The Gospel According to Rome. Study Guide

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1 The Gospel According to Rome Study Guide James G. McCarthy (c) 2000

2 Lesson 1 Infant Justification Reading Assignment Prologue, The Focus, pages Chapter 1, Infant Justification, pages Appendix A, Infant Baptismal Justification, pages The Roman Catholic Church claims that it alone manifests the four marks of the true church that Christ instituted. This is sometimes called the divine marks argument. What are these four marks and what do each of them mean? (You will find the answer in the Prologue in the section addressed to the Catholic reader.) 2. How does the Roman Catholic Church define the following three terms? a. sanctifying grace b. original sin c. justification 2

3 3. According to the Roman Catholic Church, by what act is a person justified? What two results does this act supposedly produce? 4. List two Roman Catholic practices that illustrate the Church's almost magical concept of the rite of baptism. 5. Define the biblical meaning of justification. How is a person justified according to the Bible? (List three supporting verses.) 3

4 6. Why are the Roman Catholic doctrines concerning infant baptismal justification harmful to a children? Preparing to Minister to Catholics 7. If you were invited to the baptism of a niece or nephew at the local Roman Catholic Church, would you attend? List the pros and the cons and any Scriptures that would apply. 8. If a baptized Catholic adult were to trust Christ and be born-again, leave the Catholic Church, and ask to join an evangelical church, would that person need to be rebaptized. Consider Acts 19:1-5 in making your answer. Explain your reasons. 4

5 9. As if speaking directly to Catholic parents who had their newborn son baptized two weeks ago, explain why baptism does not make a child right with God? Be careful of your tone, seeking to avoid unnecessary offense. Use Scripture into your answer. 10. What insights into Catholicism did you get from this chapter that will affect the way that you will witness to Catholics? 11. Read Pray for Catholics, page 315. Then list the names of three to five Catholics whom you believe God would have you pray for regularly. 5

6 Lesson 2 Adult Justification Reading Assignment Chapter 2, Adult Justification, pages According to Roman Catholicism, what are the four steps leading to adult justification? At what point is the person justified? What is the purpose of the other steps? 2. What kinds of good works does the Roman Catholic Church say that an adult seeking justification must perform? 3. List three ways that the Roman Catholic Church misleads unsaved people through the R.C.I.A.? 6

7 4. According to the Bible, what does God require a sinner to do to prepare for justification? 5. How does personal reformation as required by the R.C.I.A. differ from biblical repentance? 6. What is the difference between the definition of Roman Catholic faith and the definition of biblical saving faith? (Review Chapter 1, Biblical Justification is by Faith Alone, pages 29-30, for additional information on the meaning of biblical saving faith.) 7

8 7. Briefly explain the biblical meaning of James 2: The Roman Catholic Church says that justification is a free gift, yet it requires sinners seeking justification to do good works. How does the Church explain this contradiction? Is the Church's explanation valid? 9. With the hope of preaching the gospel to Catholics, Protestant evangelists have been known to invite the Catholic Church to participate in evangelistic crusades. Typically the crusade organizers will ask the local Catholic bishop to provide counselors for the crusade and to promote it throughout the diocese. In return the evangelist promises to turn over to the Catholic Church the contact cards of anyone coming forward during the crusade for counseling. What is your opinion of this practice? 8

9 Preparing to Minister to Catholics 10. As if speaking directly to a person enrolled in the R.C.I.A., explain why approaching God by faith plus good works leads one not to heaven but to condemnation. 11. What insights into Catholicism did you receive from this chapter that will affect the way in which you will witness to Catholics? 12. Read the section titled Develop Friendships, pages Then take a moment and write down two ways that you will begin to build better relationships with the Catholics whose names you listed in lesson one and for whom you are praying. 9

10 Lesson 3 Increasing and Preserving Justification Reading Assignment Chapter 3, Increasing and Preserving Justification, pages How does the Roman Catholic Church define the following three terms? a. actual grace b. sacrament c. merit 10

11 2. Why do Catholics use holy water, light candles, and make the sign of the cross? 3. According to Roman Catholicism, how can a Catholic earn grace? Why is this concept unbiblical? 4. Explain the two goals of Roman Catholic sanctification. 11

12 5. Why would God not use sacraments to dispense grace to believers? 6. Why is it that biblical justification cannot increase? 7. How in your own life do you sometimes fall into the error of trying to earn God s favor? Why is this wrong? 12

13 Preparing to Minister to Catholics 8. Most Catholics don t know whether or not they have done enough to get into heaven. Often this causes considerable anxiety. As is speaking to such a person, explain how he or she can cease working for salvation and enter God s rest. 9. What insights into Catholicism did you receive from this chapter that will affect the way you will witness to Catholics? 10. Read the section titled Stimulate Thought, page 316. Write down one thing that you will do this week to encourage a Catholic to start thinking about his or her spiritual condition. 13

14 Lesson 4 Rejustification Reading Assignment Chapter 4, Rejustification, pages How does the Roman Catholic Church define the following four terms? a. mortal sin b. venial sin c. temporal punishment d. acts of penance 14

15 2. What is the purpose of the sacrament of penance? List in your answer the primary parts of the sacrament. 3. Why is it wrong for the Roman Catholic Church to teach that people must confess their serious sins to a Catholic priest? 4. How does the sacrament of penance weaken or undermine the seriousness of sin in the mind of the Catholic? 5. Why doesn't God require people to make up for their sins by performing acts of penance or by some other means? 15

16 Preparing to Minister to Catholics 6. A Catholic friend has just told you that he has never committed a mortal sin, though he often commits venial sins. As if speaking directly to your friend, explain why all sins are mortal. 7. What insights into Catholicism did you receive from this chapter that will affect the way you witness to Catholics? 8. Read the section titled Promote Bible Study, pages Then write down one thing that you will do this week to encourage a Catholic to read God's Word. 16

17 Lesson 5 Final Destiny Reading Assignment Chapter 5, Final Destiny, pages How does the Roman Catholic Church define the following terms? a. final perseverance b. purgatory c. an indulgence 2. According to Catholic doctrine, what is the purpose of the particular judgment and the general judgment? 17

18 6. List three reasons why purgatory is a necessary part of the Roman Catholic plan of salvation? 7. Explain how each of the three reasons listed in question 6 contradict biblical truth? 18

19 8. Explain the three rewards which a Catholic can merit. Which of these three rewards are unbiblical? Explain. 9. According to Catholicism, why would it be wrong for a Catholic to claim to be eternally saved and certain of going to heaven? 10. How is the Roman Catholic way of salvation similar to the false gospel that was spreading among the churches of Galatia in the first century? 19

20 Preparing to Minister to Catholics 11. You have been asked to visit a Catholic man who is dying. He is troubled because he is not sure of his eternal destiny. As if speaking directly to this person, explain how Christ can save him and how through Christ he can know that he will go to heaven. 12. What insights into Catholicism did you receive from this chapter that will affect the way you witness to Catholics? 13. Read the section titled Address the Real Problem, page 317. Then ask God to give you an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ with one Catholic. Record below either what happened as a direct answer to that prayer or what happened the last time you shared the gospel with a Catholic. 20

21 Lesson 6 The Body of Christ Reading Assignment Chapter 6, The Body of Christ, pages How does the Roman Catholic Church define the following two terms? 1. the Consecration of the Mass 2. transubstantiation 3. What are the two principle functions of the Roman Catholic priesthood? 4. Circle the best answer according to Roman Catholicism. a. The Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ present under the appearances of bread and wine. b. The Eucharist is the most Blessed Sacrament of the Church. c. The Eucharist is a sacred meal of thanksgiving in which the Catholic community witnesses to its unity. d. all of the above 21

22 5. List the five ways in which Roman Catholicism describes the manner of Christ's presence in the Eucharist. Summarize the meaning of each. 6. List four reasons why Jesus words at the Last Supper, This is My body... this is My blood (Matthew 26:26-28), should be understood in their figurative sense. 22

23 7. The Catholic Church's understanding of the Eucharist is based primarily upon Rome s interpretation of John 6. The Church says that John 6:52 makes it clear that the Jews present on that occasion believed that Jesus was asking them to eat His physical flesh. Is this argument valid? 8. Jesus taught, He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:54). Give three reasons why these words should be understood in their figurative sense. What is the correct meaning of this verse? 9. How is the Roman Catholic Church's teaching that Christ is present in the Eucharist harmful to Catholics who believe it? 23

24 Preparing to Minister to Catholics 10. A Catholic friend has just told you that she considers going to Mass to be the most important part of her life. Christ is actually present on the altar for all to worship, she informs you. As if speaking directly to this person, explain why worshiping bread and wine is idolatry. Take extra care in this area to be tactful, sensitive, and to use Scripture in support of your answer. 11. What insights into Catholicism did you receive from this chapter that will affect the way you witness to Catholics? 12. Read the section titled Encourage a Clean Break, p Then contact a Christian whom you know who was raised a Roman Catholic but has trusted Christ and left the Roman Catholic Church. Ask the person to describe his or her experience in leaving Catholicism. What was the hardest practice for the person to give up? Were there any objects associated with Catholic practices that the person had to discard? Record a brief summary of what you learned. 24

25 Lesson 7 The Blood of Christ Reading Assignment Chapter 7, The Blood of Christ, pages According to Roman Catholicism, what three relationships exist between the sacrifice of the cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass? 2. Why would it be wrong to try to present Christ in His victimhood today? 3. What is meant by the Roman Catholic belief that the Mass is a re-presentation? 4. Why would it be wrong to try to make such a re-presentation? 25

26 5. According to the Roman Catholic Church, what is the God-ward effect of each offering of the Mass? What is the man-ward effect? 6. The Roman Catholic Church says that the benefits of the cross are applied to Catholics primarily through the Mass. How does the Bible say that the benefits of the cross are applied to a person? 7. How do we know that the Lord's Supper was not meant to be a sacrifice. List at least one reason from the text of the biblical accounts of the Last Supper. 26

27 8. Some claim there are many Catholic priests who are genuine, born-again believers. These, they say, hold to a biblical gospel, though they remain in the Church. Would you accept as a brother in Christ a man who continues to offer the Mass? Explain your answer. 9. How about yourself? Do you consider the once for all sacrifice of Christ upon the cross to be sufficient satisfaction for your sins? Is there anything remaining for you to do to appease God? Explain your answer. 27

28 Preparing to Minister to Catholics 11. A Catholic friend at work has just asked you to explain what you do on Sundays at your church. He is surprised to learn that you have neither an altar nor a priest presiding over the service. As if speaking directly to this person, explain why Christians have no need to offer sacrifices for their sins. 12. What insights into Catholicism did you receive from this chapter that will affect the way you witness to Catholics? 13. Read the section titled Anticipate Trials, p Then contact a Christian whom you know who was raised a Roman Catholic but has trusted Christ and left the Roman Catholic Church. Ask the person if he experienced opposition when he left the Church. How did his family react when he was baptized? How did he respond to them? Does he wish he had done anything differently? Record below a brief summary of what you learned. 28

29 Lesson 8 The Mother of God Reading Assignment Chapter 8, The Mother of God, pages Define the following doctrines: a. The Immaculate Conception b. The Assumption of Mary c. The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 2. Does it make any real difference whether we call Mary the Mother of Jesus or the Mother of God? 29

30 3. Mary said, "My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior" (Luke 1:46-47). If Mary needed a Savior, then Mary must have been a sinner. How does the Roman Catholic Church answer this? Is the Church's reasoning valid? 4. Why would the Roman Catholic Church want to present Mary as a perpetual virgin? 5. The Roman Catholic Church cannot find even a single verse in the Bible that explicitly states that Mary was immaculately conceived, assumed into heaven, or remained a perpetual virgin. What does this tell you about the Church's understanding of a sound basis for doctrine? 30

31 6. Biblically speaking, how should we regard Mary? 7. How is Roman Catholic devotion to Mary detrimental to the spiritual life of Roman Catholics? 31

32 Preparing to Minister to Catholics 8. A Catholic neighbor is deeply devoted to Mary. She says she prays to Mary, has had miraculous things happen in her life because of Mary, and knows Mary will see her into heaven when she dies. What strategy would you use to help this woman find the truth? 9. The opportunity you have been waiting for to help your Catholic neighbor who is devoted to Mary has come. She has just told you how much she admires the Virgin Mary. As if speaking directly to this woman, take the first step in implementing the strategy you outlined above. 10. Read the section titled Continue to Learn, p Then spend a few minutes examining the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is widely available in libraries, bookstores, and on the internet. Record one observation. 32

33 Lesson 9 The Queen of Heaven and Earth Reading Assignment Chapter 9, The Queen of Heaven and Earth, pages Define the following a. Hyperdulia worship b. plenary indulgence c. The Rosary 2. How, according to the Roman Catholic Church, did Mary participate in the redemption and become the Mediatress of All Grace? 33

34 3. Why are Mary's sufferings not redemptive? (List three reasons) 4. How does giving Mary partial credit for mankind's redemption hinder Catholics from being saved? 5. List three verses that show that born again Christians do not need Mary's mediation for they have direct access to the Father through the Lord Jesus. 34

35 7. Do you agree that in Roman Catholicism Mary has been set up as a goddess in violation of Exodus 20:3? If so, what convinced you? If not, why not? Preparing to Minister to Catholics 9. What examples have you personally witnessed of Catholics giving Mary the honor and worship that belongs to God alone? 35

36 10. Take a few minutes and get a personal look at the what Mary has become in modern Catholicism by examining one of the many Catholic websites promoting devotion to Mary. Record the internet addresses of the two sites you found most telling and a brief summary of each. (Before you log off the internet, complete the assignment in number 11.) 11. Pray for the Catholics associated with the websites you have just visited. Then send an response to one of these websites, gently correcting wrong teaching and pointing them to the Savior. Include a copy of your letter below or a brief summary of it. 36

37 Lesson 10 The Pope and Bishops Reading Assignment Chapter 10, The Pope and Bishops, pages Describe the three powers that the Roman Catholic Church claims that its bishops have inherited from the apostles. 2. List the three beliefs upon which the authority of the Roman Catholic leadership rests. 3. Describe the role and power of the pope in the Roman Catholic Church. 37

38 4. How does the Roman Catholic Church interpret Jesus words to Peter, "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church;..." (Matthew 16:18)? How should we interpret this verse? 5. The book reviews the four primary arguments from Scripture put forth by Roman Catholic scholars to support the Church's claim that its bishops are the apostles' successors. List these four arguments, placing them in the order of their strength in you opinion. Evaluate the validity of the argument you consider to be the strongest. 38

39 6. Summarize the case that the Roman Catholic Church puts forth for the Bishop of Rome being Peter's successor. What Scripture does the Church use to support this claim? 7. Why do you think the average Catholic recognizes the authority of the Roman Catholic pope and bishops? Preparing to Minister to Catholics 8. As if speaking directly to a Catholic, explain how the pope unjustly takes the place that Christ alone should occupy over the church. 39

40 Lesson 11 The Magisterium Reading Assignment Chapter 11, The Magisterium, pages What is the Magisterium? 2. According to Roman Catholicism, what is the gift of infallibility and who possesses it today? 3. Explain the inheritance argument use by the Roman Catholic Church to support its claims for the Magisterium. 40

41 4. Why is the inheritance argument wrong? 5. Explain the moral necessity argument used by the Roman Catholic Church to support its claims for the Magisterium. 6. Why is the moral necessity argument wrong? 41

42 7. Explain why the Bible has less authority than the Magisterium in Roman Catholicism. 8. What is the supreme Roman Catholic rule for Bible interpretation? Preparing to Minister to Catholics 9. As if speaking directly to a Catholic, explain the dangers involved in submitting to the absolute teaching authority claimed by the Roman Magisterium. 42

43 Lesson 12 Scripture and Tradition Reading Assignment Chapter 12, Scripture and Tradition, pages What is the fundamental reason that Roman Catholicism differs so significantly from biblical Christianity? 2. The Second Vatican Council pictured revelation and its transmission as a pool and stream. Draw this figure and label what each element represents. 3. According to Roman Catholicism, what is the "Word of God"? 43

44 4. List two things that some mistakenly identify as Roman Catholic Tradition which in fact it is not. 5. Explain in your own words what Roman Catholic Tradition is according to the Church of Rome. 6. The process by which the Assumption of Mary became dogma demonstrates what three points about the role of Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium in Roman Catholicism? 44

45 7. The Catholic Church cites 2 Thessalonians 2:15 to support its claims for the authority of Tradition. Explain why this is unjustified. 8. In the debate between Catholics and non-catholics over the authority of Scripture and Tradition, why is it misleading for Catholics to demand, "Where does the Bible teach Sola Scriptura, that is, that the Bible is the sole rule of faith for the Christian?" (See Appendix E.) 45

46 Preparing to Minister to Catholics 9. As if speaking directly to a Catholic, explain the dangers of making Tradition equal with Scripture. 10. Read the section titled Oppose Ecumenism, p What must be the first issue settled before there can be any hope of Catholics and evangelicals resolving their many doctrinal differences? 46

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