Thursday, March 2, 2023



Marriage (or matrimony) is a wonderful thing and I think that most cultures around the world would agree.  After all, it’s been around since the beginning of mankind, specifically ordained by God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:21-25).  Marriage is one of the main foundations of a healthy society.

The Catholic Church considers Holy Matrimony as one of its seven sacraments, and they acknowledge that marriage was given to us by God – a holy institution where one man is bound together with one woman for life and in many (if not most) cases they produce children.  The Catholic Church also rightly recognizes that Holy Matrimony is a symbol of the bond between Christ and His people (CCC # 1661).


First of all, I agree with most of the things the Catholic Church teaches about marriage.  But I do have to wonder though, is anyone in the Catholic hierarchy qualified to give quality personal marriage advice when the great majority of them (at least in the “Latin rite”) are unmarried?  What private intimate advice can a celibate priest/bishop/cardinal offer, having no first-hand experience in actual married life?  Wouldn’t he just be sort of an “armchair quarterback,” either critiquing or trying to help marriages when he has no practical understanding in this field?


Be that as it may, we must understand that marriage is a special and holy covenant, not just a human contract.  In the wedding ceremony, the man and woman stand before God Almighty and pledge/vow/promise to love each other unconditionally, live with each other and be faithful (sexually) to each other, and respect, honor and cherish each other.  These vows also include protection and provision in good times and in bad.

The vows may not always be exactly the same in each wedding, but the above summary is generally what is agreed upon, and these vows are reflected in Scripture.  Furthermore, there are multiple human witnesses in each wedding, as well, so your marriage vows are not to be taken lightly on any level.  Of course, there will be good times in your new life together, but there will also be disagreements and trying times, as well. 

What About Divorce?

Marriage is a beautiful institution, but since there are sometimes problems in marriage, the topic of divorce will come up from time to time.

While I commend the Catholic Church for their strong stance against “easy divorce” and divorce, in general, I would like for them (and every other church – Protestant, Orthodox, etc.) to take a closer look at the biblical evidence for marriage and divorce.

From the very beginning, God’s intent for marriage was to have one man and one woman come together in Christian love and the two would become one (Genesis 2:24).  He intended for them to be ever faithful and loving toward each other, and live under His Word and His authority, each with their own role (Ephesians 5:22-33) in a wonderful lifelong relationship.  They would never part until death.  That was the plan.  That was God’s perfect intention.

But sin entered the picture through Adam and Eve.  This did not catch God by surprise, of course, but in His foreknowledge He allowed for divorce, even though it was never intended to be the norm.  In the gospel of Matthew, the hard-hearted Pharisees approached Jesus to ask Him about divorce, trying to trap Him.  In His day, the Jews were all familiar with a sort of “no-fault” divorce which they called “divorce for any reason” (Matthew 19:3).  And for some, divorce was indeed allowed for almost any “violation.”  But Jesus goes back to the very beginning and told them:

“Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

The Pharisees, thinking they had cornered Jesus with a hard question, asked:

“Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” (Matthew 19:7)

Jesus then humiliated them with His response:

“Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”  (Matthew 19:8)

Then Jesus seems to give what many believe to be the only exception for allowing divorce:

“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” (Matthew 19:9 - emphasis added)

Ok, so Jesus says that “fornication” (sexual sin/adultery) is the exception.  Does that mean that absolutely no other reason can be allowed for divorce?

Whose Favor?

So, what exactly did Jesus mean when He said, “Because of the hardness of your hearts” (Matthew 19:8)?

First of all, divorce was tolerated and not God’s perfect will.  The Jews of Jesus’ day certainly seemed to enjoy this concession, since a man could simply “trade in” a wife for frivolous reasons (for example, bad breath, burning his supper, or not liking her friends).  But ask yourself, would God reward these hard-hearted Jews for putting away their wives for such trivial “offences”?  Wouldn’t it make more sense that the concession (divorce) was to give relief to wives who were trying hard to be faithful, but who were abused by these intolerant men?  So, divorce was certainly not given as a favor to the hard-hearted Jews/Pharisees, but as a favor to the WIVES, so they would not have been trapped in a marriage by husbands acting like ruthless dictators!  It was an act of mercy from God in an imperfect world of sinful humans.

Apologist, church historian, and Professor of Bible and Theology William Luck seems to agree with this sentiment in an article in the link below:

“The phrase ‘because of your hardness of heart’ is [sometimes wrongly] interpreted as saying something like: ‘Well, God knows that divorce will take place, so He made a concession to you, allowing you to do what you wanted.’

“…What then? For whom is the concession? For the wives whom these hard-hearted men have been divorcing since before the days of Moses… Knowing that they will be treacherous and turn their backs on their covenant partner, God has provided a law that will minimize the abuse. He will wink temporarily at hard hearted husbands putting away innocent wives so that these wives will be saved from their husbands, who would perhaps physically abuse them if forced to keep them. So the permission to divorce has nothing to do with condescending to wicked men, but everything to do with preserving innocent women.


William F. Luck, Divorce and Re-Marriage: Recovering the Biblical View, 2nd ed. (Richardson, TX: Biblical Studies Press, 2008), 157.


See here:

Biblical Principles

Many Christians are not aware that God has given some general principles concerning divorce back in the Old Testament, principles that we can apply today, for example, Exodus 21:9-11.  In this passage, God (through Moses) points out that certain necessities for the wife (food, clothing and love, or marital rights) must be provided, or she is free to leave.  The husband is not to neglect or abuse her.  It is true that this is in the context of slavery and polygamy, but the point remains that even a lowly slave-wife had minimum standards of provision that must be met.  The apostle Paul reinforces that same principle in 1 Timothy 5:8:

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1 Timothy 5:8)

A close Christian brother and I were recently speaking about divorce.  We both realize that divorce is out of hand in America and that it should not be taken lightly.  But he said that if a woman is habitually and physically abused by her husband she should separate, rather than divorce.  The brother pointed out that while separated, the man (if unrepentant) will almost always feel justified to seek an adulterous affair, trapping himself.  Then, and only then, would the wife have a biblical reason to divorce.

I mostly agree with my Christian brother.  This seems like sound advice.  But suppose that this husband (who has been beating her) would never cheat on his wife?  And suppose that he warns her that separation would deprive him of his conjugal rights (i.e., the right to marital sex – 1 Corinthians 7:3), and that she would therefore be breaking her marriage vows if she separated?  What then?  Would she be obligated to come back to him and sustain even more physical abuse toward her and their children simply because he has conjugal rights? 

But what about his own obvious breaking of his marriage vows when he abuses her?  The marriage covenant is not just about sexual fidelity.  Just because a spouse hasn’t committed adultery does not give him permission to break the marriage covenant in other ways.  Not to mention the husband’s God-given duty to provide safety and protection for his wife.  Periodically beating your wife is not honoring the marriage vows that you proclaimed before God and men. 

The apostle Paul says:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. (Ephesians 5:25)

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church. (Ephesians 5:28-29)

Again, beating your wife is far from “loving her as Christ loves the church.”  Would this abusive husband also be willing to present his own body to be beaten?  Not likely.  That’s because he loves his own flesh and nourishes it.  So, why does he not love and cherish his wife’s flesh like he does his own, as Paul commanded?  Remember, marriage is a God-given covenant where both sides (whether saved or not) have responsibilities and benefits.  This is not a one-way street.   

For Better, For Worse?

Again, physically abusing your spouse is breaking the marriage covenant and so is abandonment.  According to the apostle Paul, if an unbelieving spouse wants to leave, the believing spouse should not force the unbelieving spouse to stay.  Divorce is acceptable in this case.  The unbeliever is free to leave if he does not want to stay (1 Corinthians 7:12-15).

Someone may say, “Hey, you got married ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,’ so you need to hang in there and tough it out (even if your husband is beating you)!” 

Well, that’s easy for someone who is NOT suffering from abuse to say, but the husband providing security for his own family (especially his wife and children) is mandated.  So how about rebuking the perpetrator, rather than the victim!  Again, physical abuse is a breach of the marriage covenant.  Security and safety are two of the things that men have always rightly provided for their wives throughout the centuries.  There is no question that protection for the wife is God’s will.

I just can’t imagine God forcing a physically abused spouse to remain in a marriage where the other spouse continually breaks the covenant, taking advantage of the one who desires to be faithful.

So perhaps divorce can be a biblical answer for some marriage circumstances for a violation other than adultery (like abuse and abandonment/neglect).  The evidence of Scripture seems to indeed indicate that.  God’s purpose in allowing divorce is to protect victims (vulnerable spouses).  By the way, it’s not just women who can be abused in marriage.  It is possible for the reverse to happen.

The Unpardonable Sin?

In light of all this, I’m still not going to be dogmatic about it, but I would strongly encourage everyone to take a long, prayerful look at the biblical evidence for divorce, both Old Testament and New Testament.  Don’t ignore what Jesus said, but also don’t ignore the principles found in the rest of the Scriptures, either.

Ultimately, this is between the offended spouse and God.  So, I’m not going to be the one to tell a woman to divorce her husband… but I will also not be the one to tell an often-abused/severely neglected/cheated-on/abandoned wife – who fears for her own life and the lives of her children – to stay with such a man.  Only she can determine what to ultimately do, and she will have to live with the consequences.

Remember, divorce can certainly be a sin, but it is NOT the unpardonable sin!  The message of Scripture is that divorce is allowed in just a few limited cases, but whenever possible, it should be avoided.  By the way, divorce is not mandatory, even in the case of adultery.  Divorce should be done only as a last resort and should only be considered after much prayer and Bible study, and after great effort is made to reconcile the marriage.

Agreement and Disagreement

Getting back to the issue of the Catholic Church, they agree that the Law of God “aims at protecting the wife from arbitrary domination by the husband” (CCC #1610).  They also agree that physical separation can be part of the answer to an unsafe marriage (CCC #1649).  Kudos to them for recognizing these things.  But one issue I have with them is their idea that marriage is always “indissoluble” (CCC #1614).  According to Webster’s Dictionary, this means:

“Not dissoluble; incapable of being annulled, undone, or broken; permanent.”

I would say, yes, that indissolubility was indeed God’s original intent for marriage.  But the truth is marriage can still be “broken.”  We can all agree that Jesus, Himself, allowed divorce for adultery.  In this case, the marriage union is officially broken and the (innocent) spouse can remarry.  Furthermore, if it is true that marriage is absolutely indissoluble, then not even death can “break” it and the remaining spouse would not be free to remarry.  But Scripture says differently (Romans 7:2-3).  So, their argument is with God on that topic, not me.



Ok, so what about annulments?  An annulment is when a Catholic tribunal (church court) decides whether a couple who wants to split up has met the legal conditions to do so. 

Well, this sounds like divorce, doesn’t it?  But the Catholic Church says no, that this is simply a process to determine whether a marriage actually existed in the first place.  If the Church investigates and finds that the couple meets any one of the criteria, they can formally annul the marriage and the couple can go their separate ways and even remarry.  They don’t consider this to be a divorce, but just a marriage that was never valid from the beginning.

Just to be clear, annulments are not just a Catholic thing – it is not just the Catholic Church who performs annulments – Other religious groups and secular lawyers do so, as well.

So, what are the criteria for having an annulment?  You can find many reasons in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Code of Canon Law, Chapter IV, Canon 1095 through Canon 1123).  See here:

But this article from Catholic Answers breaks it down into three main categories:

1 – Lack of Capacity, 2 – Lack of Consent, and 3 – Lack of Form

See the article here:

Examples of reasons to get an annulment include things that were wrong that existed at the time of the wedding/marriage – like mental incompetence, being underage without parental consent, coercion (e.g., “shotgun wedding”), fraud, incest, one spouse still being legally married, intent to be unfaithful in the future, etc.  There are many more.

But the Catholic Church pushing annulments is just like the Pharisees getting divorces – it is simply a loophole to “legally” get out of a marriage.  The bottom line is that this is indeed a divorce – it just has another name.  The result is the same, except that annulments in the Catholic Church almost always offer the possibility of remarriage, while divorce doesn’t always offer it.

An annulment from the Catholic Church is an admission that the Church has failed to fully explain to the couple what marriage is all about before the wedding!  The Church can’t claim that the resources to do so are not available, since the Catholic Church offers marriage preparation courses, counceling, marriage workshops, conferences, retreats, etc., etc.

If all the right questions are asked up front, before the wedding, and if all the necessary information is given to the couple, and if they have had enough time to process all the information, there should never be any reason for an annulment.  This is simply a convenient way to give the unsatisfied couple what they want without the stigma of divorce.

And why do these problems always seem to come out so late in life (even after many years of marriage)?  Funny how these issues only seem to be “discovered” when the couple wants out of the marriage!  Only then do they realize that there was fraud, mental issues, intent to be unfaithful, etc.  How convenient!  And interestingly, it only takes one of these criterion to dissolve the marriage. 

But notice the Webster’s dictionary definition above, that the word indissoluble means “incapable of being annulled.”  Can anyone see the problem here?  “Indissoluble” is the Catholic Church’s choice of words.  It literally means that a marriage cannot be annulled!  But loopholes are very convenient to have around, aren’t they?

As I said before, there are other religious systems and legal groups who use annulments, and my condemnation of promoting annulments extends to them, as well.

Gay Marriage

Another troubling issue concerning marriage in the Catholic Church is “same-sex-union,” or gay marriage.  It seems that controversial Pope Francis is leaning toward this unbiblical trend.  Having this in mind, is the Catholic Church losing sight of the origin and intent of marriage?  This is certainly not what the Catholic Church has traditionally supported.  But the pope seems to be taking the Church in that direction.

See here:


Again, I agree with a lot of things that the Catholic Church teaches about marriage, but there are certainly some exceptions, also.

And one last thing: Marriage/matrimony is not a “sacrament.”  It does not “merit” grace.  We dealt with this in our last two articles on the sacraments of the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023


Today, we will be dealing with the second in our series on the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, again in no particular order.  In this one, I am addressing the sacrament of Confirmation, sometimes called the “Sacrament of Christian Maturity.”  This is certainly not the most talked-about sacrament, and even many Catholics are prone to misunderstand it.

So, what is Catholic Confirmation, actually?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that Confirmation is one of three “sacraments of initiation,” baptism and Holy Communion being the other two.  It also claims that Confirmation is necessary for the “completion of baptismal grace.” (CCC #1285)

Confirmation is a ritual of the Church that claims that:

-        It roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!"  

-        It unites us more firmly to Christ;

-        It increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;

-        It renders our bond with the Church more perfect

-        It gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross. (CCC #1303)

Not only that, but the Catechism claims that “… the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation IS the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.” (CCC #1302 – Emphasis added)

The Catholic Catechism also states that Confirmation causes the seal of the Holy Spirit to be given to the Catholic. (CCC #1293 and CCC #1295)

Is it important for the Catholic to believe in Confirmation?  Very much so.  The Council of Trent states that if a person says that Confirmation is not instituted by Christ, that person is considered “anathema.” (Session VII, Canon I, “On the Sacraments in General”)

By the way, an anathema is the severest form of excommunication in the Catholic Church, where one is eternally condemned to Hell unless and until he does penance to the Church’s satisfaction.

Well, at least these things are what the Catholic Church claims about Confirmation.  Ok, so that’s a pretty weighty teaching, being mandatory and all for every Catholic to believe.  But does Catholic Confirmation actually do all those things listed above?  And if it does, how?  And, most importantly, is it indeed established by Jesus Christ?

So what does Jesus say about this Confirmation event?  If you look in the pages of the New Testament, you will not find any such ritual.  You will find that there is no single specific event that does all these things mentioned above.  Every Christian’s journey starts with salvation, that is, when justification is imputed to him by faith and his heart is changed by God.  After this happens, sanctification is the process where we are, over time, “rooted more deeply” and “united more firmly” to Christ, as we strive to please Him.  If a person is truly saved, the process of sanctification will indeed happen, whether there is a particular ceremony or not.

As far as the gifts of the Holy Spirit being increased in someone, Scripture tells us that these gifts are given as God wills (1 Corinthians 12:11) – He, alone, does the choosing of the gift(s), and He alone decides at what point in life to give them to you.  There is nothing in Scripture about them coming from a formal church ritual.

Catholic statements about Confirmation are indeed tall claims, and since the Catholic Church claims that there is a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Confirmation event, akin to the event on the Day of Pentecost, it must necessarily be a miracle, right?  If this is true, is there any real evidence that the person confirmed is any closer to Christ, or that His gifts have, on that day, increased in that person’s life?  Have all the recipients of Confirmation spoken in other languages as they did on the Day of Pentecost?  Has it caused them to do miracles like those in the early church?  You see, real miracles, like those found in the Bible, always had clear evidence to back them up, and were not just empty claims.

To have a group go through a formal ritual like Confirmation and tell them that a special miracle had to have happened (without proof) is deceptive.     


In reality, the bottom line is this: the Catholic Church has, in the ceremony of Confirmation, a powerless person in an unbiblical role, performing an empty ritual, conferring fake gifts to a (more often than not) clueless recipient.

That may sound unkind, but let me explain.  The powerless person is the Catholic priest or bishop and he is powerless because there is no biblical backing for this “sacrament.”  Furthermore, his is indeed an unbiblical role, since there is no ministerial priesthood in the New Testament.  The ritual is empty because there is no such thing as a ritual, ceremony or ordinance that provides grace for a person.  Rituals are works, and grace does not come through works (1 Peter 5:5-6), therefore, this ceremony’s “gifts” are fake.  Concerning the recipient being clueless, most of the time, these are young, pre-teen children, who can hardly be considered “mature” when receiving this sacrament, even though it is often called the sacrament of maturity.  The Catholic may say that Confirmation is just the beginning of his walk of maturity.  Well, perhaps so, but there is no biblical evidence that Catholic Confirmation is the starting point.

Now, I’m not saying that the ritual of Confirmation has never had any meaning for the “confirmand” (the person being confirmed), but that it simply does not provide grace, as it claims.  I’m also not saying that the Holy Spirit could never work in the heart of any recipient during this ceremony.  It is possible.  I am not limiting the Holy Spirit’s ability to work in someone whose heart is right, but the Holy Spirit does not give grace to a person because he goes through a particular ceremony, especially an unbiblical one.

Again, grace is not obtained through rituals (Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6) and therefore, sacraments cannot be a means of grace (Romans 11:6).


Catholics will claim that their Confirmation is biblical, since its ceremony uses the laying on of hands and anointing oil.  But that doesn’t prove anything.  Any unbiblical group can do the same.

The apostle Paul does mention that Jesus Christ will “confirm” the believer until the end.  But this is an ongoing thing, not a one-time ritual.  Paul is simply saying that the Christian needs to be “confirmed” in the sense that he is strengthened, established, kept and sustained in the faith (1 Corinthians 1:6-8).  THAT is biblical confirmation.

The Catholic Church has a system of many rituals that its members depend on from cradle to grave.  This system supposedly doles out God’s grace through sacraments, piece by piece, in periodic installments.  And they claim that it is only through the Church that one can get these saving sacraments, thus shackling its members to “Mother Church.”  Catholic Confirmation is only one of those sacraments.

But remember, real and biblical salvation doesn’t come in installments or rituals.  It simply comes by FAITH in the Person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary (John 3:16; Romans 4:4-5; Ephesians 2:8-9).

See also this link concerning sacraments:

And this link on the priesthood:


Sunday, January 1, 2023


This article is the first in a series on the seven Catholic sacraments, which will not be covered in any particular order.  This particular one will be on the sacrament of Confession (also known as Penance or Reconciliation).

So, first of all, what exactly are sacraments?  Webster’s dictionary describes a sacrament as:

“a Christian rite (such as baptism or the Eucharist) that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality.”

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.” (CCC #1131)

So, what they are saying is that a sacrament is a ritual that one goes through to merit grace from God.  But that is an oxymoron.  No one can merit grace.  It is like saying that I will work for something so that it can be given to me as a free gift!  But it is either a gift or something you worked for – it is one or the other.  It can’t be both:

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, since otherwise grace is no longer grace. (Romans 11:6 – NASB)

See this link on the sacraments:

A Little History

Over the centuries, simple biblical confession has evolved in the Catholic Church into an intricate system involving “penance” (which has all but replaced biblical repentance) by “meriting” grace from God by prayer, suffering, personal works, and even indulgences.  According to the following source, Catholics see Penance as “man’s effort to satisfy God for personal sin through one’s own works.”  See this link:

The Catholic Church teaches that private confession to a priest has been the norm from the beginning (Council of Trent, Fourteenth Session, Canon VI).  But this same link above points out the fact that “auricular confession” [private confession to a priest] and “judicial absolution” [official forgiveness granted by a priest] was NOT the practice of the church from the very beginning “since there was no general agreement in the Church about the nature and necessity of such an important issue to as late a period as the 13th century.  It was a matter of debate among Scholastic theologians, most of whom demonstrate that there were conflicting opinions even among the Church Fathers.”

It Must Be to the Priest

Protestants seem to have some serious reservations about Catholic Confession.  So, what’s wrong with confessing your sins?  Don’t Protestants believe in that?  Of course, any biblically-based Protestant believes in confessing his sins.  That’s not the issue.  But the first problem is that Catholics are required to confess any “mortal” sins to a priest.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church repeatedly tells us that confessing to a priest is “essential” or a “must.”  For example:

“It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament…” (CCC #1424)

Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance…” (CCC #1456)

One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. The confession of venial faults, without being necessary in itself, is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.” (CCC #1493)

(See also CCC #1448 and CCC #1449)      

Misreading James

Ok, so what’s wrong with confessing to a priest?  Doesn’t the Bible tell us to confess our sins to the elders/priests in James 5:14-16:

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

First of all, the New Testament does not recognize ministerial priests, as the Old Testament does.  See this link:

Second, the New Testament Greek word for priest is “hiereus.”  This Greek word nowhere appears in the New Testament to describe a ministerial priest.  The word for elders in the passage above is “presbuteros,” a totally different term.  And in this context, it is not specifically talking about confessing your sins to get God’s forgiveness, to get a clean slate, as is done in Catholic Confession.  It is talking about “confessing your sins one to another,” that is, the local body of believers admitting their sins and wrongdoing toward each other, forgiving one another.  James 5:14-16 is about praying for the sick and about personal offenses toward other members of the local body. 

Third, the elders are not there to have members confess directly to them, as it is with priests in the Catholic Church.  The Bible never says to confess to a designated person, whether a priest, pastor, bishop, etc.  These can’t see the heart.  Only God can.  So, a man cannot conclusively tell another person that he (that person) is forgiven, since the man doesn’t know his heart; but he can tell him (according to the authority of Scripture) that he is forgiven IF, and only if, he repents and trusts in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is the New Testament requirement for salvation (Romans 1:16)

Again, a man cannot give absolution to another, only God can, since He, and only He, knows all hearts.  Confessing to a priest, even one you trust, may make you feel good and may be comforting, but it is certainly not biblical.  See this link:

Problems with the Box

Not only is private confession to a priest not scriptural, it has caused some serious problems within the Catholic Church.  There is an old (non-fiction) book titled The Woman, the Priest, and the Confessional, and it was written in 1875 by a former priest.  It outlines horror stories of women being betrayed, seduced and basically destroyed by perverted priests who coaxed them in the secrecy of the confessional (under penalty of eternal damnation, of course) to reveal their deepest, darkest secrets and their most sinful desires.  Some priests took full advantage of the opportunities afforded by that private confessional box.  The people trusted the priests going in, but were betrayed.  Not only did these encounters destroy many women, but many priests, as well. 

My Catholic friends, your sins and weaknesses just may be better kept unknown to most people… even your beloved priest!  With a repentant and contrite heart, confess them to God.  He will never betray you.

The book mentioned above is quite old, yet it reads like many of today’s headlines.  I firmly believe the author was telling the truth, but the scandalous and perverted sexual encounters of his day were only to get worse in time…

The Perversion is Far from Gone

A much more recent book, The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession, by John Cornwell, is another eye-opener.  In a National Catholic Reporter review of his book, Cornwell is painted as possibly “our most gifted and persistent chronicler of Catholicism in the context of the modern world.”  Remember, this is an article by a Catholic news source, not Protestant, and it is worth noting that Cornwell, himself, is a Catholic.

The author of the review stated:

Confession may be good for the soul -- at least sometimes -- but it has also been used to evil effect by those who would use the secrecy of the sacrament and the power of the priesthood to exploit the vulnerable.”

“In its best passages, The Dark Box connects the sexual obsessions of the earliest priestly celibates with the abuse of confession and the suffering of untold millions of everyday Catholics. For centuries, priests functioned as ‘forensic’ interrogators, coercing or merely persuading men, women and children to reveal the secrets for which they should feel most ashamed. The institutional obsession with sexual sin tells us that clergy were themselves tortured by guilt.”

See the link here:


Confessing your sins is absolutely critical if you want to make it to Heaven.  If you want real forgiveness, confess them directly to God.  No need for a human mediator.  God understands better than anyone else and He knows all your sins before you even open your mouth, even your most secret sins!  Then why tell Him?  Because God wants you to be honest and to humble yourself and admit your sins and your rebellion against Him:

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

I’m not saying that a Catholic cannot ever be forgiven in the confessional, but he could still be forgiven IN SPITE OF this unbiblical ritual!

Mandatory confession to a priest tends to cause one to trust in a system, rather than in Jesus and His work on the cross.

But I have a question…

If you confess to a priest, then what happens between confessions?  What if you commit a sin after Confession (and you will), and then die before your next confession?  A Catholic may say that God is always fair and He will give you an opportunity to be saved.  Ok, so if that’s true, then what’s the purpose, what’s the need, for confessing to a priest in the first place?

We have a wonderful example in Scripture of the end of the mediation of the priesthood.  The moment that Jesus Christ died on the cross, the great veil in the temple that separated the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was torn in half… exposing the Ark of the Covenant!  I can’t imagine the horror that was in the faces of the priests who were working in the temple at the time, conducting the evening sacrifice.  No doubt, they thought they were going to die on the spot, since the place of God’s very presence was exposed!

But no, God was making an incredible statement that would ring through time and eternity… WE CAN NOW APPROACH THE LIVING GOD OURSELVES, EVEN CONFIDENTLY, and know that He will hear us.  No more need for a ministerial priesthood to mediate for us:

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Confession directly to God is part of the new and better covenant. (Hebrews 8:6)



Saturday, December 3, 2022



Imagine yourself in a canoe, peacefully floating around on a large lake.  It’s a beautiful day and you haven’t a care in the world.  After a while, you begin to hear a sound, a continuous sound that is slowly getting louder and louder.  In horror, you finally realize the sound is a very large waterfall – and you’re headed straight toward it!  You franticly paddle, trying to move back to safety, but no, you realize that you are at the point of no return and you are sucked into the giant waterfall and perish on the rocks below.  If only someone had warned you.

Life is full of dangerous circumstances, some more serious than others.  You get it.  Those situations where you are in deep trouble (physically, financially, with relationships, etc.) and you are just unable to get out.  There is no turning back.  This point of no return is cold and ruthless.  It doesn’t care about your feelings.  It doesn’t care about your excuses or your careless attitude toward common sense rules, nor does it care about your poor decisions.  You messed up and you’re now paying the price. 

The “point of no return” concept is bad enough in the physical realm.  But it is even more terrifying in the spiritual realm.  There, it is eternal.  Death may bring relief for some who have suffered greatly, but for all those who have not surrendered to the Savior (Jesus Christ), for those who have rejected Him and His doctrine, there is no relief and there is no turning back.  They will fall paralyzed and speechless (Revelation 1:17) before Him on that day in utter horror (Revelation 6:16).  Once again, it will be too late.  But in this case, it will be the ULTIMATE point of no return!  You won’t have the time nor the chance to change your mind.  You will have made your choice.

Do We Really Love the Truth?

But what brings people to this point in their lives?  Here is a passage telling us exactly how we end up in this situation…

2 Thessalonians 2:8-12:

8 - And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 

9 - Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 

10 - And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 

11 - And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 

12 - That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The context here is the last days when the antichrist comes on the scene.  At this time (and even now), the world will be so conditioned to believe false teachings that they will easily believe the antichrist’s lies.  They will be fully convinced through his lying signs and wonders.  These people will have had opportunity after opportunity to cling to the truth of the gospel, but they willfully continue to reject it.  They have loved and embraced false teachings so long that God is basically saying, “Ok, I won’t force you to come to Me, but if the life you’re living is what you really want, then stay there and live with your decision!”  Notice that in the passage above, they simply didn’t have a love for the truth, but favored a life of selfish pleasure and perverted doctrine, rather than godliness.

Especially for Catholics

Alright, many readers of this blog know that this blog is dedicated to articles about Catholicism.  One might ask what all this has to do with the Catholic Church.  Well, a lot, actually.  I strongly believe, and have firmly held to, the idea that the Catholic Church has always had a false gospel, one that has deceived millions and millions of its followers.  Furthermore, the Catholic Church not only has a false gospel, but it has multiple false doctrines. 

If all that I am saying is true, what will be the fate of these Catholics?  I believe that after being presented the truth of Scripture, if they continue to embrace unbiblical Catholic doctrines, their “canoe” will perish in the “waterfall,” metaphorically speaking.  To put it bluntly, they will perish in the Lake of Fire… eternally.  And they, too, will be saying, “If only someone had warned me!”  Well, I am just one of the many voices warning you now.

Common Ground

But one might ask, “But what if what the Catholic Church teaches is true?”  Well, if they really are teaching truth, then they don’t have anything to worry about.  But a little study will show that it is very obvious that they contradict many of the Scriptures, and they even contradict some of their own traditions!  See here:

The question is, for Protestants and Catholics, who (if either of them) is right?  Catholics and Protestants have been debating for centuries, and of course both sides believe they are right.  Obviously, they can’t both be right, since both sides contradict each other in many areas.  The one thing both sides have in common is the fact that the Bible is God’s Word.  So I think we can use this common ground to get to the truth.  Jesus tells us that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17).


But the key issue is the gospel, which is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16).  And I believe that the Catholic Church has rejected that gospel. 

But how many times can you reject the gospel before God says “That’s enough!”?  Where is the point of no return, spiritually speaking?  I know that saying that the Catholic Church does not have the gospel of Jesus Christ may sound cruel and intolerant, but I’ve pointed out time after time on this blog that the Catholic Church has a different gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4) which has a works-based salvation, and that is an anti-biblical teaching (Romans 3:27-28; 4:4-5; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5). 

This blog is full of warnings about many of the teachings of the Catholic Church.  There is something here on almost every major/significant Catholic doctrine.  And there are tons more in many other places on the internet by authors who are very knowledgeable in Catholic teachings and/or who were once Catholic themselves.

A Catholic may say, “But there are also many former Protestants who became Catholic, so this doesn’t prove anything!”  True, but those Protestants who have heard the gospel, but who now embrace the Catholic Church will have no excuse.  Again, we must look at the source of truth, i.e., Scripture, and we must take an honest look at the whole of Scripture, in its context!  I believe that if someone does this and is truly seeking after God, he will be saved.  For that person, the point of no return (i.e., eternity) is something to look forward to, and not a terror.