Philippe R. Sterling
Vista Ridge Bible Fellowship
A book released in February 2016 by the Roman Catholic Ignatius Press is entitled Evangelical Exodus: Evangelical Seminarians and Their Path to Rome.1 The back cover of the book states:
Over the course of a single decade, dozens of students, alumni, and professors from a conservative, Evangelical seminary in North Carolina (Southern Evangelical Seminary) converted to Catholicism. These conversions were notable as they occurred among people with varied backgrounds and motivations—many of whom did not share their thoughts with one another until this book was produced. Even more striking is that the seminary’s founder, long-time president, and popular professor, Dr. Norman Geisler, had written two full-length books and several scholarly articles criticizing Catholicism from an Evangelical point of view.
What could have led these seminary students, and even some of their professors, to walk away from their Evangelical education and risk losing their jobs, ministries, and even family and friends, to embrace the teachings they once rejected as false or even heretical? Speculation over this phenomenon has been rampant and often dismissive and misguided—leading to more confusion than understanding. The stories of these converts are now being told by those who know them best—the converts themselves.
They discuss the primary issues they had to face: the nature of the biblical canon; the identification of Christian orthodoxy and the problems with the Protestant doctrines of sola Scriptura (“scripture alone”) and sola fide (“faith alone”).
One of the chapters in the book is authored by a young man who, some years ago, led worship for our church. He also received financial support from us while attending Southern Evangelical Seminary. What are the things that drew him and other Evangelicals to “cross the Tiber” and become Roman Catholic?
II. CROSSING THE TIBER
Francis J. Beckwith was the President of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) from November 2006 until May 2007, when he resigned from his position and from ETS. He is currently professor of philosophy and Church–state studies at Baylor University. He converted to Roman Catholicism in 2007. In the foreword to Evangelical Exodus, he relates:
After decades of assimilating Catholic thought in my spiritual pilgrimage without realizing it, and with the help of some Catholic friends who posed to me just the right questions with just the right degree of gentle prodding, I had been brought to the outer bank of the Tiber.2
The Roman Catholic Church argues that it is the true Church, in part, because of its antiquity and its unity of leadership. Beckwith’s favorable view of the Roman Catholic claim to historical continuity and institutional unity led him to take “his first steps on the bridge that traversed those foreboding waters.”
The river Tiber is the main watercourse of the city of Rome. The seven hills of Rome lie east of the river. The seven hills are the Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal. Vatican Hill lies northwest of the Tiber and is not counted among the traditional seven hills. Ponte Sant’Angelo, a pedestrian bridge, crosses over close to the Vatican. Some converts employ the terms “swimming the Tiber” or “crossing the Tiber” to signify their conversion to Roman Catholicism.
There are, of course, many different reasons why an Evangelical may leave a conservative Protestant practice of faith and convert to Catholicism. There may be reasons related to marriage, the community in which one lives, or even business concerns. In other words, there may be very practical reasons for such conversion. In this article, however, I will concentrate on certain theological reasons and certain appeals that the Catholic Church may have for the religious seeker.
III. DEPARTURE FROM OR RESISTANCE TO FAITH ALONE AND SCRIPTURE ALONE
A departure from or a resistance to sola Scriptura and sola fide may render an Evangelical susceptible to the attraction or appeal of the Roman Catholic Church. Sola Scriptura, Latin for “by Scripture alone,” is the theological concept that the Bible is sufficient by itself to be the final authority for doctrine and spiritual practice. Sola fide, Latin for “by faith alone,” is the theological concept that justification is by faith alone. A right standing with God excludes all human works, including religious rituals that may come through a church.
In conservative Evangelicalism, justification is seen as a judicial matter. God declares a believer righteous as a result of faith in Christ.3 In Catholicism, justification is seen as a continuing process. God makes a believer righteous through the gift of faith that expresses itself in works of love. These works includes partaking of the sacraments. These sacraments are a means of conveying grace. Justification is initially conferred in baptism and entails sanctification of one’s whole being.4
The Biblical concept of justification is not the exact same thing as receiving eternal life. When a person believes in Jesus Christ for eternal life, he receives it as a free gift. One of the additional benefits of this faith is that the believer is declared righteous before God. This newfound status allows the believer to walk by the Spirit, approach God, and go from being at enmity with God to being at peace with Him.5
Evangelical Exodus contains appendices which attempt to refute the theological concepts of sola Scriptura and sola fide. Most of the contributors to the book relate their difficulties with those two concepts. For example, Jeremiah Cohort expresses, “I have also never understood the Evangelical Protestant emphasis on the doctrine of sola fide because the ‘saved’ inevitably do good works anyway.”6 Michael Mason writes of discussing with his wife his unease over the conflicting interpretations of Scripture found in Evangelicalism. He observes, “Our subsequent discussions led us to question the two fundamental guiding principles of the Protestant Reformation: sola scriptura and sola fide.”7
Evangelical academics who convert to Catholicism tend to write books attacking the concepts of faith alone and Scripture alone. An example is Robert A. Sungenis, who was born into a Catholic family but converted to Protestantism in early adulthood. He graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary, but later converted back to Catholicism and is an apologist for the Catholic Church. After returning to Catholicism, he wrote Not by Faith Alone: The Biblical Evidence for the Catholic Doctrine of Justification (Queenship Publishing Company, 1997) and Not by Scripture Alone: A Catholic Critique of the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Queenship Publishing Company, 1998).8
Clearly, at least for some, those who leave conservative Protestantism do so over fundamental doctrine. It does bear noting, however, that people such as Cohort have a view of sola fide that opposes the view of Free Grace theology. His view that those who are “saved” inevitably do good works promotes a Lordship/Reformed view of faith. Free Grace theology separates faith from good works in a way that Lordship Theology does not.
A Lordship view of faith, it seems, would make one more susceptible to finding common ground with Catholic teachings on faith. Free Grace Theology makes a clear distinction between faith and works. Works have nothing to do with being “saved,” but with sanctification. Maturity in the Christian faith/walk is not “inevitable.” It is this writer’s view that only Free Grace theology accurately expresses the Biblical view that justification is by faith alone in Christ alone. Lordship Salvation causes the believer to look at his works for proof of his justification which inevitably leads to confusion of the role works play in eternal salvation. Free Grace theology, then, is especially in direct opposition to the Catholic view of faith. Not all definitions of saving faith within Protestantism are equal.
A belief that only the Scriptures provide the rule for living the Christian life as well as the source of sound doctrine is a strong deterrent for clinging to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church maintains that its teachings throughout the history of the Church as well as its hierarchical leadership provide such authority. More of this will be discussed in the following section.
While one may sympathize with Mason’s concerns about disagreements in Evangelicalism and regret that such disagreements exist, that is not the main issue. The question is one of authority. In those disagreements, where should the Christian go to resolve such disagreements? If the answer is the Scriptures, then Catholicism teaches a false view of doctrinal authority.
If one gives up a strong view of either sola Scriptura or sola fide, a move towards Catholicism naturally becomes more likely. But it is not just doubts and misunderstanding about certain theological doctrines that cause some to convert from Protestantism to Catholicism. The Catholic Church has certain other appeals.
This article will address seven such appeals.
IV. THE SEVENFOLD ATTRACTION OR APPEAL OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
I metaphorically use the seven hills of Rome to describe the attraction or appeal of the Catholic Church. The prospective convert to the Catholic Church may appreciatively view the Vatican from one or more of these vantage points and then go down and “cross the Tiber.” Andrew Preslar, after recounting the considerations that led him to Catholicism, states that the Church of Rome “exercised something like a magnetic pull upon me.”9
A. Hill of Infallible Authority: Church Magisterium
The Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Catholic Church vested in the Pope and the bishops. The Catechism states, “The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility.”10
Douglas Beaumont was the assistant to Norman Geisler at Southern Evangelical Seminary and taught Bible there for years. Currently, he is the editor of the Evangelical Exodus. Writing of his own experience, he speaks of “Surveying the Tiber” from this vantage point:
Catholicism began working its way into my life in the early days of seminary. Another student had briefly sat in on a couple of classes, and one night he and I spent over an hour discussing problems of biblical interpretation. He could not seem to get past the fact that otherwise good Christians could not seem to agree on what the Bible teaches. I assured him that with proper hermeneutics and good philosophy, correct results were attainable. He asked how we could know what counted as proper hermeneutics and good philosophy apart from the Bible itself. Each time I suggested some other safeguard to accurate biblical interpretation, I was met with the same basic problems: How can we know which of the numerous competing claims to accurate biblical interpretation were correct? Eventually this exhausting conversation simply petered out, but it stayed in the back of my mind for some time.11
Eventually Beaumont came to see the Catholic Church as the only infallible authority for knowing and interpreting the Word of God. He chooses, in the words of Thomas Aquinas, to adhere “to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule.”12
The Catechism unequivocally asserts:
The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living, teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome… [The] faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.13
Beaumont and the other contributors of Evangelical Exodus argue that the infallible authority of the Church is needed to determine the canon of Scripture and the tenets of orthodoxy. Without that there is interpretive chaos and church disunity. As discussed above, this was a major concern of Mason. Can the canon of Scripture simply be determined by the tests of canonicity independent of the pronouncements of a “universal” council such as the Council of Trent? Can the tenets of orthodoxy be established by the study of the Scriptures alone?
The fact that historical support for the canon of Scripture and some tenets of orthodoxy can be gained from the Church Fathers and theologians does not make the Catholic Church the infallible authority for these matters. That is a leap from support to determiner. It is God, not the Church, who gave us the Scriptures (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:20-21).
Another point that seems to be missing in this discussion is the consistency of the Catholic Church. There are numerous examples in the history of the Church in which the leadership has contradicted what was taught by its earlier leaders. If the Church is infallible in its authority, how could this occur?
B. Hill of Historical Continuity: Apostolic Succession
Closely tied to the appeal of infallible authority is the appeal of historical continuity. The Catechism asserts:14
In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church, the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority. Indeed, the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time.
This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, the Church, in her doctrine, life, and worship perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes…
The Father’s self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son.
Thus, not only does the Church have the infallible unique authority to know and interpret the written Scriptures, she also infallibly transmits Tradition and continues to receive divine revelation. Apostolic succession makes all that possible.
Beaumont wants to “identify the Church objectively—by looking at whom the original apostles ordained to continue the Church’s authoritative functions (and whom they, in turn, ordained and so forth).”15 He finds that in the Catholic Church.
Did the apostles ordain bishops to continue their authoritative functions? If so, is there a historically demonstrable line of succession from the first century apostles to the present? The church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20), but there is no Biblical support for the apostles imparting an infallible spiritual authority through the laying on of hands to an unending line of bishops, beginning with the Bishop of Rome. Rome ultimately appeals to tradition to support apostolic succession. The Scriptures, however, do not. Once again, one can see the sharp distinction between the Catholic Church and conservative Evangelicalism.
C. Hill of Institutional Unity: Unified, Universal, and Visible Church
The Catechism asserts:16
The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.
Beaumont argues, “How could we evangelicals claim to have unity if we disagreed on so much?”17 He goes on to state: “I was convinced that the Church that Jesus founded had to be both authoritative and objectively identifiable. That meant it was unified, universal, and visible.”18
Beaumont and other contributors to Evangelical Exodus are drawn to the Catholic Church by the appeal of its institutional unity.
However, the question needs to be asked. Did Jesus pray for the Church’s institutional unity in this age or simply its spiritual unity by virtue of the baptism and sealing of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 1:13-14; 4:4-6)? Each believer has a spiritual unity with all who believe the promise of Jesus for eternal life and are children of God (John 1:12).
D. Hill of Spiritual Tangibility: Sacraments, Liturgy, Statues, etc.
Joshua Betancourt relates the appeal that spiritual tangibility has for him: “There I was, in front of a life-size statue of Jesus at a rural parish in Northern California—my eyes fixed on his, and his seemingly on mine…This encounter felt real: this Jesus whom I had read and sung about in Sunday school was standing before me.”19 He goes on to write:
I came to the conclusion that Protestant Evangelicalism is devoid of the spiritual resources that God intended to help regulate our concupiscence (or disordered passions). The truth is that we have a human nature that is wounded by sin, and God has provided us with the means to receive healing: the sacraments. Evangelicals are known for encouraging other believers “to be more like Jesus,” but the only way to do this is to partake of the divine nature (becoming more like God) through the sacraments, by which we receive the very life of God into our souls (2 Pet 1:8).20
Jeremiah Cowart asks of Evangelicalism, “Where is the liturgy? Where is the real presence of Christ with his people? … Where are the aesthetics? … Protestantism is paltry, and this paltriness just kept me searching for something more.”21
Brandon Dahm writes that, “participating in Catholic spirituality gave existential confirmation of church teaching.” He explains concerning Eucharistic adoration:
Eucharistic adoration is a time when the host is exposed—is visible—so that people can come pray in its presence. Remember, the Eucharist is not just a symbol but is Christ himself. So think of adoration as going to spend time with Jesus. My first adoration was a powerful experience.”22
The Catechism states,
Christ manifests, makes present and communicates his work of salvation through the liturgy of his Church, “until he comes.”23
Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes them, makes them present.24
The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.25
The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament.26
Beaumont writes appreciatively of “incense, holy water, candles, pictures, statues, bells, chants, and even physical movement”. He states, “These things were designed to engage the whole person, while Evangelicalism, I saw, limited faith expressions to between-the-ears activity.”27 He continues to write depreciatively of Evangelicals, “Evangelical ‘liturgy’ typically consisted of a few songs, a longwinded sermon, and nothing else.”28 He writes of himself, “For my part, I quickly learned to appreciate . . . the tactual worship services that respected our nature as embodied beings.”29
Can believers have a spiritual vitality apart from ubiquitous sensual experiences? Can we “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7)? Another question for the Catholic convert is this: How does the Church determine which of these sensual experiences are valid?
E. Hill of Kingdom Theology: Mission to Serve Justice and Peace
The Catechism states:30
Christians have to distinguish between the growth of the Reign of God and the progress of the culture and society in which they are involved. This distinction is not a separation. Man’s vocation to eternal life does not suppress, but actually reinforces, his duty to put into action in this world the energies and means received from the Creator to serve justice and peace.
Brian Mathews cites “the Church’s being the largest charitable organization on earth” and “the Church’s leading the way in defending vital moral and social issues,”31 among notable factors that influenced his embrace of the Catholic Church.
F. Hill of Philosophical Theology: Thomism
In the foreword of Evangelical Exodus, Beckwith asks, “How is it possible that such an august group of Catholic converts can arise from one small Evangelical seminary in one geographical region of the United States over only a few short years?”32 He answers that one of the reasons was that the founder of Southern Evangelical Seminary, Norman Geisler, was a self-described Evangelical Thomist. By that, Geisler meant that he found Thomas Aquinas’s views on God, faith and reason, natural theology, epistemology, metaphysics, and anthropology congenial to his Evangelical faith. Geisler rejected those parts of Aquinas’s thoughts which embrace Catholic doctrines, but his love of Aquinas inspired his students to investigate Aquinas’s body of work with greater depth and less antipathy to Catholicism.
Dahm writes, “What I loved about apologetics was the philosophy involved.” He then states:
“Through Geisler, we became Thomists; that is, we took Aquinas as a philosophical guide. This meant that I had to respect Aquinas as a thinker, which required me at least to try to give his theology a fair hearing.”33
Betancourt writes of “Meeting the ‘A-Team,’” by which he means that he studied Aquinas, Anselm, and Augustine.34 He found himself drawn to Catholicism through his exposure to Catholic philosophers and theologians in his studies in apologetics and philosophy at Southern Evangelical Seminary.
Betancourt does point out that in an unpublished article in 2014, “Does Thomism Lead to Catholicism?” Geisler argues that there is no logical connection between embracing Thomism and converting to Catholicism. Valuing Aquinas’s natural theology does not obligate one to embrace his Catholic theology. The argument that if one accepts part of Aquinas’s teaching, one must accept all is a philosophical fallacy. None of the issues Aquinas taught that Geisler appreciated have a bearing on the two major doctrinal distinctions discussed above: sola Scriptura and sola fide.
G. Hill of Mystical Spirituality: Contemplative Practices
The Catholic Church has a contemplative tradition which enables a mystical spirituality. This involves a spirituality that supposedly can bring about a direct experience of God and the possibility of hearing from God.35 Betancourt finds the contemplative practices of the Catholic Church appealing:
The Catholic is equipped with a variety of prayers and spiritual exercises, such as sacramentals, meditation, and contemplative prayers. I was accustomed to praying only extemporaneously as an Evangelical. I deepened my prayer life with the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which encourage the faithful to meditate on the lives of Jesus and Mary (in the Rosary) and on the mercy of Jesus (in the Divine Mercy Chaplet).”36
Contemplative practices are not found in the Bible. The Bible presents prayer as words and thoughts expressed by us to God. Nowhere in the Bible are believers encouraged to seek mystical experiences through meditative exercises.
The ex-Evangelicals mentioned in this article maintain there is a spirituality in the Catholic Church that is missing from conservative Evangelicalism. This spirituality supposedly leads to a deeper intimacy with the Lord.
There are various things the Catholic Church offers a seeker that they claim is not found in Evangelicalism. Based upon the writings of those who have converted to Catholicism in this article, these appeals are attractive to some.
What should Evangelicals teach to counter these appeals by the Catholic Church?
V. PRESCRIPTION TO COUNTER THE APPEAL
Not surprisingly, Evangelicalism needs to stress the foundational basics of the faith. Even a casual observer can see that there is a de-emphasis on sola Scriptura and sola fide in Evangelical churches and even seminaries. The teachings of the Scriptures are also the key to finding true spirituality.
As a result, I will suggest three prescriptions to counter the pseudo-spirituality of the Catholic Church.
A. Affirm Faith Alone in Christ Alone for Eternal Life
As mentioned above, there is disagreement among conservative Evangelicals on the meaning of faith. Those who hold to a Lordship Salvation view of faith promote a view which necessitates that faith includes works.37 Even though the types of works differ, such an Evangelical definition of faith finds support in Catholic doctrine.
Free Grace theology has correctly pointed out that the Book of John is the only book in the NT written for the purpose of showing how an unbeliever receives eternal life. One hundred times the book refers to faith. It never uses the word “repentance” and never requires anything other than believing in the promise of eternal life.
When a person believes in that promise, the Gospel of John makes it clear that he has that gift. It is a gift that can never be lost (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47). One reason Evangelicals do not feel intimacy with the Lord is because they do not have the assurance of their salvation. Such assurance only can come from understanding that eternal life is given as a gift and that this faith has nothing to do with works of any kind. One wonders if those from Southern Evangelical Seminary who converted to Catholicism had that assurance. If one doubts his salvation, he is more likely to look elsewhere.38 The Catholic Church with its various spiritual appeals becomes an option.
Evangelicals need to emphasize that faith simply means to believe what the Lord has promised about eternal life. This wonderful promise brings far more joy and intimacy with the Lord than any ritual or sacrament of any church.
Even in some of the hymnology of Christianity, we can find this joy. These words were written by Christian L. Scheidt in 1742 and make up part of the hymn “By Grace I’m Saved”:
By grace! None dare lay claim to merit;
Our works and conduct have no worth,
God in His love sent our Redeemer,
Christ Jesus, to this sinful earth;
His death did for our sins atone,
And we are saved by grace alone.
By grace! O, mark this word of promise
When thou art by thy sins oppressed,
When Satan plagues thy troubled conscience,
And when thy heart is seeking rest.
What reason cannot comprehend
God by His grace to thee doth send.
B. Affirm that the Scriptures Alone Are Our Authority for Faith and Practice
Believers have a very early example in the history of Christianity of where they should go to find sound doctrine. When Paul came to Berea to preach the gospel on one of his missionary journeys, the Bereans in the synagogue went to the Scriptures to find if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:10-11). Luke, the author of Acts, clearly thinks this was admirable. He says that they were “noble-minded” for taking this practice.
Alberto Valdés correctly states what these verses say about the authority of Scriptures. The admirable attitude of these Bereans “model[s] key principles of interpretation: openness, eagerness, and searching the Scriptures.”39
Whatever disagreements Evangelicals have in interpreting certain Biblical passages, the Catholic Church openly contradicts the teaching of many passages. The Church itself is not troubled by this because the Church sees itself as the final authority.
It is not only Luke who saw the authority of the Scriptures. Paul tells Timothy that in the Scriptures Timothy will have all he needs to do “every” good work. There is nothing God requires of us that we will not find in the Word of God (2 Tim 3:16-17). If this is the case, why do believers need the traditions of any church to know what to believe or how to act?
Paul was placing a large burden on Timothy. The young man would continue Paul’s work after Paul’s soon martyrdom. But the Scriptures would give Timothy what he needed to know and how he was to act. Litfin states it this way:
He [Paul] was confident of Timothy’s commitment to and dependence on the Scriptures, and he was even more confident of God’s ability to supply all Timothy’s needs through the Word.40
Peter had the same high view of the authority of Scriptures. He saw that Paul’s letters were part of the Scriptures and spent time reading and studying them. In addition, he recognized that the wisdom of God was found in these writings (2 Pet 3:14-18).41
Many other passages support the authority of Scriptures. For example, the author of Hebrews exhorts the believers he writes to that they need to hold fast to what was spoken by the Lord and written by the apostles (Heb 2:1-4). We have these precepts in the teachings of the apostles in the Scriptures, as well as the teachings of the Lord that they recorded.
C. Adopt a Simple Spiritual Life of Devotion and Obedience to Christ
The Catholic Church promotes the use of certain spiritual exercises and things like contemplative prayers to feel close to God and please Him. However, the Bible does not teach such things. Believers become more like Christ as they see Him in the Scriptures and ask the Lord to transform them into the image they see in those writings (2 Cor 3:15-18).42
Paul tells the Colossian believers that they have everything they need for spiritual maturity because of their union with Christ (Col 2:8-10). Christ dwells within each believer, and in Him the fullness of Deity dwells. The false teaching at Colossae had, at its very foundation, the view that physical things that can be touched and eaten were needed in order for them to mature in their faith (Col 2:11-22). The parallels with the teachings of the Catholic Church are striking.
The life that is pleasing to God is not found in practices that men have developed over the centuries. The Scriptures tell us that the answer is to walk in obedience to what Christ has told us and what He has told us through the apostles. The believer lacks nothing but to focus on Him and walk by His Spirit and strength.
Some Evangelicals, including some at Southern Evangelical Seminary, have left the faith they held and have converted to Catholicism. There are multiple reasons why a person may take this route.
For many, the reason to convert to Catholicism is a rejection of certain foundational tenets and a belief that in the traditions and rituals of the Catholic Church they can find a depth of spirituality missing in Evangelicalism. However, Biblical spirituality is not found in these kinds of things. Being conformed to the image of Christ involves a process that begins with being saved by grace through faith. This security frees up the believer to see Christ in the Word of God and through His Spirit to become more and more like Him.
1 I draw the material for this article primarily from two sources: Evangelical Exodus: Evangelical Seminarians and Their Paths to Rome, ed. Douglas M. Beaumont (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2016) and Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York, NY: Doubleday, First Image Books, 1995).
2 Beaumont, Evangelical Exodus, 9.
3 For an excellent example of this view, see Zane C. Hodges, Romans: Deliverance from Wrath, (Corinth, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2013), 98-105.
4 Catechism, 1992, 1995.
5 Hodges, Romans, 132ff.
6 Beaumont, Evangelical Exodus, 79.
7 Ibid., 127.
8 For a good response to Sungenis’s arguments against justification by faith alone apart from works, see Bob Wilkin, “A Response to Robert Sungenis’s Not by Faith Alone,” JOTGES 16 (2003): 3-16.
9 Beaumont, Evangelical Exodus, 183.
10 Catechism, 2035.
11 Beaumont, Evangelical Exodus, 26.
12 Ibid., 46-47.
13 Catechism, 85, 87.
14 Ibid, 77, 78, 79.
15 Beaumont, Evangelical Exodus, 39.
16 Catechism, 870.
17 Beaumont, Evangelical Exodus, 28.
18 Ibid., 34.
19 Ibid., 49.
20 Ibid., 62.
21 Ibid., 80.
22 Ibid., 103.
23 Catechism, 1076.
24 Ibid., 1104.
25 Ibid., 1210.
26 Ibid., 1131.
27 Beaumont, Evangelical Exodus, 35.
28 Ibid., 36.
29 Ibid., 36.
30 Catechism, 2820.
31 Beaumont, Evangelical Exodus, 161.
32 Ibid., 13-14.
33 Ibid., 86-87.
34 Ibid., 52.
35 The CCC devotes two sections to Meditation and Contemplative Prayer: 2705 – 2719.
36 Beaumont, Evangelical Exodus, 69.
37 For a popular defense of this view of faith, see John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, Revised Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994, 1988, 2008).
38 A Lordship Salvation view of faith and assurance can bring only doubt. See Robert N. Wilkin, A Gospel of Doubt: The Legacy of John MacArthur’s ‘The Gospel According to Jesus’ (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2015).
39 Alberto S. Valdés, “The Acts of the Apostles,” The Grace New Testament Commentary, Vol 1, ed. Robert N. Wilkin (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2010), 571.
40 A. Duane Litfin, “2 Timothy,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament Edition, ed. by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983), 757.
41 Zane C. Hodges, Second Peter: Shunning Error in Light of the Savior’s Return (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2015), 123.
42 For a full discussion, see Zane C. Hodges, Six Secrets of the Christian Life (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2016).