal dunces? What harm is there in flunking Christianity 101? Well, for Christians, the answer is obvious. If we really believe what we profess—that the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important fact of history and eternity—then we’d better improve our grade. Knowing who the God we claim to worship is can no longer be a third priority if we want the world to take us seriously as his followers.”

Other Survey Findings

Intrigued by some of the survey findings that Morris mentioned, I was curious about the rest of the results. It is rather obvious that the survey, conducted by LifeWay Research, has a Protestant tilt, but the findings are still interesting.

The irony in the survey is striking. The findings seem to indicate that more Protestants are closer to believing Catholic doctrine than they might care to admit.  The ‘man’s nature is good’ question is an indicator that Protestants don’t all agree with Martin Luther’s teaching on the nature of man. Another is that more than half (52%) of those surveyed agree “By the good deeds that I do, I partly contribute to earning my place in heaven”.”  This, too, is contrary to Reformed Theology which says a person cannot earn graces.  But it is right in line with Catholic Teaching.  So perhaps a key to evangelizing to some Protestants is to show them that they may really be Catholic in their thinking.

Luther on Human Nature

The bad nature vs. good nature belief also got me thinking. How can Protestants preach sola scriptura and then disregard that the Bible says right from the get go:  “God said, “Let us make mankind in our image and likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, over all the wild animals and every creature that crawls on earth.” (Gen, 1:26)

God, who is all good, would not create a race of beings in His own image and likeness that can be inherently bad.  This would be a contradiction.  If we were created in God’s image and likeness it stands to reason that we are inherently good.  And why would God give an inherently bad mankind dominion over the earth and all its creatures?

Luther’s response to this is that mankind originally was good, at first. But due to sin, the fall of Adam and Eve, mankind’s nature transformed and mankind became inherently bad.  So our God-given nature, according to Reformed Theology is transformable, even though God’s nature is not and even though we were made in His image and likeness.

St. Thomas Aquinas On Human Nature

Luther’s teaching on this is curious considering what St. Thomas Aquinas says about human nature in the Summa Theologiæ. The good of human nature, he says, is threefold:  1) the principles that constitute nature and the properties that flow from them, such as the soul, 2) the inclination to virtue, and 3) the sense of God’s justice, which was conferred on the whole of human nature in the person of the first man.

“Accordingly, the first-mentioned good of nature is neither destroyed nor diminished by sin. The third good of nature was entirely destroyed through the sin of our first parent. But the second good of nature, viz. the natural inclination to virtue, is diminished by sin. Because human acts produce an inclination to like acts, as stated above (I-II:50:1). Now from the very fact that a thing becomes inclined to one of two contraries, its inclination to the other contrary must needs be diminished. Wherefore as sin is opposed to virtue, from the very fact that a man sins, there results a diminution of that good of nature, which is the inclination to virtue.”

So our sense of God’s justice was destroyed by Original Sin, but our souls cannot be destroyed or diminished, and our sense of virtue and inclination toward virtue is only diminished by sin.

Luther Was Not Logical- Heresy

Consider too, that God sent His Son to die a humiliating and agonizing death to save us from the fires of hell. But according to Luther even Jesus’ death did not re-transform us and make us good again.  According to Reformed Theology when we accept Jesus as our savior our badness only gets ‘covered up.’  We’re still inherently bad . . . but we get to go to heaven anyway.  This is neither logical nor rationale nor reasonable, but this is what Martin Luther decided.

Logic and reason, which seems to always be in short supply in the world anyway, was not a major consideration for Luther in setting forth the tenets of his new theology. As Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas wrote recently at Catholic World Report:

“At no stage were his concepts clearly crystallized, and it would seem that O’Hare’s** observations are well-founded: “Ever vacillating, ambiguous, contradictory, he was utterly incapable of formulating a clear, well-defined, unhesitating system of belief to replace that of the old divinely established Church.” From previous discussion of Luther’s personality and psychological state, these inconsistencies should not be surprising for he was a man struggling between revolting against authority and setting himself up as an authority. . .”

Who Ya Gonna Believe?

This last bit of information about Luther is something that always struck me as curious. In rebelling against the authority of the Pope and the Magisterium, Luther set himself up as the ‘new’ authority.  Luther was essentially saying ‘all the great theologians in the past 1,500 years before me have it wrong, but I have figured it all out.  The church does not need a Pope, listen to me instead.’  In effect he set himself up as the pope of the Lutherans.

Then others jumped on the band wagon — Henry VIII became King and pope of the Church of England, John Wesley, Charles Wesley and George Whitefield became the Magisterium of the Methodist Church, John Knox became the pope of the Presbyterian Church, Joseph Smith became the pope of the Mormons, Charles Taze Russell and “Judge” Joseph R. Rutherford became the first and second popes of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Ellen G. White became the pope of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And every one of these individuals were now saying – the Catholics are wrong, but ‘the other Protestants are all wrong, too, and I am right.

The Church of Me

Thanks to the giant fracture the Reformation caused, it was kind of inevitable that we would get to where we are today: “Nearly 23% of all U.S. adults now say they are religiously unaffiliated, up from about 16% in 2007” according to Pew. People today are becoming “spiritual but not religious,” largely thanks to the Reformation and the sense of individualism that it sparked.

Today we all are free to interpret the Bible as we see fit. And this shows in many ways, such as in the high percentages of Christians that have no problem with same sex marriage or abortion.  And according to the LifeWay survey, 59% of those surveyed either strongly agree or agree somewhat that worshiping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church.  This finding provides a lot of insight into why church attendance on Sundays has been in decline.

No one really needs organized religion if Luther and the other Reformation theologians are correct. We can all say “I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior,” read the Bible on our own, and go to the ‘church of me,’ even though most of the ‘churches of me’ are jumbles of illogical, irrational, and often contradictory beliefs.

Catholicism, Logic, and Reason

As Karl Keating wrote very recently at Catholic Answers:

“It is no accident that a straight line can be drawn from Protestantism through the Enlightenment to today’s secularism. (The ancestor of secular humanism isn’t a vague paganism; it’s Puritanism.) By its inner nature, Protestantism is unstable. It was and is a hodgepodge. Much in it is true, but that truth preexisted in Catholicism. To that truth were superadded partial truths and even untruths, and that made the construct unstable.”

Many Protestants who are now Catholics cite the logic and reason that is fundamental to Catholic Doctrine as the reason for their converting to Catholicism. The more they studied Reformed Theology in comparison to Orthodox Catholic Theology, the more contradictions and holes they found in the teachings of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and Knox.  So it’s really not all that surprising that so many Protestants actually have beliefs that are in line with Catholic Doctrine.

The bottom line here is be discerning when reading articles about what Christians believe at a non-Catholic website.   One never knows what kind of confusion such articles may cause.   And keep in mind the survey findings about the nature of man and earning graces when evangelizing to Protestants.  Logic and reason are strong arguments for Catholicism but seemingly insignificant details can also sometime trigger conversion.

* The Bible verses Morris references are “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” (Rom 3:23), and “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9).

** Patrick O’Hare, The Facts about Luther (New York: Frederick Pustet, 1916), 141.a

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Gene M. Van Son is retired after spending 35 years in the automobile business working for two of the Big 3 Automakers as a writer and editor, and then as a project manager in the areas of satellite communications and wireless technology. Originally from the Chicago area he has now resided in the Detroit area for more than half his life. He is a cradle Catholic who attended a Catholic grade school, high school and university. He has been married for 42 years to the love of his life, who is a certified Catechist, and they have three sons. He is now putting his BA in Journalism to use researching and writing about topics and issues that interest him. In addition to writing for Catholic Stand he has also had articles and essays published at and at .

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  • Peter Gross

    We cannot live the ‘truth’ without the anointing, the Spirit of truth. When the Lion of the tribe of Judah comes, He will do the roaring. The Lord showed me images of Batman, Joker and Penguin.

    TV Batman is a good guy in appearance, but he dwells in shadows. He wears a grey bodysuit and this speaks of compromise and the interfaith movement. TV Batman is an actor. Joker has a sense of humour, but he has an evil heart. He uses humour as a cover. In contrast to TV Batman, Penguin wears a black and white costume, so it is easy to discern his character.

    My interpretations are that TV Batman represents Pope Francis on the outside. I don’t need further evidence that he is the false prophet because he is a leader in the interunfaithful movement. Joker represents Pope Francis on the inside. I wonder whether the ‘crazy clowns’ are a manifestation of the Joker.

    I shared these revelations with Biblical False Prophet and they published these ‘comments’ in their ‘comments.’ For example,

    “Peter Gross
    7 June 2015 at 22:04

    Satan’s strategy to cause division in the church is quite simple: Grey. Let me expand on this subject: Splitting grey hairs. However, this presents an opportunity for the church to go to a higher level: Light. The ministry of Christ/Melchisedek/The Great High Priest is a superior ministry,

    Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

    How I wish that I could be the voice of Christ! Your God reigns. Where there is division, that is where God does not reign. Where there is priest v priest, that is where Satan reigns.”

    • james

      I think all these musings are Gross assumptions.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      No kidding,James; what the what are you talking about, Gross?? ?

    • Peter Gross

      In simple terms, the Biblical false prophet is here. In simple terms, this pastor had a dream about the birth of the antiChrist.

    • Peter Gross

      Thank you for your comment. Remember the virgins who didn’t have any oil in their lamps? I would rather have oil with assumptions than no oil without assumptions. I downloaded these photos of orchids from my Facebook. Is photo 1 a sign or a joke? Is photo 2 a sign or a joke? I will follow the trail of signs and you can follow the trail of random events.…/

    • james

      Ok, Peter, but if in 20 years your dire predictions don’t come true you’ll have some
      serious explaining to do. ‘The End is near’ – how gauche

    • Peter Gross

      I have warned the church and that is all I have to do. However, there is safety in numbers and other people had these dreams. DREAM 1 is about bats and the end-times. DREAM 2 is about the Joker. In DREAM 2 ‘Death is Anxious for the Joker to Appear.’

      DREAM 1

      Part 1

      A couple of days ago I had a dream about the end of the world. It was (Im assuming) an apocalyptic vision.

      In my dream I saw 3 large shooting stars and 1 small shooting star in a vast space (presumably the 3 1/2 years of peace). And then I saw a man dressed in a black robe who stood at what looked like the gate of Hates (hard to remember) Next, the man in the black robe had summond Satan.

      The 3 large shooting stars and the 1 small one had now come to earth and struck the ground hard. Fire and flames had emited in the air and the sky was red. Odd shapped bats had flown around biting people. Each person who was bitten had died. Some of the bats flew inside people and caused them to have siezures! 3 large craters and 1 small crater were dug into the ground around the temple in Jerusalim. On top of the temple was the same man in the black robes but also with another who was consumed by so much darkness that his eyes could not be seen.

      It seemed that nothing could stop this reign of madness until at last the craters had stop burning and the sky was no longer red and the bats all fell to the ground. All this happened at an unknown command from the heavens. A shower of light had consumed both men on the temple. Then another man came down from the light. He was handsome and couragous. He was powerfull and triumphant. He was loving and passionate.

      He drew a sword from is astonishing and brilliantly white robe and struck Satan with just a tap on his shoulder. Satan cowered down at his feet and angles from the light grabbed him and carried him away. An angle with arched wings followed with chains in his hands and had a look of victory on his face.

      The man who struck Satan is who I believe to be Jesus Christ. And the angle with the victorious smile is who I believe to be Gabriel. The man who stood before the gates of Hades is who I believe to be the False Prophet.

      This dream was the most remarkable dream I have ever had. I often question as to why it was placed in my mind. Do any of you have reasons as to why I dreamed this dream and have been able to remember it?

      God Bless,


      Part 2

      Well according to what I have been told, there are supposed to be 3 1/2 years of world peace(like the brilliance of the shooting stars) and then there are supposed be 3 1/2 more years of hell reigning on earth(liket the 3 big craters and the one small one).

      I dont recall a woman though. Who would she be?

      During the dream all I could feel suffering. I remember my family going through hell and crying. My friends were trying to survive…Its all a bit of a daze now.

      I remember feeling dazed when I woke up. It was the strangest thing though because I usually don’t remeber dreams too often. But this one, for some reason, managed to stay in my head.

      When I was typing this up yesterday I felt concerned (which is the very reason why I brought it up). I thought that something was drawing near. I felt like God wanted me to do something, but what is the part that I don’t know. I also started to cry with the part about my family and freinds.

      I hope this helps clear up some things,


      DREAM 2
      Revelation of a Dream – Death is Anxious for the Joker to Appear
      Mike S
      Published on 24 Nov 2015

    • Peter Gross

      I have issued the warning so my mission is ended.

  • Peter Gross
  • Peter Gross


    I doubt that any one in any church took notice of the 8.1 at MacQuarie Island. Currently, churches are united by blindness. The bar may have to raised to a 9 at Christchurch, New Zealand. Priscilla Van Sutphin reposted this article today. I wonder why? The Bible says, ‘signs’ and ‘wonders.’ I live in *Australia and I wonder whether this could be a sign?

    Dromedary Defeat
    Feb 15th, 2008 thru Priscilla

    The dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius) is a large even-toed ungulate native to northern Africa and western Asia. It is often referred to as the one-humped camel, Arabian camel, or simply as the “dromedary”. It is domesticated; the world’s only population of dromedaries exhibiting wild behaviour is an introduced feral population in *Australia.

    The camel was an unclean animal, it was forbidden to be eaten.

    Jer 2:23 AMP How can you say, I am not defiled; I have not gone after the Baals [other gods]? Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done. You are a restive young female camel [in the uncontrollable violence of her brute passion eagerly] running hither and thither,

    Matt 23:24 AMP You blind guides, filtering out a gnat and gulping down a camel ! [Lev 27:30; Mic 6:8.]

    “Pages of history are being written now. No one can keep up with all the changes and turmoil in the world. I tell My prophets beforehand, what is happening. I don’t tell them to keep it to themselves, or to hoard private information. I tell them in order that they would PRAY. I tell them that they would WARN and exhort people. I’m not telling them just so they can get rich off their predictions either. Many are turning to psychics and false prophets due to fear in this hour and hunger to know how everything they’ve read will be played out.

    I have a plan that keeps getting muddled due to mixture in prophets who are called by My name. Many of these are unhealed and thus speaking things I have not spoken, and saying what appeals to others, just to get noticed. Do My people discern rightly ? No, they are so blind to the truth which has been so diluted, that they are giving in to con artists, and spiritual vampires, supporting what does not profit. Running from one idol to another trying to glean a little here, and glean a little there. But do they run to ME ? Do they see what I see ?

    I look and I see a classroom of little children who’ve been so bruised, broken, deceived and hurt, and mistaught that they don’t know north from south, or east from west. It’s as if they are in a daze. Well I’m about to give some wake up calls to the masses of people asleep and in a slumberous stupor. I AM UNCOVERING and I will destroy the wisdom of those who think themselves wise. I will destroy the mantles of pride and bring down every lofty thing that exalts itself against ME. Will you not tremble at My name ? Will you not tremble when I step down ? I will expose, and I will uncover all pretense and lies.

    However many will flee from anyone who represents ME due to the ensuing persecution that is coming as I pour out My GLORY. Many will be jealous and defiant towards ME,

    And seek to stop those who move in true power and authority. You will be glad for what I do in you, My remnant bride, but be on your guard against the Judas’s who will betray you with a kiss. For many will pretend, and long to be part of power ministry, yet not be willing to pay the price. I will help you to discern the lamb from the wolf.

    I will show you all who are diametrically opposed to My holiness.

    Archeological finds will bring to light more confirmation of My Word. Earthquakes in various places will uncover some amazing finds. Even as there is an unearthing of ancient ways and evidence brought forth, will I also unearth My beauty, and reestablish ancient foundations. Evidence of both will be seen and millions will come and lay their heads on My chest, as I pour out My love on this generation. Conviction of hearts will be swift and transformations INSTANT. Shocking displays of My glory will capture the attention of even the most hardened hearts. The division between light and darkness will grow greater. My GLORY will be evidenced in your midst as never before in thousands of years.

    As it comes with transforming power, the powers of darkness will try to crush it and you will see demonstrations of persecution that will make your hearts weep and sob for all of the saints affected. But this will be short lived, and I will pour out such glory, that judgments will also be instant. People’s hearts will be filled with fear at the terror of the LORD of HOSTS. Revelation is increasing so much in the earth, that the fear of the LORD will be magnified in the earth. The fear of man now prevalent in the true church will be changed. Visions of heaven and hell will increase and young and old will be transformed by the experience of My glory poured out.

    Those that pollute the minds and hearts of My lambs will receive immediate judgment. Be aware that there is NO COMPROMISE in heavenly realms. There is not room for the abominable and hateful in the realm of heaven. If you hold on to your pain and bitterness, it will not go well for you beloveds. Lay them at the cross. Relinquish all resentment for what you have gone through, for all that you’ve gone through is GAIN for the glory of God. All that you’ve suffered will bring forth GLORY. So why should you resent that which only magnifies ME in you ? LAY DOWN YOUR RIGHTS, for you were bought and paid for with the blood of JESUS. WHOSE ARE YOU ? YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN.

    It is not for you to say what you will or will not do. If it is, then you are still walking in pride and rebellion. Ask for ME to open your eyes oh man, oh woman ! For you are in need of eye salve oh church. You need to see as I see, and hear as I hear. You have need of MY WISDOM, and MY UNDERSTANDING. He who seeks to save his life will LOSE IT. He who loses his life will save it. Fall on the ROCK or the Rock will fall on you and crush you to pieces. The one who loves Me, OBEYS ME, I said.

    Which way will you go ? Your way or My way ?

    Make your choice, for the harvesting and reaping angels are at hand. Will you be in the sheep pen, or the goat pen ? It’s up to you. What is your heart’s desire ? Blessed are you when men persecute you and say all manner of evil against you. REJOICE and be glad, for great is your reward in HEAVEN. The nature of the camel is being removed from My church. The stubbornness and the way of going in circles will be removed. I will have a people who FOLLOW ME, rather than expecting Me to follow them.”

  • Peter Gross


    Earthquakes Shake Protestants and Catholics
    If there is another 8.1 (see below) we may need to help each other. There won’t be any Protestant or Catholic church buildings still standing.

    Sep 3, a 6.7 earthquake MacQuarie Is, Tasmania, belongs to Australia.

    Dr Owuor said there would be an earthquake between Tasmania, Australia
    and New Zealand.

    Ever heard of Christchurch, New Zealand?


    The Island is Sparsely Populated
    On 23 December 2004, an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter magnitude scale
    (one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded) rocked the island but caused little damage.
    Macquarie Island – Wikipedia

  • Dhaniele

    Certainly the idea that works have something to do with our entrance into heaven is a not a classical Protestant idea, but this truth is so often repeated in the Bible (e.g. Matthew 25’s last judgment) that it is hardly any wonder that ordinary Bible readers do not share Luther’s theories. In short, the New Testament was written by Catholics and especially for Catholics and those who are interested in becoming Catholics.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      So,Dhaniele…Can you show us in Scripture where it says…”the New Testament was written by Catholics and especially for Catholics and those who are interested in becoming Catholics”…? Because both history and your Catechism disagrees with you. The great Apostle Paul,who wrote the bulk of the New Testament, iterated his Jewish bonafides in the Epistle to the Philippians, chapter 3,vss.4-12. So…your extraordinary statement is simply erroneous at best, or some kind of bizarre fantasy at worst. Our Savior never invited us to anyone’s religion or man-centered-“ism”; He ALWAYS invited us to HIMSELF—mull and reflect,Dhaniele, and the Peace of Christ be with you. ???.

    • M.

      Ringo, can you show in Scripture where the word Trinity is used? It’s not there, therefore why do you believe in it? What happened to all those souls who lived before the invention of the printing press, who could never have afforded their own copy of the Bible which would have cost the equivalent of hundreds if not thousands of dollars today? Were they all lost because they lacked a King James Bible? Also how can you trust the Bible at all? After all it was evil (in your wicked sight) Catholic monks who wrote out the copies for centuries, since Catholics are supposedly such villains, how can you know they didn’t change it boy? Don’t tell me you think that God wouldn’t permit it, you’ve already proved that you don’t really believe that by your belief that His Church was corrupted beyond repair; if this be so He didn’t keep His solemn promise that that would never occur. As for St. Paul’s thoughts on Jews I recommend that you read I Thessalonians 2:14-16. Also, we go by real history, and the real Catechism, not “the history of the Church and the Catechism according to Ringo” Ringo is a purple flying elephant because I say so. That is pretty much what you do Ringo, make up some ridiculous nonsense, and then crow about its supposed irrefutable veracity because it is “history” ha ha ha ha! You had better be careful, this sort of adamant refusal to conform your mind to reality, and instead requiring that reality conform itself to you is how lunatics are made. You might have to be restrained from throwing yourself off of a building one day, because you’ve decided that you have wings and can fly, and whatever you think or imagine is fact, therefore…..away you go!

  • Peter Gross

    The Protestant remnant and the Catholic remnant will be in unity with each other. First, they need to be in unity with the Lord (churches need to leave their baggage at the cross). Second, the churches need the anointing for unity (Psalm 133).

    What was significant about the supermoon? I believe that it speaks about ‘Christ Church.’ Christ is speaking to the Church. The Lord wants unity. The church needs to repent for disunity.

    Several years ago, cyclone Yasi crossed the coast of Queensland, Australia, at Mission Beach. Reverse the letters in Yasi and you get ‘I say.’ Is this a coincidence or a sign? Cyclone Carlos was the next cyclone after Yasi (it began to form before cyclone Dianne).

    Prophet Carlos had a dream about a cyclone months before cyclone Yasi and cyclone Carlos. Search ‘peter gross’ on Facebook, then scroll down to ‘Sep 17’ OR TRY THIS LINK:

    I live near Cairns. Yasi was a cat. 5

  • Spudnik3

    Luther in rejecting the Pope has created millions of popes. Everyone has their own court of final appeal on questions of which theology or Bible interpretation is correct. That court of appeal might be one’s denomination, or pastor, or favorite author or speaker, or oneself.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Or even worse,Almighty God Himself,Spudnik3…we can’t have that,can we? Peace in Christ.?

    • M.

      Well then Ringo, do you really believe that the Almighty, being Truth Itself tells one private interpreter of the Scriptures one thing, and then tells another sectary the antithesis of what He had told the first? Is God the author of confusion Ringo? Some Anglicans believe in the Real Presence, most prots of course would blasphemously say that this is idolatry, Anglicans baptize infants, Baptists say this is wrong, Calvinists, if they follow the original Institutes believe, blasphemously, that God Who is infinitely good creates some men for the sole purpose of condemning them, Anglicans would deny this, on and on it goes. Who is right Ringo? They can’t all of them be right. How is it that these sects founded 1500 years after Christ are supposedly somehow the “church” which He founded? The Catholic Church and Its popes can, contrariwise, be traced back to the time of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, even the Church’s enemies are generally not so stupid as to deny this. For anyone interested in this subject I would suggest the following two books: The History of Heresies and Their Refutation by St. Alphonsus Liguori, and History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches by Bishop Bossuet. These are truly excellent works and ought to be read by all.

  • Spudnik3

    There is a simpler explanation: America is largely made up of pagans who wear the thinnest veneer of Christianity. The fact that self-described Christians espouse the entire range of views on the entire range of issues shows that the word, in the modern American context, points to nothing in particular and so has become meaningless.

  • Birgit Atherton Jones

    An excellent analysis and one I will share with my Protestant friends. This bit especially spoke to me:

    “In rebelling against the authority of the Pope and the Magisterium, Luther set himself up as the ‘new’ authority. Luther was essentially saying ‘all the great theologians in the past 1,500 years before me have it wrong, but I have figured it all out. The church does not need a Pope, listen to me instead.’ In effect he set himself up as the pope of the Lutherans.”

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      You’d better read the history again, Birgit…If it was a matter of simply…”rebelling against the authority of the pope and the Magisterium”…,The Reformation would have NEVER taken place. The seeds of the Reformation were sown loong before Luther came along, and honest Catholic historians acknowledge this. Roman Catholic intransigence was just as much to blame, not to mention the acknowledged corruption plaguing the Catholic Church. Even your sainted Pope John Paul II admitted as much.Try again,Birgit. PEACE.?.

    • M.

      Stop lying Ringo. Your beloved heresiarchs sought to free themselves from moral restraints which they found insupportable. They used the corruption, real or imagined as an excuse to set up their new religions in opposition to that founded by Christ. Read Galatians 1:7-9 and see what the Almighty thinks of those who come preaching a new gospel as your heresiarchs did. St. Athanasius fought the arian heretics by insisting on orthodoxy, not by making up a new religion of “athanasiusism” like those accursed enemies of Christ in the 16th century did. Your sacrilegious assertion that Christ lied in the Gospel of St. Matthew 16:18 makes you unworthy to call yourself His servant. You are His enemy and a willing and enthusiastic slave of the devil Ringo. Every post filled with malicious lies and calumny you write only increases your guilt. One day you must appear before Him Whom you so freely deride and insult. Think well on that Ringo.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Give a rest,why don’t you M. As I have stated many times before,honest Roman Catholic historians who don’t have their heads stuck in the quicksand of bogus Catholic groupthink don’t try to tweak, parse,and spin authentic Roman Catholic history; they face the truth,as ugly and unsavory as it was,and still is(Pedophile scandals,anyone? Or did the Protestants invent that too,M.?)—I had intended to engage you tomorrow after looking into your posts from last week, but I decided not to let this one pass.And again, history shows that the Roman Catholic Church didn’t have many “moral restraints” during the time leading up to the Reformation. Are you trying to be funny? Because if you are,guess what? YOU SUCCEEDED!!! ???. [ By the way, my repudiation of the Roman Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:18 doesn’t mean that I’m calling Jesus a liar,but since that’s the way YOUR mind works, I’m not the least bit surprised that you would accuse me of such; I certainly know you well enough by now,LOL!? (You’re very funny,M.!)—PEACE IN CHRIST, ALWAYS!!!?

    • M.

      You are a caricature Ringo. You follow the doctrine taught by the serpent in Genesis, you will decide what is good and what is evil, what is true and what is false, not God. No Catholic historian worthy of the name agrees with good for nothing prot liars and calumniators. Why don’t you read Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, Christopher Dawson, Bossuet, Godfrey Kurth, Abbe Barruel, Chateaubriand or Donoso Cortes? If you want to bring up the paedophiles I’ll be happy to list the names of all the prot ministers I can find who were proven guilty of that. You liars, inspired with the spirit of your father, always like to pretend that this abomination is peculiarly Catholic. Many times the allegations were false. When they were true the priest was generally a Judas, an infiltrator or apostate. At any rate I wish that they would have received the punishment they would have got in the Middle Ages, that is that they would been handed over to the saecular arm for execution, which would probably have been burning at the stake. As for the pretended morality of the heresiarchs you make me laugh old boy. Luther admitted that he hated monastic discipline. He didn’t want to fast, he didn’t want to mortify his flesh in any way. His ardent love of the pleasures of carnal pleasures drove him to blaspheme the Almighty by claiming that it was impossible to keep the Commandments. He broke all his vows, sacrilegiously marrying an apostate nun, living a life of dissipation, telling the Elector of Hesse that it was permissible for him to “marry” a second wife, (funny how venereal pleasure and removing restraints upon it was all-important to the heresiarchs, could it be that we see the real motive for the founding of their made-up new religions here?) stirring up the miserable peasants to rise against the princes, and then turning on them like the snake he was and vociferously calling on the princes to massacre them, which they gleefully did. Calvin was arrested for unnatural vice when younger. He was petty, vindictive and avaricious (like most of his followers) and got money to himself by any and all means necessary. Erasmus wrote of how everyone he knew who turned to the new religion became base and inclined to debauchery thereafter. What other effect could antinomianism have? All of this can be read easily for free on the internet, all of this is self-evident to a man of good will, but you Ringo have not a good will. I can’t be all that angry with you anymore, rather I pity you, you are going headlong down the road to perdition and singing all the way, not seeing the flames or smelling the smoke. How sad that you’ve blinded yourself by your unrelenting malice and satanical hatred of God’s True Church.

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    Well…I only have one question for you, Mr.Van Son(actually a two-fold question): If humanity is inherently good in their present state, who was Jesus referring to in Mark chapter 7,vss

    • BiologyBrain

      I’m not the author, but I will have a go at answering your questions. First, let me ask you a question–are infants inherently evil? Are toddlers? Are elementary children inherently evil or bad? I’m going to guess that your answer for that would be no. The innocence of childhood is a widely accepted theory. It is sin and society’s acceptance of sin that leads to our ‘bad’ nature. Our souls remain clean and pure, focused towards God, until we actively *choose* to focus on ourselves or the world *instead* of God. Remember, in Scripture, Jesus said we must be like little children to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Little children have always been identified as being closest to God. I think you may need to re-read what inherently means and the argument of the author that the inherent nature of our souls has and always will be good *unless* we kill our souls with sin.

      You also ask the author whether Aquinas backed up his theories with the Word of God. I ask you, did you back up your theories with the Word of God or is it your interpretation of the Word of God or some extra-Scriptural tradition that makes you believe man is inherently evil?

    • Gene Van Son

      Mr Ringo, sorry for the delay in responding. I did respond immediately but for some reasons Disqus flagged my response as spam! I’m neither a Bible Scholar nor a Theologian, but Perhaps Thomas Aquinas has the answers you are looking for. The link I provided will take you the section of the Summa Theologiæ the Thomas Aquinas quote is from. A fuller explanation of “man’s nature” can be found there. The ST is Catholic Doctrine explained according to logic and reason. It draws on the philosophy of Aristotle, the works of the other earlier Fathers of the Church, as well as scripture.

      The real question here, however, is how valid is Sola Scriptura? For an answer to this question you might want a visit the Catholic Answers website and Kenneth Hensley’s (a former Lutheran now a Catholic) 5-part series on sola scriptura: or pick up a copy of Karl Keating’s book “Catholicism And Fundamentalism.” Chapter 10 examines Sola Scriptura in comparison to Catholicism’s teaching of Tradition and Scripture.

      I can offer only a layman’s answer to your questions. In Mark 7:14-23 Jesus was speaking of course to all mankind. Sin can arise from that which is inherently good because even though we are inherently good, God also gave us the gift of free will. But He did not make us perfect. Perfection is God’s alone. Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation and chose bad over good. Because of Adam’s Original Sin mankind fell out of communion with God and we all became subject to sin and death (ROM 5:12). So we are born with this ‘fallen’ nature (Original Sin) that separates us from God. Baptism only washes away that Original Sin. Jesus’ death on the cross is our salvation because it brings us back into communion with God once more.

  • james

    And a straight line can be drawn from the Inquisition through the Enlightenment to Francis.