Thursday, June 23, 2016


Today our focus is going to be on another of John Martignoni’s newsletters.  As you may remember, John Martignoni is a very popular and influential Catholic apologist who heads the “Bible Christian Society.”  In his Newsletter #278, he talks about Korah’s rebellion in the Old Testament (Numbers 16:1-40).  The newsletter can be found here:

Martignoni states:

“…Korah's Rebellion was a rebellion against authority - the authority of Moses and Aaron.  It was a rebellion against the authority of those that God had placed in charge of His people.”

First of all, we want to say that Martignoni is correct in his understanding of the events of Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16.  Korah was indeed guilty of rejecting the God-ordained authority of Moses and Aaron.  Their (Old Testament) ministerial priesthood was absolutely legitimate.  But according to Martignoni, the sin of Korah suggests that we should have a New Testament ministerial priesthood, as well.  He points to the book of Jude, which looks back to the Old Testament and mentions the sin of Korah.  Concerning this, Martignoni says:

“The interesting thing is, and this is something that we, as Catholics, need to bring up more often than we do, is that the essence of Korah's Rebellion also existed in New Testament times.  We read in Jude 10-11 that there are men who ‘revile whatever they do not understand...’  and who ‘perish in Korah's rebellion’… Yet, what do we take away from Jude 10-11?  There were people, in the New Testament era, perishing in Korah's Rebellion.  What was Korah's Rebellion?  It was a rebellion against having a separate ordained priesthood...a priesthood that is set apart, in certain ways, from the royal priesthood of believers.   It's a rebellion against a priesthood that didn't include all of the people.”

Using Jude 10-11, Martignoni is insisting that 1) since Korah’s rebellion consisted specifically of a rejection of the Old Testament ministerial priesthood, and 2) since Jude applies Korah’s sin to some people in the New Testament, he then concludes that anyone rejecting a New Testament ministerial priesthood is also guilty of Korah’s sin of rebellion.  Martignoni continues:

“So, if that's what Korah's Rebellion was about, then how could Korah's Rebellion be occurring in the New Testament era, unless there was an ordained priesthood?  …This passage from Jude makes absolutely no sense unless there was, from the earliest moments of the Church, an ordained priesthood.  You can't have Korah's Rebellion in 1st century Christianity if there was no ordained priesthood - if there was no distinction between the royal priesthood of all believers and the ordained priesthood.”

There are a number of Catholic apologists who use this same type of argument and try to promote the idea of a ministerial priesthood in the New Testament.  But notice that Martignoni deals with no other verses in Jude except 10 and 11.  But verses 10 and 11 alone are not sufficient to determine the context of Jude’s use of Korah’s rebellion here.  We must look at the surrounding context to understand what Jude is saying.

Notice that there are other people, as well, who are mentioned in this context, and not just Korah:

  • The ungodly people (v.4), who crept into the church and rejected God’s concept of grace and turned it into a license to sin

  • The first generation of Jews (v.5), who were delivered out of Egypt but rejected God’s established covenant with them by their unbelief (Hebrews 3:16-19)

  • The fallen angels (v.6), who rejected God’s authority and special plan, and chose to follow Lucifer, instead (2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 12:4)

  •  The men of Sodom and Gomorrah (v.7), who rejected God’s natural order of “men with women” and chose the perversion of homosexuality, instead (Genesis 19:4-5)

  •  Cain (v.11), who rejected God’s plan of an innocent life dying for the guilty when he offered a gift of vegetables / fruit (the work of his hands), instead (Genesis 4:3-5)

  • Balaam (v.11), who rejected God’s special annointing on His people (the Jews), who were blessed by Him, but Balaam was willing to curse them for money (Numbers 22:5-21; 2 Peter 2:15)

  • And Korah (v.11), who rejected God’s plan of an Old Testament ministerial priesthood (Numbers 16:3)

The sins of all the others mentioned here had NOTHING whatsoever to do with rejecting a ministerial priesthood – it was ONLY KORAH (and his followers) that did this.  But the thing that all seven (mentioned above) were guilty of, is rejecting God’s intended plan.  This is what they all had in common.

The details of Korah are unlike all the others in this chapter.  To make Korah’s specific sin (i.e., rejecting a valid priesthood) the focus of Jude’s whole point, or to force the context of Korah onto the whole context of Jude is pure eisegesis (i.e., reading something into the context that is not there).  The purpose of Jude’s message is NOT to condemn all those who reject a ministerial priesthood, as Martignoni is suggesting.
Following Martignoni’s logic here would be like accusing everyone mentioned in Jude of being sodomites / homosexuals, just because Sodom and Gomorah happen to be mentioned (v.7).  Or it would be like accusing all those mentioned in Jude of rejecting God even after seeing Him face to face (as these angels had), just because the fallen angels are mentioned (v.6).  No, each person’s sin was somewhat different, but again, the common thread between them all is that each one was guilty of some type of rejection of God’s intended order.

Once again, Jude’s book is not an appeal to the church to go back to an Old Testament-type ministerial priesthood (Hebrews 10:18).  Jude was simply warning us to contend for the faith and to be careful of rejecting God’s plans, and he gives us different examples of rejection.

Catholic apologists like Martignoni try really hard to find a ministerial priesthood in the New Testament.  But there is no biblical evidence for such a thing.  Actually, the scriptural evidence points to one that has been discontinued in the New Testament church (e.g., Matthew 27:50-51; Hebrews 9:12, 28; 10:10-12, 14, 18).  See these articles:

Although John Martignoni correctly understands the facts of Numbers 16 (the story of Korah’s rebellion), he is misapplying what Jude said about it, and is promoting a false teaching.  There IS no ministerial priesthood within the pages of the New Testament, but only the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 3:1) and the universal priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:5).


  1. Except that there was 1500 years of a Priesthood in Christendom and everyone who was a Christian during those years believed what the Catholic church now is saying is true. Are all those people in hell? They all went to Mass, ate the eucharist believing it was the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus, and participated in all the other sacraments of the Church. And the since the only "church" was the Catholic Church, she was the one that conquerred the barbarian nations and all Europe and a lot of Africa came to Christ and the World was changed into a Christian World. From it we have received all the benefits of Christianity in our culture to this day: Hospitals, Schools, Colleges, the ability to feel safe walking around outside our homes (in most places) - law and order etc.
    If the Catholic Church teaches lies and heresy, where did all that good come from? Satan can't sustain a 2000 year institution.
    Read the Church Fathers. Some actually KNEW Saint John. How could they go so wrong just decades after John died? And they were martyred for their beliefs.
    Protestantism makes no sense. Never has God just done a magic trick to make people instantly "holy". He always works with our free will and we must persevere with the Graces God gave us in the church to help us become, day by day, by our free will and action, more and more like Christ, through the work in did on the cross and raising from the dead.
    I am a convert to the True Church that Jesus instituted on this earth 2000 years ago and it still exists today. I spent my life going to Protestant Bible conferences and Bible College and weekly Bible studies. My spiritual journey lead me to the Catholic Church after years of study and prayer. All roads lead to ROME.

  2. Hello Cas,

    Thanks for your comments.

    You made quite a number of points, but I will try to hit the highlights of what you said.

    Your first question was whether I thought that all of those Christians who lived in the first 1500 years, claiming to be Catholic, were in Hell. My answer is no, I don’t think that ANY Christians are in Hell. But I would question whether those who CLAIM to be Christians, yet believe in many of the unbiblical teachings of the Catholic Church are actually Christians. I don’t think that EVERY Catholic is lost, but I would seriously question their salvation if they are true to all the RCC’s doctrines.

    You said that Satan cannot sustain a 2000 year old institution. But that’s not true. Hinduism is over 5,000 years old, more than twice the age of Christianity, yet it is a false religion. Baal worship and many other demonic religions in the Old Testament were a thorn in the flesh of the faithful Jews for probably thousands of years, as well. So, longevity does not necessarily prove something is right.

    You also asked about the early church fathers and you find it hard to believe that those who lived close to the apostles could possibly go bad so soon, “within decades” after the apostle John’s death.

    But the apostle Paul told the Ephesian elders to “Keep watch,” because “savage wolves would come in, not sparing the flock, even from your own number, men will rise up and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28-31)

    Yes, apostasy had set in early on in the church in some places and some groups. Not a complete apostasy, but it did indeed start early. See this article on the church fathers and apostasy:

    You also said:

    “Never has God just done a magic trick to make people instantly ‘holy.’”

    Apparently, your Protestant Bible conferences, Bible studies, and Bible College didn’t clearly teach you what happens at justification (i.e., when a person gets saved), if THAT’S what you believe. Most Protestant Christians I know would not tell you that you don’t have free will and that there is no perseverance involved. You are talking about sanctification, here.

    It is salvation (or justification) that happens instantly. But one’s sanctification, the change of lifestyle and desires, and your growth, are certainly a process.

    Your comment that “All roads lead to Rome” is just a nonsensical slogan… although it may be partially true for the followers of the antichrist and his one-world religion (Revelation chapters 13, 17 and 18).

  3. Hello again,
    You make great points, but, where does YOUR authority come from to affirm all of these points? From the BIBLE that the Catholic Church kept unblemished, first, for over 400 years when she finally decided which of all the letters and books would actually be looked on as the infallible, inspired Word of God. And then for another 1100 years, when Luther took it and showed the world that all Christians up to that time were wrong. Who the heck was LUTHER to say that? Where was his authority other than he just thought it "felt right". And not less than 10 years later, Calvin comes along and "feels like it should be THIS way" and the two of them call each other the Antichrist. Times this by 1000's and you have the Protestant church. Everyone thinks THEY interpret it right and everyone else is wrong. How do YOU KNOW how you interpret the Word of God is correct?
    ALL of those holy men of God who made the decision of which books would be considered for the rest of time to be the Word of God believed ALL that the RCC (your title) holds to be true then and now. YOU would question ALL of their salvation? And MINE too, as I heartily believe in all the Church teaches. The RCC can say it has authority on earth because it traces its roots to the apostles. Can you? You say you were a Roman Catholic for 20 years and then became Protestant. I am assuming you were 20 yrs old at that time? I think you were (as many in America are today) POORLY catichized by your parents and the people who taught you at your local Parish. If you KNEW all the glorious truth and grace you have left behind, you never would have left.
    I don't believe that my works "get me to heaven". On the contrary, it is ALL GRACE that allows me be able to choose to do the right thing moment by moment by my free will. It is a relationship with God, my Father, who loved me so much that he didn't just give me Jesus as my "automatic ticket to heaven" because, when I was 5 and said a prayer and POOF, I was "in" for the rest of my life. Our Father gave us a whole community here on earth and in heaven to HELP EACH OTHER to become like His Son. It is not a "religion" of "me and Jesus". I do KNOW what I used to believe, as I studied it and believed it with all my heart until I was 45 yrs old. And I also know many many people who believe it and have their "fire insurance" and live their lives without any thinking of "sanctification". Their mouths say one thing, but their (secret) lives say another. There is no fear of doing any sin other than it will "break my relationship" with God. I can put Christ on the throne of my life and take him off, willy nilly and it really has no bearing on my eternal salvation. Aer they "saved"? You would probably say, "Well, if their lives aren't showing fruit, they should question whether they really believed or not." Hmmm... not THAT sounds a lot like "working your way to heaven", if I have to question everyday whether I really believed "enough".
    You left the greatest Gift that God your Father ever gave you when you left His True Church, and now actually have a ministry pulling others from it. It is really very sad.

  4. "Most Protestant Christians I know would not tell you that you don’t have free will and that there is no PERSEVERANCE involved. You are talking about sanctification, here."

    PERSEVERANCE to what? Paul talks about how he has run the good race to the end. What is the race he is running in? And why does it matter how he ends it if he is already "justified". What does sanctification do you a Protestant in the long run (no pun intended.)

    There is NO reason to decide day by day to do the right thing other than someday in heaven I will get a crown (that I worked for?) and then be able to cast it at Christ's feet. That isn't talked about much in Protestant churches, but even if that is everyone's goal for "being good", it is a sad and sorry one and I know no one considers day by day in their lives.
    Most people I knew, who considered themselves to be commited Christians (Keeping Christ on the Throne of their lives) wanted to to the right thing because they loved God and wanted to obey Him. But, when push comes to shove and their desires or passions took over, they could easily just do what they wanted to do and then put Christ back on the throne later. There is no teaching of taming the passions and getting them under control or even how to do it. RCC calls it mortifying the flesh. That is NOT something that is ever talked about. The only thing protestants try to do is have their "quiet time", which they all complain that they DON'T do very much, but wished they did. And so much of their talk is based on how they FEEL.
    I know, because I did all of this myself for 45 years. And I studied the bible, commentaries, went on "retreats", "gave my life to Christ" over and over again.
    I am so thankful that God finally led me to His True Church and I don't have to FEEL like I am saved. I know I have to continue my journey with Him every moment to the end, staying on the narrow path that Jesus talks about. (Why is there a narrow path if it is so easy to just SAY the sinner's prayer once to be "saved" for the rest of your life? Doesn't sound very narrow!)

  5. “Never has God just done a magic trick to make people instantly ‘holy.’”
    Protestants DO believe this! They become a New Creation for the rest of their lives! And NOTHING they do can ever pluck them from the Father's hand. They can steal, commit adultery, gossip, even murder and they will still "go to heaven". Of course, no one WANTS to do those things (well, they do like to gossip!), but they HOLD as FACT that if they ever did, they still would go to heaven. Their children pretty much don't think it is wrong to have sex before marriage. They maybe won't LIVE with someone, but they certainly do it. There is no fear of God in them NOT to do it, as "all sins are the same in the eyes of God." They are not taught chastity, or even modesty. Because it really doesn't matter what you do once you "say the prayer". And they all take comfort in the fact that even if their kids don't show any sign of being a Christian, they KNOW that when they were 5, they "said the prayer", so their aren't concerned for their eternal salvation.


  6. Hello again Cas,

    And thanks again for your comments. I sense a heartfelt honesty in your questions and I respect that. I don’t want to trivialize your experiences or the questions you pose. In fact, I agree with some of the points you brought up.

    For example, the so-called “sinner’s prayer” that you mentioned is very often used far too casually, and has produced many false conversions. You’re right. It is not a “magic” prayer to “lock” someone into the Kingdom of God for life. We should be very careful about telling people that they are saved after a particular prayer is recited because we don’t know their heart, and we don’t know how committed they are at this point. But IF they are indeed saved at that point, there WILL be a change of heart and a change of lifestyle.

    Having said that, I repeat the fact that justification is a one-time event, with the BEGINNING of your sanctification immediately following. But sanctification itself is indeed a lifelong process.

    You mentioned “once saved, always saved” - not exactly in those words, but the general concept of it. I think that we both agree that a person can indeed lose his salvation. He can’t make a profession of faith and then purposely live in sin. To make it to Heaven, a person must MAINTAIN his faith until death, or he will be excluded from eternal life. See this series:

    Cas, in one of your posts, you asked where my authority to interpret the Bible comes from. But that is a misunderstanding that many have. We (including anyone) don’t need “special authority” to interpret. And it doesn’t require an infallible interpretation of Scripture to be correct. It simply requires common sense and some basic hermeneutical principles. Please read these articles about that topic:

    You also spoke about the Catholic Church giving us the Bible. But that, too, is a misunderstanding:

    You claimed that the Catholic Church can trace its roots back to the apostles. I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with that, either:

    Cas, I don’t want this to look like I’m just trying to throw a bunch of links at you, as though I am just brushing you off, but I have put a lot of study, prayer and research in all these links. These topics cannot be adequately answered with just a sentence or two. So, I don’t want to just provide “sound bites” of information or catchy slogans or comebacks, but I want to provide you with some substantial (and biblical) evidence for what I believe.

    Again, sorry for the many links, but please feel free to take a look at them and feel free to critique them, as well. Let me know what you think. I enjoy honest and civil discussions with Catholics. Thanks again for the dialogue.

  7. Hello again Russell,
    I appreciate your taking time to discuss this with me and for your non-argumentative tone. I hope I can do the same.

    I would like to discuss this:
    You stated:
    "Having said that, I repeat the fact that justification is a one-time event, with the BEGINNING of your sanctification immediately following. But sanctification itself is indeed a lifelong process."

    Protestants misunderstand what Catholics mean when they say they do "good works". Protestants believe this to mean that when the Catholic stands before God, there will be a scale of good works and bad works that they have done, and if the bad works outweigh the good... UH-oh!

    Um, NO, that is NOT true! Very very far from the truth! That form of belief is very pagan and is what Islam teaches, not Catholicism.

    At baptism, an infant (or anyone coming to Christ later in life), is brought into God's family. At this time, as an infant, the parents take a vow to raise them up in the Church. Hopefully, the parents keep their word and teach the child what it is to be a Christian in The Church and how to avail all of the sacraments that God gives us through her.

    Eventually, that child comes to the age of reason and is responsible for his own actions. At this point, by the free will action of the child, he can decide to sin. This causes a change in the grace given at baptism. He can then decide that he is sorry for doing the wrong thing, ask God's forgiveness and be back in the state of grace through the sacrament of penance. This was given to the Apostles by Jesus (Matt 18:18) and has been passed down through all the generations of Bishops and their priests ever since.

    At confession the little kid goes to the human priest, who is the physical representation of Jesus Christ, and tells JESUS, and through HIM, God the Father, exactly what it is that he did to sin against the One who loved him so much as to give him life, so many wonderful blessings and mostly, died for him.

    He must come with CONTRITION, meaning he knows how wrong it was, is sorry for doing it and has the INTENTION to NOT do it again. He doesn't have to FEEL anything, but with the ACT OF THE WILL, asks for forgiveness. Then Jesus, through the Priest, forgives his sins and the child is given special grace that he would not get if he just "went right to Jesus in his bedroom" and not through the Priest, in persona Christi. The child has spoken OUT LOUD to another person what he did wrong and that he is sorry and won’t do it again, all very physical actions.

    (continued next post)

  8. (Continued...)
    At confession the little kid goes to the human priest, who is the physical representation of Jesus Christ, and tells JESUS, and through HIM, God the Father, exactly what it is that he did to sin against the One who loved him so much as to give him life, so many wonderful blessings and mostly, died for him.

    He must come with CONTRITION, meaning he knows how wrong it was, is sorry for doing it and has the INTENTION to NOT do it again. He doesn't have to FEEL anything, but with the ACT OF THE WILL, asks for forgiveness. Then Jesus, through the Priest, forgives his sins and the child is given special grace that he would not get if he just "went right to Jesus in his bedroom" and not through the Priest, in persona Christi. The child has spoken OUT LOUD to another person what he did wrong and that he is sorry and won’t do it again, all very physical actions.

    The Church's sacraments are physical things that give spiritual grace. This is important, because we are not just spiritual or intellectual beings. We are VERY physical. If you don't believe me, tell me how you feel when someone gives you the finger when you are driving?!? That little symbol is really nothing in the physical world, but the action it takes in your mind, heart and eventually, probably your will, is VERY strong.

    God knows how physical we are. That is why He includes so many physical things in The Church. They become more REAL to us when attached to physical things. Kneeling, praying out loud, bowing our head, folding hands, genuflecting, smelling the incense, hearing bells, eating bread, drinking wine, seeing beautiful pictures and statues - all help the physical side of us to understand the spiritual things we need to know and do. Do do all things Godly in your mind and heart, silently, is very Gnostic.

    So, the little kid did a "bad work". Is that now held against him? NO! Does he need to do some "good work" to outweigh the "bad work" to be able to “go to heavn”? NO! But Holy Mother Church knows that just as a Parent forgives their children when they ask for forgiveness for disobeying them, there has to be some sort of act done to teach the child how to do the right thing. After the confession is made, the relationship is back to normal. Bit, if because of the disobedience, a window was broken, the child must work to pay for the new window replacement. This is not done in anger by the parent, but it teaches the child how wrong it was, that there are consequences for deciding to do wrong and it teaches responsibility for his actions. So, the church gives us a "penance" to do to help us do something that keeps us on the road to choosing the right choices. This may be an apt bible passage that pertains to what the child did wrong, or it may be saying some prayers a certain amount of time. Of course, it doesn't "count" if the penance is done by rote and not from the heart. That should be taught by the parents. Just as, telling the one child to say "I'm sorry" to their sibling must be done in a way that shows the intent of the heart is to really be sorry and amend their ways to not do it again. If the child is allowed to just glibly say "yeah, I'm sorry" in a flippant way, not meaning it at all, than the whole experience is meaningless at best and destructive at worst. Parents play a large part on catechizing their children and it is a heavy weight of responsibility on their shoulders.

    (continue in next post)

  9. So, a Catholic is to guard his heart and mind, so that he can avoid the occasion of sin. Being careful what he sees, hears, where he goes, and what he says. Each moment you have your free will to do what God wants you to do, or what the world, the flesh or the devil is tempting you to do. If you choose to do the wrong thing, you have recourse to be forgiven and begin again. Hopefully, each time you go to confession, you are conscious of the sins you are accusing yourself of and are working on changing how you react in those situations to actually CHOOSE to do the right thing. This is done through prayer, through receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist (great grace given through this - IF your intent while receiving communion is in line with God, for God always looks at the HEART), asking others to pray for you (including those Christians that are alive in Heaven at the mercy seat of God praying for us -"the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much"!), and reading the Bible and other Spiritual reading. The whole idea is that we have to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" (what do YOU think that means?)

    By the way, it should also be taught to children to do a search of their conscience at the end of every day. Thinking over the day, what did I do that pleased God, what did I do that did NOT? And then confess those sins then and there (if not when they were actually done!) So, Catholics actually DO confess directly to The Father, and not just in the confessional. But the Graces of Penance only are received by the actual Priest in the confessional.

    A "good work" can ONLY be done if it is done with the power of the Holy Spirit and the intent of the heart is to obey and glorify God. And all of these good works, do benefit those around us and ourselves. We are practicing holiness, which is what God wants us to do on this earth: "be ye Holy as I am Holy".

    This takes PRACTICE and lots of FAILURE. But if a person is catechized well by his parents and the church, he can spend his life practicing doing good works for the Honor of God the Father in this fallen world. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect immediately, but he wants us to work WITH Him to become that way eventually in this life – to be like his Son.

    It goes without saying that an adult who becomes a Catholic will have to learn all of this on their own and practice it till the end of his life. Much easier to have been born a “cradle Catholic” and learn it as your “mother tongue”! I mourn that I did not grow up a Catholic and have that innate love for Our Mother and the Saints and Holy Mother Church”, but I am so grateful that I did find the truth eventually!

    The goal of every Catholic is to become a Saint. Of course, the Bible calls us all "saints", but God really does want us to moment by moment, by His Grace, become more and more like Christ. When we die, we will immediately be before God, exactly as we were the second before on earth. Nothing will have changed, except we will be bodyless. Who I am in my intellect, my will, my intention and my disposition will be exactly the same. There is no magic trick to make us suddenly "perfect". We will show up with all our baggage. We have to do a LOT of "work" on ourselves here on earth to show up with as little baggage as possible. We CAN do it, but it takes a life time of practice, changing our wills moment by moment (with the GRACE of God), so that we eventually just DO the right thing out of mere mental memory.

    (continued next post)

  10. (continued)
    When a Protestant asks a Catholic “If you died tonight, do you believe you will go to Heaven?”
    The Catholic will almost always say “I hope so!”
    Protestants misunderstand this to mean “I hope I did enough good works to be able to stay in heaven and not go to hell!”
    That is NOT what they mean. They HOPE they go to Heaven in 2 ways:
    1. They MUST have perseverance to the end to be saved. If, for some reason they commit a mortal
    sin before they died tonight, they know they would go to Hell. (not debating degrees of sin right
    2. They know that the only people that can be in the presence of HOLY GOD, is someone who can
    stand before him as a Holy person. (Isaiah was in heaven and said he couldn’t abide it as he was a man of unclean lips and an angel had to burn his tongue with a hot coal for him to stay.) So, the Church teaches that we most likely go to Purgatory to become HOLY so we can stand before God and actually BE in Heaven. (Not debating Purgatory right now, but read C.S. Lewis’s “The Great Divorce” and Jesus’ “The Beatitudes”)

    I hope this jogs your memory of what you were taught as a Roman Catholic the first 20 years of your life. If you were NOT taught these things, then you really have not way of knowing if the Roman Catholic Church is right or wrong. You are basing all you believe on “hearsay”.

    By the way, you were baptised into the Roman Catholic Church. You have vows that were said for you that you must keep because if that. You can’t become an Ex-Catholic, maybe a non-practicing one, but you will ALWAYS be a Catholic.

  11. Hi Cas,

    You stated that you wanted to discuss my statement that justification is a one-time event and that the beginning of your sanctification (which is a lifelong process) starts immediately.

    Ok, I believe that the greatest (and most important) differences between Protestants and Catholics revolve around this topic.

    I like to think of it this way with a simple illustration. Think of dropping a red food dye tablet into a jar of water, which will gradually turn the water more and more red. The act of dropping the tablet would symbolize salvation / justification, itself. This would also actually start the sanctification process, represented by the continual and increasing coloring of the water. Without justification, there is no sanctification, yet dropping the tablet into the jar is a different event from the growing “redness” of the water. The dropping of the tablet CAUSES the beginning of the reddening, just as justification CAUSES sanctification to begin. But they are two different things: one is a one-time act, the other is a growth process.

    You said earlier that you believed that your works do not get you to Heaven, yet you put forth the act of baptism as bringing a person into God’s family. Baptism is certainly a WORK, one that, according to the Council of Trent, is an INSTRUMENTAL CAUSE of justification. Trent and the Catholic Catechism also claim that the sacraments (more works, e.g., penance) are necessary for salvation. I certainly agree with you when you say that “works don’t get you to Heaven,” but you can’t be a good Catholic and say that. The Catholic Church OFFICIALLY claims that works contribute to a person’s salvation / justification, but that’s not what the Bible says when it speaks of justification.

    You specifically asked me what I thought Philippians 2:12 means: that we need to “Work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” The fact that you are asking this hints to me that maybe you really DO believe that works will save you. Is that the thought behind this question?

    But to answer your question, this verse is simply saying that our good deeds are the “outworking” of our salvation (if we truly are saved). Paul is encouraging the church at Philippi to continue in good works, as Christians should. It is God who is working through us for His good pleasure (v. 13). He is speaking of our sanctification here, not our justification.

    Ok, Cas, I want to keep it short for now so that we don’t get all wrapped up in too many different points at one time, so I will let you respond.