The roots Mormonism shares with Rome (part 2)

While we here at DefCon stand in opposition to what the Romish church teaches, I find it rather ironic that the early leaders in the LDS church were even more venomous in their attacks on the Vatican than Rome could ever accuse Luther or Spurgeon of being. That said, Salt Lake City shares more with Rome than Brigham or Joey Junior would ever want to admit. Here is part 2 in the series laying Mormonism alongside Romanism and comparing the two.

Besides what they have written in their official declarations, Mormonism and Papism share one other thing in common–they both know how to play the “It’s not official doctrine” card. What I mean is this:  whether it’s the Catholic Pope or the Mormon Prophet/President, the authoritative voice of the respective religion (and the teaching arm thereof) will teach something over and over and over and over again, year after year after year, decade after decade after decade, century after century–but they will never publish it in any of their “Scriptures” (the Romish Catechism; the Mormon BOM/PGP/D&C).  Therefore, since it is not “officially canonized”, whenever we bring this teaching to the attention of a Catholic/Mormon, they can reach into their wallet and pull out their trusty “They may have said that, but it was never an official teaching of the church card, stick out their tongue, and say…

So, let’s look at some more of the parallels between Mormonism and Catholicism.

They both teach that salvation is a result of the combined effort of God’s grace and our own vile, human works.

–The Roman Catholic Church teaches “grace plus works/merit”:

Council of Trent, Sixth Session, Canons Concerning Justification, Canons 11-12If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, excluding grace and charity which is poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit and inheres in them, or also that the grace which justifies us is only the favour of God, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA. If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA.”

Council of Trent, Sixth Session, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 24“If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA.”

Council of Trent, Sixth Session, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 32“If anyone says that the good works of the one justified are in such manner the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him justified; or that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ…does not truly merit an increase of grace, and eternal life, provided that one dies in the state of grace, the attainment of this eternal life, as well as an increase in glory, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraph 2027“No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.”

–Mormonism teaches the we are saved by grace “after all the we can do”:

Book of Mormon, 2nd Nephi 25:23-24“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.”

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The immaculate deception.

Immaculate Deception

The following is an article by James Swan refuting an attempted defense of Roman Catholicism’s great heresy: The Immaculate Conception. I found the timing of this to be highly apropos in light of a continued discussion that is taking place on this very subject on the comment thread from this post.

How To Prove The Immaculate Conception Without Biblical Proof

10/04/2009 – James Swan

The constant dilemma of the Roman Catholic apologist is to insert doctrines into the Bible that aren’t there to begin with. Their argumentation of meandering logic seeks to demonstrate: a) The Bible doesn’t contradict the doctrine being inserted; b)There are indirect Bible passages that if interpreted by first granting the validity of the extra-biblical doctrine, actually support the extra biblical doctrine. Catholic apologist John Martignoni’s most recent newsletter is a perfect example. He presents “Challenge/Response/Strategy” in defending Mary’s immaculate conception. This argumentation is for his upcoming book on basic Roman Catholic apologetics.

In Martignoni’s argumentation, the immaculate conception must first be brought to the biblical text. That is, by a plain reading of the Bible, one would not read from Genesis to Revelation and conclude Mary was born sinless and remained free of sin her entire life. Martignoni’s apologetic then is to prove the immaculate conception is not disproved by anything the Bible states, and that certain texts can be utilized as indirect proofs. I outlined Martignoni’s hypothetical challenges and his responses in the order he presented them. My counter responses are in red.

Argument 1: The Bible doesn’t use the words immaculate conception. Therefore it is an unbiblical concept.

Martignoni’s Response: The words Trinity and Incarnation are not found in the Bible either.

Swan’s Counter: I know of no serious Protestant apologist that actually uses such an argument. The question is not whether the phrase is found in the Bible, but are there specific direct passages that substantiate such a concept? To substantiate such a concept as a clear teaching of scripture one needs direct passages, not a few vague inference passages.

Argument 2: Trinity and Incarnation are concepts supported by the Bible, the immaculate conception has no such support.

Martignoni’s response: There is no passage in Scripture which directly states that Mary was not conceived without original sin, or that she was not immaculately conceived.

Swan’s counter: Aside from the fact this response doesn’t follow from the argument, this type of argument can [be] applied to many individuals within the Bible. The Bible doesn’t say Priscilla was conceived without original sin, or that she was not immaculately conceived, yet we don’t assume she was. A lack of evidence does not bolster or further an argument.

Argument 3: Romans 3:9-12 and 3:22-23 says all are under the power of sin and that all have sinned, therefore Mary sinned.

Martignoni’s response (four points):
A. Such an argument does not address Mary being immaculately conceived, it addresses whether or not she was sinless her entire life, which is a different question.

Swan’s Counter: Under the heading of “The Immaculate Conception,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long” (CCC 493), so it is not a different question.

B. There is no passage in Scripture which directly states that Mary was not conceived without original sin, or that she was not immaculately conceived.

Swan’s Counter: Luke 1:35 positively says Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. There is no such verse about Mary’s conception. There is no verse that states Mary must be sinless in order to bear the Son of God. Martignoni offers no similar positive evidence that would separate her from the rest of humanity described in Romans 3.

C. Some Protestants believe things not found in the Bible. Catholics likewise should be allowed to believe things not directly stated in the Bible. Example: The Bible nowhere says contraception is okay, yet most protestants believe it is.

Swan’s Counter: Martignoni’s argument would not work against Protestants who deny both the immaculate conception and contraception. To prove some Protestants may believe something not found in the Bible does nothing more than prove an inconsistency. To prove such offers no positive support for an extra-biblical belief in the immaculate conception.

D. Some Scripture passages indirectly support the Immaculate Conception, like Genesis 3:14-15. Mary is the woman described. Enmity exists between Satan and the woman. Martignoni says, “If you have sin in you, can you say that there is enmity between you and Satan?” Only a sinless being can be at enmity with Satan. Therefore Mary was not conceived in sin, and did not commit personal sin.

Swan’s counter: This is Martignoni’s only attempt to present positive argumentation. He candidly admits his Biblical proof is indirect. The argument has an unproven assumption: only a sinless person can be an enemy of Satan, at war with Satan. But, there has always been enmity between believers and Satan. One does not have to be sinless to be at war with Satan. Why would Paul exhort the Ephesians to put on the full armor of God “so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes“? Wouldn’t he first clarify that in order to put on the armor, one must be entirely sinless? Similarly, why would Peter exhort Christians to resist the Devil (1 Peter 5:8), or James to resist the devil (James 4:7)? Here we have direct proof that all Christians are enemies of Satan, at war with Satan. John warns us that “if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves.” Christians are sinners, and they are at war with Satan. Nothing could be clearer.

Martignoni states that he was limited with the amount of time he had to put into this argumentation. Then again, he states this argumentation is for a book (as if the world needs yet another book repeating arguments already put forth by other writers). If he’s going to continue with a similar line of reasoning, perhaps he should back up a bit and explain his proofs are not proofs, but inferences. He claims to be presenting “biblical, historical, and logical perspectives” as to the immaculate conception. His reasoning though amounts to inferences and leaps of logic read into the text.

HT: Isaiah